Undine HTML version

8. The Day After The Wedding
The fresh light of the morning awoke the young married pair. Wonderful and horrible
dreams had disturbed Huldbrand's rest; he had been haunted by spectres, who, grinning at
him by stealth, had tried to disguise themselves as beautiful women, and from beautiful
women they all at once assumed the faces of dragons, and when he started up from these
hideous visions, the moonlight shone pale and cold into the room; terrified he looked at
Undine, who still lay in unaltered beauty and grace. Then he would press a light kiss
upon her rosy lips, and would fall asleep again only to be awakened by new terrors. After
he had reflected on all this, now that he was fully awake, he reproached himself for any
doubt that could have led him into error with regard to his beautiful wife. He begged her
to forgive him for the injustice he had done her, but she only held out to him her fair
hand, sighed deeply, and remained silent. But a glance of exquisite fervor beamed from
her eyes such as he had never seen before, carrying with it the full assurance that Undine
bore him no ill-will. He then rose cheerfully and left her, to join his friends in the
common apartment.
He found the three sitting round the hearth, with an air of anxiety about them, as if they
dared not venture to speak aloud. The priest seemed to be praying in his inmost spirit that
all evil might be averted. When, however, they saw the young husband come forth so
cheerfully the careworn expression of their faces vanished.
The old fisherman even began to jest with the knight, so pleasantly, that the aged wife
smiled good-humoredly as she listened to them. Undine at length made her appearance.
All rose to meet her and all stood still with surprise, for the young wife seemed so strange
to them and yet the same. The priest was the first to advance toward her with paternal
arms affection beaming in his face, and, as he raised his hand to bless her, the beautiful
woman sank reverently on her knees before him. With a few humble and gracious words
she begged him to forgive her for any foolish things she might have said the evening
before, and entreated him in an agitated tone to pray for the welfare of her soul. She then
rose, kissed her foster- parents, and thanking them for all the goodness they had shown
her, she exclaimed: "Oh! I now feel in my innermost heart, how much, how infinitely
much, you have done for me, dear, kind people!" She could not at first desist from her
caresses, but scarcely had she perceived that the old woman was busy in preparing
breakfast, than she went to the hearth, cooked and arranged the meal, and would not
suffer the good old mother to take the least trouble.
She continued thus throughout the whole day, quiet, kind, and attentive--at once a little
matron and a tender, bashful girl. The three who had known her longest expected every
moment to see some whimsical vagary of her capricious spirit burst forth. But they
waited in vain for it. Undine remained as mild and gentle as an angel. The holy father
could not take his eyes from her, and he said repeatedly to the bridegroom: "The