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15. The Journey To Vienna
After this last adventure, they lived quietly and happily at the castle. The knight more and
more perceived the heavenly goodness of his wife, which had been so nobly exhibited by
her pursuit, and by her rescue of them in the Black Valley, where Kuhleborn's power
again commenced; Undine herself felt that peace and security, which is never lacking to a
mind so long as it is distinctly conscious of being on the right path, and besides, in the
newly-awakened love and esteem of her husband, many a gleam of hope and joy shone
upon her. Bertalda, on the other hand, showed herself grateful, humble and timid, without
regarding her conduct as anything meritorious. Whenever Huldbrand or Undine were
about to give her any explanation regarding the covering of the fountain or the adventure
in the Black Valley, she would earnestly entreat them to spare her the recital, as she felt
too much shame at the recollection of the fountain, and too much fear at the remembrance
of the Black Valley. She learned therefore nothing further of either; and for what end was
such knowledge necessary? Peace and joy had visibly taken up their abode at castle
Ringstetten. They felt secure on this point, and imagined that life could now produce
nothing but pleasant flowers and fruits.
In this happy condition of things, winter had come and passed away, and spring, with its
fresh green shoots and its blue sky, was gladdening the joyous inmates of the castle.
Spring was in harmony with them, and they with spring. What wonder then, that its storks
and swallows inspired them also with a desire to travel? One day when they were taking a
pleasant walk to one of the sources of the Danube, Huldbrand spoke of the magnificence
of the noble river, and how it widened as it flowed through countries fertilized by its
waters, how the charming city of Vienna shone forth on its banks, and how with every
step of its course it increased in power and loveliness.
"It must be glorious to go down the river as far as Vienna!" exclaimed Bertalda, but
immediately relapsing into her present modesty and humility, she paused and blushed
This touched Undine deeply, and with the liveliest desire to give pleasure to her friend,
she said: "What hinders us from starting on the little voyage?"
Bertalda exhibited the greatest delight, and both she and Undine began at once to picture
the tour of the Danube in the brightest colors. Huldbrand also gladly agreed to the
prospect; only he once whispered anxiously in Undine's ear,--
"But Kuhleborn becomes possessed of his power again out there!"
"Let him come," she replied with a smile, "I shall be there, and he ventures upon none of
his mischief before me." The last impediment was thus removed; they prepared for the
journey, and soon after set out upon it with fresh spirits and the brightest hopes.