페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

got for nothing: if there is no stream, they can join the geese in the ditches. He must sleep, too, on the ground under a tree, with the sky for his blanket, and from such a bed no feathers will get into his hair. Hence comes, too, the old quarrel of the geese and hens with the Landsknechts, for the former always sleep in feathers, while the latter lie in straw. Another animal is hateful to them, and that is the cats, for as they are good mousers themselves, they do not desire rivals. As the old rhyme says, a Landsknecht has always by him a pretty wench, a dog and a lad, a long pike, a short sword, and he must have made three campaigns before he becomes an honest man. After the first he must go home in torn clothes; after the second he must take home a slash on his cheeks, thus proving that he has the Landsknecht sign; the third time he must return well dressed, on a fine horse, with a full purse of crowns to swagger.

It is a true saying that a soldier must have food and drink, whether sexton or priest pay for them, for a Landsknecht has neither house nor yard, cows nor calves, and no one serves up his dinner. Hence, he must filch it wherever it is, and buy it without money, let the peasants look on sweet or sour. Sometimes the brothers starve, and have a bad month of it; at others, they have so much that they clean their shoes with beer and wine. Then the dogs eat the roast meat, the girls and boys have fine situations; they become housekeepers and cellarmen over other folk's property. When the host is expelled with wife and child, the hens, geese, fat cows, oxen, pigs, and sheep, have a bad time of it. For then the money is divided in hatfuls; velvet, silk, and cloth measured with pike-staves, boxes are broken open, and when nothing is left, the house is fired. That is a real Landsknecht's fire when fifty villages are burning at once. That makes soldiers jolly, and is a most desirable life, except for the man who has to pay the piper. This entices many a man to the field who does not return again. For the adage says: "For work, Landsknechts have crooked fingers and palsied hands, but for robbery all the hands grow straight again. It was so before us, and will be so after us. And they learn the trade betimes, and grow very cautious, like the three maids who ordered four cradles, so as to have one in readiness in case of twins. Wherever soldiers come, they employ their axes as the keys of all the rooms; and if there may not be sufficient stalls, they do not care for that, but quarter their horses in churches, chapels, and sacred buildings. If there is no dry wood for firing, it is of no consequence, they burn stools, chairs, ploughs, and everything in the house; if green wood is needed, the nearest fruit-tree is cut down; for, as the saying is, "We shall have a different roof over us to-morrow; so, master host, be comforted, you have a few guests you would be glad to get rid of, so serve your best, and score it up. Burn the house, and burn the chalk too." That is the Landsknecht's fashion. "Make the reckoning when we ride off, and pay when we return."

دو

The poor peasants were the natural prey of all: Catholics and Protestants plundered and ill-treated them in turn. The result was, that they became plunderers too, and whenever troops passed through their villages, they would lie in wait and attack the baggage-guard, in the hope of recovering some of their property. At other times the peasants would march on other villages, and carry off what the troopers had left behind as too hot or too heavy. Here is a more harmless instance than usual of these feuds. The townsmen of Eisfeld had a violent quarrel with the monastery of Banz about two bells in the latter chapel, which a Swedish colonel carried off and sold to the town. Now, when the Catholies were quartered in Eisfeld, the monks came with carts to remove their property; but the first time they were stopped by a conscientious Croat, because they tried to carry off the town clock as well. The second time they fared no better; but at length received a small bell as compensation. Duke Ernest the Pious at length settled

the quarrel, like the lawyer with the oyster, by carrying off the two bells, which he removed to Gotha.

For some time the villagers tried to escape by paying ransom; but this was a poor resource, as it only brought the vultures more frequently upon them. At last, they made hiding-places in the woods, to which they fled when the presence of soldiers in the neighbourhood was announced. Many such spots are still pointed out to the traveller in Thuringia. The only laudable thing we can read of during these horrors is the pertinacity with which the clergy attached themselves to their parishioners, sharing all their sufferings patiently with them, and encouraging them by their example. In the volume under notice will be found a most interesting account of the dangers and difficulties to which a pious pastor, Martin Bötzinger, was exposed, which only its length prevents our quoting. Another clergyman, John Otto, of Eisfeld, a young man lately married, was obliged to gain a scanty livelihood by working in the fields, and he wrote in his Euclid, "Two days threshing in autumn: one day woodfelling-1646. Two days threshing-Jan. 1647. Five days threshing-February. Half-day mowing; four wedding-letters writing; Item, half-day binding oats; one day reaping," &c. He managed to survive, however, and continued his ministration for forty-two years. another instance, reminding us of a passage in Coleridge's life: Otto's successor, the great Latinist Johann Schmidt, happened to get among the soldiers, and was one day seen by his colonel reading a Greek poet in the guard-room. Ernest the Pious, on hearing of this, made him a teacher.

Here is

Johannes Elfflein, pastor of Simau in 1632, was so poor that he had to gain a livelihood in the fields. Twice assistance was given him from the poor-box of Coburg. At last the consistory allowed him to sell a church chalice, that he might procure bread. He regarded it as a special piece of good fortune when he had to bury a nobleman, for which he received a good imperial dollar and a quarter of corn. And when, shortly after, he complained to a neighbour of his starvation, and the latter replied with fearful determination what he would do in such a case, the good pastor answered, in his firm faith: "My God has resources; before I should die of hunger some rich noble will die, so that I may have the money to buy corn." And he regarded it as a dispensation of Providence when this melancholy event happened a little later. position was so deplorable, that even the depredatory soldiers in his vicinity, on sending their boys out to loot, warned them to leave the priest of Simau alone, for the poor wretch had nothing for himself.

His

Another accompanying evil of the Thirty Years' War was the fearful depreciation of the currency. As every little prince had the right of stamping his effigy on money, and thus rendering it the current coin of the realm, they soon fell into a habit of coining pieces of representative tin. For a while matters went on gloriously; the peasants, finding such an increased circulation, brought their wares to market, and even exchanged their hoarded crowns for the new coinage. Every one who owed money hastened to pay, and if a mint-master could be induced to coin an old copper-kettle for a friend, he had the means to buy house and land. Of course, as money was so flush, a considerable portion of it went to the public-houses, and everybody was in a glorious dream, till

the mauvais quart d'heure arrived. The first to feel the pressure were persons living on fixed incomes; try all they knew, they could not make both ends meet. In vain were their salaries raised one-fourth, for the rulers could afford to be liberal; but still meat and flour went up. The poor serving wenches, with their wages of ten crowns a year, could hardly find themselves in shoe-leather. Before long a panic set in, and when the government declined to take their own money in payment of the taxes, the peasants thought it better to keep their calves and pigs at home than sell them at market for money which people would hardly take as a gift.

Of course the popular fury was vented on the coiners, forgetting that they had only obeyed orders; and the clergy denounced them from the pulpit and in countless pamphlets. Andreas Larups, pastor of Hallé, gave them a terrible dressing in a tractate, when he proved, by numerous quotations from the Old and New Testament, that all trades and professions had come into the world by divine dispensation, even the executions; but the coiners were the devil's own. An anonymous writer, in replying to the divine, put the saddle on the right horse, and created an intense excitement. The princes were obliged to give way, and called in the old coinage, and the popular mind was soon turned in another direc tion by the landing of Gustav Adolph. His successes caused him to be adored: he was the liberator of Germany-he was everything that could be desired, if he could only have done without soldiers; and persons began whispering to each other that there was not a pin to choose between Piccolomini's horsemen and Torstenson's infantry. The only difference was in the mode of torture they employed to extort hidden moneys.

Hitherto, we have confined our attention to the villages. Let us now see what was the condition of the cities and towns before the outbreak of the war:

Trade and commerce were flourishing, although Germany had already lost much of her wholesale foreign trade. The splendour of the Hansa has faded, the great mercantile houses of Augsburg and Nüremberg lived like heirs on the wealth of their fathers. Italians, French, but, above all, English and Dutch, had become dangerous rivals; old trade monopolies could no longer be held, and the commerce with the Indies had flowed into another channel. But the German herring fisheries still possessed great importance, and the enormous Sclavonic lands were an open market for the overland trade. . . . Greater than now was the comfort of the people, louder and more unfettered their jollity. The luxuriousness of the meals, especially at family feasts, was loyally arranged according to the rank. Oysters were conveyed as far as they could be, and employed for sauces after the French fashion: caviare was well known, and at the autumn fair Leipzig larks were a celebrated dish. Saffron was still much employed in domestic cookery, in addition to Eastern spices, and marchpane was de rigueur at every good table.

The town M. Freytag quotes for our instruction, to show the horrors of the war, is Löwenberg, in Silesia. In 1617, it contained 738 houses, and at least 6500 inhabitants; in 1658, there were 640 inhabitants left. But it is not so much for the sake of this comparison that our author takes us to this town, as to quote a very ludicrous scene which occurred, and was carefully written down at the time.

The Jesuits had made up their mind that the population must become

The result

Catholic; and though the men were willing enough, the women held out. The wiseworthy council assembled to discuss the measures to be adopted, and one of them, Dr. Melcher, suggested: "Gentlemen, let-let-let us lock 'em up together, and al-al-allow none to come-come out, if they rot in prison, till they agree. I beat my house torment about it yesterday. The deu-deu-deuce take me, she must obey, or I'll kick her out." was, that the first ladies of the town were invited to a conference; but, fearing a trap, they came followed by all their female friends. The council were decidedly in a stew, for they were painfully aware that the wives of their bosoms carried heavy bunches of keys, which they knew how to use very efficiently in offence. The ladies, however, growing bolder, the worthy gentlemen were obliged to escape by a back door, leaving their prisoners behind them.

After a while a deputation was sent to the enraged ladies, begging them to come home, and all would be forgiven; if, however, they would only go to church in Easter week, as example to the others, the priest would feel greatly obliged to them. But not an inch would they yield, and the priest was at last compelled to surrender unconditionally. We are happy to state that he was obliged to quit the town the next year, while Dr. Melcher was so badgered by the dames that he went as a soldier, and was most deservedly hanged at Prague.

As may naturally be supposed, the Thirty Years' War was a regular hotbed for rogues of every degree. Among these, we may specially mention the gipsies, who became such a plague at last that they were outlawed. In 1700, among the other game killed during the year, we find a gipsy woman and her child quoted. In Prussia, gallows were erected on the frontier in 1710, on which every gipsy above the age of eighteen was hanged; and we even find, so late as 1748, Frederick the Great reinforcing the same inhuman edict.

During the war the ruffians entered the ranks and corrupted the soldiers; after it, they formed into bands once more. The names of Hans Nickel and Nickel List became the horror of two generations. Their cruelty, their daring exploits, and skill in disappearing, terrified the castle and the cabin. But they were not alone; other bands exercised their talents in incendiarism, and extorted large sums by threats. Among the more harmless vagabonds were many Italian quack-salvers and mountebanks, of whom Garzoni gives a most amusing account in his "Piazza Universale." One passage we will extract as a specimen :

If you see that these deceivers have on their bench a large lump of arsenic, sublimate, or other poison, to test the value of their orvietan, you must know that, in the summer before they visit the town, they have filled their bodies with young shalots floating in vinegar and oil. In winter, however, they stuff themselves with ox-paunch, boiled soft. They do this, that the passages of the body may be occupied by this cold greasy substance, and the sharpness and heat of the poison weakened. Still, they can also make matters certain, by going beforehand to the chemist's shop, generally close to the market, buying a box of arsenic, from which they take some pills and wrap them in paper, asking the apothecary to send them when asked for. When, then, they have praised their wares sufficiently, so that nothing is left but the proof, they send one of the bystanders, so that he may not suspect any fraud, to the apothecary's, to procure the arsenic. He runs off, that there may be no impediment in such a useful job, and calculates on the way that though he has been cheated a thou

sand times before, he cannot be so now, he would mind that. In the mean while he reaches the chemist's, buys the arsenic, and runs back joyfully to the bench, in order to see the marvel. The seller has arranged a quantity of boxes, into one of which he puts the arsenic, and addresses the people a long while before swallowing it, for a man must not press to meet such danger. But he has changed the boxes cleverly, and produces one containing lumps of dough made of sugar, flour, and saffron, just like the arsenic. These he then eats, with strange gestures, as if terribly afraid, and the peasants look on with widelyopened jaws, to see whether he will not burst soon; but he assures them this will not happen, and at length takes a lump of orvietan of the size of a chesnut, and the swelling is immediately reduced. Then, of course, the peasants draw their purses out, and the elixir is sold by the hundred-weight.

The alchemists also played a great part in this hapless period of German history, and their patrons were usually the princes of the land. Still, it was sporting with the lion; for, if the ruler grew tired of excuses, he took his revenge by stringing up the adept. Thus, Count Cajetan was hanged at Cüstrin in a gold dress, and the beams of the gallows were adorned with mica plates.

It is impossible for us to dwell on all the interesting chapters M. Freytag offers us, relieving the gloom of warfare by clever descriptions of marriage ceremonies and festivals, or giving us a glance at the wateringplace life of the middle ages. The last chapter, devoted to the struggles that went on between the Jesuits and Jews, will afford us a final illustration, as it shows that the tricks employed to get hold of little Mortara were in vogue nearly three centuries back.

Samuel Metzel, a Hebrew, and his four children, had been converted, but his wife Rosina was obstinate-so obstinate, that she fled from her husband's roof, in the hope of saving her next infant from the priests. But her hiding-place was detected, and a Christian Jewess, Ludmilla, was sent as a midwife by the padres. So soon as the babe came into the world she christened the child. In vain did the mother rush from her bed to save her child; the police appeared and tried to tear the infant from her. But she pressed it so furiously to her breast that the judge feared lest she might stifle it in her paroxysms, and left her the child for a season, with strict orders that it should not be made a Jew. Some time after the child was handed over to the father, and Rosina herself became a convert, doubtlessly through love of her children.

For

Simon Abeles, a Jew of Prague, was so, infuriated by his boy Simon, a lad of ten years, being christened, that he seized and killed him. this the Jesuits took a fearful revenge-no less than six of his accomplices were hanged, while the little convert was buried in a gilt coffin, all the first people of the city joining in the ceremony.

The last chapter of this very curious volume is devoted to a war which broke out through a point of precedence known as the "Wosunger King;" but it need not detain us, the more so as our readers will, we understand, soon have the pleasure of welcoming a translation of these most curious volumes, which is being prepared for press by Colonel Malcolm. We recommend the perusal to them most cordially beforehand, and we feel convinced that they will have no reason to regret following our advice.

« 이전계속 »