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The Roses of Saint Elizabeth

The Roses of Saint Elizabeth
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Title: The Roses of Saint Elizabeth
Release Date: 2019-01-22
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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THE ROSES OF SAINT ELIZABETH


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Half-title page

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WORKS OF
JANE SCOTT WOODRUFF

The Little Christmas Shoe$ .50
The Roses of Saint Elizabeth1.00

L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
New England Building
Boston, Mass.


Frontispiece
So trustful of their little mistress
(See page 33)

Title page

The Roses of
Saint Elizabeth

BY
Jane Scott Woodruff

Author of
The Little Christmas Shoe,” etc.

ILLUSTRATED IN COLOURS BY
Adelaide Eberhart

L. C. Page & Company

Boston     Mcmvi


Copyright page

Copyright, 1905, by
L. C. PAGE & COMPANY

(Incorporated)


All rights reserved

Published August, 1905


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


TO
My husband


Illustrations

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

 PAGE
“So trustful of their little mistress”(See page 33)Frontispiece
“It was the Ivy which hadspoken”29
“The breath of roses all abouther”68
“She beheld ... a wretchedbeggar, shivering with cold”75
“Long they sat there by theRose-bush”146

1
Cover
THE ROSES OF SAINT ELIZABETH

I.

F

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

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

To many persons the life of this nine-year-old girl might perhaps seemvery dull; but in Katrina’s happy nature was the spirit of contentment.However, she had one keen desire,—it was to see inside the ancientcastle. And sometimes, when there were visitors going in, she would begher 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 tenderplant as thou.”

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

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

But by degrees much that was weird, as well as romantic, began to weaveitself about the child’s more practical existence like bright threadswoven into gray. And4 little by little, through a means singularlystrange, she came to be familiar with many of the legends and historictales relating to this old Thuringian fortress.

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

Fritz, to be sure, was five years older than Katrina, but this onlyserved to make the lad feel responsible as her protector. When a verylittle 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 takenfrom him, the5 seeds of chivalry she had sown in his heart promised tobe fruitful.

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

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

“My little Fritz, thou art in the6 room which sheltered the greatMartin Luther when he was a lad scarcely older than thyself. Ponderwell what I am telling thee, and when thou art older thou must learnabout the splendid work that Luther did. And there,” the mother added,as she pointed to the portrait of a sweet-faced woman, “is the goodWidow Cotta. It was she who heard little Martin Luther singing in thestreets, and, out of the goodness of her mother-heart, for she hadchildren of her own, took him in and gave him a home here with her ownfamily.”

That was all his mother had told him about Martin Luther, but itaroused in Fritz a desire to know more about the boy who had earned themoney to go to7 school by singing carols in these same streets wherehe, 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 tinypanes, saying, as he did so:

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

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

“Some day I’ll take thee there, Katrina, indeed I will, and show theethe 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’mgrown to be a woman like my own, dear mütterchen, I’m going to givemoney 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 knowwhat a great man he was going to be. But,” she added, after a moment’spause, “maybe it was the home the good Frau Cotta gave him more thanthe money that helped to make him great.”

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

For a long while they had been sitting there, their faces toward thewestern sky, when suddenly both gave a start, while into Katrina’s eyescame 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?”

II.

K

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 gameshere in its very shadow, for how many ages this same castle has beenwatching the play, not only of children, but of men and women grown!”

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

“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 whospoke stood close beside me, and yet, I look all about, and can see nohuman being but thyself. Art thou playing me some prank, little one?But thou couldst not change thy sweet treble for deep bass.” And theboy laughed gaily at such a notion.

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

“If you’d only tell us some of the wonderful things you’ve seen, we’dbe 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 nearerto Katrina. They were filled with a curiosity to hear what the strangevoice 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 ofmy own presence here. Well, if you will have it so, then follow thedirections that I give you. Go, both of you,13 and study carefully thatgreat stone pillar near the entrance yonder. Come back, and tell mewhat you find carved upon its double capital.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The greatest of all treasures! I pray you tell us what the greatesttreasure 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 busywith preparations for their supper.

“Come in, Fritz, and break the evening bread with us; thou art

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