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Barlasch of the Guard   By: (1862-1903)

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BARLASCH OF THE GUARD

By Henry Seton Merriman

"And they that have not heard shall understand"

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. ALL ON A SUMMER'S DAY II. A CAMPAIGNER III. FATE IV. THE CLOUDED MOON V. THE WEISSEN ROSS'L VI. THE SHOEMAKER OF KONIGSBERG VII. THE WAY OF LOVE VIII. A VISITATION IX. THE GOLDEN GUESS X. IN DEEP WATER XI. THE WAVE MOVES ON XII. FROM BORODINO XIII. IN THE DAY OF REJOICING XIV. MOSCOW XV. THE GOAL XVI. THE FIRST OF THE EBB XVII. A FORLORN HOPE XVIII. MISSING XIX. KOWNO XX. DESIREE'S CHOICE XXI. ON THE WARSAW ROAD XXII. THROUGH THE SHOALS XXIII. AGAINST THE STREAM XXIV. MATHILDE CHOOSES XXV. A DESPATCH XXVI. ON THE BRIDGE XXVII. A FLASH OF MEMORY XXVIII. VILNA XXIX. THE BARGAIN XXX. THE FULFILMENT

CHAPTER I. ALL ON A SUMMER'S DAY.

Il faut devoir lever les yeux pour regarder ce qu'on aime.

A few children had congregated on the steps of the Marienkirche at Dantzig, because the door stood open. The verger, old Peter Koch on week days a locksmith had told them that nothing was going to happen; had been indiscreet enough to bid them go away. So they stayed, for they were little girls.

A wedding was in point of fact in progress within the towering walls of the Marienkirche a cathedral built of red brick in the great days of the Hanseatic League.

"Who is it?" asked a stout fishwife, stepping over the threshold to whisper to Peter Koch.

"It is the younger daughter of Antoine Sebastian," replied the verger, indicating with a nod of his head the house on the left hand side of the Frauengasse where Sebastian lived. There was a wealth of meaning in the nod. For Peter Koch lived round the corner in the Kleine Schmiedegasse, and of course well, it is only neighbourly to take an interest in those who drink milk from the same cow and buy wood from the same Jew.

The fishwife looked thoughtfully down the Frauengasse where every house has a different gable, and none of less than three floors within the pitch of the roof. She singled out No. 36, which has a carved stone balustrade to its broad verandah and a railing of wrought iron on either side of the steps descending from the verandah to the street.

"They teach dancing?" she inquired.

And Koch nodded again, taking snuff.

"And he the father?"

"He scrapes a fiddle," replied the verger, examining the lady's basket of fish in a non committing and final way. For a locksmith is almost as confidential an adviser as a notary. The Dantzigers, moreover, are a thrifty race and keep their money in a safe place; a habit which was to cost many of them their lives before the coming of another June.

The marriage service was a long one and not exhilarating. Through the open door came no sound of organ or choir, but the deep and monotonous drawl of one voice. There had been no ringing of bells. The north countries, with the exception of Russia, require more than the ringing of bells or the waving of flags to warm their hearts. They celebrate their festivities with good meat and wine consumed decently behind closed doors.

Dantzig was in fact under a cloud. No larger than a man's hand, this cloud had risen in Corsica forty three years earlier. It had overshadowed France. Its gloom had spread to Italy, Austria, Spain; had penetrated so far north as Sweden; was now hanging sullen over Dantzig, the greatest of the Hanseatic towns, the Free City. For a Dantziger had never needed to say that he was a Pole or a Prussian, a Swede or a subject of the Czar. He was a Dantziger. Which is tantamount to having for a postal address a single name that is marked on the map.

Napoleon had garrisoned the Free City with French troops some years earlier, to the sullen astonishment of the citizens... Continue reading book >>




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