“Afterwards he was sent to the galleys for his crimes. He came back, and was made Governor of the Gevangenhuis by the bloody Alva, where he brought to death your brother and past burgomaster, Dirk van Goorl. Afterwards he kidnapped the person of Elsa Brant, the daughter of Hendrik Brant, whom the Inquisition murdered at The Hague. We rescued her from him, my master, Foy van Goorl, and I. Afterwards he served with the Spaniards as a captain of their forces in the siege of Haarlem yonder—Haarlem that fell three days ago, and whose citizens they are murdering to-night, throwing them two by two to drown in the waters of the Mere.”
“Kill him! Cast him down!” roared the mob. “Give him to us, Red Martin.”
Again the Frisian lifted his hand and again there was silence; a sudden, terrible silence.
“This man had a son; my mistress, Lysbeth van Goorl, to her shame and sorrow, was the mother of him. That son, repenting, saved us from the sack of Haarlem, yea, through him the three of us, Foy van Goorl, Elsa Brant, and I, Martin Roos, their servant, are alive to-night. This man and his Spaniards overtook us on the lake, and there we conquered him by the help of Martha the Mare, Martha whom they made to carry her own husband to the fire. We conquered him, but she—she died in the fray; they stabbed her to death in the water as men stab an otter. Well, that son, the Heer Adrian, he was murdered in the boat with a knife-blow given by his own father from behind, and he lies here in this house dead or dying.
“My master and I, we brought this man, who to-day is called Ramiro, to be judged by the woman whose husband and son he slew. But she would not judge him; she said, ‘Take him to the people, let them judge.’ So judge now, ye people,” and with an effort of his mighty strength Martin swung the struggling body of Ramiro over the parapet of the balcony and let him hang there above their heads.
They yelled, they screamed in their ravenous hate and rage; they leapt up as hounds leap at a wolf upon a wall.
“Give him to us, give him to us!” that was their cry.
Martin laughed aloud. “Take him then,” he said; “take him, ye people, and judge him as you will,” and with one great heave he hurled the thing that writhed between his hands far out into the centre of the street.
The crowd below gathered themselves into a heap like water above a boat sinking in the heart of a whirlpool. For a minute or more they snarled and surged and twisted. Then they broke up and went away, talking in short, eager sentences. And there, small and dreadful on the stones, lay something that once had been a man.
Thus did the burghers of Leyden pass judgment and execute it upon that noble Spaniard, the Count Juan de Montalvo.
Scene the First