The Priest then approached her with much gravity, and adjured her by the holiest names to confess the truth, if any evil lurked in her, unknown to them. But she fell on her knees before him, repeated after him all his words of piety, gave praise to God, and declared she was in charity with all the world. The Priest turned to the young Knight. “Sir bridegroom,” said he, “I leave you alone with her whom I have made your wife. As far as I can discover, there is no evil, although much that is mysterious, in her. I exhort you to be sober, loving, and faithful.” So he went out; and the old people followed; crossing themselves.
Undine was still on her knees; she uncovered her face and looked timidly at Huldbrand, saying, “Ah, thou wilt surely cast me off now; and yet I have done nothing wrong, poor, poor child that I am!” This she said with so touching and gentle an expression, that her husband forgot all the gloom and mystery that had chilled his heart; he hastened toward, her and raised her in his arms. She smiled through her tears—it was like the glow of dawn shining upon a clear fountain. “Thou canst not forsake me!” whispered she, in accents of the firmest reliance; and she stroked his cheeks with her soft little hands. He tried to shake off the gloomy thoughts which still lurked in a corner of his mind, suggesting to him that he had married a fairy, or some shadowy being from the world of spirits: one question, however, he could not help asking: “My dear little Undine, just tell me one thing: what was that you said about spirits of earth, and Kuehleborn, when the Priest knocked at the door?”—“All nonsense!” said Undine, laughing, with her usual gayety. “First I frightened you with it, and then you frightened me. And that is the end of the story, and of our wedding-day!”
VIII.—THE DAY AFTER THE MARRIAGE
A bright morning light wakened the young people; and Huldbrand lay musing silently. As often as he had dropped asleep, he had been scared by horrible dreams of spectres who suddenly took the form of fair women, or of fair women who were transformed into dragons. And when he started up from these grim visions, and saw the pale, cold moonlight streaming in at the window, he would turn an anxious look toward Undine; she lay slumbering in undisturbed beauty and peace. Then he would compose himself to sleep again—soon again to wake in terror. When he looked back upon all this in broad daylight, he was angry with himself for having let a suspicion, a shade of distrust of his beautiful wife, enter his mind. He frankly confessed to her this injustice; she answered him only by pressing his hand, and sighing from the bottom of her heart. But a look, such as her eyes had never before given, of the deepest and most confiding tenderness, left him no doubt that she forgave him. So he arose cheerfully, and joined the family in the sitting-room. The three others were gathered round