Undine HTML version

19. How The Knight Huldbrand Was Buried
Father Heilmann had returned to the castle as soon as the death of the lord of Ringstetten
had been made known in the neighborhood, and he appeared at the very same moment
that the monk who had married the unfortunate couple was fleeing from the gates
overwhelmed with fear and terror.
"It is well," replied Heilmann, when he was informed of this; "now my duties begin, and I
need no associate."
Upon this he began to console the bride, now a widow, small result as it produced upon
her worldly thoughtless mind. The old fisherman, on the other hand, although heartily
grieved, was far more resigned to the fate which had befallen his daughter and son-in-
law, and while Bertalda could not refrain from abusing Undine as a murderess and
sorceress, the old man calmly said: "It could not be otherwise after all; I see nothing in it
but the judgment of God, and no one's heart has been more deeply grieved by
Huldbrand's death than that of her by whom it was inflicted--the poor forsaken Undine!"
At the same time he assisted in arranging the funeral solemnities as befitted the rank of
the deceased.
The knight was to be interred in the village churchyard which was filled with the graves
of his ancestors. And this church had been endowed with rich privileges and gifts both by
these ancestors and by himself. His shield and helmet lay already on the coffin, to be
lowered with it into the grave, for Sir Huldbrand, of Ringstetten, had died the last of his
race; the mourners began their sorrowful march, singing requiems under the bright, calm
canopy of heaven; Father Heilmann walked in advance, bearing a high crucifix, and the
inconsolable Bertalda followed, supported by her aged father. Suddenly, in the midst of
the black-robed attendants in the widow's train, a snow-white figure was seen, closely
veiled, and wringing her hands with fervent sorrow. Those near whom she moved felt a
secret dread, and retreated either backward or to the side, increasing by their movements
the alarm of the others near to whom the white stranger was now advancing, and thus a
confusion in the funeral-train was well-nigh beginning. Some of the military escort were
so daring as to address the figure, and to attempt to remove it from the procession; but
she seemed to vanish from under their hands, and yet was immediately seen advancing
again amid the dismal cortege with slow and solemn step. At length, in consequence of
the continued shrinking of the attendants to the right and to the left, she came close
behind Bertalda. The figure now moved so slowly that the widow did not perceive it, and
it walked meekly and humbly behind her undisturbed.
This lasted till they came to the churchyard, where the procession formed a circle round
the open grave. Then Bertalda saw her unbidden companion, and starting up half in anger
and half in terror, she commanded her to leave the knight's last resting-place. The veiled