Jetter. It is a great bore. Whenever it comes into their worships’ heads to break into my house, and I am sitting there at my work, humming a French psalm, thinking nothing about it, neither good nor bad—singing it just because it is in my throat;—forthwith I’m a heretic, and am clapped into prison. Or if I am passing through the country, and stand near a crowd listening to a new preacher, one of those who have come from Germany; instantly I’m called a rebel, and am in danger of losing my head! Have you ever heard one of these preachers?
Soest. Brave fellows! Not long ago, I heard one of them preach in a field, before thousands and thousands of people. A different sort of dish he gave us from that of our humdrum preachers, who, from the pulpit, choke their hearers with scraps of Latin. He spoke from his heart; told us how we had till now been led by the nose, how we had been kept in darkness, and how we might procure more light;—ay, and he proved it all out of the Bible.
Jetter. There may be something in it. I always said as much, and have often pondered over the matter. It has long been running in my head.
Buyck. All the people run after them.
Soest. No wonder, since they hear both what is good and what is new.
Jetter. And what is it all about? Surely they might let every one preach after his own fashion.
Buyck. Come, sirs! While you are talking,
you; forget the wine and the
Prince of Orange.
Jetter. We must not forget him. He’s a very wall of defence. In thinking of him, one fancies, that if one could only hide behind him, the devil himself could not get at one. Here’s to William of Orange! Hurrah!
All. Hurrah! Hurrah!
Soest. Now, grey-heard, let’s have your toast.
Ruysum. Here’s to old soldiers! To all soldiers! War for ever!
Buyck. Bravo, old fellow. Here’s to all soldiers. War for ever!
Jetter. War! War! Do ye know what ye are shouting about? That it should slip glibly from your tongue is natural enough; but what wretched work it is for us, I have not words to tell you. To be stunned the whole year round by the beating of the drum; to hear of nothing except how one troop marched here, and another there; how they came over this height, and halted near that mill; how many were left dead on this field, and how many on that; how they press forward, and how one wins, and another loses, without being able to comprehend what they are fighting about; how a town is taken, how the citizens are put to the sword, and how it fares with the poor women and innocent children. This is a grief and a trouble, and then one thinks every moment, “Here they come! It will be our turn next.”
Soest. Therefore every citizen must be practised in the use of arms.
Jetter. Fine talking, indeed, for him who has a wife and children. And yet I would rather hear of soldiers than see them.