Mayken Karlzon's Diary.

A Story of the Inquisition in Spain and Holland.

By C.J.L.

London: Morrish, 20, Paternoster Square, E.C., 1921.

Contents
Chapter 1. Stories of Sunny Spain
Chapter 2. The Gathering of the Storm
Chapter 3. The Field-Preaching
Chapter 4. Julianillo Heramdez, Muleteer and Martyr
Chapter 5. Images and Image-Makers
Chapter 6. One Stormy Night
Chapter 7. How They Kept the Faith in Holland
Chapter 8. "William the Silent"
Chapter 9. Dark Clouds with Silver Linings
Chapter 10. Faithful Witnesses
Chapter 11. A Strange Story
Chapter 12. Birds of Passage
Chapter 13. "The Noble Army of Martyrs"
Chapter 14. "Stormy Wind Fulfilling His Word"
Chapter 15. The Siege of Leyden
Chapter 16. The Defence of Leyden
Chapter 17. The Relief of Leyden
Chapter 18. "Joy-Bells Ringing"
Chapter 19. Henry of Navarre
Chapter 20. The Nun of Jourre
Chapter 21. Among the Heather
Chapter 22. More About the Huguenots
Chapter 23. The Edict of Nantes
Chapter 24. A Great Sorrow

Preface.

The days which are portrayed in the following pages were stirring and eventful ones. Though Germany was, as we know, the birthplace and early home of the Reformation, gleams of gospel light were seen here and there amid the darkness that had for hundreds of years hung over nearly the whole of Europe; and in Spain, some whose hearts had been prepared to receive the Glad Tidings came boldly out as witnesses for their Lord. San Roman was the first, though far from being the last, of the "noble army" of Spanish martyrs.

The Siege of Leyden is far more than an interesting page of history. It is a record of the goodness and faithfulness of God.

The days in which you and I, dear young friends, are living are not less solemn and eventful. The effort of the enemy on every hand is to take away our Bibles, not by threats of imprisonment, or death, but by trying to shake our faith in the Bible as The Word of God.

May the simple record of what has been suffered for the truth's sake in Spain and Holland be an encouragement to us all to prize our Bibles more than we have ever done, knowing that "ALL Scripture is Given by Inspiration of God."

C. J. L.

Chapter 1.

Stories of Sunny Spain.

May 1st, 1565. This is my birthday, and I am twelve years old today. I think it is very pleasant to have a birthday. I am quite rich in presents. Darling mother has given me a beautiful new hood and a hymn-book, and Truyken, the faithful old housekeeper, who has lived so many years in our family that she was my father's nurse when he was only two years old, bought me a work-bag with my name, Mayken Karlzon, embroidered upon it in crimson wool, a most useful present; for, as she says, I am getting too old to care for toys, and it was very kind of her to take so much trouble to give me pleasure. But I think the present I like the very best of all is the one I received from my dear father. It is a large, thick volume, bound in brown leather, and in gilt letters on its cover are the words, "Manuscript Book." It is not like any book I have ever seen before, for it must be written before it can be read, though I suppose this is true of all books; but the strange thing that makes it seem so different from other books is, that I am to write it; father says so, and as I always try to do as he wishes me, of course I shall try.

When I asked father, "What shall I write?" he answered, "True stories, Mayken; but they must be ALL-TRUE. Let every one be a page of history. Some will belong to the past, some to the present, for Holland may yet count her martyrs by scores, perhaps by hundreds, for King Philip of Spain cares little that his subjects in the Netherlands are loyal, peace-loving and industrious, as long as they refuse the authority of the Pope and desire liberty to read the word of God for themselves."

So I must begin at once. I think that next to the Bible stories, which I never tire of listening to, the stories that interest me most are those mother tells me in the quiet hour on Sunday evenings before the lamps are lighted. Some of these stories are sad ones, for when she tells me about the Spanish martyrs, who laid down their lives rather than deny their Lord, her voice is very low and sad, and more than once I have seen by the firelight that tears were in her eyes; I felt ready to cry too, but she kissed away a tear that was just ready to fall, and said, "Do not weep, Mayken, but rather rejoice, as they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for the Lord they loved; their sufferings were quickly over, but their reward is eternal." "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more . . . for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Rev. 7:16, 17.)

All mother's stories are so interesting that I hardly know which to choose, but perhaps her own account of something that happened when she was a very little girl ought to come first.

I think her home must have been a very happy one; she was not, like myself, an only child, but had brothers and sisters, who loved her and used to play with her. Her father, who would have been my grand-papa, died when she was too young to remember much about him, and after his death her mother took her children to live in the house of her mother, who was, like herself, a widow. Their home was in Valladolid, a beautiful Spanish town. But dearly as she loved her mother and her home, some very happy weeks were spent every year in the cottage of her old nurse, Annetta, who had married a vine-dresser named Ambrose, and lived a little way in the country. When there, she was allowed to run about the garden, feed the chickens, help or hinder Ambrose as he trimmed his vines, and do many other things that were a never-failing delight to the town-bred child.

One morning, soon after sunrise, she was roused from sleep by Annetta's voice saying, "Awake, little lady, it is the 'fete,' and my darling will see wonderful sights to-day. She shall have her best dress on, for the princes and nobles will be there, and bishops, and priests, and grand ladies with their court dresses all ablaze with jewels, and there will be music, and the choir boys in their white robes will sing. Ah, it will be a beautiful show."

Every one in the little household was soon ready, and my mother, after being dressed by Annetta with more than usual care, garlanded with white roses, and adorned with some golden ornaments that had belonged to Annetta's great-grandmother, was seated upon a donkey, which was carefully led by Ambrose.

The Grand Square was crowded with people, all dressed in holiday attire; but getting out of the throng as quickly as possible, they went to the house of Annetta's sister, whose windows looked out upon the square.

No market of fruit and vegetables was held in the square that day. In the centre a platform had been raised, on which stood a tall, green cross; twelve large wax tapers were burning round it, though their light looked pale and dim in the glory of the sunshine that flooded the whole scene. The cross was guarded by monks, who wore long, black robes, while a guard of soldiers stood around.

After they had waited a little time, the procession came in sight. First walked the choir boys, then a large silver cross was carried, followed by a great number of monks and priests; then came the mayor and great men of the city, followed by the nobles on their beautiful horses. But just behind the cross walked several men wearing such strange dresses that at first my mother thought it was to amuse the people they formed part of the show. But they looked grave, and it was easy to see that they did not enjoy it, for almost every one pointed at them, and so she began to wonder what it all could mean. Some carried crosses and were dressed in black; but others wore long, loose coats painted all over with red tongues of flame, the points turning downward. But she soon forgot to look at the gay ladies, or the fine horses of the nobles, one man had so fixed her attention, and indeed every one seemed to be looking at him, and all around her she heard whispers, such as, "Look at him, he is still obstinate. He will not confess to a priest, or even kiss the holy relics. He must truly be a wicked man. The priest says it is sin even to pray for him."

But my mother thought he did not look like a wicked man. He wore the same ugly dress as the others, with this difference, that on his yellow robe the flames pointed upward, as real flames always do. His head was covered by a high pasteboard cap written all over with black letters. He was not an old man, she felt sure of that, and yet he walked with a slow and tottering step. A number of monks, called "Black Friars," kept talking to him in loud, angry voices, as if they wished to force him to do or say something. At first he tried to answer them, but they would not listen to what he said, so he was silent, but every now and then he looked upward with such a peaceful, happy look, and his lips moved as if in prayer.

After a little while San Roman, for that was his name, was placed upon a platform, just opposite to the cross, and one of the friars went into a wooden pulpit, covered with crimson cloth, and it sounded just as if he were scolding San Roman. When that was over, the whole company knelt down and repeated in Latin the Roman creed. I said the whole company, but there was one man who remained standing, and that was San Roman. This seemed to make the monks more angry than before. Two went up to him and, taking hold of him quite roughly, tried to make him kneel down, while a third held a crucifix close to his face which he wanted him to kiss. But though San Roman looked ill and was very pale, he would not kneel or kiss the crucifix. Then an angry murmur rose from the crowd, and she heard some one say, "He must have an evil spirit since even the rack failed to bring him to his senses." What could it all mean? If San Roman had been a very bad man would his face have been so full of peace and even joy? There was beautiful music, but she did not listen to it, for her eyes and her thoughts were fixed upon San Roman. What would happen to him? The soldiers made a passage through the crowd, and after all the men who were so strangely dressed had knelt at the feet of a tall, dark man, who they told her was the General of the Inquisition, San Roman stood alone.

Then the friars tried again to make him do as they wished, but he still refused so they led him down the steps and placed him upon an ass, for he was too weak to walk, and the people cried, "Away with him, he is not fit to live." Two friars led the ass away and the people saw it and its rider no more, but the look of peace was still upon his pale face.

But mother is calling "Mayken, little daughter, where are you?" so my story must for to-day be an unfinished one.

Chapter 2.

The Gathering of the Storm.

May 15th, 1565. Can it be only a fortnight since I wrote even a page of my MS. book? Only a fortnight, it seems longer; perhaps because so much has happened; we are living in such strange times, when so much, not only of the history of our own Holland, but of the progress of the reformed faith in France, Germany and England is being written, that I feel sometimes as if I never could be a happy, thoughtless child again.

I left the story of San Roman unfinished, for mother was calling me, and I entered our family sitting-room, which I always think a very pleasant place, with its high-backed chairs covered with crimson damask, and the large, open fire-place, from which, when I was a tiny child, mother gave me such sweet, simple Bible lessons for the pictures are nearly all of scripture scenes that I seemed to know David slaying the lion and the bear, or Ruth gleaning in the fields of Boaz, almost as well as I know Paul Brock, the cripple son of Hans Brock, the weaver, who was my earliest, and I was going to write, my dearest playmate; but then as I never had any other I can hardly tell.

Father, mother and my aunt Ursel were all seated round the wood fire, for though the day was fine, the air was chilly, and as my mother, who is far from being strong, seems to miss the bright skies and glorious sunshine of her early home among the vineyards and orange groves of Spain, we have fires in the sitting-room, I think, longer than most of our neighbours.

Aunt Ursel and I are great friends; she is always very kind to her little niece. Her presents were a large pot of choice tulips, just unfolding their bright red and yellow blossoms, and a large cream cheese of her own making, as her contribution to the birthday feast. When I had kissed and thanked her, she said, "I have brought news to-day, Mayken; there is to be a field-preaching to-morrow, and it is decided that you shall accompany us, as we think that you are old enough now to share our privileges, even if you share our dangers."

I did not understand what danger there could be in going anywhere when my father, Herr Mark Karlzon, who is just as brave as he is kind, was to be of the party.

When I was not more than five or six years old, Truyken taught me to knit, and I often wonder now at the patience with which she used to pick up my dropped stitches; but as, with all her kindness, she was very firm and would never allow me to begin a fresh piece of work till the one already in hand was completed, I had better finish the story of San Roman, who was, mother says, the first martyr of the Reformation in Spain, before I write about the field-preaching.

When I asked mother where they took him, and if she ever saw him again, she said there was not much more to tell. Placed upon an ass, because the tortures he had suffered during his imprisonment had rendered him unable to walk, surrounded by the Black Friars, and closely followed by a guard of the Pope's soldiers, he was taken to the place of burning. All this she was afterwards told by Annetta; the friars with their hard faces and ugly black cowls kept pressing him to recant, and promising that his life should be spared if he would only say he believed that by saying five Latin words over a piece of bread, a priest could change it into the real body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, who, the Bible says, "is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God." (1 Peter 3:22.) But he stood firm, and again refused to kiss a crucifix, which is an image of Christ on the cross, and he would not confess to a priest. As the crowd made way for him to pass many mocked at the yellow robe he wore, and called him hard, bitter names, but he did not seem to hear them; some who were near enough to see his face said that it was full of peace, and even joy, a smile played round his lips, and his eyes had a far-away look in them, as if he saw the light of the home he was so soon to enter. Indeed, some one told Annetta that San Roman looked more like a man going to his bridal than to a martyr's death. And yet the priests had said it was a sin even to pray for him!

They bound him to the stake, but as soon as the faggots were lighted his head sank upon his breast. The monks thought this was a sign that he was penitent and had him drawn out, but with a faint smile he said, "Did you envy me my happiness?" and they thrust him in again. He was not left to suffer long, for almost before the flames reached his body, he was suffocated by the smoke. And so for him there was no longer the mocking crowd, or the damp, dark dungeon.

But I must return to the field-preaching, and as the preaching was to be held in a wood at some distance from the town, we had to start early. Truyken did not at all approve of our going, which she said was like tempting providence by flying in the face of the king; and even if nothing worse came of it, we all should, she knew, catch our deaths of cold through sitting so long on the grass; she even wanted, as a protection from possible danger, to tie round my neck her most precious earthly possession, a relic which she believes to have been the tooth of some saint, enclosed in a small silver case, hardly larger than a sixpence; it had been highly prized by her mother and grandmother, and was looked upon as a kind of charm to keep sickness and trouble of all kinds at a distance; but as her grandmother was drowned, and her mother died of a fever, I cannot see that the relic did much good to any one.

Truyken said, when a slight shower of rain fell the day before that appointed for the preaching, that all through the night the clouds would pour down torrents, and the flooded state of the roads would prevent our reaching the place of meeting. But contrary to her expectations, the morning was fine and almost cloudless, with a light breeze and plenty of bright sunshine. We were ready to start in good time. My pony, Jock, neighed with pleasure as I stroked his mane and fed him with some bread I had saved from my own early breakfast. I rode by father's side; it has been my place ever since I was a child of not more than five years old, when he lifted me on to the back of a white donkey he had bought for me at the cattle fair, and taught me how to hold the reins. Mother and aunt Ursel followed on their mules.

When we were well out of the town I asked father what the danger Truyken had spoken of could possibly be, "for," I added, "she is never so afraid of our taking cold when we go for a pleasure party and lunch in the woods."

He looked grave as he answered: "Faithful old Truyken, though she still counts her beads, and says her prayers in Latin, a language of which she does not understand a single word; she is a good woman, loyal and true to those she serves, and she loves my Mayken almost as if she were her own child. Yes, little daughter, there is danger, and you in some measure by being with us to-day are a sharer in it; it is only fair that you should understand something of the risk to which we are all exposed. Still," he added, and his smile as he spoke, though grave, was very sweet and tender, "nothing can happen to one of the children of God except what He allows who maketh even 'the wrath of man' to praise Him.

"The King of Spain is at present Master of the Netherlands, through his sister, the Duchess Margaret, assisted by Counts Egmont and Horn, and is a stern, unyielding Roman Catholic. His will is that all his subjects should be Roman Catholics too. He has been heard to say that he would rather reign over a desert than over a nation of heretics. When one of his own nobles, who had been condemned to death for no ether crime than that of having a Bible in his house, ventured, on his way to the stake, to appeal to his majesty, the reply was, 'I would carry a faggot to the burning of my own son if he were such a wretch as thou.'

"But King Philip has not been alone in the work of rooting out heresy,' his most zealous and trusted helpers are the officers and soldiers of the Inquisition. Although only established in 1536 by Pope Paul III., acting on the advice of one of his cardinals, who succeeded him as Pope, it has worked with such right goodwill for what it calls the 'stamping out of heresy,' that numbers in every part of the king's dominions have been thrown into prison, or put to death by its orders.

But many, even in our own city of Antwerp, not fearing the wrath of the king, are hungering for the word of God, and though all the king's subjects are commanded to attend mass, there are many who, while they see the storm gathering, will, I believe, have faith and courage to obey God rather than man.

"But we are no longer alone, and it is not safe even to speak of these things in public. If you, my little Mayken, should ever see your father and mother led away to prison, do not attempt to follow us, but trust in God, and return as quickly as possible to Truyken; I know of no one who would risk more to protect my child."

Then father rode on to speak to some of our neighbours, who were, like ourselves, going to the preaching; and I followed him but slowly, for I felt as if a great weight was upon me. Father and mother taken to prison! Oh, it would be dreadful, and not even to be allowed to be with them. Of course, I would obey father, but I shall pray that if it be the will of God I may be spared this sorrow.

Chapter 3.

The Field-Preaching.

May 25th, 1565. The day of the first field-preaching I was allowed to attend is one I am not likely to forget, but perhaps I had better write down a few of the things that impressed me most while they are fresh in my memory.

After father, who was riding a little in advance of our party talking in low, earnest tones to our burgomaster, Von der Werf, who is, like himself, a cloth merchant of Leyden, had told me of King Philip's orders that all his subjects should attend mass, I seemed to understand what the danger Truyken had feared for us was in a way I had not done before. I felt as if I had suddenly come to a place where some great battle was being fought.

It is a real battle, too, between the law of the king and the will of God. I am sure it cannot be right to pray to pictures and images, and I remember now, that although Truyken is allowed to have her own way in most things in our household (more of it, Aunt Christiana says, than is good for her), there was just one thing in which both my parents stood firmly; and much as Truyken wished it, she was not allowed to teach me a single Latin "Paternoster," or "Ave Maria," so the first words of prayer I ever lisped were learnt from the lips of my own dear mother.

God, who is just as great as He is good, will, I feel sure, take care of those who really wish to please and obey Him. But perhaps He will not do it just in the way we should expect, or think best. He did not send His angels to take San Roman out of the hands of those who were leading him to a martyr's death, and yet I know He could have done so if He had pleased. But then, as father said the other day, when he and mother were reading a letter telling them of fresh sufferings inflicted upon their brethren and sisters in the faith in Spain and France, it was because the Lord had far better things in store for them than liberty, or even life upon a sin-stained earth could have been, that they were allowed to suffer and even to die for the Lord they loved. So "I will trust, and not be afraid."

We were quite early at the place where the preaching was to be held, so that I had time to look round before the service began, and I hardly know whether I was most surprised or delighted to see my old friend and playfellow, Paul Brock, lying upon his little bed, which had been carefully lifted into his father's cart; and though the long ride must have made the lame boy very tired, there was a flush of pleasure upon his pale face.

He greeted me warmly, saying, "Oh! Mayken, this is lovely. I was wondering if heaven itself could be much more beautiful. It seems like being in another world, just to hear the wild birds singing, and to see the flowers growing, making the grass look like a beautiful carpet; but the best of all will be that we are to hear in our own tongue the word of God read and explained.

"I begged very hard before father would consent to bring me; he said that as these field-preachings are forbidden by the king, and those who are found attending them run the risk of fines and imprisonment, he did not care to expose his cripple boy to danger. But I pleaded that being a cripple did not shut me out from being one of Christ's soldiers, and all real soldiers expect to go to war; that even if today our company should be routed by the Pope's soldiers, it would only be a common danger, and I should share it with those I loved best on earth."

I hardly knew how to reply to my little friend; but as I saw his eyes rested with a gaze of wistful longing on some large white daisies growing near the hedge, I ran and gathered them for him. Soon after mother called me, and bade me sit beside her, so I did not get another opportunity to speak to Paul that day.

The people now began to arrive in great numbers. Every one looked grave, and took their places in silence, while an outer circle of men, many of whom wore swords, and among whom was my father, burgomaster Herr Von der Werf, and several of our neighbours, seemed to be keeping a kind of guard over the whole party. Armed men stood like sentinels at the end of every woodland path leading to the open space where the company, which now numbered several thousands, had assembled. I noticed, too, that the horses and mules were not turned loose to graze as is usual when we go into the country, but fastened in such a way that at a moment's notice their riders could be in the saddle. The women and children were for safety seated in the middle, near the preacher, the men stood or sat in groups beyond, or took turns in relieving those who formed the outer circle.

Sellers of portions of scripture, hymnbooks, and some Martin Luther's writings translated into Dutch, moved silently about offering their books for sale. They had no need to press for customers, for every one seemed eager to buy, and yet all these books are forbidden by the Pope. To possess even one was in the eyes of the Inquisition a crime worthy of death.

The preachers for the day were Francis Junnis and Peregrune de la Grange. Both belonged to noble French families, and had already suffered much for their attachment to the reformed faith. A great silence fell upon that vast congregation as Pastor Junnis mounted a wooden stand or reading desk that had been prepared in order that he might be better seen and heard by the people, and began to read in a clear, distinct voice one of the psalms.

He had not read more than two or three verses, when the cry, "The soldiers are upon us," was raised. The women drew closer together, but did not speak or scream, while the men mounted their horses and grasped their arms. But the alarm was a false one, and in a few minutes all was quiet again, and the preacher went on as calmly as if nothing had happened.

The singing made me feel as if I must cry. It was so solemn, and yet so beautiful. It seemed as if one heart and one voice was telling out a great need, and asking a great help from God.

The last note of the hymn died away, and for a moment the only sounds heard were the murmur of the brook, or the restless pawing of some horse; then one voice was speaking, and though at first its tones were low, it grew louder as the speaker prayed not only for the great company before him, but for brethren and sisters in the faith who, he knew only too well, were even on that bright spring day pining their lives away in dark, gloomy prisons; some might, perhaps at that very moment, be undergoing the torture of the rack, or even being led to the stake.

A portion of scripture read by another pastor followed the prayer, and then the sermon began. The preacher did not try to hide the danger we all stood in. He even said that some who heard his voice might be called upon to lay down their lives for Christ's sake. But it was, he also said, far better to suffer for their Lord than to deny Him, and he told us of four martyrs who only a week before had been burnt at Lisle, by order of the Inquisition.

One, who was only a youth, had to suffer what must have been a sharper trial even than flames. As he and his three companions were being led to the stake, his aged father pressed through the crowd, and falling upon his son's neck, sobbed out: "My dear child, are you going to die thus?" The young man answered in a calm and cheerful voice, "It is a small matter, my father, for now I am hasting to live for ever." But as the poor old man still wept, and clung to his son, the youth's firmness gave way, and he wept too; then turning to the priests who were urging him to recant, he said, "Oh! ye priests and friars, if we could have been prevailed upon to go to your mass, we had not been here now. But Christ Jesus has not instituted any such sacrifice." The soldiers forced the father away, and the four martyrs were led to the place of burning. As the fire was lighted, they sang with one voice, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" and again, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace." And then absent from the body, they were present with the Lord.

The preacher went on to tell us how God does not promise to keep His children from trouble, but to give them strength according to their day. His word does not say, "You shall not go to prison," but "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." He may allow some to die as martyrs, but His word is, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."

But the preacher's voice rose as he went on, and his faithful words of warning were followed by what seemed almost like a ringing trumpet call. He urged his listeners to prize their Bibles as their greatest treasure, and bade them be willing, if needs be, to suffer the loss of all things rather than give them up. He said too, that he believed that as surely as God raised up Moses to deliver His people Israel from the bondage and brick-kilns of Egypt, so surely would He in His own time and way raise up one who would deliver poor, down-trodden Holland from the yoke of Spain.

As we rode homewards after the preaching, my father and Herr Von der Werf were talking very earnestly together, and though I could not understand all they said, I made out enough to he sure that they and many others are thinking of the Prince of Orange as the one by whom God will yet save our country. They say he is a good man, and strongly attached to the reformed faith. His soldiers love and trust him greatly, though he is a man of so few words that he is known through the ranks as "William the Silent."

Chapter 4.

Julianillo Heramdez, Muleteer and Martyr.

July 1st, 1565. Sunday evening, when we are alone and mother feels strong enough to sing hymns with me, or tell me stories of her own girlhood in sunny Spain, is always a pleasant, restful time; but the last two have been, I think, more than usually happy. Father left home quite early in the afternoon to carry food and a few needed comforts to one of our brethren in the faith, who succeeded only last week in escaping from France (where a good deal of persecution is going on) with his wife and one of their three children, a girl about two years of age.

Father says that though M. D'Ampter is a man of great learning and piety the disguise in which he passed the frontier was that of a bricklayer's labourer; he carried a bag of tools and was supposed to be looking for work. His wife, who is related to some of the best families in Provence, was dressed like a peasant woman going to market. The risk of travelling together would have been too great, but by taking different roads, husband and wife under cover of darkness reached the port in safety, and getting on board the same vessel were soon out to sea.

We have been able to sit out-of-doors a good deal lately. An old rustic seat under the shade of the linden trees is a spot where some of my happiest hours have been spent. We were sitting there, mother and I, only a few evenings ago; I was not sure she really intended telling me a story, for she seemed at first as if her thoughts were far away, and she hardly cared to talk much. But after a little while she roused herself, and said, very softly, "I hardly know what it is, Mayken, it may be the glow of the setting sun, or the scent of the limes, but I seem almost as if I was again in my old home at Valladolid, and I can recall the faces, and fancy I hear the voices of some early friends who went years ago to join the noble army of martyrs.'" I nestled closer to her, and begged for a story.

There was a secret in our family, Mayken, a secret which, although quite a number of persons were allowed to share it, was long and faithfully kept. My grandmother's house at Valladolid was for some years the meeting-place of the Reformed Church in that city. Great care and secrecy had to be used, so as to escape, as long as possible, the notice of the terrible Inquisition. Those who were of our little company always came singly, and by different roads, the same care being taken when the hour of departure arrived, and yet the danger was braved again and again, and persons of all ranks found their way to these secret meetings. As we children grew up and were thought old enough to be trusted, we were, one by one, taken into confidence, and always looked upon it as a great treat to be allowed to be present. We usually paid great attention when the word of God was being read or explained; it was all so new and fresh to us, to hear in our own Spanish the wonderful story of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Sometimes a pastor was present and preached, while at others, one of the company would read part of some book or tract written by Martin Luther, the German monk who had dared to make such a bold stand against the sale of indulgences, and had made the Pope so angry by telling people that it is only God who can forgive sins.

I often wondered how it was that so many new books reached our house, and when I asked my mother, she replied, 'Little Julian, the dwarf muleteer, is again on his way across the mountains, and we pray that by the good hand of God he may reach us in safety. His service is one of no common danger, and we count him worthy of all honour. But wait, and you will know.'

"It was, I think, during our very next meeting that Liza, a faithful old servant, came in a somewhat hurried manner to tell my mother that little Julian had just arrived from Granada, bringing a pack much larger than usual, which he said contained jewels of such value that he would not allow even her to open it, but bade her tell her mistress of his arrival, as he could trust them to no hands but hers.

"No one appeared to mind the interruption, and my mother left the room, returning a few minutes later, followed by the smallest man I had ever seen, who seemed to stagger under the weight of a pack larger than himself. He was a peasant, I saw that at a glance from his dress and bearing; but high-born Spanish nobles went forward to relieve him of his load, while others grasped his hand, called him 'brother,' and told him how they had been praying for his safe return.

"For a moment the little man seemed confused, but quickly recovered himself, and said, simply and humbly, You make too much of my poor services. It is true that there are dangers and hardships in my work, but it has its bright spots as well. Judge of my joy not long ago, in calling with my wares at a convent, where I had heard that the prior wished for a Spanish New Testament, to find not one only, but six monks all eager to receive the truth. But my faith is far from strong, more than once I have hidden in some hole or cave among the hills, and the soldiers of the Inquisition, who were sent out to arrest all heretics, and burn all forbidden books, have been so near that I could not help overhearing their conversation; on one occasion they galloped over the hole in which I lay trembling, and thinking every moment that I should be discovered, and either killed on the spot or dragged away as their prisoner, it did not seem easy to trust quietly in God. Do not speak of my faith, for it is poor and weak, and I pray daily that when the hour of trial comes it may not fail me altogether. It is the goodness of God, who still takes care of me, and often gives me the joy of knowing that He hides me under the shadow of His wing.'

"By the time that Julianillo had done speaking, willing hands had unstrapped his pack, and its contents lay in disorder on the floor. Very carefully his pieces of silk and rolls of velvet were lifted, and when a slight rustling sound betrayed the presence of a few sheets of paper, great was the joy of the finder. There was more than one Spanish New Testament, though for greater safety the precious volume had been unstitched and a few concealed in each roll. There were also Spanish translations of some of Luther's writings, which were greatly valued, and some portions of which I afterwards heard read and explained.

"The meeting closed with prayer, and then little Julian, as he was often called, was asked to give some account of his journey, and the openings he had found for circulating the scriptures.

"I cannot remember all he said, but I know we all listened with interest and attention. The journey across the mountains had been one of more than usual danger and difficulty, owing partly to the bad state of the roads, the larger stock of books he carried, and partly to the fact that parties of soldiers, having received fresh orders to seize all forbidden books, and arrest all suspected persons, were scouring the country in every direction.

"And yet on more than one occasion, when some slippery place in the passes had proved too much even for his sure-footed, patient mules, and he had been compelled to struggle onward, bearing part of their burden, a kindly soldier had helped him, and for some distance carried the very books he was commanded to seize.

"On reaching the next town, as he passed through its main street with his usual cry, 'Come, buy my silks, come, buy my laces, come, gentle ladies, buy,' he was stopped by a stranger, who bade him go to a convent at a short distance from the town, as he had heard that its prior was in want of some rich Genoa velvet for church furniture. At first he did not feel sure that he ought to go. It might be only a plan to get him into the power of the priests.; every convent had its dungeons, and he might never again be allowed to breathe the pure mountain air he loved so well, or to bask in the golden sunlight; or it might be that God had opened a door, and he ought to enter. He would trust, and not be afraid, and so he went.

"A somewhat sullen-looking porter unbarred the gate and bade a lay brother take him to the apartments of the prior, who, as soon as they were alone, locked the door and asked Julian if his packs did not contain copies of the scriptures and the forbidden writings of Martin Luther. ' I,' said the prior, have heard of you and your work, and for many days one whom I can trust has been on the watch for your coming. I do not want your velvets, though I shall buy, to prevent your real errand being suspected, but I and several of my monks have been reading the Testament, and we cannot find anything is written about prayers to the Virgin Mary, or the worship of relics and pictures, and we want to know more.'

"'Great was his joy and mine,' said Julian, 'when he received a copy of Luther's Notes on the Epistle to the Galatians.' 'But,' he added, 'the porter must not suspect your real errand. I would gladly retain you as my guest, and talk far into the night of the truth I have learned of late to love, but you must go to supper with him, it will disarm suspicion.'

"Brave little Julianillo; he was allowed to make several more journeys, each time bringing a fresh supply of books, and then his name was added to the list of those who had joyfully laid down their lives for Christ's sake. When led to the stake, he spoke bright words of faith and courage to his fellow-martyrs, and continued to bear a bright testimony for his Lord and Master until silenced by the gag."

Chapter 5.

Images and Image-Makers.

September 17th, 1565. I cannot understand why the Bible should be a forbidden book, or why people who wish to read it for themselves should be punished with fines, imprisonment, or even burnt at the stake, as San Roman was only twenty-two years ago.

When I asked father, he answered with his sad but very sweet smile, "Your question, little Mayken, is one that wiser heads than yours or mine have ached over in trying to answer." Now my father is very wise, at least, I think so, so if he cannot tell I do not expect it would be of much use to ask any one else, only I really do want to know, for I do not see why God should have such a wonderful book written if it was not intended to be read.

But there are houses in Holland, even in our own city of Antwerp, in which the forbidden book is safely hidden, and ours is one of them. I am glad there is a secret book in our family, just as there was in mother's when she was a little girl, though our secret, like hers, is shared by quite a number of people. I knew the precious volume was hidden, and only brought out after the lamps were lighted, and the window shutters closed and fastened with a stout wooden bar, but it was a long time before I discovered its hiding-place.

I think it is quite two years ago, I had been playing in mother's room, when my ball rolled behind a large oaken press; I tried to reach it, and in doing so suppose I must have touched a spring, for a sliding panel flew back, and much to my surprise I saw a small, dark cupboard; I could not see into its depths, but when I put my hand in a little way, I touched a book. I was pleased, yet half afraid that mother might not like what I had done; so I went at once and told her just how it all happened, but she only smiled and said, "We always intended that some day our little daughter should share our secret, but now she has found it out for herself and we are not afraid to trust her."

And after that the book was oftener brought out and read, and sometimes neighbours would come in, and say that they too were longing to hear the beautiful Bible words; but as they could not afford to buy even a copy of the New Testament for themselves, they would ask father to read to them. So, though still hidden, our treasure was shared with many.

I love to listen when father reads, even though I cannot always understand it all, but then dear mother is willing to go over the chapter again with me, and explain what I find difficult. We had such a lovely time together last Sunday evening. I must try to write down as much of what mother told me as I can remember. Father had been reading the nineteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, which gives an account of how, when Paul preached at Ephesus, a silversmith named Demetrius made a great uproar by calling his fellow-workmen together, and telling them that their craft was in danger, and their goddess Diana would be despised. So they were very angry, and all cried together, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians."

I asked mother to tell me about Diana, as I thought her name was something like one of Truyken's favourite saints, about whom she sometimes tells me wonderful stories: But mother said that the old Greeks and Romans, who did not know the true God, had a great number of false gods and goddesses, one of whom was Diana. Her temple was very beautiful, much more beautiful than the church Truyken attends, and I think that must be a lovely place, for she has told me so often about its grand pictures, and statues of marble as white as snow. But the temple of Diana was called one of the wonders of the world. And amid all that was pleasing to the eye, the supposed image of Diana was nothing but an ugly, shapeless, black stone, which the priests told the people had fallen from Jupiter.

The "craft" of the silversmiths was the way in which they got their living, by making small silver images and altars, which they sold to the people who came in crowds to worship at the temple.

And then mother told me the story of another silversmith who laid down his life rather than deny his Lord. The martyr-death of San Roman had not at all the effect the priest and officers of the Inquisition expected or intended it should have. It seemed more like a match applied to a ready-laid fire for many who had learnt from him to love the truth, but had been afraid to let it be known even by their dearest friends, seemed to grow stronger, and braver, and were often found at the secret meeting for Bible-reading and prayer held in the house of her grandmother. Among these was the silversmith, Juan Garcia. His chief trade at that time lay in making images of the Virgin Mary, silver candlesticks, vases for holy water (so-called) and such things, and as he was a workman of no common skill, he often received orders from rich noblemen, and was sometimes employed in helping to decorate the churches. But by some means he had heard or read from Luther's translation of the Bible the words, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God." (Ex. 20:4, 5.)

Do what he would, the words seemed to follow him. The work on which he was engaged sometimes fell unheeded from his hands, while he tried to find an answer to the question, If the Jews, who were God's earthly people, were so plainly told not to make or worship images, could it be right for Christians to do so?

He prayed for light, and as the days went by he saw more clearly that his work was a dishonour to God, and by going on with it he was helping others to dishonour the God of the Bible. But great difficulties were in the way of his giving it up. His skill had brought him into notice, and he often received orders from persons of rank who were not only able, but willing, to pay large sums of money for images to adorn their private chapels, or as presents to convents and churches.

He knew no other trade by which to earn a living for himself and his family, and, worse still, to refuse such orders would be to own that he was no longer at heart a Romanist, and this once suspected, he might at any moment be arrested and thrown into prison, or even sentenced to death as an obstinate heretic.

He dared not even tell his wife anything of the anxious time he was passing through; she could not, he felt, understand his feelings, for she was a devout Roman Catholic, completely under the influence of the priests, whom she thought it right to obey in all things. One thing puzzled her a good deal. Juan frequently went out in the evening, and was absent for hours, but did not tell her where he went.

She noticed also his want of interest in his work of making images, and that he was no longer in any hurry to complete his orders. She told both to the priests, who perhaps before had their suspicions aroused; and they told her that by following her husband the next time that he left home, finding out where he went, and who were his companions, she would render a great service to the church, and so make herself pleasing to God.

She had not long to wait for her opportunity. The secret character of the meetings prevented their being held at any stated time, and Juan Garcia was always willing to be the bearer of the day and hour of the next gathering to his brethren and sisters in the faith.

The shop was closed, and with a kindly word of farewell to his wife, Juan went out. Hastily putting on her hood and mantle, his wife followed, taking care, however, to keep well within the shadows cast by the high stone houses; she dogged his footsteps through the principal street of Valladolid, taking special note of the houses which for a few moments he entered, the last being the one used as a place of gathering for the Protestant Christians of the neighbourhood.

Her husband's secret had become hers at last, base and unworthy as the way was in which it had been obtained, and she lost no time in reporting it to the priests. No further evidence was asked or needed. Juan and many of his friends were arrested and thrown into prison. The officers of the Inquisition usually visited the houses of those suspected of heresy as near midnight as possible, and before the sun rose the one against whom the charge was brought was a prisoner in the dark, damp dungeons of the inquisition.

Little more can be told of Juan Garcia, but it is believed that he witnessed a good confession, and died in prison, but whether from the effects of torture, or from the poisoned air of his cell was never fully known. A pension for life was allowed to his widow, "as a reward for the great service she had done the church," so the priests said; but I think she behaved very badly, and I am sure she could not have been very happy when she remembered how cruel and cowardly her conduct had been.

About the time of Juan's arrest the Christians meeting, like those of Valladolid, in the house of a rich widow of Seville passed through a time of great danger. Maria Gomaz, a widow, who had for some time been one of them, suddenly became insane, and had to be placed for care in the house of a doctor. She seemed to take a violent dislike to those she had before loved, and finding some means of escape from the house of the doctor, went at once to the Inquisitor-General, and gave him the names of about three hundred persons who attended the secret meetings. But the good hand of God was over the poor, frightened sheep. The doctor was a secret friend of the Protestants, and was able to persuade the Inquisitors that the lady was out of her mind, and no weight should be attached to her statements. So nothing came of it, but a warning was given to the doctor to take greater care of his patient.

Chapter 6.

One Stormy Night.

December 10th, 1565. We had an unlooked-for pleasure last evening: Dr. Louis Jean, who, like many other French Protestants, sought refuge in Holland from a terrible persecution then going on under the Duke of Alva, joined our party. My little friend Paul Brock and his father were also present. It was a very happy evening, for the doctor told us such an interesting story of the flight for life and liberty of an English lady and gentleman, that I will try to write it down; for if the duke, who is said to be a stern and hard-hearted man, brings his army to Holland, as many think he will, and we too are obliged to leave home and friends, it will encourage us to be reminded of how really God cares for and helps those who trust in Him.

One wild, stormy night, early in the year 1555, a man and woman carrying a young child might have been seen walking with slow and weary steps along the road leading to Wesel, a German town on the banks of the Rhine. The travellers were drenched with rain, and almost covered with mud, for they had already walked upwards of five miles, and at every few steps the lady seemed ready to faint from fatigue for in spite of her draggled and forlorn condition she was one who, until a few weeks before the story begins, would never have thought of going, except in a carriage, outside her own grounds. Still they kept bravely on, feeling sure of finding food and shelter as soon as they reached the town. But though they presented themselves at the doors of more than one inn, the landlords, fearing that they might get into trouble by receiving guests who, it was easy to see, were gentlefolk, and were travelling without luggage, servants or carriage, refused to take them in; while to make matters still worse, they could not speak a word of German, and could not find any one who understood either English, French, Italian or Latin, in any of which languages Richard Bertie, for that was the name of the gentleman, was able to converse.

The rain began to fall in torrents, and the wind howled in wild and angry gusts. He must find shelter for his wife and child. Seeing a large stone porch at the entrance to one of the churches, he left them there, while he went to try to buy a little food. But the shops were closed, and though there were lights in many of the houses, no one seemed willing to open their door to a stranger whose language they did not understand. He was on the point of giving up in despair, when two schoolboys passed, one reciting a portion of Latin grammar (perhaps his morrow's lesson) to his companion. Mr. Bertie spoke to them in that language, and to his great delight found that he was understood. There were, he knew, several earnest Christians, who had fled from other countries to escape persecution, living in or near Wesel. The boys were quite willing, for a small reward, to guide him to the house of one of these, and returning as quickly as possible to the church porch where he had left his wife and child, they set out again, this time in better spirits. The house they were most anxious to find was that of the pastor of the Reformed Church, whose name was Perusel, but the boys, not knowing where he lived, offered to take them to a house where he was, they said, well known.

It was by no chance, but the guiding hand of God, that Perusel was, on that very night, a visitor in the house to which they were taken; and though at first he did not know who the wet and weary wanderers were, his surprise was very great when he recognised in the lady one whom, in the days when he lived in England, he had known as Lady Catherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk, the dear friend of Queen Catherine Parr, and the martyred Bishop Latimer.

We may form some idea of how welcome rest, warmth and food were to the tired travellers. Better still it must have seemed to them to be with friends who understood that it was for the name and sake of the Saviour they loved that they were on that stormy night homeless wanderers.

They had fled from England for the truth's sake and also to escape from the revenge of Bishop Gardiner, a man who, though he stood high in favour of Queen Mary, never forgave a real or fancied injury, and whom the Duchess had, when quite a girl, offended by some thoughtless speech, and so made him her bitter enemy.

Her mother had been one of the Spanish ladies who came to England with Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII. This lady was greatly attached to the unfortunate queen and named her little daughter after her royal mistress. Her two brothers died early, so that Catherine became, when little more than a child, a wealthy heiress. The death of her brothers was quickly followed by that of her father, and she became the ward of the king, who appointed the Duke of Suffolk as her guardian, on the understanding that she was to be married to his son. Catherine was then ten years of age, and the next five years of her life were happy ones, for she found a true friend in his gentle wife, the princess Mary, sister to Henry VIII., who had her educated with her own daughters, the Ladies Frances and Eleanor Brandon (Lady Frances was in after years the mother of Lady Jane Grey); but this amiable lady died in 1533, and the young duke, who was to have been Catherine's husband, died the next year.

The duke saw that the only way to keep Catherine's large fortune was to marry her himself, and so the girl of fifteen was married to a man of fifty. The duke, however, proved a kind and indulgent husband, but lived mostly at court. For some years Catherine's cup of happiness seemed full. She had youth, wealth, rank (in those days there were only two dukes in the United Kingdom, and she was the wife of one of them), she was clever and accomplished, and her merry temper and pleasant manners made her a general favourite. Her husband loved and trusted her, and she had two sons, boys of rare promise and beauty.

But God, who had thoughts of peace and blessing for Catherine, was about to lead her, in His own way, to seek and value "eternal things." We do not know who was used to open her eyes, or to lead her out of the darkness of popery into the light of Bible truth, but it may have been the aged Bishop Latimer, for whom, she had almost the affection of a daughter. Suffolk died in 1545, and Catherine, a rich widow, became again the ward of the king, who, as he did not insist upon her marrying one of his favourites, but allowed her to live quietly at her own beautiful castle of Grimsthorpe, in Lincolnshire, we may suppose really wished to be kind to her. For the few years that followed she devoted herself to the education of her sons, while her tenants and servants found in her a kind mistress and a true friend.

King Henry died in 1547, and his son, Edward VI., came to the throne. Those who had been taught by the Holy Spirit to love and value the word of God, rejoiced on hearing that it was the wish of the young king that a copy of the Bible should be placed in every church throughout his kingdom. The duchess was well known as one who had taken a stand for the truth she prized far above her earthly riches. She sent her elder son, who was then about thirteen years old, to Court, under the care of a learned and pious man, as a companion to the king, and her younger to St. John's College, Cambridge.

But soon that loving mother was called to drink of the cup of sorrow, for during an outbreak of what was then known as the "sweating sickness," both her sons died within a few hours of each other.

Early in the reign of Queen Mary, the duchess gave her great offence by marrying Richard Bertie, a christian gentleman, who for some years had been her faithful friend and adviser. Bishop Gardiner thought the opportunity of getting her into trouble much too good to be lost, and both her husband and herself were in such real danger that they were obliged to fly from England. They could not, however, escape together, and the poor lady had more than one narrow escape from the officers sent by Gardiner to take her as the queen's prisoner to London. At last, to the great joy of both, they met, but new trials awaited them. On the way to Wesel they were waylaid by robbers, who took from them nearly all they possessed. They must have been very glad to rest for a little while at Wesel, where they found christian friends and received much kindness, but it was not for long, for being warned by a friend that Gardiner had discovered the place of their retreat, and issued orders for their arrest, they fled into Poland where for a time they endured great hardships, sometimes being without food or fire. But God, in whom they trusted, did not forsake them, and brighter days were in store for Catherine, her husband and children, for Queen Mary died in November, 1558, and in July of the following year the exiles felt it would be safe to return to England. They were kindly received by Elizabeth, and the property of the duchess restored to her; her son born abroad was made an English subject, so that on the death of his mother he might inherit her estates; and, better still, the son of parents who had suffered for the sake of Christ grew up a man who loved and feared God, and enjoyed the confidence of the queen.

Chapter 7.

How They Kept the Faith in Holland.

May 1st, 1566. It is just a year since I began to write down some of the things I most wanted to remember, and now so much is happening in Holland and even in our own city of Antwerp, that I am not sure that I shall have room for any more of dear mother's stories of sunny Spain.

I am sure the home of her girlhood must have been a happy one, for when she tells me of the old garden in which she and her sisters used to play, her voice is always low and tender, and once or twice I have seen tears in her eyes; and yet she was glad to quit the land of her birth. She has often told me how, on the night of her escape, with father leading her mule, in the silence and darkness of night, they crossed the frontier, leaving Spain by a narrow and dangerous mountain-pass, neither daring to speak even a whispered word to the other. For a band of the Pope's soldiers, who had been sent to guard that very pass, were so near that they could hear their voices, but as they were playing cards, and were too much absorbed in their game to notice the almost noiseless tread of the mule, by the good hand of God my father and mother got through safely.

I am thirteen now, so I understand better than I did a year ago why my father looks so grave at times, and why the voices of many of our friends often sound so full of trouble. The outlook is certainly not a bright one. King Philip is more determined than ever to burn all the heretics in his dominions, though the people he calls heretics are only those who wish to read the Bible and obey its teachings.

We hear, too, that some of his subjects have grown restless and impatient, and think of taking up arms against the king, but our good burgomaster Van der Werf, my father, and a few others are doing all they can to persuade them to trust in God and wait patiently; so I hope and pray that they may see that such advice is wise and good, and be content to follow it.

All the time father can spare from his business correspondence, which takes up the greater part of each working day, has been devoted lately to writing letters of cheer or sympathy to friends far and near who are suffering, or may at any moment be called upon to suffer, for the truth, or seeing people who come to him for advice or help, so that he is very seldom able to take me for a walk; but yesterday was a public holiday, owing to the opening of a new bridge across the Scheldt, and I went with him to see the procession. It was a pretty sight. Our burgomaster and counsellors looked quite grand in their robes of office. The city guilds carried large, gaily-painted banners, as well as symbols of their various trades or industries.

Colours were flying from the windows and roofs of many of the houses, a band of musicians played lively national airs, friends and neighbours were greeting each other, and yet I could not help noticing that almost every face wore a troubled or anxious look. I felt I must ask father to tell me why there should be so much sadness, and I had not long to wait for an opportunity, for as we were returning home by the quay we saw some fine ships in full sailing making for our harbour.

Father stood silently gazing at them for a few moments, then, turning to me, said sadly, "Those ships are sailing the wrong way, Mayken."

"The wrong way, father!" I exclaimed in surprise, "What can you mean?"

"They are laden with Flemish silks and woollen cloths, the work of Dutch weavers, who sought refuge in England from the persecution that has been going on ever since the Inquisition came to Holland.

"Ten years ago they would have sailed from Dutch sea-ports, many of them from Antwerp, so bringing trade and wealth to our shores; now they sail from English ports; and I believe the blessing of the Lord will rest upon the country that gave them a welcome and a home. The towns of Sandwich and Norwich, where so many of our countrymen have settled, are, I hear from frequent letters, prosperous and peaceful. Our brethren have not only been encouraged to set up their looms, but some are employed in teaching English workmen the art of our woollen manufacture. Many of my best workmen have already left me, others are, I know, more or less secretly, preparing to follow. I cannot forbid their doing so, I would not if I could, and yet their leaving will render me unable to fulfil my contracts; and the factory, in which only a few years ago so many weavers were earning good wages, will have to be closed from want of hands to work its looms."

"Is the Bible a forbidden book in England? I asked half timidly, for I felt at that moment as if a great tide of hope and joy that I could not put into words was sweeping over me.

"No, Makyen," he replied. "Our brethren not only read it in broad daylight, 'none daring to make them afraid,' but are allowed to meet together to worship God in the way in which they believe the Bible teaches; they also openly instruct their children in the scriptures and the doctrines of the reformed faith. While the laws that have been framed to prevent any of the inhabitants of the Netherlands from leaving the country are very severe, punishing with fines and imprisonment any who are found attempting to leave the country, the captains of ships and masters of sailing vessels being also forbidden to allow them to take passage, it is a cause of constant surprise and rejoicing that so many of our brethren and sisters in the faith have been thus far preserved and watched over. God has prospered them, and more than once they have sent money to be distributed among families that have been plunged into poverty and distress by the husband and father having been found guilty of possessing a New Testament, or of teaching his children other than Latin prayers, and been thrown into one of King Philip's prisons."

"Why then, father, cannot we escape to England?" I found courage to say. "You and I and mother, and Paul and his father, and Truyken, good, faithful Truyken! We could not leave her behind, for though she calls herself a Catholic, and says what was good enough for her mother and grandmother and great-grandmother is good enough for her, I am sure she loves God, and one day when mother was speaking to her of the Saviour's sufferings, I saw tears running down her face, and after, as she went about her work, I heard her say, as if talking to herself, 'For me, for me! Oh, if it was really for me, how wonderful! But it is almost too good to be true.' Besides, it would almost break her heart if we were to leave her. Oh, do please take Truyken."

Father drew me a little way from the quay, and after looking round to be sure that we were alone, said: "Your question, Mayken, is one that I have often asked myself, and even talked over with your mother. Why do not I with those near and dear to me seek, as so many of my countrymen have done, for some way of escape from the despotic rule of the King of Spain? For many weeks and even months I was uncertain what I ought to do; I took my difficulty to God in prayer, asking for light and guidance. At last, I believe I saw clearly that while there seemed some good reasons for going, by remaining I should be doing the will of God.

"You know that your Aunt Ursel and myself visit the prisons whenever we are allowed to do so. Among those undergoing punishment for various offences are several who have been arrested on suspicion of leaning toward the reformed faith, or on the charge of having absented themselves from the mass; but as no orders have been received concerning them they are still awaiting trial. At any moment they may be removed to the dungeons of the Inquisition, or even led forth to die as martyrs; but while they remain in the common prison, we are able now and then to visit them, speak words of encouragement, and do what we can, by supplying them with food and clothing, to make their situation a little more comfortable. And what a joy it will be if one day the Lord should say of such little service, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.' (Matt. 25:40.)

"Then, too, if I quit my post, the factory must close at once, and some of my workmen, who for family reasons cannot leave the country, would be plunged into the deepest distress. Peter von Roph has not only a sick wife, but is the sole support of his aged and almost blind mother. Trade is so bad, not only in Antwerp, but all over Holland, that it would, I am afraid, be difficult for them to find employment elsewhere. So for their sakes I am willing to remain, and if needs be 'endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.' (2 Tim. 2:3.)

"I will give you just one more reason why I should remain where I am. I, with many others, believe that God is about to raise up a leader who will deliver the Netherlands from the yoke of Spain. It may, and perhaps will, be William, Prince of Orange. Many who would have stood by him in the coming struggle for truth and freedom have already left the country, and he must not find, when he comes, that all have gone. No, my Mayken, we will 'be still,' and quietly trust in God."

Chapter 8.

"William the Silent."

January 1st, 1567. New Year's Day again, and though I think we are all trying to look cheerful and give each other good wishes, it is easy to see that no one is really happy, or at rest; the very air seems full of trouble. Trade is almost at a standstill. Father says he cannot fulfil the large orders he has received for woollen goods, as nearly all his best workmen have left the country.

Only this morning, when Truyken went as usual to the baker's, she found the shutters had not been taken down; it was still early, so thinking he might have overslept himself, she knocked loudly, but got no answer.

After some time a neighbour looked out of the window of a house on the opposite side of the street, and said, "You may knock till you are tired, for the house is empty, the whole family sailed last night for England." We knew them to be of our faith, and father prayed very earnestly that the good hand of God might be over them, keeping and guarding them from all the dangers of the way. Mother says we must bake our own bread. Well, I think I shall rather like that. I only hope the miller will not go to England just now.

So many things have happened in our city of Antwerp lately, that I hardly know how or where to begin telling the story of the sorrowful times in which we are living.

It was a wild, stormy afternoon late in October, when we noticed that quite suddenly our quiet street was filled with crowds of people, all going in one direction. Father went to the door, and after exchanging a few words with a neighbour, came in and began to put on his cloak and hat. "What is the matter, Mark?" my mother asked; "is there a fire?" "There will be one to-morrow, dear wife," he said, as he kissed her tenderly; "that is, if the deed of darkness is not done before the morning, for King Philip advises that instead of being publicly burnt at the stake, heretics should be drowned or strangled secretly in their prisons; but our brother Christopher Fabricius, who has been for some months in prison, is to die a martyr's death to-morrow, and our brethren are on their way to the prison in the hope of being able to encourage him by singing psalms and repeating passages of scripture. If he is not gagged they may even hear his voice through the barred windows of his cell."

"But must you go, Mark?" mother pleaded. "See, there are so many; your voice will not be missed; cannot you stay with us?"

For a moment father stood as if not quite sure whether he should go or stay, then said very gently, "There will not be one too many, Constanza, and would you wish the Saviour to say to me, 'in prison, and ye came not unto me'?"

Mother understood him and said no more, but I saw tears were in her eyes. That evening seemed a very long one. People were still passing our house, many of them carrying lanterns, for the night was dark and starless. We did not talk much, but I am sure we both prayed that God would bless and keep my dear father. Then the bible was brought from its hiding-place and mother read me such a beautiful story of how, long ago, God sent an angel to deliver the apostle Peter from prison (Acts 12), and mother said that even if God saw it best to allow Fabricius to be burnt at the stake, to be with Christ in heaven would be better than even to walk a free man through the streets of Antwerp. So we were comforted for him, but when our usual time for saying "Good- night" came, mother said she could not possibly go to bed, but would sit up and wait for father.

So I begged that I might share her watch, and though I believe that after a time I fell asleep, my head resting on her knee, I hope I was of some little use, as mother said afterwards she would have felt more lonely if I had not been with her.

I think it must have been morning when father came back. He looked pale and tired, but said that though there were great crowds outside the prison, all were quiet and orderly, and there was no disturbance, and no fresh arrests were made. The burning was, he told us, to take place the next morning, and many who lived at a distance had not attempted to go to their homes, while fresh crowds kept pouring in. Father also told us that many believe that the friends of the reformed faith are strong enough in Antwerp to take Fabricius out of the hands of the soldiers, but he does not think the attempt would be a wise one, and he is sure the martyr himself does not wish it.

Father could not stay with us long, though mother and I tried our utmost to coax him to take rest and food; he ate a few mouthfuls, just to please us, and then was off again. On his return, some hours later, he told us that even before daybreak crowds gathered in the market-place. The peasant-women, who always came early, bringing eggs, butter, fruit and many other things, were turned back with their loads, as there was to be no market that day. A space had been cleared in the middle of the square, to which some men were silently carrying faggots, while a few mounted soldiers were on guard. The silence was almost painful. No one spoke, but all faces were turned towards the street leading to the prison. Soon the soldiers came and formed a passage for the monks who walked with the prisoner.

As they passed near father, Fabricius said in a calm, clear voice, "My brethren, let none of you attempt to release me; but suffer God to accomplish His work in me." A deeper hush came over the crowd, and for a few moments all was still; then with one heart and voice they sang the psalm,

"Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord."

As the place of burning was reached, the voice of the martyr was again heard as he begged the people not to forget the truth he had taught them. Many voices spoke words of cheer, and one bolder than the rest cried out loudly, "Fight manfully, my brother, be thou faithful unto death." The priests were very angry and ordered the officer in command of the troops to arrest the speaker, but the crowd opened right and left and made a way for him to pass, and he was soon lost to sight. When the stake was reached, the martyr knelt down and would have prayed aloud, but the monks would not allow him to do so, and he was at once chained to the stake. Again the crowd tried to sing a psalm, but the soldiers tried to silence them with blows, which were returned with a shower of stones. A fight followed, during which some of his friends made a rush at the stake with such effect that monks and soldiers fled in confusion. Friends were round the martyr, but it was too late, a soldier as he fled had struck him on the head with an axe and the blow was fatal.

We were all greatly pleased to hear that the Prince of Orange was expected, and would, it was hoped, soon be in Antwerp. It was even said that the Duchess Margaret had written begging him to come and help her, as she found the people of the Netherlands growing more discontented and unruly every day. A great many of the nobles of Holland and Flanders have banded together to try if they cannot get King Philip and the duchess to respect what they call the charters, which, if I understand it rightly, means that promises made by the king to his Dutch subjects have not been kept. They went to see the duchess, shewed her great respect, and presented a petition. She seemed troubled, but would not make any promises and said she must write to her brother, the King of Spain. As they were leaving, one of her advisers was heard to say to her, "Why should your Royal Highness be afraid of them? they are only gueux,'" a Flemish word meaning beggars. So they have adopted the word as the name of their party. Many of them wear a grey cloak and doublet of coarse cloth, and carry a beggar's bowl and wallet.

But I must not forget an event so important, that for many days before it took place people seemed to think or speak of little else, namely, the coming to Antwerp of William, Prince of Orange. Father says the nation seemed to feel a thrill of new hope and courage at the very mention of his name.

When it was known that he was really on his way and would arrive within a few hours, thousands of people lined the streets. The magistrates and merchants of our city, among them being my father, rode a few miles into the country to meet him and give him a fitting welcome. A pistol was to be fired as soon as he came in sight; the report was no sooner heard than such a welcome rang out. Everybody was so glad, so very glad, that the man to whom they looked as the deliverer of Holland was really among them, that they could not help trying to make him feel how much he was wanted.

But amid all the good wishes and cheering that greeted him, the Prince did not seem flattered, indeed, many thought he was not even pleased. Those who were nearest to him said that his face wore an anxious, troubled look, and that he was more grave and silent than usual. It had been proposed that the ringing of bells, lighting of bonfires, and great public rejoicings should close the day of the Prince's arrival; but when the people saw how ill and worn he looked, and that he wished for quietness, they shewed their love for him and respect for his wishes by going quietly to their homes.

He began work that evening, and now he has been here for some weeks. Father, who is with him a great deal, says that he works almost night and day. So many people have to be seen, and every one, whether high or low, rich or poor, is sure of a patient hearing, and of justice, while far into the night he sits at his desk; such piles of papers have to be gone through, letters and petitions read and answered.

Amid all the hopefulness the outlook is not very much brighter; for though the Prince has been able to induce the duchess to allow the reformed preachers and those who wish to hear them the use of one church a little way out of the city, King Philip has issued fresh edicts, forbidding any of his subjects to leave the country. Captains of ships must not take them as passengers, no one is to give or sell them food, and any person giving information of any attempt to leave the country will be rewarded with half the property of the accused persons.

Chapter 9.

Dark Clouds with Silver Linings.

December 31st, 1567. It seems a long time since I wrote anything in my MS. book. A great many things have happened since I last turned its pages, but some days were so dark and sorrowful that I had no heart to write at all; and yet, hardly an hour ago, as dear mother and I sat alone enjoying the cheerful blaze of the wood fire, just before Truyken brought in the candles, and talked over the story of the year that is just closing, we felt, as well as said, that God had been very good to us, "a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him." (Nahum 1:7.)

It is a great trial to us to have my much-loved father away from home, as he has been for nearly six months, but how much better it is for him, and for us too, that he should be free and able to help the Prince of Orange, than if he had been wearing his life out in one of King Philip's dungeons; for he has been in prison, but by the good hand of the Lord was able to escape before being tried and sentenced.

It is nearly a year, I think, since two very grand marriages took place at Brussels, one being that of the young and brave Baron Montigny, the other that of Prince Alexander of Parma, son of the Duchess Margaret. Great public rejoicings were ordered, and not to be outdone by other towns the citizens of Antwerp voted quite a large sum of money to be spent on shows, fireworks, bonfires and street illuminations. The streets were gay with many-coloured flags and banners, and the shopkeepers made a grand display of life-sized figures of the bridegrooms and their brides.

I went with Truyken to see the fireworks; they were really very pretty, but I could not help noticing how little groups of people, just "twos and threes," got together and conversed in low, earnest tones. One of these groups, consisting of three middle-aged men, was so near me that I could not help hearing part of their conversation.

"We are all under sentence of death, and it may be carried out at any moment," were the words that first attracted my attention. I wondered what the speaker could mean; soon after I heard him say, "For once King Philip seems likely to keep his word, for if his last edict is carried out, it seems likely that he will soon rule over a desert. Heresy is at all costs to be rooted out, and Holland may yet count her martyrs by hundreds."

"We must not talk of these things in the public street," quietly said another, and the group broke up. I did not care to look at the fireworks any longer, and begged Truyken to take me home.

As we turned to leave the market-square, I had a strange, almost uncomfortable feeling that we were being followed, and on looking round I saw a tall, grave-looking man who kept very near us. I thought it was the one who had said we were all under sentence of death, but I could not be sure, as I had not seen his face, for it was dark, and his features were almost concealed by the broad-brimmed Flemish bonnet he wore. He kept near us for some time, but without speaking, till Truyken, seeing an old friend in the crowd, stopped to speak to her. The stranger touched me lightly on the arm, and said in a whisper, but in such a kind, gentle manner that I was not afraid, "Do not fear me, my child; but tell your father to be careful; his name has been sent to the officers of the Inquisition as one strongly suspected of holding and teaching what is called heresy. Tell him the message was given you by Herr von Delph. But you must say this to your father when you are alone with him. Good-night, and may God bless and keep you and yours." And without another word he was gone.

Truyken was again by my side, and asked what the stranger had been saying. But I only answered, "I think he knows my father very well, for he gave me a message for him," but I did not tell her what it was. We were a little late in reaching home, and found father, mother, my aunts Christiana and Ursel, and one or two other friends assembled in the family sitting-room, about to begin the evening meal. How I longed to get father all to myself just for one minute, that I might tell him of the warning I had received; but he was about to ask a blessing, so I must wait until the meal was ended.

A few minutes later we heard a knock, and Truyken, looking pale and anxious, came in to say that two strange gentlemen, who said their business was of great importance, desired speech with her master. I thought of the warning I had received hardly an hour before, and grew sick and faint with fear; but father went out of the room in his usual quiet way. Truyken was on the alert, and told us that after a few minutes' conversation (she could not catch all that was said, but thought his help was asked for some man who was said to be dying) my father took his cloak and hat from a peg in the hall, and went with them out into the darkness. Truyken watched them, as far as she could see, but after going a short distance they turned into a passage, and she saw them no more.

Our meal that evening was a very silent one; the hours passed slowly, and when the hands of the great Dutch clock in the hall pointed to half-past ten and father had not returned, mother, who had tried for our sakes to appear calm and cheerful, could hide her anxiety no longer, but sank sobbing into a chair. Aunt Ursel did not try to check her sobs, but said very gently, "Let us pray." In a moment we were on our knees, and I feel sure we all felt less alone, and less afraid after we had taken our trouble to God in prayer. Truyken stood just outside the door, but quite near enough to hear every word, and I heard her join a very hearty Amen to ours for the safety of her master.

Soon after my aunts took their leave, promising to come or send very early the next morning. As soon as I was alone with mother, I told her of my strange meeting with Herr von Delph, and of the message I had been unable to deliver. I felt as if I had in some way been the cause of the trouble through not having given my dear father warning on the moment of my return. But mother understood it all, and soothed me so tenderly, though she said her worst fears were confirmed.

Herr von Delph is, she told me afterwards, a Flemish noble who, though he has not openly joined the reformed party, has in more ways than one proved himself a true friend. Mother would not go to bed, for she had not lost hope that father might yet return, and she should not like him not to find her watching and waiting for him; besides, if he came, he would, she added, be cold and hungry, and a cheerful fire and hot soup would be very welcome.

I begged to be allowed to sit up with her, but she would not hear of it, and at last, feeling quite worn out, I sobbed myself to sleep. Truyken, if she had gone to bed at all, must have risen very early, for long before daylight she was at mother's side with a tempting little breakfast, which she had great difficulty in coaxing her to eat. Poor Truyken! Her eyes were so red and swollen that I felt sure she must have cried a great deal; she was kindness itself, though more than once she said she always thought these new-fashioned ways would bring trouble on the house of Karlzon.

During the day many friends came with words of sympathy and offers of help, but we had no tidings of my father; in this way six long, weary weeks passed; mother seemed to grow paler and thinner every day. My aunt Ursel spent a good deal of time with us; she still visited the prison and made garments for the poor, but she moved and spoke in such a sad, weary way, that it almost made me cry even to look at her. But brighter days were drawing nearer than any of us really believed.

I often helped Truyken by going on errands, and one morning I was crossing the market square when I saw Herr von Delph coming in an opposite direction. My first thought was to run to him, tell him of our trouble, and beg him to get some tidings of my father, but he waved me back and walked quickly onwards.

A few moments later a poor, ragged boy dropped a crumpled paper at my feet, but he, too, hurried past me. I felt strongly impelled to pick up the almost dirty paper, and it was well that I did so, for it was a note addressed to my mother. I made all possible haste home, and we read it together. It was very brief, but as we read we were almost beside ourselves with joy.

"To Constanza Karlzon,

"Leave the side door unlatched and watch to-night, but without a light. You may see your husband between 10 and 12 p.m.

"Herr Von Delph."

Oh! how we watched and waited mother and I, Aunt Ursel and Truyken, none of us daring to speak a word. A few minutes before midnight we heard a slight sound, then the latch was lifted, and we knew it was father who stood amongst us. Mother drew him into the sitting room, where a fire was burning, and for a little while they were alone together; then the door opened, and we all went in. Father looked ill and worn, and his clothes were torn and his hands bleeding; but he was free, and we were all very happy.

He told us in a few words how the men who came to our house led him into a dark passage; there he was gagged and after being told that he was their prisoner, was taken, not to the common prison, but to a strongly built house at some distance from the town, his place of confinement being an upper room, the window of which was guarded with iron bars. Here he saw no one but the man who appeared to be his jailor. A small quantity of bread and water was placed before him each day. One day, much to his surprise, he found an iron file concealed in the bread, with a note bidding him use it to remove the bars from his windows; the next day a rope of sufficient length to reach the ground was also somehow conveyed to his room.

Herr von Delph had not spared gold in bribing the jailor to give him these things, and had planned everything for his escape. But he could not stay with us, and we knew it would not be safe for him to do so. His friend was waiting for him with a boat; so after a prayer that was a thanksgiving, and a hasty, though tender farewell, he was gone.

Chapter 10.

Faithful Witnesses.

October 17th, 1568. "There is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet." (Jer. 49:23.) For many days past the Bible words I have just written have seemed to be saying themselves over to me. Sometimes like an anthem, set to grand but mournful music; at others I seem to hear them as the autumn wind sighs through the branches of some almost leafless tree; and yet I have never seen the sea, and mother says that the waveless, sometimes almost stagnant water of our dykes can give me but a very faint idea of what the sea is like.

But at one of the few field preachings we were able to attend I heard it said that God in His word uses the waves of the sea as a picture or figure of nations, or people; and I am sure this must be true of Holland, for there is sorrow everywhere, and no one seems happy or at rest.

But I must not forget or be unthankful for the bright gleams that God in His mercy sometimes sends to lighten the gloom that hangs over the Netherlands. We have seen my father again, though only for a very short time, and more than once he has been able to write to mother; and it is such a joy to know that he is well and able to help the Prince of Orange, who is very kind to him, and has shewn in more ways than one that he looks upon him as a faithful friend.

Our meeting was a very happy one. Father felt it would be unsafe to come to the house, but a messenger from the friend who had given me warning on the night of his arrest, told mother that a lonely marsh at some distance from the town was the appointed place of meeting. So under cover of darkness mother and I set out, guided and attended by Truyken, who would not be persuaded to remain at home when it was possible that she might get sight or speech of her much-loved master.

We had some time to wait, but father came at last, and told us how, on the night of his escape, his friend, Count Herr von Delph, waited for him in a boat, moored at some distance from our house. He was taken to a castle belonging to the count, where for ten weeks, seeing no one but two old and trusted servants, he had remained, treated as the guest of the friend to whom under God he owed his liberty, perhaps his life. But the time had come when it was judged safe for him to leave, and though he must not be seen in Antwerp, two courses lay before him: the count would either use his influence, and his gold, to procure him a passage to England, where, though we could not accompany him, he hoped later to find means of sending us; or he might join the Prince of Orange in Flanders, where he was greatly in need of faithful friends and trusty helpers. Drawing mother to him, he said very gently, "Constanza, you shall decide; which path shall I take?"

Mother was silent for a few moments, and I think I understood something of what she felt, indeed she told me afterwards how the vision of a home in free, peaceful England, where we could all be together, rose before her. On the other hand, she saw for him the hardships and dangers of a soldier's life. But she knew how loyal he was to the prince, and how he loved his country, and how a still higher and purer motive would guide him in his course, his desire to do the will of God so forcing back the tears that were ready to fall, she answered, "Dear Mark, you have given me my choice, but I cannot, dare not decide for you. Do what you believe to be God's way for you. I know it will be best for each and all of us."

We knelt together on the thick rank grass with which the moor was covered, and father prayed, oh! so earnestly, for his loved ones and himself. Then loving words of farewell, in which Truyken was not forgotten, were spoken, and that night father was on his way to join the prince in Flanders.

There have not been any public burnings in Antwerp just lately, but the prisons are said to be full, and we often hear from other parts of Holland of the faith and courage given to those who were called to suffer, or even to die for the Saviour they loved. We can never forget the brave old soldier martyred at Mons, who said, as they bound him to the stake, "I have risked my life often for the emperor, and shall I shrink from offering it now to my Saviour?"

A father, mother and four sons suffered together at Lisle. When the officers of the Inquisition arrested the elder members of the family, two sons, quite young boys, were absent; but on hearing what had happened, they gave themselves up. "Will you also go to the New Jerusalem?" asked the father. "We will go," the boys replied. And they have gone.

One young wife in another place was remanded for a time after all she had loved best on earth had died at the stake. "Ah, my lords," she said, "I have languished long enough in prison. Why do you keep me any longer? I feel strong enough, God be praised! to follow my father, husband and brother." And before many days had passed she too had joined the "noble army of martyrs."

Many hundreds of people, most of whom belong to the better class, have joined the ranks of the "gueux." One bright, spring day great crowds assembled in the most perfect order in the market-square to await the result of an interview the Duchess Margaret had consented to grant to several noblemen who, headed by Louis of Nassau, brother to the Prince of Orange, again presented a petition begging the King of Spain to allow religious liberty to his loyal and faithful subjects of the Netherlands. The duchess seemed even more troubled than before, and tears rolled down her cheeks; but they were tears of passion and wounded pride, and nothing has as yet been gained. Only we see the beggar's dress everywhere; young nobles who not many months ago would not have appeared in public without embroidered cloaks and velvet bonnets, now wear suits of coarse grey cloth, but in many cases the beggar's bowls and wallets they carry are inlaid in silver, with the names or crests of their owners.

We hear that the prince is not pleased with the way in which many of them are acting, and has expressed a fear that they will do more to hinder than to help the cause of truth and freedom. He is still working almost night and day. Truyken, who always speaks her mind pretty plainly, thinks that they are playing beggars, much in the same way in which children sometimes play being soldiers, and that their dainty little bowls will soon be thrown away when there is really nothing to put in them. Truyken, though "no scholar," is, as mother sometimes says, "a woman of quick understanding," and often seems to see a long way before her.

The prince had no easy time of it. He seemed to be wanted by every one at once, and his presence and advice were asked for in so many places that he must often have found it difficult to decide where he was most needed. He had been appointed to act as deputy-governor of Holland and Zealand, and though the terror of the Inquisition still hung like a dark cloud over the whole country, much had been done to bring about a happier state of things, and in some places those of the reformed faith were even allowed, though under certain restrictions, to hold services, conducted by their own pastors. If we could have stayed in Antwerp father thinks the outbreak, that will make the 15th of August a day to be long and sorrowfully remembered, would never have taken place; but just a week before he had left for Brussels, having received an urgent message from the duchess that she needed his help to protect her from the nobles, who were getting so angry that no notice had been taken of their petitions, that she was afraid they would take up arms against her.

A great festival was to be held in honour of the Virgin Mary, but there were many in the town and neighbourhood who saw that it was wrong to worship pictures and images. These were, for the most part, orderly and peace-loving people, who would have been content to shew their disapproval by not joining the procession; but the gueux and their leaders seemed ready for any wild and lawless undertaking; they were quickly joined by others who, though they cared nothing at all for the gospel, were impatient under the despotic rule of King Philip and the duchess.

On that day a grand procession always took place. A very large image of the Virgin Mary, dressed in costly robes, glittering with gold and jewels, was carried round the city, accompanied by bands of music, and attended by priests and choir boys, who chanted a litany composed in honour of "The Queen of heaven."

And what was the idol? Just a lifeless image, a helpless, dressed-up, wooden figure, that could have had little, if any, likeness to the lowly and gentle Mary of Nazareth, whose own words, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour" (Luke 1:46, 47), God has had written in the Bible for us.

We heard that there was to be a rising of the people, but only half believed the report. The procession was followed by a crowd of wild boys and men who were, it was easy to see, ready for any mischief. Truyken, though she did not join the procession, placed herself at the door, kneeling and crossing as the image passed. At that moment one of the boys threw a handful of mud, aimed not at Truyken, but at the image; some of it fell, however, upon her snow-white apron, and this double insult made her very angry; she ran after the boy and boxed his ears soundly.

Mother was very thankful, and so was I, that the riot did not begin at our doors. The procession got fairly well through the city streets, and the image was replaced in the church, though idle crowds still lingered round the doors. Some of the wisest of our neighbours tried to persuade the people to go quietly to their homes, but they were too noisy and excited to listen to reason, and as the counsellors could not agree upon what was best to be done, they did nothing to prevent the riot, that we had only too good grounds to fear would follow.

Chapter 11.

A Strange Story.

December 1st, 1568. It was a white world I looked out upon from my bedroom window this morning. For some weeks past we have had wild, wintry weather with frequent showers of snow; but last night there was a heavy fall, and when the sun shone brightly, as it did for a little while after breakfast, I thought I had seldom seen anything more beautiful than the almost unbroken lines of white-roofed houses; while the icicles that hung from the rigging of the ships in the harbour, or from the branches of leafless trees, glittered and sparkled in the sunshine till I thought the diamonds I once saw worn by the duchess on some state occasion were not so bright and beautiful.

But about noon the weather changed again. Heavy clouds covered the sky, while showers of sleet made the day anything but a pleasant one. And now, as I have finished my task of needlework, Truyken is busy in the store-room, and mother and Aunt Ursel have gone to carry some nourishing food to a sick neighbour, I will try to fill a few pages of my MS. book with the strange, sad story of what happened in Antwerp two days after the procession, in honour of the Virgin Mary, I have already named.

We hoped that when the wild, disorderly crowd had tired themselves out with hooting and shouting they would disperse, and go quietly to their homes. But all through the night groups hung about the door and windows of the cathedral. No one seemed to know what was going to happen, but they were ready for any mischief. The day of the procession had been a public holiday, and on the following no one seemed ready for work. Several friends, who feared an outbreak, tried to induce them to go away, but were only able to succeed with a few of the better disposed. On the morning of the third day a crowd had collected; an old woman who used to sit on the marble steps leading to the porch, selling tapers, medals and small pictures of the so-called saints who had shrines or chapels within the great building, had her basket snatched from her and her stock-in-trade scattered on the ground. Soon after the mob entered the beautiful old church, and the work of destruction began.

A fight took place between a young sailor, a devout Romanist, and a man in a ragged, black cloak, who had mounted one of the pulpits and was saying rude, mocking things about the begging friars and their ways; both fell, rolling together down the pulpit steps, and the crowd grew every minute more excited and angry. Images were torn from their places and dashed against the walls, or thrown upon the marble pavement. The great image of Mary was dragged round the church with ropes, and then broken into a thousand pieces. No women were present but a few of the lowest class, who, with yells and coarse jests urged the men and boys to finish the work they had begun. And yet, strange though it may seem, no lives were lost; even the old taper-woman was protected from injury. The gold and jewels were not stolen, but thrown into dark corners, or left among the broken fragments, as if they were things of no value.

We did not think it would be wise or safe to go out of doors while the tumult lasted, but a day or two after Truyken came in from the market crying bitterly. I had not seen her in tears since the night of my dear father's arrest, and putting my arms coaxingly round her neck, I begged her to tell me the cause of her trouble. For some minutes she seemed unable to speak; at last she said, with great sobs almost choking her voice, "The saints! the blessed saints! they are torn to pieces."

For a moment I felt quite puzzled, for I did not know of what had been taking place in the church, so I said, "Not the saints in heaven, dear Truyken; they are safe." "Oh, yes!" she answered, still weeping, "Thank God! the mob cannot touch them." "Is it the saints in Holland?" I asked eagerly, "Has King Philip given fresh power to the Inquisition? Are there to be more burnings or drownings in Antwerp?" " If so, I have heard nothing of them," was her reply, "It is the saints in the cathedral I mean; they are all broken to shivers, heads, arms and legs strewn about in every direction; and the beautiful robes of the Virgin Mary all embroidered with gold, and sparkling with gems, are torn to shreds. Oh, that I should have lived to see this! Poor Truyken! She threw herself into a chair, covered her face with her hands, while large tears dropped through her fingers and fell thick and fast upon her spotless apron.

I was deeply touched by the sight of her sorrow. At last I said, "I am sorry, very sorry, that so much mischief has been done, but the images are only wood or marble. They could not feel the blows that were showered upon them." But still Truyken refused to be comforted.

From the cathedral the mob went to the other city churches, where the same work of destruction was carried on. Mother says that the story of the seven days and nights during which "The Antwerp Fury" lasted will always be a blotted, tear-stained page of our country's history. The duchess was very angry, and it needed all the influence of her friends and advisers to prevent her from flying in hot haste from her palace at Brussels.

I hardly know whether the Romanists, or we of the reformed faith, were most troubled about this outbreak. The Romanists were angry because their images had been destroyed, we were deeply grieved, for all the blame of it was laid at our doors, and we feared what might follow.

For a little while all seemed quiet, and we began to indulge some faint hope that the storm might blow over. But only a few months passed, and on a bright morning toward the end of May, the old cruel edicts of persecution, revised and re-written, were once more exhibited on the doors of public buildings, or posted at the corners of the principal streets; and as we read, it seemed as if for us all the brightness had faded out of the glorious spring day, for we were reminded that all grown persons who had attended a field-preaching might, if the charge was proved against them, be hurried off to prison, or even sent to the gallows; little children were to be beaten with rods, while all who had sung Protestant hymns at the burial of a relation, or bought any of the forbidden books, or said a word against a priest, were under sentence of death; all their property would be claimed by the Inquisition, half of it being given as a reward to the person or persons who had informed against them.

For a little while we were afraid to speak, almost to breathe; for there was not a single member of the little company in Antwerp who wished to worship God according to the teaching of His word against whom it would not have been easy to prove one or more of the offences named in the edict. But the king, we heard shortly afterwards, considered the edict far too mild and merciful, and, acting upon the advice of the cardinals, had ordered the Duke of Alva to enter the Netherlands, with as large a force as he could collect, and crush out heresy. No one was to be spared. Fire and sword were to do their worst, and truly, as Herr von Delph had said, the whole nation lay under sentence of death.

We had not had a letter from father for more than a month, and were getting anxious for his safety, when one night, just after supper, we were startled by a loud knocking at the front door. As Truyken opened it, we saw our unlooked-for, and certainly unwelcome visitors were the chief constable of Antwerp, followed by a party of the servants of the Inquisition under the command of one or two petty officers. The constable handed a paper to Truyken, telling her in a gruff, harsh voice to give it to her mistress, and not keep honest people waiting in the cold. It was an order giving them liberty to search the house for forbidden books, as such were known to be in the possession of Mark and Constanza Karlzon.

Mother turned pale, and I felt as if my heart stood still with fear, for there was hardly a drawer or cupboard in our house that did not contain some book or letter, the possession of which would be treated as a crime worthy of death. She moved a few steps forward, but would have fallen if Truyken had not caught her, and placed her in a chair. "Stay where you are," she whispered, "I will go, I understand these people better than you do." And she led the party from room to room, opening cupboards, and shewing them the springs of secret drawers, with a politeness and seeming readiness that puzzled us greatly.

But to their surprise and disappointment they found nothing. The papers in father's desk were contracts with regard to goods sent out from his factory, or receipts for monies paid to the wool-merchant. They were baffled, and some spoke of leaving the house, when the constable cried out, "Halt! I am too old at my work to lose the scent so easily. I came to find forbidden books, and I believe they are to be found. We may yet find a secret cupboard in the large bedroom." We trembled, for we knew that our most precious, as well as dangerous books, were hidden in the recess I had discovered in my play so long ago; and we were not sure that even Truyken, dear, faithful Truyken, knew their exact hiding-place. But she still led the way, and even drew aside the bed-hangings, saying, as she did so, "The Karlzons, as everybody knows, come of as good a stock as any in the Low Countries; and every old family has its treasure cupboard. But we have no need to fear to open ours to you. The constables of Antwerp are no thieves, but keepers of the public peace."

So saying, she pointed to the secret panel; it flew open at a blow from a heavy staff one of the men carried, and the search began. What did they find? A little plate, some old-fashioned gold and silver ornaments, dresses, and high neck ruffles that had been worn by my father's grandmother sixty years before; but no books, till in the very far corner of an old press, the quick ear of one caught the rustle of paper and he dragged it out. Yes, there was a book, the leaves were yellow with age, and when he brought it to the light, which Truyken still held, it proved to be an illuminated Roman Catholic mass book. Throwing it upon the floor with a gesture of contempt, he turned and left the house, followed by his men, while Truyken made a great show of picking up the book, wiping the dust from its covers, and saying, in a very loud voice, that when she was young good books were not trodden under foot.

What became of our books? We do not know till this day, for Truyken still keeps her secret, and as her courage and faithfulness have under God saved our lives, mother does not feel that we have any right to force it from her; so we can only think that in some way she had received warning of the intended visit and buried or destroyed all that would have led to our arrest on the previous night.

Chapter 12.

Birds of Passage.

May 1st, 1569. It is not really so very long ago since we left our dear old home at Antwerp; and yet so much has happened, and we have been often such weary wanderers, that when I try to recall the peaceful, happy days of my childhood, it all seems like a dream, and I find it hard to believe that we were not always the "birds of passage" we have been during the last six or eight months.

The last entry I made in my MS. book was an account of the fruitless visit paid by order of the Inquisition to our house in search of forbidden books. The officers were very angry, and though many friends said that Antwerp was no longer a safe home for us, and advised our leaving with all possible speed, my father was still with the Prince of Orange, and mother would not act without knowing his wishes.

Hardly a week had passed when a trusty messenger brought a letter in his well-known handwriting. He was well, and though the Prince's army was small, and he, with others, often had to endure great hardships, he was hopeful that Holland would yet be free. His fears were for us. We must leave Antwerp at once. No one was safe. The Duke of Alva with his army had already entered the Low Countries, and terrible cruelties marked their progress. He shewed no mercy either to Romanists or Protestants, for the chief friends and advisers of the Duchess Margaret, the Counts Egmont and Horn, had been arrested by his orders at Brussels; and Count Egmont was, as every one knew, a zealous Catholic. Father wished us to go to Friesland, partly because he had a little property there, and partly because it would, he thought, be easy to escape from there into Germany, where so many in the faith had already taken refuge.

Aunt Ursel decided to go with us; her brother would, she said, never forgive her if she refused to share our fortunes; besides, she loved us, and were we not one in faith, and so one in danger? Mother said at first that it would be better not to take Truyken. After so many years of faithful, loyal service to the Karlzon family, it would not be fair or kind even to wish her to share the privations we might be called upon to meet, for we should be very poor; for though father had been one of the richest merchants of our city, the closing of the factory had meant the loss of nearly all our worldly goods, and trade was so bad everywhere in Holland, the small income from other sources we had hoped still to call our own did not come regularly.

Truyken had saved a little money, had relations in the country, and it would, mother thought, be much better for her to spend her few remaining years in quiet and comfort.

We all felt the parting would be a very hard one, but to our great surprise, when mother first proposed it to her, she did not object, as we expected she would. She listened quietly, and went out of the room wiping her eyes, but there was a smile playing about the corners of her mouth I did not quite understand. However, with her usual good sense and promptness, she set about packing the few things we felt we must take, and they were very few, for nearly everything of value had to be left. Perhaps it was as well that the boat was to sail in three days, for we were all too busy to have any time for regrets.

All was ready, and as the boat would sail in an hour, we must go on board at once. But where was Truyken? We dreaded saying "Good-bye," but it must be done. She was nowhere to be found. What had become of her? she had prepared our last meal, and even packed some food to be eaten during the journey; but no one had seen her since she left the room laden with packages.

We dared not linger, and though I could not forget my dear old nurse, the bustle and excitement of going on board for a time put other thoughts out of my mind. When night came, we three, mother, aunt Ursel and I, wrapped ourselves up in our cloaks, and lay down upon deck, the air of the tiny cabin was so close and stifling. We did not talk much, for the day had been a sad and trying one. At last from very weariness we fell asleep. What was our surprise to be awakened by a familiar voice saying, "We land here, but you must drink some hot coffee first." The voice was Truyken's. We started up and rubbed our eyes. Were we really awake, or still dreaming? It was no dream, and in another moment I was in her arms. "Truyken, Truyken," said my mother, with a half- choked sob, "How did you come here?" "The same way that you did," replied Truyken coolly "by the boat, only I was on board an hour before you were. Did you think Truyken was such a fair-weather friend that she would let you go out into a cold, hard world without her, and you as ignorant of its ways as three babes?" So we kissed our faithful friend and said no more. What more could we say? But ever since we have been glad, so very glad, that Truyken cast in her lot with us. Her hands never seem to grow weary of serving us, while her strong common-sense and ready wit have helped us over many an unforeseen difficulty.

We landed at a quaint little wharf, and when Truyken had collected our belongings, which she had taken care were not more than we could carry, our long, wearisome overland journey began. Everywhere the news of Alva's approach had struck terror into the peaceful inhabitants of towns and villages, and it was said that one hundred thousand houses were deserted. The gueux had broken up, and the few who remained were for the most part leading lawless, reckless lives. Some lived in the forests, and were known as the "wild gueux," others formed a small fleet of boats, and called themselves "sea beggars." Strange, and often sad stories were told of them and their doings, but we remember with thankfulness how, under God, we owed a very narrow escape to a party of gueux.

We were met by a band of Spanish troopers, and hope seemed to die within us, for in their eagerness to root out heresy, Alva's soldiers held no code of honour, but attacked the unarmed and helpless, while neither women nor children were spared. Flight was impossible, and they were within a few yards of us, when we heard the old cry, "Vivent les gueux," and a mounted party dashed out from the forest. A fight followed, in which several troopers were killed, and the rest fled in confusion. The gueux followed them a little way, but soon returned to us, and in the leader of the band we found an old friend. We slept that night under their guard, and in the morning continued our journey on horses belonging to the troopers, which had been captured by the gueux.

We found that for a time at least we could not reach the old house, half a mansion, half a castle (for the Karlzons were descended from a family of Flemish nobles), as the place was already occupied by Alva's troops, so gladly fell in with Truyken's proposal that we should all go to her uncle's farm on the north-eastern bank of the Zuider-Zee. "Uncle Jacob is," she said, "a good man, and a true Christian, though he is neither Catholic or Lutheran; he calls himself a Baptist. I think you Protestants are a quarrelsome family, but when trouble comes you do hang together, and that's not a bad thing in any family."

It was night when we reached our destination. We were cold, tired and hungry, when a light in a long, low building seemed almost to promise us a welcome. Its friendly gleam seemed to give us fresh strength and courage, and we were soon there. "What can they be doing in the great barn?" said Truyken, "harvest was over quite a month ago." But we were not left to wonder long. Under cover of the darkness a few Christians had left their scattered homes, and were holding a meeting for prayer. As we stood outside, not wishing to disturb them, we heard the voice of old Jacob Anderzon lead in simple, but heartfelt thanksgiving for the mercy that had once more allowed a few poor, scattered sheep of the Saviour's flock to come together. Then the barn door opened, and though the little company seemed at first startled by the sight of strangers, a few words from Truyken explained all. We were led to the house, where Jacob, and his German wife Freda, seemed to vie with each other as to which could shew the greatest kindness to their unlooked-for guests.

Rest and food were very welcome; we were all too tired that night to talk or even to think much, but as we sat at breakfast the next morning, Truyken said, "Uncle Jacob, when I saw you last, three years ago, you were a hale, strong man. You have not yet reached three-score years, how is it that you are so lame and bent like a man of eighty?" Uncle Jacob, as we all soon learned to call him, smiled a somewhat sad smile, and answered gently, "Our Lord and Saviour has allowed me, in some little way, to have fellowship with Him in suffering since you were here, Truyken."

He would have changed the subject, but Freda added, "Ask the priests, who bent and crippled his strong, straight limbs upon the rack. A great persecution arose in this part of the country against the Baptists, and Jacob was thrown into prison, and tortured on the rack because he would not betray his friends, or give the names of those with whom we had met to worship God."

Jacob interposed, "But, dear wife, remember how much we have to be thankful for. It is very few who fall into the hands of the priests who come out until God sees fit to set the spirit free from the poor, maimed body. It always seems to me as if God must have sent His angel and delivered me out of their hands."

After family prayers, our kind hosts proposed taking us over the farm. Freda had all the pride of a true German housewife in her poultry-yard and well-filled cheese presses, and as mother was able to pay a small sum for our board, it was settled then and there that we should remain at the farm till we could safely continue our journey.

I can never forget the happy months we spent at the farm. I enjoyed the free, country life fully, and after a few days, Freda let me help her feed the poultry, and taught me how to milk Whitestar, a remarkably gentle and good-tempered cow. Mother said, though there were no vine-clad hills, she seemed almost to be living over again the days of her own childhood, and her visits to Annetta's farm.

Chapter 13.

"The Noble Army of Martyrs."

March 11th, 1570. It must be nearly a year since I wrote even a page in my MS. book. The months we spent at the farm seemed often marked by the change of seasons, or the rotation of crops, rather than by great and stirring events; and we heard so little of what was going on in the great world outside the dykes, that sometimes it seemed hard to believe that we had ever lived in the constant stir and bustle of a busy sea-port town.

It was very seldom that father was able to write to us, or, I should have said, to get an opportunity of sending his letters; and when they were delayed longer than usual, mother, though she was just as kind and ready to help others as she had always been, would move about the house and farm with such a sad look on her face, and such a tone of wistful patience in her voice, that it made me feel almost ready to cry every time I looked at her, or heard her speak. If father could only have paid us a visit now and then, our days at the farm would have been very happy ones. We had only intended to stay a few weeks, but weeks grew into months, and still we were the guests of Uncle Jacob and his wife.

Truyken, with her willing hands and strong common sense, proved a great help to Freda in all kinds of house and farm work, while mother and aunt Ursel were always willing to undertake any light duties; and I, well, I fed the chickens, dusted the rooms, and, later on, taught the little ones; for, by twos and threes, six orphan children were received into our small household. Two of these, Max, a curly-headed, blue-eyed boy of seven, and Whilma, a quiet, gentle little girl of six, were the children of parents who had chosen death at the stake rather than a denial of their Lord and Saviour. The four others were all of one family, whose father had been killed by a band of the Duke of Alva's soldiers while vainly attempting to defend his home and family, the mother dying shortly afterwards of grief and privation.

We were a very happy household; "Uncle Jacob," as we all loved to call the dear old man, said it made him feel quite young again to have so many children round him. On summer evenings, when the work of the day was done (for there were no drones in our hive, and even the youngest were taught in some way to be of use to others), we used to gather in the large, old-fashioned. porch, while Jacob read from his well-worn Bible a costly possession, valued first for its own sake, and also as the parting gift of a noble exile, a brother in the faith, who for many weeks had found rest and a safe asylum in Jacob's humble dwelling; when he closed the book our voices would mingle in a hymn of praise, or we knelt in prayer, while Uncle Jacob committed his household and himself to the care of the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps.

I noticed that at first Truyken used either to busy herself about some household task, or, with her knitting in her hand, seat herself at some distance from the group; but little by little she drew nearer, so that at last she could not help hearing all; and then a change came over her, her knitting dropped unheeded by her side, as, with a look of fixed attention, she would seem to drink in the sweet Bible stories, just as the thirsty ground drinks in the rain.

In the winter our gatherings were in the farmhouse kitchen; and after the children were in bed Uncle Jacob would read to us, very often the letters of the martyrs. Some of these touched me so deeply that I begged him to let me copy one or two. There was one from Jeronymus Sergersin to his wife that we never seemed to tire of hearing. They were imprisoned together at Antwerp, though not in the same cell, in 1551; but they did not die together. Many of their letters were preserved and treasured as very precious things among the little groups of believers scattered here and there in the Low Countries; and many tears have, I believe, fallen over those true and tender words, traced by fingers made stiff and trembling by the torture of the rack. I will copy a few lines mother and I liked so much.

"Great peace, gladness, joy and comfort," he wrote, "a firm faith and good confidence with an ardent love to God, I wish to my most beloved wife, Lysken . . . . I pray the Lord very earnestly for you, that He will comfort you, and remove what is too heavy for you. I know well, my beloved, that you are greatly distressed on my account; but put away all sorrow and look to Jesus. Think only what a faithful God we serve. Know that I received your letter by my mother, which I read with tears. I thank you that you so truly comfort me, and rejoice in hearing that you are so well contented.

"I cannot sufficiently thank the Lord for all the strength He gives me in this trial. He is such a faithful Leader, He gives His servants such courage, and so strengthens them that they do not fear. Let us guard this treasure, for we have it in earthen vessels; but it is much too precious to be hidden. One (in this prison) calls to the other, and pours out his treasure, so that it may be seen. We are so happy, everlasting praise to the Lord! We call upon Him, we sing together, and find great joy in comforting and strengthening each other. I also have seen from afar the promised land, and hope soon to enter the beautiful city; there is no night there.

"May the almighty God so strengthen you with His blessed word that you may abide faithful to the end! Then shall our despised bodies be glorified, and fashioned after the likeness of His glory. Then shall our weeping be turned into laughter, and our sorrow into joy. Yes, my Lysken, God shall yet wipe away all tears from our eyes. Then there must first be weeping. Let us be content, nay, even joyful in sufferings here, for we shall soon be clothed in white robes. Oh, what a glorious company we shall form when united with the great company of the redeemed of all ages!"

Jeronymus was burnt at the stake on the 2nd September, 1551. To the last he witnessed a good confession, and died rejoicing that he was counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ. Lysken was kept in prison for some months longer. Her faith was firm and bright to the end. The last time she was seen she was standing at the window of her cell singing a hymn. When at last the day of her martyrdom was fixed, some of her friends, hearing of it, arranged to meet in good time outside the prison, in the hope of being able to speak cheering words to her on her way to the stake. But they were too late; between three and four o'clock in the morning she had been taken to the river and drowned. But a few who were astir, even at that early hour, saw the deed of darkness, and said Lysken walked firmly to the river's brink, and her last words were, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." We will not sorrow for our friends, for they are beyond the reach of sorrow, sin or death, "with Christ, which is far better."

One beautiful story we often begged Uncle Jacob to tell was that of a martyr who died not only for his faith, but for his kindness in saving the life of the officer who had been sent to arrest him. It happened only two winters ago. As Dick Williamzon was fleeing for his life across one of the frozen dykes, closely followed by his pursuers, the ice cracked under his feet, and a black, yawning gulf behind him lay between him and those who were in full chase. For a moment he was safe, and he knew it; but looking back he saw the foremost of his pursuers struggling and in danger of drowning in deep water; Dick stooped over the edge of the ice, and at the risk of falling in himself, saved the drowning man, who, grateful to his deliverer, begged that he might be allowed to go free; but the officer in command would not consent; he said they had come out to arrest Williamzon, and arrest him they must; and so he was bound, taken to prison, and a few weeks later burnt alive.

We got to know quite a number of the christian friends of Uncle Jacob and Aunt Freda. At first we, or perhaps it was only myself, were half afraid of them, they were so grave in their manners and conversation; but as I got to know them better, I found much to admire, and even to love. They were so godly in their lives, so simple in their habits, though sometimes I could not help thinking they were somewhat narrow and one-sided in their judgments; but mother said that that may be partly owing to the hardness with which they have been treated. Many have suffered fines and imprisonments, and some, like Uncle Jacob, even the terrible torture of the rack, just because they would not deny their faith, or betray their friends. There has been so little sunshine in their lives, that they could hardly help living in a kind of twilight. Yet they were most kind and self-denying, and when they heard of any cases of special need among their brethren, they would forget their own poverty and send help to any in prison, or to the widows and orphans of the martyrs.

I hardly know who watched with the greatest interest during the weeks of early spring for the return of the storks, I, or the children. For several years a pair of very large birds had, on their yearly return from their winter home in Africa, built their nest in an old cart wheel that had been fixed upon the roof of the farm on purpose to encourage their visits. Though their nest was somewhat clumsy, and not so neatly built as those of smaller birds, it was so pretty to watch them feeding their young and teaching them to fly. Aunt Ursel told me of a pair of storks who had built their nest upon the roof of a wooden house that caught fire. They could easily have saved themselves by flight, but they had a pair of young ones, more than half grown, but unable to fly. Each parent bird gently lifted a young one from the nest, and tried to fly off with it; but the young birds were too heavy. Then they stood still for a little while, as if considering what was best to be done; then they tried to carry one between them, but were only able to fly a few yards; the roof was by that time in flames, but returning to the nest, they laid the baby birds down again, and themselves perished in the flames rather than desert their offspring. Numbers of people in the street below saw and admired, but were unable to help the brave birds.

Chapter 14.

"Stormy Wind Fulfilling His Word."

February 4th, 1572. It seems almost like a dream, and yet I know it is all true, and we are really in the old moated house in which my father spent some happy years of his boyhood; every room from the ivy-covered turret down to the servants' hall, every nook in the delightfully old-fashioned garden, has its story, and Aunt Ursel knows them all, and never seems to tire of telling them to me and the orphans.

For we are all here, Uncle Jacob and Aunt Freda (as we all call her now). We are very happy, and if father could only be with us, his presence would banish that sad, anxious look I notice so often on dear mother's face, and then I should not have anything left to wish for; but she never complains, and tries to encourage us to be thankful that God not only allows him to take part in the struggle that will, we hope, when it is ended, give religious liberty to thousands of Christians in the Low Countries, but that we have been so wonderfully cared for and kept unharmed in the midst of so many dangers. And so we have; for though our peaceful retreat at the farm was swept away by a flood, and everything Uncle Jacob possessed carried away by rising waters, we were not, like many of our neighbours, left homeless and destitute.

It was a strange, never-to-be-forgotten experience. We had been having quite a long spell of wild, wintry weather; for some days the waters of the Zuider-Zee had been slowly but steadily rising, and by the end of October it was thought well to collect the cattle from the low-lying pasture lands, and bring them for safety into the outbuildings on the farm. But still we had no thought of danger, though we knew that the field upon which the farm stood lay many feet below the level of the sea. On the 1st of November heavy masses of dark clouds drifted across the sky, and the autumn wind moaned and whistled with a strange, threatening sound. Uncle Jacob and Truyken brought the cattle from the sheds into two of the lower rooms, and we all were together in the topmost story. No one felt like going to bed, though one or two of the youngest of the orphans slept amid all the raging of the storm without.

Uncle Jacob took his well-worn Bible and read such a beautiful psalm; part of it was, I remember, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea: though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah." (Psa. 46:1-3.) As I listened I found myself wondering if David had ever listened as we were then listening to the sullen roar of waters, that were every moment rising higher and higher.

With the first grey streak of dawn the crash came. For a few moments we heard nothing but the rush of waters, then the house shook to its foundations, and we knew that the dykes had given way, and the country for miles round was under water; as daylight advanced we saw the roofs of a few scattered homesteads looking like islands in the midst of a great sea. It was a moment of real peril; we thought that our last hour had come. The children, roused from sleep, clung to us, crying piteously; but we all grew strangely calm and still, as dear old Jacob Anderzon said, "Let us pray." We all knelt, and in very simple words he told God as his heavenly Father of our great danger, and asked Him to do that which would be most for His own glory. I do not know how long we waited after that prayer; to me it seemed a very long time, but mother says she does not think it was more than half an hour. At last we heard the splash of oars; the farm servants had, with great difficulty, and at the risk of their lives, got out the boats, and one by one we made our way through a skylight on to the roof, and were taken off in two boats.

For some hours we tossed about on that wild waste of waters, hardly knowing what to hope for, or what lay before us, for the flood was still rising, and one by one the roofs that had looked so much like little islands were lost to sight. We were chilled to the bone by the bitter wind, and drenched with spray; we had not been able to carry either food or water away with us, the children cried with cold and hunger, and hope seemed almost to have died out of all our hearts, when we saw a ship in full sail coming towards us, though still too far off to decide if she would prove a friend or a foe. If she proved to be a Spanish cutter, it would be better, we all felt, to die where we were than to allow ourselves to be taken prisoners. We strained our eyes in trying to see what colours she carried at her mast-head; but in vain.

At last one of the men who was helping to row cried out, "I have seen that trim little brig before; she is 'The Water Witch.' Her captain and crew are 'Beggars of the Sea,' they will take us on board, we shall yet be saved!" And so we were! We were all taken on board, food and hot drinks given to us, and on finding where we wished to go, the captain changed his plans, sailing round the north coast of Holland to take us to the old home of the Karlzons. Uncle Jacob and his wife are to make their home with us, and we are all very happy about it; for, as mother says, we can never repay the kindness we received from them, or forget how freely when we were homeless wanderers they opened their home and their hearts to us; and now that their little farm and all their worldly goods have been swept away by the flood, we are so glad that though we have only a little, we can share it with those who have lost their all.

No word of murmur or complaint is ever heard from Uncle Jacob. Once, when I heard Truyken ask him if it did not sometimes seem hard, that after so many years of toil everything should have been swept away, he only bowed his head and said, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21.)

The orphans are all with us, and though it is not always easy to provide food for such a large and hungry family, "the blessing of the Lord" seems to make a little go a long way. We have a cow, and as Truyken and Aunt Freda are clever at all kinds of dairy work we have no lack of milk, cheese and butter; we grow our own vegetables, and Uncle Jacob is busy about all manner of occupations in the house and garden, for the old place has been neglected and allowed to get very much out of repair. We often fear he is working far beyond his strength, as we cannot help noticing how feeble he has grown during the last few months; his sight, too, seems to be failing; he can seldom see now to read his long-loved Bible, but many psalms and chapters are stored in his memory, and one or other of us is always ready and glad to read to him.

The other day I was reading to him the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel by John; he listened with a look of deep peace on his face; when I had finished he said, "I often think I am almost at my journey's end. Day by day as the lights of earth grow paler, the light of 'the many mansions' grows brighter, and my homeward way cannot be a dark one. I have learnt to love you, Mayken, almost as dearly as if you had been my own child; but if, before the return of your father, my home-call should come, I am content; for I shall leave you in better care and in safer keeping than his or mine, in that of the Saviour-God, who has led me by the right way, who was near me in prison, who will never fail me, nor forsake me."

Father's letters are still few and far between, but they are so bright and cheerful that their coming always seems to bring a ray of sunshine, no matter how dull or dark the day on which they arrive. He says very little about the hardships of the campaign; the long, weary marches, the cold and hunger often suffered by the prince's troops, for money is very scarce with them, and many who had made high-sounding promises of help failed in the time of their greatest need. Father has been employed by the prince on several missions in the hope of raising money to pay his soldiers, one being to England, where so many of our brethren in the faith have already found peaceful and prosperous homes. But they had scarcely reached the English coast when they were forbidden to land and driven away by order of Queen Elizabeth, though we cannot believe that at heart she is really unfriendly to the Protestant cause, but acted under pressure in consequence of some treaty she had made, or intends to make, with Philip of Spain.

Some victories have, however, been gained, and more than one town in the Netherlands has opened its gates and given a right hearty welcome to the prince and his troops. He has pawned or sold all his own plate and jewels, and never seems afraid to face toil and danger if the cause of freedom is to be served by his doing so. Father writes, that amid all the stormy scenes of camp life the prince still finds or makes time to read his Bible; and his quiet but firm faith in God has been a great help and encouragement to himself and many others.

I sometimes find myself wondering how all this will end. But I am, I think, learning one thing to say from my very heart, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." When I see what care God takes that there should be seeds and berries for the birds, and sunshine and dewdrops for the flowers, I feel sure He will not forget His children.

Yesterday was quite an eventful day in our little household. In spite of all the mending and patching that has been done the children's clothes wear out so quickly, that to keep them from being in rags has needed a good deal of time and thought. Mother said one day, "How I wish your Aunt Christiana could see the poor little things! She has a kind heart, and her linen chests are well filled." So it was arranged that mother and Aunt Ursel should visit her in her home at Leyden, which, though not so large or grand as the one she and her husband had been obliged to leave in great haste at Antwerp because my uncle, John von Brock, was known to be one of the friends and supporters of the Prince of Orange, was still very comfortable and nicely furnished.

They returned the next day, bringing Aunt Christiana with them. The sight of the children seemed to touch her deeply, and as their clear young voices joined in their evening hymn, I saw a tear steal quietly down her cheek. When they were in bed, and we sat talking, she said suddenly, addressing my mother, "Constanza, if you would trust me with that blue-eyed boy who sang so sweetly, I should like to take him to bring up as my own child. Since my darling Henrich died, my heart has often seemed empty and hungry for affection, and it will do us good to hear the patter of a child's feet, or the ring of its laugh about the house."

We were all so pleased and thankful, as we knew not only that it would be a good and happy home for our little Max, but that as both my uncle and aunt were true Christians, he would be wisely and lovingly trained. When told in the morning that he was going to leave us, he cried so long and bitterly that we all felt it would be cruel to force him away.

For a few moments we were all silent, hardly knowing what to say or do then Bertha, a gentle child of six, nestled close up to her side, and slipping her hand into hers, whispered, "I should like to go with you, but please will you take Bertrand, too?"

Aunt Christiana did not say "No" to the little pleader, and when on the next day she set out for Leyden with her two little charges, we all thought she looked happier than she had done since the death of her only child.

Chapter 15.

The Siege of Leyden.

May 29th, 1574. It must be quite two years since I wrote even a page in my MS. book. I might not find it easy to explain why I have neglected it so long. So much has taken place in Holland lately that it cannot have been that I had nothing worth writing about, but that I had no heart to write it, for it is always sad and weary work to tell the story of disaster and defeat. When we waved our good-byes to Aunt Christiana and the orphans, whom she has since loved and cared for almost as if they had been her own children, we were bright and hopeful, telling ourselves and each other of the good times that were, we said and believed, not far off. So many towns in the Low Countries had opened their gates to the prince, so many hailed him as the long-looked-for deliverer of Holland, that it seems hard, very hard, to believe that such bright visions were to end only in failure and disappointment; not that we have quite lost hope, for the prince still lives, and we are still told to "have faith in God."

The army of the Prince of Orange! Where is it? His best and bravest generals have fallen on the field of battle, and the army, scattered and discontented because the prince was unable to pay them longer, have, with the exception of a faithful few, broken up and returned to their homes. We are in Leyden, with no prospect of being able to leave it while the siege lasts. This is the second time this year that the city has been besieged; in the spring it was relieved by Count Louis, but he has fallen. The prince, we hear, worn out with sorrow and anxiety, is dangerously ill, and unable to rise from his bed, so he cannot at present come and help us. The Duke of Alva and his army are outside our walls, and for the last four days the roar of their cannon has hardly ceased; they have, it is true, proposed conditions of peace, but Alva and his soldiers are too well known for our citizens to trust high-sounding promises. Wherever a town or city has surrendered they have broken faith with the too trustful inhabitants, and cruelly put them to the sword; and we all feel that we would rather die within the walls of our besieged city than fall into the hands of the Spaniards.

Just before our coming to Leyden father was able to pay us one short, hurried visit, but he was the bearer of such terrible news that our delight at seeing him once more was strangely mingled with sorrow. He looked so ill and worn that for a moment even mother hardly knew him; but when he said, "Constanza, Mayken," we knew his voice, just as full of tenderness as it used to be in the old, happy days at Antwerp, and we were more than content.

He told us of the defeat of the prince's army, and of the sickness of its brave leader; many prayers are, we know, being offered for his recovery, if such be the will of God, and we cannot but hope that he may still be spared to us. Father's visit has confirmed our worst fears for our friends in France. We had, it is true, heard rumours of a great slaughter of Huguenots, as the Protestants of France are often called, having taken place on the 24th August, 1572, but hoped things were not quite so bad as had been represented; we had yet to learn the double dealing and unfair means by which it had been brought about. The story of "Black Bartholomew" will, I think, always be one of the saddest and darkest pages in the history of France. I cannot write much about all that happened on that dreadful night. Father would not tell us all, but as I recall what I heard, my very blood seems to turn cold.

The leader of the Huguenots was the young and gallant Henry of Navarre, afterwards Henry the Fourth of France. He was a brave soldier, and his high sense of honour had given him a warm place in the affections of the Protestant party, who hoped much from the fact that he had warmly espoused their cause. Next in command was Admiral Coligny, a man whose sterling worth had greatly endeared him to the soldiers. Both were greatly disliked by Catherine de Medici, the Queen-Mother, though she made a great profession of friendship, and did all in her power to induce them to attend court; failing in this, she tried another plan, and arranged a marriage between her daughter and Henry of Navarre. The King, Charles the Ninth, at her bidding wrote a flattering letter to Henry, offering him the hand of his sister Margaret, and soon after the betrothal, the marriage took place amid great rejoicings. Paris seemed ablaze with fireworks, bonfires and shows. A great number of Protestant gentlemen had been invited to be present at the ceremony, and many came.

A letter was also written to the Prince of Orange, promising that an army should be sent to help him to defeat the Spaniards. But all the time the Queen-Mother was working secretly for the murder of the Protestants. Four days after the marriage Coligny went to the palace, and in company with another Huguenot gentleman played a game of tennis against the King and the Duke of Guise.

The king chatted with the admiral in a very friendly way, told him how pleased he should be to place him at the head of the army that would, he hoped, in a few days be in readiness to march into Holland to the help of his friend and ally, William of Orange, against Philip of Spain. How little Coligny thought, as he left the Louvre that day, that he was being closely followed by an assassin who had been hired by the king and his mother to shoot him. The shot, however, only wounded him in the hand and arm, and though in great pain, and faint from loss of blood, he was able to reach his hotel, where he was visited by the king, who pretended to be angry that his old friend should have been so badly treated, and promised to punish the man who had fired at him if he could be found. He was well known to the king, who, instead of punishing, gave him a reward of two thousand crowns and a badge of honour.

While Coligny lay suffering and helpless from his wounds, the Queen-Mother was busy calling together her friends and advisers. She held a secret council, and when all was in readiness for the wicked deed she had planned went to the apartments of her son, and with a great show of concern for his safety said she had discovered a plot, by which Coligny and a number of Huguenots had bound themselves to kill him, and assured him that all the Protestants must be swept from the land, as they were enemies alike to his person and his throne.

The king believed her every word, and cried out in a passion of rage and fear, "Kill all! Let no one escape to reproach me with the deed." Two hours after midnight the dreadful work began, and before it was over five thousand Protestants were murdered in one day in Paris, and a hundred thousand throughout the country. The admiral was one of the first victims. A party of ruffians, led by the Duke of Guise, went to his hotel, and bursting open the outer door fired upon his followers in the courtyard. Roused from an uneasy sleep by the noise of the shots, the admiral fled for safety to an upper room, but there he was followed, and stabbed while leaning against the wall. His body was thrown out of the window into the court-yard and treated with every mark of disrespect.

But the noise of cannon and the sound of battering rams will not let me forget that the Spaniards are outside our walls, and though the citizens have no thought of surrender, it may go hard with us, for already it is feared that our food supplies will not hold out for more than a few weeks, and it is being proposed that every family should bring whatever stores of provisions they may have into one of the public buildings, where a small quantity will be given out daily to each man, woman and child in the city. Come what may, we dare not, must not open our gates to the Duke of Alva and his savage soldiery. The terrible lessons we have learnt from the fate of towns that have done so seem to have been burnt into our very hearts.

Zutphen and Naarden, where are they? Ah! what tales of sorrow those smoking ruins, that were all the soldiers left to mark the spots where busy and prosperous towns had stood, could tell. Beguiled by offers of pardon, they threw open their gates, received the soldiers willingly into their houses, and gave them in the way of food and drink of the best they had. How were they repaid? Every man, woman and child, even little babies were put to the sword. May God in His mercy save us from such a terrible fate. We can hardly hope to hear from father while the city is blockaded, but in some mysterious way our burgomaster received good news yesterday, news that seems to have given us fresh hope and courage. The prince appears to be on the road to recovery, and intends, as soon as possible, to come to our help.

Chapter 16.

The Defence of Leyden.

December 31st, 1574. The story of Leyden, its terrible siege and brave defence, will, mother says, form a never-to-be-forgotten page of history, and yet I do not think that I shall find it easy to write down even a few of the things that happened during the dark, anxious days the siege lasted, days that grew into weeks, and even months, while we watched and waited for the relief that seemed so long in coming.

When I wrote last the siege had lasted four days, and even then some fear was expressed that provisions would run short. During the two months that followed the repulse of the Spanish army by our brave troops, under the command of Count Louis, brother to the Prince of Orange, they had withdrawn themselves, and we, too, blindly hoped they would trouble us no more; but the brave count has fallen on the battlefield. At least we know that he is dead; whether he lies among the heaps of slain, or was drowned in attempting to cross the river, or perished in the burning into which, with horrible cruelty, Alva's soldiers drove the conquered, no one seems to know, but we believe that, whichever way it was, he met death like a true Christian and the brave soldier he was.

We were not so well supplied with stores of food as we should have been. Perhaps our relief at the absence of the Spanish was so great that we would not believe they were likely to come again. So we spoke hopefully, and tried to believe that, after their repulse under the command of Count Louis of Nassau, the Spaniards would raise the siege. But the Duke of Alva was a man of iron will; he had received royal commands to stamp out heresy, and if it was not done, it should not, he determined, be any fault of his. So with a larger army he again attacked our city, and cannon roared, and large, heavy guns poured out a constant volley of shot and shell. Our walls are, however, as strong as they were on the first day of the siege, and we hope, will remain in good condition for weeks to come; but the Spaniards have not been idle, and a circle of well guarded forts have grown up with what seems to us wonderful rapidity. Several times the principal citizens have been summoned by the burgomaster, and councils lasting several hours have been held, all, we were rejoiced to hear, being of one mind.

They will not listen to Alva's proposed conditions of peace, or enter into any treaty, knowing only too well that it would be made only to be broken, and that if our gates are once opened to the foe, fire and sword will follow, leaving only smoking ruins to tell their own sad story. There is just one gleam of hope in the knowledge that the soldiers are divided among themselves; it is nearly two years since they received any regular wages, and though when a victory is gained they are encouraged to plunder and spoil to their hearts' content, they are, we hear, getting restless and discontented, and have more than once broken out into open mutiny.

Early in June famine seemed almost to stare us in the face. The councillors were buying up all the food the town contains. Large stores of grain, meat and other foods are being carried to the public buildings, and daily rations given out: half a pound of meat with the same quantity of bread for each man, and less for women and children.

Small as the daily portion was, we noticed that Uncle Jacob ate only a very small part of his. Day after day he would insist upon sharing it with one or other of the orphans, and when we saw with tear-filled eyes how very thin he was, and tried to coax him into being just to himself, even if he could not so often indulge his love of giving, his gentle voice would answer, "Do not be anxious for me. My journey is almost ended. The children need the food more than I do; they may have many years of life before them; God is very good to me; I am not allowed to suffer from the keen gnawings of hunger. My strength is, I know, failing; before Leyden opens her gates to her long-looked-for deliverer, the Prince of Orange, I shall be safe home, 'where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.'" And so it was, for only a few days before the horrors of actual famine were upon us, with tender good-byes to us all, and the name of Jesus upon his lips, our dear old friend fell asleep. We felt his loss keenly, but for him all was, we knew, well. Like Stephen of old, "devout men carried him to his burial," and while the noise of war raged around our walls, we laid him in a quiet grave with words of faith and hope, and returned to our home sorrowing, but yet rejoicing.

Food supplies failed, day by day the allowance grew smaller, and then ceased altogether. Truyken and Freda did their very utmost to keep the hunger wolf from our door, and displayed great skill and patience in trying to make wholesome and even tempting food of all manner of unsavory scraps. Sometimes the children and I would go out in search of food, but long lines of trees from which every leaf had been plucked told us that we were too late others on the same errand had been before us; grass too was very scarce, our baskets were not half filled, when we turned our steps towards the churchyard, where a few nettles still grew among the graves. How eagerly we gathered them, how proudly we carried them home, yet not without some attempts to conceal our treasure, lest any one, perhaps more keenly pressed by hunger than ourselves, should rob us of our prize.

Aunt Ursel proved herself a born nurse. Sometimes in the hospital, where her gentle touch and kind but firm manner did so much to relieve the wounded; sometimes on the ramparts, where, even though bullets were falling around her, she would carry water to the soldiers, or kneel to dress and bandage some gaping wound, never moving, till her work was done. There was so much to be done at home that I could not be spared very often, but now and then I was free to go with her to the hospital, so glad of any small service I could render. I read to the sick and wounded, now and then I wrote their letters to loved ones in village homes, or took messages to and from the hospital. We all began to feel the pressure of hunger. The few horses that had not died of hunger were killed, and for a few days we rejoiced in having a small allowance of horse-flesh served out to each person; but that did not last long, and the starving people ate cats, dogs and rats. To add to the horrors of siege and famine, plague broke out in our midst, and it was said that nearly twenty thousand people died. We grew almost used to the sight of the dying and the dead.

One afternoon as Aunt Ursel and I were leaving the hospital, passing down one of the poorest streets in the town, our attention was arrested by the crying of an infant, such a low, piteous wail; we felt as if we could not go on without trying to find out, if we could not do something soothe and comfort it. We knocked several times, but getting no reply we opened the door and went in. Never can I forget the sight; an infant of not more than a few months old lay upon the low but clean bed, tightly clasped in the arms of its dead mother. We thought at first she had died from the plague, but found afterwards that it was really from hunger. The infant, though very thin, appeared healthy; so having obtained permission of the proper authorities, we took it home till such time as it should be claimed by its relations, if it had any. But none came, and for more than six, months baby Matilde, as we call her, has been the pet of the entire household.

Twice or three times during the siege the prince was able, by the use of carrier pigeons, to send us letters, in one of which he asked if we could hold out for three months longer, by the end of which time he was almost sure of being able to come to our relief. "Three months!" what a long, weary time it seemed to look forward to, for we had only provisions enough to last four days. There was not much actual fighting all the time the siege lasted. Shots were fired at the walls, but the officers in command of the Spanish troops knew that we were very short of food, and as they thought it would be easy to starve us into surrender, made no attempt to force the gates.

General Francesco de Valdez, to whom the Duke of Alva, had entrusted the taking of Leyden, seemed at last to grow tired of waiting, and sent a flattering message to the citizens, in which he said that he quite admired the gallant way in which they had held the city, but begged them, in the name of King Philip, not to continue to suffer all the discomfort of having an army quartered just outside the walls. Would it not be better, he said, to open our gates, and accept a free pardon for having so long rebelled against the authority of our lawful sovereign, King Philip of Spain. A meeting of the principal citizens to consider his proposals was held. The answer they sent was short and to the point. Mother was able to get a copy of it: "The fowler plays sweet music on his pipe while he spreads his net for the birds."

Then they began to taunt us with being rat and cat eaters. The answer they got was, "While a dog barks or a cat mews within our walls, be sure we will not open our gates; and when the last is eaten, rather than surrender, every man will eat his own left arm, keeping the right hand still to hold his sword."

And so the weeks went on, weeks that seemed like months, or even years, and the prince did not come. We knew that he had been very ill, the army he had collected at such cost had broken up; still he had not given up the hope, of being able to come to our relief, and begged us to hold out a little longer.

Strange news reached us at last, though we hardly knew at first whether to be glad or sorry. The prince had collected another army, small, but brave; but as the Spaniards had four men to every one of his, and were in possession of sixty-two forts, all well garrisoned and supplied with large stores of arms and ammunition, the prince and his best generals were of one mind, namely, that it would be useless even to attempt to reach us by land; one hope and one only remained, to relieve us by water. But as Leyden lies fifteen miles from the sea this way of getting at us seemed at first sight almost, if not quite, impossible. It was certainly a remarkable idea, but the Prince of Orange is a remarkable man, and he believed that it was God who had given him the thought, and he trusted in Him for the needed wisdom and strength to enable him to carry it out. The country for miles round lay lower than the sea, and had really been won from it at great labour and expense by building dykes. Why not let the sea have the land once more, and give the prince and his followers a chance of coming to our help?

The Government gave him leave to cut through the dykes, saying it was better to ruin the country than to lose it; so the prince set to work to form "The Beggars of the Sea" into a fleet sufficient to man two hundred flat-bottomed boats, many of which were well laden with provisions, and then the work of cutting away the dykes began.

But all this took time, the Spanish army was still outside our walls, and we were starving. How slowly the days seemed to pass! How truly we felt that if God did not deliver us, no one, not even the prince, could.

Chapter 17.

The Relief of Leyden.

January 1st, 1575. On August 12th the burgomaster and citizens of Leyden received a letter from the Prince of Orange telling them how much pleasure the courageous way in which they had defended the town had given him, and begging them to hold out till he, with his fleet of flat-bottomed boats, could reach them. Their reply was, that there was only food enough in the town to last four days. When that was gone, nothing seemed before them but starvation.

The same evening another letter was brought in by one of those brave runners who all through the siege now and then, almost it seemed as if by a miracle, contrived to escape the fire of the Spaniards, in which the prince told us that the dykes were cut through, and the water was slowly but he hoped steadily spreading over the land. The news seemed almost too good to be true, but William of Orange had never given us occasion to doubt his word, and for a little while we were almost beside ourselves with rejoicing. Flags waved from the roofs of public buildings, and many of the private houses were decorated, as if in readiness to welcome the long-looked-for deliverer. Bands of music processioned the streets. How the Spaniards must have wondered what it all meant!

But the longed-for relief did not reach us till October 3rd, and the weeks that lay between were very dreary and sad ones. When I try to remember how we lived through them I find I cannot; their story seems like some troubled dream. Many, very many died from hunger, and the plague carried off still greater numbers. Two of our little family of orphans died, not exactly from hunger, thank God; but our blue-eyed Freda and her little brother Casper had always been delicate children, and could not endure privation so well as the stronger ones. We loved and missed them, but we could not sorrow, for we knew they had both early learned to love the precious Saviour, and it was sweet and restful to think of them as safe with Him, whose kingdom is of such. We were all starving, and there were two less to suffer.

But why did not the prince come? Most afternoons I went to the hospital with Aunt Ursel, and after having done what little we could (and it seemed so little when we had no food to give the poor famine-stricken patients) we went to the watch-tower in the centre of the city, said to have been an old Roman fortress, and from its guard-room we were able to see for miles over the country. Yes, the dykes had been pierced, thousands of acres of land were ruined; but only a few inches of water covered them, the Spanish army was still outside our walls, and the prince, who had risked and suffered so much to help us, was still fourteen miles off, and there seemed but little prospect of his being able to reach us.

Hope and courage seemed once more to die down in our hearts. The citizens sent an urgent appeal to the Government, asking if nothing could be done to help them? Had Leyden been forgotten in the hour of her utmost need? The reply, which will, I believe, be written in "The History of the Dutch Republic," was, "Rather will we see our whole land and all our possessions perish in the waves than forsake thee, Leyden. We know full well, moreover, that with Leyden all Holland must perish."

The electors would have helped us if they could, but the Spanish army had a complete circle of forts round the city, and though other cities gave large stores of food for our relief, there seemed no way by which these gifts could reach us. All this time very little fighting went on. The soldiers who remained in the city were so enfeebled by hunger and disease that there was not the shadow of a hope that they would be able to force a passage through Alva's well-fed, well-disciplined troops; and the generals in command of his army seemed so sure that hunger would compel us to open our gates, they seemed content to wait. From time to time conditions of peace were proposed, and offers of pardon made, if we would surrender. But we could not forget the terrible lessons we had learnt from the way in which they had broken faith with all who had trusted their fair promises; and though some in our midst talked more or less openly of surrender, and even went so far as to say that even if the prince had intended to come to us, he must have seen how impossible such an undertaking was, and given it up as hopeless, most of us still felt we would much rather die from hunger than fall into the hands of the Spaniards.

Some said the water would never rise to a sufficient height to float a fleet of boats; but mother and Aunt Ursel and I believed it would, for we remembered how of old God made a passage through the Red Sea for the children of Israel, and was it not as easy for Him to cause the sea to cover the dry land?

All through "The Sea Beggars" did valuable work, not only in cutting through the dykes, sometimes under heavy fire, but in driving off the Spaniards, who tried in every way to hinder their progress. Sometimes the water rose high enough to allow the boats to make some progress, but a sudden change of wind drove them back again to the sea, and more than once the boats were stranded in a few inches of water.

Admiral Boisot, who was in command of the prince's fleet, was very hopeful that in a few days at most he would be able to reach Leyden, but again for more than a week the boats lay in shallow water, unable to proceed. For some days we had noticed how rapidly Truyken's strength seemed to be failing. Sunken eyes and hollow cheeks were far too common to attract much notice, but one morning we found her unable to rise, and almost too feeble to speak; but when we tried to coax her with a morsel of food a neighbour had given us, she opened her eyes, and whispered faintly, "Let me die, for now I can no longer serve you; the trees are leafless, and there is not a single nettle left in the churchyard. I could not, dare not let you even guess where or how I obtained the untempting food I have cooked for you during the last few days; I am one more to feed, I can only be a drag upon you, it is better for you I should be gone. You will not forget how I have loved you all; but you need not grieve for me, I have trusted my soul to your Saviour, and I know whom I have believed; He will not cast me out." I noticed that she was not wearing her silver relic-box; she must have read my question in my face, for she said, "Oh! Mayken, when you were quite a tiny child, I intended to leave my relic to you as the most precious possession I had, but it went weeks ago, I sold it for two handfuls of bran. But I do not want it, I do not value it now."

We tried to soothe our faithful old friend, and moistened her parched lips with a little wine; for, strange to say, our wine held out long after every morsel of food was gone. At last mother said, "Mayken and I will go to the burgomaster's house. He may have received news of the prince, or even have a little food to give us." We begged Truyken to lie still till our return, but she only moaned, and did not answer us.

We went; a corpse lay just outside his door; but we were so used to sights of horror that we hardly noticed it. He was not at home, but we were told that there had been a tumult among the people, and he had gone to the market-square to try what could be done to restrain the few who, having lost heart and hope, talked of taking forcible possession of the keys of the city and opening the gates to the Spaniards. The corpse, we learned afterwards, had been placed outside his door on purpose to reproach him with being the cause of the misery. We followed him. He was standing upon a raised platform, from which public notices were read.

One glance at his face told its own story. He was painfully thin, he had not suffered less from hunger than any of the famished crowd around him, but there was a look of deep peace upon his brow, and a light in his eyes that all the misery could not quench. At first all we heard was a confused murmur of sounds, it seemed as if every one was speaking, and no one listening. But waving his broad burgomaster's hat, Adrian von der Werf commanded silence; then a hush fell upon the crowd, and though his voice was thin with hunger, its tones were clear and firm.

"What would you, my friends?" he said, "Why do you murmur that we do not break our vows, and surrender our city to the Spaniards, a fate more horrible than the agony she now endures? I tell you I have made a vow to hold the city, and I pray God to give me strength to keep it. I can die but once, whether by your hands, the enemy's or by the hand of God. My own life is indifferent to me, but not so that of the city entrusted to my care. I know we must soon starve if not relieved, but starvation is better than the dishonoured death, which is our only choice. Here is my sword, plunge it into my body, and divide my flesh among you. Take my body to appease your hunger, but expect no surrender while I remain alive."

His brave words seemed to put new courage into the hearts of all who heard them, and with voices broken by sobs the crowd promised, by God's help, to be faithful to him and to the city. When all had dispersed, mother and I told our sad story. Tears were in his eyes as he listened, then he said, "There will be meat to-morrow. The two cows that have so far been kept alive to supply the infants with milk are to be killed this evening. Come to my house, I can give you a few drops of milk. It is the last you will get, but it may revive your faithful servant; to-morrow I will see you have your share of meat." We hurried home with a small jug holding barely half a pint of milk, but the room where we had left Truyken was empty. We called and searched for her everywhere, but she was nowhere to be found, and to add to our trouble and surprise Aunt Freda was gone also.

The next time we went to the watchtower we found a crowd there before us, and in the distance, perhaps not more than five miles away, we could plainly see the flash of powder and hear the sullen roar of guns. "They are gaining ground," said the onlookers, "they will soon be here, but fighting is going on; they are having to force their passage."

On the 28th September a carrier pigeon brought a letter to the burgomaster from the admiral, saying that the fleet was making every effort to reach Leyden, and he hoped in a day or two at the most to be his guest. The burgomaster ordered the church bells to pour out a joyous peal, but there were no flags or bands this time. On the following day the water was again sinking, and the fleet, though in sight, unable to reach us.

On October 1st a carrier pigeon brought in another letter from the admiral. Nothing now remained between the famishing city and food but one Spanish fort, only two hundred and fifty yards from our gates. All through the night a strong north-east wind was blowing, piling up the water in the remaining dykes, and reminding us of the gale that had swept away Jacob Anderzon's farm; then it changed suddenly to the south-west, and blew the piled-up waters over the land. God had surely fought for us. All through the night we saw lights gliding backwards and forwards upon the waters, and with a terrible crash part of the city wall fell. Early in the morning the prince's fleet sailed under the very cannon of the fort, but not a shot was fired; and then we learnt the truth, the enemy had taken fright and fled in hopeless terror and confusion, and soon the flag of Holland was waving on its ramparts. The ships sailed under the walls of the city and the sailors seemed unable to wait until they could land, but threw food from the ships to the starving people on the land. In a short time the stores of food were carried to the public buildings, and in perfect order distributed among the citizens. Oh, how we thanked God for bread! We who had said grace over a dish of nettles, and often been unable to find even such poor food!

Chapter 18.

"Joy-Bells" Ringing.

January 15th, 1575. Food for the famishing! Loaves of pure, wholesome bread and only an hour before we had been thankful if a few crumbs fell to our share. It is really true, though at first, from very gladness, we could hardly believe that the Spanish soldiers had either been killed or fled in terror and confusion. Leyden was delivered, and though many were too weak from hunger to say more than "Thank God" a praise-song seemed to be making music in every heart.

Aunt Ursel was recovering, though very slowly, from an attack of famine fever.

All through the long, weary months during which the siege lasted she had worked far beyond her strength in the hospitals and upon the ramparts, and many, I believe, have thanked God not only for her skilful nursing, but for "words fitly spoken" with regard to their eternal interests.

But amid all the joy mother and I were restless and unsatisfied. Though we went from group to group of the Zetland sailors who had manned the prince's fleet, and often stopped to ask questions, father had not come to us, and we could hear no tidings of him. We knew that his first thought and care would be of and for us, but how and where should we find each other? The streets were thronged with happy, excited people, and for a few moments we stood still, uncertain which way to go.

"Let us ask God to guide us, Mayken," mother whispered softly, and I am sure that an earnest if a voiceless prayer went up from the hearts of both. Then like a flash came the thought that father would seek us in the house where we had last met and parted. It was only a heap of blackened ruins, having shared the fate of many of its neighbours: a shell falling upon its roof had set it on fire, and only the walls were standing; but he could not know that, so we made the best of our way thither.

But father was there before us, and I will not attempt to describe the joy of that meeting. At first mother seemed almost overcome by the glad surprise, and we thought she had fainted, but father's arms supported her. I ran to a spring for water, and she soon opened her eyes and smiled, then lay her head upon his shoulder with a look of such deep content that I seem to see it even as I write. When we had taken a little food, and it had been impressed upon us that though there was food in abundance, we had all suffered so much from hunger, that those who did not for the first few days eat very sparingly were likely to be very ill, and might even die, we formed a procession, headed by our burgomaster and the admiral, and went to church to give thanks to almighty God for His great goodness in sending relief just when it was so sorely needed.

As we walked homewards, in passing down a poor street we heard something, we hardly knew what, but it sounded like a low moan, and seemed to come from what appeared to be the lower room of an empty house. We wondered afterwards that we had heard it at all, for the bells of all the churches in the town were pouring out such joyous peals. We stood still and listened. Mother said, "O Mark, let us go in! Perhaps in the general rejoicing some poor sick one has been forgotten, and I cannot bear to think when God has been so good to us, and we are so happy, that one whom we could help is alone, suffering and perhaps even dying from hunger."

We went in. The room was quite dark, and the moans had ceased, but when father said in his kind, cheery voice, "Is any one sick here? we are friends, so do not be afraid," we heard a faint cry, and in a moment the truth flashed upon us. Father struck a light, and we saw it was Truyken, our good, faithful Truyken. She was very weak, but joy seemed to give her strength, and she said feebly, "Now my prayers are answered. Oh! how much I have longed to see you all once more. I have nothing more to live for now, you must let me lie."

We were overjoyed, and said we must take her home, but at first she refused, saying, "No, let me die; I know you would all give me your last morsel, but I could not take what my mistress and Mayken need more than I do." We told her the days of famine were past, and no one needed to be hungry; then father, seeing she was too weak to talk, left us to watch her, while he went to find a conveyance. We took her home, and did all we could for her, but it was many days before it seemed possible she could recover; but slowly she began to recover, and after some weeks of careful nursing was able to tell us a little of what had happened during the time she had been away from us. Of her own sufferings and privations she said very little; how she had existed at all seemed little short of a miracle; Aunt Freda had been one of the first victims of the famine fever, but her death had been peaceful, and even happy.

The day after the relief the Prince of Orange himself entered Leyden, and if the citizens were too weak to cheer loudly, the welcome they gave him was not less loving and loyal. He appeared deeply touched by the sight of the long-continued suffering that met him everywhere; but he told us how pleased he was with the way in which we chose rather to suffer than surrender, and offered Leyden her choice, either to be always exempt from paying certain taxes, or to be made the seat of a University. It did not take the councillors and citizens long to decide upon the latter, and already the buildings are in progress, and it is expected that students will arrive from all parts of Holland, and perhaps from Germany and Bohemia.

The first day that Truyken was able to sit up in an easy chair, propped up by pillows, we all took our evening meal in her room, and father told us his intention of going to Antwerp for a few days, as he had some business there. Truyken listened with great attention, beckoned mother to her side and said, "Tell master to go to the old house, and dig underneath the seat where you and Mayken sat so often on summer evenings, the one beneath the linden trees I mean, and about a foot, or it may be a foot and a half deep he will find a tin box, and in that box safe and sound the books and papers the officers of the Inquisition had such a hunt for; it was almost more than I could do to keep from laughing, when leaving the house as they did by the side-door, they passed through the garden, and as nearly as possible walked over the very books they were under orders to seize. What a lot of trouble they took, and all to no purpose. How they did hunt! 'Upstairs and downstairs, and in my lady's chamber.' But those who hide know where to find." And Truyken laughed her old merry laugh, and looked and spoke more like the Truyken of former days than she had done for many months past.

"But, Truyken, how could you have known of their intended visit?" mother asked. For some moments Truyken did not reply; I thought she had not heard, or had failed to understand the question, and was about to repeat it, when, rousing herself, she said, "Is there not something in the Bible about casting bread on the waters, and finding it again after many days?" Without waiting for an answer, she continued, "Do you remember the widow Kusel, and how one winter when her children were all down with fever, you would not let me go, but day after day you went yourself to carry soup and other things you thought good for them; and how, when her little Carl died, you tried to comfort the poor mother. The family were, as you knew, Roman Catholics, but help was needed, and you did not hesitate to give it.

"Well, to make a long story short, the widow was grateful, and in a way none of us looked for found an opportunity of returning your kindness. After some years Andre, her eldest son, was taken into the service of the Inquisition, where his uncle was also employed. He did not like the work, but as you know times were bad and the pay helped to support the family. Andre heard the order given to search your house, though he was not one of the party told off for that purpose; in some way he contrived to let his mother know, and she at once made up her mind, at all risks, to give a friendly warning. But she dared not go to the house, as if seen it might have excited suspicion; she knew at about what hour I usually went to market, so she watched and waited for me; she could not speak plainly, but in broken sentences and mysterious hints, as we chatted with a market-woman over the price of cheese and butter, she made herself understood.

"But there was no time to be lost, as that very night the search was to be made. I prayed, as I think I had never prayed before, that God would help me, and shew me just where to hide the books. Before I reached home my plans were all made. The Frau Von Brock had not been well for some days, and you and Mayken were, as I knew, going to see her; so far, all was well; before you had left the house an hour I had collected the books and papers, but I dared not begin to dig till after dark. I do not remember a day in my life that seemed to pass so slowly as that afternoon, my fear being that the officers would arrive before I could complete my task. The shadows fell at last; I was afraid even to let the sound of digging be heard; but with the help of a stout piece of wood and my hands I was able to complete my task only a few minutes before your return. The search-party was in the house an hour later."

"And did not the freshly-turned earth excite any suspicion?" mother asked. "Was no notice taken of it?" "Night," said Truyken, "is the time they usually choose for their deeds of darkness, for I know full well that very few of them would bear the light; but the linden trees had shed their leaves, and I took care to strew the ground pretty thickly with them."

"But the secret spring and the sliding panel in the best bedroom?" mother said, with a tremble in her voice that told me tears were not very far away. Truyken smiled as she answered, "Dear heart, Truyken knew every hole and corner in that old house long before you ever set foot inside it. More than once the Karlzons have hidden money and other valuables just where you hid your Bible and the writings of Master Martin Luther, about whom I never believed half the wicked things that were said."

"Dear, good, faithful friend," said my father, who had entered the room while Truyken was speaking, "how can we thank you as we would? But the risk to yourself was very great. Had the officers arrived only an hour earlier, and found you in the very act of trying to hide forbidden books, you would have been made their prisoner, and I do not know but that the Inquisitors might have considered it a crime worthy of being punished with death."

"Do you suppose I did not know as much?" Truyken said very quietly, "But I remembered that I had heard you read in your Bible that Christ laid down His life for His enemies, for the very people who hated Him, and wished Him to be crucified, you said it was; I only risked mine, and it was for those I loved better than my life, so small thanks to me for doing just what I chose to do.

"Well, I am glad there is no Inquisition in Holland now; it seemed to hang like a dark cloud over the land, and I believe the Roman Catholics were as heartily tired of it as the Protestants were."

We all share Truyken's gladness, for Philip of Spain is no longer ruler of the Low Countries, and with the withdrawal of the Spanish army, the terrible Inquisition went too, and a praise-song is in every heart.

Chapter 19.

Henry of Navarre.

June 1st, 1575. Several matters of business detained my dear father in Antwerp longer than he or we expected; but he came at last, bringing the recovered books which, thanks to Truyken's care in packing, have suffered very little from damp or mildew. I cannot find words to express our joy at having once more a whole Bible, larger and in better condition than the one dear old Jacob Anderzon loved and studied so well, and many of the writings of Master Martin Luther. And we may now read them openly, and in broad daylight, for Holland is free. The power of the terrible Inquisition is broken, and the haughty Philip of Spain is no longer master of the Netherlands. All that we suffered during the siege of Leyden seems but little when we think of the great joy that is now ours. No one is compelled to attend mass, and great numbers, who had not openly declared themselves on the side of the reformed faith, have given up doing so, and attend service in the Protestant churches; while hardly a week passes without some pastor, who had been obliged to fly from the country to escape arrest, being welcomed back by his old friends.

Father did not return alone, and though mother was in the secret, I did not even guess at the delightful surprise he was going to give me. He brought with him my old friend and playmate, Paul von Brook, still lame, but a tall, blue-eyed youth of eighteen. He is to be one of the first students in the University, the walls of which are rising, and our home will be his; for he has lost both parents. Soon after we left Antwerp, his father was arrested on the charge of heresy, and died in prison only a few hours before the time on which his trial before the court of the Inquisition was to have taken place. His widow, who had never been strong, drooped and died, the neighbours said from grief, in less than three months after the death of her husband. Paul was quite alone in the world, but his youth and friendlessness touched the heart of a merchant, who was, though at the time secretly, a friend to the reformed faith, and he gave Paul some light employment in his counting-house, and though more than once he himself stood in danger of arrest for having dared to give shelter to the son of a heretic, he would send Paul into the country for a few weeks, and when the storm had blown over, Paul was again at his old desk in the office.

He is more ardently attached to the reformed faith than ever, and is delighted at the prospect of being able to study under the professors who are expected to hold classes and give lectures in the University, as his great desire is to become a pastor; though sometimes I think he would have chosen the work of a colporteur, his lameness would render it almost impossible for him to take the long journeys over moors and mountains that fall to the lot of these brave and faithful men.

I must not forget to write down something else over which we all rejoice greatly. Father will remain with us in Leyden, as the prince has appointed him steward to the new University; and we are already looking forward to the time when, as we hope, in the long evenings, little knots of students will assemble in our house to read and study the word of God.

During the long and dangerous illness of the prince, father was sent as the bearer of important despatches into France, where he remained for some weeks in the suite of Prince Henry of Navarre, and learnt so much about the boyhood of the brave young nobleman, that Paul and I feel almost as if we ourselves knew and loved him. He is at present the leader of the Protestant party in France; and it is not unlikely that one day he will occupy the throne. Great things are hoped from him; but father fears that some at least of his friends will be bitterly disappointed. The young prince is a brave soldier, and has much in his natural disposition to win affection and command respect; but his desire to please, and to be on the best of terms with every one, may lead him into slippery places.

He was the third son of Antoine and Jeanne de Bourbon; the two baby princes who had preceded him had both died before reaching the age of two years; the firstborn had been given into the care of a middle-aged lady of good family, whose one great fear appears to have been that her little charge should "catch cold." Large fires were kept burning by night and day in the royal nurseries; the windows were seldom if ever opened; and even on a bright summer's day it was not thought safe to take the baby into the fresh air; so the little prince grew paler and weaker, till at last he drooped and died, like some sickly hothouse plant.

The second son might have fared better, but was killed through the carelessness of a nurse, who let him fall down a steep flight of stairs. Their grandfather, King Henry of Bearn and Navarre, was disappointed, as he began to fear there would be no male heir to his throne, so he got his daughter Jeanne, who had been married to a prince of the house of Bourbon, to promise that if she had a third son, she would allow him to have the child brought up as he thought best. So when in 1553 the infant Prince Henry was born, his grandfather claimed him when only a few hours old, and lifting him in his arms rubbed the baby's lips with a clove of garlic; then gave him a drop of wine from a golden cup, saying as he did so, "There, thou shalt be a true Bearnais." This, father says, was an old custom common in France, and supposed to make the little prince strong and healthy.

The nurse chosen for him was not a high-born lady, but a sturdy peasant woman, who was ordered by his grandfather to take him to her own home among the mountains, and bring him up as simply as she would had he been her own child. And so the little Henry of Navarre grew from a delicate baby into a bonny, healthy boy. "He had," says an old writer, "few toys, and no flattery, but his childhood was a very happy one; he was allowed to run about all day among the mountains, bareheaded and barefooted, his friends and playfellows were the peasant children around, and he shared all the fun and frolic of the village boys."

When Henry was little more than two years old, his grandfather died, and his father, under the title of King Antoine, succeeded in right of his wife to the throne of Navarre. At that time a great struggle was going on between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants, who were gaining both in numbers and influence. King Antoine was looked up to as a leader among the Huguenots, as the French Protestants are called. His wife, a lady of great ability and noble character, seemed for a time uncertain which were in the right. But if she did not grasp the truth quickly, when once received, she held it firmly, and after a time became one of the most ardent and devoted friends of the Reformation. But as the wife went forward, the husband went backward; his old Roman Catholic friends were very anxious to have him on their side, and spared neither bribes nor flattery. In the end they succeeded only too well; he first grew lukewarm, then openly went over to the Roman Catholics; he tried in every way to induce his wife, the Queen of Navarre, to go to mass with him, and when she refused tried by threats and even blows to force her to do so; but she stood firmly; for with her it was a question of loyalty to Christ.

As Henry grew older his mother was able sometimes to have him with her, and the affection between mother and son was very strong. The boy was devoted to his mother, and she not only took great pains with his education, but lost no opportunity of teaching him the truths she had learned to love.

On one occasion the boy was present when his father was trying by force to compel his wife to attend mass; he sprang to his mother's side, and tried to defend her from the cruelty of her husband. King Antoine was very angry, and commanded Henry's tutor to give him a sound whip- ping; but it did not shake the boy's loyalty to his mother. It was a sad day for both when Henry's father decided he should be sent to France, to be educated with his cousins, the Dukes of Guise. They parted with tears, and Henry promised his mother he would never forget what she had taught him, and that he would refuse to attend mass, a promise which the poor boy must have found very hard to keep; he loved his mother dearly and wished to do what would please her, but with him it was his mother's God, his mother's faith, not his own.

It was a gay, pleasure-loving court in which the young prince found himself. Every day he saw and heard things of which he knew his mother would disapprove. The young king of France, Charles IXth, was a youth of thirteen,* and his mother, the haughty and cruel Catherine de Medici, had things very much her own way. Like every one else she took a fancy to the bright, fearless little prince, of whom even his cousins found it hard to be jealous, he was so kind and generous, so ready to please and be pleased.

{* French sovereigns were considered to be of age at thirteen.}

King Antoine died in 1562, and his mother paid a visit to the French court, in the hope that her boy would be allowed to return to her and grow up under her care. But she was coldly received, and Catherine flatly refused to give the boy up, and so she had to return alone.

Soon after the Court paid a visit to Bayonne on the borders of Spain. Balls, shows and amusements of all kinds were provided, but a great deal of plotting was going on. The Queen Mother, as Catherine was called, held long interviews with the Duke of Alva. No statesmen or counsellors were present, but Henry, then a boy of eleven, was allowed to run in and out as he pleased; no one thought he would listen or understand, but he did both, for his quick ear had caught the word "Huguenots," and he knew they were his mother's people. He heard the duke say, "We must kill the heretics; kill them all. No one who has ever held that religion ought to be left alive."

These talks were the foreshadowings of the terrible massacre of St. Bartholomew's, which a few years later filled all Europe with such horror. The bright, quick-witted young prince understood enough to know that his mother and her chosen friends were in danger, for were they not all Huguenots? Going to one of the Protestant gentlemen about the court, the boy told him what he had heard; a letter of warning written in cypher was sent to the Queen of Navarre, and though the courage and presence of mind of her little son did not prevent the murder of thousands of French Protestants, there is no room for doubt that it was delayed by the Protestant leaders having been put on their guard.

Chapter 20.

The Nun of Jourre

September 17th 1575. Father only returned home a fortnight ago, after an absence of nearly three months. He has been again in close, almost daily attendance on the Prince of Orange; he
received a summons to join the prince at Heidelberg in Germany, where, for more than a year, Charlotte de Bourbon, the lady who is now Princess of Orange, has been the loved and honoured guest of more than one Protestant family. The letter father received was in the prince's own handwriting. It was, he said, only right that one who had so bravely shared with him the hardships and dangers of the battlefield should share his joy in being the accepted suitor of one who had, he believed, been trained by God in the school of sorrow, and so fitted to adorn the high position to which He has now called her. They were married on the 10th June.

The life-story of the lady William of Orange has made his wife, but who, not so very long ago, was Nun and even Abbess of Jourre, is indeed a strange and eventful one; I will write down as much of it as I can remember.

Charlotte de Bourbon was the second daughter of the Duke of Montpensier, and so nearly related to the reigning house of France. Her mother, whose eyes had been opened to see the errors of popery, was warmly attached to the reformed faith. Her father, a proud and stern man, was a Romanist; during the wars in which France was so often engaged his property had become reduced, and, as he said, he could only afford to give one of his daughters a marriage portion suitable to his rank. His choice fell upon the elder, and he determined that Charlotte should spend her life within the walls of the nunnery of Jourre, a small town in Normandy.

Charlotte had at that time no desire to become a nun, and shed many tears when informed of her father's decision; but the sorrow of her pious and gentle mother was far deeper, as it sprang from the knowledge that her much-loved child would, besides being taught many things contrary to the word of God, be surrounded by the superstitions from which she herself had been delivered. By every means in her power she tried to induce her husband to change his mind, but in vain; the only favour she could obtain was a promise that Charlotte should be allowed to remain under her care till she was thirteen years of age.

This was, she felt, her God-given opportunity, and she set herself in faith and prayer to make the best possible use of it. Spending several hours each day alone with her daughter in her private apartments, she instructed her in the truths of salvation, taking great care to store her mind and memory with passages from the word of God. Charlotte promised to try and remember all that her mother had taught her, and they often wept and prayed together. The days passed all too quickly, and the time came when Charlotte must enter the convent; her father announced his intention of himself taking her to Jourre.

The parting between mother and daughter was a very sad one; with tear-filled eyes the lady of the castle watched the departure of her beloved child. Would she ever see her again on earth? Perhaps not, for as she was well known to be a Protestant, she might be forbidden to cross the threshold of the convent, and even if allowed to enter its reception room, she could not hope to see her daughter more than once, or at the most twice a year, and could only speak to her through an iron grating, and in the presence of others; while Charlotte, she knew, would not be permitted to write or receive any letters except such as were approved by the Superior.

I do not know very much about convent life, but mother says it is a strange, gloomy system for which there is no authority in the word of God, though she believes that in many cases monks and nuns have taken the vows with a real desire to serve God. Master Martin Luther was at one time himself a monk, but finding as he did in the library of that old convent a copy of a Latin Bible, light from God shone into his soul, and he went forth in more ways than one a free man, free to speak of the One who had saved him, and to give not only the people of Germany, but father believes through them many other lands, Bibles in the language of the common people.

Nuns spend a great deal of their time repeating Latin prayers. They make a vow or solemn promise always and in all, things to obey one of their number who is chosen to rule over each house, and is called the abbess, or Lady Superior. They also take what is called "the vow of poverty," that is, that though the order to which they belong may be very rich, no nun can have anything, not even a thimble or a book of her very own, all belongs to the order.

But I am forgetting Charlotte de Bourbon and her story. Soon after entering the nunnery she became a novice, or one who intends, or is intended to become a nun. Then came the day of her profession, a day, there is little doubt, spent by her mother in tears and prayers. Her long, beautiful hair was cut off, and she was dressed, according to the rule of the order, in a loose gown of coarse serge, tied round her waist by a cord. She was required to walk barefoot, and with downcast eyes, through the stone-paved halls and passages of the convent, and had to submit to many hard and trying things.

At first she really wished and tried to remember the teachings of her pious mother, but she was very young, and every means was used to lead her to forget that salvation by faith in Christ is the free gift of God; she was told that her own sufferings were pleasing to God and were merits by which she might hope to enter heaven. At last she fell into the snare, and was one of the most zealous of the sisterhood. She fasted very often, slept at night on the stone floor of her cell, and spent many hours kneeling either before a crucifix or image of Christ upon the cross, or a picture of the Virgin Mary. She was much looked up to by the other nuns, and after some years was chosen to fill the position of Lady Abbess. Her mother had fallen asleep in Christ, and for a time her teachings seemed to have been almost, if not quite, forgotten. She really wished to set a good example to the nuns under her charge, and the nunnery of Jourre became famous throughout France.

But a mother's prayers were remembered by God, and He was about to answer them in His own time and way. No one seemed to know exactly how light came into that convent, but it came through Protestant books; they were read by the abbess, and also some of her nuns; and as she read the memory of all she had heard from her mother seemed to revive in her memory. Again she seemed to hear that loved voice pleading with God for the salvation of the child so soon to be parted from her. She saw clearly that her own so-called good works could not earn or buy salvation. She must receive it, as her mother had done, as the free gift of God. Very simply she accepted Christ as her Saviour and peace filled her soul. The life she was living as Abbess of Jourre became distasteful to her. She was not really free to worship God according to the teaching of His word, and she was, she felt, leading others in a path of error. Was there no way of escape? She prayed and waited, and in a way she did not expect God opened the doors of the convent that had become to her little better than a prison-house.

In the year 1572 the noise of war raged round that quiet convent. While many of the nuns sought the protection of their favourite saints, Charlotte de Bourbon prayed to the living God. The soldiers came nearer and nearer, calling upon the nuns to open the gates; this, however, they were afraid to do, so they were broken open, and the nuns fled in terror, spending the night in the woods. But Charlotte was free, and she resolved that all the powers of Rome should not again imprison her within convent walls. There would, she knew, be many dangers in an attempt to quit France, but she was willing to brave them all for liberty to worship God in the way she saw to be right; and the God in whom she trusted not only guided her steps, but in a remarkable way raised up friends to assist her in her flight.

Dressed as a peasant woman going to market, she fled through part of France, often walking during the hours of darkness, and hiding in the woods till after sunset; more than once she narrowly escaped being taken prisoner by a party of soldiers, who had been sent out to search for her, and before reaching the frontier she was obliged to change her disguise; but after many dangers, tired and footsore, she reached Heidelberg in Germany, where she found christian friends, who gave her a cordial welcome, and were able to protect her from the Romish priests, who were very angry that a daughter of the noble house of Bourbon, who had herself been the Lady Abbess of Jourre, should cast in her lot with the despised Protestants.

Disguises were now no longer necessary; Charlotte de Bourbon openly united with the little company of Christians who, like herself, had found a temporary asylum in the old German town, and used every opportunity of becoming better instructed in the word of God. Humble and gentle, she soon endeared herself to many; the Prince of Orange, hearing her story, became greatly interested; personal acquaintance only strengthened the high opinion he had formed of her, and he made her an offer of marriage, which she accepted; and we are all so glad that after so many stormy and sorrowful years, spent as they have been in the cause of truth and freedom, he should have a prospect of domestic happiness, for father believed that his choice had fallen upon one in every way worthy of him, and we trust that her example, both as a Christian and a wife, will be a real help to the women of the Netherlands, but perhaps most of all an encouragement to mothers wherever her story is read or told.

[I should like to add a few lines to Mayken's story, as it will, I believe, not be without interest to know that the present sovereign of Great Britain, King George V., traces his descent in a direct line from Charlotte de Bourbon, Princess of Orange. Her daughter Louisa was the wife of the Elector Palatine of the Rhine, Frederick IV., and grandmother to Sophia, Duchess of Brunswick, who was the mother of George I. of England, whose great grandson, the Duke of Kent, was the grandfather of his late Majesty King Edward VII.]

Chapter 21.

Among the Heather.

January 6th, 1580. The MS. book father gave me on my twelfth birthday was filled long ago. Its brown leather covers are faded and stained with the waves that so often threatened to swamp our little boat on the never-to-be-forgotten night when dear old Jacob Anderzon's farm was swept away by the terrible flood that followed the bursting of the dykes; more than one ink-blot disfigures its pages, but he says I am not to destroy it, as the account I have given of the siege of Leyden is really a page of the history of the "Dutch Republic," so he wishes me not to destroy it and as on New Year's morning I found a new and much larger MS. volume upon my dressing-table, I think I will begin at once to write down some of the events of the last five years, for though many changes have taken place, we, as a family, have proved again and again that "the Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him." (Nahum 1:7.)

The Prince of Orange has proved himself worthy of the affection and confidence of the people over whom for the last five years he has ruled so well and wisely. Father, who knows him in both his public and private life, always speaks of him as a man whose one great desire appears to be to do the will of God. He cares little for worldly honours, and though he never wishes to give offence, is not easily turned from a purpose when once formed by the praise or blame of others. His marriage with Charlotte de Bourbon proved a very happy one, but his life is still a strange and stormy one; several attempts to shoot or stab him have been made, the last being nearly successful, when a ball fired at him by a would-be assassin entered his cheek, coming out in the lower jaw, and carrying away two teeth in its passage. For many weeks he lay between life and death, nursed with unwearied tenderness and devotion by his wife, who could hardly be persuaded to leave his side to take the rest she so greatly needed.

In answer, as we believe, to a nation's prayers, his life was spared, and he began, though at first very slowly, to recover; but in the midst of our rejoicings came an afterclap of sorrow; we were shocked and grieved at hearing that his faithful wife, worn out with anxiety and watching, had taken a fever, from which she was too weak to rally, and before her husband was able to resume his public duties, she calmly fell asleep in Jesus. The sorrow of the prince was very deep and lasting, but it was, he said, "the will of God," and he must not, dared not, repine.

Now I must record some of the Lord's gracious dealings with my loved home circle. Mother, my patient, gentle mother is far from strong. We think the long strain of the siege of Leyden, and the privations from which we all suffered, told greatly upon her health, for she has never seemed quite the same since; she never complains, and will not own to not being well; only last week we all noticed how pale and thin she was looking, and father pressed her to see a doctor, but she said with her old smile, "O Mark, why should I give the doctor needless trouble when there are so many sick people for him to look after? I am not ill, only tired."

I am so glad that my being still at home relieves her of nearly all the burden of household cares. She is, if possible, more unselfish than ever; and though sometimes when I look at her pale face and think how empty our home would be without her, a dull pain seems to go through my heart, I am learning, I trust, to cast even this care upon the "Burden Bearer." Truyken is still with us; she is feeling the weight of years, and is not so active as she was, even a few years ago. With all the strength of her warm, loving nature, she has turned away from Rome and its teachings; for "how," she asks, "can a tree be good whose fruit was the terrible Inquisition?" Nearly three years ago she united with the little company of Christians here; she has lost much of her old sharpness of manner, and it is encouraging to watch her growth in grace.

Father is still engaged acting for the prince as steward or secretary of the University. The number of students who attended its opening session was greater than we had even dared to hope. They came from all parts of the Netherlands, Bohemia and Germany. Several of the professors, and nearly half of the students, are openly attached to the reformed faith; and for such our house has all along been a gathering place, many happy hours having been spent in Bible study. How wonderful it seems to us to be allowed to read our Bibles openly, and even in broad daylight! we who so long read them with closed shutters, and kept them in strange hiding-places. But I must not forget my old playfellow, Paul von Brock. He decided to study medicine, for, as he said, few doors were closed to a doctor. His services would be needed alike in the castle and the cottage, and in each, he believed, God would give him opportunity of witnessing for Christ.

He worked hard, and during a four years' course of study won several college honours, and nearly two years ago sailed for Scotland, where, he said, God would give him an open door, not only in the practice of his profession, but in making known the glad tidings of the gospel among the students who thronged the Scottish capital. The seed-sowing must, we all knew, be a very quiet work, for there is no religious liberty in Scotland, and the Inquisition has a good deal of power; still, as he believed God was directing him there, we dared not urge him to stay with us.

It seems almost too good to be true, but only a few months ago I paid a visit to the land of the heather such a happy visit! I was away from home nearly six weeks, accompanied and attended by Truyken, as it was not thought safe for me to travel alone. We were the guests of a Bohemian merchant, Herr von Velt, and his sister, the Frau Dorotha Richer. They have been such true and faithful friends to Paul, and it came about in a somewhat remarkable way.

Herr von Velt has been for some years a widower, with one little girl, Elspeth, a sweet little maiden of eight, who won my heart completely. Soon after his arrival in Edinburgh Paul was called in to attend the child, who was ill with a mild form of fever. She was very restless and appeared excited. As Paul took her hand in his to feel her pulse, she said, fixing her large, bright eyes on his face, "You will not tell me to say my prayers to the Virgin Mary, will you? Liza does, but I tell her No, I will only say them to the good Jesus, He loves the little children.'"

"The poor child is wandering; the fever was very high this morning," said her aunt, looking somewhat anxiously at the doctor. "Would to God we were all in our right minds, as this dear child now is," replied Paul. The merchant, who had been listening unobserved, now came forward, and grasping Paul's hand warmly, said, "If I mistake not, we are brothers in the faith." From that moment they were firm friends. Persecution had driven him from Bohemia; business had detained him in Scotland, and though it was dangerous to meet openly, many a little knot of Christians often met for reading and prayer after nightfall at his house, arriving and leaving singly to avoid notice. At these little gatherings Paul, with one or two of the students who were, he believed, interested in the truth, was often able to be present.

Herr von Velt had much to tell us of the sufferings of the Christians in Bohemia. I had often heard the names of John Huss, and Jerome of Prague, and though I knew that they led its noble army of martyrs, he told me their stories at far greater length than I had ever heard them, repeating the remarkable words John Huss is said to have uttered at the stake. "You may burn the goose (the name Huss means goose in the language of Bohemia), but within a hundred years God will raise up a swan you will not be able to burn."

It must have been a vision of things to come such as God sometimes grants to the dying, for though Master Martin Luther has many enemies, he still goes on with his work of preaching, writing and translating, work in which he is not alone, for God has given him a band of helpers who in Holland, England and Germany are busy translating not only the scriptures, but the writings of the Reformers, into the language of the people of these countries.

One of Paul's patients was a poor widow woman, Anne Kerr. He found her in a very poor cottage, little better than a hut, and seeing she was very ill, and hardly likely to recover, asked her if she was afraid to meet God? Almost to his surprise she replied "No," and went on to tell him that she was trusting in the precious blood of Christ. Four years ago she had heard one of God's faithful servants preach at the Market Cross; gladly she had drunk in the truth that salvation was by faith alone, and longed to know more.

But the next thing she heard was that the preacher was thrown into prison, and soon after that he had been tried by the Inquisition and sentenced to be burnt alive on the charge of heresy. She could not get near enough to hear his dying words, but she saw his calm and even cheerful bearing, and went to her poor home feeling sure that by his words God had wrought a work in her soul. She had not had courage openly to break with Rome, but when asked by the priest why she did not attend mass, replied that, being very poor, she helped to support her family by acting as a sick-nurse among her neighbours, and not knowing when her services might be called for, seldom left her cottage. When on her sick-bed, it was a source of bitter grief to her that she had not told the whole truth, and so been more faithful to Christ.

Chapter 22.

More About the Huguenots.

October 17th, 1580. Mother sometimes says we have not many bright days in Holland; that our skies are often dull and overcast for days together, and cold winds from the north bring winter early. I think she misses the glorious sunshine and the scent-laden breezes of her girlhood's home in Spain. But to me it seems as if the sun was always shining; we are so happy, not only in our family circle, but in seeing everywhere tokens of the loving-kindness of the Lord. The University is making itself a felt power for good throughout the land; the number of students who have openly confessed Christ is larger this year than it has ever been and several who have finished their studies and returned to their homes as doctors, lawyers, or pastors of Reformed Churches, are doing splendid work for the Master they love and serve. Paul writes often; his letters are always bright and cheerful, and while he does not try to hide that he is often exposed to danger from the spies and servants of the Inquisition, he rejoices in his wonderful God-given opportunities of making the glad tidings known, and thinks there are quite a little band of students (perhaps six or eight in number) who, when the test comes, as it may any day, will not be afraid to witness boldly for Christ.

Letters from our brethren and sisters in the faith who left their country and homes during the dark days when the terrible Inquisition was in power, tell of prosperity, both spiritual and temporal. Sandwich, where so many of our most skilled weavers and cloth workers have set up their looms, begins, they write, to have a very homelike look, and might easily be mistaken for a Dutch or Flemish town. Quite a colony of French silk-weavers have been encouraged by Queen Elizabeth to settle in Spitalfields, while many more are living and working at Canterbury, and are even allowed to hold their services in one part of the great cathedral, where, father says, an archbishop, Thomas a Becket, was murdered in the year 1170.

But while we are rejoicing, we must not, would not forget those who are still suffering. The French Protestants, or Huguenots as they are often called, are passing through dark and troublous times. They have little or no liberty to worship God according to the simple teaching of His word, while fresh edicts make it more and more difficult to get their living in France, and yet they are forbidden to leave the country; any found attempting to do so are to be punished, not only by fines and loss of property, but by being thrown into prison, or sent to the galleys, where, chained to thieves and murderers, they will be forced to work, some for many years, others till death sets them free.

Protestants are not allowed to hold any public office; they cannot be doctors, lawyers, or professors in the colleges; while Protestant teachers in public and private schools are to be imprisoned if they attempt to teach the children anything but reading, writing and arithmetic. Even carpenters, shoemakers and vine-dressers are to be refused employment unless they conform. Bribes, too, are freely used, but from all we hear, those who accept them are such as have never had any real love for God and His word.

Henry of Navarre will, it is thought, soon come to the throne as Henry the Fourth of France. But even those who love him best know that for a long time his professed attachment to the faith of the Bible has been wavering, and it now seems almost certain that, sooner or later, he will go over to the Roman Catholics. He is a brave soldier, and his natural disposition is kind and generous; but if he was a Protestant only to please his mother, it does not seem unlikely that he may turn Roman Catholic to please his wife's relations. Father says it will not do to act upon the faith of others, we must each have to do with God for ourselves, and I believe he is right.

Fathers and mothers in France are having a sad, anxious time; for if children, even little boys and girls of only seven years old, can be induced to enter a Roman Catholic church, or to say they wish to be Roman Catholics, the priests and nuns have power to take them away from their parents and send them to a convent school, where their parents are forced to pay for their board and education; while in some parts of France quite a number of children have been stolen from their homes, some never being heard of again, while others were discovered shut up in convents.

And yet in spite of all these cruel and unjust laws great numbers have succeeded in leaving the country. The story of some of these escapes seems really wonderful. One can only say they must have been hidden by God Himself from those who sought their hurt. Few of these stories have, I think, interested me more deeply than that of a Huguenot family who, though in comfortable circumstances, finding that there was no hope of being allowed to live quiet, peaceable lives in their own loved country, determined to leave all rather than give up their faith. They were able to conceal some money and several articles of value in quilted silk petticoats, made by the mother and her daughters; these they sent to England. They knew escape would be impossible if they remained together, so the two elder sons were the first to leave the country, and reached England in safety; there remained both parents, one daughter, a girl of sixteen, and two little boys, aged four and six years.

Some hasty preparations for their flight were made, but at the last moment the father was betrayed and taken to prison. His wife and daughter visited him in prison, when he begged them with tears to get away as quickly as possible, adding that he still hoped one day to be able to join them on English soil. That night his wife, wearing a disguise, and attended by a faithful man-servant, set out for the nearest port, which she reached in safety; there she arranged with the master of a sailing-vessel for passages for her three children and herself; the servant then went back to fetch them, while she remained hidden in the house of a friend till they could join her.

On his return the daughter dressed herself as a peasant girl going to market; her next care was to put her little brothers each into a large basket or pannier slung across the back of a donkey; after covering them up carefully with fruit and vegetables she put some poultry in a basket on the top.

The little boys had been told that whatever happened they must not speak or cry, as if they were discovered they could never hope to see either father or mother again. The servant, in the dress of a country farmer, rode on horseback a little in advance of the others. It had been arranged that he should not take any more notice of his young mistress than if she had been a perfect stranger, but he took good care not to lose sight of his charge.

They generally travelled by night, hiding in the woods during the day, but as they made only slow progress, when they got near the end of their journey they began to be afraid that the captain of the vessel would not be willing to wait longer for them, so were obliged to hurry on during the day. They were met by a party of soldiers, who stopped the donkey and asked the girl what she had in the panniers. Before she had time to reply one of them thrust his sword into the basket in which the youngest child lay concealed, but not hearing a sound, thought all was right and turning his horse's head galloped off, followed by the whole troop.

As soon as they were out of sight, with trembling hands and a quickly-beating heart the brave girl threw off the covering, half expecting to find only the dead body of her brother, but he held up his arms to her; they were covered with blood. He had received a deep sword-cut in one of them. His sister bound it up and soothed and petted him as well as circumstances would allow. That night they were with their mother. Soon after they were on board the ship in which their passages had been taken. How glad and thankful they must have been when, with all her sails set to catch the breeze, the ship was well out at sea. They reached England safely, where friends gave them a loving welcome. It is some years since this happened, but the father has not been able to join them; all they can learn about him is that he is still a prisoner.

But though many French Protestants did succeed in leaving the country, finding homes in England, Holland and Germany, great numbers failed in their attempt to reach one of the ports. Two young ladies of noble family, who, though they had grown up surrounded by all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life, decided that it was better to forsake all than to deny Christ, disguised as boys, set out in company with three Protestant gentlemen, hoping to reach the coast. Their way lay under dripping trees, along rough and broken roads, and through thick forests; still they kept bravely on for some days, but being at last so pressed by hunger that they were obliged to enter a town in the hope of being able to buy a little food, they were all arrested and taken to prison; the prison was crowded, but on finding among their fellow-prisoners several Huguenots, they wept for joy. On making their secret known to the gaoler, he removed the young ladies to a separate cell; but all that we have been able to learn about them is, that after being tried before the judges they were sent to a convent.

Chapter 23.

The Edict of Nantes.

May 1st, 1599. My birthday once more, and as my MS. book lies open before me my thoughts go back to the one father gave me when I was twelve years old, and I seem almost to see the cosy little room in our old home at Antwerp in which its first pages were written. It was quite at the top of the house, but I liked it all the better for that, as from its window, draped like the bed with curtains of snowy whiteness, the special care and pride of our good, faithful Truyken, I had a view of the river, and from quite a tiny child I loved to watch the ships, and soon learnt to know to what country they belonged by the flags that floated so proudly from their mastheads. Many changes have taken place since then; but to-day with a praise-filled heart I can say, "The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him." (Nahum 1:7.)

Charles IX. of France, though he could have been little but a tool in the hands of his mother at the time of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, only outlived it by about two years. Sleeping or waking, its terrible memories seemed to haunt him; he grew pale, haggard and miserable. Attacked by a painful and incurable disease, he was attended by a Huguenot doctor and nurse; he would often wake from an uneasy sleep, exclaiming that he heard dreadful cries, and would insist upon his attendants going out to see that his subjects were not rising against him. When on their return he was assured that all was quiet, he cried out: "Oh, why was I so led astray? What shall I do? What will be the end of all this? I am utterly lost! I see it now it is too late!" He died, calling upon God for forgiveness, but without one gleam of hope or comfort.

The vacant throne was filled by the king's brother, the Duke of Anjou, who took the title of Henry III. He disliked all state business, grew angry if he was asked to attend to the affairs of his kingdom, and spent most of his time playing with an ivory cup and ball, or teaching his pet dogs to perform tricks; but as he thought himself a good Catholic, he would now and then ride at the head of a procession in honour of some so-called saint. When he appeared in public it must have required all the politeness for which the French as a nation are noted to prevent his subjects from laughing at his ridiculous appearance: his face was painted red and white, his hair powdered, and he usually wore a black satin bodice trimmed with costly white lace.

Like all his family, he hated the Huguenots, and ordered fresh edicts of persecution to be issued against them; but the King of Navarre raised an army and came to their help; about the same time the Catholics, who knew that Henry of Navarre was the next heir to the throne, and were resolved that they would not have a Protestant ruler, banded themselves together to form what they called "The Holy Catholic League," but as they were very much disliked and tried to injure all Huguenots, we think the word "holy" is quite out of place.

Several battles were fought between the soldiers of Henry of Navarre and those of the League, the latter being under the command of the Duke of Guise, who was very popular among the Romanists. The weak and foolish king sometimes took sides with one party, sometimes with the other, the result being, as he might have foreseen, that he was trusted by neither.

After one of these battles the king invited the Duke of Guise to visit him. Father says that a royal invitation is a royal command, so of course he went; he had no sooner entered the palace than the gates were barred behind him; the duke entered one of the state rooms and stood by the fire, waiting till he was sent for by the king. At last the summons came, and as he drew back the hangings which covered the door to answer it, he was met by forty-five men with daggers, who stabbed him; he fell covered with wounds. On hearing that he was dead, the king entered the room and spurned the lifeless body with his foot, in just the same way in which the duke had treated that of the murdered Admiral Coligny. Hearing of this brought the Lord's words, "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (Matt. 7:1), vividly to my mind.

About eight months after the death of the duke, Henry III. was prevailed upon to lead his soldiers to the field. One day a monk entered the camp and, on telling the guard that he was the bearer of such important news that he must have a private interview with the king, was conducted to the royal tent. He handed the king a letter, and while he was quietly reading it, stabbed him with a knife. Hearing his cries, the guard rushed in, but too late to save the king's life. The monk met death calmly, and was afterwards placed on the list of Romish saints by the Pope, who said that by killing the king he had rendered a great service, not only to the Catholic church, but to the world.

Though Henry of Navarre was the rightful heir to the throne, he was not allowed to take peaceable possession of it. The League bitterly opposed him, and two great battles were fought, in both of which Henry's troops were victorious, the most brilliant being that of Ivry.

Just before it took place Henry of Navarre bound a snow-white plume in his helmet, and addressing his soldiers said, "Comrades, if our standard-bearer falls, do not lose sight of my white plume; you may find it in the thickest of the fight, but it shall lead you in the path of honour, and I hope of victory also." The troops replied with a ringing cheer, and fought with more than usual bravery. The ranks of the League were broken and fled in confusion. Henry shewed a noble and generous spirit towards his conquered foes, and soon after was publicly crowned under the title of Henry IV. of France.

He was no sooner firmly seated on the throne than what many had long expected took place. On Sunday, July 25th, 1593, in the church of St. Denis, he made a public profession of the Roman Catholic faith. Before doing so he was heard to say, "I shall make a somersault on Sunday, but my kingdom is worth a mass." If he expected by so doing to gain the goodwill of the Catholic party, he must have been disappointed on finding that he had as many enemies among them as before.

But I must not forget one act of his reign for which we are all deeply thankful, the passing of a wise and just law known as "The Edict of Nantes," by which protection and a large measure of liberty is granted to his Protestant subjects. They are now free to worship God according to the simple teaching of His word. Many public offices are now open to them, and their children are to be admitted to schools and colleges; any one wishing to employ them as workmen or servants is quite free to do so; and we hope that brighter days are in store for those who have already suffered so much for Christ's sake and the gospel's.

The edict only became law on February 25th, 1599, and though we hear that in many towns and villages where the Catholic influence is strong the priests and councillors are doing all they can to prevent its being carried out, many workmen, mostly silk-weavers and vine-dressers who had left their homes during the dark days of which I have previously written, have returned already. Trade is in a more flourishing state than it has been for many years past, and hardly a week passes without some pastor of a little company of Christians being welcomed home by the friends who love him and have long mourned his absence.

Henry shews a real care for the well-being of his subjects. He is a wise and able ruler. He has often been heard to say, "I will so manage the affairs of my kingdom that the poorest peasant may have meat every week-day, and a fowl to put in the pot on Sunday." More than one attempt has been made upon his life by the Jesuits, who cannot forgive him for the bold stand he once took as the friend and helper of the sorely oppressed Protestants; but so far he has escaped, and as it is long since France has known so much of peace and prosperity, we hope he may long be spared, and pray, "God save King Henry of France and Navarre."

Chapter 24.

A Great Sorrow.

December 31st, 1599. My MS. book has been neglected for many months past; not from the want of something to write about, but just because I had no heart to write. Throughout the Netherlands the days, or at least most of them, have been dark and gloomy. As the news, which seemed so terrible that at first we almost refused to believe the report, that William, Prince of Orange, had fallen by the hand of an assassin, spread from town to town, from village to village, rich and poor, high and low, wept as children might weep who had lost a wise and loving father. We did not even try to comfort each other, for what with surprise and sorrow we had no comfort to give.

Five previous attempts on his life had been made; once, as I have already recorded, he had lain for weeks hovering between life and death. He had through the good hand of God escaped so many dangers, and had never seemed to be more greatly needed than at the moment of his death, that we never thought such a sad ending to the story of his brave and useful life would one day have to be written.

Father often said of him that he had never known a man whose life appeared to be more governed by one desire, "to do the will of God," and though we cannot understand why God allowed his enemies to triumph, we bow to the stroke, and own how little of God's purposes we really comprehend; but we are sure, quite sure, that He is wise and good and loving, for "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." (Ps. 103:13.) Perhaps some day, in the clear light of eternity, many things that perplex us now will be made plain; till then, we will "trust and not be afraid."

But I must try to recall how it all happened. About two years after the death of his dearly-loved wife, Charlotte de Bourbon, the prince married Louisa, the widowed daughter of the French Admiral Coligny. She, too, had known sorrow. "Black Bartholomew," as it is often called now, must have been a day of sad and painful memories to her, as both her father, and her first husband were among those killed. She, too, proved herself an affectionate and devoted wife, and their union, though not of long duration, appears to have been a happy one.

Well and wisely as William ruled over the Netherlands, he had many bitter enemies among the Roman Catholics, who never forgave him for the bold stand he had taken for truth and liberty. He was by no means ignorant of their feelings towards him, but leaving himself in the hands of God quietly went on with his many public duties. Those who sought his life, at last accomplished by cunning and deception what they had failed to do by force.

A young man, whose name I do not care to record, for it does not deserve to be remembered, obtained several interviews with the prince; he professed to be the son of a martyr, always carried a large hymn book under his arm, and talked loudly of his zeal for the reformed faith; but he was really an agent of the priests, from whom he had received instructions to take the life of William of Orange, and made himself as far as possible acquainted with the home life and habits of the prince. He knew there was no small degree of risk in the attempt, but the priests had not only given him absolution, or, in other words, a full and free pardon for the crime he intended to commit, but had assured him that by killing William he would render a great service not only to the Roman Catholics but to the world. If he could escape, a rich reward was promised him, but if not, his family would receive a pension, and a patent of nobility.

The opportunity came at last for which the assassin had for some time waited. On that day the prince dined with his family, and appeared more than usually cheerful. As he rose to leave the table his wife called his attention to a dark figure muffled in a cloak, who stood in a recess near. The prince replied, "Oh, it is only some one who has a petition to present," and began to ascend the stairs leading to his private apartments. He had only taken two steps when the assassin followed and stabbed him.

He fell, mortally wounded, and expired shortly afterwards. The assassin was not suffered to escape.

There is not a single blank page or even a spare line in my MS. book, and there is no need that I should begin another. The children of bygone years are the men and women of today; a new generation is growing up round me, and I can only hope and pray that the story of the dark days in which all the power of the inquisition was used to oppress and crush the followers of Christ (many in both Spain and Holland who, though weak in themselves, had learnt the blessed secret of simple faith in a risen living Saviour were "out of weakness made strong," and cheerfully, often joyfully, laid down their lives rather than deny their Lord) will help the boys and girls who read it to value their Bibles more than they have ever done.