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ANARRATIVE FOR MY YOUNG FRIENDS.from ft format nf fraun 3aoffmann.BYREV. D. P. ROSENMILLER.PHILADELPHIA:LUTHERAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION,42 NORTH NINTH ST.I872.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, byLUTHERAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION,in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.STEREOTYPED BY J. FAGAN & SON, PHILADELPHIA.CAXTON PRESS OF SHERMAN & CO.
PREFACEBY THE TRANSLATOR.T HE design of the author of this inter-esting little volume is to inculcate theduty to " Fear God, and work righteousness."For this purpose, he relates historical factswhich occurred during the PEASANT WAR inGermany in the sixteenth century. The ob-ject for which this war was undertaken, wasto relieve the people from the unjust oppres-sions imposed upon them as serfs, by theircivil and ecclesiastical rulers. Had theserulers "feared God and done righteousness,"I ^ Vv
vi PREFACE BYthey would have voluntarily freed the peoplefrom their burdens, and no conflict wouldhave ensued. Had the leaders of the peas-ants been men of right character, they wouldhave succeeded in achieving their freedom.As it is often the case in such general up-heavals of society, wicked and ambitious mensucceeded in becoming leaders, and by theirgodless and iniquitous actions, led the peas-ants to commit' glaring acts of cruelty, inconsequence of which their cause was ruined.General opposition to them was excited, andnot only was their condition made muchworse than before the war, but there was lessprospect of their future success. Even thosewho sympathized with the oppressed anddown-trodden peasantry, dreaded the excessesinto which these people were led by theirleaders, in this abortive attempt to regaintheir freedom. The general ignorance thatprvailed at that age among the masses, ren-
THE TRANSLATOR. Vildered them much more liable to be led into- shameful excesses than would be the case inthe present day, especially in our own en-lightened land of America. Yet even we,who look back to the fraud, rapine, andbloodshed which attended our late war, wouldshudder at the repetition of the same scenes.And religion and philosophy would bothprompt us rather to endure the evils that al-ready exist, than to rush blindly into thosewe know not of.For the further elucidation of this instruc-tive little history, we here translate a shortsketch on the subject from the "Conversa-tions-Lexicon.""THE PEASANT WAR. We designate in Ger-man history by this term, that period of in-surrection in which the peasants in Franconiaand Suabia, and afterwards in Saxony andThuringia, took up arms; at first, to rescuethemselves from a state of oppression, butfql
Viii PREFACE BYafterwards to conquer an imaginary freedom.Many, especially the Catholic historians, aredisposed to charge these disturbances, whichraged partly during the fifteenth century, andin the first thirty years of the sixteenth cen-tury, to Luther's reformation. But the cir-cumstance, that the seeds of these disturb-ances existed before Luther's time, (as wellas his public and earnest disapproval of thecourse of the peasantry,) shows how unjustthis charge is. The true cause of these de-structive commotions, is much rather to befound in the severe oppressions under whichthe peasants, as serfs to the higher orders ofSociety, labored; although it cannot be denied,that in the more recent disturbances, a mis-understanding of the doctrines of Luther,may have in a few, yet not in many cases;contributed to the discontent of the peopleunder their burdens." Most of the peasants were serfs, or wereat least compelled to pay such an amount oftaxes, customs, tithes and gifts, and to rendersiBh service, that these at length became ut-
THE TRANSLATOR. ixterly intolerable; and it was therefore naturalthat they should long for relief But asneither their civil nor spiritual rulers werewilling to yield any part of their rights, northe landlords (or land proprietors) to removethe abuses which were founded in a greatmeasure on contracts which dated back topast ages; there seemed to be no other re-source left to the peasants, than for them toseek help from their own efforts, and to thisthey were precipitated by certain enthusiasticleaders. These disturbances commenced firstin Wiirzburg, where an enthusiast, JohnBcehm, (not to be mistaken for John Bcehmof Goerlitz,) a young man, who earned hisbread by singing songs in the taverns, aroseas a preacher of liberty, and professed toproclaim, by inspiration of the Mother ofGod, that a perfect equality should soon beestablished among all men; that the Pope,Emperor, Princes, and Magistrates, shouldno longer exist; that all men should earntheir bread alike with labor; and that for-ests, meadows, and streams of water, should4
X PREFACE BYbe common property for the general good.With representations of this character, whichwere called sermons, he made himself knownfar and near, and from Franconia, Suabia,Bavaria, and from along" the Rhine, hearersflocked to him in such great numbers, that atone time, it is said, he had forty thousandeager listeners assembled around him. Thesehe directed to meet on an appointed evening,and commanded them to come armed, and toleave their wives and children at home; anarrangement which left no doubt of his de-sign to excite an insurrection. Rudolph,Bishop of Wiirzburg, who was aware of thisfact, had the fanatic arrested and imprisoned,but his followers met together at the timeappointed, and when his imprisonment wasmade known to them, they presented them-selves before the fortress at Wiirzburg, to thenumber of forty-six thousand men, and de-manded his liberation. The bishop's mar-shal sought in vain to pacify them, for hefound it necessary to retire speedily in orderto avoid being stoned. The bishop then or-
THE TRANSLATOR. Xidered several cannon to be fired on them, andagain commanded them to retire, which theythen did. During their retreat, their stand-ard-bearers were captured, and after beingimprisoned, were executed along with theirleader, John Bcehm."A similar insurrection broke out in 1502,at Spires, against the bishop and the priest-hood, and was led by two fanatics. But itwas in 1525, that these disturbances culmi-nated. At that time, the peasants sent theirTwelve Articles (containing a plain statementof their burdens) to Wiirzburg, petitionedfor a speedy removal of their oppressions,and appealed to the Bible for the justness oftheir demands. The bishop promised toconsider these requests favorably; but thepeasants, who only half believed him, seizedtheir weapons, and even the citizens whom hecalled to his aid joined the cause of the peas-ants. The bishop having in vain sought toquiet the disturbances by the execution ofone of their leaders, found it necessary toremove to Heidelberg for his safety, and the4
Xii PREFACE BYpeasants, at Easter, in 1525, having taken uparms, advanced upon Wiirzburg. The revo-lutionists now passed through all Franconia,and wherever resistance was offered to them,especially in the monasteries and castles, theyplundered and abused everything, some-times devastating by fire. The city of Wiirz-burg surrendered to them, but the fortresswas proof against a close siege. They thenadvanced further, and were defeated in anengagement near Kcenigshofen, and again atSulzdorf, which repulses cost them the lossof nine thousand men. As they were said toshow no quarter, all the prisoners capturedfrom them were therefore killed withoutmercy. Wiirzburg was compelled to yieldagain to the victors; on June 8th, 1525, thebishop returned, and peace and order oncemore reigned. The war was then virtuallyended; but one hundred and eighty-ninefortresses and castles were partly in ruins, ortotally destroyed; twenty-five monasterieswere disbanded; and about twelve thousandpersons had lost their lives. In Lothringen, on
THE TRANSLATOR. X11ithe upper Rhine, and in the Breisgau, thepeasants took up arms; in the first two pro-vinces they were frequently defeated, and inthe latter they soon voluntarily surrendered.Thus the peasant war came to an end in Fran-conia and Suabia, after it cost the lives of fiftythousand peasants, without attaining the de-sired end -the diminution of their burdens;but in some places, on the contrary, it wasfollowed by an increase of them. Theseagitations were followed by the peasant warin Saxony and Thuringia, in which ThomasMiintzer acted a conspicuous part."It is therefore apparent, that the demandsof the peasants were generally just andreasonable, and had their leaders " fearedGod and wrought righteousness," they wouldhave gained the sympathy and aid of manyof the nobility. But whilst "some of theirleaders were honest, others were ambitiousand wicked; and by these latter, the ignorantmasses were led to commit such atrocities2
X1V PREFACE BY THE TRANSLATOR.and outrages, as to forfeit the public confi-dence, and to cause the most powerful partof the community to combine against them.The result was, what could have been- natu-rally anticipated, the ruin of their cause, anunnecessary sacrifice of human life, and therivetting of their chains more tightly uponthem.It'11C~-~r iblAV7=2 ~ 1
CONTENTS 'NCHAPTER I. PAGRTHE TWELVE ARTICLES 17CHAPTER II.THE BROTHERS 47CHAPTER III.THE STORM BURSTS .CHAPTER IV.JXCKLEIN'S REVENGE 103CHAPTER V.RESCUE OF EGBERT 24CHAPTER VI.THE TURNING-POINT.--ALL LOST SAVE HONOR 162XV
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KNIGHT AND PEASANT.CHAPTER I.THE TWEL VE ARTICLES.IT was on a Sunday, in the month ofMarch, A.D. 1525, that a companyhad met in the hall of the inn of a vil-lage called Bockingen, situated a shortdistance from Heilbronn, the capital ofSuabia. They sipped their sour wine,whilst they conversed with each otherabout the hard times and grievous bur-s L ~174 alt
18 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.dens imposed on them by the priest-hood and the nobility."It is, perhaps, not so bad as yourepresent it," said a comely youth, withfair hair and blue eyes, who was lean-ing on a broadsword, and listening tothe conversation of the guests, whowere chiefly peasants and villagers."You show no marks of extremepoverty, and your glasses are speedilyemptied, as I perceive.""Alas, young sir," answered one ofthe oldest peasants, "you cannot judgefrom appearances, which evidently areagainst us; for to-day is Sunday. Oncein a week we must be permitted for anhour or two to forget ourpoverty, care,and wretchedness. On week-days nota drop of wine moistens our lips, and
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 19not a morsel of meat is seen on ourtables. Wine, meat, and fish belong tothe nobles and priests, for whom we poorpeasants must toil and labor. Ask thelandlord of the house, Jacob Rohrbach,or Jacklein, as we peasants usually termhim; he has a ready tongue, and he cantell you all about how the peasants areoppressed in this country. Grants, rents,and taxes they must render, until noth-ing remains to them but bare life.If you inquire, good sir, you may con-vince yourself, and will surely sympa-thize with us, instead of blaming us foroccasionally indulging ourselves, on aSunday, with a glass of wine.""Far be it from me to censure you,"answered the friendly youth. "I knowwell what a hard lot is assigned to you,
20 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.poor villagers of Bockingen. You areserfs indeed!""Yes, truly, all of us who are here,"was the reply. "Some of us belong toa neighboring nobleman, some to thecity of Heilbronn, others to the gentle-men of the German League, that wellendowed agent of the priests andknights, in this vicinity."The youth nodded. "I thought so,"said he. "But only be patient; bettertimes are coming for you, and they are,perhaps, nearer than you suppose."" Alas, sir, that you have from Jack-lein, I suppose," answered the peasant."He has for a long time soothed uswith the song of our being freed fromserfdom, and from other grievances.But I cannot believe him overmuch, al-V
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 21though he has a wise head, and is abold companion, who entertains no re-gard for the priest or the nobleman. Yes,yes, even the government itself receivesno obedience or favor from him. Hadhe not the boldness, a couple of yearsago, to send, on his own responsibility,a challenge to the mayor and peopleof Diirrenzimmer, and yet they could donothing with him. He is truly a reck-less fellow, and I really believe the storythat is hinted of him and the Mayor ofB6ckingen, the noble Sir Jacob vonOberhausen.""What is hinted?" asked the youth."Speak out plainly, man, I am the peas-ants' friend, and not their enemy.""Hark ye! One must not speak toofreely of it," added the peasant, casting
22 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.a cautious and suspicious look around."Jiicklein does not like to be remindedof it. But," he cautiously whispered,"it is doubtless true that he, with hisown hand, stabbed the mayor, whom hehated. No one could prove it, for Jick-lein had contrived the business toocunningly for that, and yet every oneknows that no other than he did theact.""Ha!" exclaimed the youth, "it ismost surprising that he.is not now con-fined by lock and bolt, but on the con-trary, can go about wherever it pleaseshim, publicly and at liberty.""Yes; the reason is, that the judgeand the magistrates fear him," said thepeasant, in an undertone. He isdeeply in debt, yet no creditor dare
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 23press him. Thus, for example, it waswith the Canon of Wimpfen, to whomJaicklein owed rent for several years,and who sought to collect it from him.But Jacklein laughed in his face, anddisputed the account. The Canonbrought suit against him before themayor, and summoned him to appear.Jacklein laughed again; and one day,when he met the Vicar on the street, hefollowed him, and bawled after him:'Priest, priest, prepare yourself well,for I will be ready for you.' TheVicar asked, with some alarm, what thismeant? 'You will find out, Priest, onthe day of trial!' exclaimed Jacklein,as he turned his back on the Vicar.What happened on the day of the trial?Jacklein's friends and adherents, whom4
24 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.he had summoned, waited on the Vicar,and threatened to kill him, if he wouldpresent himself before the mayor'scourt. The Vicar called on the magis-trate of Heilbronn, and on the servantsof the convent, but all this availed himnothing. These persons themselveswere afraid of the outlaw, and advisedthe Priest to let the matter drop. Thiswas done, and Jacklein was free of thedebt.""A venturesome knave, truly," saidthe youth, more to himself than to thepeasant. "It will be necessary to keepan eye on him."Meanwhile the hall-door was opened,and there entered a man who was yetyoung, broad-shouldered, and of a sin-gularly bold countenance.
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 25"This is he," said the peasant; "thisis Jicklein himself."The youth turned round and nodded."I know him already," he added.Jiacklein cast his eyes around theassembly, and fixed them finally on thefigure of the young gentleman."Sir Egbert, upon my word!" ex-claimed he.The youth immediately stepped tothe door, out of which he went in com-pany with Jacklein."Step up to the chamber," said thelatter. "All are already assembled; Iwill follow you presently. Meanwhile Iwill make arrangements that we maynot be disturbed."The youth ascended a flight of stairsto the upper story, where he opened a34
26 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.door and entered a spacious room,Three gentlemen were there, one ofwhom was clad in armor, with a swordgirded to his side; the two others wereclad in ordinary citizen's dress.The man in armor, in the vigor oflife, of handsome person, and a noble,winning countenance, with a high fore-head crowned with black flowing hair,dark piercing eyes, and well-dressedmoustache and whiskers, bowed smil-ingly to the entering youth."Come nearer, Egbert," said he,"that I may introduce you to thesegentlemen."The youth advanced toward the men,who were seated around a table, andtook a seat with them."This," continued the knight, " is Herr
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 27George Metzler, the landlord of Bal-lenberg, a man of peasant rank, muchloved and highly honored. This other isthe learned Herr Wendel Hippler, latechancellor to the Prince of Hohenlohe,as fine and competent a gentleman ascan be found in the kingdom; and thisis the elector Keller, Sir Weiogand of Mil-tenberg in the Odenwald, the excellentadviser and supporter of our enterprise.But this young gentleman," added theknight, whilst he familiarly laid his handon the shoulder of the youth, "this ismy good friend and companion in arms,Sir Egbert of Hoheneck, in whom youcan all confide, for he is true as steel,and no man is braver. He will standby us fast and immovable in our greatwork of liberation."
28 KNIGHT AND PEASANT."And I! and I!" exclaimed the othergentlemen, as they grasped the hand ofthe youth, "welcome him to our greatundertaking."Sir Egbert bowed to the company,and the ceremony of mutual introduc-tion was concluded."And now for consultation," said theKnight of Geyersberg. "Why doesJicklein tarry? We must hear whatprogress he has made, and what forcewe can safely calculate on.""He intended to follow me imme-diately," said the youthful Sir Egbert,"and I think I now hear his footstepson the stairs."It was even so, and in a few mo-ments Jicklein entered the room, andseated himself with the others.
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 29"Now, gentlemen, we shall be undis-turbed," said he. "Have you deter-mined upon anything?""Upon nothing as yet," answeredFlorian Geyer. "We awaited you.What have you accomplished since ourlast meeting ?""Much, gentlemen," was the answer."The people here in Hohenlohe are cer-tain for us, and await with impatiencethe signal for rising. About ten thou-sand men will enter the field in answerto the first call from me. But how isit with you in Franconia?""All right with us," answered theknight; "my countrymen are ready,and I can at any time add my heavylegion to your army. We need onlydesignate the day."3*
30 KNIGHT AND PEASANT."Then without further delay, and likea thunderbolt on the heads of our op-pressors! " exclaimed Jaicklein, with sav-age joy. "Down with the castles andfortifications of those who are suck-ing our life-blood! The firebrand inthe cloisters and abbeys of the bishopsand priests! Death and destruction toall who have fattened on our soil andtrampled the peasant under foot, heed-less of his painful cries, without a sparkof sympathy for the starving, the per-ishing, and the unhappy serfs! Downwith them, say I, and up with our stand-ard, the Union-Shoe." ** Bundschuh, properly the ancient name of a largeshoe which reached above the ankle, where it wastied. Figuratively it signified the peasantry in thei6th century, because the leaders of the peasant-waradopted such a shoe as their standard. It was car-ried on a staff or painted on a banner.
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 3I" Not so hasty, Jaicklein," said GeorgeMetzler, a man of large and powerfulframe, with a calm countenance. " Allis not yet ready in the provinces. Iam waiting yet for news from variousplaces, and until I receive it, can renderno assistance. In a week or two, per-haps not sooner."Jacklein expressed impatience in hiscountenance."Delay upon delay! " said he, restive-ly. " Meanwhile, the enemy has timeto prepare to meet us. with overwhelm-ing resistance.""No; fear not that," interposedHippler. "I have travelled through thecountry, and have found the nobilityand priesthood affected with only avague alarm. They anticipate, it is
32 NIGHT AND P'EASA NT.true, the fall of a heavy storm that nowhangs over them, but they know not- from what direction it will come. If wewait a little longer, the fruit will be ripe.""I agree with him," said Weigand,in a calm, but yet impressive tone." "The Twelve Articles are not yet fullypublished throughout the country, andwe have -met here this day to give thema final revision. And this must be donebefore anything else."To this all agreed, except J cklein," ;-; who was silent andbit his finger-nailsWith -an irritable air. He wouldhavei: referred to make an immediate attack,and vent his hatred and revenge upon,,the oppressors of the people. But heMust needs assent to the voice of the' " a rity.
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THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 33"Here are the Twelve Articles," saidChancellor Hippler. We all know theircontents, we know that the demandsthey make express only that which ac-cords with Christian moderation; and Itherefore propose that we accept them,without alteration, as our battle-cry, incase our oppressors are willing to enterinto a contest with us.""My opinion is the same," repliedthe knight, Florian Geyer. "All thatI wish is that you present them to usonce more, plainly and distinctly, thateach one, for the last time, may consulthis own conscience.""Well, let it be so," said the Chan-cellor. "Hear then:---ARTICLE I. It isour humble petition and desire, and thewish and judgment of us all, that we,C
34 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.the people, in future have. permissionand power in each community to electand call our own minister, and that wehave authority to dismiss him, if hisconduct be improper; that the electedminister shall preach the gospel to us,pure and unadulterated, without addingthereto doctrines or commandments ofmen."ARTICLE II. Since the tithe was in-stituted in the Old Testament, and sanc-tioned in the New, we therefore are will-ing to give, as is becoming, not lessthan the tenth of our grain. Neverthe-less it shall be given to God, and dis-tributed to his children. (Heb., andPsalm Io9.) If it be deserved by aminister, who declares to us the pureWord of God, then are we willing that
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 35he should have his share. This tenthshall be collected by an ecclesiasticalprovost; and out of it he shall render asufficient support to the minister of thecongregation and his family; and theremainder shall be distributed amongthe poor of the village, according to theopinion of the congregation. But thecattle-tithe we will not pay, either tospiritual or civil rulers. For the Lordcreateth the cattle to be free to man-kind. (Gen. i.)"ARTICLE III. It has been usual here-tofore, to hold us as serfs, a fact that isshameful, inasmuch as Christ with hisprecious blood purchased and redeemedus, (Is. iii., Pet. 1., I Cor. vii., Rom. xiii.,)the humblest shepherd, as well as themost powerful prince, without any ex-i'4'/ ':
36 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.ception. It is therefore evident fromthe Scriptures that we are free, and wewill be free. (Sol. Wisd. vi.; I Pet. ii.)Not that we would reject all civil gov-ernment, for God does not teach usthis. We are to live in obedience toauthority, and not in carnal self-will,(Deut. vi., Matt. iv.,) and yl should loveGod, and recognize him in our neighbor,and do to others as we would havethem do to us, as the Lord has taughtus in his new commandment, (Johnxiii. 34.) We should therefore liveaccording to his commandment. Thiscommandment does not teach us to dis-obey our lawful rulers. We shouldhumble ourselves not only before thegovernment, but also before each other.And we accordingly do cheerfully obey
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 37our chosen magistrates, whom God hasplaced over us, in all becoming andChristian duties; and we are fully con-vinced that you will, as true Christians,willingly release us from serfdom, orprove to us, from the Gospel, that weare serfs."ARTICLE IV. It has been heretoforethe custom that no peasant is per-mitted to hunt or fish, which appearsto us unnatural and wicked, as well asselfish and contrary to the Word of God.In some parts the Government evenkeeps wild animals to the injury of thepeasants, so that what we cultivate, andwhat, with God's blessing, grows uponour fields, is wantonly destroyed andneedlessly devoured; and we must bearit in silence, which is a wrong beforeA4
38 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.Godand men. For when God createdman, he gave him authority over all ani-mals, the beasts of the earth, the fowlsof the air, and the fishes in the water.(Gen. i., Acts xix., I Tim. iv., I Cor. x.,Col. ii.) We, therefore, desire, that ifany one claims a lake or stream of wa-ter, that he shall show a legal title to it;but if his title be unfounded, that herestore it to the district."ARTICLE V. We are oppressed inregard to the forests. For our rulershave laid claim to all the woodlands, andif a poor man needs fuel he must buyit at an /exorbitant price. We thinkthat the woodlands, which were neverpurchased by the nobility or ecclesias-tics, should be restored to the districts;and each one, under proper restrictions,
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 39should be permitted to supply his rea-sonable wants without expense. Evenfor building purposes the supply shouldbe free, but always with the knowledgeand permission of the superintendentappointed by the district, that the de-struction of the timber may be avoided.But when there is no wood to be hadsave that which is purchased, then weshould deal justlywith the merchants.But if any claims timber, and afterwardsoffers it for sale, he should be dealt withproperly, after due investigation, accord-ing to the law of Christian love and theWord-of God."ARTICLE VI. We feel the severityof the oppression laid upon us, whichbecomes more grievous from day today. We petition our rulers to lighten
40 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.our burdens, as the divine law com-mands, remembering that our fore-fathers served faithfully and patiently."ARTICLE VII. We will not submithenceforth to be unduly oppressed byour rulers, but will render to them theobedience which is due to them. Theruler should not use force or compul-sion to secure unrewarded service ortaxes from his subjects (Luke iii., Thess.vi.), but permit the peasant to use andenjoy his property in peace, withoutbeing oppressed; but if the magistratehas need of service, the peasant shouldbe willing to serve him in preferenceto any other, and that for reasonablewages, at suitable times, without per-sonal loss.
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 41" ARTICLE VIII. We are burdened be-cause some of our nobility hold propertythat is not taxed, and the peasant isrobbed of his earnings to make up thedeficiency. We desire that the Gov-ernment appoint honest officers, whowill collect only a reasonable tax, sothat the peasant may not labor in vain;for the laborer is worthy of his hire.(Matt. x.)"ARTICLE IX. We are wantonly op-pressed by new and arbitrary laws,under which we are punished withoutany apparent reason, at times throughpersonal malice, and at other times forthe selfish gratification of others. Wethink we should be judged and punishedonly according to our ancient writtenlaws, and not for private or party re-4*
42 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.venge. (Is. x., Eph. vi., Luke iii., Jer.xvi.)" ARTICLE X. We are burdened bysome who have appropriated certainmeadows and fields which, of right, arethe property of the community. Suchproperty we wish to be restored to thedistrict, unless it can be shown that theproperty has been honestly purchasedby. the claimant. If unjustly claimed,"# the title of the possessor, after due in-vestigation, should be righteously ad-justed."ARTICLE XI. We wish to have thecustom called death- event* entirely* Todesfall. The serfs being the property of theirlords, had no power in law to leave their propertyby will to their families, or to sign any testament,manu propria. Their hand was dead. This was theTodte Hand of the serf.
THE TWELVE ARTICLES. 43abrogated, and will not sanction or al-low that widows and orphans, contraryto God and right, shall be robbed oftheir property. God will no longer tol-erate such injustice, and no one hence-forth shall be compelled to pay muchor little as the penalty of death."ARTICLE XII. and last. It is our pur-pose to rescind any of these articlesthat are not in accordance with theWord of God, as soon as we are con-vinced, from Divine testimony, that suchis the fact. And should any of thesearticles hereafter be found contrary tothe Word of God, we are willing insuch case to consider them as null andvoid; and we will seek to be guided bythat wisdom which God alone can give,and which we pray Him to grant to us.4
44 KNIGHT AND PEASANT."The peace of God be with us. Amen."A prolonged silence followed thisreading. The men looked serious, andemployed themselves with their thoughts.The knight Florian Geyer of Geyers-berg, was the first to speak."As true as God is my helper, thereis not an unreasonable demand in anyof these articles. I will adopt them,and in their defence will venture mylife. Our poor people are so deeplysunken in wretchedness that they canlose nothing.""I agree with you," said Weigand;"though I cannot fight with you on thefield of battle, yet will I stand by youwith my best counsel.""And I," added the ex-ChancellorHippler.
STHE TWELVE ARTICLES. .45"And I," followed George Metzler ofBallenberg. "I will send fresh messen-gers to my adherents, that they mayspeedily equip themselves and standready to carry out these articles. Onthe Sunday of Judica* all shall be ready,if not sooner.""That's the word I like to hear!"exclaimed the rash and jubilant Jack-lein. "We are prepared. Only sendword how soon your followers can joinus, and we will welcome you with openarms.""Be it so," said Florian Geyer. "Andwhere shall we meet ?""In Tauberthal, if God so wills it,"answered George Metzler. "And then-up and to Heilbronn! That city must"* Fifth Sunday in Lent
46 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.be ours as a rendezvous and rallyingpoint for future operations.""So be it," said the others; and thesecret conclave was ended.In a short time these men quietly leftthe inn one after another. FlorianGeyer and Egbert went last, havingmounted their steeds, which Jacklein'sservant led into the yard."A prosperous ride and a happy re-turn!" cried Jacklein to the knightlypersonages as they spurred their horses.In a moment they were on their rapidway in the approaching twilight.
CHAPTER II.THE BRO THE RS.A ND now," said the knight Florianto his comrade, as they leisurelyrode together over the landscape, whichwas dimly illumined by the rising moon,-" now, my dear Egbert, having madeour business arrangements, let us speaksomething about your own private af-fairs. Have you any news from yourbrother Rolf, at Hoheneck ?""Alas, yes! but what I have heard ofhim is neither pleasant nor satisfactory,"answered he, with a sigh. "Rolf con-47
48 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.tinues, as heretofore, to deny all mytitle to my father's property, and willnot deliver to me the estates of mymother, to which he has not the slight-est claim.""That is, according- to my view, dis-honesty of the most odious charactertoward you," added Florian; "but I amnot yet fully acquainted with your fam-ily affairs. When you joined the lancersunder my banner, and I received youinto my full confidence, you said nothingof these things. Only a few days agoyou stated that you had a dispute withyour brother Rolf in regard to some in-heritance. That is all.""If you wish to hear it, my noble,my fatherly friend," replied Egbert,with feeling, "it can be related in a few
THE BROTHERS. 49words. My father was married twice;the first time to Fraiulein von Hammer-stein, who bore him one son, Rolf, andfive years afterwards died. My father,I have it from his own lips, felt verymuch lost, in the lonely castle of Hohen-eck, after her death, and endeavored torepair his loss by a second marriage.In the castle of the Prince of Hohenlohehe made the acquaintance of Fraiuleinvon Seltenberg, whose beauty, virtue,and piety won his affections. He soughther favor, and although he was fullforty years of age, yet being of a hand-some form and a cheerful companion,he succeeded in gaining the hand andheart of the lady. Adelaide von Selten-berg was an orphan, but not withoutinheritance. The beautiful principality5 D4
50 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.in Franconia, which bears her name,belonged to her. A brother of her de-ceased mother, Count Treutling, washer guardian. He raised some objec-tions against the marriage of his nieceto the wealthy nobleman of Hoheneck;and in the written marriage contract hestipulated that the principality of Sel-tenberg should be retained in the freeand undisturbed possession of his niece;and in case she left children, that theundisputed title should remain withsuch children. Only in the event ofher dying childless should my father'sson, Rolf, become heir of Se.enberg.The original document is in the archivesof Hoheneck, and a copy was left withCount Treutling. All this I havelearned from an aged servant of my
THE BROTHERS. I5mother, who was my attendant frommy childhood, and has remained myfaithful adherent. But unfortunately,this information, thus far, has notavailed me. Six years ago my motherdied, and shortly afterward my fatherfollowed her to the grave, and about thesame time the old Duke Treutlingalso departed this life. Rolf and my-self were now orphans. .He at thattime was twenty-five years of age, andI only twelve. Unhappily for me, Rolftreated me very unlike a brother. Hehad always entertained envious senti-ments- towards me; but while my fatherand mother were yet living, he had theprudence artfully to conceal from themhis hostility to me. He knew well, thatour parents would not have permitted4
52 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.him to treat me with cruelty. Aftertheir death, he threw off the mask, andshowed himself in his true character.He would then no longer endure me inthe family room of the paternal castle,but drove me forth with abusive words,and threatened me with punishment if Ishould venture to be seen there. Whatcould I do against his superior power ?He was a strong man, and I a weak,helpless, and unprotected youth. Rela-tives on my mother's side there werenone living, and my father's kindredwere driven away by the rude treat-ment of Rolf, so that no one was left tocare for me, excepting good old Chris-topher, the servant of my deceased mo-ther. He found me weeping in the or-chard, after Rolf had banished me from
THE BROTHERS. 53the family hall. I was undeterminedwhat to do, for there was no one to ad-vise or sympathize with me. He spoketo me and asked what had taken place ?To him I made known all my troubles."'The wretch!' exclaimed he. 'Heabuses his power over you shamefully.But have patience, the time will comewhen you will be more powerful thanhe, and when you will demand and re-ceive your rights, for you, and not Rolf,are the true heir of the handsomeprincipality of Seltenberg in Franconia;and besides this, you have a well-grounded claim to one half of the estateof your father, who now rests in peace.I can easily see that you are a thorn inthe flesh to your brother Rolf, but stillhe will not venture to lay violent hands5*
54 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.on you, at least not while I am living.From this time you are under my pro-tection, and woe to your unkind brotherif he should attempt in malice to injurea hair of your head.'"The assurance of good old Christo-pher gave me but a moment's comfort,for immediately afterward Rolf stoodnear to us with a fearfully frowningcountenance. Seizing Christopher bythe arm, he exclaimed threateningly,'Old traitor, will you turn on yourmaster? I will chase you from the cas-tle with dogs, you worthless hypocrite!'So greatly was the face of Rolf dis-torted with rage, that the blood in myveins seemed chilled. But the vener-able servant was undisturbed, and look-ing steadily into the face of Rolf, while
THE BROTHERS. 55he pointed to me, he said,' This youthis my master, not you, for I am a vassalof Seltenberg, and Seltenberg belongsto him. Him will I serve, over him willI watch, and him will I protect evenagainst you. Know this, Sir Rolf vonHoheneck, old Christopher fears younot, and cannot be terrified by you.You can indeed drive me with forcefrom the castle, but you will not dare todo so, when I tell you, that in that caseI will ride from castle to castle, throughall Franconia, and will stir up everyhonest knight to sustain the claims ofyoung Egbert. Reflect on this, younggentleman!'" *And who can prevent me from cast-ing you into the deepest dungeon intowhich neither sun nor moon can shine?'
I56 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.replied Rolf, boldly, but in a tremulousvoice."'What folly!' replied Christopher.'What benefit would that be to you ?Every vassal of the young noblemanEgbert's mother thinks as I do, andwould act as I would, in case of neces-sity. You are well aware of this.Therefore depart in peace. Egbertwill remain under my care until hereaches his majority, and then, doubt-less, he will demand his rights fromyou. You are his natural guardian;but as you will not act as his protector,another must be appointed to thatoffice. Use now your own pleasure.'" My brother, without replying, turnedhis back on us and went into the castle.Christopher took me to his house,
THE BROTHERS. 57showed me two rooms, which he as-signed to my use, and there we livedquietly in his house which adjoined thecastle. 'Rolf paid no attention to me,and appeared to forget my very exist-ence. If we met each other acciden-tally in the castle-yard or elsewhere, heturned his eyes away from me as fromthe most indifferent object. The faith-ful old servant, meanwhile, instructedme and cared for me like a father. Hetaught me to ride, to shoot, and the useof arms, and explained to me all theduties of knighthood. I lived thushappily and free from care, until, at theclose of three months, my faithful Chris-topher was taken from me by a suddendeath. At night he had retired as usualto his slumbers, cheerful and in good
58 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.health; in the morning I found him coldand lifeless in his bed."That was a severe blow to me, SirFlorian; but I felt that I must put on thestrength of manhood, and be a youth nolonger, and that I must now meet mybrother and demand from him my rights.This I did as soon as the corpse of goodold Christopher had been deposited inthe grave. From his funeral I proceededto the castle, and presented myself be-fore my brother in his chamber. Hereceived me sternly. 'I thought youwould come,' said he. 'Your protec-tor is dead, and you seek anotherOne. Now, if you be humble and obe-dient, and do not trouble me with yourpresence, you may remain here andeat the bread of charity.' 'I wish no
THE BROTHERS. 59bread of charity, brother Rolf,' I an-swered. 'I demand that which ofright is mine. Restore to me the in-heritance which belongs to me from mymother's estate, and I will no longerannoy you with my presence.' Helaughed derisively. 'You wish yourmother's estate!' exclaimed he, in aninsulting tone. 'Foolish boy, do younot know that I am my father's eldestson, and that the whole estate left bymy father falls to me alone ? I aloneam heir of Hoheneck and Seltenberg,and if I give you the bread of charity,you may well thank God and me formy kindness.'"'That is not so, Rolf!' replied I,with heat. 'I insist upon my rights.Seltenberg, as you well know, belongs
60 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.to me, as the recorded and sealed docu-ments can prove.'"'Where are the documents ? wherethe seals? Show them to me,' saidhe. 'Where are they?'"'I have them not in my possession,'I answered; 'but I know that the doc-uments were placed here in the archives,and that Count Treutling, my mother'sguardian, received a copy of the same.'"'Very well; go, then, among thearchives and search for the writing,'retorted he, mockingly. 'Here is thekey; go and search. I will not hinderyou.e"I eagerly grasped the profferedkey and hasted to the archives, whichwere placed in a vault in one of thethickest towers which flanked the cas-
THE BROTHERS. 6Itie of Hoheneck. I perceived thatRolf cast after me a scoffing look oftriumph, and the painful thought wassuggested to my mind that he mighthave destroyed the documents. -Butthe recollection of the copy in the ar-chives of Treutling afforded me someconsolation. As I entered the vaultwhere the ancient parchments and let-ters were stored away, the foul, dampatmosphere chilled me. Yet I paid noparticular regard to it in my anxiety tofind the document which was the foun-dation of my claim. The iron door ofthe vault I left standing open in orderto afford more fresh air whilst I pursuedmy search. Suddenly the door waspushed shut, the key turned, and a loudlaugh was heard outside. It was my6
62 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.brother, who derided me for so blindlyentering the trap he had set."I soon recovered my self-possession.I knew that there were about a dozenservants of Seltenberg in the castle, andthat I could safely rely on their aid. Itherefore continued, with the aid of mylamp, to search for the desired document,which, after several hours of anxiouslab6r, I could not succeed in finding. Ihad turned every leaf among the ar-chives over and over, but the paperwas not there. It must lie hid in someother place, or my brother has de-stroyed it. He was open to such a sus-picion, for he hated me, and graspedafter my inheritance."As I sat there disconcerted and re-flecting, the lock again rattled, and the
THE BROTHERS. 63door was opened. Rolf entered, ac-companied by a large and ferociouswolf-dog, that rushed towards me withmenacing growls. In Rolf's counte-nance were expressed scorn andtriumph."'Well, have you found the covetedscribbling?' he asked me. 'No,' Ianswered. 'God alone, besides your-self knows where it is hidden. But Hewill not permit me to suffer from yourinjustice. Give me the document, Rolf,and I will relinquish all claim on myfather's estate, reserving only the rightto that of my mother.'"A scornful laugh followed thesewords. 'Boy,' said he, 'you have norights beyond those which I choose toallow you. Not a hand's breadth of
" 64 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.land is yours, not one red penny. Asa dependant on me you must live, amenial among menials, or you maytravel through the land as a beggar.Which of the two do you choose?'"' Neither of them; I will have mydues,' said I, firmly. 'You will notwithhold them from me, for if you at-tempt it, I will call on my people ofSeltenberg to aid me, and then we willsee which of us is strongest.'"Rolf laughed as before. 'I hadexpected that the young scorpionwould sting,' said he. 'Call your Sel-tenbergers. None of them will hearyou, they are all gone. In order to ex-pedite our settlement, I confined you acouple of hours in this vault. Whowill help you now?'
THE BROTHERS. 65"' I will obtain help, although I can-not now say where,' answered I."'Then seek it!' cried Rolf, con-temptuously. 'You can now go: thedoors and gates are open to you, and Iwill be glad if I never again see yourhateful face. But beware of returningto this place; nor let yourself be seenin the principality of Seltenberg, or youwill rue it.'"With these threatening words hepointed to the door. I would have an-swered, but he did not permit me.'Away! Be off!' he cried, 'or I willhiss this dog on you, and let him tearyou limb from limb! Away!'"I was necessitated to leave the in-furiated man, and escape from the cas-tle. Yet I did not abandon all hopes6* E
66 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.of recovering my inheritance. I wentto Treutling. The magistrate there re-ceived me kindly, but with a hopelessshrug of the shoulder. Rolf had beenthere long before me, and had securedpossession of the copy of the docu-ment which was so important to me.That he would not willingly restore it,I could well suppose. Having accom-plished nothing here, I turned my stepstowards Seltenberg, fully determined tomake an effort to take forcible posses-sion of the principality. I there reliedupon the attachment of the citizens ofSeltenberg, who had always manifestedmuch love and kindness to me. Buthere also my brother Rolf had antici-pated me. The peasants and servantshad been placed under a despotic yoke,
THE BROTHERS. 67through the iron rule of the captain ofthe castle appointed by Rolf; and noone ventured to afford me assistance, oreven to recognize me as the rightfulowner of the principality. It was onlyby a narrow chance that I escaped im-prisonment in Seltenberg, for the cap-tain of the castle had already sent outhis guards to apprehend me, when I es-caped by a hasty flight under the coverof darkness. Deprived of all humanaid and plunged in wretchedness, I sawno other resource than to apply some-where for employment as a knight'ssquire. Thus I found you, knightFlorian. You received the poor out-cast youth, and now all my hopes restentirely on your protection and assist-ance."
68 KNIGHT AND PEASANT."Both shall be granted to you," re-turned the knight, right earnestly."Your brother has acted disgracefullytowards you, and I will be able to com-pel him to restore you the propertyof which he has robbed you. Forceagainst force! With my assistanceyou are now stronger than Rolf. Havepatience only for a short time, and youshall be master of your own property.""But think you not, that it would bebetter first to speak again in kindnessto Rolf? " asked the youth. "Perhapswhen he finds that I enjoy your protec-tion, he will yield voluntarily, and thenit will not be necessary to employ forceagainst him.""If you wish to make the experi-ment, I have no objection," answeredI
THE BROTHERS. 69Florian. "Only reflect that I cannotaccompany you. My duty calls me tomy people. But how if your brother,when he hears your warning, instead ofcomplying with your demand, shouldcast you into prison ? ""He will not dare to do so, he willnot do so," answered the youth. "Yourname is renowned far and near, and hewill fear to bid you defiance."" Then, in God's name, hunt him up,"replied Florian. " And whatever be theresult, I will not forsake you."The youth Egbert expressed histhanks, with warmth, and shortly after-wards the two horsemen reached theplace they had designed for their nightquarters. The knight of Geyersbergthen directed his course to Franconia,
70 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.where his small force, called the BlackCavalry, awaited him as their com-mander; but Egbert bent his way tohis paternal castle. With a warm graspof the hand, the two friends parted.
CHAPTER III.THE STORM BURSTS.IN the early days of April, 1525, thepeasants of Suabia rose againsttheir oppressors, and their example wasfollowed soon after by those of Franco-nia and the Odenwald. George Metzlerof Ballenberg moved out of Oberschiipfto the sound of the trumpet, and bear-ing on a staff a shoe as his banner. Thepeasants, as numerous as swarming bees,from all quarters hastened to join him.The wealthy monastery of the Cistercianmonks at Jagdgrund was seized, and fora time held by him as his headquarters.71
72 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.At this place he was reinforced fromHalle by the peasants, who informedhim that the standard of revolt had beenraised in the valley of the Neckar byJaicklein Rohrbach, who had been chosenleader, and who had taken possessionof the village of Bocking, and had thereestablished himself. He had capturedthe magistrates, confined them in thetower, and was now laying waste thesurrounding country.A short time after, Jacklein himself ar-rived at the head of his forces, and herealso Florian Geyer made his appearancewith his Black Cavalry, to join the rebelsof the Odenwald and the Neckar valley.A panic seized upon the hearts of thenobility and of the priesthood. In viewof the general insurrection, many of
THE STORM BURSTS. 73them, as the Prince of Hohenlohe, chosethe wiser plan, and after indorsing theTwelve Articles, joined the so-calledChristian Brotherhood, and thus pre-served their possessions and, perhaps,also, their liberty and lives. Those whorefused to join the Band had the worstto endure, for the number of the peas-ants continued to multiply, and they de-stroyed, burned, and slaughtered wher-ever they met with resistance.From Bocking they pursued theircourse to CEhring. Here a part of theforce separated to return to the Tauber;but Florian Geyer, with his cavalry,which he had formed almost exclusivelyof trained soldiers in Franconia, and themain army, under George Metzler andJacklein Rohrbach, proceeded further7
74 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.towards the valley of the Neckar; forthe chief object of attack was the city ofHeilbronn and the strong fortificationof Weinsberg. Town and castle mustyield on their way to become strategicpoints for future operations.Having arrived at Neckarsulm, a vil-lage situated six miles from Weinsberg,the leaders summoned the peasants ofWeinsberg and their knights to jointheir Christian Brotherhood. But thegovernor of Weinsberg, the youngCount Louis Helferich of Helfenstein,prolonged the interview in the hope ofreceiving reinforcements from Stuttgart,and was even guilty of treachery; forduring the negotiations he ordered hiscavalry to attack the peasants in therear, and many of them were thus
THE STORM BURSTS. 75killed or wounded. When this becameknown, the peasants became enragedand broke up the parley, declaring thatthey would now seek vengeance. Theymoved against Weinsberg with theirentire force, numbering eight thousandmen, filled with fury and thirsting forrevenge.Early in the morning of April 16th,during the Easter festival, they en-camped on the Schemelberg, oppositethe city of Weinsberg, in order of battle,and sent two heralds-distinguished bythe official hat, which they carried on atall flagstaff-to demand the surrenderof the city.Count Louis of Helfenstein was mean-while not idle; but having informationof the threatening designs of the peas-
76 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.ants, he had made precautionary ar-rangements. Already before daybreakwere his cavalry and knights ready, anda reinforcement of five knights wasadded to the slender guard of the for-tress. More than these could not bespared, although the Countess Helfen-stein, with her child and many treasures,was in the fortress. The Count lookedwith such supreme contempt on thepeasants, that he would not believe itpossible that they could successfullystorm so strong a fortification. Hewas satisfied to strengthen the cityagainst the first attack, and he there-fore ordered the necessary defences tobe erected for the protection of thegates and the moat.He assembled his soldiers and the
THE STORM BURSTS. 77citizens in the market-place, and encour-aged them to be fearless and to do theirbest, promising them to stand by themfaithfully, although he should be com-pelled to leave his wife and child in thefortress. He also gave them the dis-tinct assurance that on that very daya large cavalry force from Stuttgart washastening to their assistance.In response, those who were presentpromised to make a brave resistanceagainst the peasants, and straightwayproceeded to occupy the outworks.At nine o'clock in the morning, thepeasants advanced, and their heraldsapproached the city gate. At this placea vain knight, who despised the peas-ants as though they were flies, had com-mand. He stepped forward to the7*
78 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.breastwork, and addressed the heraldin a rude manner:"What do you want ?""Open the fortress and city to thetrue Christian army!" cried the heraldsto those on the wall. "If you will not,we beg you, for God's sake, to removethe women and children; for both for-tress and city will be given over to plun-der, and there will be quarter shown tonone."" Miserable vermin!" cried the knightof Weiler, in reply, wouldud be a pityfor a knight to hold converse with suchcreatures as you. With bullets onlywill I address you."Fire on the wretches!" he thencried to the musketeers. "Fire! sparenot the mean dogs! Down with them!"
THE STORM BURSTS. 79Several shots were fired. One of thetwo heralds sunk wounded to theground, but raised himself again, andran, assisted by his companion, as fastas he could, back to his brethren. Thederisive laugh of Dietrich von Weilersounded after them."There they run like hares!" criedhe. "So will they all run, after theyhave once butted their hard skullsagainst our walls."The peasants, meanwhile, had seenfrom the Schemelberg all that had oc-curred before the city gate, and a gen-eral exclamation of indignation andrage rose to the clouds."At them, the vile traitors!" criedJacklein Rohrbach, in a towering rage."Break in the gates, tear them down!"
O.:8 KNIGHT AND PEASANT." Filled with deadly hate, and with aSwild war-cry, the peasants hastened toadvance. In the front ranks proceeded"a tall, haggard woman, with dishevelledS gray hair, that flowed loosely over hershoulders. Brown Hofmnnin byname, she fired the rage of the multi-tude, with her cries, to the wildest ven-geance," Kill them!" she shrieked, with aVoice so shrill that it was heard abovethe general tumult. Murder them all,it must be so, for God wills it. De-"s struction to them, the noble traitors,their bullets will not injure you!"S Thus the first attack was made onthe lower gate, whilst the peasants withS: their ladders sought to scale the walls.i: But the citizens of the place, under the
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S- .-THE STORM BURSTS. 8directions of Count Helfenstein, madea vigorous defence, throwing largestones from the walls and turrets, firing.through the loop-holes, and piercing.their opponents with long spears andhalberds. Many of the peasantry werekilled, others were wounded, but the re-nlainder were. not disheartened. Theiraxes hewed the gates, their musketsthinned the ranks of the citizens andmen-at-arms, and Jaicklein, the foremostof all, swore death and fire to the Weins-bergers. The gates would not yield,and now the peasantry brought logsand-battering-rams, and therewith, thun-dered against them.Meanwhile the other gates had beenen e e ga .en t -h'stormed, and the first triumphal cry ofthe peasants was ,heard from the smallFf J
82 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.gate near the church. There, with aidfrom within, having succeeded in pryingopen the gate, they rushed like a mightytorrent through the streets of the city."Behold, behold, the Lord has de-livered the traitors into our hands!"exclaimed, in shrill tones, the voice ofBrown Hofminnin, as she pointed withher long arms to the strong fortress ofthe city. "Our standards wave fromthe towers of the fortress; they are thetriumphal banners of Florian Geyer'sBlack Cavalry. Those brave men havesucceeded best of all, and the victory isours."The loud triumphant cry of the ee-siegers struck a panic to the hearts ofthe besieged, which crippled their effortsand robbed them of all courage. In
THE STORM BURSTS. 83vain did Dietrich von Weiler ridethrough the city, to encourage the men-at-arms and citizens to resistance; invain did Count Helfenstein, regardlessof death, oppose the constantly increas-ing onsets of the peasantry; in vain didevery knight do his utmost to resist: alltheir efforts were unavailing. The citi-zens descended from the walls, andthrew away their weapons. Even theCount himself acknowledged the futilityof further bloodshed, and authorized acitizen, with a hat placed on a flag-staffextended from the pinnacle of the lowergate, to cry for quarter to the enemy,and to offer the surrender of the city,on the condition that the lives of allshould be spared. Others also cried:"Quarter, for God's sake, quarter "
84 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.Jicklein Rohrbach then stepped for-ward and replied: "So be it, the citi-zens shall be spared, but every knightmust die!""Be merciful !" prayed Schwabhan-nes, who had first proposed peace, andbeside whom, on the wall, stood theCount. "At least spare this noblelord.""We exempt none, but least of allthis man Helfenstein," thundered Jaick-lein, in reply. "Did he spare us in theleast? He must die, were he worth hisweight in gold."A deadly terror seized the Countwhen he heard these words, and he de-termined to save himself by a speedyflight. Many knights joined with himin his purpose. But just as they were
THE STORM BURSTS. 85about to mount their saddles in themarket square, they were surroundedby a crowd of women and children,who blocked up their way of escape."Will you leave us alone?" criedthey to the knight. "You were thecause of this misfortune to our city,and you should share it with us.""Make room!" cried Count Helfen-stein in reply, as he spurred his horsewith the design of breaking throughthe mass. It was too late.From four quarters right through thecity advanced the peasants with wildand threatening cries, and with a powerthat was irresistible. In every directionwere seen their fierce countenances andtheir menacing eyes all thirsting forblood.8
86 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.The knights could no longer think offlight. Against them the vengeance ofthe peasants was especially turned. Tothe citizens the advancing host ex-claimed, "Return to your houses withyour wives and children; no harm shallbe done to you."The citizens obeyed; but Count Hel-fenstein with his knights sought to gainthe upper church and burial-ground,there to defend their lives, or to savethemselves in the church. As the Countentered the building, a priest met himwith these hurried words:"This way, noble sir. Ascend thisstairway, and you can reach the plat-form of the tower, whence you may finda way of escape."The Count lost no time in obeying the
THE STORM BURSTS. 87hint, and ascended, accompanied byeighteen knights and men-at-arms.But the peasants, were in close pur-suit. The few who in the burial-groundwere brave enough to make any defence,were soon cut down or scattered, andthen the church-doors were forced openwith battering-rams. With wild criesthe peasants rushed into the church andslaughtered every one that had takenrefuge there. They even forced theirway into the burial-vaults, and slew allwho had sought safety therein.But thus far they had not foundCount Helfenstein, Dietrich von Weiler,or others of the nobility. Jacklein Rohr-bach thirsted for their blood, and yelledwith disappointed fury at his inability tofind them, till at length the secret stair-
88 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.case was discovered, and a universalshout of triumph arose from the bodyof the church."Here we have the whole nest to-gether. Kill them all! " cried Jacklein.The peasants immediately rushed for-ward; but the staircase was so narrowthat only one at, a time could find access.Those who had sought refuge on thetower now regarded themselves as lost.Dietrich von Weiler stepped forth onthe platform and addressed the peas-ants who were standing below."Hearken to me, ye people!" hecalled out. "We are willing to surren-der to you, and to pay you thirty thou-sand guilders, provided you spare ourlives."" If you could give us a ton-of gold,"<^ <
THE STORM BURSTS. 89was the fearful reply, "we would notaccept. The Count as well as the restof you must die. We will show nomercy.""No mercy!" cried other voices."Vengeance, vengeance for the bloodof our brothers! Vengeance for theseven thousand slaughtered at Wurz-ach! "These seven thousand had shortlybefore been suddenly attacked by anoverwhelming force under Count Truch-sess of Waldburg, and all slaughtered tothe last man, not excepting even thosewho threw down their arms and beggedfor mercy."%Vengeance! vengeance!" soundedfrom a thousand voices. At this mo-ment a report was heard, and Dietrich8*
90 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.von Weiler, pierced through the neck,fell back on the platform of the tower.The peasants, who had by this timeforced their way up the stairs, fell withirresistible fury on the knights andtheir followers. The narrow space wasdensely crowded, and from the outsetno thought of successful resistance wasentertained. Many sunk dead wherethey had stood. Others, like thewounded Dietrich, were cast headlongover the banisters of the tower into theburial-grounds below. Count Helfen-stein alone, with a few brave adherents,feebly and wearily resisted. They toomust shortly yield to overwhelmingnumbers.Help now arrived." Hold! " cried a powerful voice, and
THE STORM BURSTS. 91a strong man threw himself, regardlessof the danger, between the comba-tants."Hold, Jaicklein! Back, ye people,or your halberds must open a waythrough my body!""George Metzler- You!" cried Jack-lein, with a countenance pale with rage--you defend these hangmen? Away!Let our vengeance have fair play!""Not so; no murder!" replied Metz-ler, composedly. "Take these peopleprisoners. A just trial shall be givento them, and a righteous sentence pro-nounced; but no man shall murderthem so long as I have life, and canprevent it."Foaming with rage and thirsting forblood, Jacklein was compelled not only4
92 KNIGHT AND PEASANT.to submit, but to see that the commandsof George Metzler should be obeyed bythe peasants, who loved him morp thanthe former, and whom they had chosencommander in chief. Count Helfen-stein with his attendants was thereforedisarmed and bound, and thus led downfrom the tower. A wild cry greetedthem as they reached the ground, andscores of weapons were aimed at them.Before George Metzler could preventit, a peasant pierced the Count in hisside with his halberd, and another in-flicted a wound on the head of one ofhis companions, the knight George vonKaltenthal. But neither of the woundswere serious, and without any furtheroutrage George Metzler succeeded inprotecting his prisoners. They were