The turmoil at the gate was untold, and such throngs swarmed there one had to force their way through to pass. Long did Krzych ponder before he pressed in and started towards the gate, shoving people off with his mighty elbows, so that many cursed in response. The city’s watchmen snaked in the crowd like leeches in water, preventing pedlars from buying up the merchandise outside the city walls only to resell it for the twofold price. It was forbidden to do so as long as in the Main Square the cap remained atop a pole, signifying the market day; yet those willing to overreach the law were always plenty. Guildsmen watched out for scroungers who, in this ongoing mess, wanted to smuggle in goods that only the guilds could trade. There was no shortage of cutpurses seeking to reap an easy profit, harlots, wandering journeymen, minstrels and bards, and common beggary. None restrained their tongues and elbows, and those responsible for keeping order would need a hundred arms or so to handle it all. Even now they were sweaty, despite the cool weather. Every once in a while, a single cry was heard over the clamor, uttered either by a man suffering corporal or material damage, or by some miscreant being dragged by the guardsmen to be punished, kicks and blows being lavished on him.
Krzych would have gladly withdrawn, but the crowd’s might surpassed his own, and he got pushed onto the drawbridge and through the brick gate with a double portcullis, where they all got tightly barreled in the passage. Past the gate, the crowd poured out more freely, spreading in all directions. The largest wave flowed towards the Market Square, vehicles following the muddy thoroughfare with a gutter in the middle, pedestrians treading the wooden sidewalks along the steep-roofed houses, whose gables faced the street. Smaller streams of people drifted sideways, either toward the court of St John’s, or the Hospital of the Holy Ghost. Krzych turned with them as well and walked along the city walls without haste, looking curiously around.
English translation: Hubert Małecki