Dienstag, 20. Januar 2015

Chapter 3 Part 1

Early morning in the stables

Her shoulders ache from the daily carrying of heavy pots in the kitchen. She shivers, though she has knotted a scarf over the dark curls right after getting up at half past four. The gray woolen cloth she has pulled tightly around her slim body. Her brown eyes are still sleepy, she walks slowly with her unloved wooden shoes across the bumpy yard to the stable. Like a flaw in a curtain the narrow crescent of a new moon shines silvery in the early morning sky. No sound is heard. Her only wish is to reach the stable, listen to the milk swirling into the bucket, putting her her head on Blume's warm flank, her favourite cow. Whenever the maid Lina is sick, Amina has to step in. She has become accustomed to do the work meant for maids. She does everything without complain, actually she does not suffer in this house, at the Edens. The treacherous Babette though, the Lady’s personal servant, would make it difficult for her whenever she sees the chance.  She makes her grimaces, when Amina is around,  is pleased when Amina has to work hard. Once she hissed "gypsy" as she left the room past her. She constantly wants Amina to wipe and clean, make it difficult for her. Once Amina took heart to mention it to Lady Eden but what she had to hear was:
"Babette happens to be the first here and knows her stuff. I will not hear of your banter.”
She never said a word again but thanked God everyday that she lived in relative protection.
What one heard about the war, is so scary. Time and again news of families whose sons have to go to war filtered in. Food is in short supply for the population. On the farm they suffer no hardship food-wise. They were also not threatened by marauding soldiers of Gustavus Adolphus as has happened already in the neighborhood. Still, they are always alert and live in fear. Gustavus Adolphus came to Seligenstadt on the Main. It was he who returned the key of the city of Seligenstadt to the Mayor. On his entry last year the citizens handed him the key, as was the custom then,  after returning it, he pulled further in November to Würzburg. His wife Eleanor came a few days ago on the way to Nuremberg through Seligenstadt, they heard, she came with a dancing monkey who was dressed like a monk and wore a rosary around his waist. If this is not a mockery of everything Catholic.

Amina encounters the heavy stable door, it creaks as always. Blume’s box  is right near the door, it is the first cow. You can see the horses in the stable boxes next to the open door. She gently strokes the cow around the mouth, touching her throat, gets the bucket and sits on the three legged stool. Here, with the animals, the finds peace. Soon she noticed the restlessness of the animals. This morning seems to be somewhat different than other times. Blume rotates her neck constantly in a nervous way,  back and forth, hitting out her tail, sensitive to every touch of the udder. The other animals in the barn are very restless too, especially the white horse is chomping  constantly, sometimes even beats hard against the wooden walls of the box. Amina turns around, to see the horses in their  stalls at a glance. The second door is slightly open. Strange. The gray looks at her, throws her head up and starts pawing with the front foot. A brown soft leather boot tip projects out of the door. Only one man wears those very  fine boots....  the Lord Arnulf. The Lord? Amina puts  a hand over her mouth. Why is he on the floor? Amina rises up, then, step by step, she kind of tip-toes to the horse box, as if she'd be drawn. Now she has reached the door, enters, and right there has to look  into Arnulf von Eden’s unnaturally shiny eyes, observing light green foam running from his mouth and defiling his leather vest. Her hand moves to her throat, which has become very tight, and choking.  He wants to talk, she can just hear a gurgling sound, watching the green bubbles emanating from his mouth.
Poison is her first thought. Poison? He wants to sit up, reaching for her leg, wanting to cling to pull up. He can’t. His arm falls heavily into the straw, the horse lets out a whinny, shrill and loud. She stares at the man in the straw, sweat trickles down her back now. He is Arnulf von Eden, her tormentor! His hideous mouth pops up and stays open, his head falls to the side, the brown mole, his birth mark on his left cheek stands out from the white skin, the feet have fallen to the side. Amina stands there like sessile. Why me to see him here? This is my end here in this house. What should I do? I need to get away, get away from here. They will  suspect me, the stranger, I have always been. And if really it is poison, then they will think that I have a hand in it. Many know how long I attended Grete of the herbs, before I started serving Lady Eden. 

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