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Farina by George Meredith

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the monks.

So with genuflexions the travellers proceeded, and entered the boats by
the Archbishop's White Tower. Hammerstein Castle and Rheineck they
floated under; Salzig and the Ahr confluence; Rolandseck and Nonnenwerth;
Drachenfels and Bonn; hills green with young vines; dells waving fresh
foliage. Margarita sang as they floated. Ancient ballads she sang that
made the Goshawk sigh for home, and affected the Club with delirious love
for the grand old water that was speeding them onward. Aunt Lisbeth was
not to be moved. She alone held down her head. She looked not Gottlieb
in the face as he embraced her. Nor to any questioning would she
vouchsafe reply. From that time forth, she was charity to woman; and the
exuberant cheerfulness and familiarity of the men toward her soon grew
kindly and respectful. The dragon in Aunt Lisbeth was destroyed. She
objected no more to Margarita's cameo.

The Goshawk quickly made peace with his lord, and enjoyed the
commendation of the Kaiser. Dietrich Schill thought of challenging him;
but the Club had graver business: and this was to pass sentence on
Berthold Schmidt for the crime of betraying the White Rose into the hands
of Werner. They had found Berthold at the Eck, and there consented to
let him remain until ransom was paid for his traitorous body. Berthold
in his mad passion was tricked by Werner, and on his release, by payment
of the ransom, submitted to the judgement of the Club, which condemned
him to fight them all in turn, and then endure banishment from Rhineland;
the Goshawk, for his sister's sake, interceding before a harsher


Seven days Kaiser Heinrich remained camped outside Cologne. Six times in
six successive days the Kaiser attempted to enter the city, and was

'Beard of Barbarossa!' said the Kaiser, 'this is the first stronghold
that ever resisted me.'

The warrior bishops, electors, pfalzgrafs, and knights of the Empire, all
swore it was no shame not to be a match for the Demon.

'If,' said the reflective Kaiser, 'we are to suffer below what poor
Cologne is doomed to undergo now, let us, by all that is savoury, reform
and do penance.'

The wind just then setting on them dead from Cologne made the courtiers
serious. Many thought of their souls for the first time.

This is recorded to the honour of Monk Gregory.

On the seventh morning, the Kaiser announced his determination to make a
last trial.

It was dawn, and a youth stood before the Kaiser's tent, praying an

Conducted into the presence of the Kaiser, the youth, they say, succeeded
in arousing him from his depression, for, brave as he was, Kaiser
Heinrich dreaded the issue. Forthwith order was given for the cavalcade
to set out according to the rescript, Kaiser Heinrich retaining the youth
at his right hand. But the youth had found occasion to visit Gottlieb
and Margarita, each of whom he furnished with a flash,[flask ?] curiously
shaped, and charged with a distillation.

As the head of the procession reached the gates of Cologne, symptoms of
wavering were manifest.

Kaiser Heinrich commanded an advance, at all cost.

Pfalzgraf Nase, as the old chronicles call him in their humour, but
assuredly a great noble, led the van, and pushed across the draw-bridge.

Hesitation and signs of horror were manifest in the assemblage round the
Kaiser's person. The Kaiser and the youth at his right hand were cheery.
Not a whit drooped they! Several of the heroic knights begged the
Kaiser's permission to fall back.

'Follow Pfalzgraf Nase!' the Kaiser is reported to have said.

Great was the wonderment of the people of Cologne to behold Kaiser
Heinrich riding in perfect stateliness up the main street toward the
Cathedral, while right and left of him bishops and electors were dropping

The Kaiser advanced till by his side the youth rode sole.

'Thy name?' said the Kaiser.

He answered: 'A poor youth, unconquerable Kaiser! Farina I am called.'

'Thy recompense?' said the Kaiser.

He answered: 'The hand of a maiden of Cologne, most gracious Kaiser and

'She is thine!' said the Kaiser.

Kaiser Heinrich looked behind him, and among a host grasping the pommels
of their saddles, and reeling vanquished, were but two erect, a maiden
and an old man.

'That is she, unconquerable Kaiser!' Farina continued, bowing low.

'It shall be arranged on the spot,' said the Kaiser.

A word from Kaiser Heinrich sealed Gottlieb's compliance.

Said he: 'Gracious Kaiser and master! though such a youth could of
himself never have aspired to the possession of a Groschen, yet when the
Kaiser pleads for him, objection is as the rock of Moses, and streams
consent. Truly he has done Cologne good service, and if Margarita, my
daughter, can be persuaded--'

The Kaiser addressed her with his blazing brows.

Margarita blushed a ready autumn of rosy-ripe acquiescence.

'A marriage registered yonder!' said the Kaiser, pointing upward.

'I am thine, murmured Margarita, as Farina drew near her.

'Seal it! seal it!' quoth the Kaiser, in hearty good humour; 'take no
consent from man or maid without a seal.'

Farina tossed the contents of a flask in air, and saluted his beloved on
the lips.

This scene took place near the charred round of earth where the Foulest
descended to his kingdom below.

Men now pervaded Cologne with flasks, purifying the atmosphere. It
became possible to breathe freely.

'We Germans,' said Kaiser Heinrich, when he was again surrounded by his
courtiers, 'may go wrong if we always follow Pfalzgraf Nase; but this
time we have been well led.' Whereat there was obsequious laughter.

The Pfalzgraf pleaded a susceptible nostril.

'Thou art, I fear, but a timid mortal,' said the Kaiser.

'Never have I been found so on the German Field, Imperial Majesty!'
returned the Pfalzgraf. 'I take glory to myself that this Nether reek
overcomes me.'

'Even that we must combat, you see!' exclaimed Kaiser Heinrich; 'but come
all to a marriage this night, and take brides as soon as you will, all of
you. Increase, and give us loyal subjects in plenty. I count prosperity
by the number of marriages in my empire!'

The White Rose Club were invited by Gottlieb to the wedding, and took it
in vast wrath until they saw the, Kaiser, and such excellent stout German
fare present, when immediately a battle raged as to who should do the
event most honour, and was in dispute till dawn: Dietrich Schill being
the man, he having consumed wurst the length of his arm, and wine
sufficient to have floated a St. Goar salmon; which was long proudly
chronicled in his family, and is now unearthed from among the ancient
honourable records of Cologne.

The Goshawk was Farina's bridesman, and a very spiriting bridesman was
he! Aunt Lisbeth sat in a corner, faintly smiling.

'Child!' said the little lady to Margarita when they kissed at parting,
'your courage amazes me. Do you think? Do you know? Poor, sweet bird,
delivered over hand and foot!'

'I love him! I love him, aunty! that's all I know,' said Margarita:
'love, love, love him!'

'Heaven help you!' ejaculated Aunt Lisbeth.

'Pray with me,' said Margarita.

The two knelt at the foot of the bride-bed, and prayed very different
prayers, but to the same end. That done, Aunt Lisbeth helped undress the
White Rose, and trembled, and told a sad nuptial anecdote of the Castle,
and put her little shrivelled hand on Margarita's heart, and shrieked.

'Child! it gallops!' she cried.

''Tis happiness,' said Margarita, standing in her hair.

'May it last only!' exclaimed Aunt Lisbeth.

'It will, aunty! I am humble: I am true'; and the fair girl gathered the
frill of her nightgown.

'Look not in the glass,' said Lisbeth; 'not to-night! Look, if you can,

She smoothed the White Rose in her bed, tucked her up, and kissed her,
leaving her as a bud that waits for sunshine.


The shadow of Monk Gregory was seen no more in Cologne. He entered the
Calendar, and ranks next St. Anthony. For three successive centuries the
towns of Rhineland boasted his visits in the flesh, and the conqueror of
Darkness caused dire Rhenish feuds.

The Tailed Infernal repeated his famous Back-blow on Farina. The youth
awoke one morning and beheld warehouses the exact pattern of his own,
displaying flasks shaped even as his own, and a Farina to right and left
of him. In a week, they were doubled. A month quadrupled them. They

'Fame and Fortune,' mused Farina, 'come from man and the world: Love is
from heaven. We may be worthy, and lose the first. We lose not love
unless unworthy. Would ye know the true Farina? Look for him who walks
under the seal of bliss; whose darling is for ever his young sweet bride,
leading him from snares, priming his soul with celestial freshness.
There is no hypocrisy can ape that aspect. Least of all, the creatures
of the Damned! By this I may be known.'

Seven years after, when the Goshawk came into Cologne to see old friends,
and drink some of Gottlieb's oldest Rudesheimer, he was waylaid by false
Farinas; and only discovered the true one at last, by chance, in the
music-gardens near the Rhine, where Farina sat, having on one hand
Margarita, and at his feet three boys and one girl, over whom both bent
lovingly, like the parent vine fondling its grape bunches in summer


A generous enemy is a friend on the wrong side
All are friends who sit at table
Be what you seem, my little one
Bed was a rock of refuge and fortified defence
Civil tongue and rosy smiles sweeten even sour wine
Dangerous things are uttered after the third glass
Everywhere the badge of subjection is a poor stomach
Face betokening the perpetual smack of lemon
Gratitude never was a woman's gift
It was harder to be near and not close
Loving in this land: they all go mad, straight off
Never reckon on womankind for a wise act
Sign that the evil had reached from pricks to pokes
So are great deeds judged when the danger's past (as easy)
Soft slumber of a strength never yet called forth
Suspicion was her best witness
Sweet treasure before which lies a dragon sleeping
We like well whatso we have done good work for
Weak reeds who are easily vanquished and never overcome
Weak stomach is certainly more carnally virtuous than a full one
Wins everywhere back a reflection of its own kindliness

[The End]


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