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Early every morning she performed bow he employed himself on such poa little pilgrimage to the spot where she casions ; “I am bound by a vow to had last embraced her Arnold ; old Veit spend every Friday in private prayer," was well aware of this circumstance, was the answer. Veit was satisfied : but made no comment upon it, and was Hans went in and out as before, and his rather glad that Elsbeth could be so views with regard to Elsbeth became tranquil, and even at times cheerful.
every day more apparent. But she enA year passed away in this manner, tertained an unaccountable aversion for and, to Elsbeth's great satisfaction, no this man, insomuch that the blood suitor who had yet announced himself seemed to curdle in her veins at the had met with the approval of her father. sight of him. Nevertheless he made About the end of the second year, a formal proposals to the old man, and person returned to the village after a received as an answer, that he should long absence, who had left it early on first endeavour to discover the sentiaccount of some acts of gross libertinism, ments of the girl herself. He therefore and had seen a great deal of the world. took advantage of an evening, on which Hans Heiling had departed in extreme he knew that Veit was not at home, to indigence, but returned in very opulent sound her feelings. circumstances. It seemed as if he had Elsbeth was sitting at her spinningcome back to the village for the mere wheel, as he stepped in at the door, and purpose of displaying his wealth to shuddered as she stood up to inform him those who had formerly been inimical that her father was not within.
« Oh to him. It was at first believed that he then, let us chat a little together, my would spend only a short time in it, as charming girl,” was his reply; and he was continually speaking of impor- with these words he sat down by her tant affairs which required his presence;
side. Elsbeth quickly moved away he appeared, however, shortly after, to from him. Hans, considered this to be making preparations for a longer be merely the effect of maiden timidity, stay. Marvellous reports were spread and held the principle, that he who throughout the village concerning him. wishes to succeed with women must Many an honest man shrugged his act with boldness, caught her suddenly shoulders ; and there were some who round the waist, and said, in a flattergave broad hints that they knew how he ing tone, “ Will not the fair Elsbeth had amassed all his riches.
sit beside me?” But she tore herself Be that as it might, Hans Heiling out of his arms with an expression of visited old Veit daily, and amused him aversion; and, with the words—" It by relating his travels; how he had is not becoming that I should remain been in Egypt, and sailed into regions alone with you, made an effort to quit still more remote ; so that the old man the room. But he followed, and emenjoyed a great deal of pleasure from braced her more boldly : “ Your father his acquaintance; and that evening has assented to my proposals, fair Elsseemed to him very tedious, of which beth; will you not then be mine? I Heiling did not pass some part in his shall not release you, until you make chamber, He heard, to be sure, many
me that promise.” She vainly strugwhispers among his neighbours, but gled to avoid his kisses, which burned shook his head incredulously at them; upon her cheek, and increased her but still there was one circumstance terror ; in vain did she cry out for aswhich excited some surprise in him,,sistance,-his passion was in the highest that Hans Heiling shut himself up every state of excitement, and he was proPriday, and remained at home alone ceeding to take further liberties, when during the entire day. He put the his eyes rested upon a little cross, which question, therefore, to him straightway, Elsbeth had, from a child worn about her neck, as a token of remembrance great seriousness and circumspection. received from her mother, who died Her father, too, became every day more early. Seized by some strange emotion, urgent, and at last declared openly, he let her go, appeared convulsed, and that it was his firm and unalterable rushed out of the apartment. Elsbeth will, that she should give her hand to returned thanks to God for her deliver- Heiling, - that Arnold had certainly ance ; and when her father came home, forgotten her, and three years were berelated to him the outrageous behaviour sides already past. Heiling, on his of Heiling. Veit shook his head, and part, swore eternal love to her, in the seemed much irritated. At his next
presence of her father, adding, that he meeting with Hans, he animadverted
was not, perhaps, like many others, strongly upon his conduct; and the actuated by any mercenary motive,-. latter offered, as an apology, the impe- no, she herself was the only object of tuosity of his love. The occurrence, his affection, for he had money in abundhowever, was so far fortunate for Els- ance, and would make her richer and beth, that it released her for a long time happier than she had ever dreamed of from his assiduities. She wore openly becoming. But Elsbeth despised himupon her breast the cross which had, self and his wealth; being, however, she knew not how, been her protection strongly importuned by both parties, on that occasion : and observed that and tortured by reflections on the supHeiling never addressed a single word posed infidelity or death of her Arnold, whenever he found her so provided. she saw no other course before her, but
The third year was hastening to a that which lies open to all those in desclose. Elsbeth, who had always em- pair; she accordingly begged for a resployed some artifice to divert or inter- pite of three days, for, alas! she still rupt the conversation, whenever her
cherished the idea, that her beloved father spoke on the subject of an union would return. The three days were with Heiling, becaine more and more granted; and her two persecutors, full cheerful. She daily visited old Arnold's of the hope that they would soon behold grave, and then, crossing the Eger, as- the accomplishment of their wishes, cended a height which lay on the road quitted the cottage, as Veit was going to to Prague, silently indulging the hope accompany his intended son-in-law on of one time descrying her true love on a walk. Just at this moment, the priest his way back to the village.
of the village, preceded by the sacristan, About this time, she one morning was coming down the street, on his way missed the little cross which was so dear to administer the final consolation to and precious to her. She thought it a person who was at the point of death. must have been taken from her neck as Every one bowed before the image of she slept, for she never left it off ; and the crucified Redeemer, and Veit, in her suspicions rested upon one of the particular, fell, prostrate ; but his commaids, whom she had on the preceding panion sprang into the nearest house evening overbeard whispering with with an expression of horror. Veit Heiling behind the house. In tears, looked after him astonished, and not she told it to her father, who laughed without shuddering, and then shaking at her mistrust, asserting, that Heiling his head, returned to his home. Precould set no such value upon the cross ; sently a messenger from Heiling entered, that he was not a man for such amorous who informed him, that his master had toying, and that she had certainly lost it just been seized with a sudden giddiin some other manner. Notwithstand- ness, and hoped that he would come to ing this, she remained unshaken in her him, without forming any unfavourable opinion, and observed very plainly, surmises. But Veit replied, crossing that Heiling renewed his addresses with himself :-“Go, tell him I shall be
happy to hear, that nothing worse than flight. Let us thank God that we are a mere giddiness has befallen him.” here to frustrate his villainous inten
Elsbeth, meanwhile, sat weeping and tions.” Amid such discourses respectpraying on a hill at the entrance of the ing Heiling and Elsbeth, they at length village, which commanded a view to a reached the village, but at rather a late great extent along the road to Prague. hour. A cloud of dust became visible in the Arnold triumphantly led Elsbeth to distance; her heart throbbed violently; her father, who could hardly believe but as soon as she could distinguish the evidence of his eyes, when he saw objects, and descried a party of persons a number of rich-clad persons entering on horseback, in rich attire, her fond his cottage." Father of
Elsbeth, hopes were again blasted. In front of began Arnold, “ I am here to solicit the - the train, there rode on the left of a hand of your daughter. I have become
venerable old man, a handsome youth, an opulent man-am in favour with -- for whose eagerness the rapid pace of individuals of exalted rank, and able
the horses seemed much too slow, and to do even more than I promised.”it was with difficulty that the old man “ How !" cried the astonished Veit, could prevent him from gallopping for- can you be the once poor Arnold, son ward. Elsbeth was abashed at the of my deceased neighbour ?”—“ Yes, number of men, and cast down her eyes, it is he,” replied the old man, joining without looking any longer on the pro
in the conversation, “ the same who E cession. On a sudden, the youth sprung
three years ago
left this place in poverty from his steed and knelt before her:- and despair. He applied to me, I “ Elsbeth, is it possible ? my dear be- immediately perceived that he would loved Elsbeth!" The terrified maid become a master of his profession, and started up, but sunk in an ecstacy into consequently received him into my emthe arms of the youth, exclaiming-ployment. In the discharge of his duty " Arnold,
1, my Arnold !” They conti- he invariably gave the utmost satisfacnued for a long time in a paroxysm of tion; and I was, in a short time, able delight, lip to lip, and heart to heart. to entrust the most important matters The companions of Arnold stood around to his superintendance. He has perthe entranced pair, full of joyful emo- manently established a character for tion: the old man folded his hands in himself in many great towns; and is at thankfulness to God; and never had present engaged in executing a work the departing sun shone upon a happier which promises to be a master-piece. groupe.
He has become rich,- been adınitted to When the tumult of joy had in some the society of dukes and counts, and manner subsided, it was a question be- shared their munificence. Bestow your tween the lovers, which should first daughter upon him, in performance of commence a recital of their adventures. your promise. The wretch to whom Elsbeth began at last, and explained in you were about to sacrifice your Elsa few words, her unhappy situation, beth has about a thousand times merited and the terms on which she stood with the gallows, I know the villain well." Heiling. Arnold was shocked at the “ Is this all true that you relate to me?" idea of the bare possibility of losing his enquired Veit.
" It is ! it is !" repeatElsbeth; while the old man made ac- ed all present.
" Then I should be curate inquiries concerning Heiling ; sorry to oppose your wishes,” said Veit, and finally exclaimed," Yes, my turning to Arnold ; " distinguished arfriends! it is the same wretch, who, in tist, the girl is your's; and may the my native town, was guilty of these blessing of God be upon you.” Unable obominable acts, and escaped the hand to express their gratitude, the happy of justice, only by the rapidity of his pair threw themselves at his feet: be
folded them to his bosom,—and con- the overflowing of our present joy, we stancy at last met its reward.
entertain a feeling of something stil “ Friend Veit,” began the old man, higher. With grateful hearts we acafter a long silence, interrupted only by knowledge the abundance of thy bounthe exclamations of joy which proceed- ty! Yes, Elsbeth, let us pray here on ed from the lovers, “ Friend' Veit, I our father's grave, and offer thanksshould wish to make one more request giving for the benificence of heaven !" of you. Unite
children to-morrow It was a silent prayer, but fervent and morning without delay, that I may have sincere; and the lovers returned home the pleasure of seeing my Arnold com- indefinable emotion, pletely happy, whom I love as a son ; The morrow was a fine clear day; for heaven has bestowed upon me none it was Friday, and the Festival of St. of my own. The day after to-morrow Laurence. There was a bustle through I must return to Prague.”—“. Well
, the whole village ; at the door of every well,” answered Veit quite exhilirated, cottage stood youths and maidens in “ if it is so very agreeable to you, we their
holiday attire ; for Veit was rich, shall so arrange it.-Children,” said and every suitable preparation had been he, addressing himself to the young made for the nuptials. Heiling's door couple, “to-morrow is the day. Yon- alone was shut, for it was Friday; and der at my farm on the Egerberg, I shall it will be recollected, that he never let make preparations for the wedding. I himself be seen on that day. will immediately apprize the priest ;- The procession to the church was do you, Elsbeth, attend to your house- presently set in motion, for the purpose hold concerns, and prepare to entertain of conducting the joyful pair to the your guests suitably to their dignity.” loveliest of all solemnities. Veit and Elsbeth obeyed; and that Arnold slip-Arnold's principal walked together, and ped out for a moment after, and both shed tears of unfeigned joy, on witnessremained in the garden, engaged in ing the happiness of their children. confidential dalliance, we find very Veit bad chosen an open place under a natural.
large linden in the middle of the village, The first thought which occurred to for the celebration of the marriage-feast. the good son, when he had recovered Thither the train proceeded when the from his ecstacy, rested upon the
rites were at an end. The light, as it of his father; and he and Elsbeth went, were, of heaven, shone from the eyes therefore, arm in arm to the spot, which of the loving pair. The festive meal they had, at their last visit, quitted in continued for several hours, and goblets despair.
crowned with flowers often rung to the At the grave they again plighted their toast, "Long live Arnold and his lovely troth, both inspired with a feeling of re- bride." ligious awe. “ Does not,” whispered At last, the new-married couple, with Arnold, embracing his betrothed with the two fathers, Arnold's friends, and ardour,
« does not this moment of some of Elsbeth's companions, forsook blessedness overbalance three whole the linden for the farm on the Egerberg. years of pain? We have attained the The house was beautifully situated summit of our wishes,-life has no among the foliage which crowns the higher enjoyment to bestow,—it is only rocky precipice that rises out of the above that any purer bliss awaits us !" valley; and, surrounded by a circle “ Ah, that we could once die thus, arm smaller in number, but consisting of on arm, heart on heart," sighed Els- more confidential friends; the hours beth.—“ Die!" repeated Amold; “yes flew by like minutes, for the enon your breast! Gracious Providence ! raptured Arnold and his Elsbeth, The lay it not to our charge, that, even in adorned bridal-chamber had also been
prepared in the farm-house, and a cheer- Early on the following morning came ful evening meal stood ready, under the female friends of Elsbeth, with nosebowers of fruit trees, with which the gays and garlands, to deck the newgarden was enriched. The most cost- married pair ; and the whole village ly wines sparkled in the cups of the flocked after them. But the hand of guests.
destruction was visible every where ;Twilight had already darkened the they recognized the features of their valley, but unnoticed by the joyful cir-friends in the groupe of rocks; and the cle. At length the last faint glimmer maidens, sobbing aloud, wreathed their of day disappeared, and a serene starry flowers around the stony forms of their night salated Amold and his bride. The once beloved friends. After this, all old Veit began even to speak of his present sank upon their knees, and youthful years, and entered so warmly prayed for the souls of the departed. into the subject, that midnight now ap- * Peace be with them," a venerable old proached, and Arnold and Elsbeth man at length broke the deep silence eagerly awaited the end of his speech. with these words .-“ Peace be with At last Veit concluded; and, with the them,--they passed away in love and words, “ Good night, dear children," joy together-arm on arm and heart on was preparing to escort them to the door heart they died. Be their graves perpeof their chamber. At this moment the tually adorned with fresh flowers, and clock of the village below them struck let these rocks remain, as a memorial twelve,-a fearful hurricane arose from to us, that no evil spirit has power over the depth of the valley,--and. Hans pure hearts--that true love is approved Heiling stood in the midst of the terri- even in death itself.”. fied assembly, with his countenance After that day, many an enamoured hideously distorted." Satan,” cried pair performed a pilgrimage to Hans he, “ I release you from your thraldom Heiling's rocks, and invoked the bless .. but first annihilate these !"_“On ing and protection of the souls in bliss. that condition thou art mine !" answer- This pious usage has died away, but the ed a voice which issued from the howl- tradition still lives in the hearts of the ing blast.—“ Thine I am, though all people ; and even at this day, the guide the torments of hell await me ! but who conducts strangers. up the fearful annihilate these!” A sort of fiery va- valley of the Eger, to Hans HEILING's pour now enveloped the hill, and Ar- Rocks, pronounces the names of Arnold, Elsbeth, Veit, and the guests stood nold and Elsbeth, and points out the transformed into rocks; the lovers ten- forms of stone into which they were derly embracing each other, and the metamorphosed, together with the father rest with their hands folded, in the at-, of the bride, and the remainder of the titude of prayer, “ Hans Heiling,"
guests. thundered a fiendish voice through the It is reported, that for many years, howling blast, “ they are blest in death, there was heard a frightful and 'unacand their souls are flown to heaven; countable roaring of the Eger, at the but the term of thy contract is expired, part where Hans Heiling had precipiand thou art mine!” Hans Heiling tated himself into it; and no one ever Hew from the top of the rock down the passed by it without crossing himself, foaming Eger, which hissed as it re- and commending his soul to the proceived him, and no eye ever beheld tection of heaven.