Anne of Geierstein, by Walter Scott

Chapter 17

Upon the mountain's heathery side,

The day’s last lustre shone,

And rich with many a radiant hue,

Gleam’d gayly on the Rhone.


The English merchant was now much consulted by the Swiss Commissioners in all their motions. He exhorted them to proceed with all despatch on their journey, so as to carry to the Duke their own account of the affair of Breisach, and thus anticipate all rumors less favorable to their conduct on the occasion, For this purpose Philipson recommended that the Deputies, dismissing their escort, whose arms and numbers might give umbrage and suspicion, while they were too few for defence, should themselves proceed by rapid journeys on horse hack towards Dijon, or wherever the Duke might chance to be for the time.

This proposal was, however, formally resisted by the very Derson who had hitherto been the most ductile and the willing echo of the Landamman’s pleasure. On the present occasion, notwithstanding that Arnold Biederman declared the advice of Philipson excellent, Nicholas Bonstetten stood in absolute and insurmountable opposition; because, having hitherto trusted to his own limbs for transporting himself to and fro on all occasions, he could by no means be persuaded to commit himself to the discretion of a horse. As he was found obstinately positive on this subject, it was finally determined that the two Englishmen should press forward on their journey, with such speed as they might, and that the elder of them should make the Duke acquainted with so much as to the capture of La Ferette, as he had himself witnessed of the matter. The particulars which had attended the death of De Hagenbach, the Landamman assured him, would he sent to the Duke by a person of confidence, whose attestation on the subject could not be doubted.

This course was adopted, as Philipson expressed his confidence of getting an early and private audience with his grace of Burgundy.

My best intercession,” he said, “you have a good right to reckon upon; and no one can bear more direct testimony than I can, to the ungovernable cruelty and rapacity of De Hagenbach, of which I had so nearly been the victim. But of his trial and execution, I neither know nor can tell anything; and as Duke Charles is sure to demand why execution was done upon his officer without an appeal to his own tribunal, it will be well that you either provide me with such facts as you have to state, or send forward, at least as speedily as possible, the evidence which you have to lay before him on that most weighty branch of the subject.”

The proposal of the merchant created some visible embarassment on the countenance of the Swiss, and it was with obvious hesitation that Arnold Biederman, having led him aside, addressed him in a whisper — My good friend,” he said, “mysteries are in general like the hateful mists which disfigure the noblest features of nature; yet, like mists, they will sometimes intervene when we most desire their absence — when we most desire to be plain and explicit. The manner of De Hagenbach’s death, you saw — we will take care that the Duke is informed of the authority by which it was inflicted. This is all that I can at present tell you on the subject; and let me add, that the less you speak of it with anyone, you will be the more likely to escape inconvenience.

Worthy Landamman,” said the Englishman, “I am also by nature, and from the habits of my country, a hater of mysteries. Yet, such is my firm confidence in your truth and honor, that you shall be my guide in these dark and secret transactions, even as amongst the mists and precipices of your native land, and I rest contented in either case to place unlimited confidence in your sagacity. Let me only recommend that your explanation with Charles be instant, as well as clear and candid. Such being the case, I trust my poor interest with the Duke may be reckoned for something in your favor. Here then we part but, as I trust, soon to meet again”

The elder Philipson now rejoined his son, whom he directed to hire horses, together with a guide, to conduct them with all speed to the presence of the Duke of Burgundy. By various inquiries in the town, and especially among the soldiers of the slain De Hagenbach, they at length learned that Charles had been of late occupied in taking possession of Lorraine, and, being now suspicious of unfriendly dispositions on the part of the Emperor of Germany, as well as of Sigismund, Duke of Austria, had drawn a considerable part of his army together near Strassburg, in order to be prepared against any attempt of these princes, or of the Free Imperial Cities, which might interfere with his course of conquest. The Duke of Burgundy, at this period, well deserved his peculiar epithet of the Bold, since surrounded by enemies, like one of the nobler animals of the chase, he yet astounded, by his stern and daring countenance, not only the princes and states we have mentioned, but even the King of France, equally powerful, and far more politic than himself.

To this camp, therefore, the English travellers bent their way each full of such deep and melancholy reflection, as, perhaps, prevented his bestowing much attention on the other’s state of mind. They rode as men deeply immersed in their own thoughts, and with less intercourse than had been usual be twixt them on their former journeys. The nobleness of the elder Philipson’s nature, and his respect for the Landamman’s probity, joined with gratitude for his hospitality, had prevented him from separating his cause from that of the Swiss Deputies, nor did he now repent this generosity in adhering to them. But when he recollected the nature and importance of the personal affairs which he himself had to despatch with a proud, imperious, and irritable prince, he could not but regret the circumstances which had involved his own particular mission, of so much consequence to himself and his friends, with that of persons likely to be so highly obnoxious to the Duke as Arnold Biederman and his companions; and, however grateful for the hospitality of Geierstein, he regretted, nevertheless, the circumstances which had obliged him to accept of it.

The thoughts of Arthur were no less anxious. He found himself anew separated from the object to which his thoughts were, almost against his own will, constantly returning. And this second separation had taken place after he had incurred an additional load of gratitude, and found new, as well as more mysterious food for his ardent imagination. How was he to reconcile the character and attributes of Anne of Geierstein, whom he had known so gentle, candid, pure, and simple, with those of the daughter of a sage, and of an elementary spirit, to whom night was as day, and an impervious dungeon the same as the open portico of a temple? Could they be identified as the same being? or, while strictly alike in shape and lineament, was the one a tenant of the earth, the other only a phantom, permitted to show itself among those of a nature in which she did not partake? Above all, must he never see her more, or receive from her own lips an explanation of the mysteries which were so awfully entwined with his recollections of her? Such were the questions which occupied the mind of the younger traveller, and prevented him from interrupting, or even observing, the reverie, in which his father was plunged.

Had either of the travellers been disposed to derive amusement from the country through which their road lay, the vicinity of the Rhine was well qualified to afford it. The ground on the left bank of that noble river is indeed rather flat and tame; and the mountains of Alsace, a ridge of which sweeps along its course, do not approach so near as greatly to vary the level surface of the valley which divides them from its shores. But the broad stream itself, hurrying forward with dizzy rapidity, and rushing around the islets by which its course is interrupted, is one of the most majestic spectacles in nature. The right bank is dignified at once, and adorned, by the numerous eminences covered with wood, and interspersed with valleys, which constitute the district so well known by the name of the Black Forest, to which superstition attached so many terrors, and credulity such a variety of legends. Terrors, indeed, it had, of a real and existing character. The old castles, seen from time to time on the banks of the river itself, or on the ravines and large brooks which flow into it, were then no picturesque ruins, rendered interesting by the stories which were told about their former inhabitants, but constituted the real and apparently impregnable strongholds of that Robber-chivalry whom we have already frequently mentioned, and of whom, since Goethe, an author born to arouse the slumbering fame of his country, has dramatized the story of Goetz of Berlichingen, 12 we have had so many spirit-stirring tales. The danger attending the vicinity of these fortresses was only known on the right, or German bank of the Rhine, for the breadth and depth of that noble stream effectually prevented any foray of their inhabitants from reaching Alsace. The former was in possession of the Cities or Free towns of the Empire, and thus the feudal tyranny of the German lords was chiefly exerted at the expense of then own countrymen, who irritated and exhausted with their rapine and oppression, were compelled to erect barriers against it, of a nature as interesting and extraordinary, as were the wrongs from which they endeavored to protect themselves.

But the left bank of the river, over great part of which Charles of Burgundy exercised his authority, under various characters, was under the regular protection of the ordinary magistrates, who were supported in the discharge of their duty by large bands of mercenary soldiers. These were maintained by Charles out of his private revenue; he, as well as his rival Louis, and other princes of the period, having discovered that the feudal system gave an inconvenient degree of independence to their vassals, and thinking, of course, that it was better to substitute in its place a standing army, consisting of free companies, or soldiers by profession. Italy furnished most of these bands which composed the strength of Charles’s army, at least the part of it in which he most trusted.

Our travellers, therefore, pursued their way by the banks of the river, in as great a degree of security as could well be enjoyed in that violent and distracted time, until at length the father, after having eyed for some time the person whom Arthur had hired to be their guide, suddenly asked of his son who or what the man was. Arthur replied that he had been too eager to get a person who knew the road, and was willing to show it, to be very particular in inquiring into his station or occupation but that he thought, from the man’s appearance, he must he one of those itinerant ecclesiastics, who travel through the country with relics, pardons, and other religious trinkets, and were in general but slightly respected, excepting by the lower orders, on whom these vendors of superstitious wares were often accused of practising gross deceptions.

The man’s appearance was rather that of a lay devotee, or palmer, bound on his pilgrimage to different shrines, than of a mendicant friar, or questionary. He wore the hat, scrip, staff, and coarse dalmatic, somewhat like the military cloak of the modern hussar, which were used by such persons on their religious peregrinations. Saint Peter’s keys, rudely shaped out of some scarlet rag of cloth, appeared on the back of his mantle, placed, as heralds say, saltire-wise. This devotee seemed a man of fifty and upwards, well made, and stout, for his age, with a cast of countenance which, though not positively ugly, was far from being well-favored. There was shrewdness, and an alert expression in his eye and actions, which made some occasional contrast with the sanctimonious demeanor of the character he now bore. This difference betwixt his dress and physiognomy was by no means uncommon among persons of his description, many of whom embraced this mode of life, rather to indulge roving and idle habits, than from any religious call.

“Who art thou, good fellow?” said the elder Philipson; and by what name am I to call thee while we are fellow-travellers?”

“Bartholomew, sir,” said the man; “Brother Bartholomew — I might say Bartholomaeus, but it does not become a poor lay brother like me to aspire to the honor of a learned termination.”

“And whither does thy journey tend, good Brother Bartholomew?”

“In whichever direction your worship chooses to travel, and to require my services as guide,” answered the palmer; “always premising, you allow me leisure for my devotions at such holy stations as we pass on our route.”

“That is, thine own journey hath no professed or pressing object or end?” said the Englishman.

“None, as your worship says, peculiar,” said the itinerant or I might rather say, that my journey, good sir, embraces so many objects, that it is matter of indifference to me which of them I accomplish first. My vow binds me for four years to travel from one shrine, or holy place, to another; but I am not directly tied to visit them by any precise rule of rotation.”

“That is to say, thy vow of pilgrimage does not prevent thee from hiring thyself to wait upon travellers as their guide,” replied Philipson.

“If I can unite the devotion I owe to the blessed saints whose shrines I visit, with a service rendered to a wandering fellow-creature who desires to be directed upon his journey, I do maintain,” replied Bartholomew, “that the objects are easily to be reconciled to each other.”

“Especially as a little worldly profit may tend to cement the two duties together, if otherwise incompatible,” said Philipson.

“It pleases your honor to say so,” replied the pilgrim; “but you yourself may, if you will, derive from my good company something more than the mere knowledge of the road in which you propose to travel. I can make your journey more edifying by legends of the blessed saints whose holy relics I have visited, and pleasing, by the story of the wonderful things which I have seen and heard in my travels. I can impart to you an opportunity of providing yourself with his Holiness’s pardon, not only for the sins which you have committed, but also granting you indulgence for future errors.”

“These things are highly available doubtless,” replied the merchant; “but, good Bartholomew, when I desire to speak of them, I apply to my father confessor, to whom I have been uniformly regular in committing the charge of my conscience, and who must be, therefore, well acquainted with my state of mind, and best accustomed to prescribe what its case may require.

“Nevertheless,” said Bartholomew, “I trust your worship is too religious a man and too sound a Catholic, to pass any hallowed station without endeavoring to obtain some share of the benefits which it is the means of dispensing to those who are ready and willing to deserve them. More especially as all men, of whatever trade and degree, hold respect to the holy saint who patronizeth his own mystery; so I hope you, being a merchant, will not pass the Chapel of Our Lady of the Ferry without making some fitting orison.

“Friend Bartholomew,” said Philipson, “I have not heard of the shrine which you recommend to me; and, as my business is pressing, it were better worth my while to make a pilgrimage hither on purpose to make mine homage at a fitter season, than to delay my journey at present. This, God willing, I will not fail to do, so that I may be held excused for delaying my reverence till I can pay it more respectfully, and at greater leisure.”

“May it please you not to be wroth,” said the guide, “if I say that your behavior in this matter is like that of a fool, who, finding a treasure by the road-side, omits to put it in his bosom and carry it along with him, proposing to return from a distance on a future day, of express purpose to fetch it.”

Philipson, something astonished at the man’s pertinacity, was about to answer hastily and angrily, but was prevented by the arnval of three strangers, who rode hastily up from behind them.

The foremost of these was a young female, most elegantly attired, and mounted upon a Spanish jennet, which she reined with singular grace and dexterity. She wore on her right hand such a glove as that which was used to carry hawks, and had a merlin perched upon it. Her head was covered with a montero cap, and, as was frequently the custom at the period, she wore on her face a kind of black silk vizard, which effectually concealed her features. Notwithstanding this disguise, Arthur Philipson’s heart sprung high at the appearance of these strangers, for he was at once certain he recognized the matchless form of the Swiss maiden, by whom his mind was so anxiously occupied. Her attendants were a falconer with his hunting-pole, and a female, both apparently her domestics. The elder Philipson, who had no such accuracy of recollection as his son manifested upon the occasion, saw in the fair stranger only some dame or damsel of eminence engaged in the amusement of hawking, and, in return to a brief salutation, merely asked her, with suitable courtesy, as the case demanded, whether she had spent the morning in good sport.

“Indifferent, good friend,” said the lady. “I dare not fly my hawk so near the broad river, lest he should soar to the other side, and so I might lose my companion. But I reckon on finding better game when I have crossed to the other side of the ferry, which we are now approaching.”

“Then your ladyship,” said Bartholomew, “will hear mass in Hans’ Chapel, and pray for your success?”

“I were a heathen to pass the holy place without doing so,” replied the damsel.

“That, noble damsel, touches the point we were but now talking of,” said the guide Bartholomew “for know, fair mistress, that I cannot persuade this worthy gentleman how deeply the success of his enterprise is dependent upon his obtaining the blessing of Our Lady of the Ferry.”

“The good man,” said the young maiden, seriously, and even severely, ” must know little of the Rhine, I will explain to the gentleman the propriety of following your advice.”

She then rode close to young Philipson, and spoke in Swiss, for she had hitherto used the German language, “Do not start, but hear me!” and the voice was that of Anne of Geierstein, Do not, I say, be surprised — or at least show not your wonder you are beset by dangers. On this road, especially, your business is known — your lives are laid in wait for. Cross over the river at the Ferry of the Chapel, or Hans’ Ferry, as it is usually termed.”

Here the guide drew so near to them that it was impossible for her to continue the conversation without being overheard, At that same moment a woodcock sprung from some bushes, and the young lady threw off her merlin in pursuit.

“Sa ho — sa ho — wo ha!” hollowed the falconer, in a note which made the thicket ring again; and away he rode in pursuit. The elder Philipson and the guide himself followed the chase eagerly with their eyes, so attractive was the love of that brave sport to men of all ranks. But the voice of the maiden was a lure, which would have summoned Arthur’s attention from matters more deeply interesting.

“Cross the Rhine,” she again repeated, “at the Ferry to Kirch-hoff, on the other side of the river. Take your lodgings at the Golden Fleece, where you will find a guide to Strassburg. I must stay here no longer.”

So saying, the damsel raised herself in her saddle, struck her horse lightly with the loose reins, and the mettled animal, already impatient at her delay, and the eager burst of its companions, flew forward at such a pace, as if he had meant to emulate the flight of the hawk, and of the prey he pursued. The lady and her attendants soon vanished from the sight of the travellers.

A deep silence for some time ensued, during which Arthur studied how to communicate the warning he had received, with-out awakening the suspicions of their guide.

But the old man broke silence himself, saying to Bartholomew, “Put your horse into more motion, I pray you, and ride onward a few yards; I would have some private conference with my son.”

The guide obeyed, and, as if with the purpose of showing a mind too profoundly occupied by heavenly matters to admit a thought concerning those of this transitory world, he thundered forth a hymn in praise of Saint Wendelin the Shepherd, in a strain so discordant, as startled every bird from every bush by which they passed There was never a more unmelodious melody, whether sacred or profane, than that under protection of which the elder Philipson thus conferred with his son.

“Arthur,” he said, “I am much convinced that this howling hypocritical vagrant has some plot upon us; and I had well-nigh determined, that the best mod to baffle it would be to consult my own opinion, and not his, as to our places of repose, and the direction of our journey.”

“Your judgment is correct, as usual,” said his son. “I am will convinced of yonder man’s treachery from a whisper in which that maiden informed me that we ought to take the road to Strassburg by the eastern side of the river, and for that purpose cross over to a place called Kirch-hoff, on the opposite bank.’

“Do you advise this, Arthur?” replied his father.

“I will pledge my life for the faith of this young person,” replied his son.

“ What!” said his father, “because she sits her palfrty fairly, and shows a faultless shape? Such is the reasoning of a boy — and yet my own old and cautious heart feels inclined to trust her. If our secret is known in this land, there are doubtless many who may be disposed to think they have an interest in barring my access to the Duke of Burgundy, even by the most violent means and well you know that I should on my side hold my life equally cheap, could I discharge mine errand at the price of laying it down. I tell thee Arthur, that my mind reproaches me for taking hitherto over little care of ensuring the discharge of my commission, owing to the natural desire I had to keep thee in my company. There now lie before us two ways, both perilous and uncertain, by which we may reach the Duke’s Court. We may follow this guide, and take the chance of his fidelity, or we may adopt the hint of yonder damsel-errant, and cross over to the other side of the Rhine, and again repass the river at Strassburg. Both roads are perhaps equally perilous. I feel it my duty to diminish the risk of the miscarriage of my commission, by sending thee across to the right bank, while I pursue my proposed course upon the left. Thus, if one of us be intercepted, the other may escape, and the important commission which he bears may be duly executed.” “Alas, my father!” said Arthur, “how is it possible for me to obey you, when by doing so I must leave you alone, to incur so many dangers, to struggle with so many difficulties, in which my aid might be at least willing, though it could only be weak? Whatever befall us in these delicate and dangerous circumstances, let us at least meet it in company.”

“Arthur, my beloved son,” said his father, “in parting from thee I am splitting mine own heart in twain; but the same duty which commands us to expose our bodies to death, as peremptorily orders us not to spare our most tender affections. We must part.

“Oh, then,” replied his son eagerly, “let me at least prevail in one point. Do thou, my father, cross the Rhine, and let me prosecute the journey by the route originally proposed.”

“And why, I pray you,” answered the merchant, “should I go one of these roads in preference to the other?”

“Because,” said Arthur eagerly, “I would warrant yonder maiden’s faith with my life.”

“Again, young man?” said his father; “and wherefore so confident in that young maiden’s faith? Is it merely from the confidence which youth reposes in that which is fair and pleasing, or have you had farther acquaintance with her than the late brief conversation with her admitted?”

“Can I give you an answer?” — replied his son. “We have been long absent from lands of knights and ladies, and is it not natural that we should give to those who remind us of the honored ties of chivalry and gentle blood, the instinctive credence which we refuse to such a poor wretch as this itinerant mountebank, who gains his existence by cheating, with false relics and forged legends, the poor peasants amongst whom he travels?”

“It is a vain imagination, Arthur,” said his father; “not unbefitting, indeed, an aspirant to the honors of chivalry, who draws his ideas of life and its occurrences from the romances of the minstrels, but too visionary for a youth who has seen, as thou hast, how the business of this world is conducted. I tell thee, and thou wilt learn to know I say truth, that around the homely board of our host the Landamman, were raged truer tongues, and more faithful hearts, than the Cour pleniere of a monarch has to boast. Alas! the manly spirit of ancient faith and honor has fled even from the breast of kings and knights, where, as John of France said, it ought to continue to reside a constant inhabitant, if banished from all the rest of the world.”

“Be that as it may, dearest father,” replied the younger Philipson, “I pray you to be persuaded by me; and if we must part company, let it be by your taking the right bank of the Rhine, since I am persuaded it is the safest route.”

“And if it be the safest,” said his father, with a voice of tender reproach, “is that a reason why I should spare my own almost exhausted thread of life, and expose thine, my dear son, Which has but begun its course?”

“Nay, father,” answered the son with animation, in speaking thus you do not consider the difference of our importance to the execution of the purpose which you have so long enter tamed, and which seems now so nigh being accomplished. Think how imperfectly I might be able to discharge it, without knowledge of the Duke’s person, or credentials to gain his confidence. I might, indeed, repeat your words, but the circumstances would be wanting to attract the necessary faith, and of consequence, your scheme, for the success of which you have lived, and now are willing to run the risk of death, would miscarry along with me.”

“You cannot shake my resolution,” said the elder Philipson, “or persuade me that my life is of more importance than yours.

“You only remind me, that it is you, and not I, who ought to be the bearer of this token to the Duke of Burgundy. Should you be successful in reaching his court or camp, your possession of these gems will be needful to attach credit to Vout mission; a purpose for which they would be less necessary to me, who can refer to other circumstances under which I might claim credence, if it should please Heaven to leave me alone to acquit myself of this important commission, which may Our Lady, in her mercy, forefend! Understand, therefore, that, should an opportunity occur by which you can make your way to the opposite side of the Rhine, you are to direct your journey so as again to cross to this bank at Strassburg, where you will inquire for news of me at the Flying Stag, a hostelry in that city, which you will easily discover. If you hear no tidings of me at that place, you will proceed to the Duke, and deliver to him this important packet.”

Here he put into his son’s hand, with as much privacy as possible, the case containing the diamond necklace.

“What else your duty calls on you to do,” continued the elder Philipson, “you well know; only I conjure you, let no vain inquiries after my fate interfere with the great duty you have there to discharge. In the mean time, prepare to bid me a sudden farewell, with a heart as bold and confident as when you went before me, and courageously led the way amid the rocks and storms of Switzerland. Heaven was above us then, as it is over us now. Adieu, my beloved Arthur! Should I wait till the moment of separation, there may be but short time to speak the fatal word, and no eye save thine own must see the tear which I now wipe away.”

The painful feeling which accompanied this anticipation of their parting, was so sincere on Arthur’s part, as well as that of his father, that it did not at first occur to the former, as a source of consolation, that it seemed likely he might be placed under the guidance of the singular female, the memory of whom haunted him. True it was, that the beauty of Anne of Geierstein, as well as the striking circumstances in which she had exhibited herself, had on that very morning been the principal occupation of his mind; but they were now chased from it by the predominant recollection, that he was about to be separated in a moment of danger from a father, so well deserving of his highest esteem and his fondest affection.

Meanwhile, that father dashed from his eye the tear which his devoted stoicism could not suppress, and, as if afraid of softening his resolution by indulging his parental fondness, he recalled the pious Bartholomew, to demand of him how far they were from the Chapel of the Ferry.

“Little more than a mile,” was the reply; and when the Englishman required further information concerning the cause of its erection, he was informed, that an old boatman and fisherman, named Hans, had long dwelt at the place, who gained a precarious livelihood by transporting travellers and merchants from one bank of the river to the other. The misfortune, however, of losing first one boat and then a second, in the deep and mighty stream, with the dread inspired in travellers by the repetition of such accidents, began to render his profession an uncertain one. Being a good Catholic, the old man’s distress took a devotional turn. He began to look back on his former life, and consider by what crimes he had deserved the misfortunes which darkened the evening of his days. His remorse was chiefly excited by the recollection that he had, on one occasion, when the passage was peculiarly stormy, refused to discharge his duty as a ferryman, in order to transport to the other shore a priest, who bore along with him an image of the Virgin, destined for the village of Kirch-hoff, on the opposite or right bank of the Rhine. For this fault, Hans submitted to severe penance, as he was now disposed to consider as culpable his doubt of the Virgin’s power of protecting herself, her priest, and the bark employed in her service; besides which, the offering of a large share of his worldly goods to the church of Kirch-hoff expressed the truth of the old man’s repentance. Neither did he ever again permit himself to interpose any delay in the journey of men of holy Church; but all ranks of the clergy, from the mitred prelate to the barefooted friar, might at any time of day or night have commanded the services of him and his boat.

While prosecuting so laudable a course of life, it became at length the lot of Hans to find, on the banks of the Rhine, a small image of the Virgin, thrown by the waves, which appeared to him exactly to resemble that which he had formerly ungraciously refused to carry across, when under charge of the sacristan of Kirch-hoff. He placed it in the most conspicuous part of his hut, and poured out his soul before it in devotion, anxiously inquiring for some signal by which he might discover whether he was to consider the arrival of her holy image as a pledge that his offences were forgiven. In the visions of the night, his prayers were answered, and Our Lady, assuming the form of the image, stood by his bedside, for the purpose of telling him wherefore she had come hither.

“My trusty servant,” she said, “men of Belial have burned my dwelling at Kirch-hoff, spoiled my chapel, and thrown the sacred image which represents me into the swollen Rhine, which swept me downward. Now, I have resolved to dwell no longer in the neighborhood of the profane doers of this deed, or of the cowardly vassals who dared not prevent it. I am, therefore, compelled to remove my habitation, and, in despite of the opposing current, I determined to take the shore on this side, being resolved to fix my abode with thee, my faithful servant, that the land in which thou dwellest may be blessed, as well as thou and thy household.”

As the vision spoke, she seemed to wring from her tresses the water in which they had been steeped, while her disordered dress and fatigued appearance was that of one who has been buffeting with the waves. Next morning brought intelligence, that, in one of the numerous feuds of that fierce period, Kirch-hoff had been sacked, the church destroyed, and the church treasury plundered.

In consequence of the fisherman’s vision being thus remarkably confirmed, Hans entirely renounced his profession, and, leaving it to younger men to supply his place as ferryman, he converted his hut into a rustic chapel, and he himself, taking orders, attended upon the shrine as a hermit, or daily chaplain. The figure was supposed to work miracles, and the ferry became renowned from its being under the protection of the Holy Image —; Our Lady, and her no less holy servant.

When Bartholomew had concluded his account of the Ferry and its Chapel, the travellers had arrived at the place itself.

12 This Drama, by Goethe, was translated by Sir Walter Scott, and was one of his earliest publications.

Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:29