Trembling, at once with love and awe, the Knight approached her; she received him with a tender embrace; but instead of relaxing her hold, she pressed him more closely to her heart, and wept as if her soul would pour itself out. Drowned in her tears and his own, Huldbrand felt his heart sink within him, and at last he fell lifeless from the fond arms of Undine upon his pillow.
“I have wept him to death!” said she to the pages, whom she passed in the ante-chamber; and she glided slowly through the crowd, and went back to the fountain.
XIX.—HOW THE KNIGHT HULDBRAND WAS INTERRED
Father Heilmann had returned to the castle, as soon as he heard of the Lord of Ringstetten’s death, and he appeared there just after the monk, who had married the hapless pair, had fled full of alarm and horror. “It is well,” answered Heilmann, when told this: “now is the time for my office; I want no assistant.” He addressed spiritual exhortations to the widowed bride, but little impression could be made on so worldly and thoughtless a mind. The old Fisherman, although grieved to the heart, resigned himself more readily to the awful dispensation; and when Bertalda kept calling Undine a witch and a murderer, the old man calmly answered: “The stroke could not be turned away. For my part, I see only the hand of God therein; and none grieved more deeply over Huldbrand’s sentence, than she who was doomed to inflict it, the poor forsaken Undine!” And he helped to arrange the funeral ceremonies in a manner suitable to the high rank of the dead. He was to be buried in a neighbouring hamlet, whose churchyard contained the graves of all his ancestors, and which he had himself enriched with many noble gifts. His helmet and coat of arms lay upon the coffin, about to be lowered into earth with his mortal remains; for Lord Huldbrand of Ringstetten was the last of his race.