Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/193

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181
THE END OF THE JOKE.

"Good stranger, I have no friends, all are at rest these many years; ye speak me fair, ye mean me well, but I know ye not; I am alone and forlorn in the world,—prithee lead me to her grave."

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UNDER THE LINDEN.

During two years Conrad spent his days, from the early morning till the night, under the linden tree, mourning over the imaginary grave of his Catharina. Catharina was the only company of the harmless madman. He was very friendly toward her because, as he said, in some ways she reminded him of his Catharina whom he had lost "fifty years ago." He often said,—

"She was so gay, so happy-hearted,—but you never smile; and always when you think I am not looking, you cry."

When Conrad died, they buried him under the linden, according to his directions, so that he might rest "near his poor Catharina." Then Catharina sat under the linden alone, every day and all day long, a great many years, speaking to no one, and never smiling; and at last her long repentance was rewarded with death, and she was buried by Conrad's side.

Harris pleased the captain by saying it was a good legend; and pleased him further by adding,—

"Now that I have seen this mighty tree, vigorous with its four hundred years, I feel a desire to believe the legend for its sake; so I will humor the desire, and consider that the tree really watches over those poor hearts and feels a sort of human tenderness for them."