The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Roses of Saint Elizabeth

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Title: The Roses of Saint Elizabeth

Author: Jane Scott Woodruff

Illustrator: Adelaide Eberhart

Release date: January 22, 2019 [eBook #58753]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Sue Clark and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)




Half-title page

Book list


The Little Christmas Shoe $ .50
The Roses of Saint Elizabeth 1.00

New England Building
Boston, Mass.

So trustful of their little mistress
(See page 33)

Title page

The Roses of
Saint Elizabeth

Jane Scott Woodruff

Author of
The Little Christmas Shoe,” etc.

Adelaide Eberhart

L. C. Page & Company

Boston     Mcmvi

Copyright page

Copyright, 1905, by


All rights reserved

Published August, 1905

Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
Boston, U.S.A.

My husband



“So trustful of their little mistress” (See page 33) Frontispiece
“It was the Ivy which had spoken” 29
“The breath of roses all about her” 68
“She beheld ... a wretched beggar, shivering with cold” 75
“Long they sat there by the Rose-bush” 146




rom a hill which overlooks the smiling little town of Eisenach, frowns the grim old castle of the Wartburg. It is a gloomy-looking place, with its vast chambers, and long, winding corridors of stone; and yet, that it has held at least one bit of brightness, all would agree who had ever seen the smile of Katrina, the caretaker’s little daughter.

It was Katrina’s chief delight to2 stand at her father’s side when he unlocked the huge iron portals, and admitted visitors into the castle court; while not a few of these would stop and say some pleasant word to the child, or else stroke her golden hair in passing.

To many persons the life of this nine-year-old girl might perhaps seem very dull; but in Katrina’s happy nature was the spirit of contentment. However, she had one keen desire,—it was to see inside the ancient castle. And sometimes, when there were visitors going in, she would beg her father to take her with him, but he always shook his head, saying:

“No, my child, the chill air of the Wartburg is not for such a tender plant as thou.”

3 So she would wait outside, she and the sunbeams together, until her father’s rounds were finished.

It was a simple, wholesome life that Katrina led, even though it was within the walls of one of the most noted of all the ancient castles. Her parents, good, honest folk, were poor, and realized that their child would have to face the sterner side of life. She was, they said, already too dreamful and imaginative, so they taught her to be practical, and, as far as possible, hid the romance of the castle from her view.

But by degrees much that was weird, as well as romantic, began to weave itself about the child’s more practical existence like bright threads woven into gray. And4 little by little, through a means singularly strange, she came to be familiar with many of the legends and historic tales relating to this old Thuringian fortress.

Now, living, as she did, far up on this lonely hilltop, Katrina had few companions. But there was one who had been her playmate always, and that was Fritz Albrecht, of Eisenach, the toymaker’s son.

Fritz, to be sure, was five years older than Katrina, but this only served to make the lad feel responsible as her protector. When a very little boy, his mother had read to him tales of knighthood and valour; and now, even though the mother he had loved so dearly had been taken from him, the5 seeds of chivalry she had sown in his heart promised to be fruitful.

It was a quaint little house in which Fritz and his father lived, and where the latter had his workshop. But quainter still was the house that faced them across the narrow street paved with cobblestones, and on which Fritz was accustomed to look daily.

From his frequent visits to it, the boy knew every room in this old house with its queer gables and red-tiled roof. But never would he forget the day, not long before she died, when his mother had taken him into a certain small room over the entrance, and, holding his chubby hand in hers, had said, in her gentle fashion:

“My little Fritz, thou art in the6 room which sheltered the great Martin Luther when he was a lad scarcely older than thyself. Ponder well what I am telling thee, and when thou art older thou must learn about the splendid work that Luther did. And there,” the mother added, as she pointed to the portrait of a sweet-faced woman, “is the good Widow Cotta. It was she who heard little Martin Luther singing in the streets, and, out of the goodness of her mother-heart, for she had children of her own, took him in and gave him a home here with her own family.”

That was all his mother had told him about Martin Luther, but it aroused in Fritz a desire to know more about the boy who had earned the money to go to7 school by singing carols in these same streets where he, Fritz, walked every day.

For many months, as he passed some of the more ancient-looking houses, Fritz would often stop and gaze up at the windows with their tiny panes, saying, as he did so:

“I wonder if the people who lived here long ago heard him singing, and if they threw money to him out of these same windows.”

Very often he had talked about it to Katrina, and she never tired of listening.

“Some day I’ll take thee there, Katrina, indeed I will, and show thee the very bed little Martin Luther slept in.”

“Yes,” was Katrina’s answer,8 eagerness shining in her big blue eyes. “I want to go and see it all, and,” she added, thoughtfully, “when I’m grown to be a woman like my own, dear mütterchen, I’m going to give money to every little boy I can. It might help them to be great, too, some day. The people who gave little Martin Luther money didn’t know what a great man he was going to be. But,” she added, after a moment’s pause, “maybe it was the home the good Frau Cotta gave him more than the money that helped to make him great.”

The two children, as they talked together, were seated on a bench in the castle courtyard. It was a beautiful summer evening, and Fritz had begged Katrina to come9 outside and see the splendid colours of the sunset: for this boy of fourteen years was even then an artist in his heart.

For a long while they had been sitting there, their faces toward the western sky, when suddenly both gave a start, while into Katrina’s eyes came a look of wonder. But Fritz laid a calming hand on hers.

“It’s the voice, Katrina, the same voice we heard that other evening! Have no fear; dost thou not remember what it told us?”




atrina did remember what the voice had said. She recalled the grand, majestic tones in which it had spoken of the Wartburg.

“How little can you children realize, as you play your youthful games here in its very shadow, for how many ages this same castle has been watching the play, not only of children, but of men and women grown!”

“Oh, won’t you tell us something about those men and women?” cried the boy and girl together, and there was an eager11 look in both their faces. All fear had vanished from Katrina, who whispered to her playmate:

“Canst thou guess, dear Fritz, whose voice it is that speaks?”

The boy shook his head.

“No, and that is the mystery of it all. It seems as though the one who spoke stood close beside me, and yet, I look all about, and can see no human being but thyself. Art thou playing me some prank, little one? But thou couldst not change thy sweet treble for deep bass.” And the boy laughed gaily at such a notion.

“Yes, my children,” the voice continued, in those same melodious accents like the notes of a distant organ, “I have seen many generations come and go.12 Little has taken place here without my knowledge.”

“If you’d only tell us some of the wonderful things you’ve seen, we’d be so happy,” Katrina said.

“Where shall I begin?” and the voice took on a reminiscent tone.

“At the very beginning of it all,” and, as he spoke, Fritz drew nearer to Katrina. They were filled with a curiosity to hear what the strange voice might have to tell them.

“Then you would have me to relate how the Wartburg came into existence? To do that, I must go back very far,—yes, even far beyond the time of my own presence here. Well, if you will have it so, then follow the directions that I give you. Go, both of you,13 and study carefully that great stone pillar near the entrance yonder. Come back, and tell me what you find carved upon its double capital.”

Hand in hand the children went. Then, after gazing long at the figure carved on the crumbling pillar, they returned and said:

“It was the queerest-looking man with a long beard, and he seemed to be springing from a rock.”

“Just so,” the voice replied. “The image you saw was that of the founder of this castle, and his name was Ludwig the Leaper.”

“Ludwig the Leaper!” Fritz exclaimed. “How did anybody ever come to have such a funny name as that?”

14 “It is exactly what I am about to tell you,” said the voice with some impatience; “do not interrupt me. You shall hear it all in time. It was in the year 1067,” the voice went on to say, “that Ludwig, while riding through the country, came upon this beautiful hill. He saw that it was a splendid site on which to build a castle, and with joy exclaimed:

“‘Wart Berg, du sollst mir eine Berg werden.[1]

[1] “Wait Hill, thou shalt become my hold.”

“And very soon this stronghold was begun. A severe famine fell upon the land during the time the castle was being built, and every stone meant bread for the hungry poor who helped in its construction. Some brought the rough15 stone from the quarry, while others cut it into blocks and got it ready for the builders.

“After living here in happiness for several years, Ludwig committed a crime for which he was put in prison, and all of two years lay pining in an old fortress on the river Saale. But one day he made his escape by a bold leap into the river.”

“Ah, so!” cried Fritz and Katrina, clapping their hands. “Now we know why he was called Ludwig the Leaper.”

“Yes,” and, as the voice spoke, there was a low, rustling sound very much like laughter. “So your curiosity has been appeased! But after all, I must not chide you for being curious. Had it not16 been for my desire to know things, I should not now possess the greatest of all treasures.”

“The greatest of all treasures! I pray you tell us what the greatest treasure is?”

But before the voice could answer Fritz’s query, some one called:

“Katrina, Katrina, come at once! I need thee, child, to help me.”

“Yes, mütterchen, I’ll come at once.”

Fritz went with Katrina to the postern-door, where Frau Hofer stood, her white apron and a large iron spoon showing that she had been busy with preparations for their supper.

“Come in, Fritz, and break the evening bread with us; thou art17 always welcome at our little table.”

There was a caress in Frau Hofer’s voice; she felt warmly for this motherless boy, the son of her girlhood’s dearest friend.

“Thank thee, Tante Frieda, I can’t come in this time. It’s hard, though, to resist that odour of gingerbread,” Fritz added with a smile; “but the father will come home to-night, and I must be there to greet him.”

“Thy father will be tired from his journey, so thou must have something hot for him when he comes.”

“Yes, old Gesta promised to make one of her famous stews for him, and I’ll get out a bottle of his favourite wine.”

18 “Did he sell all of his toys in Nüremberg?” Frau Hofer asked.

“Yes, and he has orders for all that he can make between now and Christmas.”

“Then that means thou wilt have to turn toymaker in earnest now, and help him. Thou hast already had some training in the work. It would be good to walk along the street and see a sign that read ‘Conrad Albrecht and Son, Toymakers.’”

Fritz made a wry face and shook his head.

“My tools and these fingers would never be at peace. They were not intended for each other. Look at my hands, tante; can’t you see that they are far too clumsy for such work?”

19 And saying this, the boy held up his broad little palms and stretched his fingers wide apart.

“But,” he added with a smile, “if my work-bench were only a ship, I’d sail away to distant lands; then, if there were mountains in the way, I’d tunnel through them, and over the rivers I’d throw great bridges. And, maybe, when tired of all this,” he added, looking knowingly at Katrina, “I’d get into my ship again, and sail away and away in search of the greatest of all treasures.”

Frau Hofer raised a mocking forefinger and smiled:

“We’ll have to put an anchor on thy work-bench and hold thee, lad, or one of these fine days thou wilt really sail away and leave us.”

20 “Not while the father lives,” and Fritz’s dark eyes took on a serious look. “But come!” he suddenly exclaimed; “I’m keeping you both out here, when there are many duties waiting for you in the home.”

Then, with one of his frank smiles, the boy lifted his cap gallantly and turned away.




efore Fritz left the courtyard, he stopped beside the bench where he and Katrina had been sitting. The hope was strong in him that he might hear the voice again; for there was one question he wished to ask. And while he stood there, hoping to realize his wish, he watched the shadows as they crept over the mountains, then into the valley far below. Only faintly now could he discern the white pathway that wound over the nearest hill, then down into the Marienthal.

22 Suddenly, Fritz gave a start of pleasure; the voice was speaking in those same rich accents.

“So you are looking down there at the Singers’ Way. That is the name of the white path you see, glistening against the dark green background in the valley yonder.”

“Yes, I know it well,” said Fritz. “My father has taken Katrina and me to walk there very often. When we felt tired we’d rest on the Singers’ bench far away at the end, and father would tell us of the minstrels who used to sing at the castle long ago,—how, when weary with the journey, they, too, would stop and rest on that same seat.”

“But have you never seen the23 splendid Minstrels’ Hall, where the bards who visited the Wartburg in the olden days would sing and play their harps?”

“No, I have never been inside the castle. Katrina hasn’t been allowed to go, and I am waiting until we can visit it together.”

“Ah, then you have yet to see the great hall where they held the famous minstrel contest, which has passed into song and story.”

“I’d like truly to have you tell me about this contest,” was Fritz’s answer. “Then when we visit the Minstrels’ Hall I can repeat the story to Katrina.”

“Very well,” the voice responded. “When you and your little friend enter the great room, you will see a slightly raised platform.24 This is called the ‘bower,’ and it was here that the singers performed their parts when they came before the landgraves and their distinguished company. Now the famous contest of which I am about to tell you took place in the time of the good Landgrave Herman.

“At Herman’s court were a company of poets of good birth, the chief of whom were Wolfram of Eschenbach and Henry of Ofterdingen. This Henry of Ofterdingen has figured in many a romantic story, and some have confused him with Tannhäuser, another bard, who lived at a later date.

“Once upon a time,” the voice went on, “when the good Herman and his wife Sophia, with all their25 court, were gathered in the Minstrels’ Hall, the singers, one by one, recited the deeds of the Landgrave Herman. But when it came to the turn of Henry of Ofterdingen he sang praises to the Duke of Austria, and compared him with the shining sun. Thus begun, the contest waxed so fierce that it was agreed the conquered should be put to death. Only by foul play could the other minstrels worst Henry of Ofterdingen. He, seeing their intentions, appealed to the Landgravine Sophia for protection. Out of pity the noble princess shielded him, but gave him his freedom on one condition only. He must go to Austria, and, in a year’s time, return, bringing with him as arbitrator the world-renowned26 master of song, Klingsor of Hungary.

“Ofterdingen, glad to escape, hastened away to Austria, and sought the duke whom he had lauded in his songs. The latter received him graciously, and, besides enriching him with costly gifts, gave him a letter to Klingsor, who dwelt in his splendid, but solitary, castle in the Seven Hills.

“To the surprise of every one, Henry of Ofterdingen, accompanied by Klingsor, appeared before the Wartburg at the appointed time. Now this Klingsor was an astrologer, who professed to foretell events by reading them in the stars. And on the first night of his coming to the Wartburg, he was found seated27 outside the castle, gazing attentively at the starry sky. On being asked why he sat looking at the heavens, Klingsor replied:

“‘Ye must know that this night a daughter is born to my master, King Andrew of Hungary. She will be called Elizabeth, and lead a saintly life; furthermore, she is to be wedded to the young prince Ludwig, son of the Landgrave Herman; and the whole world, but especially Thuringia, will be blessed with her goodness.’

“The Landgrave Herman, to whom the news was carried, was filled with joy, and ordered that a great banquet be held in Klingsor’s honour. Then the contest, the trial of skill, with Klingsor in the lead, began in earnest. It28 was not long until he succeeded in overcoming all the opponents of Ofterdingen with the exception of Wolfram of Eschenbach,—him he could not conquer.”

At this point the voice ceased speaking, and Fritz waited for several moments, hoping it would resume the theme, but was disappointed.

“Why,” he asked at last, “could not the mighty Klingsor conquer Wolfram of Eschenbach?”

Still there was no answer. But after a time the voice went on to say:

“As I told you and your companion, I have watched many generations come and go. In fact, little has taken place here without my knowledge. I possess, as I have said before, the greatest of all treasures.”

It was the Ivy which had spoken

29 Then, all of a sudden, something seemed to rivet Fritz’s gaze upon the rustling leaves of an old vine, which for centuries had hung upon the castle like a rich, green mantle, and, to his bewilderment, Fritz realized that it was the Ivy which had spoken.

But what it meant by saying that it possessed the greatest treasure Fritz did not learn; for when he asked the question, the only sound he heard was one that came up to him from out of the Marienthal—an echo of his own words, “the greatest treasure.”




atrina had followed her mother into the great, vaultlike hall on the ground floor of the castle. Then they crossed a narrow passage, where a door stood open, and out of which came the odour of baking gingerbread that had tickled Fritz’s nostrils.

Down here in one corner of the castle, on the side where the morning sun shone brightly, three rooms had been set apart as the dwelling-place of Rudolf Hofer, caretaker of the castle, his wife, and their only child. To them the31 home was very dear, and these three rooms had for Rudolf many a sweet and sacred memory. It was there that his parents and grandparents, in fact, many generations of his ancestors, had dwelt; for, as far back as he could trace it, Rudolf found that a Hofer had kept the castle keys.

It was to his good wife Frieda, with her refined taste, as well as thrift, that Rudolf gave full credit for the present cheerfulness of what might have been a very cold, forbidding habitation. But, instead of dull lifelessness, every window-ledge was gay with potted plants, which gave out their treasured blossoms to the sunshine. While it was to Frieda’s, and even Katrina’s little hands, that the bright32 rows of tin and copper vessels, arranged along the kitchen walls, owed their glint and sparkle, when the firelight shone upon them.

From her mother, Dame Frieda had inherited the domestic virtues of her class, and now, in her own turn, she desired to cultivate in Katrina, child though she was, a love for the household arts; for, as she would say:

“Thou’lt be a wife thyself, one day, my mädchen, and it behoves thee to be a good one.”

So Katrina had her regular daily tasks. In the morning she gave attention to her flowers and fed her flock of pigeons housed in the old South Tower. They would come down into the courtyard, when Katrina appeared with her33 pan of grain for their breakfast; while some were even so trustful of their little mistress as to perch upon her shoulders, and eat the grain from her hand. Then, those tasks finished, Katrina would go into her own room, with its pretty but simple furnishings, its dainty white drapery, and set things in order there. Other duties followed this; sometimes it was to help her mother in the kitchen, or else she would take her knitting and sit out in the sunshine of the castle court.

As soon as they came into the kitchen after leaving Fritz, Katrina’s mother began to busy herself with her baking.

“Rudolf will be pleased with the gingerbread,” she murmured, as she opened the oven door34 whence came the savoury odours; “he is very fond of it, and it has been a long while since he has eaten any. Now,” continued Frieda aloud, as she turned and looked over her shoulder, “thou, Katrina, canst set the table. The father will be coming soon; he has had a busy day, and I know he will be very tired.”

“Yes, little mother, there were many visitors to-day. I was at the gates when most of them came in. One of the ladies who stopped and spoke to me said something about my living in the same castle where the good Saint Elizabeth had lived. Did a saint ever live here, mütterchen?”

“Yes,” Frau Hofer answered, “we might say in truth that two35 saints have lived here at the Wartburg; for surely Martin Luther also was a saint!”

“Oh, did he, did Martin Luther live here?” Katrina cried. “I thought he lived in the Widow Cotta’s house at Eisenach.”

“Yes, he lived in both places for awhile. It was as a little schoolboy that he spent some time in Frau Cotta’s home. Here at the Wartburg, as a man, he dwelt in concealment for about a year, under the protection of the Elector Frederick. He was supposed to be a prisoner,” Frieda added, “but he had the freedom of a guest. In his disguise as ‘Squire George’ he would roam about the country, sometimes gathering strawberries on the hill, sometimes36 visiting the neighbouring monasteries, but he never went far unattended.”

“But why was he a prisoner, little mother? Thou hast just said the Elector was his friend.”

“It was necessary to conceal him from his enemies,” the mother answered. “But wait, my child, until thou art a little older and canst understand; then I will explain the cause of his being made a prisoner. Here at the Wartburg,” she added, after a moment’s pause, “he did a great work for mankind. It was in his room over there in the Knight’s House, that Luther made his translation of the Bible.”

Katrina’s eyes were wide with interest, but before she could ask37 other questions about Luther or Saint Elizabeth, the door opened, and her father came into the room. He kissed his wife and took Katrina in his strong arms, where, from a tiny child, she had loved to nestle.

“I’ll not let thee hold me long, father, only just a minute. Thou must surely be very tired; thou hast shown so many through the castle. Dost thou remember the lady who stopped and spoke to me about Saint Elizabeth? Such a beautiful light seemed to be shining from her face.”

“Yes, I remember her very well,” Rudolf answered. “She and the friends with her were Americans. I was told that she is the head of some noble order in38 her country; but what it is, I couldn’t understand.”

Katrina, in the meantime, had finished setting the table, which, though simple with its service of quaint blue china, was made attractive by a vase filled with crimson roses. She had gathered them that afternoon from a bush growing near the castle gates. So now, after Frieda had placed the dainty meal upon the table, they all stood for a moment, their heads bowed, while Rudolf asked a blessing on the food.




s the three sat at table, Rudolf talked to his wife and Katrina about some of the happenings of the day. It was his custom to say little in regard to the castle, or the visitors who came there. For, as has been said before, both he and Frieda thought it better that their child should know the more practical things of life, so the romance of the castle was hidden from her.

This evening seemed to be an exception, though, and Rudolf talked more freely than he had40 ever done before, while Katrina asked him many questions. She wanted to hear more about the beautiful lady who had stopped and spoken to her of Saint Elizabeth.

“The very first place the lady wished to see,” her father said, in answer to her eager questions, “was the Elizabethan Gallery, and she spent a long time gazing at the pictures. But,” he continued in a low tone, while it was evident that his feelings were greatly stirred, “it was when she stood before the painting in which the holy Elizabeth gives bread to the hungry poor that I noticed the same thing you spoke of, little daughter,—a strange, beautiful light seemed to be shining from the lady’s face.”

Rudolf paused as the scene in41 the Elizabethan Gallery rose again before him; then as he was about to resume his story, all three were startled by some one knocking at the door. In answer to the summons to enter, Fritz, all white and trembling, came into the room.

“What is it, my boy?” Frieda and Rudolf both exclaimed; for they saw instantly that he was the bearer of bad tidings.

“There’s been an awful wreck between here and Nüremberg. I heard the news as soon as I got down to Eisenach. The town is all excitement, for they say many have been killed or badly injured. Oh, my poor, poor father!”

With that Fritz could say no more, but sank into a chair. Frieda poured out a glass of water and42 held it to his lips; then wetting her handkerchief, she gently bathed his aching temples, while little Katrina walked over to where he sat, and took her playmate by the hand.

“But,” said Rudolf, reassuringly, “thou art by no means certain thy father has been injured; so take courage! Still, even if thou shouldst find that he has suffered with the others, thou must be very brave and help him bear it. But come, bübchen, let us not tarry. I’ll go down with thee right away.”

As the two hurried down the mountain road they could see the city lights far below them. The houses themselves were invisible, having melted into the gray of the long German twilight.

43 On drawing near the town, Fritz, spurred by his great anxiety, broke into a run, and Rudolf had not the heart to check him. In the streets they found much confusion; people were hurrying to and fro. The most of them, however, were making their way to the station, and it was there that Fritz, followed by Rudolf, turned his steps. Suddenly he caught sight of one of his young friends and called to him.

“Do you know who was hurt, Heinrich?”

The boy stopped for a moment and stared at Fritz.

“Why, haven’t you heard that Count von Scholtz and his Excellency the Mayor have been badly knocked up, maybe killed? There have been other, too, they say.”

44 “Who were the others?” Fritz exclaimed.

“I don’t know,” Heinrich answered. “Those were the most important ones; I haven’t heard who the others were.”

But already Fritz had hurried on; and it was but a moment now, until he and Rudolf had reached the station, where a crowd had gathered.

To Fritz the moments of their waiting seemed hours long. But at last some one gave the signal that the train was coming, and all listened with keen attention, while they crowded even closer to the gates.

Presently a succession of low whistles could be plainly heard; then a few moments later the45 relief train, with its weight of human suffering, steamed slowly into view. Fritz felt his breath coming in quick gasps. Those were anxious moments that he had to wait.

“Take heart, my boy,” Rudolf whispered.

By this time the injured were being lifted carefully from the different coaches, and laid upon the waiting cots. But in the uncertain light shed by the station lamps, it was hard to distinguish any one, the lights flickered so and cast long shadows across the ground.

Suddenly, a murmur went up from the crowd as a stretcher, borne by four men, was carried by.

“There’s Count von Scholtz!” many persons were heard to say.46 But Fritz gave no heed to this. He was gazing at a tall figure just behind the cot on which lay the injured nobleman, and with a cry of “Father!” would have broken through the line of guards, who stood ready to check the surging crowd, but they held him back. So he and Rudolf could only wait.

Now the cot bearing the Count von Scholtz was lifted to an ambulance; but before the doors were closed, one of the attendants, wearing the Geneva cross upon his arm, turned and whispered something to Conrad Albrecht. The toymaker, in response, went and stood upon the iron step while the injured man evidently spoke to him, for Fritz saw that his father made some47 reply. Then the ambulance doors were shut, and the wheels began to grate slowly on the road.

Conrad Albrecht began to make his way through the crowd, and as he came forward it could now be plainly seen that both hands were wrapped in linen bandages,—those useful hands, which for many years had furnished happiness to little children far and near; for few were so skilled as he in making toys. And to see those helpless hands smote Fritz and Rudolf to the heart.




he next morning Katrina, in a blue cotton frock, her golden hair curled prettily, stood at the entrance to the castle. She was waiting there to see the lady who had spoken to her of Saint Elizabeth. Her father said the lady had told him she would come. In the child’s hands was a bunch of crimson roses gathered from the bush just outside the gates.

Katrina had not been there long when she heard the sound of wheels, and, looking down, she saw a carriage in which were two49 ladies and a gentleman, being driven slowly up the Wartburg hill. One of the ladies was she for whom Katrina had stood waiting, and the little girl felt her heart beat faster and faster, as she saw the three visitors step from the carriage and make their way up toward the castle.

“Ah, you are here again, my dear,” the lady said, as she came upon Katrina standing at the gate. “I am very glad to see you, but we shall not be satisfied to-day to leave you outside; you must come into the castle with us.”

But at that moment Katrina’s thoughts were upon her roses, and the purpose for which they had been gathered.

“These are for you, gnadige frau,”50 Katrina said, her voice trembling with a sudden childish fear, and she held out her lovely crimson offering toward the lady.

“The roses of Saint Elizabeth!” the lady murmured, as she took them in her hand. “How beautiful they are, and how good you are, my child, to give them to me.”

Again Katrina caught the name “Saint Elizabeth”; but why the lady should have called them “the roses of Saint Elizabeth” Katrina did not understand.

“You must come with me to the Elizabethan Gallery,” the lady went on to say. “I want to show you the pictures there. You will see these same beautiful crimson roses and learn a lesson from them.”

“Won’t you please tell me what51 the lesson is?” asked Katrina, very softly.

The lady looked into the great searching eyes and answered: “They will teach you that under the power of love, or goodness, even the simplest, homeliest thing may be transformed, that is to say changed, into a thing of beauty. This picture of which I speak represents Elizabeth on her errands of mercy. She is carrying a basket of food to the poor of Eisenach when her husband meets her on the way. He wishes to know what she carries in her basket, and lifts the top to see. On looking in he beholds, not bread, with which she had started on her way, but exquisite and fragrant crimson roses,—such roses, my dear, as these.”

52 With this the speaker stooped and kissed Katrina on the forehead; while at the same moment the child caught sight of a small, silver Maltese cross shining on the lady’s breast.

“Now, Katrina, we must not keep the others waiting. Come with me; I want my good friends over here to know such a dear little castle maiden.” Whereupon the lady led the way to where her two companions stood. Both Mrs. Shaler and her son, when Katrina was introduced, and made them a quaint and pretty curtsy, showed much pleasure; while the former whispered something about the dear, old-fashioned child. To the little girl’s delight, she found that all three of her new acquaintances53 spoke her own language well. They had spent several years in Germany, and Mr. Robert Shaler had only lately taken a degree at Leipsic.

“You will go with us, won’t you, dear? Your father will be willing, I am sure.” The lady, as she spoke, looked questioningly toward Rudolf, who, with a bunch of keys swinging in his hand, had just come out to meet them and show them through the castle.

“But Fritz!” the child protested as her father, having given his consent, selected one of the keys, with which he unlocked the iron gates.

“Who is Fritz?” the lady asked.

“He’s my comrade,” replied54 Katrina; “and he has waited a long, long time to see the castle. He’s had so many chances; but he said he wouldn’t go inside until I could see it with him. What would he think if I should go without him!”

“Then, if you and Fritz have agreed to go together, you must surely carry out your promise; so we will take him with us.”

“But Fritz isn’t here,” and there was a look of distress in the child’s usually sunny face. “He lives down there in Eisenach.”

At this point Robert Shaler offered a suggestion; he would go in the carriage and bring Fritz back with him.

“If it wouldn’t put you to any inconvenience,” Rudolf said, “I55 might drive down and get the lad myself. I would like to ask how his father is; he was injured yesterday in a wreck. Here, Hans, take my place,” and Rudolf, the visitors having assented readily to his wish, handed the bunch of keys to a young assistant who had come in answer to his signal.

“But,” said Katrina’s friend, “we prefer to wait until you return with Fritz; for we must all go in together. Katrina shall have her wish.”

“We can entertain ourselves out here in the courtyard,” Mrs. Shaler said, after Rudolf had driven off; “there is almost as much to interest one outside as inside these ancient strongholds.”

Then after looking at the old56 drawbridge, and other relics of that feudal past, they all sat down upon the outer wall to enjoy the beautiful panorama far below them.




obert Shaler was the first to break the silence.

“There is but one request I have to make,” he said, as he knocked the ashes from his cigar.

“What is it, Robert? One request is very moderate indeed; isn’t that so, Emily?”

As she spoke Katrina’s friend turned to Mrs. Shaler with a smile.

“It is that you and mother will promise not to spend the whole time in the Elizabethan Gallery, but will allow me to see just one other room.” In the young man’s58 gray eyes was the suspicion of a twinkle, even in spite of the earnestness of his wish.

“And what room do you want to see, my son?”

“I want to see the one in which Martin Luther stayed.”

At this Katrina gave a little start. She recalled what her mother had told her only the night before about Martin Luther having been a prisoner at the Wartburg. How much she, too, would love to see that room!

“Yes, Robert, we must surely see it,” said Katrina’s friend. “No pilgrim to the Wartburg would ever be satisfied to go away without a visit to that room where the great Reformer accomplished some of his grandest work for mankind.”59 And as she spoke, the lady, under some sudden impulse, laid her white hand upon the little silver cross she wore.

“There is a question I have sometimes asked myself,” said Robert Shaler, “and have never been able to answer to my satisfaction; so I will put it to you and mother. Which of all the influences brought to bear on Luther’s life seems to you to have been the strongest? In other words, which did the most in directing him toward the path he chose?”

“I should say,” Mrs. Shaler answered, “that it was the fact of his being born of such good and honest parents as were Hans and Margaret Luther. No,” she added, after a moment of reflection, “it must60 have been when his dear friend Alexis, as they walked one day in the woods together, and were overtaken by a storm, was struck by a bolt of lightning and fell dead beside him. It was a bitter grief to Martin Luther, and the event is said by some to have changed the whole current of his life.”

“It seems to me,” said Katrina’s friend in her gentle, yet forceful way, and again her hand sought the little silver cross,—“it seems to me that it might be traced to the day when, in searching through the library of his university, Luther found a Bible, opened it, and, for the first time, read the Book of Samuel. In those days, my dear,” she said in explanation to Katrina, “even students were permitted to61 read only certain portions of the Scriptures. This story of how the boy Samuel had been taken to the Temple by his mother, and dedicated to the service of the Lord, impressed him very deeply. Then there took root within his own ardent nature a purpose that was steadfast—to know the way of life from God’s sacred Word itself. And was not this, after all, the message that he left us?”

Katrina had been listening with keen attention; she remembered what Fritz had told her about the Cotta house at Eisenach. As their talk of the previous evening all came back to her—how she had wondered if it had not been the Widow Cotta’s kindness that had helped to make Luther great,62 Katrina made up her mind to ask the question now. But even though her heart beat faster at the very thought of speaking, the little girl was about to do so when the lady took up the thread again and continued in her same sweet tone.

“To be sure, outside influences must affect one very deeply, but it seems to me that the true greatness of a soul must come from within that soul itself.”

As she spoke the lady looked down at Katrina, and saw the puzzled look in the childish face.

“Take this flower, for example,” and, saying this, she held up one of the fragrant crimson roses. “It is true beyond all question that the plant which bore this needed moisture, air, and sunshine, as well as63 the soil in which it grew—each at its very best,—but even back of all this does there not stand the fact that this exquisite flowering of the plant is the fulfilment of its own deep inner nature? Have you ever thought that it is through no outside influence that the rose becomes the rose, and the lily becomes the lily? Under such help a rose may be a better rose, or a lily a better lily; but each develops out of its own peculiar inner nature.”

Katrina tried hard to understand all that the lady said; and even though she could not then grasp it fully, she was later to come into a complete possession of its meaning. At that moment there was the sound of footsteps, and, looking64 down, Katrina saw her father coming toward them.

“Fritz could not come;” was Rudolf’s answer to her eager question.

“My friend,” he said, in explanation to the others, and with evident distress, “was found to have been more seriously injured than the doctors thought at first. He is suffering intensely, and Fritz will not leave his father’s bedside.”

“But you must come, anyway, Katrina,” said Mrs. Shaler, after they had all expressed their sympathy. “Another time you and Fritz can have your visit to the castle.”

“No,” Katrina said, “I told Fritz I would go with him, and I must keep my promise.”

65 “You are right, my child,” said Katrina’s friend, stooping to kiss her brow, before she turned toward the entrance with the others. “A promise is a very sacred thing.”




atrina watched the little party as they went in at the great door leading to the entrance hall. And her friend, just before she disappeared from view, having turned, had seen Katrina standing out there in the sunshine of the court and had waved a farewell to the child. Then the door closed with a heavy sound and the little one realized she was all alone. A strange lump rose in her throat and her blue eyes filled with tears; but she knew that to have kept her promise was the right thing67 to have done, so, throwing back her head, she laughed away the desire to cry.

Some impulse seemed to turn her steps down toward the castle gates. She walked across the court, past the bench where she and Fritz had sat together, on beyond the Knight’s House with its memories of Martin Luther, until she reached the rosebush—the same bush from which she had gathered the crimson blossoms for the lady.

In her disappointment—for it was indeed a disappointment not to see, after all, the castle of her dreams—Katrina felt a longing for friendly sympathy, and something seemed to tell her that she would find it here. So, after choosing a shady spot, the child sat down in68 the soft grass, the breath of roses all about her, and some of the velvet petals touching her cheek like a gentle caress.

“I’ll love you more than I ever did before,” Katrina whispered, as she bent even closer to the blossoms. “The lady called you ‘the roses of Saint Elizabeth,’ and she told me that in the castle I would see a picture of Saint Elizabeth carrying roses just like you to the poor, sick people. My dear mütterchen told me about her, too; she said she was so beautiful and good, and that she lived in this same castle where we are living now. Oh,” Katrina added with a sigh, “if I only knew more about her I’d be so glad!”

The breath of roses all about her

69 “Little friend,” whispered a low, sweet voice close to Katrina’s ear, “I can tell you a great deal about Elizabeth, and I am glad that you wish to know her story.”

Katrina, startled and surprised, looked all about her; but not a person could she see.

“Oh,” she said as the thought came to her, “it must be the same voice that spoke to Fritz and me last evening.”

Yet, even as she said it, Katrina could not but feel that they were not the same. That voice had been deep and full and rich; this was as soft and as sweet as the tenderest notes of a harp.

“You do not know, my little friend, that it is the Breath, or Spirit of the Rose that is speaking to you. Now hearken, and I will70 tell you something about Saint Elizabeth, and her life of loving service.

“Once upon a time,” the Rose began, “there lived here at the Wartburg a Landgrave by the name of Herman. Now Herman, who was a good man, ruled his people well, and they loved him very dearly. Known far and wide as a patron of learning and the arts, especially of music, wise men, poets, and musicians were frequent visitors at his court. It was from some of these he had learned that to King Andrew of Hungary and his wife, Queen Gertrude, had been given a little daughter, and her birth had brought great blessings in its train. For, as was told of her, in the year she was born, wars71 in her country had ceased, the harvests were never so bountiful, and all evil seemed in great measure to disappear from the land. Not only was she good, but so unusual was her beauty that all rejoiced at sight of her.

“On hearing these things about the little girl it is said that Herman exclaimed: ‘Would to God that this fair child might become the wife of my son Ludwig!’

“In a short time,” the Rose continued, “Herman sent ambassadors to the King of Hungary to ask for the little princess for his son, and it is said that King Andrew received them royally. All were laden with gifts, and when they returned, bringing the little princess, it required over a dozen72 wagons to convey the priceless treasures which King Andrew sent to the Landgrave and his wife Sophia. There were beautiful jewels and richly embroidered stuffs from the Orient, besides many other things of value. On the tiny Elizabeth her father had bestowed a cradle and a bath of pure silver, most strangely and beautifully wrought; also robes of finest texture exquisitely embroidered in gold, and several noble women of the court to serve as her attendants.

“On her arrival at the Wartburg, the little princess met with great rejoicing, and on the following day was betrothed to Prince Ludwig with solemn ceremony. From the first moment the two children seemed to love each other, and73 every one predicted for them a happy and blessed marriage. Even as a tiny child Elizabeth gave strong evidence of her goodness, charity, and compassion for the suffering. To the little children round about, she gave away food and clothes and toys—the poor of Eisenach soon became her special care.

“Two years after Ludwig was created a knight down there in St. George’s Church, he and Elizabeth were married. Three days of feasting followed their wedding, then the young couple went to make a visit at the court of Elizabeth’s father in Hungary. Ludwig was then in his twentieth year and Elizabeth was just fifteen. He was tall and fair; while she possessed the74 richer, darker beauty of her race and country.

“Her life, even then, was one of pure unselfishness, and she seemed to have no fancy for the glitter of the court. She preferred to live in the simplest manner possible, and, often exchanging her apparel for that of the plainest sort, would go on her errands of mercy among the sick and the poor.

“One day, however, when Ludwig was entertaining some royal guests, he requested Elizabeth to attire herself ‘as became his wife and the lady of his love.’ So she, obedient to his wish, called her maids about her, and let them clothe her in her royal robes—‘her tunic of green and gold tissue, her tiara confining her dark tresses, and over her shoulders her embroidered mantle lined with ermine.’

She beheld ... a wretched beggar, shivering with cold

75 “Arrayed in this rich apparel, Elizabeth was about to cross one of the open courts when she beheld prostrate on the pavement a wretched beggar, shivering with cold and weakened by disease and hunger. She paused, and, obedient to her divine impulse which had ever gone out to the suffering, she removed from her shoulders her royal mantle and laid it upon the shivering beggar. Then she retired to her own apartment, wondering how she could excuse herself to her husband. At that moment Ludwig himself came in, and throwing herself into his arms, Elizabeth confessed what she had done.

“While her husband stood irresolute,”76 the Rose went on to say, “for he did not know whether to praise or blame her for the deed, her maid Gunta came into the chamber, the royal mantle on her arm.

“‘Madam,’ she said, ‘in passing the wardrobe I found this hanging in its place. Why has your Highness disarrayed yourself?’ And once more she clasped the royal mantle on the shoulders of her mistress.

“Then Ludwig and Elizabeth went forth, their hearts overflowing with gratitude and wonder. And when Elizabeth appeared before the guests, they arose and stood amazed at her beauty, which had never been so dazzling, ‘for a glory that was more than human seemed77 to play around her form and the jewels on her mantle sparkled with a celestial light.’

“Again, one day,” the sweet voice continued, “when Elizabeth was ministering to her poor at Eisenach, she found a little child cast out by the rest because he was a leper, and for this reason none would touch him or even come into his presence. She, moved with pity, took the loathsome little body in her arms, carried him up the steep hill to the castle, and laid him on her bed. All who were in the apartment hurried away, and reproaches were heaped upon her. Ludwig was absent at the time; but soon his horn was heard outside these gates, and hastening to him, his mother, the Princess Sophia,78 told him what Elizabeth had done. The husband, impatient on hearing that his wife had taken in her bed a little, leprous child, rushed into the room and snatched away the coverlid. ‘But behold, instead of the leper there lay a radiant infant with the features of the new-born Babe in Bethlehem; and while they stood amazed, the vision smiled and vanished from their sight.’

“This miracle,” the soft, harplike voice went on to say, “is one of the most beautiful of the many legends of Saint Elizabeth, and recalls those sacred words: ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’”

With the breath of roses all about her, and the velvet petals so79 near that she could touch them, the child had listened eagerly to these stories of Saint Elizabeth. Then when the Rose fell silent there came to Katrina’s mind those words which the lady had spoken but a little while before. She recalled how, holding up a blossom, her friend had said that it was beautiful because deep down in its own inner nature there was a beauty which the flower but obeyed. And now, as this thought wove itself like a thread of gold through those stories of Elizabeth and her life of love, Katrina began to understand what her friend had meant.




lthough Conrad Albrecht’s hands had been painfully and even seriously burned, they had at first given promise of healing; but as the days, then the weeks, went by, the doctor began to look very grave. Another physician was called in consultation, and he too was serious; it was a case of blood poison, they said.

When his father had to remain in bed, Fritz would not leave the room. He was always ready to attend his father’s slightest wish. Neighbours came in every day and81 offered to help the boy; he did not lack friendly sympathy or service. Rudolf, Frieda, and Katrina came down from the castle daily, and on every visit Katrina brought a bunch of her crimson roses. For hours at a time the sick man’s eyes would rest tenderly upon the blossoms, and they were always placed near enough for him to enjoy their fragrance. It came about, as the days went by, that he began to look eagerly for Katrina and her roses; this was the one bright spot amid dark, suffering hours.

At other times his eyes would wander wistfully to the adjoining room—his workshop. Here, hanging upon the walls, and scattered upon his work-bench, were unfinished toys, waiting for the hands82 which had begun to fashion them with such loving care. For Conrad Albrecht was one to whom his work was a constant source of happiness; he rejoiced in the creations of his hands. The machine had not come in to rob him of his own individual skill and take away his joy in working. His imagination, too, had had full play. While his hands were busily employed, sometimes with a girl’s dainty doll, sometimes with a boy’s small steam-engine, perfect in every detail, he would picture the homes and the lives of the children who would one day have the toys in their possession, often tracing their lives to womanhood and manhood. So Conrad Albrecht’s days had passed happily enough, and he had been83 enriched by the blessing of contentment.

One morning as he lay on his bed of pain, Fritz’s father had turned his eyes from Katrina’s roses, and for a long while they had rested sadly on his work-bench with the half-finished toys lying on it. As he lay there looking into that other room, he was thinking how much comfort it would give him if Fritz would one day finish those uncompleted toys; he had come to realize that the task had been taken out of his own hands for ever. Fritz, sitting at the bedside, noticed the look in his father’s eyes, and half-guessed its meaning; but before either could speak, there came a rap on the outer door.

Fritz went at once to answer it,84 and, to his surprise, he saw the tall, imposing figure of Count von Scholtz standing on the threshold. The boy’s amazement made him speechless for a moment. Only a month or so before he had seen the nobleman, badly injured, borne upon a stretcher.

“Are you the son of Conrad Albrecht?” the visitor asked on seeing Fritz.

“Yes, your Honour, Fritz Albrecht is my name.”

“I am glad to know you, my boy, glad to know Conrad Albrecht’s son. Is it possible for me to see your father? I have something of importance that I wish to say to him.”

“My father is very ill, your Honour, and suffering great pain.”

85 “I know that, my lad, and it grieves me deeply; but,” he continued, as he laid his hand on Fritz’s shoulder, “I want especially to see him. This is my first appearance outside the house, and my doctors objected to my coming. I told them, though, that I would make this visit to Conrad Albrecht, cost me what it might.”

By this time they had reached the door of the sick-room, and Fritz went in first to prepare his father for the unexpected visitor.

“Ah, Albrecht, I am distressed to see you like this; they tell me you have suffered horribly.” And as he spoke, the nobleman seated himself in a chair which Fritz placed for him beside the bed.

“Yes, your Honour, I’ve had86 much pain. At first I thought all would be right with me in time; but now I realize that the end is near; for the doctors can give me little hope.”

“Too bad, too bad;” the count shook his head sadly, and Fritz saw that his eyes were full of tears. “I would give anything I possess, Albrecht, if it could only save you; and to think that I was the cause of this!”

Fritz, who had been a silent witness of the scene, was dismayed. How could Count von Scholtz have caused his father’s accident? At that moment, as though reading the question in Fritz’s mind, the count turned and said:

“My lad, do you know that your father saved my life?”

87 “No, your Honour,” Fritz replied; “my father didn’t tell me.”

“Well, then, I will tell you. In the wreck, the compartment I was occupying had taken fire, and when I found myself wedged in between some burning timbers, and escape seemed a thing impossible, I resigned myself to die. Then it was that your father, himself badly shaken by the accident, saw me pinned under the pile of débris; and, without one thought for his own safety, tore away the heavy timbers already in a blaze. By this time others, seeing the situation, came to our relief; but it was not until your father’s hands had been badly burned.”

“I was glad, your Honour, to88 be able to assist you,” said Conrad Albrecht, feebly.

“Yes, my friend, but to save my life you gave your own; that is heaven’s own great gift. But, Albrecht, I wish to do the best I can to prove my gratitude. I have no son, and have come here to ask if you will let me take your place to Fritz when you are gone. I couldn’t be to him what you have been, but grant me this wish, and I will try and fill a father’s place. By adoption he shall be my son. Can you, will you, say yes to this, Albrecht?”

The look which had come into the face of the stricken man reflected the conflict in his heart. Two paths were open for his boy, and he, the father, must decide89 upon the one for him to take. Here, at the work-bench, where he had spent many contented years, he saw the quiet, shaded path of that more tranquil life. Out there was the glare, the white light of the world,—would his boy be happy in it? Would it bring him peace, such peace as he, himself, had known and loved? Yet, here was a great, even a wonderful, opportunity; one day his Fritz’s name might be known throughout all the Fatherland!

This thought brought a radiant look to the father’s eyes, and with all the strength at his command he said:

“Yes, your Honour, Fritz shall be your son.”



Open quote T

urn the key, Gesta, and let the workshop stay just as my father left it.”

The old woman wiped her eyes on a corner of her apron.

“And so it’s sure, then, Master Fritz, that you’re going to leave here; what will the house seem like when you are gone?”

With this the faithful creature broke into a sob.

“But,” said the boy, soothingly, “I’ll come back every little while and see that you want for nothing. Because I’m going to live in a great91 house and have lots of money given to me doesn’t mean that I am going to forget you. I am my mother’s son, Gesta; you carried my mother in your arms when she was a little baby. She loved you, and so do I.”

“You’ve always been good to me, Master Fritz. Even when you were a very little boy you never gave me any trouble; and that makes it all the harder to see you go. Is it to-morrow, Master Fritz, that Count von Scholtz is going to send for you?”

“No, the count said he knew I would want to see my friends, and make some preparations, so it’s not till Thursday that I leave for Grünwald. But it isn’t so far away, you know, Gesta, that I can’t come92 back from time to time to see you and the dear old home. For even if they do say I’ll walk on velvet carpets, and have beautiful paintings and marble statuary to look at everywhere I turn my eyes, more books than I can read, and music whenever I wish, I’ll never love it as I love this home. They may change my name, too, but I’ll always be the son of Conrad Albrecht, the toymaker. The count may be ever so good to me, but he can never take my father’s place!”

Yet, even as he spoke, Fritz was conscious of a strange sensation. He had felt it only once before, and that was the evening he had remained outside the castle, after Katrina had gone in, and listened to the Ivy.

93 Now there came to him the desire to hear that voice again, and, as twilight was just setting in, he would go alone, and beg the Ivy to tell him other stories of the castle. So after urging the watchful Gesta not to be uneasy if he should return a little late, Fritz started off in the direction of the Wartburg.

It was not very long before he reached the courtyard, where all was still, and, stealing within the shadow of the wall, Fritz seated himself upon the same bench on which he had sat that other evening when the voice had spoken to him of the “greatest treasure.”

One might suppose that the Ivy had been waiting for him, so soon did it begin to speak to Fritz in94 those same rich, majestic tones. And now it told him many things about the men and women who lived in the castle long ago—about the early landgraves; but more particularly did it dwell upon the good Herman and his time. Among other stories it told how Elizabeth had, by accident, found on her husband the crusader’s cross, and at sight of it had fainted, since it meant that he would leave her.

“But,” the Ivy said, “when Ludwig explained to her the purpose of the crusades, Elizabeth not only consented to his going, but went with him a part way on his journey. However, Ludwig never reached the Holy Land, but died of a fever just as he was to set sail from Italy.”

95 This was the only allusion which the Ivy made to Saint Elizabeth; but it told Fritz of much that happened during the times in which she lived. It mentioned, for instance, how a knowledge of the arts and crafts had been brought by the crusaders from the East.

“There were no glass windows in the Wartburg,” the Ivy said, “until the time of the Landgrave Herman. He had glass panes put into the windows of the banquet-hall; but in the other windows the panes were all of mica; for glass, the art of making which was brought by the crusaders from the Orient, was very rare and costly.

“Now, while speaking of the East,” the Ivy went on to say, “I must tell you something about a96 certain great room in the Wartburg called the Armory. There you will find some rare specimens of old plate armour and suits of mail—these latter dating as far back as the crusades. One who gives it any thought can trace from these a gradual unfoldment in the history of armour. For instance, that of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was crude and very simple. The fifteenth century brought an increase in the use of plates; but it was in the sixteenth century, by a well-devised fitting together, that the highest development in armour was attained.”

Fritz found himself listening with keen interest to all that the Ivy told him; and, after a pause, it went97 on speaking of the armour and its history.

“Persons usually have a wrong conception of the armour worn in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,” the voice continued. “They picture the knight as going forth in a glittering mail shirt woven out of steel; while in reality his coat and hose, as well as his head-covering, were of leather with iron rings sewn on. Only in the East did they then understand the art of weaving the steel mail shirt out of rings. But as every separate ring had to be made by hand, such equipment was very costly; for wire drawing was not discovered until the fourteenth century.

“I wonder,” said the Ivy, after a moment’s silence, and so suddenly98 that Fritz was startled, “I wonder if you can tell me why the use of armour began to decline in the seventeenth century?”

“I am sorry to say that I haven’t the slightest idea,” was Fritz’s answer.

“It was because in that century firearms came into general use, gunpowder having been invented; so there was no longer any need for armour.”

But, interested as he was in hearing all of this, it was not what Fritz had come to the castle for that evening. He had come to put to the Ivy one single question which for weeks had been revolving in his mind.

“I am going away from here next Thursday,” as he spoke Fritz99 drew nearer to the Ivy, “and I want to ask one question before I go. It is that you will tell me what you meant when you said to me one evening that you possess the greatest of all treasures.”

Several moments passed before the Ivy answered; but at last it said:

“I know your desire is a sincere one, and I intend to grant it. But first promise me that you will search far and wide, until you, too, come into possession of this mighty treasure—the greatest in all the world.”

“I promise you,” said Fritz.

“Well, then,” and the Ivy spoke in tones more melodious than any Fritz had ever heard before, but so low that he alone could hear the name.

100 The boy caught his breath with eagerness, and clenched his hands until the flesh showed the imprint of his nails.

“Yes,” he declared, his face all aglow with determination, “I’ll go to the very ends of the earth to find it!”

Then all at once Fritz seemed to see, as though it were a picture stretching out before him, that new life he was about to enter with its promise of riches, the opportunity to gratify all ambition—while the name of what the Ivy declared to be the greatest treasure kept ringing like music in his ears.




he following morning Fritz went early to the Wartburg. This, his last day, he would spend with his little playmate. Some time before he reached the castle, as he was walking up the hill, he caught sight of Katrina standing in the courtyard.

She made a lovely picture dressed in white, with her pigeons all about her; while in the background was the old, ivy-covered wall. Back and forth her pets were swarming; some ate the grain she102 had just scattered on the ground, while others preened themselves upon the brink of the now dilapidated fountain.

But as Fritz drew near, and his footsteps sounded on the gravel, there was a scurry and a rustle of wings; while very soon the birds were lost to sight in their lofty retreat in the tower. Katrina, however, the moment she spied Fritz coming, gave a little cry of pleasure, and ran to the gates to meet him.

“I was sure that thou wouldst come,” she said, “and dost thou know, Fritz, I could declare I heard thee walking here last evening, I know thy step so well. But,” the little girl added, as she took her playmate by the hand,103mütterchen said it was only fancy, that of course you wouldn’t be here at the castle without coming in to see us. I knew that too, Fritz; so though I thought I heard thee passing the window twice, I laughed at the very thought of thy going by just as if thou wert a ghost.”

To this Fritz said not a word. For some reason he felt that he wished to keep as a secret that which the Ivy told him; so, in consequence, would say nothing about his twilight visit to the Wartburg.

“Fritz, Fritz!” Katrina suddenly exclaimed, and it seemed as though a cloud had passed suddenly across the sun, so quick was the change in Katrina’s face. “Is it true that104 thou art really going to leave to-morrow?”

“Yes, Katrina, the count has written that he will send for me Thursday morning. Thou knowest the promise my father made him. But at first the count was too ill to send for me; in fact it was only the other day he was told of my father’s death.”

There were tears in Katrina’s eyes.

“What am I going to do, Fritz? I sha’n’t have any one at all to play with. Dost thou really want to go away and leave me?”

“No, no, little sister; but sometimes it falls to our lot to do things that we don’t quite wish to do. Thou knowest what duty is, Katrina?”

105 “Yes,” replied the little girl, “mütterchen has told me that I must always do my duty, no matter how disagreeable the task may be.”

As she spoke, there came into the sweet childish face the promise of a nobility that would know so well how to translate duty into happiness; while, as for Fritz, he was one day to learn that ambition sometimes appears at our gates disguised as duty, and in our blindness we bid him enter.

“Is thy father here, Katrina?” Fritz asked a moment later. “Ah, yes,” he added before Katrina had time to answer, “there he is, over near the belfry; he and Hans are talking.”

“So thou hast come, Fritz, to106 claim the promise I made thee yesterday in Eisenach;” and, as he spoke, Rudolf came over to where the children stood. “I told thee, I remember, that as thou art going away so soon, I would give thee and the mädchen here a glimpse into the castle.”

Both Fritz and Katrina were delighted, and the latter, catching one of her father’s hands, kissed it rapturously.

“It will have to be only a little visit, though, as I’ll be very busy later in the morning, so where shall we begin?”

“This is to be your treat, Herr Rudolf,” Fritz replied; “so we’ll leave the choice to you.”

“Well, then, suppose we begin out here with the rooms where107 Martin Luther stayed when he was a prisoner at the Wartburg.”

“Yes, yes, show us Luther’s rooms!” and the two children took Rudolf by either hand.

He led them across the courtyard, past the old stables now converted into a brewery; on beyond the barbican, the south tower, and the belfry, until they reached the Knight’s House, sacred with its memories and traditions of Martin Luther.



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t was here,” Rudolf explained, when they had reached the entrance to the Knight’s House, “that the great Reformer was kept in captivity for a year.”

“Yes,” Katrina interposed, “mütterchen told me this, and so did the lady with the silver cross; but they didn’t tell me why he was made a prisoner.”

“That was because he opposed certain teachings of his time, and,” her father added, forcefully, “had the courage to be steadfast to what he believed to be the truth.”

109 “It would be good, Herr Rudolf,” suggested Fritz, “if you would tell Katrina and me the story of Martin Luther before we go inside the castle. Then when we do go in, we’d understand and enjoy it all the more.”

“Yes, Fritz, thou art right; some knowledge of him would make thee have a more intelligent appreciation of what thou art about to see. So, suppose we sit out here while I tell thee both about a few of the incidents in Luther’s life.”

Whereupon, Rudolf and the two children seated themselves on a stone bench close by the door of entrance. Now just above this same door was a device cut in stone, that was not only quaint and110 curious, but was also strangely suggestive of the giant power of the man who had once been a prisoner there. It represented Samson in the act of quelling the lion. And had not he, Martin Luther, slain mankind’s deadly foe,—blind superstition?

“Well, to begin with,” said Rudolf, when the children had settled themselves to listen, and sat watching him with expectant eyes, “Martin Luther’s father, whose name was Hans Luther, was a miner at Möra, a small town which now belongs to the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen. Not very long after his marriage, however, Hans and his wife, Margaret, went to live at Eisleben, and it was here, on the 10th of November, 1483, that a111 son was born to them. This day being the anniversary of Martin, Bishop of Tours, they gave the name ‘Martin’ to their boy in memory of the saint.

“It was soon after this that Luther’s parents removed to Mansfield, and Hans, the father, became a member of the council. Their great desire was that Martin should follow one of the learned professions, and from the first his education was very strict. He attended the school of the Franciscan monks at Magdeburg; but when about fifteen years old, he came to Eisenach and earned money as a Current-Schuler by singing from door to door.”

“Yes, yes, dear father,” Katrina interrupted, “we know how112 the good Frau Cotta, hearing him sing in the streets, took him in and gave him a home.”

“Did he like being a Current-Schuler?” asked Fritz, to whose spirit of adventure the idea made a strong appeal.

“It is said,” responded Rudolf, “that the practice of singing for charity was at first very distasteful to him, but that in time he came to like it, so great was his love for music. Thou, my little Katrina, art familiar with some of Martin Luther’s hymns. He wrote a number of hymns after he grew to manhood; and thou, Fritz, hast sung with us many an evening that grand old anthem of his, ‘Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott.’”[2]

[2] “A Mighty Stronghold Is Our God.”

113 “I wonder, Herr Rudolf,” Fritz exclaimed, as the light of the sudden thought flashed into his face, “I wonder if Luther wrote that hymn here at the Wartburg! Don’t you think he must have done so?”

For a moment Rudolf was silent. This was a question which had not presented itself to his mind before.

“I really do not know it to be a certainty,” he answered after thinking deeply; “but it does seem to me, Fritz, that he must have had his inspiration here within these walls which sheltered him in a time when his life was being threatened. But now,” Rudolf continued, “let us turn back to the youthful Luther and follow114 him as he progresses in his school life. In the year 1501 he entered the University of Erfurt, where he studied Logic, Physics, and Ethics; but it was in Philosophy and the ancient classics that he afterward found his greatest satisfaction. In the year 1503 Luther received his degree of B. A., and it was then that he complied with his father’s wish and began to study the law. This, however, as he soon found, was not to his taste, and in time it became a burden to him. In these days of doubt he felt strongly drawn toward a monastic life, and finally, in spite of the opposition of his family and friends, he determined to take the vows and become a monk.

“But even after this step had115 been taken, he found that his conscience was not wholly at ease. His zealous mind seemed to be ever searching for the truth. And, my children,” Rudolf continued, “it was in the year 1517 that Martin Luther first wrote his name indelibly on the pages of history.”



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es,” Rudolf repeated, “it was in the year 1517 that Luther cut his way through the darkness of superstition, and let in a light which has illumined the world. For by showing how false were the teachings that forgiveness of sin could be bought with a bit of money, instead of through repentance and reform, he set, not only a responsibility, but a noble value upon each individual life. It was his mighty voice, ringing through all the land, and whose echo can be heard down the ages, which urged117 man to realize that he was a child of God, and through that sonship alone an inheritor of the kingdom.

“These teachings of Martin Luther met with harsh opposition; but he was firm in his belief. So firm was he that he nailed to the door of the church in Wittenberg his ninety-five theses, or articles of faith. These were read by people of every rank in life, and the fame of them spread far and wide. While his friends flocked to him, those who opposed Luther became more and more bitter, until finally they even sought his life.”

“It was then, wasn’t it,” cried Fritz, with eager interest, “that the Elector showed that he was his friend?”

“Yes,” said Rudolf in reply, “it118 was when his life became endangered that the Elector Frederick, under pretext of taking him a prisoner, had him brought here to the Wartburg, where he could give him his protection. And now since we have reached the experience in Luther’s life which is so closely associated with this place, suppose we make our visit to the rooms he occupied.”

Rudolf, as he spoke, rose from the bench, and, bidding the children to follow, opened the door into a little hall, and from this they ascended a narrow staircase.

“Here, my children,” said Rudolf, as he now led the way into a small room at the head of the stairway, “this was Luther’s sanctuary.”

A sort of awe fell upon Fritz119 and Katrina at the thought of being in the same apartment where that great, good man had spent the months of his captivity.

“This,” Rudolf explained, as he pointed toward a table, “is not the one at which Luther sat when he made his translation of the Bible; that was carried away years ago by relic hunters, who gradually cut it into chips. The one here now was once in his father’s house at Möra, and Luther sat at it when a little boy.”

Fritz and Katrina, full of interest, gazed up at the portraits of Luther and his parents hanging on the wall above the table, while Rudolf explained that they were the work of Cranach, one of the greatest painters of his time. He120 also called their attention to one of Luther’s letters which had been framed, and was hanging near the Cranach portraits. Then the children were told to look at a curious mining-lamp once used by Luther’s father. But it was when Rudolf showed them the money box carried about by the little Current-Schuler down in Eisenach that their enthusiasm seemed to have no bounds.

“Just let us touch it, father, dear!” Katrina cried.

And they both laid their hands lovingly on the treasured relic.

“Just think,” said Fritz, as he held it for a moment in his hand, “it was in this very box that he got the money for his schooling.”

121 “Now,” said Rudolf, as he moved over to a large chest underneath the window, “if you will both come close, I’ll open this and show you a collection of the first editions of the Bible according to the translation made by Luther. Here, my children,” and as he spoke, Rudolf put a volume into the hands of each, “hold this sacred book, and as you do so, realize that it is your privilege to have had within your clasp one of the greatest gifts ever bestowed upon mankind. For before Luther made his translation, which even the simplest peasant could read, as it was written in the language of the people, the Bible was as a locked treasure-house to which only the few had a key.”

122 “How thankful we should be to him!” Katrina said.

“Yes, my liebchen,” replied her father, tenderly, “only think what it means to be able to go each day to this sacred Book and learn from it the way of life.”

Fritz had been silent for several moments; it was evident that he was turning some thought over in his mind.

“Wasn’t Martin Luther’s wisdom very great, Herr Rudolf?” he asked at last.

“That it was, Fritz; but why dost thou ask the question?”

“I was just thinking that it must be a great thing to be very wise, in fact the greatest thing in the world. I’m going to study and learn all that I possible can; then123 some day people will point to me and say: ‘What a wise man Fritz Albrecht is!’”

As the three stood looking out of one of the quaint windows with its round, leaded panes, at the beautiful landscape below, it seemed to Fritz that he heard the Ivy’s rich voice saying to him: “Search, search, for the greatest of all treasures!” But suddenly it was as though the whole room were filled with the breath of roses; and Katrina’s heart responded to a soft voice down by the castle gates which said almost in a whisper:

“Luther possessed something that was even greater than his wisdom; Saint Elizabeth possessed it, too.”

124 And there also seemed to rise before Katrina’s vision an image of the lady with the little silver cross.




ifteen years have now gone by since Fritz and Katrina paid their visit to the Wartburg and heard among others the story of Martin Luther. To Fritz, especially, they had been restless years.

From the day when he bade farewell to his old home and the friends up at the castle to go and live at Grünwald, Fritz had been able to gratify every wish. In fact, with a fortune at his command, he had in full measure the privileges of a rich man’s son. The count, being ambitious for him, had, until126 his death, been always ready to satisfy Fritz’s every want; but it was with a peculiar fervour that the nobleman urged Fritz toward the satisfaction of that one great craving of his life—the desire for wisdom. It was a desire which never gave Fritz any rest, and seemed only to increase in keenness as it was fed.

After having gone to a preparatory school, Fritz entered the university, from which he bore away distinguished honours; and the years that followed were spent in travel. To the very ends of the earth he went in search of that treasure which from his boyhood he had determined to discover. Sometimes reports would reach his friends at Eisenach of wonderful127 researches made by him in Egypt and the Holy Land among the buried relics of an ancient grandeur. As a traveller and a scholar, his fame soon spread abroad, and, even surpassing his father’s cherished wish, the name of Fritz Albrecht came to be known far beyond the fatherland.

In the first years after he went to live at Grünwald, Fritz had come back very often to see his friends at the Wartburg. On these occasions he would stop at Eisenach and have Gesta to open the old home that he might see how things were going there. Then when he went away, he would always press a gold piece into Gesta’s withered palm, and beg her to deny herself no comfort. Unable to speak, the128 good creature could only sob her gratitude. But as the years went by, and his life took on other and larger possibilities, those simpler interests receded to the background; until, finally, Katrina realized that her old playmate had passed on and away from her.

In comparison with Fritz’s life Katrina’s life may have seemed even commonplace. There was the same daily round of simple duties within the home; but they were duties lovingly performed. To Katrina’s education, though, as she went through the years of girlhood, much care was given, and in this, her friend with the silver cross had no little part. For not only had letters come often from over the sea to the “castlemaiden,” as the129 lady called her still, but from time to time there had also come boxes containing books for her to read and ponder. And from these books, as well as from the letters, Katrina had gleaned many an inspiration for her life.

But it was from yet another source that Katrina gained ideals which were even nobler and better still—and that was from the Rose-bush growing near the castle gates. Here she would bring her work, or a book, and sit during many a cherished hour, while she listened to the stories of noble men and women or felt its silent sympathy. And when at times vain longings would fill her heart for a life that was less narrow, or more glittering, than her own, she would also come130 to seek comfort from the Rose-bush, and it always soothed her.

Then how often, too, as the days went by, could Katrina, her hands filled with the fragrant crimson blossoms, be seen on her way down to Eisenach to some one who was ill or in distress. In fact, so many were her deeds of loving-kindness that the people there in the shadow, as it were, of the old castle which had once known the saintly presence had come to call her their Saint Elizabeth. At the very sight of her, every one felt a sense of joy; for not only did they realize the beauty of her character, but in face and form as well she seemed to grow more beautiful every day.

“Our Katrina will not stay in131 the home nest very long, I fear,” said Frieda one evening, as she and Rudolf talked together.

But the years went by, and Katrina showed no disposition to encourage any who would have rejoiced to be her suitor. Her every thought seemed to be for others rather than herself, and each day was marked by some unselfish service.

In all that she accomplished there was one purpose which seemed ever uppermost with Katrina,—it was to awaken in the dreary or sordid toiler the heart of joy. Many a time after she had left the shop of some humble craftsman, with a few appreciative or buoyant words, he might be heard singing as he worked with lighter132 heart and swifter hands. So when a fair, or exhibition, of the different industries became an annual feature in the little town, Katrina was one of the most zealous workers for its success. In order to arouse an interest, prizes were offered for the best results in the different lines, and the competition was always keen; while it brought together a wonderful array of effort.

People came from a distance of many miles to visit the fair, or market, as they called it. A value had been set upon even the humblest hand-work, and that was an incentive to better things.

It was in the month of June that the building which had been erected in the market-place began133 to take on an air of bustle and activity. Never had there been so many visitors in Eisenach, and never had the little town seemed half so prosperous. The fair was at the height of its success, when one day there came in for exhibition a case of toys, such toys as few of the present generation had ever seen in Eisenach. Many had gathered about the booth to see this new exhibit, when a lady, who had just been handed from a stately coach by an attendant, was heard to say:

“They must have been the work of Conrad Albrecht. I am glad to find them here. Whenever I made a visit to the Fatherland, years ago, I used to buy his toys and take them to my children; but until134 now I had supposed he did not make them any more. These will delight my grandchildren.”

And saying this, the speaker selected a number of the playthings, which were taken to her carriage; while those standing near looked on with interest. They recognized this benevolent-looking woman, so simple, yet impressing her dignity on all within her presence, as no less a personage than England’s Queen. Though far removed, Victoria still loved her Fatherland, often returning to the old home not many miles from Eisenach, and it was in those visits that she had come to know the work of Conrad Albrecht’s hands.

All who had seen them declared that these toys which gave evidence135 of unusual skill were plainly entitled to the prize, whereupon search was made for the one who sent them. Only three of the five judges were made aware of the name of the exhibitor to whom the prize was given, and they were bound to secrecy.

“Who was the maker of these toys?”

This was the question asked on every side, and the answer came that they must be the work of some one elsewhere; for Eisenach, they said, had known only one who could have made such toys, and he, Conrad Albrecht, had been dead for fifteen years.



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ost thou know the news, Katrina? ’Tis said that Fritz has returned to Grünwald.”

Katrina, who was engaged with some bit of sewing, looked up suddenly as her father spoke, and said:

“He was far away, I know, when Count von Scholtz, his foster-father, died, and it must have taken him a long while to make the journey.”

“Yes,” was Rudolf’s answer, “it is said that he was somewhere in the very heart of Asia and was obliged to make a long overland137 journey before he could reach a railroad, to say nothing of the time he spent upon the sea.”

“Has Fritz ever given his discoveries to the world? that is, has he put them to any use, so that others might be benefited by his knowledge?” asked the thrifty Frieda, who had become even more practical with the passing years.

“That I have never heard,” responded Rudolf. “But it is said that as a scholar his name is widely known; for one so young, his reputation for wisdom is without a parallel.”

“A reservoir without an outlet is not a very useful thing,” was Frieda’s only comment.

“Ah, mütterchen, speak not so of Fritz; thou knowest not what138 may have been the motive that impelled him!” and as Katrina spoke a faint flush mounted in her cheeks.

“I do not speak unlovingly,” was Frieda’s answer. “I still have a tender feeling for the son of Lizette and Conrad Albrecht, even though it would seem that as a man he has forgotten us.”

Katrina had no more to say. She felt the truth of her mother’s words. Through the years as they passed, she had often experienced a sense of pain in the thought that her old playmate had seemingly lost all remembrance of their happy and united childhood.

It was late in the same afternoon that Katrina sat in her beloved haunt by the Rose-bush.139 She had been reading, but as the sun began to set amid a splendid radiance, Katrina closed her book and fell into a reverie. Something, perhaps the soft yet vivid colours of the sunset, recalled to her mind an evening long ago, when she and Fritz had sat upon the bench there in the courtyard, and listened to the strange, melodious voice which had told them stories of the castle. And even as her thoughts dwelt upon these memories of their youthful days, she heard a sound of footsteps coming up the Wartburg hill.

Katrina’s heart beat fast, but she did not stir. How often as a child had she run gladly forth at the sound of steps so strangely like these coming now. But that had140 been the light, impatient step of a boy; while this was the heavier and firmer tread of a man.

Yes, even at the sight of a tall, manly figure, Katrina, who now lifted her blue eyes timidly, showed no surprise. He had drawn quite near, so near that he must surely see her.

In another moment he was there in the grass beside her, the breath of roses all around. For a time both of them seemed strangely silent; there was too much to say after the interval of years.




t last he spoke, and she made no protest against his using the “thou” of their childhood days. It seemed but yesterday since they had talked together.

“Thou art little changed, Katrina, save that thou hast grown to be a woman.”

“I have lived such a quiet life,” she answered, “too quiet to have left its traces.”

“Thou hast lived a beautiful life,” he said. “Have I not heard how it has gone out in gracious,142 loving deeds until hundreds adore thy very name!”

A deep flush mounted in Katrina’s cheeks.

“But thou, Fritz, hast done and seen wonderful things. Even in our seclusion word has reached us of thy vast knowledge. It must be splendid to be known far and near as one who possesses such great wisdom.”

“Ah, Katrina, what have I not sacrificed in that search! Home, friends, those I held closest to my heart,—all were put aside in my eagerness to find the greatest treasure. But thou dost not know, Katrina, what was the impulse that sent me forth.”

At this Katrina shook her head.

“Dost thou not remember the143 ‘voice’ which used to tell us stories of the castle?”

“Yes;” and as she answered, the woman’s face glowed with the memories of childhood.

“Well,” said Fritz, his eyes meeting her astonished gaze, “I never told thee this; it was a secret I carried with me. One evening I came alone, and sat here in the courtyard, for I wished to try and discover something.”

“I know, I know,” she interposed, “it was one evening when I felt sure I heard thy footstep on the gravel.”

“Yes,” Fritz answered smiling, “and thou didst say next morning that it must have been a ghost. Not only did I wish to hear the voice again, but I felt a keen desire144 to ask what it meant by the greatest of all treasures. And it was then that I discovered it to be the Ivy speaking,—yes, that old vine yonder on the wall. In answer to my query, it assured me that of all the treasures of the world knowledge is the greatest. From that moment I was consumed with one overwhelming purpose,—the determination to search until I found the greatest treasure.”

“And thou hast had thy wish fulfilled,” Katrina said.

“Yea, but as I have said, at what a sacrifice! Its possession has not brought me happiness, and I have come back a disappointed, discouraged man. Thou wilt doubtless be surprised, Katrina, when I tell thee that the only real145 happiness I have known in many years was only lately when, out of love for my father’s memory, I completed some of the toys which his hands had left unfinished. On reaching Grünwald I learned that a fair was soon to take place at Eisenach, and I knew what pride he would have felt to have his toys displayed; so I came to the old home, and for many, many days I hardly left his work-bench.”

“So,” exclaimed Katrina with amazement, “it was thou who sent that anonymous exhibit to the fair!”

“Yes,” Fritz answered, smiling, “and thou canst not guess, Katrina, what became of the money won in prizes?”

Katrina, puzzled, shook her head.

146 “It is the nucleus of a fund with which I intend to endow a school where poor but ambitious boys can be provided, not only with an education, but also with a home, and it shall be dedicated to the memory of Martin Luther.”

As Fritz looked into Katrina’s face he saw a beauty that seemed not of earth. He drew her hand close within his own, and long, long they sat there by the Rose-bush.

“Yea, Katrina, I have searched in all the wide world for the greatest treasure.”

“And yet thou sayest thou hast not found it, Fritz?”

As he answered Fritz’s face seemed full of light, “I have found it, my own Katrina; but not out there in the world. Vain were my searchings there. It is here, within; so close, so close.”

Long they sat there by the Rose-bush

147 The castle had almost faded now, and the ivy looked strange and ghostly in the gathering gloom. A soft mist crept up from the valley, then the moon came to its throne in the sky. Still Fritz and Katrina sat there, hand clasped in hand; while over and about them, as though in benediction, there came a wonderful delicate fragrance—the breath, as it were, of a beautiful, living soul. Then they heard the Roses of Saint Elizabeth saying gently: “But the greatest of these is Love.”


Inside back cover

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Transcriber’s Note:

Spelling has been preserved as printed in the original publication.