The Burgomaster's Wife
by Georg Ebers
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Adrian had gone close to the map with his companions and now interrupted the Beggar by laughing loudly.

"What is it, curly-head?" asked the latter.

"Look, look!" cried the boy, "the great General Valdez has immortalized himself here, and there is his name too. Listen, listen! The rector would hang a placard with the word donkey round his neck, for he has written: 'Castelli parvi! Vale civitas, valete castelli parvi; relicti estis propter aquam et non per vim inimicorum!' Oh! the donkey 'Castelli parvi!'"

"What does it mean?" asked the Beggar.

"Farewell, Leyden, farewell, ye little 'Castelli;' ye are abandoned on account of the waves, and not of the power of the enemy. 'Parvi Castelli!' I must tell mother that!"

On Monday, William of Orange entered Leyden, and went to Herr von Montfort's house. The people received their Father William with joy, and the unwearied champion of liberty, in the midst of the exultation and rejoicing that surrounded him, labored for the future prosperity of the city. At a later period he rewarded the faithful endurance of the people with a peerless memorial: the University of Leyden. This awakened and kept alive in the busy city and the country bleeding for years in severe conflicts, that lofty aspiration and effort, which is its own reward, and places eternal welfare far above mere temporal prosperity. The tree, whose seed was planted amid the deepest misery, conflict and calamity, has borne the noblest fruits for humanity, still bears them, and if it is the will of God will continue to bear them for centuries.


On the twenty-sixth of July, 1581, seven years after the rescue of Leyden, Holland and Zealand, whose political independence had already been established for six years, proclaimed themselves at the Hague free from Spain. Hitherto, William of Orange had ruled as King Philip's "stadtholder," and even the war against the monarch had been carried on in his name. Nay, the document establishing the University, a paper, which with all the earnestness that dictated it, deserves to be called an unsurpassed masterpiece of the subtlest political irony, purported to issue from King Philip's mouth, and it sounds amusing enough to read in this paper, that the gloomy dunce in the Escurial, after mature deliberation with his dear and faithful cousin, William of Orange, has determined to found a freeschool and university, from motives, which could not fail to seem abominable to the King.

On the twenty-fourth of July this game ceased, allegiance to Philip was renounced, and the Prince assumed sovereign authority.

Three days after, these joyful events were celebrated by a splendid banquet at Herr Van der Werff's house. The windows of the dining-room were thrown wide open, and the fresh breeze of the summer night fanned the brows of the guests, who had assembled around the burgomaster's table. They were the most intimate friends of the family: Janus Dousa, Van Hout, the learned Doctor Grotius of Delft, who to Maria's delight had been invited to Leyden as a professor, and this very year filled the office of President of the new University, the learned tavern-keeper Aquarius, Doctor Bontius, now professor of medicine at the University, and many others.

The musician Wilhelm was also present, but no longer alone; beside him sat his beautiful, delicate wife, Anna d'Avila, with whom he had recently returned from Italy. He had borne for several years the name of Van Duivenbode (messenger-dove), which the city had bestowed on him, together with a coat of arms bearing three blue doves on a silver field and two crossed keys.

With the Prince's consent the legacies bequeathed by old Fraulein Van Hoogstraten to her relatives and servants, had been paid, and Wilhelm now occupied with his wife a beautiful new house, that did not lack a dovecote, and where Maria, though her four children gave her little time, took part in many a madrigal. The musician had much to say about Rome and his beautiful sister-in-law Henrica, to Adrian, now a fine young man, who had graduated at the University and was soon to be admitted to the council. Belotti, after the death of the young girl's father, who had seen and blessed Anna again, went to Italy with her, where she lived as superior of a secular institution, where music was cultivated with special devotion.

Barbara did not appear among the guests. She had plenty to do in the kitchen. Her white caps were now plaited with almost coquettish skill and care, and the firm, contented manner in which she ruled Trautchen and the two under maid-servants showed that everything was going on well in Peter's house and business. It was worth while to do a great deal for the guests upstairs. Junker von Warmond was among them, and had been given the seat of honor between Doctor Grotius and Janus Dousa, the first trustee of the University, for he had become a great nobleman and influential statesman, who found much difficulty in getting time to leave the Hague and attend the banquet with his young assistant, Nicolas Van Wibisma. He drank to Meister Aquanus as eagerly and gaily as ever, exclaiming:

"To old times and our friend, Georg von Dornburg."

"With all my heart," replied the landlord. "We haven't heard of his bold deeds and expeditions for a long time."

"Of course! The fermenting wine is now clear. Dornburg is in the English service, and four weeks ago I met him as a member of her British Majesty's navy in London. His squadron is now on the way to Venice. He still cherishes an affectionate memory of Leyden, and sends kind remembrances to you, but you would never recognize in the dignified commander and quiet, cheerful man, our favorite in former days. How often his enthusiastic temperament carried him far beyond us all, and how it would make the heart ache to see him brooding mournfully over his secret grief."

"I met the Junker in Delft," said Doctor Grotius. "Such enthusiastic natures easily soar too high and then get a fall, but when they yoke themselves to the chariot of work and duty, their strength moves vast burdens, and with cheerful superiority conquers the hardest obstacles."

Meantime Adrian, at a sign from his father, had risen and filled the glasses with the best wine. The "hurrah," led by the Burgomaster, was given to the Prince, and Janus Dousa followed it by a toast to the independence and liberty of their native land.

Van Hout devoted a glass to the memory of the days of trouble, and the city's marvellous deliverance. All joined in the toast, and after the cheers had died away, Aquanus said:

"Who would not gladly recall the exquisite Sunday of October third; but when I think of the misery that preceded it, my heart contracts, even at the present day."

At these words Peter clasped Maria's hand, pressed it tenderly, and whispered:

"And yet, on the saddest day of my life, I found my best treasure."

"So did I!" she replied, gazing gratefully into his faithful eyes.


A blustering word often does good service Art ceases when ugliness begins Debts, but all anxiety concerning them is left to the creditors Despair and extravagant gayety ruled her nature by turns Drinking is also an art, and the Germans are masters of it Hat is the sign of liberty, and the free man keeps his hat on Held in too slight esteem to be able to offer an affront Here the new custom of tobacco-smoking was practised Must take care not to poison the fishes with it Repos ailleurs Standing still is retrograding The shirt is closer than the coat The best enjoyment in creating is had in anticipation Those two little words 'wish' and 'ought' To whom fortune gives once, it gives by bushels To whom the emotion of sorrow affords a mournful pleasure Wet inside, he can bear a great deal of moisture without Youth calls 'much,' what seems to older people 'little'


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