Hesitation and signs of horror were manifest in the assemblage round the Kaiser’s person. The Kaiser and the youth at his right hand were cheery. Not a whit drooped they! Several of the heroic knights begged the Kaiser’s permission to fall back.
‘Follow Pfalzgraf Nase!’ the Kaiser is reported to have said.
Great was the wonderment of the people of Cologne to behold Kaiser Heinrich riding in perfect stateliness up the main street toward the Cathedral, while right and left of him bishops and electors were dropping incapable.
The Kaiser advanced till by his side the youth rode sole.
‘Thy name?’ said the Kaiser.
He answered: ‘A poor youth, unconquerable Kaiser! Farina I am called.’
‘Thy recompense?’ said the Kaiser.
He answered: ’The hand of a maiden of Cologne, most gracious Kaiser and master!’
‘She is thine!’ said the Kaiser.
Kaiser Heinrich looked behind him, and among a host grasping the pommels of their saddles, and reeling vanquished, were but two erect, a maiden and an old man.
‘That is she, unconquerable Kaiser!’ Farina continued, bowing low.
‘It shall be arranged on the spot,’ said the Kaiser.
A word from Kaiser Heinrich sealed Gottlieb’s compliance.
Said he: ’Gracious Kaiser and master! though such a youth could of himself never have aspired to the possession of a Groschen, yet when the Kaiser pleads for him, objection is as the rock of Moses, and streams consent. Truly he has done Cologne good service, and if Margarita, my daughter, can be persuaded—’
The Kaiser addressed her with his blazing brows.
Margarita blushed a ready autumn of rosy-ripe acquiescence.
‘A marriage registered yonder!’ said the Kaiser, pointing upward.
’I am thine, murmured Margarita, as Farina drew near her.
‘Seal it! seal it!’ quoth the Kaiser, in hearty good humour; ’take no consent from man or maid without a seal.’
Farina tossed the contents of a flask in air, and saluted his beloved on the lips.
This scene took place near the charred round of earth where the Foulest descended to his kingdom below.
Men now pervaded Cologne with flasks, purifying the atmosphere. It became possible to breathe freely.
‘We Germans,’ said Kaiser Heinrich, when he was again surrounded by his courtiers, ’may go wrong if we always follow Pfalzgraf Nase; but this time we have been well led.’ Whereat there was obsequious laughter.
The Pfalzgraf pleaded a susceptible nostril.
‘Thou art, I fear, but a timid mortal,’ said the Kaiser.
‘Never have I been found so on the German Field, Imperial Majesty!’ returned the Pfalzgraf. ’I take glory to myself that this Nether reek overcomes me.’
‘Even that we must combat, you see!’ exclaimed Kaiser Heinrich; ’but come all to a marriage this night, and take brides as soon as you will, all of you. Increase, and give us loyal subjects in plenty. I count prosperity by the number of marriages in my empire!’