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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.
[Enter Soest.
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.