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Sunday, 22 December 2013

June 1572, Overlooking the Spaarne River, Haarlem.



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My Dearest Ermgard, 

Junius has kindly sent you this money for your English taxes, and so we shall expect to see you in Haarlem before the month is out. Use it for your escape. Promise more if you need to, and you know I do not use such words lightly, such is my worry for your safety. 

Tonight is warm and quiet, the summer moon is casting silver stars into the Spaarne River, and I am looking out over my little shipyard, thinking of you and wishing you could share this view of our home in such glory. I have made a roster of my carpenters to keep a vigil over my little flatboats at night, but I have taken the Sundays, the night that robbers prefer for their felonious work. My neighbour, the shipwright van Schraalhans, not my favouite person, admittedly, has had two favourite flaboats taken in the past months, none of which was ever seen agian. I beleive they were robbed and sold on to escaping families. Double cowardice in my opinion.     

I cannot put into words what savageries our little country is suffering, Erm. I am learning fresh horrors about the dreadful King Phillip of Spain’s deeds, almost daily. These I cannot repeat, but I can write that it is common knowledge about our country that he means to subjugate us by any means necessary. Some of our elders still believe that a parley will melt our differences away to a trickle that shall run into the Haarlemmermeer and be lost in those waters for all time. There are more than a few of us who understand that this charlatan king of Spain believes he owns the Haarlemmermeer outright, every last drop of it. My hand is shaking with rage, so I shall not write another word about this pretender king and his plans for all of us. 

On a lighter note (for me, though I fear your triumphant riding days are numbered), the geldings know my voice well by now, so hurry, dear sister, you have some catching up to do.
God speed.
Your devoted sister, Kenau.   

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