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 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."
We returned to Necharsteinach, plunged our hot heads
into the trough at the town pump, and then went to the
hotel and ate our trout dinner in leisurely comfort,
in the garden, with the beautiful Neckar flowing at our feet,
the quaint Dilsberg looming beyond, and the graceful
towers and battlements of a couple of medieval castles
(called the "Swallow's Nest"  and "The Brothers.")
assisting the rugged scenery of a bend of the river
down to our right.