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Leontine had recovered almost completely from her ill health, and no one but Dimot could explain its cause. Only the healing monk of St. Pilt must have been accused of being poisoned, for Father Eusebius asked for everything that those so suddenly ill had enjoyed in recent days, and whether she had eaten berries in the forest that might have harmed her , which she denied. Dimot cared for her with devoted care and insisted on keeping watch over her at night, which, although not of necessity, was highly credited to her both by Leontinen and by Countess Margarethe. She made the bitterest reproaches that she had trusted the gypsy woman, and now suspected her reason for the criminal act.

With returning health, Leontinen’s longing for a reunion with her lover grew, and when she was alone she tested the strength of her limbs, wondering if she would be able to ride again, just afraid that her mother would still be would not allow. As long as it was confined to the room, she inquired with anxious curiosity to all operations at the castle and after the run-in messages and learned from Dimot that Isinger was engaged in ceaseless activity with repair of weapons and armor and that large of Schlettstadt ago Supplies of food were introduced to the castle, so they seemed to be preparing for a siege.

These communications filled Leontines with great anxiety, and she thought less of the dangers to which her and her were exposed than to Eugenolf, whom she believed in fierce conflict between the duty of the son and the knight and the feelings of his heart. She loved him with a deep passion, which, however, she was able to control in such a way that she was unaware of the glow in her heart. She had learned self-restraint through the education she had received, and only in rare cases did she tear the hot blood that was rolling in her veins into a rushing excitement, but then with an original natural force that no one dared she did not know any closer. As a rule, their noble features bore the expression of a cool, almost sovereign calm, and her way of speaking and moving was usually reserved and measured. As in her beautiful, stately appearance, she was, in her noble demeanor and manners, the faithful image of her mother, who never let herself go with all the decisiveness of her sometimes somewhat brittle nature whose proud meaning was enveloped by an innate, captivating grace.

On the Hohkönigsburg were now restless days. Count Oswald almost impatiently awaited the formal refusal of his opponents, the Rappoltsteiner and Rathsamhausen and their friends, for the uncertainty in which he hovered over their intentions was to him an almost unbearable condition. He was not afraid of their attack, for he felt in his exceedingly strong castle, rich with all the necessaries of protection and protection, with weirs and weapons and food for the greatly increased occupation, and also a well with good drinking-water pretty sure and could withstand a longer siege in it. And yet, in his heart’s sake, he wished to avoid the fight. He himself could not prevent him, could not come to his enemies with peace proposals, before the peace was terminated or broken. But if he built a bridge to a retreat with honors, he would not hesitate to tread on it.

He sat and rummaged again in ancient parchmental documents, patron letters and letters of leal, with large seals hung in wooden capsules. They belonged to the landvogteilichen archive and acted by rights and privileges, duties and dues of the individual gentlemen, cities and monasteries, about which the count wanted to teach exactly.

How astonished he was when, one morning, during this occupation, the arrival of Count Egenolf von Rappoltstein was announced, who asked him for a private interview. Immediately he remembered the equally surprising visit of Bruno of Rathsamhausen, but this time he did not lose his way to the peculiar idea that the son might bring him his father’s refusal, although Egenolf’s entry into the Hohkönigsburg was at least as conspicuous and ridiculous as it was then from Bruno. The Rathsamhausen had been worried about his heart-sapping black horse; Now what, in the midst of the preparations to inflict blood on one another, is to bring Rappoltstein, he wondered, perhaps even such a ridiculous story as a rational man can not dream of.

Egenolf entered and appeared in an unusually rich drapery and with an unusually solemn expression, which, however, made Count Oswald trim. The latter invited the guest to sit down and looked forward to seeing what was about to develop.

“Count,” Egenolf began, “you will hear from me something as unexpected as you can not imagine. I come, and I do not want to say, without the knowledge and permission of my father, to ask for your hand from Countess Leontine. ”

If the gigantic keep of Hohrappoltstein had floated through the air from over there, Count Oswald would not have been more surprised than the words heard from Egenolf’s mouth. He could not believe it; confused and halting, he said: “Forgive me, Count, – I do not know, – I think I understood you were asking for my daughter’s hand.”

“That’s right, Herr Graf! that was my request. ”

“Yes, but – I do not understand – you said you came with the knowledge and approval of your father.”

“That’s right, Herr Graf,” said Egenolf. “But I also told you that you would hear something quite unexpected from me.”

“Yes, yes, but what you hear is almost beyond the limits of credibility and possibility. It will be known to you that as a result of my quarrel with Herr Burkhard von Rathsamhausen, the evil spirit of the feud also stands between your father and me with a drawn sword. ”

“I know well, but what evil spirit could not be banished!”

“What do you mean?” Oswald asked, listening.

“Count,” said Egenolf, “I have no authority to tell you otherwise than my own request for the hand of your daughter.”

“Count Egenolf,” said Oswald, after a short silence, “give me an open question open answer! Do you consider a peaceful agreement between your father and me possible? ”

“Yes!”

“Would your father come to an interview with me?”

“If you ask him, I do not doubt it, but – I can not promise.”

“So! You can not promise anything. Does my daughter know about your love for her? ”

“Yes, Mr. Graf! We have closed the covenant of hearts and have praised our love and faithfulness for time and eternity, “replied Egenolf with a firm tone and an open view.

“Hm! I never would have thought of that. “Count Oswald wondered, and his keen intelligence quickly anticipated: Egenolf knows more than he wants to say. He thinks an agreement is possible, that is, as much as Schmasman wishes her. With that the bridge is broken, but I will not tread it to a retreat.

He got up and said, “Count, the mother has a say in the forgiveness of a daughter’s hand. Forgive me for a little while, I want to speak with the Countess. “He went out and left Egenolf alone.

Egenolf too had risen and returned the count slight bow. He felt strong and happy to courage, because it had not escaped him how approvingly Oswald had taken the added possibility of an agreement with his father.

He went to one of the windows and looked out across the Ried into the distance, to the Kaiserstuhl mountain range and the massive heights of the Black Forest. In the clear autumn air, even the Alps were visible today, with their snowy heads stretching like a long, silvery wall on the horizon from east to west, revealing their towering rugged and pointed peaks. Egenolf took a good sign for this cheerful sight, which rarely presents itself in such beauty. –

Count Oswald, who had struggled to conceal his joy over Egenolf’s highly surprising advertisement and the hopes he had for himself before his guest, took time to gather and think, and his wife urged him to communicate the amazing event.

In a great excitement he entered her with the words that had splashed out: “Margaret, think, who’s up with me! – Count Egenolf von Rappoltstein. And what does he want? – he is campaigning for the hand of Leontinen. ”

“Oswald! How is this possible? “Cried the Countess, leaping from her seat.

“I did not know myself how it happened to me when he came out with it,” replied the count. “What the is best of all, it comes with the knowledge and approval of his father.”

“A message of victory, Oswald!” Exulted Margarethe.

“Not true?”

“What did you answer him?”

“For now nothing more than that I could not dispose of the daughter’s hand without the consent of her mother. With the express intention to consult with you, I left him. What do we do now? I intend to be careful and reserved. ”

“Yes, that is well, but not repellent,” said the countess. “You set your conditions, before which there can be no marriage. First of all, you demand the confederation of his father, Count Maximin, against the Rathsamhausen. ”

“Of course!” Oswald nodded.

“Then,” continued Margarethe, “do you insist on or increase the demands which you consider necessary for the execution of your plans, as well as for the strengthening of your position of power?”

»Raise yet? Margarethe, let’s not stretch the bow too tightly! ”

“Do not be shy and stupid now!” She exclaimed firmly. “Such a good opportunity to enforce you and your will will not come back to you.”

“Certainly not,” Oswald admitted. “But I can not bargain with the young count over these things.”

“Negotiating with him Thou shalt not,” replied her, “but only to tell him that would not be thinking without prior agreement between you and his father to connect with us. Then listen to what he answers. Maybe he’ll come up with suggestions. ”

“He has no authority from his father for any promises.”

“Well, he’s coming with his approval; so he will have to make you certain offers, if not firm promises, “said the countess. “How far is he with Leontinen?”

“One heart and one soul!” Laughed the count.

“Really?” Said Margaret, eyes gleaming brightly, and a glad smile shining on her face like sunshine. “Oh, I am glad of her happiness, and with our consent we have in our hands a deposit in the hands of Schmasman, which we must not surrender under his value.”

“I agree with you completely,” replied Oswald, “but for Leontinen’s sake I must not make exaggerated demands, for if the negotiations with Schmasman fail, the happiness of our only daughter would be in ruins.”

“They will not fail,” answered Margaret briskly. “For his love, Egenolf will set heaven and hell in motion to create harmony between you and his father. Just stand firm and resolute, and do not rush too early for us to gain time. ”

“Do you know what?” Said the count, “come up to me with him and hear how he takes my decision.”

“Yes, that’s what I want to do,” said Margaret, and they both left. –

Growing impatient, Egenolf had paced up and down the room and was standing at the window again, more engrossed in his hopeful thoughts than in the sight of the magnificent landscape as the door sounded. Quickly he turned, and a bright gleam passed over his face, when he, accompanied by the entering Count, saw his wife, whom he kissed her with knightly politeness, kissing her hand.

Count Oswald immediately began with a firm but solemn tone: “Here we come, Mr. Earl, to inform you, on your honorable request, that you would be most welcome to us as Eidam, and that we would gladly entrust our daughter to you as a husband, if the circumstances would be different, as it is unfortunately the case. Therefore, I can only accept your advertisement if I receive a sure guarantee that in the fight with Herr Burkhard von Rathsamhausen and his friends, I will have your father as colleague by my side. Can you give me this guarantee in man’s name? ”

“No, Herr Graf, I can not do that,” replied Egenolf, concerned.

“Then I regret sincerely reject your application to have to,” said Oswald. “You will see for yourself that I can not help it,” he continued, when Egenolf was silent. “I can not give my daughter’s hand to the son of my enemy.”

Out of his deep consternation, Egenolf resorted to the reply: “My father is in some ways your opponent, but not in all circumstances your enemy, Herr Graf. I already told you when I asked you that I thought it would be possible to reach an agreement between you and him. ”

“The mere possibility is not enough for me, I must have certainty if I should fulfill your heart’s desire,” declared Count Oswald.

“You reject my advertisement, then?” Said Egenolf excitedly. “You, too, Frau Gräfin?” He turned to this.

Margarethe shrugged her shoulders and replied: “I can not do my husband wrong, Herr Graf, as much as I regret that I am unable, under the prevailing circumstances, to help you to your fortune.”

Egenolf glared darkly and said nothing.

“Do you have an order for my father, Herr Graf?” He asked, still hoping for some accommodation on the part of Count von Thierstein.

But Oswald answered, “An order? I knew not know what, Count. I have nothing to add to what I have told you. ”

That’s the farewell, Egenolf told himself, it’s just missing: there’s the door! He said dryly, dryly, “I have no more business here.”

Oswald involuntarily raised his eyebrows like someone astonished or frightened, and Margarethe made a movement as if to step forward and interfere.

But Egenolf went on, first calm, then gradually louder and more excited: “I go with a heavy heart, Mr. Graf, and take nothing but a painful disappointment. So that you know how you are with me, I hereby declare to you: whether feud or peace will be of Leontinen I will not leave as long as I have the life, and I will ask you again and again until you give me, and if you do not do that, I will come and fetch them. ”

Before Count Oswald could reply to these words spoken in a defiant, almost threatening tone, the door flew open, and hastily, with red-hot cheeks, Leontine entered.

“You did not call me, but I know what’s going on here,” she said, almost breathless from climbing fast stairs. “An eavesdropper at the door has told me, and when I decide on my fate, I want to be there.” With swift steps she reached Egenolf’s side, seized his hand, and drove off. “My father and mother, here I stand next to the one where I will always stand and who will become my husband and wife or no one else. You can tear me from his side, lock me up at the Hohkönigsburg, that I’ll never see him again, but you can not take my love from me; I swore it to him, it belongs to him and remains with him until my last breath. “Excited and exhausted, she leaned passionately against Eugenolf and clasped her head to his shoulder, which clasped her arm while his heart beat in joy ,

Count and Countess were speechless at this passionate exit. Margarethe looked with heartfelt pride on her courageous daughter.

“Leontine,” began Oswald after he had recovered, “you do not know what separates and separates the Rappoltstein and Thierstein families.”

“Oh, I know well, Father!” She cried, “this unfortunate feud, which could be avoided if there were goodwill on both sides. Egenolf, I ask you: do you not think that your father has the good will to do it? ”

“I am firmly convinced, Leontine,” replied Egenolf.

“And you, father? do not you have it? not to my liking either? “came Leontinen’s quivering lips.

“As quickly as I believe in your father’s good will not,” said Oswald, as if he had not heard the question put to him Leon Tinens. “He knows you’re here and why you’re here, but no greeting, no hint, not a word he has given you, from which I could conclude his goodwill to come to terms with me.”

“And yet, beyond all doubt, he has a sincere desire to keep you at peace,” said Egenolf.

“He may let me know! It is I who ask here for something that demands something, no more and no less than the giving of my only daughter. Why should I take the first step and shake hands with your father without knowing whether she will accept him? ”

“Father,” cried Leontine, “send me to Count Maximin! I bring you peace back, or you will not see me again! ”

Margarethe could not hold on any longer. Out of irresistible urgency she rushed to Leontinen, kissing and kissing her. “That’s right, my child!” Sobbed, she shouted, “but not you, not you! He will enter for your love as he is able and able. “At that moment, deeply moved and moved, she regretted having incited her husband to persist with Schmasman, and was now herself a victim to her happiness Child ready. “And you, Oswald,” she said to the count, “take a look at the two here and say a word as you is at heart!”

Count Oswald stood and looked from one to the other of the three, undecided and struggling with himself. Finally he began: “Well, Count Egenolf! so hear my last word that I have to tell you. I want to give you my daughter, on the condition that peace remains and becomes friendship between your father and me, after prior agreement on all points at issue. ”

“I accept the condition, Herr Graf!” Exclaimed Egenolf, taking a deep breath, and struck vigorously in Oswald’s offered hand.

“Father! Father! “Leontine cheered, stormily embracing him.

Oswald gently freed himself from her and said: “Now go to your father, Count Egenolf, tell him all that we have said here, and ask him to give me his suggestions.”

Egenolf looked at the count as if he wanted to read his soul before he came out with what was floating on his tongue. Then he began: “Herr Graf, first of all, let me suggest it myself. If it suits you and the lady countess, then I ride fast to the Ulrichsburg and come right back – with my parents. Your understanding could still be here today. ”

Count Oswald was startled. “Even today? in such a hurry? there are many things to consider and consider before – ”

The Countess interrupted him: “Yes, yes, that’s the way it should be. You can also consult and consider both gentlemen here. The proposal is good; execute him, Count Egenolf! ”

But Leontine put her arm in her lover’s, and looking up at him with a pleading look she said: “Egenolf, I do not want to leave you today. Could not we send messages to your parents asking them to come right up? ”

“Yes, we can, and we want that,” cried Egenolf. “You have the smartest idea.”

“Do you think they’ll come to this?” Oswald asked.

“I hope so confidently,” replied Egenolf. “I write a few lines to my father that you wish him to have an open discussion with him.”

“It would be a bit too much said that I wished her,” said Count Oswald. “It seems more correct to say that I am ready, not averse.”

“Leave me the words, Count,” begged Egenolf, “they are not to bind you to anything.”

“Well! there on my table you will find writing utensils; In the meantime I have Isinger called. “Oswald struck the blade at a shining metallic shell and ordered the entering servant to deliver the stable master.

As Egenolf had written, he stood up and said, with an inviting gesture: “Will not you, Mr. Graf -“?

“Me?” Said Oswald, “your request probably does not require any support from me.”

“Not that, but it would please my father-”

Oswald hesitated. He thought: do not I forgive myself for that? – no, he comes to me, I do not come to him. Then he leaned on the table and, standing fast, wrote only the words:

Reconciliemus nos!

O. v. T.

“Is there room for a line from me to your mother?” Asked Leontine mischievously.

“Certainly!” Smiled Egenolf, “come here!”

She sat down quickly and wrote, but did not suffer anyone to read what she had written.

Count Oswald folded the letter and sealed it.

Isinger appeared, and when he saw Egenolf standing side by side with Leontinen, he understood immediately, and a sly smile slid over his tanned features. Count Oswald commanded him: “Herni shall ride immediately after the Sanct Ulrichsburg and deliver this letter to Count Maximin von Rappoltstein. We expect the gentlemen here as soon as possible. ”

Isinger, taking the letter, bowed silently and left. In the stable yard he drove Herni to the greatest haste, gave him another saddled horse and said: “On this pious horse you bring Hans Loder up with me and order him that there is a good drink up here today. But go to it! ”

The midday meal was scheduled a few hours later, so that the cook had time enough to execute the order to prepare it very carefully and to insert two or three select courses. The whole of the castle became a joyous uproar when the occasion for this became known to him. Dimot danced with pleasure and made boastful hints, as if only her influential mediation had brought about the closed confederacy.

At Oswald’s invitation, Count Wilhelm and Countess Katharina now appeared with their siblings. “Look here, Wilhelm!” Cried Oswald to his brother. “We have already taken a prisoner.”

“Trapped in these lovely gangs,” Egenolf smiled as he approached the Count’s pair with Leontinen.

“Understand who can!” Said Count Wilhelm, “I do not understand a word of it. It seems that one must get used to surprises on the Hohkönigsburg. ”

“The next surprise for you will probably be,” replied Oswald, “that we are expecting Count Maximin von Rappoltstein and his friends here. You must therefore be patient with the midday meal. ”

“Well, if it pays off afterwards, I will gladly fast and mortify myself,” laughed Wilhelm.

Oswald took him aside and gave him the necessary explanations which Wilhelm seemed to hear with evident satisfaction.

The time of waiting, which Allen spent longer than it was because more than one important decision was to be made after its expiration, was sought by a somewhat forced conversation to drive past indifferent things without, in a word, touching the process itself had played here in the hour just passed. It was as if Egenolf was just a random guest and nothing more.

It therefore seemed like a salvation, when finally the arrival of the Rappoltsteiner was reported. Oswald hurried down the spiral staircase to the inner courtyard to receive the Highly Welcome.

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