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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/628

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

contemplating his "great and wonderful treasure, more precious than all the gold in the world," when it struck him that the chest in which the relics were contained was quite unworthy of its contents; and after vespers he gave orders to one of the sacristans to take the measure of the chest in order that a more fitting shrine might be constructed. The man, having lighted a wax candle and raised the pall which covered the relics, in order to carry out his master's orders, was astonished and terrified to observe that the chest was covered with a blood-like exudation (loculum mirum in modum, humore sanguineo undique distillantem), and at once sent a message to Eginhard.

Then I and those priests who accompanied me beheld this stupendous miracle, worthy of all admiration. For just as when it is going to rain, pillars and slabs and marble images exude moisture, and, as it were, sweat, so the chest which contained the most sacred relics was found moist with the blood exuding on all sides. (Cap. ii, 16.)

Three days' fast was ordained in order that the meaning of the portent might be ascertained. All that happened, however, was that at the end of that time the "blood," which had been exuding in drops all the while, dried up. Eginhard is careful to say that the liquid "had a saline taste, something like that of tears, and was thin as water, though of the color of true blood," and he clearly thinks this satisfactory evidence that it was blood.

The same night another servant had a vision, in which still more imperative orders for the removal of the relics were given; and, from that time forth, "not a single night passed without one, two, or even three of our companions receiving revelations in dreams that the bodies of the saints were to be transferred from that place to another." At last a priest, Hildfrid, saw, in a dream, a venerable white-haired man in a priest's vestments, who bitterly reproached Eginhard for not obeying the repeated orders of the saints, and upon this the journey was commenced. Why Eginhard delayed obedience to these repeated visions so long does not appear. He does not say so in so many words, but the general tenor of the narrative leads one to suppose that Mulinheim (afterward Seligenstadt) is the "solitary place" in which he had built the church which awaited dedication. In that case all the people about him would know that he desired that the saints should go there. If a glimmering of secular sense led him to be a little suspicious about the real cause of the unanimity of the visionary beings who manifested themselves to his entourage in favor of moving on, he does not say so.

At the end of the first day's journey the precious relics were deposited in the church of St. Martin, in the village of Ostheim. Hither a paralytic nun (sanctimonialis quædam paralytica) of the