Flemish Legend Sir Halewyn by Charles de Coster Chapter 24

How the damosel Magtelt made a good resolution

Magtelt, before she lay down on her bed, prayed, but not aloud. And her face was hard set with anger.

And having undressed she lay down in her bed, tugging at her breast with her finger-nails from time to time, as if she were fighting for breath.

And her breathing was as if she were in agony.

For she was bitter sad and out of heart.

But she did not weep.

And she heard the high wind, forerunner of snow, lifting over the forest, and roaring like a stream in spate after heavy rain.

And it tossed against the window glass dried leaves and branches, which beat on the pane like dead men’s finger-nails.

And it howled and whistled sadly in the chimney.

And the sorrowing maid saw in her mind’s eye Anne-Mie hanging in the Gallows-field and her poor body pecked by the crows, and she thought of the stain on her brave brother’s honour, and of the fifteen poor virgins outraged by the Miserable.

But she did not weep.

For in her breast was a dumb pain, harsh anguish, and a bitter thirst for vengeance.

And she asked very humbly of Our Lady if it were a good thing to let the Miserable any longer go killing the maidens of the land of Flanders.

And at cock-crow she rose from her bed, and her eyes were bright, and proud was her countenance, and her head held high, and she said: “I will go to Halewyn.”

And throwing herself on her knees she prayed to the very strong God to give her courage and strength for the revenge of Anne-Mie, Toon the Silent, and the fifteen virgins.