Already the forest began to piece by piece its many-colored autumn dress, which, worked on cool nights, showed up every morning more colorful and piebald. The foliage in the beech tops reddened, the leaflets of the birches, scattered among the dark softwood, trembled and fluttered like beaten gold, and the twigs of the rowan trees dipped under the abundance of their grapes of bright scarlet.
The air was crystal clear and fresh, and breathed pleasantly into the horsemen who were riding down the forest path from Hohkönigsburg.
Isabella and Bruno were. He had asked her for the favor of being allowed to escort her to Rappoltsweiler, and thus met a quiet wish from her. However, Leontine had helped a little by saying to Bruno, even before Bruno had intended to break with Leontine at the same time, “If you two are down the hill together with Sanct Pilt in front of you, you’ll have to turn right, otherwise you can easily get lost. “This had been a clear nod to Bruno, for whom he was very grateful to Leontine, for it was obvious that he offered Isabella his knightly protection, which he veiled without it Request might not have dared.
The conversation of the two moved as smoothly as the pace of their horses, turning around indifferent things and staying farthest from what lay closest to their hearts. More intimate than the lips spoke the eyes of the two, when their eyes met, held fast and did not let go so soon.
The sun had already reached more than three-quarters of its noon height when Isabella, stretching in the saddle and pointing to a lonely rider, exclaimed: “Here comes Egenolf! he had promised to join me on my way back. “She waved to her brother with her cloth, and he galloped his horse to his feet.
“Where did you both meet?” He asked as he offered his hand and turned his horse to join them.
“Up on the Hohkönigsburg,” answered Isabella in a jubilant tone.
“At the Hohkönigsburg? You were at the Hohkönigsburg, Bruno? “Said Egenolf, involuntarily pulling the reins in as if he had to stop at this strange customer.
“Day and night; why should not I? “said Bruno.
“Day and night! Did you have anything important to do there? ”
“Yes, most important!” Isabella laughed brightly. “The master of the stable, by the way, will make you salute me many times,” she added, blinking mischievously at his brother.
“That pleases me very much; I thank you, dear sister! – Did you find good reception up there? “Egenolf usually addressed this question to Bruno, whose visit to the Thiersteiner he wanted to know more about.
“The most allergenic,” replied Bruno. “I have never seen Count Oswald so obliging and amiable.”
A human being would be smart! thought Egenolf. Does not he know anything about his father’s revenge plans? or has he already denied the count? but then hospitably received? incomprehensible! He rode along beside Bruno, pondering.
“If you shoot a wolf again, Egenolf, think of your dear sister,” Isabella began after a while.
“He shot one just recently,” Bruno remarked.
“Yes, of course, but heaven knows where he left his fur,” said Isabella, “and I should have needed him so well in front of my bed.”
“Sanct Huberti halo! You should not have said that in vain, Countess Isabella! “Bruno conceded,” from today on, no one is safe from me. ”
“Then woe to the wolves in the Wasgenwald!” She laughed.
“Your sister can sing, Egenolf, as I have not heard before on earth,” Bruno’s mouth was excited. “I did not know that.”
“And your friend can play chess, – admirable!” She mocked. “Every turn he makes three times, and then he does it wrong.”
“Do you play chess when -”
“If you sing, you want to say,” she said teasingly, “I’ll keep watch!”
“The chess pieces danced on the board with joy at your singing.”
“But it was a death dance; they sank like mowed. ”
“Because I was not with them , but with all your senses, Isab – Countess Isabella!”
“Checkmate, Jungherr Bruno! that was the end of the song. ”
“I will not forget your song in life!”
Egenolf heard the courageous speeches of the two with increasing amazement, and fell into a true maze of thoughts and conjectures. What had Bruno to do with the Hohkönigsburg? In his father’s job, yes with his knowledge only he had not been up. Had he ridden up to conquer Leontinen’s favor? That was the most probable thing, but if that had really been his intention, she did not seem to succeed. First of all, Leontine greet him himself, which would hardly have come to her if she had graciously accepted and accepted Bruno’s advertisement. And second, in this case, Isabella, whose quiet affection for Bruno’s brother was no secret, would not be so hilariously funny. But even Bruno betrayed an exuberant cheerfulness that had nothing forced, made. How could he be in such good humor if he had knocked on Leontinen’s door and turned away from her? For the arrangement of such strange, contradictory circumstances, Egenolf found only one rational explanation: Bruno had lost his heart, which he intended to lay at Leontinen’s feet, to Isabella up there, as had chess to Count Oswald. The sudden change in the mutual behavior of those riding beside him was so obvious and so unequivocal that there was no longer any doubt about it: the two loved each other. This discovery filled him with great joy. He allowed the sister to the friend who was worthy of her in every respect, and he basked in the blessing of the sister, that her veiled love was now returned by the friend.
So they had approached Rappoltsweiler, and Bruno said something meekly, “When will we meet again, Egenolf?”
“You can ask me that when we leave each other,” Egenolf replied. “You’re coming up to Ulrichsburg with us now?”
“Do you mean? that was not my intention. What do you say to that, Countess Isabella? “Bruno turned to them.
Isabella spoke in a low voice: “I mean, you should not refuse my brother’s request.”
“Well, you see! You can not resist such strong persuasion, “laughed Egenolf. “Of course you come along, you know, that you’re welcome to my parents,” he added, catching a grateful look from his sister, whom he returned with a friendly mischievous smile.
“I am glad to come with you,” replied Bruno cheerfully, who had long been waiting for this invitation.
So they rode up together to St. Ulrichsburg, and Egenolf bore no small curiosity as to what his father would say to Bruno’s visit to the Hohkönigsburg.
Bruno was cordially welcomed in the castle, and Count Schmasman made him feel none of it, which annoyed and distressed him for his father’s sake.
Isabella told of her excellent reception with the Thiersteiners, ordered her mother the joyful gratitude of Countess Margaret for the girdle, and informed her that Leontine had promised her a return visit.
“And where you come you here, Bruno?” Asked Schmasman so casually.
“Also from the Hohkönigsburg,” answered Bruno.
“But you were not at the top of the castle? not in it? ”
“Sent by your father?”
“Yes, what did you want there?”
“I wanted to ask the stable master Isinger, the much-vaunted Kurschmied, for advice about my heart-sapping scepter.”
Then Egenolf burst into bright laughter. Now the riddle is solved, he thought; because of his heartfelt symbole, he has ridden the long way, not to conquer a hot girl’s heart, and how I have tormented myself with the discovery of his deeply hidden attacks! “The Isinger will have brought you a beautiful bear,” he could not refrain from saying.
“I almost believe it myself,” replied Bruno, approvingly approving of his friend’s laughter.
Schmasman remained very serious and continued his questions: “Did you speak to Count Oswald?”
“Certainly! He has led me around the castle, showing me all the defenses, and explaining to me the specific purpose of each one. ”
“He has shown you the works?” Said Schmasman amazed. “Well, Bruno, Your dämpfiger Rappe was surely only a pretext for your visit, and if not explicit in your father’s order, so surely his quiet Wink You let out by Count Oswald the new fixtures show as accurate; I only wonder that he did it. ”
“He offered it himself without my request.”
Schmasman stared at Count Oswald’s preference, as if he did not understand all that. Then he said, “So you can now specify the points at which to be berennen castle most likely to storm and when you should ask someone then?”
“I think they are impregnable,” replied Bruno. “But, Herr Graf, who is thinking of storming the Hohkönigsburg?”
“Your father, Bruno!”
Bruno sat there, as if struck on the mouth; he hardly said, “My father?”
“Yes, he had a hard fight with Count Oswald and wants to take revenge on him, to refuse him to fight with fire and sword. I thought you had already delivered the feudal letter to him when I heard that you were coming from the Hohkönigsburg. ”
“My father did not say a word to me about that; but he does not know that I have ridden there, “said Bruno, excited and frightened.
“Just keep listening! the feud is decided; Your father persuaded even me, and I have him promised my help. But after careful consideration and for serious reasons, I have made sense to others, and if you had not come here today, tomorrow I would have let your father know my change of will. Now you order him to resign from the feud scheme against the Thiersteiner. ”
“And if my father asks me for your reasons?”
“Then tell him-,” began Shashman, with sudden violence, but quickly conquered, and went on more calmly, “Tell him I do not think a quarrel with the full cup of a bloody feud is worthy.”
“With this message, I’ll find a bad reception at home,” Bruno said worriedly.
“What can you do for it!” Consoled him, Schmasman. “But perhaps your father will think better of it when he hears that I do not want to go along.”
Bruno shook his head and said: “Difficult; What he once put into his head does not bring him anything in the world. ”
“Oh, I know him,” said Shasman, “he will rage against me.”
After that, it remained silent in the circle for a while. The others had not taken part in the conversation, not even Countess Herzelande. Isabella, hearing of these dangers for the first time, felt painfully that her friend Leontine and her parents were threatened by such bitter hostility. Bruno It was heavy on the chest, causing him to rush out of the blue sky. He foresaw the outbreak of a sharp, perhaps fatal discord between his father and the Earl of Rappoltstein, which could destroy his youthful hopes for the former possession of Isabella. From his visit to the Hohkönigsburg his father could not blame him. Why had not Burkhard trusted him, had he not initiated him into these disastrous conditions, as Schmasman must have done to his son, for Eugenolf had not been surprised at the regrettable news. And yet it was Bruno’s dear that until now he had known nothing about it,
The mood at St. Ulrichsburg was a depressed one, as much as Herzelande endeavored to keep the conversation, which she had cleverly led to other unspoiled areas, reasonably underway. Egenolf was the only one who could regard the turn of things as they were today as a favorable one for him and his heart’s content, after hearing from his father’s mouth the decision not to oppose the Thiersteiner, but free from it He did not feel all the burdensome pressure. His friend and sister lasted him, and more than once he saw how the two exchanged a sad glance, as each of the others: what will become of us?
Bruno wanted to set out and ride home to withstand as soon as possible the storm that would pour from his father’s wrath upon him and then get over it. However, he was easily persuaded to stay by Schmasman and Herzelande, who knew him from Klein and therefore still called her.
Finally, Allen’s desire to shake off the compulsion of circumstances that had nothing to change for the time being, and in that endeavor came in the evening when Egenolf successfully pressed for a few heartbeats from the castle cellar. still a very enjoyable get-together. Even Schmasman, who found some reassurance in the fact that he had lost his will because of the feud of the soul and Burkhard now received news of it, was resolved to now give himself to a joyful sociability, and enjoyed with pleasure the noble drops that are his today she had an overbearing son served up. And Herzelande, the noble and charming, clever and mildly distasteful lady of the castle, sitting with laughing eyes, was glad to see him cheerful again.
When the old bringer of joy, who had never failed his profession, had stirred the spirits of life, Bruno suddenly turned to Schmasman with an almost solemn tone and said: “Count, I have a request to you, a great request.”
Isabella was startled and cast a fearful glance at her brother, who also realized that he was not going to -?
“Let them hear, Bruno!” Shouted Schmasman, affectionately and inclined to him.
Bruno began: “The Piper King has locked our Seppele von Ottrott in the tower for nine days for a mocking song on the Falkenwirth in Grendelbruch. Half of his life he has already served the sentence, and now I ask you to be the guardian and feudal lord of the minstrels: let him in grace do the other half and release the seppel. You would please my father with it, and it would add little to his soothing if I could deliver to him after the other, very unwelcome, the comforting news of Seppele’s release. ”
Isabella breathed, and Egenolf himself had to smile about the hastiness he had hoped his friend Bruno had.
Schmasman did not reply immediately, but when Herzelande eagerly nodded to him, he said: “Well, your request should be fulfilled, Bruno. Egenolf may ride down to Rappoltsweiler tomorrow with you; Then you go to the Frohnvogt and announce to him in my name Seppele’s pardon. Then you can take the non-profit right away. ”
“I thank you very much, Herr Graf!” Bruno said, and now he was quite tidy and in good spirits.
Not long after, the two ladies retired, but the three gentlemen continued to indulge, until Schmasman declared, “That’s enough; sleep well, you two! ”
Gladly Bruno would have remained alone with Egenolf to confess his love for Isabella at the cup, but that was what Egenolf wanted to avoid today. He therefore spoke: “Come! It’s getting late. ”
They too rose and went to their sleeping quarters.