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Title: In the Blue Pike — Volume 02
Author: Ebers, Georg
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In the Blue Pike — Volume 02" ***

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IN THE BLUE PIKE

By Georg Ebers

Volume 2.



CHAPTER IV.

The ropedancer, Kuni, really had been with the sick mother and her babes,
and had toiled for them with the utmost diligence.

The unfortunate woman was in great distress.

The man who had promised to take her in his cart to her native village of
Schweinfurt barely supported himself and his family by the tricks of his
trained poodles.  He made them perform their very best feats in the
taverns, under the village lindens, and at the fairs.  But the children
who gazed at the four-footed artists, though they never failed to give
hearty applause, frequently paid in no other coin.  He would gladly have
helped the unfortunate woman, but to maintain the wretched mother and her
twins imposed too heavy a burden upon the kind-hearted vagabond, and he
had withdrawn his aid.

Then the ropedancer met her.  True, she herself was in danger of being
left lying by the wayside; but she was alone, and the mother had her
children.  These were two budding hopes, while she had nothing more to
expect save the end--the sooner the better.  There could be no new
happiness for her.

And yet, to have found some one who was even more needy than she, lifted
her out of herself, and to have power to be and do something in her
behalf pleased her, nay, even roused an emotion akin to that which, in
better days, she had felt over a piece of good fortune which others
envied.  Perhaps she herself might be destined to die on the highway,
without consolation, the very next day; but she could save this unhappy
woman from it, and render her end easier.  Oh, how rich Lienhard's gold
coins made her!  Yet if, instead of three, there had been as many dozens,
she would have placed the larger portion in the twins' pillows.  How it
must soothe their mother's  heart!  Each one was a defence against hunger
and want.  Besides, the gold had been fairly burning her hand.  It came
from Lienhard.  Had it not been for Cyriax and the crowd of people in the
room, she would have made him take it back--she alone knew why.

How did this happen?

Why did every fibre of her being rebel against receiving even the
smallest trifle from the man to whom she would gladly have given the
whole world?  Why, after she had summoned up courage and approached
Lienhard to restore his gift, had she felt such keen resentment and
bitter suffering when the landlord of The Blue Pike stopped her?

As she now seized his gold, it seemed as though she saw Lienhard before
her.  She had already told Cyriax how she met the aristocratic Nuremberg
patrician, a member of the ancient and noble Groland family, whom his
native city had now made an ambassador so young.  But what secretly bound
her to him had never passed her lips.

Once in her life she had felt something which placed her upon an equal
footing with the best and purest of her sex--a great love for one from
whom she asked nothing, nothing at all, save to be permitted to think of
him and to sacrifice everything, everything for him--even life.  So
strange had been the course of this love, that people would have doubted
her sanity or her truthfulness had she described it to them.

While standing before St. Sebald's church in Nuremberg, the vision of the
young Councillor's bride at first made a far stronger impression upon her
mind than his own.  Then her gaze rested on Lienhard.  As he had chosen
the fairest of women, the bride had also selected the tallest, most
stately, and certainly the best and wisest of men.  During her
imprisonment the image of this rare couple had been constantly before
her.  Not until, through the young husband's intercession, she had
regained her liberty, after he prevented her kissing his hand and,
to soothe her, had stroked her hair and cheeks in the magistrate's room,
did the most ardent gratitude take possession of her soul.  From this
emotion, which filled heart and mind, a glowing wealth of other feelings
had blossomed like buds upon a rosebush.  Everything in her nature had
attracted her toward him, and the desire to devote herself to him, body
and soul, shed the last drop of blood in her heart for him, completely
ruled her.  His image rose before her day and night, sometimes alone,
sometimes with his beautiful bride.  Not only to him, but to her also she
would joyfully have rendered the most menial service, merely to be near
them and to be permitted to show that the desire to prove her gratitude
had become the object of her life.

When, with good counsel for the future, he dismissed her from the chief
magistrate's room, he had asked her where she was to be found in case he
should have anything to say to her.  It seemed as though, from mingled
alarm and joy, her heart would stop beating.  If her lodgings, instead of
an insignificant tavern, had been her own palace, she would gladly have
opened all its gates to him, yet a feverish thrill ran through her limbs
at the thought that he might seek her among her vagabond companions, and
ask in return for his kindness what he would never have presumed to seek
had she been the child of reputable parents, yet which, with mingled
anger and happiness, she resolved not to refuse.

During the day and the night when she expected his visit, she had become
aware that she, who had never cared for any man save for the gifts he
bestowed, was fired with love for Lienhard.  Such ardent yearning could
torture only a loving heart, yet what she felt was very unlike the love
with which she was familiar in songs, and had seen in other girls; for
she by no means thought with jealous rancour of the woman to whom he
belonged, body and soul--his beautiful wife.  It rather seemed to her
that she was his, and he would no longer be the same if he were separated
from her, nay, as if her very love was hers also.  When she heard a noise
outside of her little room she started, and eagerly as she yearned to see
him, blissful as she thought it must be to sink upon his breast and offer
him her lips to kiss, the bold ropedancer, who never cared for the
opinions of others, could not shake off, even for a moment, the fear of
wronging the fair wife who had a better right to him.  Instead of hating
her, or even wishing to share the heart of the man she loved with his
bride, she shrank from the approaching necessity of clouding her young
happiness as though it were the direst misfortune.  Yet she felt that its
prevention lay, not in her own hands, but in those of Fate.  Should it
please Destiny to lead Lienhard to her and inspire him with a desire for
her love, all resistance, she knew, would be futile.  So she began to
repeat several paternosters that he might remain away from her.  But her
yearning was so great that she soon desisted, and again and again went to
the window with a fervent wish that he might come.

In the terrible tumult of her heart she had forgotten to eat or to drink
since early morning, and at last, in the afternoon, some one knocked at
the door, and the landlady called her.

While she was hurriedly smoothing her thick black hair and straightening
her best gown, which she had put on for him in the morning, she heard the
hostess say that Herr Groland of the Council was waiting for her
downstairs.  Every drop of blood left her glowing cheeks, and the knees
which never trembled on the rope shook as she descended the narrow steps.

He came forward to meet her in the entry, holding out his hand with open-
hearted frankness.  How handsome and how good he was!  No one wore that
look who desired aught which must be hidden under the veil of darkness.
Ere her excited blood had time to cool, he had beckoned to her to follow
him into the street, where a sedan chair was standing.

An elderly lady of dignified bearing looked out and met her eyes with a
pleasant glance.  It was Frau Sophia, the widow of Herr Conrad Schurstab
of the Council, one of the richest and most aristocratic noblewomen in
the city.  Lienhard had told her about the charming prisoner who had been
released and begged her to help him bring her back to a respectable and
orderly life.  The lady needed an assistant who, now that it was hard for
her to stoop, would inspect the linen closets, manage the poultry yard-
her pride--and keep an eye on the children when they came to visit their
grandmother.  So she instantly accompanied Lienhard to the tavern, and
Kuni pleased her.  But it would have been difficult not to feel some
degree of sympathy for the charming young creature who, in great
embarrassment, yet joyously as though released from a heavy burden,
raised her large blue eyes to the kind stranger.

It was cold in the street, and as Kuni had come out without any wrap,
Frau Schurstab, in her friendly consideration, shortened the, conference.
Lienhard Uroland had helped her with a few words, and when the sedan
chair and the young Councillor moved down the street all the necessary
details were settled.  The vagrant had bound herself and assumed duties,
though they were very light ones.  She was to move that evening into the
distinguished widow's house, not as a servant, but as the old lady's
assistant.

Loni, the manager of the company of rope-dancers, had watched the
negotiations from the taproom.  During their progress each of the three
windows was filled with heads, but no one had been able to hear what was
whispered in the street.  Just as the curious spectators were hoping that
now they might perhaps guess what the aristocratic lady wanted with Kuni,
the sedan chair began to move, and the young girl entered the hot room to
tell Loni that she would leave the company that day forever.

"In-de-e-ed?"  Loni asked in astonishment, lifting the gold circlet which
rested on his head.  Then he passed his hand through the coal-black hair
which, parted in the middle, fell in smooth strands upon his neck, and
exerted all his powers of persuasion to convince her of the folly of her
plan.  After his arguments were exhausted he raised his voice louder.
As usual, when excited by anger, he swung his lower right arm to and fro,
feeling the prominent muscles with his left hand.  But Kuni remained
resolute, and when be at last perceived that his opposition only
increased her obstinacy, he exclaimed:

"Then rush on to your destruction!  The day will come when you will see
where you belong.  If only it doesn't arrive too late.  A man grows
twelve and a woman thirty-six months older every year."

With these words he turned his back upon her, and the clown brought the
amount of wages which was due.

Many an eye grew dim with tears when Kuni bade farewell to her
companions.  Shortly after sunset she was welcomed to Frau Schurstab's
house.

The first greeting was friendly, and she received nothing but kindness
and indulgent treatment afterward.  She had a sunny chamber of her own,
and how large and soft her bed was!  But while, when on the road with
Loni's band, if they could reach no town, she had often slept soundly and
sweetly on a heap of straw, here she spent one restless night after
another.

During the first a series of questions disturbed her slumber.  Was it
really only the desire to take her from her vagabond life which had
induced Lienhard to open this house to her?  Did he not perhaps also
cherish the wish to keep her near him?  He had certainly come to her with
Frau Schurstab to protect her reputation.  Had it not been so he might
have left the matron at home; for Loni and everybody in the company knew
that she never troubled herself about gossip.  Last year she had obtained
a leave of absence from Loni, who was making a tour of the little Frank
towns, and spent the carnival season in revelry with a sergeant of the
Nurembreg soldiers.  When the booty he had gained in Italy was
squandered, she gave him his dismissal.  Her reputation among her
companions was neither better nor worse than that of the other strolling
players who, like her, were born on the highway, yet she was glad that
Lienhard had tried to spare her.  Or had he only come with the old
noblewoman on account of his own fair name?

Perhaps--her pulses again throbbed faster at the thought--he had not
ventured to come alone because some feeling for her stirred in his own
heart, and, spite of his beautiful young wife, he did not feel safe from
her.  Then Fran Schurstab was to serve as a shield.  This conjecture
flattered her vanity and reconciled her to the step which she had taken
and already began to regret.

But suppose he really felt no more for her than the forester who finds a
child lost in the woods, and guides it into the right path?  How would
she endure that?  Yet, were it otherwise, if he was like the rest of men,
if he profited by what her whole manner must betray to him, how should
she face his wife, who undoubtedly would soon come to call on her aunt?

All these questions roused a tumult of unprecedented violence in her
young, ardent, inexperienced soul, which was renewed each successive
night.  It became more and more difficult for her to understand why she
had left Loni's band and entered into relations for which she was not
suited, and in which she could never, never be at ease or feel happy.

Nothing was lacking in this wealthy household, not even kindness and
love.  Frau Sophia was indulgent and friendly, even when Kuni, whose
heart and brain were occupied with so many other thoughts, neglected or
forgot anything.  The matron's grandchildren, of whom she often had
charge, soon became warmly attached to her.  While among the rope-dancers
she had been fond of children, and many a little one who journeyed with
the band held out its arms to her more joyously than to its own mother.
There was something in her nature that attracted them.  Besides, her
skilful hands could show them many a rare trick, and she could sing
numerous songs new to the Schurstab boys and girls, which she had picked
up here and there.  Then, too, she permitted many a prank which no one
else would have allowed.  Her duties connected with the household linen
and the poultry yard, its owner's pride, were so easily performed, that
in her leisure hours she often voluntarily helped the housekeeper.  At
first the latter eyed her askance, but she soon won her affection.  Both
she and her mistress showed her as much attention as the gardener bestows
upon a wild plant which he has transferred to good soil, where it thrives
under his care.

She kept aloof from the servants, and neither man nor maid molested her.
Perhaps this was due to foolish arrogance, for after they had learned
from rumour that Kuni had danced on the tight rope, they considered
themselves far superior.  The younger maids timidly kept out of her way,
and Kuni surpassed them in pride and looked down upon them, because her
free artist blood rebelled against placing herself on the plane of a
servitor.  She did not vouchsafe them a word, yet neither did she allow
any of them to render her even the most trivial service.  But she could
not escape Seifried, the equerry of her mistress's eldest son.  At first,
according to her custom, she had roused the handsome fellow's hopes by
fiery glances which she could not restrain.  Now he felt that she cared
for him, and in his honest fashion offered to make her his beloved wife;
but she refused his suit, at first kindly, then angrily.  As he still
persisted she begged the housekeeper, though she saw that matchmaking was
her delight, to keep him away.

Even in March Frau Sophia thanked Lienhard for the new inmate of her
household, who far exceeded her expectations.  In April her praise became
still warmer, only she regretted that Kuni's pretty face was losing its
fresh colour and her well-formed figure its roundness.  She was sorry,
too, that she so often seemed lost in thought, and appeared less merry
while playing with the children.

Lienhard and his young wife excused the girl's manner.  Comfortable as
she was now, she was still a prisoned bird.  It would be unnatural, nay,
suspicious, if she did not sometimes long for the old freedom and her
former companions.  She would also remember at times the applause of the
multitude.  The well-known Loni, her former employer, had besought him to
win her back to his company, complaining loudly of her loss, because it
was difficult to replace her with an equally skilful young artist.  It
was now evident how mistaken the juggler had been when he asserted that
Kuni, who was born among vagrants, would never live in a respectable
family.  He, Lienhard, had great pleasure in knowing that the girl, on
the road to ruin, had been saved by Frau Sophia's goodness.

Lienhard's father had died shortly after Kuni entered her new home.
Every impulse to love dalliance, she felt, must shrink before this great
sorrow.  The idea sustained her hopes.  She could not expect him to seek
her again until the first bitterness of grief for the loss of this
beloved relative had passed away.  She could wait, and she succeeded in
doing so patiently.

But week after week went by and there was no change in his conduct.  Then
a great anxiety overpowered her, and this did not escape his notice; for
one day, while his young wife hung on his arm and added a few brief words
of sympathy, he asked Kuni if she was ill or if she needed anything; but
she answered curtly in the negative and hurried into the garden, where
the children, with merry shouts, were helping the gardener to free the
beds of crocuses and budding tulips from the pine boughs which had
protected them from the frosts of winter.

Another sleepless night followed this incident.  It was useless to
deceive herself.  She might as well mistake black for white as to believe
that Lienhard cared for her.  To no one save his fair young wife would he
grant even the smallest ray of the love of which he was doubtless
capable, and in which she beheld the sun that dispensed life and light.
She had learned this, for he had often met her in Frau Sophia's house
since his father's funeral.  The child of the highway had never been
taught to conceal her feelings and maintain timid reserve.  Her eyes had
told him eloquently enough, first her deep sympathy, and afterward the
emotions which so passionately stirred her heart.  Had the feelings which
her glances were intended to reveal passed merely for the ardent
gratitude of an impassioned soul?

Gratitude!  For what?

His lukewarm interest had tempted her from a free, gay life, full of
constant excitement, into the oppressive, wearisome monotony of this
quiet house, where she was dying of ennui.  How narrow, how petty, how
tiresome everything seemed, and what she had bartered for it was the
world, the whole wide, wide world.  As the chicken lured the fox, the
hope of satisfying the fervent longing of her heart, though even once and
for a few brief moments, had brought her into the snare.  But the fire
which burned within had not been extinguished.  An icy wind had fanned
the flames till they blazed higher and higher, threatening her
destruction.

Frau Schurstab had made her attend church and go to the confessional.
But the mass, whose meaning she did not understand, offered no solace to
the soul which yearned for love alone.  Besides, it wearied her to remain
so long in the same place, and the confession forced the girl, who had
never shrunk from honestly expressing what she felt, into deception.  The
priest to whom she was taken was a frequent visitor at the Schurstab
house, and she would have died ere she would have confided to him the
secret of her heart.  Besides, to her the feeling which animated her was
no sin.  She had not summoned it.  It had taken possession of her against
her will and harmed no one except herself, not even the wife who was so
sure of her husband.  How could she have presumed to dispute with her the
possession of Herr Lienhard's love?  Yet it seemed an insult that Frau
Katharina had no fear that she could menace her happiness.  Could the
former know that Kuni would have been content with so little--a tender
impulse of his heart, a kiss, a hasty embrace?  That would do the other
no injury.  In the circles whence she had been brought no one grudged
another such things.  How little, she thought, would have been taken from
the wealthy Katharina by the trifling gift which would have restored to
her happiness and peace.  The fact that Lienhard, though he never failed
to notice her, would not understand, and always maintained the same
pleasant, aristocratic reserve of manner, she sometimes attributed to
fear, sometimes to cruelty, sometimes to arrogance; she would not believe
that he saw in her only a person otherwise indifferent to him, whom he
wished to accustom to the mode of life which he and his friends believed
to be the right path, pleasing in the sight of God.  Love, feminine
vanity, the need of approval, her own pride--all opposed this view.

When the last snow of winter had melted, and the spring sunshine of April
was unfolding the green leafage and opening bright flowers in the
meadows, the hedges, the woods, and the gardens, she found the new home
which she had entered during the frosts of February, and whose solid
walls excluded every breath of air, more and more unendurable.  A gnawing
feeling of homesickness for the free out-of-door life, the wandering from
place to place, the careless, untrammelled people to whom she belonged,
took possession of her.  She felt as though everything which surrounded
her was too small, the house, the apartments, her own chamber, nay, her
very clothing.  Only the hope of the first token that Lienhard was not so
cold and unconquerable as he seemed, that she would at last constrain him
to pass the barrier which separated them, still detained her.

Then came the day when, to avoid answering his question whether she
needed anything, she had gone into the garden.  Before reaching the
children, who were playing among the crocuses and tulips, she had said
to herself that she must leave this house--it was foolish, nay mad, to
continue to cherish the hope which had brought her hither.  She would
suffer keenly in tearing it from her heart, but a wild delight seized her
at the thought that this imprisonment would soon be over, that she would
be free once more, entirely her own mistress, released from every
restraint and consideration.  How rapturous was the idea that she would
soon be roving through the fields and woods again with gay, reckless
companions!  Was there anything more pleasurable than to forget herself,
and devote her whole soul to the execution of some difficult and
dangerous feat, to attract a thousand eyes by her bewitching grace, and,
sustained by her enthusiasm, force a thousand hearts to throb anxiously
and give loud applause as she flew over the rope?

Never had the children seen her more extravagantly gay than after her
resolve to leave them.  Yet when, at a late hour, Kuni went to bed, the
old housekeeper heard her weeping so piteously in her chamber that she
rose to ask what had happened.  But the girl did not even open her door,
and declared that she had probably had the nightmare.

During the next few days she sometimes appeared more cheerful and docile,
sometimes more dull and troubled than her household companions had ever
seen her.  Frau Schurstab shook her head over her protegee's varying
moods.  But when the month of May began, and Lienhard told his aunt that
Loni, who had only remained in Nuremberg during Lent to spend the time
when all public performances were prohibited, had applied to the Council
for permission to give exhibitions with his company Easter week in the
Haller Meadows, the matron was troubled about her protegee's peace of
mind.  Her nephew had had the same thought, and advised her to move to
her country estate, that Kuni might see and hear nothing of the jugglers;
but she had noticed the clown with other members of the company, as they
passed through the streets on foot and mounted on horses and donkeys,
inviting the people, with blare of trumpets and beating of drums, to
witness the wonderful feats which Loni's famous band of artists would
perform.

Then Kuni packed her bundle.  But when she heard the next morning that,
before going to the country, Frau Schurstab would attend the christening
of her youngest grandson, and spend the whole day with the daughter who
was the little boy's mother, she untied it.

One sunny May morning she was left alone, as she had expected.  She could
not be invited to the ceremony with the other guests, and she would not
join the servants.  The housekeeper and most of the men and maids had
accompanied their mistress to help in the kitchen and to wait upon the
visitors.  Deep silence reigned throughout the great empty house, but
Kuni's heart had never throbbed so loudly.  If Lienhard came now, her
fate would be decided, and she knew that he must come.  Just before noon,
he really did rap with the knocker on the outer door.  He wanted the
christening gift, which Frau Schurstab had forgotten to take for the
infant.  The money was in the chest in the matron's room.  Kuni led the
way.  The house seemed to reel around her as she went up the stairs
behind him.  The next moment, she felt, must decide her destiny.

Now he laid his hand upon the doorknob, now he opened the door.  The
widow's chamber was before her.  Thick silk curtains shut out the bright
May sunshine from the quiet room.  How warm and pleasant it was!

She already saw herself in imagination kneeling by his side before the
chest to help him search.  While doing so, his fingers might touch hers,
perhaps her hair might brush against his.  But, instead of entering, he
turned to her with careless unconcern, saying:

"It is fortunate that I have found you alone.  Will you do me a favour,
girl?"

He had intended to ask her to help him prepare a surprise for his aunt.
The day after to-morrow was Frau Sophia Schurstab's birthday.  Early in
the morning she must find among her feathered favourites a pair of rare
India fowls, which he had received from Venice.

As Kuni did not instantly assent, because the wild tumult of her blood
paralyzed her tongue, he noticed her confusion, and in an encouraging
tone, gaily continued:

"What I have to ask is not too difficult."  As he spoke he passed his
hand kindly over her dark hair, just as he had done a few months before
in the Town Hall.

Then the blood mounted to her brain.  Clasping his right hand, beneath
whose touch she had just trembled, in both her own, she passionately
exclaimed:

"Ask whatever you desire.  If you wanted to trample my heart under your
feet, I would not stir."

A look of ardent love from her sparkling blue eyes accompanied the words;
but he had withdrawn his hand in astonishment, and raised a lofty barrier
between them by answering coldly and sternly, "Keep the heart and your
dainty self for the equerry Seifried who is an honest man."

The advice, and the lofty austerity with which it was given, pierced Kuni
like the thrust of a dagger.  Yet she succeeded controlling herself, and,
without a word reply, preceded the harsh man into the sleeping room and
silently, tearlessly, pointed the chest.  When he had taken out the
money, she bowed hastily and ran down the stairs.

Probably she heard him call her name more than three times; doubtless,
afterward she fancied that she remembered how his voice had sounded in
beseeching, tender, at last even imperious tones through the empty
corridors; but she did not turn, and hurried into her room.



CHAPTER V.

When, on the evening of the christening day, Lienhard accompanied his
aunt home, Kuni was nowhere to be found.  Frau Sophia discovered in her
chamber every article of clothing which she had obtained for her, even
the beaver cap, the prayer-book, and the rosary which she had given.
The young burgomaster, at her request, went to the manager of the rope-
dancers, Loni, the next morning, but the latter asserted that he knew
nothing about the girl.  The truth was that he had sent her to Wurzburg
with part of his company.

From that time she had remained with the ropedancers.  At first the
master had watched her carefully, that she might not run away again.  But
he soon perceived this to be unnecessary; for he had never found any
member of the company more zealous, or seen one make more progress in the
art.  Now the only point was to keep her out of the way of other rope-
dancers, English proprietors of circus companies, as well as the numerous
knights and gentlemen who tried to take her from him.  Her name had
become famous.  When the crier proclaimed that the "flying maiden" would
ascend the rope to the steeple, Loni was sure of a great crowd of
spectators.  Among her own profession she had obtained the nickname of
crazy Kuni.

Yet even at that time, and in the midst of the freest intercourse with
German, Spanish, and other officers in Flanders and Brabant, young
knights and light-hearted priests on the Rhine, the Main, the Danube, the
Weser, and the Elbe, whose purses the pretty, vivacious girl, with the
shining raven hair and bright blue eyes, the mistress of her art, seemed
to their owners worthy to empty, she had by no means forgotten Lienhard.
This wrought mischief to many a gay gentleman of aristocratic lineage in
the great imperial and commercial cities; for it afforded Kuni special
pleasure to try her power upon Lienhard's equals in rank.  When she went
on with the company, more than one patrician had good reason to remember
her with regret; for she, who shared the lion's portion of her earnings
with her companions or flung it to the poor, was insatiably avaricious
toward these admirers.

The weaker she found many of them, the higher, in her opinion, rose the
image of him who had made her feel his manly strength of resistance so
cruelly.  His stern, inexorable nature seemed to her worthy of hate, yet
for three whole years the longing for him scarcely left her heart at
peace an hour.

During this whole period she had not met him.  Not until after she had
come to Augsburg, where Loni's company was to give several performances
before the assembled Reichstag, did she see him again.  Once she even
succeeded in attracting his gaze, and this was done in a way which
afforded her great satisfaction.  His beautiful wife, clad in costly
velvet robes, was walking by his side with eyes decorously downcast; but
he had surely recognised her--there was no doubt of that.  Yet he omitted
to inform his wife, even by a look, whom he had met here.  Kuni watched
the proud couple a long time, and, with the keen insight of a loving
heart, told herself that he would have pointed her out to Frau Katharina,
if he did not remember her in some way--either in kindness or in anger.

This little discovery had sufficed to transfigure, as it were, the rest
of the day, and awaken a throng of new hopes and questions.

Even now she did not desire to win Frau Katharina's husband from her.
She freely acknowledged that the other's beauty was tenfold greater than
her own; but whether the gifts of love which the woman with the
cloudless, aristocratic composure could offer to her husband were not
like the beggar's pence, compared with the overflowing treasure of ardent
passion which she cherished for Lienhard, was a question to which she
believed there could be but a single answer.  Was this lady, restricted
by a thousand petty scruples, as well as by her stiff, heavy gala robes,
a genuine woman at all?  Ah! if he would only for once cast aside the
foolish considerations which prevented him also from being a genuine man,
clasp her, whom he knew was his own, in his arms, and hold her as long as
he desired, he should learn what a strong, free, fearless woman, whose
pliant limbs were as unfettered as her heart, could bestow upon him to
whom she gave all the love that she possessed!  And he must want
something of her which was to be concealed from the wife.  She could not
be mistaken.  She had never been deceived in a presentiment that was so
positive.  Ever since she reached Augsburg, an inner voice had told her--
and old Brigitta's cards confirmed it--that the destiny of her life would
be decided here, and he alone held her weal and woe in his hand.

Yet she had misinterpreted his conduct to his wife.  In spite of the
finery which Kuni owed to the generosity of the Knight of Neckerfels, who
was then a suitor for her favour, Lienhard had recognised her.  The sight
recalled their last meeting and its painful termination, and therefore he
had omitted to attract Frau Katharina's attention to her immediately.
But, ere Kuni disappeared, he had repaired the oversight, and both
desired to ascertain the fate of their former charge.  True, the wish
could not be instantly fulfilled, for Lienhard's time and strength were
wholly claimed by the mission intrusted to him by the Emperor and the
Council.

The next afternoon Kuni ascended the rope to the steeple in the presence
of many princes and dignitaries.  Firmly as ever she moved along the rope
stretched through the wooden stay behind her, holding the balancing pole
as she went.  The clapping of hands and shouts of applause with which the
crowd greeted "the flying maiden" led her to kiss her hand to the right
and the left, and bow to the stand which had been erected for the crowned
heads, counts, nobles, and their wives.  In doing so, she looked down at
the aristocratic spectators to ascertain whether the Emperor and one
other were among them.  In spite of the height of the topmost window of
the steeple where she stood, her keen eyes showed her that Maximilian's
seat was still vacant.  As it was hung with purple draperies and richly
garlanded, the monarch was evidently expected.  This pleased her, and her
heart throbbed faster as she saw on the stand all the nobles who were
entitled to admittance to the lists of a tournament, and, in the front
row, the man whose presence she most desired.  At Lienhard's right sat
his dazzlingly beautiful wife, adorned with plumes and the most superb
gold ornaments; at his left was a maiden of extremely peculiar charm.
According to years she was still a child, but her delicate, mobile
features had a mature expression, which sometimes gave her a precocious
air of superiority.  The cut of her white robe and the little laurel
wreath on her brown curls reminded Kuni of the pagan Genius on an ancient
work of marble which she had seen in Verona.  Neither the girl's age nor
her light, airy costume harmonized with her surroundings; for the maids
and matrons near her were all far beyond childhood, and wore the richest
holiday costumes of heavy brocades and velvets.  The huge puffs on the
upper part of the sleeves touched the cheeks of many of the wearers, and
the lace ruffs on the stiff collars rendered it easy, it is true, to
maintain their aristocratic, haughty dignity, but prevented any free,
swift movement.

The young girl who, as Kuni afterward learned, was the daughter of Conrad
Peutinger, of Augsburg, whom she had again seen that day in The Blue
Pike, was then eleven years old.  She was sometimes thought to be fifteen
or even sixteen; her mobile face did not retain the same expression a
single instant.  When the smile which gave her a childlike appearance
vanished, and any earnest feeling stirred her soul, she really resembled
a mature maiden.  What a brilliant, versatile intellect must animate this
remarkable creature!  Lienhard, shrewd and highly educated as he was,
seemed to be completely absorbed in his neighbour; nay, in his animated
conversation with her he entirely forgot the beautiful wife at his side;
at least, while Kuni looked down at him, he did not bestow a single
glance upon her.  Now he shook his finger mischievously at the child, but
he seemed to be seeking, in mingled amusement and perplexity, to find a
fitting answer.  And how brightly Lienhard's eyes sparkled as he fairly
hung upon the sweet red lips of the little marvel at his left--the heart
side!  A few minutes had sufficed to show the ropedancer all this, and
suggest the question whether it was possible that the most faithful of
husbands would thus basely neglect, for the sake of a child, the young
wife whom he had won in spite of the hardest obstacles, on whose account
he had so coldly and cruelly rejected her, the object of so much wooing,
and who, this very day, was the fairest of all the beautiful ladies who
surrounded her.

In an instant her active mind transported her to the soul of the hitherto
favoured wife of the man whom she loved, and her strangely constituted
woman's heart filled with resentment against the young creature below,
who had not even attained womanhood, and yet seemed to gain, without
effort, the prize for which she had vainly striven with painful longing.

She, whose heart had remained free from jealousy of the woman who stood
between her and the man she loved, like a solid bulwark erected by Fate
itself, was now suddenly overmastered by this passion.

Yet she did not turn against the person to whom Lienhard belonged, as he
did to the city, or to his own family, and who was united to him by the
will of Heaven, but against the mysterious young creature at his side,
who changed with every passing moment.

This child--no, this maiden--must be a being of some special nature.
Like the sirens of whom she had heard, she possessed the mysterious,
enviable power of conquering the iron resistance of even the strongest
man.

Like a flash of lightning, Kuni, whose kind heart cherished resentment
against few and wished no one any evil, suddenly felt an ardent desire to
drive the little witch from Lienhard's side, even by force, if necessary.
Had she held a thunderbolt instead of a balance pole, she would gladly
have struck down the treacherous child from her height--not only because
this enchantress had so quickly won that for which she had vainly
yearned, alas! how long, but because it pierced her very heart to see
Frau Katharina's happiness clouded, nay, perhaps destroyed.  A bitterness
usually alien to her light, gay nature had taken possession of her, as,
with the last glance she cast at Lienhard, she saw him bend low over the
child and, with fiery ardour, whisper something which transformed the
delicate pink flush in her cheeks to the hue of the poppy.

Yes, the ropedancer was jealous of the laurel-crowned child.  She, who
cared so little for law and duty, virtue and morality, now felt offended,
wounded, tortured by Lienhard's conduct.  But there was no time to ponder
over the reason now.  She had already delayed too long ere moving
forward.

Yet even calm reflection would not have revealed the right answer to the
problem.  How could she have suspected that what stirred her passionate
soul so fiercely was grief at the sight of the man whom she had regarded
as the stronghold of integrity, the possessor of the firmest will, the
soul of inviolable fidelity, succumbing here, before the eyes of all,
like a dissolute weakling, to the seductive arts of an immature kobold?
These two, who gave to her, the orphaned vagrant, surrounded by unbridled
recklessness, physical and mental misery, a proof that there was still in
marriage real love and a happiness secure from every assault, were now,
before her eyes, placing themselves on the same plane with the miserable
couples whom she met everywhere.  She could not have expressed her
emotions in words, but she vaguely felt that the world had become poorer,
and that henceforth she must think of something more trivial when she
tried to imagine the pure happiness which mortals are permitted to enjoy.
She had seen the blossoms stripped from the scanty remnant of her faith
in truth and goodness, which had begun to bloom afresh in her heart
through the characters of this pair whose marriage procession she had
watched.

Loni had been beckoning a long time; now he waved his gay handkerchief
still more impatiently, and she moved on.

Her lips forced themselves into the customary smile with difficulty.
Tripping forward was an easy matter for one so free from dizziness.  She
only carried the pole because it was customary to begin with the least
difficult feats.  Yet, while gracefully placing one foot before the
other, she said to herself--safe as she felt--that, while so much
agitated, she would be wiser not to look down again into the depths
below.  She did avoid it, and with a swift run gained the end of the rope
without effort, and went up and down it a second time.

While, on reaching the end of her walk, she was chalking her soles again,
the applause which had accompanied her during her dangerous pilgrimage
still rose to her ears, and came-most loudly of all from the stand where
Lienhard sat among the distinguished spectators.  He, too, had clapped
his hands lustily, and shouted, "Bravo!"  Never had he beheld any
ropedancer display so much grace, strength, and daring.  His modest
protegee had become a magnificently developed woman.  How could he have
imagined that the unfortunate young creature whom he had saved from
disgrace would show such courage, such rare skill?

He confided his feelings, and the fact that he knew the artist, to his
young neighbour, but she had turned deadly pale and lowered her eyes.
While looking on she had felt as though she herself was in danger of
falling into the depths.  Giddiness had seized her, and her heart, whose
tendency to disease had long awakened the apprehension of the physicians,
contracted convulsively.  The sight of a fellow-being hovering in mortal
peril above her head seemed unendurable.  Not until she followed
Lienhard's advice and avoided looking up, did she regain her calmness.
Her changeful temperament soon recovered its former cheerfulness, and the
friend at her side to whom the lovely child, with her precocious mental
development, appeared like the fairest marvel, took care, often as he
himself looked upward, that she should be guarded from a second attack of
weakness.

The storm of applause from below, in which Lienhard also joined, fanned
the flames of desire for admiration in Kuni's breast to a fiery glow.
She would show him, too, what she could do--compel him to applaud her.
She would force him away from the little temptress, and oblige him to
gaze up at her whose art--she learned this daily--possessed the power to
fix the attention of spectators like the thrall of the basilisk's eye.
When on the rope she was no insignificant personage.  He should tremble
for her as did the gray-haired, scarred captain of the foot soldiers,
Mannsbach, the day before yesterday.  He had told her that his heart had
throbbed more anxiously during her daring feats than on the bloodiest
field of battle.

She moved forward more swiftly to the time of the lively dancing tune
which the city pipers were playing.  Midway along the rope she turned,
ran back to the cross-shaped trestle at the steeple window, handed the
balancing pole to Loni, and received a cage filled with doves.  Each one
bore around its neck a note containing an expression of homage to the
Emperor Maximilian, and they were all trained to alight near the richly
decorated throne which was now occupied by the chivalrous monarch.  The
clown who, with a comical show of respect, offered her what she needed
for her next feat, told her this.

Loni, sure of being heard by no unbidden ear, called to her from the
window:

"Art is honoured to-day, my girl."

The clown added jocosely:

"Who else was ever permitted to walk over the anointed head of our lord
the Emperor?"

But Kuni would not have needed such encouragement.  Doubtless she felt
flattered by the consciousness of attracting even the sovereign's glance,
but what she intended to do immediately was for the purpose of compelling
another person to watch her steps with fear and admiration.  Crossing her
feet, she threw back her garlanded head and drew a long breath.  Then she
hastily straightened herself, and with the bird cage in one hand and the
winged staff of Mercury, which the clown had handed to her, in the other,
she advanced to the centre of the rope.  There she opened the cage as
steadily as if she had been standing on the floor of her own room.  The
birds fluttered through the little door and went, with a swift flight,
directly to their goal.  Then, below and beside her, from every place
occupied by spectators, and from hundreds of windows, rose thunders of
applause; but it seemed to her as if the roaring of the surging sea was
in her ears.  Her heart throbbed under her pink silk bodice like an iron
hammer, and in the proud consciousness of having probably attained
already what she desired, and, besides thousands of other eyes, fixed
Lienhard's upon her as if with chains and bonds, she was seized with the
ambitious desire to accomplish something still more amazing.  The man to
whom her heart clung, the Emperor, the countless multitude below, were
all at this time subject to her in heart and mind.  They could think and
feel nothing except what concerned her, her art, and her fate.  She could
and would show to Lienhard, to the Emperor, to all, what they had never
witnessed.  They should turn faint with sympathizing anxiety.  She would
make then realize what genuine art, skill, and daring could accomplish.
Everything else, even the desire for applause, was forgotten.  Though her
performance might be called only a perilous feat, she felt it to be true,
genuine art.  Her whole soul was merged in the desire to execute, boldly
and yet gracefully, the greatest and most perfect performance attainable
by a ropedancer.  With beads of perspiration on her brow, and eyes
uplifted, she threw the cage aside, swung her Mercury staff aloft, and
danced along the rope in waltz time, as though borne by the gods of the
wind.  Whirling swiftly around, her slender figure darted in graceful
curves from one end of the narrow path to the other.  Then the applause
reached the degree of enthusiastic madness which she desired; even Loni
clapped his hands from the steeple window.  She had never seen him do
this to any of the company.  Yes, she must have accomplished her purpose
well; but she would show him and the others something still more
wonderful.  What she had just done was capable of many additional feats;
she had tried it.

With fluttering hands and pulses she instantly loosed from her panting
bosom and her hips the garland of roses and leaves twined about the upper
portion of her body, and swung it around her in graceful curves as she
knelt and rose on the rope.

She had often jumped rope on the low rope, turning completely around so
that she faced the other way.  To repeat this performance on the one
stretched to the steeple would certainly not be expected from her or from
any other.  Suppose she should use the garland as a rope and venture to
leap over it on this giddy height?  Suppose she should even succeed in
turning around?  The rope was firm.  If her plan was successful, she
would have accomplished something unprecedented; if she failed--if, while
turning, she lost her balance--her scanty stock of pleasure here below
would be over, and also her great grief and insatiable yearning.  One
thing was certain: Lienhard would watch her breathlessly, nay, tremble
for her.  Perhaps it was too much to hope that he would mourn her
sincerely, should the leap cost her life; but he would surely pity her,
and he could never forget the moment of the fall, and therefore herself.
Loni would tear the gold circlet from his dyed black locks and, in his
exaggerated manner, call himself a son of misfortune, and her the
greatest artist who had ever trodden the rope.  All Augsburg, all the
dignitaries of the realm, even the Emperor, would pity her, and the end
of her life would be as proud and as renowned as that of the chivalrous
hero who dies victor on the stricken field.  If the early part of her
life had been insignificant and wretched, its close should be grand and
beautiful.

Long consideration was foreign to Kuni's nature.  While these thoughts
were darting with the speed of lightning through her excited brain, she
stripped from the garland, with the presence of mind which her calling
teaches even in serious peril, the roses which might have caught her
feet, and swung it in a wide circle above her.  Then nimbly, yet careful
to maintain in every movement the grace without which the most difficult
feat would have seemed to her valueless, she summoned all the strength
and caution she possessed, went forward at a run, and--she did not know
herself just how it was done--dared the leap over the rope once, twice,
and the third and fourth time even accomplished the turn successfully.
It had not once cost her an effort to maintain her balance.

Again she saw Loni clapping his hands at the window, and the acclamations
of the crowd, which echoed like peals of thunder from the lofty, gable-
roofed houses, informed her that the boldness of the venture and the
skill with which she had performed it were appreciated by these
spectators.  True, she could not distinguish the voice of any individual,
but she thought she knew that Lienhard was one of those who shouted
"Bravo!" and clapped most loudly.  He must have perceived now that she
was something more than a poor thief of a rosary, a useless bread-eater
in the Schurstab household.

She straightened the garland again and, while preparing to take another
run, repeat the feat, and, if her buoyancy held out, try to whirl around
twice, which she had never failed to accomplish on the low rope, she
could not resist the temptation of casting a hasty glance at Lienhard;
she had never ascended to the steeple without looking at him.

Secure of herself, in the glad conciousness of success, she gazed down.

There sat the illustrious Maximilian, still clapping his hands.
Gratefully, yet with a passionate desire for fresh applause, the resolve
to show him the very best which she could accomplish was strengthened.
But the next moment the blood faded from her slightly rouged cheeks, for
Lienhard--was it possible, was it imaginable?--Lienhard Groland was not
looking up at her!  Without moving his hands or vouchsafing her a single
glance, he was gazing into the face of the little wearer of the laurel
wreath, with whom he was eagerly talking.  He was under her thrall, body
and soul.  Yet it could not be, she could not have seen distinctly.  She
must look down once more, to correct the error.  She did so, and a
torturing anguish seized her heart.  He was chatting with the child as
before; nay, with still more warmth.  As he now saw nothing which was
happening upon the rope, he had probably also failed to heed what she had
performed, dared, accomplished, mainly for his sake, at the peril of her
life, on the dizzy height.  His wife was still clapping her hands at his
side, but Lienhard, as though deaf and blind to everything else, was
gazing at the page which the miserable little elf was just giving him.
There was certainly writing on it--perhaps a charm which rendered him
subject to her.  How else could he have brought himself to overlook so
unkindly herself and her art--the best she had to bestow--for the sake of
this child?

Then, besides the keenest sorrow, a fierce, burning hate took possession
of her soul.

She had not appealed to her saint for years; but now, in a brief,
ejaculatory prayer, she besought her to drive this child from Lienhard,
punish her with misery, suffering, and destruction.  A sharp pang which
she had never before experienced pierced her to the heart.  The pure,
sunny air which she inhaled on her lofty height seemed like acrid smoke,
and forced tears into the eyes which had not wept for many a long day.

As, not knowing exactly what she was doing, with her ears deafened by the
shouts of the crowd, among whom Lienhard now, with anxious suspense,
watched her every movement, she again raised the rope and prepared to
spring, she fancied that her narrow path rose higher and higher.  One
more step, and suddenly, with Loui's shriek of horror and the clown's
terrified "Jesus and Mary, she is falling!" ringing on the air, she felt
as if the rope had parted directly in front of her.  Then a hurricane
appeared to howl around her, bearing her away she knew not whither.  It
seemed as though the tempest had seized the ends of the rope, and was
dealing terrible blows with them upon her shoulders, her back, and her
feet.  Meanwhile the little wearer of the wreath was lying on a black
cloud opposite to her at Lienhard's feet.

She still held the sheet in her hand, and was shouting to the angry
elements the magic formulas which it contained.  Their power Kuni knew
it--had unchained them.  Lienhard's deep voice mingled with her furious
cries until the roar of the sea, on whose rocky shore the hurricane must
have dashed her, drowned every other sound, and rolled over her,
sometimes in scorching crimson, sometimes in icy crystal waves.  Then,
for a long time, she saw and heard nothing more.

When her deadened imagination again began to stir, she fancied that she
was struggling with a huge crab, which was cutting her foot with shears.
The little elf was urging it on, as the huntsmen cheer the hounds.  The
pain and hate she felt would have been intolerable if Lienhard had made
common cause with the terrible child.  But he reproved her conduct, and
even struggled with the kobold who tried to prevent his releasing her
from the crab.  The elf proved stronger than he.  The terrible shears
continued to torture her.  The more she suffered, the more eagerly
Lienhard seemed trying to help her, and this soothed her and blended a
sweet sense of comfort with the burning pain.



CHAPTER VI.

Kuni remained under the spell of these delusions for many days and
nights.  When she at last regained her senses, she was lying on a plain
couch in a long, whitewashed hall.  The well-scoured floor was strewn
with sand and pine needles.  Other beds stood beside hers.  On one wall
hung a large wooden crucifix, painted with glaring colours; on the other
a touching picture of the Mater Dolorosa, with the swords in her heart,
looked down upon her.

Beside Kuni's pallet stood a Gray Sister and an elderly man, evidently a
physician.  His long black robe, tall dark cap, and gold headed cane bore
witness to it.  Bending forward, with eyeglasses on his prominent nose,
he gazed intently into her face.

Her return to consciousness seemed to please him, and he showed himself
to be a kind, experienced leech.  With tireless solicitude he strove to
cure the numerous injuries which she had received, and she soon learned
through him and the nun, that she had fallen from the rope and escaped
death as if by a miracle.  The triumphal arch under her, and the garlands
which decorated the wooden structure, had caught her before she touched
the pavement.  True, her right leg was broken, and it had been necessary
to amputate her left foot in order to save her life.  Many a wound and
slash on her breast and head also needed healing, and her greatest
ornament, her long, thick, dark hair, had been cut off.

Why had they called her, the ropedancer, back to a life which
henceforward could offer her nothing save want and cruel suffering?
She uttered this reproach to her preservers very indignantly; but as
the physician saw her eating a bunch of grapes with much enjoyment,
he asked if this pleasure did not suffice to make her rejoice over the
preservation of her existence.  There were a thousand similar gifts of
God, which scarcely seemed worthy of notice, yet in the aggregate
outweighed a great sorrow which, moreover, habit daily diminished.

The Sister tried, by other arguments, to reconcile her to the life which
had been preserved, but the words her devout heart inspired and which
were intended for a pious soul, produced little influence upon the
neglected child of the highroad.  Kuni felt most deeply the reference to
the sorely afflicted Mother of God.  If such sorrow had been sent to the
noblest and purest of mortals, through whom God had deigned to give his
divine Son to the world, what grief could be too great for her, the
wandering vagabond?  She often silently repeated this to herself; yet
only too frequently her impetuous heart rebelled against the misery which
she felt that she would encounter.  But many weeks were to pass before
she recovered; a severe relapse again endangered her life.

During the first days of illness she had talked to Lienhard in her
fevered visions, called him by name, and warned him against the spiteful
elf who would ruin him.  Frequently, too, oaths and horrible, coarse
imprecations, such as are heard only from the mouths of the vagrants
among whom she had grown to womanhood, fell from her burning lips.  When
she improved, the leech asked in the jesting tone which elderly men are
fond of using to young women whose heart secrets they think they have
detected, what wrong her lover had done her.  The Sister, nay, even the
abbess, wished to learn what she meant by the wicked witch whom she had
mentioned with such terrible curses during the ravings of the fever, but
she made no reply.  In fact, she said very little, and her nurses thought
her a reserved creature with an obdurate nature; for she obstinately
rejected the consolations of religion.

Only to her confessor, a kind old priest, who knew how to discover the
best qualities in every one, did she open her heart so far as to reveal
that she loved the husband of another and had once wished evil, ay, the
very worst evil, to a neighbour.  But since the sin had been committed
only in thought, the kindly guardian of her conscience was quickly
disposed to grant her absolution if, as a penance, she would repeat a
goodly number of paternosters and undertake a pilgrimage.  If she had had
sound feet, she ought to have journeyed to Santiago di Compostella; but,
since her condition precluded this, a visit to Altotting in Bavaria would
suffice.  But Kuni by no means desired any mitigation of the penance.
She silently resolved to undertake the pilgrimage to Compostella, at the
World's End,--[Cape Finisterre]--in distant Spain, though she did not
know how it would be possible to accomplish this with her mutilated foot.
Not even to her kind confessor did she reveal this design.  The girl who
had relied upon herself from childhood, needed no explanation, no
confidante.

Therefore, during the long days and nights which she was obliged to spend
in bed, she pondered still more constantly upon her own past.  That she
had been drawn and was still attracted to Lienhard with resistless power,
was true; yet whom, save herself, had this wounded or injured?  On the
other hand, it had assuredly been a heavy sin that she had called down
such terrible curses upon the child.  Still, even now she might have had
good reason to execrate the wearer of the wreath; for she alone, not
Lienhard, was the sole cause of her misfortune.  Her prayer on the rope
that the saints would destroy the hated child, and the idea which then
occupied her mind, that she was really a grown maiden, whose elfin
delicacy of figure was due to her being one of the fays or elves
mentioned in the fairy tales, had made a deep impression upon her memory.

Whenever she thought of that supplication she again felt the bitterness
she had tasted on the rope.  Though she believed herself justified in
hating the little mischief-maker, the prayer uttered before her fall did
not burden her soul much less heavily than a crime.  Suppose the Sister
was right, and that the saints heard every earnest petition?

She shuddered at the thought.  The child was so young, so delicate.
Though she had caused her misfortune, the evil was not done
intentionally.  Such thoughts often induced Kuni to clasp her hands and
pray to the saint not to fulfil the prayer she uttered at that time; but
she did not continue the petition long, a secret voice whispered that
every living creature--man and beast--felt the impulse to inflict a
similar pang on those who caused suffering, and that she, who believed
the whole world wicked, need not be better than the rest.

Meanwhile she longed more and more eagerly to know the name of the little
creature that had brought so much trouble upon her, and whether she was
still forcing herself between Lienhard and his beautiful wife.

As soon as she was able to talk again, she began her inquiries.  The
Sister, who was entirely absorbed in her calling and never left the scene
of her wearisome toil, had little to tell; but the leech and the priest,
in reply to her questions concerning what had happened during the period
of her unconsciousness, informed her that the Emperor had ordered that
she should receive the most careful nursing, and had bestowed a donation
upon the convent for the purpose.  He had thought of her future, too.
When she recovered, she would have the five heller pounds which the
generous sovereign had left for her as a partial compensation for the
injuries sustained while employing her rare skill for the delight of the
multitude and, above all, himself.  A wealthy Nuremberg Honourable,
Lienhard Groland, a member of the Council, had also interested himself in
her and deposited the same amount with the abbess, in case she should
recover the use of her limbs and did not prefer to spend the remainder of
her life here, though only as a lay sister.  In that case he would be
ready to defray the cost of admission.

"That the lofty convent walls might rise between him and the sight of
me!" Kuni said to herself at this information, with a bitter smile.
On the--other hand, her eyes filled with tears of genuine emotion and
sincere shame, when she learned from the leech that Herr Lienhard
Groland's lovely wife had come daily to the convent to inquire about her,
and had even honoured her couch with a visit several times.  She did not
remain absent until one day, in the noble lady's presence, Kuni, when her
fever was fiercest, loaded the wearer of the wreath, whom her delirium
often brought before her as a nightmare, with the most savage and
blasphemous curses.  The gracious young wife was overwhelmed with horror,
which had doubtless prevented her return, unless her absence was due to
departure from the city.  Besides, she had committed the care of
inquiring about her convalescence to an aristocratic friend in Augsburg,
the wife of the learned city clerk, Doctor Peutinger, a member of the
famous Welser family of Augsburg.  The latter had often inquired for her
in person, until the illness of her own dear child had kept her at home.
Yet, in spite of this, her housekeeper had appeared the day before to
inform the abbess that, if the injured girl should recover and wished to
lead a respectable life in future, she might be sure of a welcome and
easy duties in her own household.  This surely ought to be a great
comfort to Kuni, the physician added; for she could no longer pursue
rope-dancing, and the Peutingers were lavishly endowed with worldly goods
and intellectual gifts, and, besides, were people of genuine Christian
spirit.  The convent, too, would be ready to receive her--the abbess had
told him so--if Herr Groland, of Nuremberg, kept his promise of paying
her admission dues.

All these things awakened a new world of thoughts and feelings in the
convalescent.  That they ought, above all, to have aroused sincere
gratitude, she felt keenly, yet she could not succeed in being especially
thankful.  It would be doing Lienhard a favour, she repeated to herself,
if she should enter a convent, and she would rather have sought shelter
in a lion's den than under the Peutinger roof.  She had been informed the
day before that the city clerk's wife was the mother of the child upon
whom she had called down misfortune and death.

The keeper of an Augsburg bath-house, who had burned herself with boiling
water, occupied the next bed.  She was recovering, and was a talkative
woman, whose intrusive loquacity at first annoyed Kuni, nay, when she
could not silence it, caused her pain.  But her conversation soon
revealed that she knew every stick and stone in her native city.  Kuni
availed herself of this, and did not need to ask many questions to learn
everything that she desired to know about the little begarlanded elf.

She was Juliane, the young daughter of Herr Conrad Peutinger, the city
clerk--a girl of unusual cleverness, and a degree of learning never
before found in a child eleven years old.  The bath-house keeper had many
wonderful stories to relate of her remarkable wisdom, with which even
highly educated men could not vie.  In doing so, she blamed the father
and mother, who had been unnatural parents to the charming child; for to
make the marvel complete, and to gratify their own vanity, they had taxed
the little girl's mind with such foolish strenuousness that the frail
body suffered.  She had heard this in her own bath-house from the lips of
the child's aunt and from other distinguished friends of the Welsers and
Peutingers.  Unfortunately, these sensible women proved to have been
right; for soon after the close of the Reichstag, Juliane was attacked by
a lingering illness, from which rumour now asserted that she would never
recover.  Some people even regarded the little girl's sickness as a just
punishment of God, to whom the constant devotion of the father and his
young daughter to the old pagans and their ungodly writings must have
given grave offence.

This news increased to the utmost the anxiety from which Kuni had long
suffered.  Often as she thought of Lienhard, she remembered still more
frequently that it was she, who had prayed for sickness to visit the
child of a mother, who had so kindly offered her, the strolling player,
whom good women usually shunned, the shelter of her distinguished house.

The consciousness of owing a debt of gratitude to those, against whom she
had sinned so heavily, oppressed her.  The kind proposal of the sick
child's mother seemed like a mockery.  It was painful even to hear the
name of Peutinger.

Besides, the further she advanced toward recovery, the more unendurable
appeared the absence of liberty.  The kind efforts of the abbess to keep
her in the cloister, and teach her to make herself useful there by
sewing,  were unsuccessful; for she could not turn the spinning wheel on
account of her amputated foot, and she had neither inclination nor
patience for the finer branches of needlework.

Those who charged her with a lamentable lack of perseverance were right;
the linen which she began to hem fell into her lap only too soon.  When
her eyes--which could see nothing here except a small walled yard--closed
while she was working, the others thought that she was asleep; but her
mind remained awake, though she had lowered her lids, and it wandered
restlessly over valleys rivers, and mountains through the wide, wide
world.  She saw herself in imagination travelling along the highway with
nimble jugglers merry musicians, and other care-free vagrant folk,
instead of plying the needle.  Even the whirling dust, the rushing wind,
and the refreshing rain outside seemed desirable compared with the heavy
convent air impregnated by a perpetual odour of lavender.

When at last, in the month of March, little Afra, the fair-haired niece
of the portress, brought her the first snowdrop, and Kuni saw a pair of
starlings enter the box on the budding linden before her window, she
could no longer bear her imprisonment in the convent.

Within these walls she must fade, perhaps die and return to dust.  In
spite of all the warnings, representations, entreaties, and promises of
those who--she gratefully perceived it--meant well toward her, she
persisted in her desire to be dismissed, to live out of doors as she had
always done.  At last they paid her what was due, but she accepted only
the Emperor's bounty, proudly refusing Lienhard Groland's money,
earnestly as she was urged to add it to the other and to the viaticum
bestowed by the nuns.



CHAPTER VII.

The April sun was shining brightly when the convent gates closed behind
Kuni.  The lindens in the square were already putting forth young leaves,
the birds were singing, and her heart swelled more joyously than it had
done for many years.

True, the cough which had tormented her all winter attacked her in the
shady cloister, but she had learned to use her wooden foot, and with a
cane in one hand and her little bundle in the other she moved sturdily
on.  After making her pilgrimage to Compostella, she intended to seek her
old employer, Loni.  Perhaps he could give her a place as crier, or if
the cough prevented that, in collecting the money or training the
children.  He was a kind-hearted man.  If he were even tolerably
prosperous he would certainly let her travel with the band, and give
the girl who was injured in his service the bit of food she required.
Besides, in former days, when she scattered gold with lavish hands, he
had predicted what had now befallen her, and when he left Augsburg he had
asked the nuns to tell her that if she should ever be in want she must
remember Loni.

With the Emperor's five heller pounds, and the two florins which she had
received as a viaticum from the convent, she could journey a long
distance through the world; for there were plenty of carriers and
travellers with carts and wagons who would take her for a trifle, and the
vagabonds on the highway rarely left people like her in the lurch.

Probably, in former days, she had looked forward to the future with
greater strength and different expectations, yet, even as it was, in
spite of the cough and the painful pricking in her scars, she found it
pleasant so long as she was free and could follow whatever way she chose.
She knew the city, and limped through the streets and alleys toward the
tavern where the strolling players usually lodged.

On the way she met a gentleman in a suit of light armour, whom she
recognised in the distance as the Knight of Neckerfels, who had been
paying court to her before her fall.  He was walking alone and looked her
directly in the face, but he did not have the slightest idea that he had
met madcap Kuni.  It was only too evident that he supposed her to be a
total stranger.  Yet it would have been impossible for any one to
recognise her.

Mirrors were not allowed in the convent, but a bright new tin plate had
showed her her emaciated face with the broad scar on the forehead, the
sunken eyes, and the whole narrow head, where the hair, which grew out
again very slowly, was just an ugly length.  Now the sight of the bony
hand which grasped the cane brought a half-sorrowful, half-scornful,
smile to her lips.  Her arm had been plump and round, but was now little
larger than a stick.  Pretty Kuni, the ropedancer, no longer existed; she
must become accustomed to have the world regard her as a different and
far less important personage, whom Lienhard, too--and this was fortunate
--would not have deemed worthy of a glance.

And yet, if the inner self is the true one, there was little change in
her.  Her soul was moved by the same feelings, only there was now a touch
of bitterness.  One great advantage of her temperament, it is true, had
vanished with her physical beauty and strength--the capacity to hope for
happiness and joy.  Perhaps it would never return; an oppressive feeling
of guilt, usually foreign to her careless nature, had oppressed her ever
since she had heard recently in the convent that the child on whom she
had called down death and destruction was lying hopelessly ill, and would
scarcely live till the joyous Whitsuntide.

This now came back to her mind.  The jubilant sense of freedom deserted
her; she walked thoughtfully on until she reached the neighbourhood of
Jacob Fugger's house.

A long funeral procession was moving slowly toward her.  Some very
exalted and aristocratic person must be taking the journey to the grave,
for it was headed by all the clergy in the city.  Choristers, in the most
elaborate dress, swinging incense holders by delicate metal chains and
bearing lanterns on long poles, surrounded the lofty cross.

Every one of distinction in Augsburg, all the children who attended
school, and all the members of the various ecclesiastical orders and
guilds in the city marched before the bier.  Kuni had never seen such a
funeral procession.  Perhaps the one she witnessed in Milan, when a great
nobleman was buried, was longer, but in this every individual seemed to
feel genuine grief.  Even the schoolboys who, on such solemn occasions,
usually play all sorts of secret pranks, walked as mournfully as if each
had lost some relative who was specially dear to him.  Among the girls
there were few whose rosy cheeks were not constantly wet with tears.

From the first Kuni had believed that she knew who was being borne to the
grave.  Now she heard several women whispering near her mention the name
of Juliane Peutinger.  A pale-faced gold embroiderer, who had recently
bordered a gala dress with leaves and tendrils for the dead girl's
sister, described, sobbing, the severe suffering amid which this fairest
blossom of Augsburg girlhood had withered ere death finally broke the
slender stem.

Suddenly she stopped; a cry of mingled astonishment, lamentation, and
delight, sometimes rising, sometimes falling, ran through the crowd which
had gathered along the sides of the street.

The bier was in sight.

Twelve youths bore the framework, covered with a richly embroidered blue
cloth, on which the coffin rested.  It was open, and the dead girl's
couch was so high that it seemed as though the sleeper was only resting
lightly on the white silk pillow.  A wreath again encircled her head, but
this time blossoming myrtles blended with the laurel in the brown
curls that lay in thick, soft locks on the snowy pillows and the lace-
trimmed shroud.

Juliane's eyes were closed.  Ah! how gladly Kuni would have kissed those
long-lashed lids to win even one look of forgiveness from her whom her
curse had perhaps snatched from the green spring world!

She remembered the sunny radiance with which this sleeper's eyes had
sparkled as they met Lienhard's.  They were the pure mirror of the keen,
mobile intellect and the innocent, loving soul of this rare child.  Now
death had closed them, and Juliane's end had been one of suffering.  The
pale embroiderer had said so, and the sorrowful droop of the sweet little
mouth, which gave the wondrously beautiful, delicate, touching little
face so pathetic an expression, betrayed it.  If the living girl had
measured her own young intellect with that of grown people, and her face
had worn the impress of precocious maturity, now it was that of a
charming child who had died in suffering.

Kuni also felt this, and asked herself how it had been possible for her
heart to cherish such fierce hatred against this little one, who had
numbered only eleven years.

But had this Juliane resembled other children?

No, no!  No Emperor's daughter of her age would have been accompanied to
the churchyard with such pageantry, such deep, universal grief.

She had been the jewel of a great city.  This was proclaimed by many a
Greek and Latin maxim on tablets borne by the friends of the great
humanist who, with joyful pride, called her his daughter.

Kuni could not read, but she heard at least one sentence translated by a
Benedictine monk to the nun at his side:  "He whose death compels those
who knew him to weep, has the fairest end."--[Seneca, Hippol., 881.]

If this were true, Juliane's end was indeed fair; for she herself, whom
the child had met only to inflict pain, had her eyes dimmed by tears, and
wherever she turned she saw people weeping.

Most of those who lined the street could have had no close relations with
the dead girl.  But yonder black-robed mourners who followed the bier
were her parents, her brothers and sisters, her nearest relatives, the
members of the Council, and the family servants.  And she, the wretched,
reckless, sinful, crippled strolling player, for whom not a soul on earth
cared, whose death would not have drawn even a single tear from any eye,
to whom a speedy end could be only a benefit, was perhaps the cause of
the premature drying up of this pure fountain of joy, which had refreshed
so many hearts and animated them with the fairest hopes.

The tall lady, whose noble face and majestic figure were shrouded in a
thick veil, was Juliane's mother--and she had offered the sick ropedancer
a home in her wealthy household.

"If she had only known," thought Kuni, "the injury I was inflicting upon
her heart's treasure, she would rather have hunted me with dogs from her
threshold."

In spite of the veil which floated around the stately figure of the
grieving mother, she could see her bosom rise and fall with her sobs of
anguish.  Kuni's compassionate heart made it impossible for her to watch
this sorrow longer, and, covering her face with her hands, she turned her
back upon the procession and, weeping aloud, limped away as fast as her
injured foot would let her.  Meanwhile she sometimes said to herself that
she was the worst of all sinners because she had cursed the dead girl and
called down death and destruction upon her head, sometimes she listened
to the voice within, which told her that she had no reason to grieve over
Juliane's death, and completely embitter her already wretched life by
remorse and self-accusations; the dead girl was the sole cause of her
terrible fall.  But the defiant rebellion against the consciousness of
guilt, which moved her so deeply, always ceased abruptly as soon as it
raised its head; for one fact was positive, if the curse she had called
down upon the innocent child, who had done her no intentional wrong, had
really caused Juliane's end, a whole life was not long enough to atone
for the sin which she had committed.  Yet what atonement was still in her
power, after the death which she had summoned had performed its terrible
work of executioner?

"Nothing, nothing at all!" she said to herself angrily, resolving, as she
had so often done with better success, to forget what had happened, cast
the past into oblivion, and live in the present as before.  But ere she
could attempt to fulfil this determination, the image of the tall, grief-
bowed figure of the woman who had called Juliane her dear child rose
before her mind, and it seemed as if a cold, heavy hand paralyzed the
wings of the light-hearted temperament which had formerly borne her
pleasantly over so many things.  Then she told herself that, in order not
to go to perdition herself, she must vow, sacrifice, undertake everything
for the salvation of the dead girl and of her own heavily burdened soul.
For the first time she felt a longing to confide her feelings to some
one.  If Lienhard had been within reach and disposed to listen to her,
he would have understood, and known what course to advise.

True, the thought that he was not looking at her when she took the fatal
leap still haunted her.  He could not have showed more offensively how
little he cared for her--but perhaps he was under the influence of a
spell; for she must be something to him.  This was no vain self-
deception; had it not been so, would he have come in person to her couch
of pain, or cared for her so kindly after the accident?

In the convent she had reached the conviction that it would be degrading
to think longer of the man who, in return for the most ardent love,
offered nothing but alms in jingling coin; yet her poor heart would
not cease its yearning.

Meanwhile she never wearied of seeking motives that would place his
conduct in a more favourable light.  Whatever he might have withheld from
her, he was nevertheless the best and noblest of men, and as she limped
aimlessly on, the conviction strengthened that the mere sight of him
would dispel the mists which, on this sunny spring day, seemed to veil
everything around and within her.

But he remained absent, and suddenly it seemed more disgraceful to seek
him than to stand in the stocks.

Yet the pilgrimage to Compostella, of which the confessor had spoken?
For the very reason that it had been described to her as unattainable,
it would perhaps be rated at a high value in heaven, and restore to her
while on earth the peace she had lost.

She pondered over this thought on her way to the tavern, where she found
a corner to sleep, and a carrier who, on the day after the morrow, would
take her to the sea for a heller pound.  Other pilgrims had also engaged
passage at Antwerp for Corunna, the harbour of Compostella, and her means
were sufficient for the voyage.  This assurance somewhat soothed her
while she remained among people of her own calling.

But she spent a sleepless night; for again and again the dead child's
image appeared vividly before her.  Rising from the soft pillows in the
coffin, she shook her finger threateningly at her, or, weeping and
wailing, pointed down to the flames--doubtless those of purgatory--which
were blazing upward around her, and had already caught the hem of her
shroud.

Kuni arose soon after sunrise with a bewildered brain.  Before setting
out on her pilgrimage she wished to attend mass, and--that the Holy
Virgin might be aware of her good intentions--repeat in church some of
the paternosters which her confessor had imposed.

She went out with the simple rosary that the abbess had given her upon
her wrist, but when she had left the tavern behind she saw a great crowd
in front of the new St. Ulrich's Church, and recognised among the throngs
of people who had flocked thither her companion in suffering at the
convent, the keeper of the bath-house, who had been cured of her burns
long before.

She had left her business to buy an indulgence for her own sins, and to
purchase for the soul of her husband--whose death-bed confession, it is
true, had been a long one--for the last time, but for many centuries at
once, redemption from the fires of purgatory.  The Dominican friar
Tetzel, from Nuremberg, was here with his coffer, and carried written
promises which secured certain remission of punishment for all sins, even
those committed long ago, or to be committed in the future.  The woman
had experienced the power of his papers herself.  Tetzel had come to
Augsburg about a year after her husband's death, and, as she knew how
many sins he had committed, she put her hand into her purse to free him
from the flames.  They must have burned very fiercely; for, while awake
at night and in her dreams, she had often heard him wailing and
complaining piteously.  But after she bought the paper he became quiet
and, on the third night, she saw him with her own eyes enter the room,
and heard him promise her a great happiness in return for her faithful
remembrance.

The very next Sunday, Veit Haselnuss, the bath-house proprietor, a well-
to-do man who owned another house besides the one where he lived, invited
her to take a walk with him.  She knew instantly that her late husband
was beginning to pay his debt of gratitude with this visitor and, in
fact, a short time after, the worthy man asked her to be his wife, though
she had three little children, and his oldest daughter by his first wife
was already able to look after the housekeeping.  The wedding took place
on Whitsunday, and she owed this great happiness entirely to the
dispensation which had released the dead man's soul from the fires of
purgatory and induced him to show his thankfulness.

Kuni listened to her companion's rapid flood of talk, until she herself
enjoined silence to hear the black-robed priest who stood beside the
coffer.

He was just urging his hearers, in a loud voice, to abandon the base
avarice which gathers pence.  There was still time to gain, in exchange
for dead florins, living salvation.

Let those who repented sin listen, and they would hear the voices of
wailing parents, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, and children, who
had preceded them to the other world.  Whose heart was so utterly turned
to stone, whose parsimony, spite of all his love of money, was so strong
that he would allow these tortured souls to burn and suffer in the
flames, when it was in his power, by putting his hand into his purse,
to buy a dispensation which would as surely redeem them from the fires
of purgatory as his Imperial Majesty's pardon would release an imprisoned
thief from jail?

Scales seemed to fall from Kuni's eyes.  She hastily forced her way to
the Dominican, who was just wiping the perspiration from his brow with
the hem of the white robe under his black cowl.

Coughing and panting, he was preparing his voice for a fresh appeal,
meanwhile opening the iron-bound box, and pointing out to the throng the
placard beside his head, which announced that the money obtained by the
indulgences was intended for the Turkish war.  Then, in fluent language,
he explained to the bystanders that this meant that the Holy Father in
Rome intended to drive the hereditary foe of Christianity back to the
steppes and deserts of the land of Asia, where he belonged.  In order to
accomplish this work, so pleasing to the Lord, the Church was ready to
make lavish use of the treasures of mercy intrusted to her.  Deliverance
from the flames of purgatory would never be more cheaply purchased than
at this opportunity.  Then he thrust his little fat hand, on which
several valuable rings glittered, into the box, and held out to the
bystanders a small bundle of papers like an open pack of cards.

Kuni summoned up her courage and asked whether they would also possess
the power to remove a curse.  Tetzel eagerly assented, adding that he had
papers which would wash the soul as white from every sin as soap would
cleanse a sooty hand, even though, instead of "curse," its name was
"parricide."

The most costly had the power to transfer scoundrels roasting in the
hottest flames of purgatory to the joys of paradise, as yonder sparrow
had just soared from the dust of the street to the elm bough.

Kuni timidly asked the price of an indulgence, but the Dominican
unctuously explained that they were not sold like penny rolls at the
baker's; the heavier the sin, the higher the fine to be paid.  First of
all, she must confess sincere contrition for what had been done and
inform him how, in spite of her youth, she had been led into such heinous
guilt.  Kuni replied that she had long mourned her error most deeply,
and then began to whisper to Tetzel how she had been induced to curse a
fellow-mortal.  She desired nothing for herself.  Her sole wish was to
release the dead girl from the flames of purgatory, and the curse which,
by her guilt, burdened her soul.  But the Dominican had only half
listened, and as many who wanted indulgences were crowding around his
box, he interrupted Kuni by offering her a paper which he would make out
in the name of the accursed Juliane Peutinger--if he had heard correctly.

Such cases seemed to be very familiar to him, but the price he asked was
so large that the girl grew pale with terror.

Yet she must have the redeeming paper, and Tetzel lowered his price after
her declaration that she possessed only five heller pounds and the
convent viaticum.  Besides, she stated that she had already bargained
with the carrier for the journey to the sea.

This, however, had no influence upon the Dominican, as the indulgence
made the pilgrimage to Compostella unnecessary.  Since it would redeem
the accursed person from the fires of purgatory, she, too, was absolved
from the vow which drew her thither.

With stern decision he therefore insisted upon demanding the entire sum
in her possession.  He could only do it so cheaply because her face and
her lost foot showed that she was destined to suffer part of the eternal
torture here on earth.

Then Kuni yielded.  The paper was made out in the name of Juliane, she
gave up her little store, and returned to the inn a penniless beggar, but
with a lighter heart, carrying the precious paper under the handkerchief
crossed over her bosom.  But there the carrier refused her a seat without
the money which she had promised him, and the landlord demanded payment
for her night's lodging and the bit of food she had eaten.

Should she go back to the convent and ask for the little sum which
Lienhard had left there for her?

The struggle was a hard one, but pride finally conquered.  She renounced
the kindly meant gift of her only friend.  When the abbess returned the
money to him, he could not help perceiving that she was no beggar and
scorned to be his debtor.  If he then asked himself why, he would find
the right answer.  She did not confess it to herself in plain words, but
she wished to remain conscious that, whether he desired it or not, she
had given her heart's best love to this one man without reward, merely
because it was her pleasure to do it.  At last she remembered that she
still possessed something valuable.  She had not thought of it before,
because it had been as much a part of herself as her eyes or her lips,
and it would have seemed utterly impossible to part with it.  This
article was a tolerably heavy gold ring, with a sparkling ruby in the
centre.  She had drawn it from her father's finger after he had taken his
last leap and she was called to his corpse.  She did not even know
whether he had received the circlet as a wedding ring from the mother of
whom she had no remembrance, or where he obtained it.  But she had heard
that it was of considerable value, and when she set off to sell the
jewel, she did not find it very hard to gave it up.  It seemed as if her
father, from the grave, was providing his poor child with the means she
needed to continue to support her life.

She had heard in the convent of Graslin, the goldsmith, who had bestowed
on the chapel a silver shrine for the relics, and went to him.

When she stood before the handsome gableroofed house which he
occupied she shrank back a little.  At first he received her sternly
and repellantly enough, but, as soon as she introduced herself as the
ropedancer who had met with the accident, he showed himself to be a
kindly old gentleman.

After one of the city soldiers had said that she told the truth and had
just been dismissed from the convent, he paid her the full value of the
ring and added a florin out of sympathy and the admiration he felt for
the charm which still dwelt in her sparkling blue eyes.

But Compostella was indeed far away.  Her new supply of money was
sufficient for the journey there, but how could she return?  Besides, her
cough troubled her very seriously, and it seemed as though she could not
travel that long distance alone.  The dealer in indulgences had said that
the paper made the pilgrimage unnecessary, and the confessor in the
convent had only commanded her to go to Altotting.  With this
neighbouring goal before her, she turned her back upon Augsburg
the following morning.

Her hope of meeting on the way compassionate people, who would give her a
seat in their vehicles, was fulfilled.  She reached Altotting sooner than
she had expected.  During the journey, sometimes in a peasant's cart,
sometimes in a freight wagon, she had thought often of little Juliane,
and always with a quiet, nay, a contented heart.  In the famous old
church, at the end of her pilgrimage, she saw a picture in which the
raked souls of children were soaring upward to heaven from the flames
blazing around them in purgatory.

The confessor had sent her to the right place.

Here a fervent prayer had the power to rescue a child's soul from the
fires of purgatory.  Many other votive pictures, the pilgrims at the inn,
and a priest whom she questioned, confirmed it.  She also heard from
various quarters that she had not paid too high a price for the
indulgence.  This strengthened her courage and henceforward, nay,
even during the time of sore privation which she afterward endured,
she blessed a thousand times her resolve to buy the ransoming paper from
Tetzel, the Dominican; for she thought that she daily experienced its
power.

Whenever Juliane appeared, her face wore a friendly expression--nay,
once, in a dream, she floated before her as if she wished to thank her,
in the form of a beautiful angel with large pink and white wings.  She no
longer needed to fear the horrible curse which she had called down upon
the little one, and once more thought of Lienhard with pleasure.  When he
learned in the other world how she had atoned for the wrong which she had
done his little favourite, she would be sure of his praise.

To be held in light esteem, nay, even despised, was part of her calling,
like her constant wandering.  She had longed for applause in her art, but
for herself she had desired nothing save swift draughts of pleasure,
since she had learned how little she was regarded by the only person
whose opinion she valued.  She could never have expected that he would
hold her in high esteem, since he was so indifferent to her art that he
did not even think it worth while to lift his eyes to the rope.  Yet the
idea that he placed her in the same rank with others in her profession
seemed unendurable.  But she need grieve over this no longer, and when
she remembered that even the sorest want had not been able to induce her
to touch his alms, she could have fairly shouted for joy amid all her
misery.  The conviction that one man, who was the best and noblest of his
sex, might deem her a poor, unfortunate girl, but never a creature who
deserved contempt, was the beam to which she clung, when the surges of
her pitiable, wandering life threatened to close over her and stifle her.



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Buy indugence for sins to be committed in the future
Mirrors were not allowed in the convent





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