A Wanderer in Holland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 339 pages of information about A Wanderer in Holland.
by their impatient foes.  Some were pierced with rapiers, some were chopped to pieces with axes, some were surrounded in the blazing streets by troops of laughing soldiers, intoxicated, not with wine but with blood, who tossed them to and fro with their lances, and derived a wild amusement from their dying agonies.  Those who attempted resistance were crimped alive like fishes, and left to gasp themselves to death in lingering torture.  The soldiers becoming more and more insane, as the foul work went on, opened the veins of some of their victims, and drank their blood as if it were wine.  Some of the burghers were for a time spared, that they might witness the violation of their wives and, daughters, and were then butchered in company with these still more unfortunate victims.  Miracles of brutality were accomplished.  Neither church nor hearth was sacred.  Men were slain, women outraged at the altars, in the streets, in their blazing homes.  The life of Lambert Hortensius was spared out of regard to his learning and genius, but he hardly could thank his foes for the boon, for they struck his only son dead, and tore his heart out before his father’s eyes.  Hardly any man or woman survived, except by accident.  A body of some hundred burghers made their escape across the snow into the open country.  They were, however, overtaken, stripped stark naked, and hung upon the trees by the feet, to freeze, or to perish by a more lingering death.  Most of them soon died, but twenty, who happened to be wealthy, succeeded, after enduring much torture, in purchasing their lives of their inhuman persecutors.  The principal burgomaster, Heinrich Lambertszoon, was less fortunate.  Known to be affluent, he was tortured by exposing the soles of his feet to a fire until they were almost consumed.  On promise that his life should be spared he then agreed to pay a heavy ransom; but hardly had he furnished the stipulated sum when, by express order of Don Frederic himself, he was hanged in his own doorway, and his dissevered limbs afterwards nailed to the gates of the city.

“Nearly all the inhabitants of Naarden, soldiers and citizens, were thus destroyed; and now Don Frederic issued peremptory orders that no one, on pain of death, should give lodging or food to any fugitive.  He likewise forbade to the dead all that could now be forbidden them—­a grave.  Three weeks long did these unburied bodies pollute the streets, nor could the few wretched women who still cowered within such houses as had escaped the flames ever move from their lurking-places without treading upon the festering remains of what had been their husbands, their fathers, or their brethren.  Such was the express command of him whom the flatterers called the ‘most divine genius ever known’.  Shortly afterwards came an order to dismantle the fortifications, which had certainly proved sufficiently feeble in the hour of need, and to raze what was left of the city from the surface of the earth.  The work was faithfully accomplished, and for a long time Naarden ceased to exist.”

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A Wanderer in Holland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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