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Barlasch Of The Guard

by Henry Seton Merriman

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A few children had congregated on the steps of the Marienkirche at Dantzig, because the door stood open. The verger, old Peter Koch -- on week days a locksmith -- had told them that nothing was going to happen; had been indiscreet enough to bid them go away. So they stayed, for they were little girls. A wedding was in point of fact in progress within the towering walls of the Marienkirche -- a cathedral built of red brick in the great days of the Hanseatic League. "Who is it?" asked a stout fishwife, stepping over the threshold to whisper to Peter Koch. "It is the younger daughter of Antoine Sebastian," replied the verger, indicating with a nod of his head the house on the left-hand side of the Frauengasse where Sebastian lived. There was a wealth of meaning in the nod. For Peter Koch lived round the corner in the Kleine Schmiedegasse, and of course -- well, it is only neighborly to take an interest in those who drink milk from the same cow and buy wood from the same Jew. . . .



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