Scene I.—Square in Brussels
Jetter and a Master Carpenter (meeting)
Carpenter. Did I not tell you beforehand? Eight days ago, at the guild, I said there would be serious disturbances?
Jetter. Is it, then, true that they have plundered the churches in Flanders?
Carpenter. They have utterly destroyed both churches and chapels. They have left nothing standing but the four bare walls. The lowest rabble! And this it is that damages our good cause. We ought rather to have laid our claims before the Regent, formally and decidedly, and then have stood by them. If we speak now, if we assemble now, it will be said that we are joining the insurgents.
Jetter. Ay, so every one thinks at first. Why should you thrust your nose into the mess? The neck is closely connected with it.
Carpenter. I am always uneasy when tumults arise among the mob—among people who have nothing to lose. They use as a pretext that to which we also must appeal, and plunge the country in misery.
Soest. Good day, sirs! What news? Is it true that the image-breakers are coming straight in this direction?
Carpenter. Here they shall touch nothing, at any rate.
Soest. A soldier came into my shop just now to buy tobacco; I questioned him about the matter. The Regent, though so brave and prudent a lady, has for once lost her presence of mind. Things must be bad indeed when she thus takes refuge behind her guards. The castle is strongly garrisoned. It is even rumoured that she means to fly from the town.
Carpenter. Forth she shall not go! Her presence protects us, and we will ensure her safety better than her mustachioed gentry. If she only maintains our rights and privileges, we will stand faithfully by her.
[Enter a Soapboiler.
Soapboiler. An ugly business this! a bad business! Troubles are beginning; all things are going wrong! Mind you keep quiet, or they’ll take you also for rioters.