Whilst John de Witt was climbing the narrow winding stairs which led to the prison of his brother Cornelius, the burghers did their best to have the troop of Tilly, which was in their way, removed.
In the meanwhile, John de Witt, whom we left climbing the stairs, after the conversation with the jailer Gryphus and his daughter Rosa, had reached the door of the cell, where on a mattress his brother Cornelius was resting, after having undergone the preparatory degrees of the torture.
Cornelius was stretched on his couch, with broken wrists and crushed fingers.
But, threatening as it sounded, Cornelius appeared not to deem it worth his while to inquire after its cause; nor did he get up to look out of the narrow grated window, which gave access to the light and to the noise of the world without.
"Cornelius, my poor brother, you are suffering great pain, are you not?"
"Oh, my poor dear Cornelius! I feel most wretched to see you in such a state."
"Of a tumult?" replied Cornelius, fixing his eyes on his perplexed brother; "a tumult?"
"You know well that we are not very popular, Cornelius," said the Grand Pensionary, with gloomy bitterness.
"Well, well," said Cornelius, "you are a very skilful pilot, John; but I doubt whether you will as safely guide your brother out of the Buytenhof in the midst of this gale, and through the raging surf of popular hatred, as you did the fleet of Van Tromp past the shoals of the Scheldt to Antwerp."
"With the help of God, Cornelius, we'll at least try," answered John; "but, first of all, a word with you."
"Hark, hark!" continued Cornelius, "how angry those people are!
"I should say it is against us both, Cornelius. I told you, my dear brother, that the Orange party, while assailing us with their absurd calumnies, have also made it a reproach against us that we have negotiated with France."