836 THE ICE MAIDEN
kiss of Death conquered that which was to pass away ; the prologue ended that the true drama of life might begin, and discord was blended into harmony.
Do you call that a sorrowful story ?
But poor Babette. Her anguish was unspeakable. The boat drifted farther and farther away. No one on the mainland knew that the betrothed pair had gone over to the little island. The sun went down and it became dark. She stood alone, weepingódespairing. A storm came on : flash after flash lit up the Jura mountains, Switzerland and Savoy ; flash upon flash on all sides, the rolling thunder≠clap mingling with clap for minutes together. The gleams of lightning were sometimes bright as the sun, showing every separate vine as at noonday, and the next moment all would be shrouded in darkness. The flashes were forked, ring-shaped, wavy ; they darted into the lake and glittered on every side, while the rolling of the thunder was redoubled by the echo. On the mainland, people drew the boats high up on the shore ; everything that had life hastened to get under shelter; and now the rain came pouring down.
' Where can Rudy and Babette be in this tempest ? ■ said the miller.
Babette sat with folded hands, her head on her knees, speechless with grief ; she no longer moaned or wept.
1 In the deep waters ! ' was the one thought in her mind. ' He is far down in the lakes as if under the glacier.'
And then arose in her the remembrance of what R-udy had told concerning the death of his mother and his own rescue ; how he had been borne forth, like a corpse, from the depths of the glacier.
' The Ice Maiden has got him again ! '
And a flash of lightning glared like sunshine over the white snow. Babette started up. The whole lake was at this moment like a shining glacier ; and there stood the Ice Maiden, majestic, with a bluish-white light upon her, and at her feet lay Rudy's corpse.
1 Mine 1' she said.
And again there was darkness all around, and the crash of falling waters.
* How cruel! ' groaned Babette. ' Why must he die