966 GODFATHER'S PICTURE-BOOK
of heaven it was known in all the cultured lands of the world. And Denmark spurned him away from her. * He sang for comfort in his grief :
" Is not Heaven everywhere ? What more then do I require! "
'His song lives in the hearts of the people, like the mermaid's song about Christian the Fourth.
' Now comes a page which you must look at in earnest,' said Godfather; ' there is picture after picture, as there is verse after verse in the old ballads. It is a song, so joyful in its beginning, so sorrowful in its ending.
' A king's child dances in the castle of the King; how charming she is to see ! She sits on the lap of Christian the Fourth, his beloved daughter Eleonora. She grows in womanly virtues and graces. The foremost man amongst the nobles, Corfitz Ulfeldt, is her bridegroom. She is still a child, and still gets whippings from her stern governess ; she complains to her sweetheart, and with good right too. How clever she is, and cultured and learned ; she knows Latin and Greek, sings Italian to her lute, and is able to talk about the Pope and Luther.
' King Christian lies in the chapel-vault in Roskilde Cathedral, and Eleonora's brother is King. There is pomp and show in the palace in Copenhagen, there is beauty and wit; foremost is the Queen herself, Sophia Amalia of Lyneborg. Who can guide her horse so well as she ? Who dances with such dignity as she ? Who talks with such knowledge and cleverness as Denmark's Queen ? " Eleonora Christina Ulfeldt! "—these words were spoken by the French Ambassador—" in beauty and cleverness she surpasses all."
' From the polished dancing-floor of the palace grew the burdock of envy ; it hung fast, it worked itself in and twisted around itself, the scorn of contempt. " The base-born creature ! her carriage shall stop at the castle-bridge : where the Queen drives, the lady must walk." There is a perfect storm of gossip, slander, and lies.
' And Ulfeldt takes his wife by the hand in the quietness of the night. He has the keys of the town gates ; he opens one of them, horses wait outside. They ride along the shore, and then sail away to Sweden.