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Chronicles of the Schonberg-Cotta Family By Elizabeth Rundle Charles Characters: 33634

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


Elsè's Story.

August, 1517.

Yes, our little Gretchen is certainly a remarkable child. Although she is not yet two years old, she knows all of us by name. She tyranizes over us all, except me. I deny her many things which she cries for; except when Gottfried is present, who, unfortunately, cannot bear to see her unhappy for a moment, and having (he says) had his temper spoilt in infancy by a cross nurse, has no notion of infant education, except to avoid contradiction. Christopher, who always professed a supreme contempt for babies, gives her rides on his shoulder in the most submissive manner. But best of all, I love to see her sitting on my blind father's knee, and stroking his face with a kind of tender, pitiful reverence, as if she felt there was something missing there.

I have taught her, too, to say Fritz's name, when I show her the little lock I wear of his hair; and to kiss Eva's picture. I cannot bear that they should be as lost or dead to her. But I am afraid she is perplexed between Eva's portrait and the picture of the Holy Virgin, which I teach her to bow and cross her forehead before; because sometimes she tries to kiss the picture of Our Lady, and to twist her little fingers into the sacred sign before Eva's likeness. However, by-and-by she will distinguish better. And are not Eva and Fritz indeed our family saints and patrons? I do believe their prayers bring down blessings on us all.

For our family has bean so much blessed lately! The dear mother's face looks so bright, and has regained something of its old sweet likeness to the Mother of Mercy. And I am so happy, so brimful of happiness. And it certainly does make me feel more religious than I did.

Not the home-happiness only, I mean, but that best blessing of all, that came first, before I knew that Gottfried cared for me,-the knowledge of the love of God to me,-that best riches of all, without which all our riches would be mere cares-the riches of the treasury of God freely opened to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gottfried is better than I ever thought he was. Perhaps he really grows better every year; certainly he seems better and dearer to me.

Chriemhild and Ulrich are to be married very soon. He has gone now to see Franz von Sickingen, and his other relations in the Rhineland, and to make arrangements connected with his marriage. Last year Chriemhild and Atlantis stayed some weeks at the old castle in the Thuringian Forest, near Eisenach. A wild life it seemed to be, from their description, deep in the heart of the forest, in a lonely fortress on a rock, with only a few peasants' huts in sight; and with all kinds of strange legends of demon huntsmen, and elves, and sprites haunting the neighborhood. To me it seems almost as desolate as the wilderness where John the Baptist lived on locusts and wild honey; but Chriemhild thought it delightful. She made acquaintance with some of the poor peasants, and they seemed to think her an angel,-an opinion (Atlantis says) shared by Ulrich's old uncle and aunt, to say nothing of Ulrich himself. At first the aged Aunt Hermentrude was rather distant; but on the Sch?nberg pedigree having been duly tested and approved, the old lady at length considered herself free to give vent to her feelings, whilst the old knight courteously protested that he had always seen Chriemhild's pedigree in her face.

And Ulrich says there is one great advantage in the solitude and strength of his castle,-he could offer an asylum at any time to Dr. Luther, who has of late become an object of bitter hatred to some of the priests.

Dr. Luther is most kind to our little Gretchen, whom he baptized. He says little children often understand God better than the wisest doctors of divinity.

Thekla has experienced her first sorrow. Her poor little foundling, Nix, is dead. For some days the poor creature had been ailing, and at last he lay for some hours quivering, as if with inward convulsions; yet at Thekla's voice the dull, glassy eyes would brighten, and he would wag his tail feebly as he lay on his side. At last he died; and Thekla was not to be comforted, but sat apart and shed bitter tears. The only thing which cheered her was Christopher's making a grave in the garden for Nix, under the pear tree where I used to sit at embroidery in summer, as now she does. It was of no use to try to laugh her out of her distress. Her lip quivered and her eyes filled with tears if any one attempted it. Atlantis spoke seriously to her on the duty of a little girl of twelve beginning to put away childish things; and even the gentle mother tenderly remonstrated, and said one day, when Dr. Luther had asked her for her favourite, and had been answered by a burst of tears, "My child, if you mourn so for a dog, what will you do when real sorrows come?"

But Dr. Luther seemed to understand Thekla better than any of us, and to take her part. He said she was a child, and her childish sorrows were no more trifles to her than our sorrows are to us; that from heaven we might probably look on the fall of an empire as of less moment than we now thought the death of Thekla's dog; yet that the angels who look down on us from heaven do not despise our little joys and sorrows, nor should we those of the little ones; or words to this effect. He has a strange sympathy with the hearts of children. Thekla was so encouraged by his compassion, that she crept close to him and laid her hand in his, and said, with a look of wistful earnestness, "Will Nix rise again at the last day? Will there be dogs in the other world?"

Many of us were appalled at such an irreverent idea; but Dr. Luther did not seem to think it irreverent. He said, "We know less of what that other world will be than this little one, or than that babe," he added, pointing to my little Gretchen, "knows of the empires or powers of this world. But of this we are sure, the world to come will be no empty, lifeless waste. See how full and beautiful the Lord God has made all things in this passing, perishing world of heaven and earth! How much more beautiful, then, will he make that eternal, incorruptible world! God will make new heavens and a new earth. All poisonous, and malicious, and hurtful creatures will be banished thence,-all that our sin has ruined. All creatures will not only be harmless, but lovely, and pleasant, and joyful, so that we might play with them. 'The sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's den.' Why, then, should there not be little dogs in the new earth, whose skin might be fair as gold, and their hair as bright as precious stones?"

Certainly, in Thekla's eyes, from that moment there has been no doctor of divinity like Dr. Luther.

Torgau, November 10, 1516.

The plague is at Wittemberg. We have all taken refuge here. The university is scattered, and many, also, of the Augustinian monks.

Dr. Luther remains in the convent at Wittemberg. We have seen a copy of a letter of his, dated the 26th October, and addressed to the Venerable Father John Lange, Prior of Erfurt Monastery.

"Health. I have need of two secretaries or chancellors, since all day long I do nothing but write letters; and I know not whether, always writing, I may not sometimes repeat the same things. Thou wilt see.

"I am convent lecturer; reader at meals; I am desired to be daily parish preacher; I am director of studies, vicar (i. e., prior eleven times over), inspector of the fish-ponds at Litzkau, advocate of the cause of the people of Herzberg at Torgau, lecturer on Paul and on the Psalms; besides what I have said already of my constant correspondence. I have rarely time to recite my Canonical Hours, to say nothing of my own particular temptations from the world, the flesh, and the devil. See what a man of leisure I am!

"Concerning Brother John Metzel I believe you have already received my opinion. I will see, however, what I can do. How can you think I can find room for your Sardanapaluses and Sybarites? If you have educated them ill, you must bear with those you have educated ill. I have enough useless brethren;-if, indeed, any are useless to a patient heart. I am persuaded that the useless may become more useful than those who are the most useful now. Therefore bear with them for the time.

"I think I have already written to you about the brethren you sent me. Some I have sent to Magister Spangenburg, as they requested, to save their breathing this pestilential air. With two from Cologne I felt such sympathy, and thought so much of their abilities, that I have retained them, although at much expense. Twenty-two priests, forty-two youths, and in the university altogether forty-two persons are supported out of our poverty. But the Lord will provide.

"You say that yesterday you began to lecture on the Sentences. To-morrow I begin the Epistle to the Galatians; although I fear that, with the plague among us as it is, I shall not be able to continue. The plague has taken away already two or three among us, but not all in one day; and the son of our neighbour Faber, yesterday in health, to-day is dead; and another is infected. What shall I say? It is indeed here, and begins to rage with great cruelty and suddenness, especially among the young. You would persuade me and Master Bartholomew to take refuge with you. Why should I flee? I hope the world would not collapse if Brother Martin fell. If the pestilence spreads, I will indeed disperse the monks throughout the land. As for me, I have been placed here. My obedience as a monk does not suffer me to fly; since what obedience required once, it demands still. Not that I do not fear death-(I am not the Apostle Paul, but only the reader of the Apostle Paul)-but I hope the Lord will deliver me from my fear.

"Farewell; and be mindful of us in this day of the visitation of the Lord, to whom be glory."

This letter has strengthened me and many. Yes, if it had been our duty, I trust, like Dr. Luther, we should have had courage to remain. The courage of his act strengthens us; and also the confession of fear in his words. It does not seem a fear which hath torment, or which fetters his spirit. It does not even crush his cheerfulness. It is a natural fear of dying, which I also cannot overcome. From me, then, as surely from him, when God sees it time to die, He will doubtless remove the dread of death.

This season of the pestilence recalls so much to me of what happened when the plague last visited us at Eisenach!

We have lost some since then,-if I ought to call Eva and Fritz lost. But how my life has been enriched! My husband, our little Gretchen; and then so much outward prosperity! All that pressure of poverty and daily care entirely gone, and so much wherewith to help others! And yet, am I so entirely free from care as I ought to be? Am I not even at times more burdened with it?

When first I married, and had Gottfried on whom to unburden every perplexity, and riches which seemed to me inexhaustible, instead of poverty, I thought I should never know care again.

But is it so? Have not the very things themselves, in their possession, become cares? When I hear of these dreadful wars with the Turks, and of the insurrections and disquiets in various parts, and look round on our pleasant home, and gardens, and fields, I think how terrible it would be again to be plunged into poverty, or that Gretchen ever should be; so that riches themselves become cares. It makes me think of what a good man once told me: that the word in the Bible which is translated "rich," in speaking of Abraham, in other places is translated "heavy;" so that instead of reading, "Abraham left Egypt rich in cattle and silver and gold," we might read "heavy in cattle, silver, and gold."

Yes, we are on a pilgrimage to the Holy City; we are in flight from an evil world; and too often riches are weights which hinder our progress.

I find it good, therefore, to be here in the small, humble house we have taken refuge in-Gottfried, Gretchen, and I. The servants are dispersed elsewhere; and it lightens my heart to feel how well we can do without luxuries which were beginning to seem like necessaries. Dr. Luther's words come to my mind; "The covetous enjoy what they have as little as what they have not. They cannot even rejoice in the sunshine. They think not what a noble gift the light is-what an inexpressibly great treasure the sun is, which shines freely on all the world."

Yes, God's common gifts are his most precious; and his most precious gifts-even life itself-have no root in themselves. Not that they are without root; they are better rooted in the depths of His unchangeable love.

It is well to be taught, by such a visitation even as this pestilence, the utter insecurity of everything here. "If the ship itself," as Gottfried says, "is exposed to shipwreck, who, then, can secure the cargo?" Henceforth let me be content with the only security Dr. Luther says God will give us,-the security of his presence and cure: "I will never leave thee."

Wittemberg, June, 1517.

We are at home once more; and, thank God, our two households are undiminished, save by one death-that of our youngest sister, the baby when we left Eisenach. The professors and students also have returned. Dr. Luther, who remained here all the time, is preaching with more force and clearness.

The town is greatly divided in opinion about him. Dr. Tetzel, the great Papal Commissioner for the sale of indulgences, has established his red cross, announcing the sale of pardons, for some months, at Jüterbok and Zerbst, not far from Wittemberg.

Numbers of the townspeople, alarmed, I suppose, by the pestilence, into anxiety about their souls, have repaired to Dr. Tetzel, and returned with the purchased tickets of indulgence.

I have always been perplexed as to what the indulgences really give. Christopher has terrible stories about the money paid for them being spent by Dr. Tetzel and others on taverns and feasts; and Gottfried says, "It is a bargain between the priests, who love money, and the people, who love sin."

Yesterday morning I saw one of the letters of indulgence for the first time. A neighbour of ours, the wife of a miller, whose weights have been a little suspected in the town, was in a state of great indignation when I went to purchase some flour of her.

"See!" she said; "this Dr. Luther will be wiser than the Pope himself. He has refused to admit my husband to the Holy Sacrament unless he repents and confesses to him, although he took his certificate in his hand."

She gave it to me, and I read it. Certainly, if the doctors of divinity disagree about the value of these indulgences, Dr. Tetzel has no ambiguity nor uncertainty in his language.

"I," says the letter, "absolve thee from all the excesses, sins, and crimes which thou hast committed, however great and enormous they may be. I remit for thee the pains thou mightest have had to endure in purgatory. I restore thee to participation in the sacraments. I incorporate thee afresh into the communion of the Church. I re-establish thee in the innocence and purity in which thou wast at the time of thy baptism. So that, at the moment of thy death, the gate by which souls pass into the place of torments will be shut upon thee; while, on the contrary, that which leads to the paradise of joy will be open unto thee. And if thou art not called on to die soon, this grace will remain unaltered for the time of thy latter end.

"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,

"Friar John Tetzel, Commissary, has signed it with his own hand."

"To think," said my neighbour, "of the pope promising my Franz admittance into paradise; and Dr. Luther will not even admit him to the altar of the parish church? And after spending such a sum on it! for the friar must surely have thought my husband better off than he is, or he would not have demanded gold of poor struggling people like us."

"But if the angels at the gate of paradise should be of the same mind as Dr. Luther?" I suggested, "would it not be better to find that out here than there?"

"It is impossible," she replied; "have we not the Holy Father's own word? and did we not pay a whole golden florin? It is impossible it can be in vain."

"Put the next florin in your scales instead of in Dr. Tetzel's chest, neighbour," said a student, laughing, as he heard her loud and angry words; "it may weigh heavier with your flour than against your sins."

I left them to finish the discussion.

Gottfried says it is quite true that Dr. Luther in the confessional in the city churches has earnestly protested to many of his penitents against their trusting to these certi

ficates, and has positively refused to suffer any to communicate, except on their confessing their sins, and promising to forsake them, whether provided with indulgences or not.

In his sermon to the people last year on the Ten Commandments, he told them forgiveness was freely given to the penitent by God, and was not to be purchased at any price, least of all with money.

Wittemberg, July 18.

The whole town is in a ferment to-day, on account of Dr. Luther's sermon yesterday, preached before the Elector in the Castle church.

The congregation was very large, composed of the court, students, and townspeople.

Not a child or ignorant peasant there but could understand the preacher's words. The Elector had procured especial indulgences from the pope in aid of his church, but Dr. Luther made no exception to conciliate him. He said the Holy Scriptures nowhere demand of us any penalty or satisfaction for our sins. God gives and forgives freely without price, out of his unutterable grace; and lays on the forgiven no other duty than true repentance and sincere conversion of the heart, resolution to bear the cross of Christ, and do all the good we can. He declared also that it would be better to give money freely towards the building of St. Peter's Church at Rome, than to bargain with alms for indulgences; that it was more pleasing to God to give to the poor, than to buy these letters, which, he said, would at the utmost do nothing more for any man than remit mere ecclesiastical penances.

As we returned from the church together, Gottfried said,-

"The battle-cry is sounded then at last! The wolf has assailed Dr. Luther's own flock, and the shepherd is roused. The battle-cry is sounded, Elsè, but the battle is scarcely begun."

And when we described the sermon to our grandmother, she murmured,-

"It sounds to me, children, like an old story of my childhood. Have I not heard such words half a century since in Bohemia? and have I not seen the lips which spoke them silenced in flames and blood? Neither Dr. Luther nor any of you know whither you are going. Thank God, I am soon going to him who died for speaking just such words! Thank God I hear them again before I die! I have doubted long about them and about everything; how could I dare to think a few proscribed men right against the whole Church? But since these old words cannot be hushed, but rise from the dead again, I think there must be life in them; eternal life. Children," she concluded, "tell me when Dr. Luther preaches again; I will hear him before I die, that I may tell your grandfather, when I meet him, the old truth is not dead. I think it would give him another joy, even before the throne of God."

Wittemberg, August.

Christopher has returned from Jüterbok. He saw there a great pile of burning faggots, which Dr. Tetzel had caused to be kindled in the market-place, "to burn the heretics," he said.

We laughed as he related this, and also at the furious threats and curses that had been launched at Dr. Luther from the pulpit in front of the iron money-chest. But our grandmother said, "It is no jest, children; they have done it, and they will do it again yet!"

Wittemberg, November 1, 1517;

All Saints' Day.

Yesterday evening, as I sat at the window with Gottfried in the late twilight, hushing Gretchen to sleep, we noticed Dr. Luther walking rapidly along the street towards the Castle church. His step was firm and quick, and he seemed too full of thought to observe anything as he passed. There was something unusual in his bearing, which made my husband call my attention to him. His head was erect and slightly thrown back, as when he preaches. He had a large packet of papers in his hand, and although he was evidently absorbed with some purpose, he had more the air of a general moving to a battle-field than of a theologian buried in meditation.

This morning, as we went to the early mass of the festival, we saw a great crowd gathered around the doors of the Castle church; not a mob, however, but an eager throng of well-dressed men, professors, citizens, and students; those within the circle reading some writing which was posted on the door, whilst around, the crowd was broken into little knots, in eager but not loud debate.

Gottfried asked what had happened.

"It is only some Latin theses against the indulgences, by Dr. Luther," replied one of the students, "inviting a disputation on the subject."

I was relieved to hear that nothing was the matter, and Gottfried and I quietly proceeded to the service.

"It is only an affair of the university," I said. "I was afraid it was some national disaster, an invasion of the Turks, or some event in the Elector's family."

As we returned, however, the crowd had increased, and the debate seemed to be becoming warm among some of them. One of the students was translating the Latin into German for the benefit of the unlearned, and we paused to listen.

What he read seemed to me very true, but not at all remarkable. We had often heard Dr. Luther say and even preach similar things. At the moment we came up the words the student was reading were,-

"It is a great error for one to think to make satisfaction for his sins, in that God always forgives gratuitously and from his boundless grace, requiring nothing in return but holy living."

This sentence I remember distinctly, because it was so much like what we had heard him preach. Other propositions followed, such as that it was very doubtful if the indulgences could deliver souls from purgatory, and that it was better to give alms than to buy indulgences. But why these statements should collect such a crowd, and excite such intense interest, I could not quite understand, unless it was because they were in Latin.

One sentence, I observed, aroused very mingled feelings in the crowd. It was the declaration that the Holy Scriptures alone could settle any controversy, and that all the scholastic teachers together could not give authority to one doctrine.

The students and many of the citizens received this announcement with enthusiastic applause, and some of the professors testified a quiet approval of it; but others of the doctors shook their heads, and a few retired at once, murmuring angrily as they went.

At the close came a declaration by Dr. Luther, that "whatever some unenlightened and morbid people might say, he was no heretic."

"Why should Dr. Luther think it necessary to conclude with a declaration that he is no heretic?" I said to Gottfried as we walked home. "Can anything be more full of respect for the Pope and the Church than many of these theses are? And why should they excite so much attention? Dr. Luther says no more than so many of us think!"

"True, Elsè," replied Gottfried, gravely; "but to know how to say what other people only think, is what makes men poets and sages; and to dare to say what others only dare to think, makes men martyrs or reformers, or both."

November 20.

It is wonderful the stir these theses make. Christopher cannot get them printed fast enough. Both the Latin and German printing-presses are engaged, for they have been translated, and demands come for them from every part of Germany.

Dr. Tetzel, they say, is furious, and many of the prelates are uneasy as to the result; the new bishop has dissuaded Dr. Luther from publishing an explanation of them. It is reported that the Elector Frederick it not quite pleased, fearing the effect on the new university, still in its infancy.

Students, however, are crowding to the town, and to Dr. Luther's lectures, more than ever. He is the hero of the youth of Germany.

But none are more enthusiastic about him than our grandmother. She insisted on being taken to church on All Saints' Day, and tottering up the aisle, took her place immediately under Dr. Luther's pulpit, facing the congregation.

She had eyes or ears for none but him. When he came down the pulpit stairs she grasped his hand, and faltered out a broken blessing. And after she came home she sat a long time in silence, occasionally brushing away tears.

When Gottfried and I took leave for the night, she held one of our hands in each of hers, and said,-

"Children! be braver than I have been; that man preaches the truth for which my husband died. God sends him to you. Be faithful to him. Take heed that you forsake him not. It is not given to every one as to me to have the light they forsook in youth restored to them in old age. To me his words are like voices from the dead. They are worth dying for."

My mother is not so satisfied. She likes what Dr. Luther says, but she is afraid what Aunt Agnes might think of it. She thinks he speaks too violently sometimes. She does not like any one to be pained. She cannot herself much like the way they sell the indulgences, but she hopes Dr. Tetzel means well, and she has no doubt that the Pope knows best; and she is convinced that in their hearts all good people mean the same, only she is afraid, in the heat of discussion, every one will go further than any one intends, and so there will be a great deal of bad feeling. She thought it was quite right of Dr. Luther quietly to admonish any of his penitents who were imagining they could be saved without repentance; but why he should excite all the town in this way by these theses she could not understand; especially on All Saints' Day, when so many strangers came from the country, and the holy relics were exhibited, and every one ought to be absorbed with their devotions.

"Ah, little mother," said my father, "women are too tender-hearted for ploughmen's work. You could never bear to break up the clods, and tear up all the pretty wild flowers. But when the harvest comes we will set you to bind up the sheaves, or to glean beside the reapers. No rough hands of men will do that so well as yours."

And Gottfried said his vow as doctor of divinity makes it as much Dr. Luther's plain duty to teach true divinity, as his priestly vows oblige him to guard his flock from error and sin. Gottfried says we have fallen on stormy times. For him that may be best, and by his side all is well for me. Besides, I am accustomed to rough paths. But when I look on our little tender Gretchen, as her dimpled cheek rests flushed with sleep on her pillow, I cannot help wishing the battle might not begin in her time.

Dr. Luther counted the cost before he fixed these theses to the church door. It was this which made him do it so secretly, without consulting any of his friends. He knew there was risk in it, and he nobly resolved not to involve any one else-Elector, professor, or pastor-in the danger he incurred without hesitation for himself.

December, 1517.

In one thing we all agreed, and that is in our delight in Dr. Luther's lectures on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. Gottfried heard them and took notes, and reported them to us in my father's house. We gather around him, all of us, in the winter evenings, while he reads those inspiring words to us. Never, I think, were words like them. Yesterday he was reading to us, for the twentieth time, what Dr. Luther said on the words, "Who loved me, and gave himself for me."

"Read with vehemency," he says, "those words 'me,' and 'for me.' Print this 'me' in thy heart, not doubting that thou art of the number to whom this 'me' belongeth; also, that Christ hath not only loved Peter and Paul, and given himself for them, but that the same grace also which is comprehended in this 'me,' as well pertaineth and cometh unto us as unto them. For as we cannot deny that we are all sinners, all lost; so we cannot deny that Christ died for our sins. Therefore, when I feel and confess myself to be a sinner, why should I not say that I am made righteous through the righteousness of Christ, especially when I hear He loved me and gave himself for me?"

And then my mother asked for the passages she most delights in: "O Christ, I am thy sin, thy curse, thy wrath of God, thy hell; and contrariwise, thou art my righteousness, my blessing, my life, my grace of God, my heaven."

And again, when he speaks of Christ being "made a curse for us, the unspotted and undefiled Lamb of God wrapped in our sins, God not laying our sins upon us, but upon his Son, that he, bearing the punishment thereof, might be our peace, that by his stripes, we might be healed."

And again:-

"Sin is a mighty conqueror, which devoureth all mankind, learned and unlearned, holy, wise, and mighty men. This tyrant flieth upon Christ, and will needs swallow him up as he doth all other. But he seeth not that Christ is a person of invincible and everlasting righteousness. Therefore in this combat sin must needs be vanquished and killed; and righteousness must overcome, live, and reign. So in Christ all sin is vanquished, killed, and buried; and righteousness remaineth a conqueror, and reigneth for ever.

"In like manner Death, which is an omnipotent queen and empress of the whole world, killing kings, princes, and all men, doth mightily encounter with Life, thinking utterly to overcome it and to swallow it up. But because the Life was immortal, therefore when it was overcome, it nevertheless overcame, vanquishing and killing Death. Death, therefore, through Christ, is vanquished and abolished, so that now it is but a painted death, which, robbed of its sting, can no more hurt those that believe in Christ, who is become the death of death.

"So the curse hath the like conflict with the blessing, and would condemn and bring it to nought; but it cannot. For the blessing is divine and everlasting, therefore the curse must needs give place. For if the blessing in Christ could be overcome, then would God himself be overcome. But this is impossible; therefore Christ, the power of God, righteousness, blessing, grace, and life, overcometh and destroyeth those monsters, sin, death, and the curse, without war and weapons, in this our body, so that they can no more hurt those that believe."

Such truths are indeed worth battling for; but who, save the devil, would war against them? I wonder what Fritz would think of it all.

Wittemberg, February, 1518.

Christopher returned yesterday evening from the market-place, where the students have been burning Tetzel's theses, which he wrote in answer to Dr. Luther's. Tetzel hides behind the papal authority, and accuses Dr. Luther of assailing the Holy Father himself.

But Dr. Luther says nothing shall ever make him a heretic; that he will recognise the voice of the Pope as the voice of Christ himself. The students kindled this conflagration in the market-place entirely on their own responsibility. They are full of enthusiasm for Dr. Martin, and of indignation against Tetzel and the Dominicans.

"Who can doubt," said Christopher, "how the conflict will end, between all learning and honesty and truth on the one side, and a few contemptible avaricious monks on the other?" And he proceeded to describe to us the conflagration and the sayings of the students with as much exultation as if it had been a victory over Tetzel and the indulgence-mongers themselves.

"But it seems to me," I said, "that Dr. Luther is not so much at ease about it as you are. I have noticed lately that he looks grave, and at times very sad. He does not seem to think the victory won."

"Young soldiers," said Gottfried, "on the eve of their first battle may be as blithe as on the eve of a tourney. Veterans are grave before the battle. Their courage comes with the conflict. It will be thus, I believe, with Dr. Luther. For surely the battle is coming. Already some of his old friends fall off. They say the censor at Rome, Prierias, has condemned and written against his theses."

"But," rejoined Christopher, "they say also that Pope Leo praised Dr. Luther's genius, and said it was only the envy of the monks which found fault with him. Dr. Luther believes the Pope only needs to learn the truth about these indulgence-mongers to disown them at once."

"Honest men believe all men honest until they are proved dishonest," said Gottfried drily; "but the Roman court is expensive and the indulgences are profitable."

This morning our grandmother asked nervously what was the meaning of the shouting she had heard yesterday in the market-place, and the glare of fire she had seen, and the crackling?

"Only Tetzel's lying theses," said Christopher. She seemed relieved.

"In my early days," she said, "I learned to listen too eagerly to sounds like that. But in those times they burned other things than books or papers in the market-places."

"Tetzel threatens to do so again," said Christopher.

"No doubt they will, if they can," she replied, and relapsed into silence.

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