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Title: Napoleon and Blücher: An Historical Novel
Author: Mühlbach, L. (Luise)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Napoleon and Blücher: An Historical Novel" ***

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NAPOLEON IN GERMANY

NAPOLEON AND BLUCHER

An historical Novel

BY

L MUHLBACH



TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY F. JORDAN



CONTENTS.


NAPOLEON AT DRESDEN.

      I. Frederick William and Hardenberg
     II. The White Lady
    III. Napoleon and the White Lady
     IV. Napoleon at Dresden
      V. Napoleon's High-born Ancestors
     VI. Napoleon's Departure from Dresden



THE LAST DAYS OF 1812.

    VII. The Conspirators of Helgoland
   VIII. The European Conspiracy
     IX. Gebhard Leberecht Blucher
      X. Recollections of Mecklenburg
     XI. Glad Tidings
    XII. The Oath



CHANCELLOR VON HARDENBERG.

   XIII. The Interrupted Supper
    XIV. The Defection of General York
     XV. The Warning
    XVI. The Diplomatist
   XVII. The Clairvoyante
  XVIII. An Adventuress
    XIX. The Two Diplomatists
     XX. The Attack
    XXI. The Courier's Return



THE VOLUNTEERS.

   XXII. The Manifesto
  XXIII. Leonora Prohaska
   XXIV. Joan of Orleans
    XXV. The National Representatives



WAR AND AN ARMISTICE.

   XXVI. Theodore Korner
  XXVII. The Heroic Tailor
 XXVIII. The General-in-Chief of the Silesian Army
   XXIX. The Ball at the City Hall of Breslau
    XXX. The Appointment
   XXXI. After the Battle of Bautzen
  XXXII. Bad News
 XXXIII. The Traitors
  XXXIV. Napoleon and Metternich



DELIVERANCE OF GERMANY.

   XXXV. On the Katzbach
  XXXVI. Blucher as a Writer
 XXXVII. The Revolt of the Generals
XXXVIII. The Battle of Leipsic
  XXXIX. The Nineteenth of October



HANNIBAL ANTE PORTAS.

     XL. Blucher's Birthday
    XLI. Passage of the Rhine
   XLII. Napoleon's New-Year's-Day
  XLIII. The King of Rome
   XLIV. Josephine
    XLV. Talleyrand
   XLVI. Madame Letitia



FALL OF PARIS.

  XLVII. The Battle of La Rothiere
 XLVIII. The Diseased Eyes
   XLIX. On to Paris!
      L. Departure of Maria Louisa
     LI. The Capitulation of Paris
    LII. Night and Morning near Paris
   LIII. Napoleon at Fontainebleau
    LIV. A Soul in Purgatory



NAPOLEON AND BLUCHER.



NAPOLEON AT DRESDEN.


CHAPTER I.

FREDERICK WILLIAM AND HARDENBERG.


It was a fine, warm day in May, 1812. The world was groaning under
the yoke of Napoleon's tyranny. As a consolation for the hopeless
year, came the laughing spring. Fields, forests, and meadows, were
clad in beautiful verdure; flowers were blooming, and birds were
singing everywhere--even at Charlottenburg, which King Frederick
William formerly delighted to call his "pleasure palace," but which
now was his house of mourning. At Charlottenburg, Frederick William
had spent many and happy spring days with Queen Louisa; and when she
was with him at this country-seat, it was indeed a pleasure palace.

The noble and beautiful queen was also now at Charlottenburg, but
the king only felt her presence--he beheld her no more. Her merry
remarks and charming laughter had ceased, as also her sighs and
suffering; her radiant eyes had closed forever, and her sweet lips
spoke no more. She was still at Charlottenburg, but only as a
corpse. The king had her mausoleum erected in the middle of the
garden. Here lay her coffin, and room had been left for another, as
Frederick William intended to repose one day at the side of his
Louisa.

From the time that the queen's remains had been deposited there--
from that day of anguish and tears--the king called Charlottenburg
no longer his "pleasure palace." It was henceforth a tomb, where his
happiness and love were buried. Still, he liked to remain there, for
it seemed to him as though he felt the presence of the spirit of his
blessed queen, and understood better what she whispered to his soul
in the silent nights when she consoled him, and spoke of heaven and
a renewed love. The bereaved husband, however, did not prefer to
dwell in the magnificent abode of his ancestors, where he had
formerly passed in spring so many happy days with his beloved
Louisa. He had, therefore, a small house near the palace; it was
into this plain and humble structure that he had retired with his
grief-stricken heart. Here, in his solitude, he had already passed
two springs.

The second year had nearly elapsed since the queen's death, and
Frederick William's heart was still overburdened with sorrow, but
yet he had learned what time teaches all mortals--he had learned to
be resigned. Yes, resignation in these melancholy days was the only
thing that remained to the unfortunate King of Prussia. It was a sad
and difficult duty, for he had lost happiness, love, greatness, and
even his royal independence. It is true, he was still called King of
Prussia, but he was powerless. He had to bow to the despotic will of
Napoleon, and scarcely a shadow of his former greatness had been
left him. The days of Tilsit had not yet brought disgrace and
humiliation enough upon him. The Emperor of the French had added
fresh exactions, and his arrogance became daily more reckless and
intolerable. In the face of such demands it only remained for
Frederick William to submit or resist. He looked mournfully at his
unhappy country, at those whom the last war had deprived of their
husbands and fathers; at his small army; at the scanty means at his
disposal, compared with the resources of Napoleon, and--the king
submitted.

He had indeed hesitated long, and struggled strongly with his own
feelings. For, by submitting to Napoleon's behests, he was to become
the open enemy of the Emperor Alexander, and the King of Prussia
was, jointly with the Emperor of the French, to arm against the
Emperor of Russia. It was a terrible necessity for Frederick William
to sacrifice his friend to his enemy, and at the very moment when
Alexander had offered his hand for a new league, and proposed to
conclude an offensive and defensive alliance with Prussia and
England.

But such an alliance with distant Russia could not strengthen
Prussia against neighboring France, whose armies were encamped near
her frontiers. The danger of being crushed by Napoleon was much more
probable than the hope of being supported by Russia. Russia had
enough to do to take care of herself. She was unable to prevent
France from destroying Prussia, if Napoleon desired, and the crown
might fall from the head of Frederick William long before a Russian
army of succor could cross the Prussian frontier. He submitted
therefore, and accepted with one hand the alliance of France, while
threatening her with the other.

On the 24th of February, 1812, the Prussian king signed this new
treaty. As was stipulated by the first article, he entered into a
defensive alliance with France against any European power with which
either France or Prussia should hereafter be at war. Napoleon, the
man who had broken Queen Louisa's heart, was now the friend and ally
of King Frederick William, and the enemies of France were henceforth
to be the enemies of Prussia!

It was this that the king thought of to-day, when, in the early part
of May, he was alone, and absorbed in his reflections, at his small
house in Charlottenburg. It was yet early, for he had risen before
sunrise, and had been at work a long time, when he ceased for a
moment and yielded to his meditations. Leaning back in his easy
chair, he gazed musingly through the open glass-doors, now on serene
sky, and again on the fragrant verdure of his garden.

But this quiet relaxation was not to last long; the door of the
small anteroom opened, and the footman announced that his excellency
Minister and Chancellor von Hardenberg requested to see his majesty.

"Let him come in," said the king, as he rose, turning his grave
eyes, which had become even gloomier than before, toward the door,
on the threshold of which the elegant and somewhat corpulent form of
the chancellor of state appeared. He bowed respectfully. His noble
and prepossessing countenance was smiling and genial as usual; the
king's, grave, thoughtful, and sad.

"Bad news, I suppose?" asked the king, briefly. "You come at so
early an hour, something extraordinary must have happened. What is
it?"

"Nothing of that kind, your majesty," said Hardenberg, with his
imperturbable smile. "Yet, it is true, we are constantly in an
extraordinary situation, so that what otherwise might appear unusual
is now nothing but a very ordinary occurrence."

"A preamble!" said Frederick William, thoughtfully. "You have, then,
to tell me something important. What is it? Take a seat and speak!"
The king pointed to a chair, and resumed his own. Hardenberg seated
himself, and looked down for a moment with an air of embarrassment.

"Any thing the matter in Berlin?" asked the king. "Perhaps, a
quarrel between the citizens and the French?"

"No, your majesty," said Hardenberg, to whose thin lips came his
wonted smile. "The people of Berlin keep very quiet, and bear the
arrogance of the French with admirable patience. I have to report no
quarrels, and, on the whole, nothing of importance; I wished only to
inform your majesty that I received a courier from Dresden late last
night."

The king started, and looked gloomy. "From whom?" he asked, in a
hollow voice.

"From our ambassador," replied Hardenberg, carelessly. "Surprising
intelligence has reached Dresden. They are expecting the Emperor
Napoleon. He left Saint Cloud with the Empress Maria Louisa on the
9th of May, and no one knew any thing about the object or
destination of the journey. It was generally believed that the
emperor, with his consort, intended to take a pleasure-trip to
Mentz, but immediately after his arrival there he informed his suite
that he was on his way to a new war, and would accompany his wife
only as far as Dresden, where they would meet their Austrian
majesties. Couriers were sent from Mentz to Vienna, to Dresden, to
King Jerome, and to all the marshals and generals. The columns of
the army have commenced moving everywhere, and are now marching from
all sides upon Dresden. As usual, Napoleon has again succeeded in
keeping his plans secret to the very last moment, and informing the
world of his intentions only when they are about to be realized."

"Yes," exclaimed the king, in a tone of intense hatred and anger--
"yes, he wears a kind, hypocritical mask, and feigns friendship and
pacific intentions until he has drawn into his nets those whom he
intends to ruin; then he drops his mask and shows his true arrogant
and ambitious face. He caressed us, and protested his friendship,
until we signed the treaty of alliance, but now he will insist on
the fulfilment of the engagements we have entered into. He commences
a new war, and, by virtue of the first article of our treaty, I have
to furnish him an auxiliary corps of twenty thousand men and sixty
field-pieces."

"Yes, your majesty, it is so," said Hardenberg, composedly. "The new
French governor of Berlin, General Durutte, came to see me this
morning, and demanded in the name of his emperor that the Prussian
auxiliary troops should immediately take the field."

"Auxiliary troops!" exclaimed the king, angrily. "The Prussian
victims, he ought to have said, for what else will my poor,
unfortunate soldiers be but the doomed victims of his ambition and
insatiable thirst for conquest? He will drive them into the jaws of
death, that they may gain a piece of blood-stained land, or a new
title from the ruin of the world's happiness; he does not care
whether brave soldiers die or not, so long as his own ambition is
served."

"Yes," said Hardenberg, solemnly, "his path leads across corpses and
through rivers of blood, but the vengeance of God and man will
finally overtake him, and who knows whether it may not do so during
this wild Russian campaign?"

"My evil forebodings, then, are proving true," said the king,
sighing; "the expedition is directed against Russia?"

"Yes, against Russia," said Hardenberg, sneeringly; "the master of
the world intends to crush Russia also, because she ventured to
remain an independent power, and the Emperor Alexander was so bold
as to demand the fulfilment of the promises of Tilsit and Erfurt.
Providence is always just in the final result, your majesty. It
punishes the Emperor Alexander for suffering himself to be beguiled
by the flatteries and promises of Napoleon, and the territories
which he allowed Napoleon to give him at Tilsit, at the expense of
Prussia, will be no precious stones in his crown."

"Not a word against Alexander!" exclaimed the king, imperiously.
"However appearances may be against him, he has always proved a true
friend of mine, and perhaps especially at a time when we suspected
it the least. His keen eyes penetrated the future, and behind the
clouds darkening our horizon he believed he could descry light and
safety. He yielded, in order to lull Napoleon to sleep; he pretended
to be fascinated, in order to convince him of his attachment and
devotedness. He wished to be regarded as Napoleon's friend until ho
had armed himself, and felt strong enough to turn against the
usurper. Hush! do not contradict me. I have heard all this from
Alexander's own lips. On his return from Erfurt he confided the
plans of his future to me and the queen, under the seal of secrecy.
Louisa carried the secret into her grave, and I have preserved it in
my breast. Now I may communicate it to you, for the hour of decision
has come; it finds me on the side of France, and God has decreed
that I should turn my arms against my friend, against Alexander! Ah,
happy the queen, because she did not live to see this day and
witness my new humiliation and disgrace! And was it, then,
unavoidable? Was it, then, really necessary for me to enter into
this hateful alliance? Was there no way of avoiding it?"

And as the king put this question to himself rather than to
Hardenberg, he laid his head against the back of his easy-chair, and
looked gloomy and thoughtful.

"There was no way, unfortunately, of avoiding it," said Hardenberg,
after a short pause. "Your majesty knows full well that we submitted
to stern necessity only; to act otherwise would have been too
dangerous, for the crown on the head of your majesty would have been
menaced."

"It is better to lose the crown and die a freeman than live a
crowned slave!" exclaimed the king, impetuously.

"No, pardon me, your majesty, for daring to contradict you," said
Hardenberg, smiling; "it is better to keep the crown, and submit to
necessity as long as possible, in order to be able to take future
revenge on the oppressor. At times I am likewise tortured by the
doubts and fears now disquieting the noble soul of your majesty. But
at such hours I always repeat to myself, in order to justify our
course, a few words from the letter which the Duke de Bassano
addressed to our ambassador, Baron von Krusemark, as the ultimatum
of the Tuileries. I have learned this letter by heart, and, if you
will graciously permit me, I will repeat a few words." The king
nodded assent, and Hardenberg added: "This letter read: 'My dear
baron, the moment has come when we must give you our views about the
fate of Prussia. I cannot conceal from you that this is a matter of
life and death for your country. You know that the emperor
entertained already at Tilsit very unfriendy intentions against
Prussia. These intentions still remain the same, but will not be
carried out at this time, on the condition that Prussia become our
ally, and a faithful one. The moments are precious, and the
circumstances very grave.'" [Footnote: "Memoires d'un Homme d'Etat,"
vol. xi., p. 324]

"An outrageous letter!" muttered Frederick William to himself.

"Yes, an outrageous letter," repeated Hardenberg, bowing, "for it
contained a serious threat, and yet, on the other hand, it offered
us a sort of guaranty. Prussia was lost, in case she refused to join
the alliance, for Austria had likewise acceded to it, and, by
holding out against the wishes of France, Prussia would have run the
risk of being crushed by two armed enemies in the north, as well as
in the south, and blotted out from the list of nations. We,
therefore, were obliged to submit; we had no other choice."

"But what did we gain by submitting?" asked the king, angrily. "In
order to preserve my people from the horrors of war, I bowed to
Napoleon's will, and accepted the disgraceful alliance. I thereby
wished to secure peace to my unfortunate country, which stands so
greatly in need of it. Instead of attaining this object, the
alliance plunges us into the very abyss which I intended to avoid,
and I am compelled to send my soldiers into the field for an unjust
cause against a monarch who is my friend, and under the orders of a
commander-in-chief who is my enemy, and has always shown his bitter
hostility to me."

"But your majesty has at least prevented your own country from being
devastated by war. It is true, you send out your army, but the war
will not lay waste the fields of Prussia; it will not trample in the
dust the crops of the Prussian farmer, interrupt the labors of the
mechanic, or carry its terror into our cities and villages, our
houses and families. The enemy is at least far from our own
country."

"You only wish to palliate the calamity," exclaimed the king. "The
enemy is here, and you know it. He is dogging every step of ours; he
is listening to every word of mine, and watching every movement. An
inconsiderate word, an imprudent step, and the French gendarmes will
rush upon me and conduct the King of Prussia as a prisoner to
France, while no one can raise his hand to prevent them. We have the
enemy in Berlin, in Spandau, and in all our fortresses. Our own
soldiers we have to send into the field, and our cities and
fortresses are occupied by French garrisons. An army of four hundred
and eighty thousand infantry and seventy thousand cavalry cover
Prussia like a cloud of locusts; Berlin, Spandau, Konigsberg, and
Pillau, have received French garrisons; only Upper Silesia, Colberg,
and Graudenz, have remained exempt from them. The whole country, as
though we were at war, is exposed to the robberies, extortions, and
cruelties in which an enemy indulges: this time, however, he comes
in the garb of a friend, and, as our ally, he is irritating and
impoverishing the farmers, and plundering the mechanics and
manufacturers. And I am not only obliged to suffer all this in
silence, but I must send my own soldiers, the natural defenders of
our states, into a foreign country, and command them to obey the man
who has heaped the vilest insults not only on myself, but on the
whole of Prussia, and has broken the heart of my beloved wife!" And
the king, quite exhausted, breathless with his unusually long
speech, and almost ashamed of his own tremulous excitement, buried
his face in his hands and groaned aloud.

Hardenberg gazed upon him for a moment with an expression of
profound sympathy; he then looked around the room with searching
glances, which seemed to pierce every niche, every fold of the
curtains, and every piece of furniture and sculpture. "Is your
majesty sure that no one can hear and watch us here?" he asked in a
low voice.

The king dropped his hands from his face, and looked at him in
surprise.

"Your majesty, you yourself say that you are surrounded by spies,
and eavesdroppers," added Hardenberg. "Does your majesty suspect any
such to be here?"

"No," said the king, with a mournful smile, "it is the last blessing
of my Louisa that she has secured me this quiet asylum. The spies do
not venture to penetrate here--this retreat is not desecrated by
their inquisitive and lurking glances."

"Well," said Hardenberg, almost joyously, "if we need not be afraid
of the eyes and ears of spies, your majesty will permit me to speak
freely to you. My king, great events are maturing; while
impenetrable darkness still seems to surround us, morning is
gradually dawning, and the day of retribution is not distant. Europe
is utterly tired of war, and this incessant bloodshed; she has
practised forbearance until it is exhausted and converted into an
intense indignation. Thanks to his unscrupulous machinations,
Napoleon has hitherto succeeded in bringing about wars between the
different nations of Europe in order to derive benefits for France
alone from these fratricidal struggles. It was he who drove the
Poles and Turks into a war against the Russians, the Italians
against the Austrians, the Danes against the Swedes and English, and
armed the princes of the Rhenish Confederation against their German
countrymen and brethren. He instigated all against each other; he
made them continue the struggle until they sank from loss of blood,
for he knew that he would then be able to take the property of those
whom he had made murder each other. And who could prevent him? The
warriors, exhausted by their long and bloody work--the starving
people, to whom, in their hunger and anguish, only he who brought
them peace and a little bread seemed a true friend! Italy wished to
deliver herself from the Austrian yoke, and after long struggles the
liberty that Napoleon had promised her consisted but in entire
submission to his own behests. To Poland, too, he promised
deliverance, and, after the unfortunate country had risen, and spent
her last strength and her best blood in the war against Russia, she
became exhausted, and offered no resistance when he claimed her as
his spoil, and declared the Poles, who had dreamed that they were
free, to be subjects of France. The princes of the Rhenish
Confederation were compelled to send their German troops to Spain,
to wage war against a nation that was struggling for independence;
and Napoleon in the meantime placed a French adventurer upon a
throne in the middle of Germany, and erected a kingdom for him from
the spoils he had taken from German princes. Holland, which had
endeavored to preserve some vestiges of liberty, was suddenly
deprived of her sovereign, and converted into a French province; and
when Napoleon had succeeded in bringing about a war between Sweden
and Russia, and instigating unfortunate Finland to resist the latter
power, he profited by the favorable moment, and took Stralsund and
the Island of Rugen, both of which belonged to the King of Sweden,
who had been his ally up to that time. In Italy only the Pontifical
states and the holy father at Rome still resisted him, after the
remainder of the peninsula had awakened from its dreams of liberty
under the rule of French marshals and Napoleonic princes. He
instigated Naples and Sardinia against Rome, and when the struggle
had commenced, he magnanimously hastened to the assistance of his
brother-in-law Murat, arrested the pope, conveyed him as a prisoner
to France, and declared Rome to be the property of that country
until the pope should submit to his will. No country, no nation,
escaped his intrigues--conflagrations, devastation, and death
accompanied him everywhere! But the nations, as I have stated
already, are at length impatient; they are wearied of fighting; or,
rather, if they still fight, they intend to do so only in order to
conquer peace for themselves, and bring retribution on him who was
the sole cause of all this bloodshed."

"And they commenced by rushing, at his command, into the field--by
entering upon another war!" exclaimed Frederick William, shrugging
his shoulders with a sneer.

"Your majesty," said Hardenberg, solemnly, "they will do so now for
the last time. Napoleon is digging his own grave, and, by
consolidating the forces of all countries into one vast army, he
makes friends of those whom he hitherto successfully tried to make
enemies and adversaries of each other. But when the nations have
once found out that they are really brethren, it only needs a voice
calling upon them to unite for one grand object--that is to say, for
the deliverance of Europe from the tyrant's yoke!"

"Those are Utopian dreams," said the king. "Whence should this voice
come? Who would be so audacious as to utter it?"

"Whence should this voice come?" asked Hardenberg. "Your majesty, it
will come from heaven, and find an echo on the whole earth. It will
resound from the hundred thousand graves of the soldiers killed in
battle; from the breasts of sorrowing widows and orphans, and, like
the noise of the tempest, it will come from the lips of thousands of
humiliated and disgraced men. This voice will not be that of a
single man; but God, Nature, and all nations, will unite, and
millions will utter that one shout of 'Liberty! Let us rise and
expel the tyrant!'"

"But, then, the story of the tower of Babel will be reenacted," said
Frederick William, sighing; "the nations will not understand each
other; an endless confusion of languages will ensue, and, finally,
the building, which they intended jointly to erect, will fall to
ruins and they be dispersed."

"In order to prevent this, a chieftain must gladly place himself at
their head, and direct their will," exclaimed Hardenberg. "I hope
God will intrust this leadership to your majesty."

"To me?" asked the king, almost angrily. "Will you take the liberty
of mocking my distress, or do you believe that I ought to be
consoled in the calamities of the present by such hopes of the
future?"

"No, your majesty, I am only convinced that God will one day intrust
the task of retribution to Prussia, because it is she that has
suffered most."

"Let us leave retribution to God," said the king, gently.

"No, your majesty," exclaimed Hardenberg, "let us now take upon
ourselves the task of avenging our wrongs, and only pray to Heaven
for a blessing on our efforts. And that God is with us, that He at
last averts His face from the man who has so long trampled the world
under foot, is shown by the new war into which Napoleon is about to
enter. This expedition to Russia is the first step to his ruin!"

"Oh, you are mistaken!" exclaimed the king, almost indignantly. "It
will be a new triumphal procession for Napoleon. Russia will succumb
to him, as we all have done. He marches upon the position of his
enemy with the armies of all his allies--half a million of warriors
and thousands of cannon--while Russia stands alone; she has no force
compared with his, and no allies whatever."

"She has one friend more powerful than any Napoleon has," said
Hardenberg, solemnly--"NATURE. When this ally appears, with its
masses of ice and snow-storms, Napoleon is lost."

"But he will take good care not to wait for this reenforcement,"
exclaimed the king. "As always, he will finish the war in a few
weeks, vanquish the feeble forces of Alexander with his own
tremendous columns in one or two decisive battles, and then, on the
ruins of the Russian empire, dictate terms of peace to the
humiliated emperor. This has been the course of events ever since
Bonaparte commanded, and so it will be hereafter."

"Your majesty, it will not; for, during twelve years, he has been
the instructor of the world, and the nations have learned from him
not only the art of war, but his special strategies. His secret
consists in the rapidity of his movements. He has made
Macchiavelli's words his own: 'A short and vigorous war insures
victory!' He must, therefore, be opposed by a protracted and
desultory war--his enemies must fight long, not with heavy columns,
but with light battalions, now here, now there; they must take care
not to bring on a general battle, but slowly thin the ranks of his
army, and exhaust his resources and his patience. This was the
course which the Spaniards pursued, and their hopes are, therefore,
promising; they are carrying on a guerilla warfare, and he is
obliged to renew the struggle every day without being able to defeat
them in a decisive battle. Russia will adopt a similar plan. She
will take pains to draw Napoleon farther and farther into the
interior of the country, incessantly alluring him forward by
insignificant victories, rendering him eager for a great battle. In
strict obedience to the plans he has adopted, she will especially
endeavor to weaken Napoleon, and cut him off from his supplies and
base of operations. She will successively fight him at every
important point with a strong army, supported by large reserves,
tire him out, and ruin him in detail. This plan she will adhere to
until her great ally approaches from Siberia--grim Winter, covering
Russia with an invulnerable defence, so that her sons may at last
take the offensive, and expel the terrified enemy."

"That is a grand, but an infernal scheme!" exclaimed the king, who
had risen, and was walking up and down with hasty steps. "Who
conceived it?"

"No single brain; it is the result of the consultations of the most
eminent Russian generals. They also have studied Macchiavelli, and
found that significant axiom, 'He who knows how to resist will
conquer in the end.' The Russians, therefore, will resist, and they
will conquer."

"But who tells you that this is the plan which Russia will adopt?"
asked the king. "Whence have you derived such accurate information?"

"Your majesty," said Hardenberg, smiling, "though we publicly act as
the enemies of Russia, and are compelled to send our army against
her, she secretly regards us as her ally, and knows well that we are
only waiting for the favorable moment to drop the mask and become
the open enemy of the usurper. We have, therefore, warm friends in
Russia, who will keep us informed about every thing going on, that
we may prudently use the favorable moment when we also can take up
arms against Napoleon."

"No rash steps--no coups de main," exclaimed Frederick William,
gravely and imperiously, standing in front of Hardenberg, and
looking him full in the face. "I am opposed to any sort of underhand
games; when you are not strong enough to attack your enemy openly
and honestly, you ought to be too proud to shoot at him from an
ambuscade, like a coward and bandit. The bullet may miss him, and he
who fired it dies as a traitor, overwhelmed with disgrace. I have
concluded this alliance with France; I am now her ally, and thereby
compelled to furnish her an auxiliary corps of twenty thousand men
against Russia; so long, therefore, as this campaign lasts, I must,
by virtue of the pledges I have given, stand by France, and woe to
the general of mine who should forget this, and disobey the orders I
have given him!"

"There may be circumstances, however, your majesty," said
Hardenberg, in an embarrassed tone, "circumstances--"

"There can be none," interrupted the king, "justifying us to turn
traitors. A man has but one word to pledge, and that I have pledged
to Napoleon. When my soldiers forsake the colors under which I have
placed them, they shall be punished as deserters. No one knows the
anguish with which I say this, but as a man who must keep his word,
and as a commander-in-chief who, above all, must maintain discipline
and subordination, I cannot speak otherwise. Tell your friends in
Russia so. I am sad and dejected enough, compelled as I am to become
Napoleon's ally. But I will not perjure myself!"

"Your majesty, I bow in admiration of these noble words of my king,"
exclaimed Hardenberg, enthusiastically; "I wish the whole world
could hear them. At this hour you obtained a greater victory than
Napoleon ever gained on the battlefield--a victory of duty and
fidelity over your own inclinations and wishes! Far be it from me to
oppose this magnanimous resolution. Our army, then, will march out
side by side with the French troops and will return, if it ever
should, as an auxiliary corps of the grand army. But then, your
majesty, the new day will dawn, for which we must prepare while
Napoleon is in Russia. It must be in secret--in the dead of night--
but the rising sun will find us ready. The world is now united for
the great work; brethren are offering their hands to brethren from
the shores of the Mediterranean to those of the Atlantic and the
Baltic. Their common sufferings have filled their hearts with the
same love and hatred. All the nations are uniting into one family,
and in their wrath will destroy him who is menacing all alike.
Secret messengers keep the brethren in the west and north, in the
south and east, well informed of what is done by their friends.
Patriotic poets are arousing the nations from the lethargy that
enthralled them during so many years; they make them hear the gospel
of liberty, and awaken them from their indifference. In secret
workshops the brethren are forging arms; in the night the sisters
are at work upon uniforms, and their children are making lint for
warriors to be wounded in the holy war of liberation. They are
quietly preparing for it in the offices, the students' halls, and
the workshops. At the first call they will fling aside their pens
and tools, take up the sword, and hasten into the field, to deliver
the fatherland. All Europe, at the present moment, is but one vast
secret society, which has even in France active and influential
members. Napoleon stands on a volcano, which will soon engulf him."

"Enough!" exclaimed the king, anxiously. "Say no more; I will know
nothing about secret societies and conspiracies. They are perhaps an
inevitable evil in these times, but still they ARE an evil,
destroying those for whose benefit they were intended."

"May God in His mercy favor them in advancing our cause," exclaimed
Hardenberg, "that from them may arise the army that is to deliver
the nations from the yoke of the tyrant! I am convinced that it will
be so, and that the moment will come when Prussia will be able to
redeem the oath which I am sure every Prussian took when he saw the
coffin of the august Queen Louisa. On the day, your majesty, when I
saw it, I resolved to strive for no other object than to deliver my
country. For this I will devote my whole strength--my life, if need
be! Heaven heard my oath, and I shall not die before its
fulfilment."

The king gazed long and mournfully upon the queen's portrait which
hung over his desk, and represented her in the attire in which
Frederick William had seen her for the first time. "But she died
before the hour of deliverance struck," he said, gloomily, to
himself. "Her heart was broken, and she did not even take hope with
her into the grave. She,--" he stopped suddenly, and turned his eyes
toward Hardenberg. "I will communicate something to you," he said
briefly and impulsively; "I will confess to you that I comprehend
your oath; for I also took one when I held the queen's corpse in my
arms. In the beginning the terrible blow paralyzed my soul, and I
felt as though I had been hurled into a dark abyss. Suddenly I
heard, as from a voice resounding in my ears, 'You must not die
before you avenge her death upon him who broke her heart!' I bent
over her, and kissing her lips, swore that I would live only to
obey. I have not forgotten that oath and that hour, and, you may
depend on it, I shall ever remember it; but I will wait for the
favorable moment and it must not be supposed that I can allow myself
to be carried away by imprudent projects."

"No one would wish that, your majesty," said Hardenberg hastily. "On
the contrary, prudence, above all, is necessary at the present time,
and for this reason I would entreat you to overcome your feelings
and go to Dresden, to pay your respects to the emperor."

"Never!" exclaimed Frederick William, starting up and blushing with
indignation. "No, nowhere else than in battle can I meet again this
man, who has destroyed my happiness, my honor, and my hopes! Do not
allude to this any more. It cannot be. How can I meet him, whom I
have not seen since the days of Tilsit? Who can ask me to go to
Dresden, to stand there as a courtier at the door of an arrogant
victor, and mingle with the crowd of his trainbearers?"

"Your majesty, the Emperor of Austria will also go to Dresden," said
Hardenberg, entreatingly.

"The Emperor of Austria does so, because he is unfortunate enough to
be Napoleon's father-in-law."

"Nevertheless, the Emperor Francis saw his son-in-law for the last
time on the day when, after the battle of Austerlitz, he repaired as
a supplicant to the bivouac-fire of Napoleon, and implored the
conqueror to grant him peace. That was even worse than Tilsit, and
still the Emperor of Austria comes to Dresden, to become, as your
majesty said, the trainbearer of the victor."

"Why does he do so?" asked the king, shrugging his shoulders.
"Because he must--because at the present time every wish of Napoleon
is almost an order, even for princes. Napoleon caused his ambassador
at Vienna verbally to inform the emperor that he wished to see his
father-in-law at Dresden, and witness the meeting of his consort,
Maria Louisa, with her parents. The Emperor Francis hastened to
comply with this request, and is expected to arrive to-morrow."

"Well, Bonaparte, fortunately, expressed to me no such wish, and it
will not be expected that I should go thither without being
requested to do so."

"Pardon me, your majesty, our ambassador at Dresden received a
similar communication from the French envoy at the court of Saxony.
The Emperor Napoleon desires likewise to see your majesty at
Dresden. Here is the letter from the ambassador."

The king took the paper and hastily glanced over it. He then heaved
a profound sigh, and, returning it to Hardenberg, fixed his eyes
once more upon the portrait of the queen. He gazed steadfastly upon
it. Gradually the expression of his features became milder, and his
gloomy eye more cheerful. With a wave of his hand he called
Hardenberg to his side; looking again at the portrait, and saluting
it with a gentle nod, he said, "She overcame her feelings, and went
to Tilsit, because she believed it necessary, for the welfare of
Prussia, to pacify the wrath of Napoleon. I will follow the example
of my beloved Louisa. I will conquer myself, and go to Dresden. But
you, Hardenberg, must accompany me."



CHAPTER II.

THE WHITE LADY.


Great commotion reigned at the palace of Baireuth. Servants hurried
through the brilliantly-decorated rooms, spreading out here and
there an additional carpet, placing everywhere vases filled with
fragrant flowers, or dusting the finely-polished furniture. It was a
great and important day for Baireuth. All felt it, and excitement
and curiosity drove the inhabitants into the streets. No one cared
to stay at home, or be absent at that historic hour which was to
shed upon Baireuth a ray of her ancient glory.

The man at whose feet the world was prostrate, to whom kings and
princes were bowing, before whom empires trembled and thrones passed
away, who had only to stretch out his hand to establish new
dynasties, and whom the world admired while it hated--Napoleon--was
to arrive at Baireuth. The quartermasters had arrived already early
in the morning, and ordered in the name of the emperor that the
rooms at the palace should be put in readiness, because he intended
to reach Baireuth in the afternoon of the 14th of May, and stop
overnight.

The whole population seemed to be in the streets. The windows of the
houses along the route of the emperor were open, crowded with the
most distinguished ladies of the city; they were dressed in their
most beautiful toilets, and held in their hands bouquets, with which
they intended to salute Napoleon. But the greatest commotion, as we
have remarked, reigned at the new palace, for the emperor had given
express orders that apartments should be prepared for him there, and
not at the old palace of the Margraves of Brandenburg. Count
Munster, intendant of the palaces, had, of course, complied with
these orders, and four brilliant rooms were ready for the reception
of Napoleon. All the arrangements were completed, and the intendant,
followed by the castellan, walked for the last time through the
imperial rooms to satisfy himself that every thing was in good
order.

"No, nothing has been left undone," said the count, when he stepped
into the bedchamber destined for the emperor. "Every thing is as
comfortable as it is splendid; the arrangement reflects a great deal
of credit upon you, my dear Schluter, and will, doubtless, procure
you a liberal reward from the emperor, who is said to be very
munificent."

"I do not wish to accept any presents at the tyrant's hands,"
growled the castellan, with a gloomy face; "I do not want to stain
my hands with the plunder which he brings from foreign lands, and
which is accompanied with a curse rather than a blessing."

"You are a fool, my dear Schluter," exclaimed the count, laughing.
"You see at least that curses do not incommode the emperor, for his
power and authority are constantly on the increase. He is now going
to Dresden, to see at his feet all the princes of Germany; and he
will then hasten northward, to gain new victories and humiliate the
only man in the world who still dares to defy him, the Emperor
Alexander of Russia."

"I know some one else who will not bow to him, and whom he will not
humiliate," said the castellan, contemptuously shrugging his
shoulders.

"Well, and who is that?" asked Count Munster, quickly.

"It is the White Lady!" exclaimed the castellan, solemnly and
loudly.

Count Munster shuddered and glanced around in evident terror, "For
Heaven's sake, hush!" he said, hastily. "Pray forget these foolish
hallucinations, and, above all, do not venture to talk about them at
the present time."

The castellan shook his head slowly. "You ought not to talk of
hallucinations, count," he said, solemnly. "The White Lady is awake
and walking, and she knows that the enemy of her house, the house of
Brandenburg, will spend the coming night at this palace. I repeat it
to your excellency, she is walking, and her eyes are filled with
wrath, and there is a curse on her lips against the enemy of the
Hohenzollerns. I would not be surprised if she should shout to-night
into the ears of the tyrant, and, by her words, awaken him from his
slumber."

"Gracious Heaven, Schluter, do not talk so audaciously!" exclaimed
the count, anxiously. "If one of the attendants of the emperor
overhear your words, you would perish. Napoleon is said to be
somewhat superstitious; he, who otherwise is afraid of nothing in
the world, is said to be easily terrified by ghosts, and to believe
in all sorts of omens and prophecies. He has already heard of the
White Lady of Baireuth, and therefore given express orders that
apartments should be prepared for him at the new palace, and not at
the old one, and rooms selected in which she was not in the habit of
walking. [Footnote: Historical.--Vide Minutoli, "The White Lady," p.
17.] I hope that you have punctually carried out this order, and
that these rooms are exempt from the visits of the apparition?"

"Who has the power to give orders to spirits, and command them, 'So
far and no farther?'" asked the castellan, almost scornfully. "She
goes whither she desires, and the doors closed against her she opens
by a breath. The walls disappear before her, and where you expect
her least of all, there you suddenly meet her tall, majestic form in
the white dress, her head covered with a black veil, under which her
large angry eyes are flashing."

"Hush, Schluter!" exclaimed the count, anxiously, "I know the
portrait of the White Lady, which hangs in the cabinet adjoining the
audience-hall, and it is, therefore, unnecessary for you to describe
her appearance to me."

"Your excellency knows that we have two portraits of the White
Lady," said the castellan, laconically.

"Yes, the one with the white dress is at the hermitage; the other,
representing her in a dark dress, is here at the palace. Thank
Heaven! there is but one portrait of her here, and I hope it is in
the other wing of the building."

"That is to say, I saw the portrait there this afternoon, but who
knows whether it is still there?"

"How so? Who knows?" asked the count impatiently. "What do you
mean?"

"I mean, count, that it is in fact no portrait, but only the bed in
which the White Lady sleeps until it pleases her to walk, and that,
while she is walking, it will certainly not be found at its place.
Did I not report to your excellency six months since that the
portrait had again broken the nail and fallen? It was an entirely
new nail, count, so firm and strong, that half a regiment of French
soldiers might have been hung upon it at the same time; I had had
the nail made by the blacksmith, and the mason fixed it. I myself
hung up the portrait, and it seemed as firm as though it had grown
in the wall. But that very night a noise like a thunder-clap rolling
over my head awakened me, and when I opened my eyes, the White Lady
stood at my bedside; her right hand raised menacingly, her black
veil thrown back, she stared at me with a face flashing with anger.
I uttered a cry, and shut my eyes. When I opened them again, she had
disappeared. In the morning I went into the hall to look after the
portrait. It was gone. Where the nail had been fixed nothing but a
blood-red stain was to be seen; the nail itself, broken into small
pieces, lay on the floor. The portrait had walked to the small
cabinet adjoining the hall, and was quietly leaning there against
the wall as though nothing had happened."

"And I told you to let it stand there, and not try again to hang it
up. The large painting is too heavy."

"If the large painting wanted to hang on the wall it would allow the
smallest nail to hold it," said Schluter, shaking his head. "But the
White Lady wishes to stand on her own feet, and no human power is
able to prevent her."

"Schluter, I repeat to you, you are a dreamer," exclaimed the count,
impatiently. "Let us speak no more of the apparition. It makes one
feel quite curious. Tell me now whether you have really removed the
portrait far enough that it cannot be seen by the emperor?"

"When I was an hour ago at the cabinet adjoining the audience-hall,
the portrait was still there. But who knows what may have happened
since then?"

"Well, it is a fixed idea of yours," said the count, shrugging his
shoulders. "I do not wish to hear any more of it. These rooms are
finely arranged, and I have no fault to find with them. Now lock the
entrance-door, and let us go out through the Gallery of Palms, by
which the emperor will have to enter."

"Pray, your excellency, lead the way; I shall lock the door and
immediately follow you," said the castellan, walking hastily through
the opened rooms.

Count Munster slowly walked on, thoughtfully looking down, and
shuddering inwardly at the immovable superstition of the castellan,
whom his reason vainly endeavored to deride.

"And still it is folly, nothing but folly," he muttered to himself,
while opening the high hall-door, and stepping into the anteroom, to
which, on account of its length and narrowness, and the fresco
paintings of tropical plants on the walls, the name of the "Gallery
of Palms" had been given.

All was silent in this gallery; the setting sun shed its beams
through the windows, covered with dark curtains, and drew trembling
shining lines across the high room. The footsteps of the count
resounded so loudly that he himself was frightened, and glanced
anxiously around. Suddenly he started in dismay, and quickly
advanced several steps. He had seen something moving at the lower
end of the gallery, and it seemed to him as though he had heard
approaching footsteps. Yes, he was not mistaken; now he saw it quite
distinctly! A lady approached. The sun illuminated her tall form,
and shed a golden light over the white dress falling down in ample
folds over her feet. She approached with slow steps, quite
regardless of the count, who at first looked at her in surprise, and
then turned with an angry face toward the castellan, who just then
entered.

"You did not comply, then, with my orders, Schluter?" exclaimed the
count, vehemently. "I told you expressly to keep the rooms shut
until the emperor's arrival, and not to admit any one. How could you
dare disobey my instructions?"

"But, your excellency, I did obey them," answered Schluter. "Not a
human being besides the footmen has been permitted to enter here,
and even those I drove out two hours ago, and shut the doors."

"If that be true, how does it happen that there is a lady here in
the gallery," asked Count Minister, stretching out his arm toward
the lower end of the apartment.

"A lady?" asked Schluter, greatly amazed. "Where is she, your
excellency?"

The count fixed his eyes searchingly on the large arched window, in
the bright light of which he had distinctly seen the lady. She was
gone--the gallery was empty. "You forgot to shut the lower door, and
while I turned and scolded you, the lady escaped!" he exclaimed. He
hastily rushed forward, and tried to open the door leading into the
corridor: but this was locked. The count vainly shook the lock.
"That is strange," he muttered, dropping his hand. "I know I saw her
distinctly; it is impossible that I could have been mistaken. Where
can she be? What has become of her? Where has she concealed
herself?"

"What becomes of the last sigh of a dying person, your excellency,"
asked Schluter, solemnly. "Where does the soul conceal itself after
escaping from the body?"

"Ah, nonsense!" ejaculated Count Munster. "It could not have been a
spectre. Why, it is not a spectre's hour, and, besides, I certainly
saw the lady plainly; it was a decidedly earthly figure. Her face
was pale and grave, but there was nothing spectral about it. She
wore a black veil thrown back from her face; the upper part of her
body was covered with--"

"A dark pelisse trimmed with fur," interrupted Schluter, composedly.
"Below this dark pelisse protruded a white silk dress, falling to
the ground in full folds."

"Yes, yes, that was the costume," exclaimed the count. "But how do
you know it without having seen her?"

"It is the costume of the White Lady, your excellency," said
Schluter, "and it was she who just walked through the gallery. Pray,
count, go with me to the other wing of the palace and look at her
portrait; your excellency will then be convinced that I tell the
truth."

"No, no, I do not wish to see it," replied Count Munster, whose
cheeks turned pale, and who felt his heart frozen with terror.
"Unlock the door, Schluter! The air here is sultry and very
oppressive! Quick! quick! open the door!" The castellan obeyed, and
the count rushed out into the corridor, where he opened a window and
inhaled the fresh air in eager draughts.

At this moment shouts were heard at a distance, and at the same time
the count's footman rushed breathlessly down the corridor. "Your
excellency, the emperor is coming. He has already passed through the
gate, and the people are loudly cheering him. I have run as fast as
I could, in order to inform your excellency."

"I am coming," said the count, advancing rapidly. But, having
proceeded a few steps, he turned again and beckoned the castellan to
his side. "Schluter," he whispered to him, "if you love your life,
do not say a word about what has just happened here. It must remain
a secret."

"A secret!" muttered Schluter to himself, gazing after the count,
who hurried away. "The White Lady will manage the affair in such a
manner that he at least will hear of the secret, and the
bloodthirsty tyrant will not sleep well in the palace of the
Margraves of Brandenburg." He violently closed the door and stepped
out into the large staircase-hall, the doors of which opened upon
the street. Uttering incoherent words of indignation in an
undertone, the castellan pushed open one of the windows and looked
gloomily down on the street. An immense crowd were in front of the
palace; all eyes were turned to the side from which the emperor was
to approach. Breathless with curiosity, the people waited for the
arrival of the hero who had conquered nearly all the world.

"How those fools are gaping!" growled Schluter. "Idle and lazy as
usual; they like to complain and lament, but they never think of
doing anything. If only each one would take up a single stone from
the pavement and throw it as a greeting at the tyrant's iron head,
all this distress and wretchedness would be at an end. But no one
thinks of that, and I should not wonder if those fellows, instead of
cursing him, should enthusiastically cheer him."

The shouts drew nearer at this moment, as the crowd rushed from the
lower part of the street, their acclamations growing constantly more
deafening. French lancers galloped up to keep the people back, and
several carriages, preceded by a plain calash, came in view. A
negro, dressed in a richly-embroidered livery, sat on the box by the
side of the coachman; two plainly-dressed gentlemen occupied the
inside of the carriage.

"That is he!" growled Schluter. "The Evil One brings him hither--he
is his best friend. Yes, that is he, and he looks pale, grave, and
incensed, as though he would like to wither by a single glance the
whole miserable rabble staring at him."

"That is he!" shouted the people. "Long live Napoleon! Long live the
emperor!"

Napoleon gazed coldly arid impassively upon the crowd, whose cheers
came to him as a sound to which he had long been accustomed, and
which was by no means agreeable. It was not worth while for him to
smile on these inhabitants of a small city; a cold, quick nod was a
sufficient acknowledgment. "Long live Napoleon!" shouted the crowd
again, when the emperor, having left the carriage, now turned again
in front of the palace-gate, and gazed long and indifferently upon
the spectators.

The castellan closed his window. "Ah!" he said, "he dares to enter
this palace. The White Lady will bid him welcome, and know how to
hasten the flight of this arrogant tyrant. Napoleon is coming! Do
you hear that, White Lady? Napoleon is coming!" He burst into
laughter, and, opening the door of the corridor, took a position at
the one leading into the Gallery of Palms.

Footsteps resounded on the staircase, and various persons appeared.
Generals, adjutants, and lackeys hurried in and formed on both
sides, as it were, in line of battle. The emperor then entered the
lower end of the corridor; Count Munster walked by his side in the
most respectful and submissive manner. All bowed their heads
reverentially, but the emperor took no notice of them, and slowly
passed the saluting officers and servants.

"I hope you have punctually fulfilled my orders, count?" he asked,
in his sonorous voice. "This is the new palace, is it not?"

"It is, sire. And this man will testify that no one has set foot
into the imperial rooms," said Count Munster, pointing with a smile
to the castellan, who, holding his bunch of keys in his uplifted
arm, stood at the entrance of the Gallery of Palms.

"Who is it?" asked Napoleon, whose eagle eye was fixed upon
Schluter.

"Sire, it is the castellan of this palace, a faithful, reliable man,
who has been on service here for more than thirty years. He has
guarded and locked the rooms, and they open now only to your
majesty's orders."

"Open," ordered the emperor, with a quick wave of his hand. The
castellan obeyed, and Napoleon entered. Count Munster followed, and
the attendants crowded in after them. Advancing quickly into the
middle of the gallery, the emperor stood directly in front of the
arched window in which Count Munster had before seen the strange
apparition.

"The White Lady, then, never appears in this wing of the palace?"
asked Napoleon, abruptly.

"No, sire--never," said Count Munster, solemnly. "On the whole,
sire, no one here believes in the absurd old story, and I am sure no
one knows of the White Lady otherwise than from hearsay."

The emperor nodded, and passed on. "Let us soon have supper; you
will be my guest," he said, turning on the threshold to Count
Munster and dismissing the gentlemen of his suite.

The door closed. He was now a guest at the palace of the ancestors
of the royal family of Prussia, the Margraves of Brandenburg.



CHAPTER III.

NAPOLEON AND THE WHITE LADY.


The emperor had long risen from the supper-table. The imperial suite
had been allowed to withdraw. Alone he sat in a comfortable night-
dress on the high, antiquated easy-chair, in front of the fire-
place, in which, at his express order, notwithstanding the warm
weather, a large fire had been kindled. He liked heat; the sun of
Egypt and the desert had never been too warm for him; in the hottest
summer days in France he frequently felt chilly, and called for a
fire. It seemed as though the inflamed blood in his veins made the
world appear cold to him; he saw the light of the sunbeams, but did
not feel their warmth. He now sat close to the fire, his face bent
over the large map that lay on the table. It was a map of Russia. He
rapidly drew several lines across it, marking positions with the
colored pins, taken from the small boxes beside him. "Yes, this is
my plan," he said to himself, after a long pause. "Three of my corps
must be placed on the Niemen; Davoust, Oudinot, and Ney, will
command them. There, farther to the left, the cavalry reserves,
under Nansouty and Montbrun, will take position. Here the old guard,
under Lefebore; there the young guard, under Mortier and Bessieres,
with the cavalry of the guard. At this point, farther to the south,
the fourth corps, composed of the Italians and Bavarians, will
operate, and the Viceroy of Italy, Eugene, will be its general-in-
chief. Farther down, here at Grodno and Bialys tock, I will place
the Poles, Westphalians, and Saxons; the fifth, seventh, and eighth
corps to be commanded by my brother Jerome. The Prussians will halt
at Tilsit, and form the extreme left wing; Macdonald will be their
leader; and below there, at Drochiczyn Schwartzenberg with his
Austrians will form the extreme right wing. The preparations are
complete, and the thunder-cloud is ready to burst over Russia if
Alexander should persist in his obstinacy. Like the waves of the
tempestuous ocean, my armies are rolling toward the shores of
Russia. They can still be stopped by a suppliant word from
Alexander. If he refuses, let his destiny be fulfilled, and let the
roar of my cannon inform him that his hour has struck, and that the
end of his imperial power draws nigh. It was his own will. He
himself has brought destruction upon his head! He--"

A loud noise above his head, making the walls tremble and the
windows rattle suddenly interrupted the stillness. The emperor rose
from his seat and shouted "Roustan!" The door of the adjoining room
opened and the Mameluke appeared on the threshold.

"What was it?" asked Napoleon hastily.

"Sire, it was as if a wall fell in above us; the noise was as loud
as though a cannon were fired in the palace. I rushed immediately
into the corridor, but every thing there was quiet. Only the
castellan of the palace appeared in the utmost haste in his night-
gown, and asked whether an accident had happened in the rooms of the
emperor."

"Where is the castellan now?"

"Sire, when I told him that the noise was on the upper floor, he
immediately went thither in order to see what had occurred."

"Go and bring him to me," ordered Napoleon; and when Roustan had
withdrawn, the emperor fixed his eyes steadfastly on the door, and
his compressed lips quivered with impatience.

Finally, the door opened again; Roustan appeared, followed by the
castellan, pale and trembling, behind the Mameluke, and clinging
with his hands to the door to support himself.

Napoleon cast upon him one of his quick glances. "What was this
noise, and why do you tremble so violently?"

"Pardon me, your majesty," faltered Schluter, "but my terror--the
surprise--I am afraid I have lost my senses. I have just seen
something so unheard of, so incredible, that I--"

"What have you seen?" asked Napoleon. "Speak! What was this noise?"

The castellan slowly raised his head, and stared with terrified eyes
at the emperor. "Your majesty," he said, solemnly, "the White Lady
made the noise!"

Napoleon started, and his brow grew clouded. "But did they not tell
me that the miserable spectre never haunted this part of the
palace?" he asked. "Did I not issue orders that rooms should be
given me where I should not be disturbed by this apparition?"

"Your majesty, she has hitherto never entered these rooms,"
exclaimed Schluter. "Never before has the White Lady directed her
steps hither, and this afternoon her portrait stood quietly in a
cabinet of the other wing of the palace. I can take an oath that
this is true."

"What portrait do you refer to?" asked Napoleon, impatiently.

"The portrait of the White Lady," said Schluter. "I saw it this very
day in the cabinet on the other side; all the doors were locked, and
now I suddenly find this large painting in the room above you; it
was lying on the floor as if in walking it had stumbled over
something and fallen. It is the first time that the White Lady
appears in this wing of the palace; her portrait has come from the
other side, and Heaven alone knows how it has happened. Whenever we
wished to convey the painting, with its enormous wooden frame, from
one room to another, no less than six men were required to carry it,
and now it is here as though it had flitted through the air: and it
is lying on the floor as if struck down by lightning."

"And you think the fall of the painting produced the noise?"

"I feel convinced of it. If your majesty wishes me to do so, I will
get a few men, go up-stairs to raise the painting, and let it fall
again, that your majesty may judge whether it is the same noise or
not."

"Ah, you do not feel much respect for your walking portrait,"
exclaimed the emperor, smiling. "You want to abuse it, and make
experiments with it. We will suppose that the fall of the painting
was the sole cause of the noise. Now, that it is on the floor, I
believe it will lie still and disturb us no longer, unless it be
that your portrait should fall asleep and snore. What do you know
about that?"

"Your majesty," said Schluter, gravely, "the White Lady never
sleeps!"

The emperor cast a searching glance upon him, and then turned away,
folded his hands, and slowly paced the room. Suddenly he stood in
front of the castellan.

"What about this White Lady?" he asked, hastily. "Who was she, and
what is her history?"

"Ah, sire, it is a long and melancholy history concerning the
ancestors of the Margraves of Brandenburg," said Schluter, sighing.

"You know the history?"

"Yes, your majesty, I know it well."

"Tell it to me, but very briefly," said Napoleon, throwing himself
on the easy-chair in front the fireplace, and ordering Roustan, by a
wave of his hand and the word "Fire!" to add fresh fuel.

"Now, tell me all about it."

"Your majesty," replied Schluter, hesitatingly, "I do not know how
to narrate a story in fine words, and you must pardon me if I do not
acquit myself very satisfactorily."

"Who was this White Lady?"

"Sire, her name was Cunigunda, Countess von Plassenburg. Her parents
had compelled her to marry the old Count von Plassenburg, and when
her husband died, after two years of unhappy wedded life, the
Countess Cunigunda of Orlamunde and Plassenburg was a young widow,
twenty-four years of age, heiress of the splendid Plassenburg, and
mother of two children. She was a gay-spirited lady, and looked
around for another husband. Her eyes fell on the Burgrave of
Nuremberg, the distinguished nobleman Albert the Handsome. The whole
German people called him so; and all the girls, far and near,
daughters of the nobility, as well as those of the citizens of
Nuremberg, loved the fine-looking Burgrave of Nuremberg, who was the
ancestor of the House of Hohenzollern. But the noble Count Albert
loved only one young lady, beautiful Beatrice of Hainault, and would
marry none but her. The Countess Cunigunda of Orlamunde, however,
was not aware of this, and sent him a message, asking him whether he
would not like to marry her. She would give him, besides her hand,
the splendid Plassenburg and all her other property. Burgrave Albert
the Handsome smiled when he heard the message; shrugging his
shoulders, he said: 'Tell your countess I regard her as very
amiable, and should like to marry her, provided four eyes were not
in existence. But as it is, I cannot do so.' The burgrave referred
to the eyes of his parents, who did not like the Countess of
Orlamunde, and he wished to make them responsible for his refusal,
so as not to offend the beautiful widow. But Cunigunda interpreted
the words differently, and thought the four eyes, which the Burgrave
said were in the way of their marriage, were those of her two
children. She loved the handsome Burgrave so intensely, that she
henceforth hated the children, because she believed them to be the
sole obstacles to her marriage. The Evil One and her passion
whispered into her ear, 'Go and kill your children.' So Cunigunda
rose from her couch; in a long white night-dress, her head covered
with a black veil, she crept to the bed of her children, and,
drawing from her raven hair a long golden pin, set with precious
stones (a gift which she had once received at the hands of Burgrave
Albert), she pierced the heads of her children, penetrating the
brain to the vertebra."

"Medea!" ejaculated Napoleon, staring into the fire. "This, then, is
the history of the Medea of the Hohenzollern."

"No, sire, the name of the countess was not Medea, but Cunigunda,"
said Schluter, respectfully.

Napoleon smiled. "Proceed," he said.

"On the following morning there was great wailing at the
Plassenburg, for the two sweet little children lay dead in their
bed; not a vestige of violence was to be seen, and the physician of
the countess decided that a stroke of apoplexy had killed them. The
Countess of Orlamunde sent a mounted messenger to Nuremberg to
Burgrave Albert the Handsome, requesting him to come and see her.
And when the burgrave came she met him in a white bridal dress, and
looked at him with radiant eyes; in her uplifted right hand she had
the golden hair-pin, and said, 'The four eyes are no longer in
existence. For your sake I have stabbed my two children with this
pin, your first love-gift; the four eyes are extinguished forever.
Now, marry me!' But the burgrave recoiled in terror, and pushed back
the murderess, who was about to embrace him. He then dragged her
through the rooms to the dungeon of the castle. She begged and
cried, but the burgrave had no mercy upon the infanticide, and
hurled her down into the dungeon. He then informed the courts of the
crime that had been committed. The Countess von Orlamunde, the last
member of her family, was put on trial, and sentence of death passed
upon her. The burgrave of Nuremberg sent the first executioner from
the city to the Plassenburg, and the countess was beheaded in the
presence of the burgrave, and in the same room in which she had
murdered her children. Before putting her head on the block she
glanced at the handsome burgrave, raised both her arms toward
heaven, and took a fearful oath that she would avenge herself on him
and his house; that, whenever one of his descendants was at the
point of death, she would be present, as the burgrave himself was
now present at her death; that she would never rest in her grave,
but live and walk, though the burgrave had her executed, and that,
as she was before him now at her last hour, she would appear to him
at his last hour. After uttering these words, she put her head
calmly on the block. The burgrave then had her buried at the convent
of Himmelskron, and, by virtue of an old treaty, the Burgraves of
Nuremberg now succeeded to the fiefs of the Counts of Orlamunde,
whose line had become extinct. The Plassenburg, with Baireuth and
Burgundy, and all the possessions of the Counts of Orlamunde,
therefore passed into the hands of Burgrave Albert the Handsome. He
did not enjoy the inheritance a long time, for, a few years
afterward, shortly after he had married the beautiful Countess
Beatrice of Hainault, he died very suddenly. His wife was awakened
by a loud cry he uttered. He then exclaimed, 'Cunigunda, do you come
already to take me away? Woe to me! Woe to me!' All became still;
the countess called for the servants and a light. They rushed into
the room with torches. Burgrave Albert the Handsome lay in his bed
dead. That, your majesty, is the history of the White Lady of
Baireuth."

"This lady, then, followed the Hohenzollern from the Plassenburg to
Baireuth and Berlin?" asked Napoleon. "For she appears sometimes at
Berlin, does she not?"

"At Berlin, and all places where members of the house of
Hohenzollern, the descendants of the Burgraves of Nuremberg, are
about to die."

"Oh, the dear lady, then, appears only to the family of the
Hohenzollern," exclaimed Napoleon, smiling. "Is it not so?"

"No, your majesty, at times she appears also to others," said
Schluter; "she walks about the palace, and if there is any one in
her way whom she dislikes, she tells them so, and angrily orders him
away. She forgets no insult heaped upon her house, and she is
terrible in her wrath."

"I have heard of it," exclaimed the emperor, gloomily. "My generals
complained vehemently of the annoyances they had suffered here in
1806, owing to the movements of this lady. You were here at that
time, were you not?"

"I was, sire, and so I was when General d'Espagne, in 1809,
established his headquarters at this palace."

"Ah, I remember," said Napoleon to himself. "Duroc told me the
horrible story at that time. Tell me what was it that befell General
d'Espagne here?"

"Sire, the general had arrived late at night, and, being weary, had
immediately retired. In the night terrible cries were heard in his
room. The orderlies hastened into it; the general's bed, which, when
he retired for the night stood at the wall, was now in the middle of
the room; it was upset, and, having fainted, he lay under it. He was
placed on a couch, and a doctor sent for, who bled him, and, when he
awoke, gave him sedative powders. The general declared that the
White Lady had appeared to him, and tried to kill him. While
struggling with her, his bed was upset, and, when about to succumb,
he uttered loud cries for assistance. He described all the
particulars of the countenance, form, and dress of the apparition,
and, at his express request, I had to conduct him to her portrait.
As soon as he saw it, he turned pale, and almost sank to the floor,
muttering, 'It is she! She looked exactly like that when she
appeared to me! Her apparition, doubtless, indicated my impending
death!' His officers tried to dissuade him from this belief, but he
adhered to his conviction, and left the palace that very night in
order to establish his headquarters at the 'Fantaisie,' the king's
little villa near the city. On the following morning General
d'Espagne sent a large detachment of soldiers to this palace; they
had to open the floor under the direction of their officers, and
take down the wall-paper, in order to see whether there were any
secret trap-doors or hidden entrances. [Footnote: Vide Minutoli,
"The White Lady," p. 17.] But they found nothing, for the White Lady
needs no theatrical apparatus; she goes where she pleases, and walls
and locked doors open to her. General d'Espagne, however, was unable
to overcome his horror. He left Baireuth on the following day, and
when he rode out of the gate he said, 'I heard my own death-knell
here at Baireuth. I shall soon die!'"

"And he really died shortly after, for he was killed at the battle
of Aspen," [Footnote: Ibid., p.17.] said Napoleon to himself,
staring gloomily into the fire. A pause ensued; suddenly the emperor
rose. "It is all right," he said. "Go! Your story of the White Lady
was quite entertaining. I hope she will keep quiet now. Go!--And
you, too, Roustan! I will afterward call you!" Long after the two
had withdrawn, the emperor walked slowly up and down the room. He
stood at length in front of the fireplace, and stared moodily into
the blazing flames. His face was pale and gloomy. "Foolish stories,
which no man of sense can believe! but which, nevertheless, are
fulfilled now and then," he added, in a lower voice. "Was it not
predicted to Josephine that she would become an empress; and that
not death, but a woman, would hurl her from the throne? The prophecy
was fulfilled! Poor Josephine! I had to desert you, and, at your
lonely palace of Malmaison, you are perhaps praying for me at this
hour, because you know I am about to brave new dangers. Poor
Josephine!--you were my good angel, and, since you are no longer at
my side--no matter!" the emperor interrupted himself; "I will retire
to rest." He advanced several steps toward the door leading into his
bedroom, where Roustan and Constant were waiting for him, but
stopping said, "No, I will first arrange my plans, and fight my
decisive battles with the Emperor Alexander." He returned with rapid
steps to the table covered with maps, and resumed his seat in the
easy-chair. The tapers were burning dimly; the flames in the
fireplace flickered, shedding a dark-red lustre on the marble face
of the emperor, who, bending over the map, sat motionless. Perhaps
it was the heat, or the profound silence, that lulled him to sleep.
His head fell back into the chair, and his eyes closed. The emperor
slept, but his sleep was not calm, and his features, which when
awake were so firm and motionless, were restless, and expressive of
various emotions. Once he exclaimed in a tender voice, "My father!
Do you at last come to me? Oh, welcome, father!" And a joyous
expression overspread the countenance of the sleeper; but it soon
faded away, and he appeared angry, and his lips quivered. "No, no,"
he said, with a faltering tongue, impeded by sleep, "no, father, you
are mistaken! my luck does not resemble the changing seasons; I am
not yet in autumn, when the fruits drop from the trees and winter is
at hand." He paused again, and his face assumed the expression of an
attentive listener. "What!" he then exclaimed in a loud voice, "you
say my family will leave me, and betray me in adversity? No, that is
impossible, I have lavished kindnesses on them, I--" He paused, and
seemed to listen again. "Ah," he exclaimed, after a short interval,
starting violently, "that is too much! All Europe is unable to
overthrow me. My name is more powerful than Fate!"

Awakened, perhaps, by the loud sound of his own voice, he opened his
eyes and looked around uneasily. "Ah," he said, putting his hand on
his moist forehead, "what a terrible dream it was! My father stood
before me, and predicted what would befall me. He prophesied my
ruin! He cautioned me against my relatives, and the ingratitude of
my marshals! [Footnote: "Le Normand." vol. ii, p. 421.] It is the
second time that this is predicted to me, and just as I now saw and
heard my father in my dream, the old sorceress spoke to me by the
pyramids of Egypt." And the emperor, absorbed in his reflections,
muttered in a hollow voice: "'You will have two wives,' said the
Egyptian sorceress to me; 'your first wife you will unjustly desert.
Your second wife will bear you a son, but your misfortunes will
nevertheless begin with her. You will soon cease to be prosperous
and powerful. All your hopes will be disappointed; you will be
forcibly expelled, and cast upon a foreign soil, hemmed in by
mountains and the sky. Beware of your relatives! Your own blood will
revolt against you!' [Footnote: This prophecy is historical. Vide
"Le Normand," vol. ii., p. 487.] Nonsense," exclaimed the emperor,
quickly raising his head; "all this is folly. The palace, with its
weird traditions, has infected me, and I scent ghosts in the air,
and transform my dreams into prophecies. I will retire!"

For the second time he approached the door of the bedroom, but
suddenly recoiled and stood with dilated eyes. In front of it
appeared a tall female figure, her arms spread out before the door,
as if she wished to prevent the emperor from passing out. A long
white dress covered her slender form, a black veil concealed her
bosom and her erect head; but behind the transparent tissue of the
veil was a pale, beautiful face, the eyes of which were flashing
like swords' points. Breathless with horror, he fixed his eyes
steadfastly on the apparition, that approached him now with uplifted
arms. Trembling in spite of himself, he drew back, and, putting his
hand on the back of the easy-chair, gazed searchingly at the
approaching figure.

"You dare set your foot into the house of the Hohenzollerns?" asked
the spectre in a hollow, menacing voice. "You come hither to disturb
the repose of the dead? Flee, audacious man--flee, for destruction
is pursuing you; it will seize and destroy you! Your last hour has
come! Prepare to stand before your Judge!"

"Ay, you will kill me, then, beautiful lady?" asked Napoleon,
sneeringly. "You will revenge the defeats I have inflicted on the
descendants of Burgrave Albert the Handsome, on the battle-fields of
Jena, Eylau, and Friedland? In truth, I should have thought that
beautiful Cunigunda of Orlamunde would rather welcome me as a
friend, for was it not I who avenged her on the faithless house of
Hohenzollern?"

"You try to mock me," said the spectre, "for your heart is filled
with doubt, and your soul with pride. But beware, Bonaparte--beware,
I tell you for the last time--your hour has come, and every step you
advance is a step toward your ruin. Turn back, Bonaparte, if you
intend to be saved, for ruin awaits you on the battle-fields of
Russia! Turn back, for the souls of your victims cry to God for
vengeance, and demand your blood for theirs--your punishment for the
ruthlessly destroyed happiness of whole nations! Bonaparte, escape
from the soil of Germany, and dare no longer to set foot upon it,
for disgraceful defeats are in store for you! Return to France, and
endeavor to conciliate those who are cursing you as a perjurer and
renegade!"

"Who are they who dare call me a perjurer and renegade?" asked
Napoleon, hastily.

"Who are they?" repeated the spectre, advancing a step toward the
emperor and fixing her menacing eyes upon him. "The men to whom you
once vowed eternal fidelity, and whom you called your brethren--
Philadelphians!"

The emperor started in terror, and his cheeks turned livid. His
features, which had hitherto had a sneering, scornful air, were now
gloomy, and he stared with an expression of undisguised fear at the
lady who stood before him in an imposing attitude, with her arm
lifted in a menacing manner.

"The Philadelphians?" asked Napoleon, timidly. "I do not know them."

"You do!" said the spectre, solemnly. "You do know that the
invisible ones are watching you, and will punish you because you
have broken your oath!"

"I know of no oath!"

"Woe to you if you have forgotten it. I will repeat it to you! It
was in 1789, at the forest of Fontainebleau, that you appeared at
the meeting of the brethren and requested to be initiated. The
Philadelphians admitted you into their league and received your
oath. Shall I repeat this oath to you?"

"Do so if you can!"

"You swore that never again should a freeman obey kings, and that
death to tyrants under all titles and in all governments is
justifiable."

"That was the formality of the oath of every club and secret society
at that time," exclaimed Napoleon, contemptuously.

"But the Philadelphians demanded still another written oath of you.
It read as follows: 'I consent that my life be taken if I ever
become reconciled to royalty. In order to contribute to its
eradication in Europe, I will make use of fire and sword, and, when
the society to which I belong asks me to do so, sacrifice even what
is most precious to me.' You wrote this and affixed your name to it
with your blood." [Footnote: "Le Normand" vol. ii., p. 516.]

"It is true, I did!" muttered Napoleon. "I was a fool, dreaming,
like all the others, of the possibility of a republic."

"You were a believer, and have become a renegade," exclaimed the
spectre, in a threatening voice. "The invisible ones will judge and
punish you, unless you make haste to conciliate them. You have
forgotten that you stand under the yoke of the Philadelphians. The
Emperor Napoleon believes that he has power to blot out with the
blood of subjugated nations the words of the sacred oath which
Lieutenant Bonaparte swore to the Philadelphians in the forest of
Fontainebleau."

"And I HAVE the power to do so!" exclaimed Napoleon, proudly. "I
stretch out my arm over Europe, and she bows before me."

"But the Philadelphians will break your arm, and convert your crowns
into dust, unless you make haste to conciliate them," exclaimed the
spectre. "Turn back, for it is yet time. Return to France, renounce
conquests: France wants no more wars; she is cursing the tyrant who
refuses peace to her and to Europe. There has been bloodshed enough.
Take an oath at this hour that you will renounce your ambition, and
no longer pursue a career of crime and blood! Swear that you will
return to France to-morrow!"

"Never!" ejaculated Napoleon, vehemently, and coloring with anger.

"Swear that you will return, or I will kill you!" cried the spectre.
"I will kill you as a wolf. Swear that you will return!"

"Never!"

"Ah, you will not swear--you prefer to die, then," and at a bound
she was by the Emperor's side, grasped him with iron hands, and
threw him down on the easy-chair. "You prefer to die!" she repeated
wildly, tearing the black veil from her head and showing her face
unveiled. It was livid as that of a corpse, the bloodless lips
quivering, and her red eyes flaming with rage.

"You prefer to die!" exclaimed the spectre, for the third time.
"Well, die!" And her arms encircled Napoleon's breast like iron
rings, her glance seemed to pierce his face, her lips opened and
exhibited terrible teeth, as if ready to tear his breast. The
emperor was unable to breathe; he felt his strength giving way, and,
with a last effort, he uttered a shrill cry calling for help.

"Sire, sire, awake!" cried an anxious voice by his side. Napoleon
started up, and violently pushed back the hand which touched his
arm. "Who is there?" he asked, angrily.

"Sire, it is I--Constant!" said the faithful valet de chambre. "I
heard in the antechamber your majesty's groans and cries; I rushed
in and saw you writhing on the easy-chair. A bad dream seemed to
torment your majesty, and I therefore ventured to awaken you."

"And I am glad you did, Constant," said the emperor. "Ah, my friend,
what a terrible dream it was! The White Lady was here; she threw
herself upon me like a tigress; she wanted to tear me and drink my
heart's blood."

"Your majesty had once before a similar dream," said Constant,
smiling.

"Where--where was it?" asked Napoleon, hastily, wiping the cold
sweat from his brow.

"Sire, it was at Erfurt, when the Emperor Alexander was there."
[Footnote: Constant, "Memoires," vol. iv., p. 79.]

"Yes, I remember," said the emperor, in a low voice. "It seems this
bad dream returns as soon as I approach Alexander. Does Fate intend
to warn me? Is he to be the wolf that will one day lacerate my
breast? Ah, it was an awful dream, indeed, and even now it seems to
me as really seen and heard." He glanced around the gloomy room.
Every thing was in precisely the same condition as when he had
entered it. The maps lay undisturbed on the table before him; the
colored pins stood in long rows like little armies, and opposite
each other, drawn up in line of battle. But the tapers had burned,
down, and the fire was nearly extinguished. Napoleon rose
shudderingly from his easy-chair. "I will go to rest," he said.

Constant, taking a candlestick, preceded the emperor, and opened the
door of the adjoining room. Fifteen minutes afterward Napoleon was
in bed, and Constant and Roustan had withdrawn into the antechamber.

But this sleep was not to be of long duration. A loud cry, uttered
by his master, awakened Constant, and caused him to rush into the
bedroom. The emperor had raised himself in bed. "Constant," he said,
"it was no dream this time. The White Lady was here--I saw her
distinctly--I had not fallen asleep, my eyes and all my senses were
awake. I saw the tall, white figure, her head covered with the black
veil, at the wall there, as though she had grown from the ground. At
a bound she was at my bedside, and raised her hands. I quickly
seized her and called for you. She then glided from my fingers and
disappeared. Like General d'Espagne, I say there must he a trap-door
somewhere in this room. Call Roustan, take lights, and examine the
walls and the floor."

The valet de chambre hastened to fetch Roustan: they took lights and
made a thorough examination, but in vain. The oaken planks of the
floor were firmly joined, and the dark velvet hangings glued to the
walls.

"Well, then, the White Lady has fooled me in another dream," said
the emperor. "Go! Let us sleep." The two servants withdrew.

About an hour had elapsed, when another cry, uttered by the emperor,
called Constant back into the bedroom. Seized with dismay, he halted
at the door. The bed was in the middle of the room; the table which
stood beside it was upset, and the night-lamp lay thrown on the
floor.

"I hope that no accident has befallen your majesty," said Constant,
rushing toward the emperor.

"No," said Napoleon. "But this accursed white spectre was here
again. It wanted to treat me like General d'Espagne; to upset my bed
and throttle me. I awoke just when this horrible monster of a woman
pushed the bed with the strength of a giant into the middle of the
room. I called for you, and she disappeared. As the White Lady
apparently does not like several persons to be in the room, you and
Roustan must remain here to-night."

"And, with your majesty's leave, each of us will hold a pistol in
his hand, that we may fire at the apparition if it return."

"Ah, my friend, you know little of the power of spectres," said
Napoleon, smiling. "When you have fired at them, they laugh
scornfully, throw the bullet back to you and pass on entirely
uninjured. That is their fashion. But you may take your pistols, and
if she has still a human heart in her breast, she will feel some
respect for it."

And the White Lady really seemed to have a human heart. Constant and
Roustan, who sat on the floor beside the emperor's bed with cocked
pistols, waited in vain for the return of the apparition. Every
thing remained quiet; nothing stirred in the room, where the
emperor, guarded by his faithful servants, now at last enjoyed
repose.

When he rose on the following morning, his face was even paler and
gloomier than usual. He who generally on being dressed conversed in
an affable manner with his servants, remained silent and grave that
day, and muttered only occasionally, "The accursed palace! The
miserable spectre-hole!" [Footnote: Historical.--Vide Minutoli, "The
White Lady," p. 17.]

Constant and Roustan, having finished the emperor's toilet, were
about leaving the room, when he called them back by a gesture. "You
will not mention any thing about what happened here last night!" he
said, imperiously. "If I find out that you disobey my order, I shall
be very angry. Go!" And the emperor went into the Gallery of Palms
in order to receive the reports of his suite and give the usual
audiences. With a nod and a dismal look he greeted Count Munster,
who inquired, with the fawning smile of a true courtier, whether his
majesty had passed an agreeable night.

"Your castellan, then, has not informed you of the horrible noise
last night in the palace?" asked Napoleon, angrily. "You ought to
get better nails, count, to hang up paintings, so that they do not
fall down. He who wants to hang anybody or any thing, even though it
be but a painting, ought to have at least a substantial gallows."

"Sire," faltered Count Munster, "I do not comprehend--this palace--"

"Is not even fit to be a gallows, for it drops those who have been
hung in it," exclaimed Napoleon, vehemently. "It is an accursed
place, and the air in it as sultry and oppressive as in a rat-hole.
Have the carriages brought to the door. Let us depart!" He did not
deign the count another glance, and returned into the adjoining
room, whither none but the grand marshal and his adjutants were
permitted to follow.

Fifteen minutes afterward, the emperor, with his numerous suite,
left the palace of Baireuth and set out for Plauen, where he
intended to join the Empress Maria Louisa, who had stopped there
over night, and continue with her the journey to Dresden. The
streets of Baireuth, which had presented so animated a spectacle the
day before, were at this early hour quiet and deserted; all the
windows were closed; only here and there a wondering, inquisitive
face appeared behind the panes and looked at the carriages that
rolled through the streets, and at the melancholy countenance of the
emperor, who sat in his open calash. When out of the gate, he turned
again, and cast an angry glance on the palace, whose high gray walls
were brightened by the morning sun. "An accursed old palace!" he
muttered to himself. "I shall never spend there another night."
[Footnote: Napoleon's own words.--Vide Minotoli, p. 17.] And leaning
back in a corner of the carriage he gazed in silence at the sky.

Count Munster, however, stood inside the palace of Baireuth, at the
window of the Gallery of Palms, and looked anxiously after the
emperor. The carriages disappeared at a bend in the road behind the
green willows, and the count turned to Castellan Schluter, who was
standing behind him.

"But tell me, for Heaven's sake, Schluter," exclaimed the count,
"what did the emperor refer to? What happened to him last night?"

"There happened to him what will happen to all those who dare
disquiet the White Lady of Baireuth or defy her power," said
Schluter, solemnly.

"You really believe, then, that she appeared to him?" asked the
count, in terror.

"The emperor sent for me late last night, and again this morning.
Shall I tell your excellency what it was for? The portrait of the
White Lady, which I had put yesterday into the cabinet adjoining the
audience-hall in the other wing of the palace, had walked over to
this side, and, in the room directly above the emperor, had thrown
itself down with so much violence, that the noise resounded through
the whole building."

"But that is altogether impossible," exclaimed Count Munster, in
dismay. "Why, you told me that the portrait was standing in the
other wing of the palace, and that you had carefully locked all the
doors."

"But I told your excellency also that locks and bolts are unable to
impede her progress, and that, when she intends to wander, the walls
open to her, and that all obstructions give way. The air wafted her
over to the enemy of her house, and, by the thunder of her wrath,
she awakened him from his slumber."

"And that was the reason why the emperor sent for you last night?"

"Yes, I had the honor of narrating to him the history of the White
Lady," said Schluter, laughing scornfully. "I did so, and told him
also what happened here to General d'Espagne."

"But did you not say the emperor has sent for you again this
morning?"

The castellan nodded.

"Well, what did he want again?"

"I had to describe to him the costume in which the White Lady is in
the habit of walking--her dress, her veil, her countenance--in
short, I had to tell him all about her appearance. I proposed at
last that I would have the portrait brought to him, that he might
himself look at it; but, when I did so, he cast a furious glance on
me, and said in an angry voice, 'No, no, I do not want to see it!
Let me alone with your doomed portrait!'[Footnote: Historical.--Vide
Minutoli, p. 17.] In truth, I believe the all-powerful emperor was
frightened, and the White Lady had paid him a visit. In fact, he
turned quite pale!" And Schluter burst into loud and scornful
laughter.

Count Munster shook his head gravely, and hastened to leave the
Gallery of Palms and the haunted palace.

The castellan remained there and listened until the count's
footsteps died away. He then hurried to the rooms which the emperor
had occupied. When he arrived at Napoleon's bedroom, he pushed the
bed aside, and stooped down to the floor, at which he looked with
searching eyes. "It is all right! Nothing is to be seen!" he
muttered to himself. "The White Lady will yet be able often to walk
here!" He burst into loud laughter and left the imperial apartments
to return to his own rooms, which were situated on the ground-floor.
"I will now put away my dear treasures, that no uninitiated eye may
behold them," he said, carefully locking the door. "Come, my
mysterious treasures! Come!" He drew from his bed a long white
dress, a small cloak trimmed with fur, and a long black veil,
[Footnote: These articles, belonging to the toilet of the White
Lady, were found in Schluter's trunk when he died, in 1880.--Vide
Minutoli, p. 17.] and while carefully folding up these articles,
which he locked in a trunk standing under the bed, He sang in a loud
and merry voice:

[Footnote: A comic song, sung in Germany in 1812.]
 "Ein Korsl, Ihr kennt den Namen schon,
 Seit vierzehn Jahr und druber,
 Spricht allen Nationen Hohn,
 Giebt Fursten--Nasenstuber,
 Sturzt Throne wie ein Kartenhaus
 Und treibt das Wesen gar zu Kraus,
 Nicht Bona--Malaparte!"

[Footnote:
 A Corsican--you know his name--
 For more than fourteen years
 Has scorned the nations, to their shame,
 And pulled their princes' ears.
 He plays sad tricks upon his toes,
 And, marching with his guards,
 He casts down kingdoms as he goes
 Like houses made of cards,
 A better name for him would be
 Not BONA, but MALA-parte]



CHAPTER IV.

NAPOLEON AT DRESDEN.


Joy, happiness, and love, reigned at the court of the King of
Saxony, Napoleon had honored the royal house of Saxony with a visit;
he had come to Dresden to spend a few days in the family circle of
Frederick Augustus, whom he flatteringly called his "cher papa." He
had also come to embrace his father-in-law, the Emperor of Austria,
before setting out for Russia, and to shake hands with his ally the
King of Prussia; and, finally, to gather around him again his
vassals, the princes of the Confederation of the Rhine, and, in the
face of Europe, to receive the homage of kings, emperors, and
princes.

Amid the ringing of bells and the light of torches, Napoleon and
Maria Louisa made their entry into Dresden. The late hour of the
night, when the imperial couple arrived, prevented the population
from greeting them with cheers. But the good people of the Saxon
capital were not to be deprived of the happiness of bidding Napoleon
welcome, and seeing his beautiful young empress. The court,
therefore, arranged a drive in open calashes on the day after; and
everywhere on the streets through which the procession passed the
people stood in vast crowds. The windows of the houses were opened,
and beautiful ladies looked out of them. The imperial and royal
carriages made but slow headway, for thousands of excited spectators
preceded them, and thousands more surrounding the carriages looked
up with inquisitive eyes to the distinguished persons who, greeting
and smiling, bowed to them on all sides. But the multitude were
silent; not a cheer resounded--not a "Vive l'empereur"--and the
praise of Napoleon, that was uttered by the lips of princes, lacked
the wonted accompaniment of popular enthusiasm.

Good-natured King Frederick Augustus felt all this as a rebuke
administered to himself, as a reflection on his hospitality, and he
looked with an expression full of uneasiness and affection at the
emperor, who was sitting beside him. But Napoleon's countenance was
as calm and cold as it always was. Not a flash of inward anger was
seen in those unfathomable eyes. He conversed quietly and almost
smilingly with his consort, the Empress Maria Louisa, and did not
even seem to notice that the people received him in silence.

"Well, he shall have a most gratifying compensation at the theatre
to-night," said Frederick Augustus to himself. "The audience will
there at least receive the great Napoleon with enthusiastic cheers;
and when, on his return, he sees all Dresden glittering in the
illumination that is to take place, he will have to admit, after
all, that my good Saxons, like their king, love and admire him."

King Frederick Augustus was not mistaken.--The vast and brilliant
audience, that in the evening assembled at the royal theatre,
received the members of the court, on their appearance, with
deafening cheers; all rose from their seats and shouted with
constantly recurring enthusiasm, "Long live Napoleon: Long live the
Emperor Francis! Long live our dear King Frederick Augustus!" The
band accompanied these cheers, the ladies waved their bouquets, and
the gentlemen their hats and handkerchiefs, and when this outburst
subsided, hundreds of eyes were fixed on the royal box, to watch
every motion of Napoleon's countenance, and admire him in the circle
of his family; for this large gathering of princes and kings were
now his family, and the son of the Corsican lawyer was its head.
There was the Emperor Francis of Austria, who had arrived but a few
hours before, to greet his beloved son-in-law, whom he had not seen
since the battle of Austerlitz. The emperor was accompanied by his
young consort, the Empress Ludovica. Every one knew that she hated
Napoleon; that her proud heart never could forgive him the
humiliations which he had inflicted on Austria, and that she had
consented only with the utmost reluctance, and with bitter tears, to
the marriage of her step-daughter, the Archduchess Maria Louisa,
with the conqueror of Austria. And yet, notwithstanding her hatred,
grief, and humiliated pride, the Empress Ludovica had likewise come
to Dresden to witness the triumph of Napoleon, to be the second lady
at this court, and the first in the suite of the Empress Maria
Louisa. There were the King and Queen of Westphalia, sister-in-law
of Napoleon and daughter of the King of Wurtemberg, who deemed
himself happy that Napoleon was a relative of his. There were,
besides, the Grand-Duke of Wurzburg, brother of the Emperor Francis,
and now uncle of Bonaparte; the Grand-Duke of Baden, Napoleon's
nephew, and the King of Saxony, the cher papa of Napoleon; and
finally, the crowd of the petty German princes of the Confederation
of the Rhine, who had eagerly hurried to Dresden in order to do
homage to their protector, and seek after new gifts of territories
and titles from the all-powerful master of Germany. But these
personages formed only part of the suite; no one paid attention to
them; they stood humbly and modestly in the background, and only the
two emperors and empresses, the Queens of Saxony and Westphalia, and
the King of Saxony, occupied front seats. The King of Saxony
conducted Napoleon to the first gilded easy-chair on the right side;
to him belonged the seat of honor here as everywhere. He was first
in the line of emperors and kings. By his side sat Maria Louisa,
sparkling with diamonds, which covered her head, neck, arms, and the
golden belt around her slender waist. Her countenance was joyful,
and never had she feasted her eyes on her husband with more heart-
felt pride than during this evening, when, sitting beside him, she
eclipsed her imperial step-mother in the magnificence of her toilet
and the splendor of her rank. It was only when Napoleon had taken
his seat that the Emperor and Empress of Austria, and all the other
kings and princes, followed his example. The band immediately
commenced the overture, and the festive cantata began. On the stage
was seen the radiant temple of the sun, surrounded by the
brilliantly-adorned crowd of priests and priestesses. They raised
their arms, not to the temple of the sun, but toward Napoleon's box,
and, amid their soul-stirring chorus, the high-priest stepped forth
from the temple. Advancing to the edge of the stage, he bowed to the
imperial sun, and commenced singing in a powerful voice, "The sun
rises gloriously on the firmament, illuminating and heating the
world; but thou, his greater brother, thou conquerest him, and he
drives back his car, acknowledging that, since thou art here, the
world needs no other sun." While the high-priest sang these words
the temple on the stage suddenly paled, and over its entrance the
following words appeared in large letters of gold: "Di Lui men
grande e men chiaro il Sole." [Footnote: "Less great and brilliant
than he is the sun." The author of this cantata, performed in honor
of Napoleon, was Orlandi, an Italian; Morlacchi bad composed the
music.]

At this sight, cheers burst from all sides of the brilliantly
decorated house; the audience rose from their seats and turned
toward the imperial box to salute Napoleon; the Emperor of Austria,
the King of Saxony, and the princes of the Confederation of the
Rhine, joined in the applause. But Napoleon, to whom these cheers
were addressed, did not even seem to notice them. He had suddenly
risen and turned his back to the stage, regardless of the high-
priest and his emphatic words. Heedless of the cheers and applause,
he left his place and hastened to the Emperor Francis, who was
sitting on the left side, close to the two empresses. "Sire," said
Napoleon, "I request your majesty to exchange seats with me, and
pardon me for erroneously taking the chair that was intended for
you."

"No, no; it is no mistake at all," exclaimed the Emperor Francis,
hastily. "It is all right as it is, and your majesty must stay
there, for that easy-chair is the seat of honor."

"That is precisely the reason why it should be occupied by your
majesty, the august Emperor of Austria, my beloved and revered
father-in-law," said Napoleon, bowing his head lower than he had
ever before done to any prince in the world. "Come, sire, permit me
to conduct you to the seat that is due to you alone." With gentle
violence he took the emperor's hand and conducted him to the seat at
the right side of Maria Louisa.

"My dear Louisa," he said, turning to his consort, "I renounce the
happiness of sitting beside you, because this seat is due to the
head of our family, the father of my consort, the grandfather of my
son. You may embrace the opportunity to tell our dear papa all about
the little King of Rome." He greeted Maria Louisa with a beaming
smile, and then repaired to the seat which the Emperor Francis had
occupied, at the left side of the Empress Ludovica. The smile was
still on his face; he sat down on this chair, and, turning to the
empress, his mother-in-law, asked her, almost humbly, if she would
grant him the happiness of sitting by her side.

Ludovica felt flattered; the gentle, suppliant voice of the emperor,
his smile, and flashing eyes, exerted their wonted charm upon her.
She had armed her heart against the arrogant master of the world,
but, before the kind and almost humble bearing of Napoleon, her arms
sank to the ground, and she who had hitherto felt nothing but hatred
against him, regarded him now with mingled astonishment and
admiration.

Napoleon seemed to have read the depths of her heart, for his face
grew even milder, and his smile more fascinating. "Your majesty has
hated me intensely, I suppose?" he asked, in a low voice. "Oh, do
not deny it; I have been portrayed to you in very repulsive colors?"

Ludovica looked at him admiringly. "I must confess, sire," she said,
"that not one of the portraits of your majesty which I have seen, is
like you."

"Oh, I believe so," exclaimed Napoleon, hastily; "they have always
painted me too dark, and the portraits shown to your majesty
doubtless have been of that description; but before you, madame, the
Moor would like to wash his face, and I wish you could see me
painted less repulsively."

"Sire," said the empress, smiling, "did we not see but a few minutes
since that your image is even more radiant than the sun?"

"Ah, those are silly coups de theatre," exclaimed Napoleon. "It is
no great honor, indeed, to surpass the splendor of a sun made out of
paper. If the lamplighter had approached too close to it it would
have burned, while I think that I can stand in fire without running
the risk of perishing. However, the fire of anger flashing from your
eyes, madame, would annihilate me, and I pray you, therefore, to
have mercy on me. Pray, let us be frank. Why do you hate me?" He
looked at the empress with so mild and smiling an expression, that
she felt confused by it, and a faint blush suffused her beautiful
face.

"No," she said, in a low voice, "who tells you that? How would it be
possible to hate the man to whom all Europe bows in admiration?"

"I have put my foot on the neck of Europe; I have tamed the wild
horse, and it acknowledges me as its master," said Napoleon,
proudly. "But is that a reason why you should hate me? Let all lie
in the dust before me, but Austria shall stand erect by my side, for
the Emperor of Austria is my father-in-law, and though I do not
venture to say that the beautiful young Empress of Austria is my
mother-in-law, I may be allowed to say that she is the mother of my
consort, and that I admire and esteem her with all my heart. Austria
has nothing to fear, so long as she is friendly toward me. She shall
share my triumphs; and, when at last all Europe is prostrate, the
Emperors of France and Austria will stand side by side, and divide
the world between them."

"And one will take his Herculaneum, and the other his Pompeii," said
the empress, sarcastically.

"Ah, you mean to say that the world we shall have conquered will
consist only of ruined cities and dead subjects?" asked Napoleon,
gloomily.

"Sire," said Ludovica, gently, "I mean that when Vesuvius shows
itself to the wondering world in its whole majesty and beauty, it
cannot prevent the molten lava, which rises from its crater, as a
natural consequence, from rushing down its sides, and spreading
everywhere death and destruction."

"Well," exclaimed Napoleon, smiling, "if your simile is correct, the
molten lava will soon inundate Russia, and carry terror, death, and
destruction into the empire of the arrogant czar."

"Ah, sire," said Ludovica, gravely, "Russia is so very cold that I
believe even the fires of Vesuvius would be extinguished there, the
molten lava would freeze, or, flowing back, injure Vesuvius itself."

"Oh, no, madame," exclaimed Napoleon, hastily, "Vesuvius will not be
extinguished, for divine fire is burning in its heart."

"And Russia will not thaw, for it is a divine frost that freezes
every thing approaching her," said Ludovica, gently.

Napoleon cast on her one of his quick, angry glances. "Madame," he
said, "I--"

At this moment the whole audience burst into loud and enthusiastic
cheers, and shouted, "Long live the emperor! Long live the hero who
conquers the world!"

Napoleon interrupted himself, and turned his eyes toward the stage.
The temple of the sun was still dark, but a new brilliant light was
beaming over it; in its middle was the word "Napoleon" in large
flaming letters, which illumined the whole scene. In this sight the
audience were unable to restrain their delight, and burst into the
deafening cheers which had interrupted Napoleon's words.

The King of Saxony was evidently pleased with this outburst of
enthusiasm. "Now," he thought, "the great Napoleon will forget the
disagreeable scene of this morning. The people then were silent, and
admired, but to-night they have recovered their speech; and when we
leave the theatre, and behold the whole city in a flood of light,
Napoleon will feel convinced that my subjects love him sincerely.--
But what is that? The emperor rises. Does he intend already to leave
the theatre?" And he hastened to Napoleon, who advanced toward him.
"Let us leave, sire," he said. "These flatteries are more than
enough. You see the sun has set here."

"But he is still among us, sire," said Frederick Augustus. "And if
it has grown dark on the stage, the reason is simply, that all the
light now fills the streets of Dresden, to prove to the great
Napoleon that there is no night where he is--that his presence turns
darkness into light, and night into day."

"Ah," said Napoleon, in a tired, wearied tone, "an illumination then
has been arranged?"

"Sire, my people, as well as I, cannot find words to utter to your
majesty the transports with which your visit has filled our hearts,
and I hope you will see this in the lights shining at every window.
I request your majesty not to return directly to the palace, but
first ride through the city."

Napoleon nodded assent. "Let us do so, cher papa," he said; "let us
take a look at your illumination!" He offered his arm to Maria
Louisa, and left the box with her. The crowd of kings, dukes, and
princes, followed him in haste.

As the King of Saxony descended the staircase with his consort,
Chamberlain von Planitz met him with a pale and frightened face.

"Well," asked the king, "I suppose the illumination has already
commenced? It must be a splendid spectacle!"

"Your majesty," said the chamberlain, in a low voice, "the royal
palace and the public buildings are brilliantly lit up, but the
houses of the citizens are dark, and the streets are deserted."

"But," exclaimed the king, in dismay, "did not the police command
the citizens to illuminate their houses?"

"Yes, your majesty, the police have done their duty."

"And yet--"

"And yet, sire, all the houses are dark. It is as if the whole
population had conspired to disobey the order. The police have again
given orders; they received everywhere the same reply, that neither
oil nor candles were to be had any where."

"The stubborn people ought to have been told that they would be
punished for this."

"The police tried this, too, your majesty, threatening that every
citizen who did not obey should be fined a dollar, and all declared
their readiness to pay rather than illuminate."

"That is open rebellion," said the king, sighing. "The streets,
then, are dark?"

"Yes, sire."

"Then we must not take the intended ride through the city,"
exclaimed the king, anxiously. "Make haste, baron, countermand the
ride, and--"

At this moment the first carriage rolled from the portal. "It is too
late," groaned the king. "The emperor has already started. He will
witness our humiliation."

"Possibly, he may drive immediately to the palace," said the queen.
"He seemed tired and exhausted--"

"No, no," said the king, "he consented to see the illumination, and
the outriders are instructed accordingly. I myself marked out the
route. But, an expedient occurs to me. Quick, Baron von Planitz! Go
to the outrider of my carriage. Tell him to follow the imperial
carriage as fast as he can ride. He must overtake it, though his
horse die under him. He must order the driver to turn and pass down
Augustus Street to the Linden, and then slowly across the square, to
the palace. Make haste!" The chamberlain hastened to carry out the
king's orders.

"And we?" asked the queen--"shall we also follow him?"

"No, we return to the palace, and will wait for him there. The
others, of course, will follow the imperial carriage, and I hope we
shall soon see the two emperors again." Profoundly sighing, the king
conducted his consort to the carriage, and drove with her toward the
palace. A flood of light beamed upon them in the palace square. Huge
pillars, covered with festoons of colored lamps, stood in front of
the long palace bridge, and were connected with each other by
brilliant girandoles. Four similar pillars were in front of the main
portal of the Catholic church at the entrance of Augustus Street.
Around the square altars were erected, on which naphtha was burning.
On the royal palace the Austrian and French coats-of-arms displayed
all their colors with heraldic accuracy. It was a dazzling
spectacle, and even the king himself rejoiced at the beautiful and
imposing effect. "I think," he said, pointing to the pillars, "I
think this will be agreeable to him."

"Yes, but I am afraid that will be disagreeable to him," said the
queen, pointing to the Neustadt, lying dark on the other side of the
Elbe.

"Heaven grant that he may not see it!" said the king, sighing; he
then leaned back and closed his eyes until they halted in front of
the portal. "I shall remain here until the emperors arrive," he
added, bowing to his consort. With anxious eyes he gazed upon the
place, and listened in suspense to any distant noise. After waiting
fifteen minutes, the roll of approaching wheels was heard, and now
they thundered across the square and entered the palace portal. King
Frederick Augustus, hat in hand, stepped up with a most submissive
air to the first carriage, the door of which was just opened by
lackeys in gorgeous liveries. He lifted the young empress Maria
Louisa out, and then offered his hand almost timidly to Napoleon to
assist him also. With a quick wave of his hand he refused
assistance, and alighted. Anger was burning in his eyes.

"We left the theatre at an earlier hour than the citizens expected,"
said the king, timidly, "and that is the reason why the illumination
has not yet generally commenced."

"Oh, no," said Napoleon, in a petulant voice; "YOUR illumination is
magnificent; as to the inhabitants of Dresden, it seems to me, they
are the children of the sun that we saw at the theatre--their lights
have gone out." And the emperor, coldly bowing to the king, and
offering his arm to his consort, walked with her into the palace.

"He is not in good humor," muttered Frederick Augustus, in dismay.
"Oh, he is incensed at me!"

At this moment the Emperor Francis, with his consort, met him. "A
very pretty idea," said the emperor, with a laughing face, "to unite
the coats-of-arms of Austria and France in such a blaze of
variegated light! It gladdens one's heart to behold them. I thank
your majesty for having thus exhibited my coat-of-arms. It looks
admirably by the side of that of France."



CHAPTER V.

NAPOLEON'S HIGH-BORN ANCESTORS.


A new guest had arrived at Dresden to do homage to Napoleon--the
King of Prussia, accompanied by the young crown prince, and
Chancellor von Hardenberg. The two inimical friends, the Emperor of
France and the King of Prussia, met for the first time at the rooms
of the Queen of Saxony, and shook hands with forced kindness. They
exchanged but a few words, when Napoleon withdrew, inviting the king
to participate in the gala dinner and ball to take place that day.
The king accepted the invitation with a bow, without replying a
word, and repaired to the Marcolini palace, where quarters had been
provided for him and his suite. Not a member of the royal family
deemed it necessary to accompany him. He went away quietly and
alone. His arrival had not been greeted, like that of Napoleon and
the Emperor of Austria, with ringing of bells and cannon salutes,
nor had the soldiers formed in line on both sides of the streets
through which he passed on entering the city. The court had not
shown any attention to him, but allowed him to make his entry into
Dresden without any display whatever.

But if the court thought they might with impunity violate the rules
of etiquette because Frederick William was unfortunate, the people
indemnified him for this neglect, and honored him. Thousands hurried
out of the gate to cheer him on his arrival, and escorted him amid
the most enthusiastic acclamations to the royal palace. When he left
it again, the crowd followed him to the Marcolini palace, and
cheered so long in front of it that the king appeared on the
balcony. It is true, the anterooms of the king were deserted; no
smiling courtiers' faces, no chamberlains adorned with glittering
orders, no dignitaries, no marshals, princes, or dukes, were there;
but below in the street was his real anteroom--there his devoted
courtiers were waiting for their royal master, looking up to his
windows, and longing for his coming. The smiles with which they
greeted Frederick William were no parasites' smiles, and the love
beaming from those countless eyes was faithful and true.

Beneath the residence of Napoleon the people did not stand, as
usual, in silent curiosity staring at the windows, behind which from
time to time the pale face of the emperor showed itself. The street
was empty--those who formerly stood there were now joyously
thronging in front of the King of Prussia's quarters; they had
recovered their voices, and often cheered in honor of Frederick
William III.

The anterooms of Napoleon indeed presented an animated spectacle. A
brilliant crowd filled them at an early hour; there were generals
and marshals, the princes of the Confederation of the Rhine, the
dukes, princes, and kings of Germany, whom Napoleon had newly
created--all longing for an audience, in order to wrest from
Napoleon's munificence a province belonging to a neighbor, a title,
or a prominent office. Germany was in the hands of Napoleon, and to
bow the lower to him was to be raised the higher. In these rooms of
the emperor there was the unwonted spectacle of German sovereigns
soliciting instead of granting favors; and, instead of being
surrounded by, were themselves courtiers, who, in the most
submissive manner, sought the intercession of adjutants and
chamberlains, to procure admission to the imperial presence and
favor.

And all these courtiers gave vent to their love and admiration for
Napoleon in terms of the most extravagant praise. They spoke with
prophetic ecstasy of the fresh laurels that Napoleon was to bind
upon his brow, and of Alexander's madness to resist a conqueror
destined to make new triumphs for the glory of France and the
humiliation of Russia. Yet, when two or three of these expectant
gentlemen stood in some window-niche, and believed themselves beyond
the reach of indiscreet ears, they dared to ask each other, in a low
and anxious tone, whether all this splendor would not soon vanish as
a meteor--whether one might not see the aurora of a new day dawning-
-whether the battles into which Napoleon was about to plunge so
recklessly would not result in the downfall of him whom they
publicly extolled, but secretly cursed. But, to these whispered
questions the brilliant anterooms, the marshals of the empire,
crowned with victory, the dukes and princes, the court of Napoleon,
composed of the sovereigns of Germany, made a triumphant reply.
Secret hope could hardly survive in the recollection of the
greatness and invariable good fortune of Napoleon, and they who
desired the humiliation of the conqueror yielded to submission.
Returning to the crowd of princely courtiers, they renewed their
enthusiasm, and joined in the plaudits of Napoleon's admirers.

When the emperor, with Maria Louisa, entered the room, all pressed
forward, anxious to receive a glance, a smile, or a pleasant
salutation. Rank and etiquette were overlooked; there was but one
master, one sovereign, to whom all were doing homage. Rushing toward
him, each one tried to outstrip the other; and many a high
dignitary, prime minister, prince, duke, or king, was pushed aside
by an inferior. Napoleon stood in the centre of the room, uttering
words of condescending affability to the fortunate men nearest him.

Suddenly cheers resounded in the streets, rattling the window-panes.
Napoleon looked in the direction of the windows. "What is that?" he
asked, turning to the Duke de Bassano.

"Sire," said the duke, "the good people of Dresden are impatient to
see their imperial majesties of France, and pay them their
respects."

More deafening shouts were heard. Napoleon smiled, and hastily
walking with his consort through the circle of the courtiers stepped
to the open window. He frowned as he looked down. An immense crowd
had gathered below, but their faces were not turned toward the
windows of the royal palace, and their cheers were not intended for
the emperor. The multitude crossed the square, and in their midst
drove slowly an open carriage surrounded by the enthusiastic people.
In this carriage sat the King of Prussia, to whom were given the
loud greetings mistaken by Napoleon. He understood it at a glance,
and, stepping back from the window with the empress, turned to
Grand-Marshal Duroc, who was standing by his side. "See that the
populace go home," he said, hastily, "and that they no longer
disturb the people of the city by indecent and riotous proceedings.
I do not wish to hear any more yelling near the palace!"

Duroc bowed, and withdrew to instruct the police officers not to
tolerate any similar conduct on the part of the citizens. The
emperor meanwhile turned to Duke Augustus of Gotha, who had just
succeeded in penetrating through the ranks of courtiers, with his
broad shoulders and colossal form.

"Ah, you are back again, duke?" asked the emperor, kindly. "Did you
attend thoroughly to your government affairs?"

"I did, sire," said the duke, nearly bowing to the ground, and then
seizing the emperor's hand to press it to his lips.

"Well, I must confess that you accomplished your task with great
rapidity. Was it not three days since you took leave of us to go to
Gotha?"

"Yes, sire, I set out three days ago."

"And you are back already! You performed the trip and your official
business in so short a time! How large is your duchy, then?"

"Sire," said the Duke of Gotha, quickly, "it is as large as your
majesty commands it to be." [Footnote: This reply is historical]

Napoleon's smile was reflected in the faces of those seeking his
favors.

At this moment the doors of the outer anteroom opened, and on the
threshold appeared the grave and dignified form of King Frederick
William. The courtiers, with an impatient expression, receded
anxiously, as though afraid of contact with this unfortunate man,
who had no territories, no riches, no honors to offer them, but had
come as a vassal to pacify the wrath of Napoleon, and save at least
a remnant of his kingdom. But the king did not come with craven
heart; he did not hasten his approach to the emperor with fawning
submissiveness, but slowly, with his head proudly erect, and a grave
air.

Napoleon received him with a haughty nod. "Your majesty, you must
have had a troublesome drive from your quarters to the royal
palace," he said harshly. "I noticed that the gaping crowd were
thronging about your carriage and annoying you."

"Pardon me, sire," said the king, "the people did not annoy me. They
did me the honor of bidding me welcome, and this was the more
generous, as I am not one of those who are favored by Fortune. But
the German people yield sometimes to generous impulse, and show
thereby how little they know of the etiquette and sagacity of
courtiers."

While uttering these words, the king glanced with his clear, calm
eyes--in which a slightly sarcastic expression was to be seen--at
the multitude of brilliantly adorned and distinguished gentlemen who
tried to get as far as possible from him. Napoleon smiled. He
himself despised sycophancy sufficiently to be pleased with this
rebuke. But his severe look returned, and he gazed with some
indignation upon the tall form of the King of Prussia. He noticed
that, while himself appeared in silk stockings and buckled shoes,
the king had come in long trousers and boots.

"Your majesty, doubtless, was not informed that there would be a
ball after the banquet?" asked Napoleon, pointing to the king's
boots.

"I was, sire, but since the death of my consort I have not danced."

"But etiquette," exclaimed Napoleon, vehemently, "etiquette is--"

"Sire," interrupted the king, in a calm and dignified tone,
"etiquette is intended for parasites and people of the court, and it
is very proper for them to adhere to it. But a sovereign king, I
should think, has a right to disregard it, and follow the promptings
of his own inclinations."

The door of the anteroom opened again, and the grand marshal
appeared to announce dinner. The emperor offered his arm to Maria
Louisa, preceded by the high dignitaries and the officers of his
household, and followed by the swarm of princes and gentlemen of the
courts. The King of Prussia, taking the place to which his rank
entitled him, walked on the other side of the empress, and entered
the dining-hall at the same time with Napoleon, amid the notes of
the imperial band. Napoleon walked with his consort to his guests,
who were waiting for him in the centre of the hall--the Emperor and
Empress of Austria, and the King and Queen of Saxony.

The banquet was a distinguished one, and the French cooks of
Napoleon's household had displayed all their culinary skill to
satisfy the palate of even the most fastidious epicures. Napoleon,
as usual, gave his guests but little time to revel in the delicacies
prepared for them. Scarcely half an hour had elapsed since the
commencement of the dinner, when he rose, and thereby gave the
signal that the gala-dinner was at an end.

The Emperor Francis, who was almost always in good humor, could not
refrain from frowning, and, after offering his arm to his consort to
conduct her to the saloon, where coffee was to be served, he
muttered, "I do not know, but it seems to me that the Emperor
Napoleon eats too little."

"And yet he has so hearty an appetite, that he is able to swallow
and digest the territories of sovereigns," whispered the Empress
Ludovica, with a sneer. "He is now as satisfied as an anaconda after
devouring an ox."

"Yes, but we poor mortals are still hungry," said Francis,
thoughtfully. "It does not do us any good that his appetite is
satisfied."

"There will be a day when our hunger shall be appeased, and he
starve," said the empress.

"Hush!" whispered Francis, "not a word against him! He is my son-in-
law, Ludovica. And, besides, he has an appetite strong enough yet to
swallow another ox."

"He will get it in Russia, I suppose?" said Ludovica, quickly.

"Yes," said Francis. "He explained his whole plan to me and
Metternich for over an hour to-day, and proved to us that four weeks
hence there would be no Russian emperor; that Russia would fall to
ruins and decay. He dwelt on a great many other things, and told us
of gigantic schemes, which, to tell the truth, I did not comprehend
very well. Let me confess to you," he whispered, standing near the
door of the reception-room, "that his words almost frightened me.
His heart may be all right, but as to his head, I am afraid there is
something wrong about it." [Footnote: The emperor's own words,--Vide
Hormayer's "Lebensbilder," vol. iii.]

Ludovica smiled. "Do you believe, then, my husband, that he has
really a heart?" she asked. "But as to his head, the princes and
nations of Europe, I hope, will soon find an opportunity to set it
right."

"Hush!" said Francis again; "he is my son-in-law."

"And because he is your son-in-law, your majesty should hesitate no
longer to deliver to him, or rather to his consort, the precious
gift which you ordered for her, and which arrived to-day."

"It is true," exclaimed Francis. "Let us at once present the gift to
Maria Louisa."

He entered the saloon and hastily approached his daughter, who stood
with Napoleon in the centre of the room, and was just handing him a
cup of coffee, to which she herself had added sugar and cream.
[Footnote: The Empress Josephine, in her tender care for Napoleon,
who frequently forgot to take his coffee, was in the habit of
preparing a cup for him after dinner, and presenting it to him,
Maria Louisa had adopted Josephine's habit.]

"Louisa," said Francis, kindly nodding as he approached her, "I have
a little gift for you, which I hope will be acceptable. I ordered it
several months since, but when we set out from Vienna it was not
ready. To-day, however, it has arrived, and, as we are now in a
family circle, I may as well present it to you. That is to say,"
added the emperor, bowing to Napoleon, "if your majesty permits me
to do so."

"Your majesty was right in saying that we are here a family circle,"
said Napoleon, smiling; "and as the father is always the head and
master, I have nothing to permit, but only to pray that your majesty
may make what present your love has chosen for her."

"And I assure you, father," exclaimed Maria Louisa, smiling, "I am
as anxious to know what you have for me as I was at the time when I
was a little archduchess, and when your majesty promised me a
surprise. Let me, therefore, see your gift."

Francis smiled, and, walking to the open door of the adjoining room
(where the dukes, who did not belong to the imperial family, the
princes, the marshals, and courtiers, were assembled), made a sign
to one of the gentlemen, who stood near the door. The latter
immediately left the room, and returned after a few minutes with an
oblong, narrow something, carefully wrapped in a piece of gold
brocatel, which he presented to the emperor with a respectful bow.
Francis took it hastily, and approached Maria Louisa with a solemn
air. "Here, Louisa," he said, kindly, "here is my present. It will
show you what, it is true, every day proves to admiring Europe,
namely, that genuine royal blood is flowing in the veins of your
husband."

Maria Louisa opened the covering with inquisitive impatience, and
there appeared under it a golden box, ornamented with diamonds and
pearls. "What magnificent diamonds!" she exclaimed. "What skilful
work!" said Napoleon, smiling.

"The box was made by Benvenuto Cellini," said Francis; "it was
highly prized by my lamented father, the Emperor Leopold, who
brought it from Florence to Vienna. But that is not the principal
thing--the contents are more important. Here is the key, Louisa;
open the box!" He handed her a golden key, and Maria Louisa applied
it to the key-hole, adorned with large oriental turquoises. Around
her stood the Emperor and Empress of Austria, the King and Queen of
Saxony, the King of Prussia, and the Grand-duke of Wurzburg;
Napoleon was close beside her. All eyes were expressive of curiosity
and suspense. Nothing was there but a roll of parchment. Maria
Louisa unfolded it. "A pedigree!" she exclaimed, wonderingly.

"Yes, a pedigree," said the Emperor Francis, merrily, "but a very
precious and beautiful one, which you may put into the cradle of the
little King of Rome, and from which he may learn his letters. Sire,"
he then added, turning to Napoleon, "your majesty must allow me to
add another jewel to your imperial crown. I mean, this pedigree. It
proves irrefutably that your majesty is the descendant of a glorious
old sovereign family, which ruled over Treviso during the middle
ages. Signor Giacamonte, the most renowned genealogist in all Italy,
devoted himself, at my request, for a whole year to this study, and
succeeded in proving that the Bonaparte family is of ancient and
sovereign origin."

"That is a splendid discovery," exclaimed Maria Louisa, with
delight; "my little King of Rome, consequently, has a very
respectable number of distinguished ancestors?"

"More than fifty!" exclaimed her father, proudly. "Look here; this
is the founder of the whole family, the Duca di Buon et Malaparte;
he lived in the twelfth century."

He pointed to the genealogical trunk of the beautifully painted and
ornamented pedigree, of which Maria Louisa held the lower end, while
the King and Queen of Saxony obligingly took hold of the upper end.
The King of Prussia stood beside them and witnessed this strange
scene with a scarcely perceptible smile, while the Empress Ludovica
looked with undisguised scorn into the joy-excited countenance of
her step-daughter. Napoleon surveyed the faces of all present with a
rapid glance, and an expression of sublime pride overspread his
countenance.

"Look," exclaimed the Emperor Francis, bending over the pedigree,
"there is his name! There is the founder of Napoleon's family."

At this moment Napoleon laid his hand gently on his shoulder. "Oh,
no," he said, "the founder of that family stands here."

"Where, then?" asked Francis, eagerly, still bending over and
looking for the name.

"If your majesty desires to see him, you must be so kind as to avert
your eyes from that piece of parchment, and turn them toward me,"
said Napoleon, raising his voice.

Francis looked up and gazed wonderingly upon his son-in-law.
Napoleon smiled; it was a triumphant smile. "I, and I alone, am the
founder of Napoleon's family," he said, slowly and solemnly. "I am
the ancestor of those who bear my name. The King of Rome needs no
other, unless it be that your majesty should count every victory
which his father gained an ancestor, and compose his pedigree from
the laurels I have obtained in Europe and Africa. My son has a right
to despise ancestors invisible in the darkness of by-gone centuries,
whom history does not mention, while the vainest genealogy can
scarcely discover that they lived and died. My grandsons and great-
grandsons need not seek the name of the founder of their family on
decayed parchments and confused pedigrees; they only need read the
pages of history. They will also find it at night in the marshalled
host of heaven, where twinkles a star which science names Napoleon.
I think, sire, that star will never set; it will illuminate the path
of your grandson better than the lamp flickering in the tombs of
mouldering ancestors."

Maria Louisa at the first words of Napoleon withdrew her hands from
the pedigree, and stood half sullen and ashamed by the side of her
husband. The royal couple of Saxony hastened to roll up the pedigree
as quickly as possible, and put it back into the golden box.

Napoleon offered his arm to his consort. "Come, madame," he said,
"let us go to the ball-room." While he was walking away with her,
the Emperor Francis turned to Ludovica, and, tapping his forehead,
whispered cautiously, "I was right! There is something wrong in
Napoleon's head."



CHAPTER VI.

NAPOLEON'S DEPARTURE FROM DRESDEN.


The brilliant court ball ended, and Napoleon retired to his cabinet.
He seemed more careworn than he had ever allowed any of his
attendants to notice. He was slowly walking his room, casting an
occasional glance on the map marked with the positions of the
various corps now near the frontiers of Russia. "Narbonne has not
yet arrived," he muttered to himself. "Alexander seems really to
hesitate whether to make peace or not. My four hundred thousand men,
who have reached the Niemen, will frighten him, and he will submit
as all the others. He will not dare to bid me defiance! He will
yield! He--" Suddenly Napoleon paused and stepped hastily to the
window on which he had happened to fix his eyes. A strange spectacle
presented itself. The large square directly in front of his windows,
which on the day of his arrival had been so splendidly lit up, was
dark and silent; but, on the other side of the river, the Neustadt
was now in a flood of light, and it seemed to him as if he heard
cheers. He opened the window, and, leaning out, saw the houses
illuminated--even the residences of the neighboring Palace Street.
These houses, like those in the other parts of the city, had given
previously no token of joy, and remained in darkness. The emperor
shut the window angrily and rang the bell. "Tell the grand marshal I
wish to see him," he said to the footman.

A few minutes afterward Duroc entered. "Duroc," exclaimed the
emperor, in an angry voice, and pointing his arm at the window,
"what is the meaning of that illumination? In whose honor is it?"

"Sire," said Duroc, slowly, "I suppose it is in honor of the King of
Prussia, who arrived to-day."

The emperor stamped on the floor, and his eyes flashed. "The
inhabitants of Dresden are rebels, and ought to be brought to their
senses by bomb-shells!" he shouted, in a thundering voice. "What
does the King of Prussia concern them? And why do they show him this
honor?"

"Sire," said Duroc, smiling, "the people, as the King of Prussia
said to-day, know but little of etiquette, and are not so wise as
courtiers."

"'People!'" growled Napoleon. "There are no 'people;' there are only
subjects, and they ought to be punished with fire and sword if they
think of playing the part of 'the people.' Did I not issue orders
to-day to the effect that all demonstrations should be prohibited?
Why were my orders disobeyed?"

"Sire, they were obeyed so far as it was in our power. The police
managed to prevent the populace from gathering and shouting in the
street, but they are unable forcibly to enter the houses, because
the inmates, without making any further demonstration, placed a few
lights at their windows. Our agents, nevertheless, went to the
proprietors of some of the houses, and asked for the reason of this
sudden and unexpected demonstration. They replied that it was in
honor of the Emperor Napoleon, the guest of their king."

"The villains! They dare to falsify!" exclaimed Napoleon. "The facts
are against them. On the day when they were to illuminate in honor
of my arrival, all the houses were gloomy as the grave, on account
of hostility to me. The same feeling is the reason of to-day's
illumination. It seems, then, that the king of Prussia is
exceedingly popular in Saxony?"

"Yes, sire. The king, as I positively know, had instructed the
inhabitants of the Prussian places through which he had to pass on
his journey to Dresden, not to receive him in any formal manner
whatever; but, of course, he was unable to issue such orders in
regard to the cities and villages of Saxony. Well, so soon as he
crossed the Saxon frontier, he was everywhere received in the most
ardent manner. All the bells were rung in the towns of Juterbogk and
Grossenhayn on his arrival, and the whole population, headed by the
municipal authorities, and all the other functionaries, came to meet
him on the outskirts of the towns, and cheered him in the most
jubilant manner."

"And how did he receive these honors?"

"He thanked the citizens, in plain and simple words, for the
disinterested respect they were good enough to pay to a German
prince."

"A German prince?" repeated Napoleon, vehemently; "ah, this little
King of Prussia still braves me! I was too generous at Tilsit! I
must cut his wings still shorter! I will show him what the French
emperor can do with a German prince, when he dares to bid me
defiance!"

"Sire," said Duroc, in a suppliant voice, "I beseech your majesty
not to go too far! The King of Prussia is backed by the sympathies
of the whole German nation. His misfortunes cause the people to look
on him as a martyr. They also believe that he participates but
reluctantly in this Russian war, and this increases the love with
which they regard him, for I venture to say to your majesty that
this nation is opposed to the war."

"I have not appointed the German nation my secretary of war,"
exclaimed Napoleon, "and I have not asked my grand marshal to give
me his advice. Carry out my orders, and do your duty. Tell Berthier
to come to me!"

Duroc hung his head mournfully, and turned toward the door. The
flaming eyes of Napoleon followed him. Just as the grand marshal
opened the door, he heard the emperor calling him. "Sire?" he asked,
turning, and standing at the door. There was now beaming so much
love and mildness in the emperor's face, that Duroc was unable to
resist, and. as if attracted by a magnetic power, returned.

"Duroc, my old friend," said Napoleon, offering him his hand, "I
thank you for your good advice, for, though I did not ask it, it was
well meant. I know full well that the so-called German people, as
well as their princes, however they may cajole me, are opposed to
this war. Oh, I know those treacherous princes! I know that those
who flatter me today in the most abject manner, are only watching
for an opportunity to avenge themselves for their sycophancy; but I
have chained them to me with iron bands, and extracted their teeth,
so that they are unable to bite--their teeth, that is to say, their
soldiers, whom I am taking with me into this last and decisive war.
For I tell you, Duroc, it will be our last campaign. On the ruins of
Moscow I will compel Alexander to submit, and then peace will bo
restored to Europe for years to come. And who knows, it may not be
necessary to go so far? Perhaps it may be sufficient for me to march
my army as far as the Niemen, to awaken Alexander from his reveries,
and bring him to his senses."

"Alas, sire!" said Duroc, sighing, "Alexander has loved your majesty
too tenderly not to feel irritated in the highest degree."

"Is it I, then, who broke this friendship?" exclaimed Napoleon,
vehemently. "Is it I who brought about this war? Have I not rather
resorted to all means in order to avoid it? Have I not twice sent
Lauriston to Alexander, and offered him peace in case he should
fulfil my conditions: to shut his ports against British ships, to
lay an embargo upon British goods, and give up commercial
intercourse with England? But, emboldened by his victories over the
Turks, the Emperor of Russia takes the liberty of dictating
conditions to me! He asks me to give him an indemnity for
confiscating the states of his brother-in-law, the Prince of
Oldenburg; he demands that I should not engage to reestablish the
kingdom of Poland! He wants to impose on me the terms by which peace
is to be maintained! Conditions! I am the man to make them, but not
to accept any! That would be a humiliation I could not submit to!
You see, therefore, Duroc, I have been compelled to enter upon this
war; I did not seek it, but I cannot avoid it. You see the justice
of it, do you not? You know that I desired, and am still desiring
peace, and that it is with a heavy heart I shed the blood of my
brave soldiers."

"Sire," said Duroc, with a faint smile, "I see at least that it is
too late now to speak of peace, inasmuch as an army of four hundred
thousand men is waiting on the Niemen for the arrival of your
majesty."

"Let Alexander speak; let him accept my terms, and it will not be
too late," exclaimed Napoleon. "I am looking for Narbonne, who may
arrive at any moment. He will bring us either peace or war, for he
will have Alexander's final reply. As soon as he arrives he must be
admitted, no matter whether I am asleep or awake. Go, now, Duroc!
Tell Berthier to come to me!"

When Berthier entered, the emperor was standing at the window, and
looking over to the Neustadt, which was still in a blaze of light.
The marshal remained respectfully at the door, waiting to be
addressed. A long pause ensued. Suddenly Napoleon turned his pale
countenance to Berthier, and exclaimed: "Berthier, you will set out
immediately. Go to Berlin, and convey my order to the Duke de
Belluno. Tell him that I recommend the utmost vigilance, and that it
is his task to maintain order in Prussia. The population of that
country are very seditious. They are constantly ready to conspire
and rise in rebellion, and who knows whether Frederick William will
not make common cause with the insurgents? This ought to be
prevented by all means; war is at hand; hence we must redouble our
firmness and vigilance, that no revolution may annoy us in our rear.
You will repeat all this to the duke, and take him my instructions."

"Sire," said Berthier, "if your majesty has no further orders, I
shall set out immediately."

"You will tell the Duke de Belluno that it is my will that no
Prussian general or officer shall command at Berlin, and that the
French general alone must give all necessary orders. Sit down; I
will dictate to you the other instructions."

Berthier took a seat at the desk, and waited, pen in hand, for the
emperor's words. Casting again a glance on the city honoring the
King of Prussia, he dictated: "Special care is to be taken that
neither at Berlin nor in its vicinity shall there be a depot of
small-arms or cannon, which the populace might take possession of.
No Prussian troops whatever shall be left at Berlin, and what few
regular soldiers remain at the capital shall exclusively perform the
military service at the palace. The French troops at Berlin shall
not be lodged with the citizens, but take up their quarters at the
barracks, and, if these should be insufficient for their
accommodation, encamp in the open field. You will constantly keep
some field-pieces ready for immediate use, in order to suppress any
seditious movements that might take place. Every insult heaped upon
a Frenchman will be punished by a court-martial according to the
laws of war. Besides, it is necessary that the governor-general of
Berlin should organize a secret police, that he may know what is
going on, and have a vigilant eye on all dangerous attempts at
disturbing the public peace. You will inform the Duke de Belluno
that the administration of the country will be entirely left to the
king's ministers, but that the surveillance of the newspapers, as
well as all other publications, and the whole organization of the
police, must be in the duke's hands, that nothing may give a
dangerous impulse to the people, and that they may have no
opportunities of entering into a rebellion. Prussia must be kept
down by all means at our command. You will tell the Duke de Belluno
that I have given orders that three or four well-informed French
officers should stay at Colberg and Graudenz. The right of having a
Prussian garrison was reserved only to Colberg, and Potsdam is the
only city through which the French troops are not allowed to pass;
but the inhabitants of Potsdam should be accustomed to see many
French officers in their midst. The latter must frequently stop
there overnight on the pretext of seeing the city, and, if their own
curiosity should not impel them to do so, their commander should
induce them to pursue the course I have indicated. The duke shall,
under all circumstances, show the greatest deference to the King of
Prussia, and even to affectation at festivals and on all public
occasions. He shall, besides, frequently invite to his table the
Prussian ministers, and what few Prussian officers will be left at
Berlin, and always treat them in the most polite and obliging
manner. But at all hours a vigilant eye must be had on the king as
well as on the authorities and the people, and the duke ought always
to be ready to put down the slightest demonstration or disorder. I
have done," said Napoleon. "Go, Berthier, and comply carefully with
my instructions. No confidence can be reposed in Frederick William
or in his people. We have subjugated Prussia, but it may perhaps be
necessary to crush her. At the slightest provocation this must be
done; if she will not be an honest ally, I will prove to her that I
am an honest enemy, and, to give her this proof, put an end to her
existence. Go, Berthier; set out immediately."

Berthier withdrew, while Napoleon returned to the window with a
triumphant air. "Ah, my little King of Prussia," he said,
scornfully, "they kindle lights here under my eyes in honor of your
petty majesty, but my breath can extinguish them and leave you in a
profound darkness. Another such provocation, and your throne breaks
down. Another--"

The door of the antechamber was hastily opened, and Roustan
appeared. "Sire," he said, "his excellency Count de Narbonne
requests an audience."

"Narbonne!" ejaculated Napoleon, joyously. "Come in, Narbonne, come
in!" And he hastened to meet the count, who entered the cabinet,
and, as an experienced cavalier of the court of Louis XVI., made his
bows in strict accordance with etiquette.

"Omit these unnecessary ceremonies," said Napoleon, quivering with
impatience and anxiety. "I have been looking for you a long time.
What results do you bring me?"

"Sire," said the count, with his imperturbable, diplomatic smile, "I
am afraid the result of my mission will be war."

"What!" exclaimed Napoleon, eagerly, and, for a moment, a faint
blush tinged his cheeks. "What! The Emperor Alexander will not
yield? He refuses to comply with my conditions?"

"Sire, your majesty will permit me to repeat to you the emperor's
own words," said the count, with composure. "When I had laid your
propositions before his majesty, and told him that if the czar
should shut his ports against British ships, continue the war with
England, lay an embargo on all British goods, and give up all direct
and indirect commercial intercourse with England, your majesty then
would make peace with Russia, the Emperor Alexander exclaimed
vehemently, 'Such a peace I would accept only after having been
forced into the interior of Siberia!'" [Footnote: Alexander's own
words.--Vide "Memoires d'un Homme d'Etat," vol. xiii., p. 375.]

"Ah," exclaimed Napoleon, "I will give him the pleasure of that
journey. He will become acquainted with Siberia, and there I mean to
dictate terms of peace, unless I prefer to leave him there forever.
Did you bring any other dispatches?"

"I did, sire. Here is the official reply of Minister Count Romanzoff
to the letter of the Duke de Bassano, of which I was the bearer. It
is nothing but a repetition of the phrases which the Russian
ambassador at Paris made to us up to the day of his departure. Here
is Romanzoff's letter. Will your majesty be so gracious as to read
it?"

Napoleon took the paper and glanced over it. "You are right," he
said, flinging the paper contemptuously on the table. "Nothing but
the same phrase: 'Alexander wants peace, but is unable to fulfil my
conditions.' Well, then, he shall have war! The first shot
discharged at my soldiers will be answered by a thousand cannon, and
they will announce to the world that Napoleon is expelling the
barbarians from Europe."

"Sire," said Narbonne, smiling, "if your majesty intends to wait
until the Russians fire the first gun, there will be no war, and may
it be so! The Emperor Alexander has made up his mind not to take the
initiative. Only when the armies of your majesty have crossed the
frontier of Russia, when you have forcibly entered his states, will
Alexander look upon the war as begun, but he will not carry it
beyond the boundaries of his country: he will not meet the enemy,
whom he would still like so much to call his friend, outside the
frontiers of his empire."

"Ah, I knew well that Alexander is hesitating," exclaimed Napoleon,
triumphantly. "He dares not attack me, and his vacillation will give
me time to complete my preparations, and surround him so closely
that he cannot escape. While he is still dreaming at the Kremlin of
the possibility of peace, I shall be at the gates, and ask him in
the thunder of my cannon whether he will submit, or bury himself
beneath the ruins of his throne."

"He will choose the latter," exclaimed Narbonne, quickly.

"He will not!" said Napoleon, proudly. "He will submit! A terrible
blow struck in the heart of the empire, Moscow--holy Moscow--
delivers Russia into my hands. I know Alexander; I exerted formerly
great influence over him. I must dazzle his imagination by boldness
and energy, and he will return to my friendship."

"Heaven grant that it may be so!" said Narbonne, sighing.

"It is so!" said Napoleon, confidently, walking with rapid steps and
proud head; "yes, it is so! Fate has intrusted me with the mission
of ridding Europe of the barbarians. The logic of events
necessitates this war, and even family ties, such as we proposed to
form at our interview at Erfurt, would not have prevented it. The
barbarism of Russia is threatening the whole of Europe. Think of
Suwarrow and his Tartars in Italy! Our reply ought to be, to hurl
them back beyond Moscow; and when would Europe be able to do so,
unless now and through me." [Footnote: Napoleon's own words.--Vide
"Souvenirs du Comte Villemain," vol. i., p. 168]  "But, sire,
Europe, in the madness of her hatred, would prefer to make common
cause with Russia. Suppose she should offer her hand to the Tartars
and Cossacks, to deliver herself from the yoke which the glory and
greatness of Napoleon have imposed upon her neck? Sire, at this
decisive hour you must permit me to tell you the truth: I am afraid
the hatred, the cunning malice and rage of your enemies, will this
time be stronger than the military skill of your majesty, and the
bravery of the hundreds of thousands who have followed you with such
enthusiasm. Your majesty says that Alexander is hesitating, and that
may, perhaps, be true; but his people are the more resolute, and so
is the emperor's suite. They are bent on having war, and with the
whole strength of mortal hatred and patriotic fanaticism. The
people, instigated by their venomous and impassioned priests, regard
this as a holy war, commanded by God Himself. Their priests have
told them that the Emperor of the French is coming with his armies
to devastate Russia, to destroy the altars and images of the saints,
and to dethrone the czar, in order to place himself on the throne.
The Russian people, who, in their childlike innocence, believe to be
true whatever their priests tell them, feel themselves profoundly
wounded in their most sacred sympathies: love for the fatherland,
the church, and the czar, and they are rising to a man to save them.
Sire, this war which your majesty is about to commence is no
ordinary war: the enemy will not oppose you in the open field; like
the Parthian, he will seemingly flee from his pursuer; he will decoy
you forward, but in the thicket or ravine he will conceal himself,
and when you pass by will have you at an advantage. He will never
allow you to fight him in a pitched battle, but every village and
cottage will be an obstacle, a rampart obstructing your route. Every
peasant will regard himself a soldier, and believe it his bounden
duty to fight, however sure he may be to die. Sire, the terrible
scenes in Spain may be renewed in Russia, for all Russia will be a
vast Saragossa; women, children, and old men, will participate in
this struggle; they will die eating poisoned bread with the enemy,
rather than give him wholesome food."

"You are exaggerating!" exclaimed Napoleon, sneeringly. "In truth,
it is mere imagination to compare the Russian serf--the blood in
whose veins is frozen by Siberian cold, and whose back is cut up and
bowed by the knout--with the Spaniard, passionate and free beneath a
torrid sun, and who in his rags still feels himself noble and a
grandee. But these exaggerations shall not influence me! The die is
cast: I cannot recede! Great Heaven! this tedious old Europe! I will
bring from Russia the keys to unlock a new world. Or do you believe,
you short-sighted little men, that I have undertaken, merely for the
sake of Russia, this greatest expedition that military history will
ever engrave upon its tablets? No; Moscow is to me but the gate of
Asia! My route to India passes that way. Alexander the Great had as
long a route to the Ganges as I shall have from Moscow, and yet he
reached his destination. Should I shrink from what he succeeded in
accomplishing? Since the days of St. Jean d'Acre I have thought of
this scheme; if it had not been for the discontinuance of the siege
and the plague, I should at that time have conquered one-half of
Asia, and have thence returned to Europe for the thrones of Germany
and Italy. Do not look at me so wonderingly, Narbonne. I tell you
nothing but my real schemes. They shall be carried into effect, and
then you and the world will have to acknowledge that my words are
oracles, my actions miracles, and every day a new one! [Footnote:
Napoleon's own words.--Vide Villemain, "Souvenirs," vol. i, p. 180.]
In the morning I set out early and repair to the headquarters of my
army. Do not say a word, Narbonne! I leave Dresden early in the
morning. The fate of Russia is decided! Go!" He waved his hand
toward the door, and turned his back to Narbonne.

The count left the imperial cabinet with a sigh. In the corridor
outside he met Berthier and Duroc, who seemed to await him. "Well,"
both of them asked eagerly, "were your representations successful?
Will the emperor, at the eleventh hour, make peace?"

Narbonne shook his head sadly. "It was all in vain," he replied. "He
wishes war, and you do not even dream how far he means to carry it.
When listening to him, one believes him to be either a demigod, to
whom temples should be built, or a lunatic, who should be sent to
Bedlam!" [Footnote: Count Louis de Narbonne's own words.--Vide
"Souvenir," vol. i.]



THE LAST DAYS OF 1812


CHAPTER VII.

THE CONSPIRATORS OF HELGOLAND.


The storm was howling over the ocean, revealing its depths, and
hurling its foaming waves to the sky. They dashed wildly against
yonder lofty rock that calmly overlooked the anger of the tempest.
It was the rock of Helgoland. In times of old, it towered even more
proudly above the unruly element surrounding it. It was then a
terror to seafaring nations, and when the ships of the rich
merchants of Hamburg, Bremen, Holland, and Denmark, passed it at as
great a distance as possible, the masters made the sign of the
cross, and prayed God would deliver them from this imminent danger.
In ancient days Helgoland was ten times larger than it its now, and
on this old rocky island, which had been the last aslyum of the gods
of northern paganism, lived a warlike people, who knew no other laws
than those, of their own will, no other toil than piracy, and who
submitted to no other master than the chieftain chosen from among
their most colossal fellows. The pirates of Helgoland were desperate
men, who had selected for themselves as a coat of arms a wheel and a
gallows, which they wore embroidered on the sleeves of their
jackets: and their last chieftain, who especially terrified the
hearts of sea-captains passing the island, called himself: "I, by my
own grace, and not that of God, Long Peter, Murderer of the Dutch,
Destroyer of the Hamburgers, Chastiser of the Danes, and Scourge of
the Bremen Ships." But Long Peter, "by his own grace, and not that
of God," had at length fallen a victim to the vicissitudes of life.
The women of Helgoland, revolting against his cruelty, baseness, and
tyranny, surrendered the island, the seat of the ancient gods, to
Admiral Paulsen, of the Danish navy. This occurred in 1684, and
since then Helgoland remained under the authority of the Danish
crown until 1807. The conflagration of Copenhagen melted the chains
that fastened the old gray rock to Denmark, and England, that
triumphantly conveyed the whole Danish fleet to her own shores,
annexed Helgoland.

The island had become much smaller ever since Long Peter, its last
chieftain, died. The storms had swept over it, tearing rocky masses
from its shores, and flinging them far into the sea, which had
undermined the foundations of Helgoland, and hidden the conquest
beneath the waves. Although small, it was the beacon of Europe. In
the last days of 1812 the eyes of all German patriots were fixed
longingly and hopefully upon that lonely rock in the North Sea. It
was British territory--the first advance which England had made to
the shores of suffering Germany, and, her proud flag waving over it,
made it the asylum of persecuted patriots and members of the secret
leagues. To the red rock, in the midst of the sea, came no French
spies; there were no traitors' ears, for the pilot at the light-
house kept a good lookout, and no suspicious ship was permitted to
anchor; no one was allowed to land without having given a good
account of himself, and satisfying the authorities that confidence
might be reposed in him. Those allowed to disembark were heartily
welcomed, for, by setting foot on the rocky island, they had become
members of the vast family of Napoleon's enemies--of the brethren
who had united against his power--of the conspirators whose sworn
duty it was to oppose Napoleon with the weapons of cunning as well
as force--of intrigue creeping in the dark, or of brave and manly
defiance.

In Helgoland the swarms of smugglers sheltered, who had taken upon
themselves the risk of trading English goods, against which
Napoleon's hatred tried to shut the entire continent. There came the
crowd of foreign merchants, to purchase of English dealers the goods
which Napoleon's decrees had prohibited in his own dominions, as
well as in those of his allies. Every British manufacturer and
wholesale dealer had his counting-house and depot at Helgoland. Vast
warehouses, resembling palaces, rose on the plateau of the island,
and approaching ships beheld them from afar. In these warehouses
were stored all the articles which British industry was able to
offer to the rest of Europe, and which the people of the whole
continent desired the more ardently, the more rigorously they were
forbidden to purchase them. A very large commercial firm of London
and Manchester had branches of their business on the island; every
wealthy banker had an office there, and people were justified in
calling Helgoland "Little London." You would have thought yourself
in the city of London, when passing through the narrow streets of
the island, lined on both sides with vast warehouses, and reading on
each the names of the most celebrated London firms. You would almost
have fancied you were in the gigantic harbor of the Thames, when
looking at the forest of masts, the animated crowds, the ships and
boats, where from three to four hundred vessels cleared and entered
every day.

Not only merchants and smugglers, adventurers and speculators,
flocked to Helgoland, but diplomatists, politicians, and patriots
found on the rocky island a refuge and convenient point, where they
might meet their brethren and reunite kindred hearts. The members of
the great secret league hastened from the north and the south of
Europe to Helgoland, to hold meetings there, concert plans, and
communicate to each other what they had succeeded in accomplishing.

On one of the last days in September, 1812, an unusual commotion
prevailed on the island. It was noon, and yet more than two hundred
ships had arrived and cast anchor. All the stores were open and the
goods displayed; brokers and speculators elbowed themselves in busy
haste through the multitude of merchants, owners of ships,
smugglers, and sailors, that filled the whole upper part of the
island, offering goods for sale in all languages; and among them
were to be seen the beautiful girls of Helgoland, dressed in their
strange costume, and carrying in baskets and on plates all sorts of
delicacies, for which they sought purchasers.

At a distance from the throng stood three men, who paid but little
attention to the merry, excited crowd. They were closely wrapped in
cloaks, with their hats drawn over their foreheads, and looked
steadfastly upon the sea. Far on the horizon there appeared another
small dark speck, which gradually assumed a definite shape.

"A ship!" ejaculated one of the three men, eagerly.

"Yes, a ship," repeated his two companions. They paused, looking
eagerly at the vessel, which rapidly darted across the waves, and
could now be discerned by the unaided eye.

"Look," said one of the three, "she is a man-of-war. I see the port-
holes."

"But I do not see her flag," said one of his companions.

"I do," exclaimed the third, who had hitherto looked at the ship
through a large telescope. "Yellow and blue, the Swedish colors."

"At length!" exclaimed the first speaker, joyously. "I hope it is
he!"

"There is another ship," said the second speaker, pointing his hand
to a different part of the horizon. "How she is dashing along!--her
keel cuts the waves so that their foaming crests sweep like a silver
chain behind her. Oh, I like that ship! it seems to me as though she
brings us glad tidings, and comes for our sake, and not for
commercial purposes."

"Now she unfurls her flag!" exclaimed the third speaker. "It is the
union jack! Oh, you are right, she comes for our sake, and I hope
some friend is on board. But we are forgetting the Swedish vessel.
Where is she?"

"There! The little fish has become a whale. And see, the English
ship, too, is much larger, and is dancing along like a beauty. Both
are very fast, and in half an hour they will be at anchor in the
harbor."

"Heaven grant that the friends for whom we are looking may be on
board!" said his two companions, sighing.

"Your wish will be granted," said their friend. "God is with us and
blesses our league. Has He not already for twelve days bidden the
sea be calm, and not detain us or one of ours by adverse winds? Have
we not all arrived to-day, as we had agreed to, from three different
parts of the world? Why should the other brethren of our league not
be able to do the same?"

"Yes, you are right," said the first speaker, smiling. "Heaven does
seem to be with us, and it is apparently for our sake that this rock
emerged from the waves as a snug little boudoir for our European
rendezvous. Bonaparte may often enough cast angry glances in this
direction, but the lightning of his eyes and the thunder of his
words do not reach our sea-girt asylum, which God Himself has built
and furnished for us. Grim Bonaparte cannot hurt us here, but we
will try to hurt him, and one day he will find out what we are doing
at the political boudoir of Helgoland."

"Look," exclaimed his friend, "the two ships have reached the island
at the same time, and are now anchoring."

"They are lowering their boats," exclaimed the third speaker. "The
passengers are going ashore."

"Let us go to the place agreed upon, and see whether they are the
brethren we are looking for," said the first speaker.

"Yes, let us go," exclaimed his two companions.

Without exchanging another word, they turned and walked hastily
through the busy crowds to the staircase leading from the upper part
of the island to the lower shore. Here they passed through the
streets of small, neat fishermen's huts, and then entered the last
building. A footman in a gorgeous livery received them in the small
hall, and opened with reverential politeness the door leading into
the only room of the hut. The three men walked in, and locked the
door carefully. One of them took off his hat and cloak, and now
stood before his two companions in splendid uniform, his breast
covered with orders. "Permit me, gentlemen," he said, smiling--
"permit me to greet you here as guests of mine, for you are now at
my house. I have bought this building for the purpose of holding the
meetings of the members of our league. Up to this time we have
recognized each other as friends only by the signs and passwords
that had been agreed on; but now, if you please, we will drop our
incognito. I am Count Munster, minister of the Elector of Hanover
and the King of England."

"And I," said the second gentleman, taking off his cloak--"I have
the honor of introducing myself to your excellency as the chief of
the Berlin police, who was proscribed and exiled by Bonaparte. My
name is Justus Gruner."

"A name that I have known a long time, though I was not acquainted
with the man himself," said Count Munster, kindly offering him his
hand. "Let me bid you welcome as a faithful and zealous adherent of
the good cause--as a noble patriot in whom Germany confides and
hopes."

"It is my turn now to unmask," said the third, whose countenance had
hitherto been almost entirely invisible, so closely had he muffled
himself. Taking off his cloak and hat and bowing to his companions,
he said, "My name is Frederick William of Brunswick."

"I had the honor to recognize your highness when you were yet in the
boat, and I stood on the shore," said Count Munster, smiling and
bowing respectfully.

"And why did you not tell me so?" asked the duke, eagerly.

"Because I respected your incognito, your highness," said the count.

The duke shook his head, which was covered with dark, curly hair.
"No etiquette, count," he said, almost indignantly. "I am nothing
but a poor soldier, who scarcely knows where to lay his head, whom
grief is tormenting, and whose hunger for vengeance is not
appeased."

"There will be a time when all those who are hungry, like your
highness, will be satisfied," said Justus Gruner, solemnly.

"If you speak the truth, my friend," exclaimed the duke, with
emphasis, "the eyes of my blind father, who died in despair, will
reopen, and he will look down with blissful tears upon the delivered
world. And they will blot out his last dying words, that are burning
like fire in my heart. 'Oh, what a disgrace! what a disgrace!' were
the last words my father uttered. I hear them night and day; they
are always resounding in my ears like the death-knell of Germany;
they are ever smarting in my heart like an open wound. Germany is
groaning and lamenting, for Napoleon's foot is still on her neck,
and, mortally wounded and blinded like my father, we are all crying,
'Oh, what a disgrace! what a disgrace!'"

"But the time will soon come when our wounds will heal," said Count
Munster, gravely. "Our night is passing, the morning dawns, and the
star of Bonaparte will fade forever."

"I do not think it," said the duke, sighing. "It is still shining
over our heads--he is rather like a threatening meteor, and its
eccentric course is over the snow-fields of Russia. But hush!
footsteps are approaching." The duke was not mistaken. They heard
the door of the hut violently open and close, and shortly after some
one rapped at the locked door.

"The password!" shouted Count Munster, putting his hand on the key.

"Il est temps de finir!" replied a sonorous voice outside.

Count Munster opened the door. A gentleman of imposing stature
entered the room. "Count Nugent," exclaimed Count Munster, joyously,
offering both his hands to the friend whom he had known for many
years. "Was it you who arrived on the last English ship?"

"Yes," said the count, saluting the other gentlemen. "But I believe
there will be more guests here directly. I saw close behind me two
men wrapped in cloaks, who were also moving hither. Ah, they are
passing the window at this moment."

"And now they are entering the house," said the count, listening.

Another rapping was heard, and the call for the password was
answered again by the shout of "Il est temps de finir!"

"They are the passengers from the Swedish vessel, as I hoped they
would be," said Count Munster, opening the door. Two men in cloaks
entered, and bowed silently to the others.

"Gneisenau! My dear Gneisenau!" exclaimed Count Munster, tenderly
embracing the gentleman who had entered last. "Then, you have really
kept your word! You have come in spite of all dangers! I thank you
in the name of Germany!"

"You will thank me only after having learned what new ally I have
enlisted for our holy cause," said Gneisenau, smiling, and pointing
to his companion, who, still closely muffled, was standing by his
side silent and motionless.

"You come from Stockholm," said Count Munster, joyously, "you bring
us a delegate of the crown prince of Sweden, the noble Bernadotte,
do you not? My heart does not deceive me--I am sure!"

"No, your heart does not deceive you," said Gneisenau, smiling.
"This gentleman is an envoy of the crown prince of Sweden, who
promises us his friendship and assistance."

"No," said the stranger, slowly and solemnly. "At this hour there
must be truth between us. I am not an envoy of the crown prince of
Sweden, I am he himself, I am Bernadotte!" He took off his hat and
cloak, and bowed to the astonished gentlemen. "I wish to prove to
you, and to those whom you are representing, that I am in earnest,"
said Bernadotte, in the most dignified manner. "My French heart had
to undergo a long and painful struggle, but the crown prince of
Sweden conquered it. I must think no longer of the blood that is
flowing in my veins, but remember only that, by the decree of the
noble Swedish nation, I have been destined to become its king, and
that, therefore, the interests of Sweden must be more important and
sacred to me than my own heart. The Emperor of the French has
offered me an alliance. But Russia and Prussia are urging me to
espouse their cause. The interest of Sweden requires me to ally
myself with those who have justice, strength, and honor on their
side; I shall, therefore, side with Russia, England, and Prussia.
This is the reply which I made to the Russian ambassadors, and
likewise to the Prussian General Gneisenau here. But, at the same
time, I asked opportunity to complete my preparations, and until
that can be done, I have requested the ambassadors to keep secret my
accession to the northern alliance. It seemed to me as though this
request of mine were looked upon as a proof of my vacillation, and
as a want of candor, and as though doubts were entertained as to my
ultimate decision. Hence I wished to manifest my true spirit by
coming myself to you instead of sending a delegate. Now, you have
heard my political confession. Are you content with it, and may I
participate in your deliberations?" And the crown prince of Sweden,
uttering the last words, turned with a winning smile to Count
Munster, and sank his head as a prisoner waiting for sentence.

"I pray your royal highness, in the name of my friends present, to
remain and participate in our discussions," said Count Munster. "We
are now waiting for no further arrivals--all the invited guests have
come. Let us take our seats. Let the conference commence. But first
permit me to introduce the gentlemen to each other."



CHAPTER VIII.

THE EUROPEAN CONSPIRACY.


The six gentlemen sat down on chairs placed around the table
standing in the middle of the room. Count Munster bowed to them. "As
it was I who invited you to attend this conference," he said, "I
must take the liberty of addressing you first. I must justify myself
for having called upon you in the name of Germany, in the name of
Europe, to come hither notwithstanding the dangers and hardships of
the journey. Yes, gentlemen, Germany stands in need of our
assistance. But not only Germany--Spain, drenched in the blood of
her patriots; poor, enslaved Italy; Holland, ruthlessly annexed to
France; in short, all the states that are groaning under the
tyrant's yoke; yea, France herself!--all are crying for deliverance
from slavery. But whence is help to come when every one shuts his
eyes against the despairing wail of Europe; when every one idly
folds his hands and waits for some one else to be bold enough to
call upon the people to take up arms? Every individual must be
animated with this courage; must regard himself as chosen by
Providence to commence the task of liberation. Each one must act as
though it were he who is to set the world in motion, and were the
head of the great and holy conspiracy by which mankind is to be
delivered from the tyrant. I told myself so when I saw all Germany
sinking; I repeat it to myself every day, and it is my excuse now
for having ventured to invite thither men who are my superiors in
every respect. But to Germany alone we shall give an account of what
we have hitherto done for her liberation; for her let us deliberate
as to what we further ought to do, and what plans we should pursue.
The world lies prostrate, but we must raise it again; the nations
are manacled, but we must be the files that imperceptibly cut
through the fetters, and we must then tell the people that it is
easy for them to gain their independence; that it is only necessary
to take the sword, and prove by deeds that they feel themselves
free--then they will be free. This is our task--the task of all
generous patriots. Every one has been conscious of this, but also,
that there should be a bond connecting all the members of this
secret league, to which every patriot belongs. That was the idea
which caused several friends and myself to unite our efforts. We did
so, and this union made us feel doubly strong; we conferred as to
our duties and schemes, and by doing so they became clearer to us,
and better matured. We made ourselves emissaries of the sacred cause
of the fatherland, and went into the world to enlist soldiers, to
create a new nation, awaken the sleepers, enlighten the ignorant,
bring back the faithless, undeceive the deceived, and console the
despairing. For this purpose I have struggled for years, and so have
all my friends, and so do all good and faithful patriots, without
perhaps being fully conscious of it. But it is necessary, too, that
those who, like us, are fully alive to their duty, should from time
to time give each other an account of what they have accomplished,
that they may agree upon new plans for the future. I, therefore,
requested my friends Count Nugent and General Gneisenau, to come
hither; I wrote to Minister von Stein, who is now at Prague, either
to come himself, or send a reliable representative, and I requested
another in Northern Germany to send one of his intimate friends.
Four months ago I dispatched my invitations; the meeting was to take
place to-day, and we have all promptly responded to the call. My
friend in Northern Germany induced the noblest and most faithful
soldier of the fatherland, Duke Frederick William of Brunswick, to
go to Helgoland. Minister von Stein, who, in the mean time, was
obliged to go to Russia, sends us a noble representative in the
person of Justus Gruner, and the magnanimous crown prince of Sweden
offers us, by his voluntary appearance in our midst, a new guaranty
for the success of our schemes. We know now what has called us
hither. Let us communicate to each other what we have hitherto done,
in order to attain the object for which we are striving, and what
plans we shall adopt. In this respect, the two noble princes now in
our midst are especially able to make valuable suggestions, and it
is to them principally that we shall apply. The former question,
however, concerns chiefly ourselves, who have for years been members
of the league, and have jointly tried to promote its objects. In
order to know what we should do, we must be informed exactly of what
we have already done. To be able to conceive plans for the future,
we must carefully weigh, and render ourselves perfectly familiar
with, the present political situation, and communicate our
observations and adventures to each other. Let us do so now. Let the
gentleman who arrived last speak first. General Gneisenau, tell us,
therefore, what hopes do you entertain in regard to Prussia? What
are the sentiments of the king? What has Germany or Prussia to hope
from the ministers of Frederick William? What is the spirit of the
people and the soldiers?"

"You ask a great deal," said Gneisenau, sighing, "and I have but
little to reply. I have no hopes whatever in regard to Prussia. That
is the result of the observations during my present journey. Every
thing is in about the same condition as it was in 1811; the same men
are still ruling, and the same state of affairs, on account of which
I left the Prussian service at that time, is still prevailing. The
king is the noblest and best-meaning man, but his indecision and
distrust in his own abilities are his own curse, as well as that of
his country. When, in 1808, we heard at Konigsberg the news of the
events of Bayonne, the king said, 'Bonaparte will assuredly not
catch me in such a manner!' and now he has delivered himself into
the hands of his most relentless enemy, who, if Russia should be
defeated, would dethrone him, or, if Bonaparte should not be
successful, keep him as a hostage. [Footnote: Gneisenau's own
words.--Vide "Lebensbilder," vol. i., p. 261.] The friends of the
French, the timid, and the cowards, are still besieging the king's
ears, and enjoying his confidence to a greater extent than
Hardenberg does. Hardenberg is all right, but he intends, after the
fashion of diplomatists, to attain the great object slowly and
cautiously, instead of struggling for it boldly, and sword in hand.
He is secretly on our side; he hates Napoleon and curses the chains
that are fettering Prussia; he is always planning as to the best
means of breaking them, but publicly he negotiates with the
diplomatists of Napoleon to bring about a marriage between the crown
prince and one of Napoleon's nieces. There can be no question of any
army in Prussia, for the forty thousand men whom Napoleon permitted
the King of Prussia still to retain under arms, had either to
accompany the French army to Russia, or are at least stationed, as
Napoleon's reserves, on the extreme frontiers. Berlin, as well as
all larger cities, and the fortresses, are garrisoned by French
troops, keeping down the national spirit of the population, and
rendering any attempt at insurrection an utter impossibility, even
though the people should intend to strike. But they think no longer
of rising. They are exhausted in their misery, and have lost their
energy. They feel only that they are suffering, but they inquire no
more for the cause. And thus Prussia will perish, unless some
powerful impetus from abroad, some dispensation of Providence,
should arouse her from her lethargy, and restore her to the
consciousness of her disgrace and her strength. I hope that this
will occur; for only this and England's energy will be able to save
us. But other hopes I do not entertain. I, therefore, shall leave
Prussia again and accompany you to England, Count Minister, when you
return thither."

"I shall set out for England this day, as soon as our conference is
at an end," said Count Munster, "and you will be a most welcome and
agreeable companion. It is only now that I perceive how necessary a
personal interview was, and how good it is that we are here
assembled. Many things, which cannot be explained in the longest
letters, may be perfectly understood after an interview of fifteen
minutes. I believe and hope, my friend, that your view of the
present state of affairs is by far too gloomy. You are hoping for an
impetus from abroad; but that will scarcely be needed to arouse the
nations from their lethargy. A new spirit is animating Germany, and
it is Spain, with her heroic victories, that has awakened this
spirit. The immortal defence of Saragossa has passed like a magic
song throughout Europe, and has told the oppressed and enslaved
nations that Bonaparte is not invincible, and that a nation which
will not suffer itself to be enslaved has the strength to defend
itself against the most powerful tyrant. Looking upon Spain, the
nations recollect these noble words of Tacitus: 'It is not the
tyrants who make nations slaves, but the nations degrading
themselves voluntarily to the abject position of slaves make
tyrants.' And the nations will have no more tyrants, but are
determined to annihilate him who has put his foot upon their neck.
Tell us, Count Nugent--you who, in the service of holy liberty, have
been wandering about the world for the last two years--tell us
whether I am not justified in asserting that the nations are about
to awake?"

"Yes, I believe so," said Count Nugent, joyously. "For the third
time during two years I have finished a journey through Europe. From
Vienna I went by way of Trieste, Corfu, and Malta, to the British
generals in Sicily, Spain, and Portugal, thence to England, and from
England I returned to Vienna under an assumed name and all sorts of
disguises. During my first two journeys I saw everywhere only that
the nations submitted unhesitatingly, as though Bonaparte were the
scourge which God Himself had sent to chastise them, and against
whom they were not allowed to revolt, although rivers of blood were
spilled. But I saw no prince who had the strength or courage, or
even the wish to rule as a free and independent sovereign over a
free people. The princes were everywhere content with being the
vassals of France; they deemed themselves happy to have secured by
their humiliation at least a title; they were striving to obtain by
base sycophancy additional territories and orders, and betraying
their own country and their own people in order to serve the Emperor
of France. It was a terrible, heart-rending spectacle presented by
Germany during these last years, and which could not but fill the
heart of every patriot with shame and despair. And yet this period
of degradation was necessary and even salutary, for it blinded
Napoleon by the glaring sunshine of his power; it rendered him
overbearing and reckless; he dared every thing, because he believed
he would succeed in every thing, and that the world had utterly
succumbed to his power. He dared all, trampled on every feeling of
justice, and thereby finally goaded the nations to resist him. In
1810 he exclaimed triumphantly, 'Three years yet, and I shall be
master of the world!' And when he lately took the field against
Russia, he said, 'After humiliating Russia and reducing her to an
Asiatic power, I shall establish at Paris a universal European court
and universal archives!' He believes himself to be the master of the
world; he thinks the thunderbolts of heaven are in his hands, and
his arrogance will drive him to destruction, for 'the gods first
blind him whom they intend to destroy.' And Napoleon is blind, for
he does not see the wrath of the nations; he is deaf, for he does
not hear the imprecations which all nations, from the Mediterranean
to the North Sea and the Baltic, are uttering against him. Yes, the
morning is dawning, and the nations are awaking; Napoleon has
already passed the zenith of his glory; his star does not now dazzle
mankind; they have commenced to doubt the stability of his power. I
saw a curious instance of this last year in Vienna at Metternich's
saloon. When the courier who brought the news of the birth of the
King of Rome, still exhausted by the rapid ride from Nancy, entered
and held up Champagny's letter containing nothing but these words,
'Eh bien, le Roi de Rome est arrive!' every one cried, 'Is not the
hand of God there? The wonderful man has the son he wished for.
Whither will the madmen and demagogues direct their hopes now?' But
a courageous and merry native of Vienna exclaimed in the midst of
the diplomatists, 'Oh! ten years hence this King of Rome will be a
poor little student in this city!'[Footnote: Historical.--Vide
"Lebensbilder." vol. i., p. 80.] The diplomatists were silent; the
former ambassador of Hanover, however, Count Hardenberg, brother of
the chancellor of state, burst into loud laughter. These words were
circulated among the people, and the Viennese say now smilingly,
though as yet in a low tone, 'The King of Rome will come as a poor
student to Vienna.' And the same words are repeated more boldly by
the faithful Tyrolese, the guardians of the fires of patriotism. The
Italians are whetting their swords, and France herself is preparing
for the possibility of a new state of affairs. The military ardor of
her marshals is exhausted; like the whole country, they are longing
for repose; they begin to curse him whom they have hitherto
idolized; they want peace, and are determined to compel Napoleon to
comply with their demands."

"And is our friend. Baron von Stein, also of this opinion?" asked
Count Munster, turning to Justus Gruner.

"Yes, he is," said Gruner. "When the Emperor Alexander invited him
to come to St. Petersburg, he went thither not so much because he
needed an asylum, but because he believed he could serve the cause
of Germany in a more efficacious manner in Russia than anywhere
else, and was convinced that Alexander needed a firm and energetic
adviser to fan his hostility to Napoleon, and keep all pacific
influences away from him. Nothing but a crushing defeat of Napoleon
in Russia can deliver Germany; Stein feels convinced of it, and
therefore he stands as an immovable rock by the side of Alexander,
and never ceases to influence the emperor by soul-stirring and
courageous advice. Here is a letter which Stein requested me to
deliver to Count Munster."

Count Munster took the letter and quickly glanced over it. "Ah," he
exclaimed, joyously, "Stein, too, believes the day to be at hand
when Germany will and must rise; he, too, prophesies that Napoleon
will speedily fall. It is, therefore, time for us to think of the
future, and agree as to the steps to be taken. And now I take the
liberty of asking the crown prince of Sweden what assistance he
offers us, and what the nations enslaved by Napoleon may hope from
him?"

"All the assistance which I and my country are able to offer," said
the crown prince, ardently. "The king has authorized me to take all
necessary measures for an active campaign. Already I have chartered
transports; the troops which are to participate in the campaign have
been concentrated in their camps, and will soon march to the various
points of embarkation. When the German powers call me--when it is
sure that England entertains honest intentions toward us, and will
stand faithfully by us, I shall be ready to embark with my troops
and participate in the great struggle, provided that the annexation
of Norway to Sweden be guaranteed."

"I am authorized to do so in the name of England," exclaimed Count
Munster.

"In that case the Swedes will regard this campaign as a national
affair," said Bernadotte, "and will joyously rally round the banner
of their crown prince, who, on his part, longs for nothing more than
to follow the footsteps of the great Gustavus Adolphus, and give
Sweden fresh claims to her ancient glory and the gratitude of the
nations. [Footnote: Bernadotte's own words.--Vide "Memoires d'un
Homme d'Etat," vol. xi] I am waiting for the call of the allied
powers to hasten to the point where I may do good service."

"And so am I," said the Duke of Brunswick, eagerly. "I have nothing
to offer to Germany but my hatred against Napoleon, my burning
thirst for vengeance, my name, and my sword."

"But those will be the dragon's teeth, from which, in due time, will
spring up mail-clad warriors," exclaimed Munster--"warriors who,
with the most ardent enthusiasm, will follow the hero whose
audacious expedition from the forests of Bohemia to the Weser will
never be forgotten by the patriots of Germany. Let us prepare every
thing as secretly as possible; let us enlist soldiers for the great
and holy army; its chieftains are ready; Gneisenau, Frederick
William of Brunswick, the crown prince of Sweden, and, in due time,
Blucher, Schwarzenberg, and Wellington, will join them."

"Yes, let us prepare for the great task of the future," exclaimed
Gneisenau. "I feel now reanimated with hope, patience, and courage.
I go to London, but not to brood over my fate; I go to enlist an
English legion for Germany; to tell the English ministers that the
British government can take no step more conducive to the liberation
of the nations and the safety of Great Britain than make Germany the
principal seat of war, and transfer thither Wellington, with all the
troops in Spain, and those which can be spared from the islands of
the United Kingdom. Let them consider me a visionary; the future
will, perhaps, prove to them that I was right. Oh, a victory over
Napoleon in Germany would loosen the fetters of all governments,
throw the most determined efforts of many millions of people into
the scales of Great Britain, and deliver us, perhaps forever, from
the monster equally terrible in his strength and in his poison."
[Footnote: Gneisenau's own words.--Vide "Lebensbilder," vol. i., p.
274.]

"And I go to Vienna to influence, together with my friends, the
patriotic impulses of the emperor," said Count Nugent. "I go to
Austria to tell the noble Archdukes John and Charles that they ought
to hold themselves in readiness, and to inform the Tyrolese that the
war of liberation is at hand."

"Baron von Stein has sent me to Germany to enlist there an
intellectual army, and set in motion for Germany not only swords but
pens," said Justus Gruner, smiling. "Stein says the sword will only
do its work when the mind has paved the way for it. The mind and the
free word, these are the generals that must precede the sword, and,
before raising an army of soldiers, we must raise an army of ideas
and minds to take the field. And there can be no better mental
chieftain than noble Baron von Stein. He has placed a worthy
adjutant at his side; I refer to Ernst Moritz Arndt, whom Stein has
called to St. Petersburg, and who is thence to send his patriotic
songs into the world, and by his soul-stirring writings kindle the
ardor of the Germans. I have brought with me some of Arndt's
pamphlets that have been printed in St. Petersburg, and his
catechism for German soldiers, which gives instructions as to what a
Christian warrior ought to be, and has been circulated, in spite of
Napoleon's power, in all the German divisions of his army. To
influence public opinion in Germany is the task which Stein and the
Emperor Alexander have intrusted to me. I am to report about every
thing that takes place in the rear of the French army, and try to
obtain correct information concerning its reinforcements and the
condition of the fortresses. My principal task, however, will be to
direct public opinion, exasperate the people against their
oppressors, and the accomplices of the latter, support isolated
risings, and organize flying corps for the purpose of intercepting
the couriers." [Footnote: Pertz, "Life of Baron von Stein," vol.
iii., p. 117.]

"That is a plan strictly in accordance with the indomitable spirit
of Baron von Stein. However, the influence and power of one person
will not suffice to carry it into effect."

"I am, therefore, authorized to enlist agents whom the Emperor of
Russia will pay," said Gruner. "Hired observers and spies must be
spread all over Germany. I must everywhere have my confidants--my
agents and instruments. Such I have already engaged in some forty
cities. I furnish them instructions, telling them what to do, in
order to participate in the liberation of Germany; they have to send
me weekly reports, written of course in cipher and with chemical
ink, and, on my part, I address reports to the Emperor Alexander and
Baron von Stein, which I forward every week by special couriers to
Russia. My agents, as well as myself, will endeavor to hold
intercourse with all prominent patriots, and our noble Stein has
referred me especially to the eminent gentlemen here assembled.
General Scharnhorst, too, is aware of our enterprise; President von
Vinke supports it in the most enthusiastic and active manner, and we
find everywhere friends, assistance, and advice. Already the net-
work is spread over the country; this will every day become more
impenetrable--a fatal trap in which, if it please God, we shall one
day catch Bonaparte."

"But beware of traitors," exclaimed Count Nugent, anxiously. "All
your agents are not reticent, for, to tell you the truth, I have
already heard of your bold scheme, and Austria is highly indignant.
Count Metternich, a few days since, addressed a complaint to the
Prussian cabinet about what he calls your revolutionary intrigues,
and the Prussian Minister von Bulow, who is friendly to France, is
greatly exasperated against Justus Gruner and his guerilla warfare.
Be on your guard, sir, that, while weaving this net-work of
conspiracy, you may not yourself fall into the snares of the
insidious police."

"And if I do, what matters it if one dies, provided the cause he
served lives?" exclaimed Justus Gruner, enthusiastically. "This
sacred cause cannot die; it is strong enough to succeed, even
without me. It is spreading everywhere, and will remain, though the
little spider that wove it should be crushed. There is but one part
of Germany in which my work still lacks the necessary points where I
might secure it."

"You allude to Austria, do you not?"

"I do; there my agents are distrustfully turned away from the
frontier, and I have so far been unable to enlist special and active
allies. I pray you, therefore, give me the names of some reliable,
honest, and faithful men to whom I may apply; for I must go to
Austria."

"That is to say," exclaimed Count Nugent, "you are going to prison.
Let me warn you, do not go to Austria; Metternich's spies have keen
eyes, and if they catch you, you are lost."

"I must go to Austria," said Gruner, smiling; "the cause of the
fatherland demands it. Dangers will not deter me, and if the
Austrian police are on the lookout for me--well, I have been myself
a police-officer, and may outwit them. In the first place, however,
I shall go to Leipsig, to have the second volume of Arndt's
excellent work, 'The Spirit of the Times,' secretly printed, and
cause a printing-office to be established on the Saxon frontier for
the purpose of issuing the war bulletins which I am to receive from
Russia. But then I shall go to Prague and Vienna."

"And may God grant success to your enterprise!" said Count Munster.
"We shall all, I am satisfied of it, help in carrying out your
schemes wherever we can. We will try to liberate you if you are
imprisoned, and avenge you if killed. Shall we not?"

"We shall!" exclaimed Gneisenau and Bernadotte, Nugent, and
Frederick William of Brunswick, and all four offered their hands to
Gruner.

"Henceforth we all act for one, and one for all," exclaimed the Duke
of Brunswick, enthusiastically, "and my noble father is looking down
and blessing us. Oh, may the hour of liberation soon strike! We have
our hands on our swords, and wait for Germany to call us."

"We are ready, and wait for our country to call us," they said,
shaking hands with determined eyes and smiling lips.

"And now, if the gentlemen have no objection, I will adjourn the
conference," said Count Munster, after a pause. "We well know each
other, and what we have to do. Here is the cipher in which we may
write to each other whenever important communications are to be
made. Justus Gruner will see to it that his agents will promptly
forward the letters to us."

"I will," said Justus Gruner, "and as long as I am not in prison, or
dead, you may be sure that your letters will not fall into the hands
of enemies or traitors." [Footnote: The predictions and
apprehensions of Count Nugent were fulfilled but too soon. Gruner
went as far as Prague, but there he was arrested in the last days of
October, at the special request of the Prussian police, deprived of
his papers and his funds, and sent to an Austrian fortress. The
Emperor of Russia succeeded only nine months afterward in obtaining
his release.--Vide Pertz's "Life of Baron von Stein," vol. iii, p.
181.]

"And now let us go. God save us and Germany!"



CHAPTER IX.

GEBHARD LEBERECHT BLUCHER.


It was a cold and unpleasant morning in December. The dreary sky
hung like a pall over the oppressed world. How beautiful and
fragrant had been the summer park of the estate of Kunzendorf! now
it was bereft of its flowers, and the cold gray trees were moaning
in the winter blasts. How bright had been this large room on the
lower floor of the mansion of Kunzendorf, when the summer morning
flung its beams into the windows, while a merry company were
chatting and laughing there! But, on this day, no guests were
assembled in it. It contained but two persons, an old gentleman and
lady. The gentleman was sitting at the window and looking out
mournfully into the cold; he seemed to count the snow-flakes slowly
falling. A large military cloak enveloped his tall, powerful form;
his right leg, encased in a heavy cavalry-boot, rested on a cushion;
his head was leaning against the high back of the easy-chair on
which he sat. His bearing and appearance indicated suffering, age,
and disease; he who did not look at his countenance could not but
believe that he was in the presence of a sick and decrepit old man;
but when his face turned to the beholder, with its large, fiery blue
eyes, high and scarcely-furrowed brow, Roman nose, and florid
complexion, he thought he saw the head of a man of about fifty
years. It is true, the hair which covered his temples in a few thin
tufts was snow-white, and so was the mustache which shaded his mouth
and hung down on both sides of it, imparting a vigorous and martial
expression to the whole face, and contrasting with his bronzed
cheeks and flashing eyes.

Opposite him, in the niche of the other window, sat a lady in a
plain, yet elegant toilet. Small brown ringlets, threaded here and
there with white, peeped forth from the lace cap, trimmed with blue
ribbons, and a gray silk dress, reaching to the neck, enveloped her
slender and graceful form. Her countenance, which still showed
traces of former beauty, was bent over her embroidery, and her
white, tapering fingers, adorned with many rings, busily plied the
needle.

The old gentleman blew dense clouds of smoke from his long clay
pipe, and nothing broke the silence save the parrot (in a large
gilded cage on a marble pedestal in the third window-niche),
uttering from time to time a loud scream, or exclaiming in a sharp
voice, "Good-morning!" The ticking of the bronze clock on the
mantel-piece at the other end of the room could be distinctly heard.
Suddenly the old gentleman struck the window-board so violently with
his right hand that the panes rattled, the lady gave a start, and
the parrot screeched. "Well, now it is all right," he exclaimed
savagely,--"it snows so thickly that nothing can be seen at a
distance of twenty yards. The roads will be blocked up again, and no
one will come to us from Neisse to-day. We shall be left alone, and
the time will hang as heavily with us as with a pug-dog in a
bandbox. But," he exclaimed, jumping up so hastily that his long
clay pipe broke on his knee and fell in small pieces on the floor,
"it is all right. If the guests from Neisse do not come to me I will
go to them." While uttering these words, he fixed his lustrous eyes
on the lady, and seemed to wait for a reply from her; but she
remained silent, and seemed to ply her needle even more
industriously. "Well," he asked at last, hesitatingly, "what do you
say to it, Amelia?"

"Nothing at all, Blucher," she replied, without looking at him; "for
you did not ask me about it."

"Why, that is an agreeable addition to this horrible weather, that
my wife should pout!" exclaimed Blucher, casting a despairing glance
at the sky. He then looked again at his wife. She was still bending
over her embroidery and remained silent. He approached, and seizing
both her hands with gentle violence, took the embroidery and threw
it away. "Why is your attention directed to that old rag, Amelia,
instead of looking at me?" he said, with ill-restrained anger.
"Wife, you know I am not rude; when with you I am as gentle as a
lamb; but you must not pout, Amelia, for that makes me angry. And
now speak--tell me honestly--what is it? What have I done to you!"

"Nothing," she said, fixing her dark eyes upon him with a sad
expression, "nothing at all!"

"Aha! you do not want to tell me," exclaimed Blucher, looking at her
uneasily, "but I know it nevertheless. Yes, I know what ails you,
and why you are in bad humor with me. Will you give me a kiss, if I
guess what it is?" She nodded, and an almost imperceptible smile
played around her finely-formed lips. "Now, listen," he said,
drawing her to himself, and putting his hand under her chin. "You
are angry because I came home from Neisse so late last night?"

"Last night?" she asked. "I believe it was at five o'clock this
morning."

"Yes, I promised you to be back at five o'clock in the afternoon,
because the doctor said the night air is injurious to me, and would
increase my pains. But, you see, Amelia, it would not do. We went to
the 'Ressource,' and there I met some old friends--"

"And there we played faro," his wife interrupted him, "and I lost
the two hundred louis d'ors with which I desired to buy four new
carriage-horses."

"Yes, it is all true," said Blucher, soothingly. "But what matters
it? In the first place, I am quite well, which proves what fools the
doctors are; they think they know every thing, and, in fact, know
nothing. I feel no pain, and yet have inhaled the night air. And as
to the two hundred louis d'ors--well, I am almost glad that I lost
them, for I amused myself. Do you know who was among the gamblers?
Ex-Major von Leesten!"

"Major von Leesten?" asked his wife, wonderingly. "But he never
plays--he is so sensible a gentleman, that--"

"That he does not deal cards, you mean?" interrupted Blucher,
smiling. "Yes, you see, I am also a sensible man, but I deal cards
sometimes, and, for the rest, to tell you the truth, I seduced Major
von Leesten to play last night."

"That was very wrong," said Madame von Blucher, in a tone of gentle
reproach. "Leesten is poor; he has a large family--five full-grown
daughters, who, of course, will not be married because they have no
fortune. And now you seduce the poor man, and he will lose the last
penny belonging to his family. For the most terrible consequences of
this gambling passion are, that it deprives men of reflection,
attachment to their family, and prudence. A man who is addicted to
playing cards, loves nothing but his cards; every thing else seems
unimportant to him; see it in your case, Blucher, and it makes my
heart ache. You do not love me, your time hangs heavy in my
presence; the card-table is your only pleasure, and I believe, when
the passion seizes you, and you have lost all your money, you would
stake the remainder of your property on a card, and your wife to
boot!"

Blucher burst into loud laughter. "Why," he exclaimed, "what an odd
idea that is! I stake you on a card, you--"

"You suppose that no one would care about winning me?" asked Madame
von Blucher, smiling.

"No, I do not think that," replied Blucher, suddenly growing
serious. "Why should no one care about winning you? You are still a
very pretty and charming little woman; your eyes still flash so
irresistibly, your lips are still so red and full, and--"

"And my hair is beautifully gray," she interrupted him, laughing,
"and I am so astonishingly young, scarcely fifty years of age!"

"Well, that is not so very old," said Blucher, merrily. "I have read
somewhat a story about one Ulysses, who, in times gone by, was a
very famous and shrewd captain. He set out to wage war with the
barbarians, and his wife, whose name was Penelope, remained at home
with his son Telemachus. Ulysses was absent for twenty long years,
and when he returned home he found fifty suitors who were all
courting his beautiful wife Penelope. Do you see, fifty suitors, one
for every year of Penelope's age, for she must have been well-nigh
fifty years old when Ulysses returned, and yet she was still
beautiful, and men were gallanting about her. Why should not the
same thing happen to you, as you are scarcely forty-eight? And who
knows whether the wife of Ulysses was as beautiful and good as you?
I am sure she was not. For it seems to me you are the dearest and
best little woman, and look precisely as you did twenty years ago,
when you were foolish enough to marry that rough old soldier
Blucher, who was already fifty years of age."

"Well, that was not so very foolish," said Madame von Blucher,
smiling; "on the contrary, it was very well done, and but for those
abominable playing-cards, nothing could be better."

"Ah, the shrewd little general has, by an adroit movement, brought
us back to the old battle-ground," exclaimed Blucher. "We have
arrived again at last night's faro! Now, tell me first of all--did I
guess right? Were you not angry with me because I returned late?"

"Yes," said his wife, "that was the reason."

"Hurrah! Just as I thought!" shouted Blucher, jubilantly. "Now,
quick, pay me for my correct guess! You know, you were to give me a
kiss!--a kiss such as you used to give me twenty years ago!" He
encircled his wife with his arms, and pressed a long and tender kiss
on her lips.

"Well, are you pacified now?" he then asked. "I see in your eyes
that you are, and now, come, I will tell you all that occurred last
night. You see the money is gone, and what matters it! Money is
destined to be spent; that is what the good Lord gave it to us for,
and men made it round that it might roll away more rapidly. If it
were to remain, they would have made it square, when the fingers
could hold it better. And, then, why should I hold it? We have
enough--more than enough; our two daughters are married to rich men;
our two sons are provided for; our estate at Kunzendorf will not
roll away, for it is not round and brings us lots of money, and I am
sure there will be a day when I shall win very large sums. I do not
mean at the gaming-table, Amelia, but on the battle-field. I shall
reconquer to the king his cities and provinces. I shall take from
Bonaparte all that he has stolen from Prussia; I--"

"You intended to tell me what occurred last night," interrupted his
wife, who heard him, to her dismay, beginning again the philippie
against Napoleon which he had repeated to her at least a hundred
times.

"Yes, that is true," said Blucher, breathing deeply, "I wished to
tell you about Major von Leesten. At the 'Ressource' I met yesterday
in the afternoon an old friend of his, who told me how sad and
unhappy Leesten was. His eldest daughter is betrothed to a young
country gentleman: the two young folks would like to marry, but they
have no money. If the young man had only a thousand dollars, he
might rent an estate in this vicinity; but, in order to do so, he
must give a thousand dollars security, and he is not possessed of
that sum. Leesten's friend told me all this, and also how
disheartened Leesten was. He said he had gone to all sorts of
usurers, but no one would lend him any thing, because he could not
furnish security, for he has nothing but his pension."

"Poor man! And could not his friends collect the amount and give it
to him?"

"His friends have not any thing either! Who has any thing? Every one
is poor since the accursed French are in the country, and Bonaparte-
-"

"You forget again your story of Major von Leesten, my friend."

"Oh, yes. His friends have not any thing either, and even if they
had, Leesten would not accept presents. No, believe me, Amelia, when
the poor are exceedingly proud, they would die of hunger sooner than
accept alms at the hands of a good friend, or ask him for a slice of
bread and butter. I know all about it, for I was poor, too, and
starved when my pay was spent. And Leesten is proud also; alms and
presents he would not accept, or if he did, for the sake of his
daughter, his heart would burst with grief. That was what his friend
told me; I pitied him, and thought I should like to call on the dear
major and shake hands with him, that he might feel that I like him,
and that he has friends, how poor soever he may be. Well, I went
with his friend to the major. He was glad to see us and took pains
to be merry, but I saw very well that he was sad; that his laughter
was not genuine, and that, as soon as some one else spoke, he grew
gloomy. But I did not ask what ailed him; I feigned not to see any
thing, and begged him to accompany us and spend a pleasant evening
with a few friends. He refused at first to do so, but I succeeded in
overcoming his resistance, and I am not sorry by any means that I
did, for the poor major grew quite cheerful at last; he forgot his
grief, drank some good wine with us,--more, perhaps, than he had
drunk for a year, and then played a little faro with us for the
first time in his life. Well, we were all in the best spirits, and
that was the reason why I remained so long and came home so late. It
was Major von Leesten's fault, and now my story is at an end!"

"No, it is not!" exclaimed Amelia. "You have not yet told me every
thing, Blucher. You have not told me who won your two hundred louis
d'ors for which you intended to purchase four new carriage-horses?"

"Yes, that was curious," said Blucher, composedly, stroking his long
white mustache--"that was really curious. Leesten had never before
handled a card; he did not know the game, and yet he won from such
an old gambler as I am two hundred louis d'ors in the course of a
few hours. Leesten won the money that was to pay for the carriage-
horses, and you may give him thanks for being compelled to drive for
six months longer with our lame old mares."

A sunbeam, as it were, illuminated Amelia's countenance; her eyes
shone, and her cheeks were glowing with joy. Quickly putting her
hands on Blucher's shoulders, she looked up to him with a smile.
"You made him win the money, Gebhard," she said, in a voice
tremulous with emotion. "Oh, do not shake your head--tell me the
truth! You made Leesten win, because you wished to preserve him from
the necessity of accepting alms. You made him win, that his daughter
might marry."

"Nonsense!" said Blucher, growlingly, "how could I make him win when
he did not really win? He would have found it out, and, besides, I
would have been a cheat."

"He did not find it out because you made him drink so much wine, and
because he knows nothing about the game; and you are no cheat,
because you intentionally made him win; on the contrary, you are a
noble, magnanimous man whom Heaven must love. Oh, dear, dearest
husband, tell me the truth; let me enjoy the happiness that I have
guessed right! You did so intentionally, did you not? The cards did
not bring so much good luck to Leesten, but Blucher did!"

"Hush! do not say that so loudly," exclaimed Blucher, looking
anxiously around; "if any one should hear and repeat it, and Leesten
should find out how the thing occurred, the fellow would return the
money to me."

"Ah, now you have betrayed yourself--you have confessed that you
lost the money intentionally," exclaimed Amelia, jubilantly. "Oh,
thanks, thanks, my noble and generous friend!" She took his hands
with passionate tenderness, and pressed them to her lips.

"But, Amelia, what are you doing?" said Blucher, withdrawing his
hands in confusion. "Why, you are weeping!"

"Oh, they are tears of joy," she said, nodding to him with a
blissful smile--"tears which I am weeping for my glorious, dear
Blucher!"

"Oh, you are too good," said Blucher, whose face suddenly grew
gloomy. "I am nothing but an old, pensioned soldier--a rusty sword
flung into a corner. I am an invalid whom they believe to be
childish, because he thinks he might still be useful, and the
fatherland might need him. But I tell you, Amelia, if I ever should
become childish it would be on account of the course pursued toward
me; why, I am dismissed from the service; I am refused any thing to
do; I am desired to be idle, and the king has given me this accursed
estate of Kunzendorf, not as a reward, nor from love, but to get rid
of me, and because he is afraid of the French. When he gave it to me
last spring, he wrote that I ought to set out for Kunzendorf
immediately, and live and remain there, as it behooved every
nobleman, in the midst of my peasants. But his real object was to
send me into exile; he did not wish me to remain in Berlin!"

"Well, he had to comply with the urgent recommendations of his
ministers," said Madame von Blucher, smiling. "You know very well
that all the ministers of the king, with the sole exception of
Hardenberg, are friends of the French, and think that Prussia would
be lost if she should not faithfully stand by France."

"They are traitors when they entertain such infamous sentiments,"
cried Blucher, wildly stamping with his foot; "they should hang the
fellows who are so mean and cowardly as to think that Prussia would
be lost if her mortal enemy did not condescend to sustain her. Ah,
if the king had listened to me only once, we should have long since
driven the French out of the country, and our poor soldiers would
not freeze to death in Russia as auxiliaries of Bonaparte. When the
danger is greatest, every thing must be risked in order to win every
thing, and when a fellow tries to deceive and insult me, I do not
consider much whether I had better endure him because may be weaker
than he is, but, before he suspects it, I knock him down if I can.
You see, that is defending one's life; this is what the learned call
philosophy. But, dearest Amelia, there is but one philosophy in
life, and it is this: 'He who trusts in God and defends himself
bravely will never miserably perish.' Now, the king and his
ministers know only one-half of this philosophy, and that is the
reason why the whole thing goes wrong. They mean to trust in God,
even though, from their blind trust alone, all Prussia fall to
ruins; but as for bravely defending themselves, that is what they do
not understand. It is too much like old Blucher's way of doing
things, and that is the reason why the learned gentlemen do not like
it. Ah! Amelia, when I think of all the wretchedness of Prussia, and
that I may have to die without having chastised Bonaparte--without
having wrested from him, and flung into his face, the laurels of
Jena, Eylau, and Friedland--ah, then I feel like sitting down and
crying like a boy. But Heaven cannot be so cruel; it will not let me
die before meeting Bonaparte on the field of battle, and avenging
all our wrongs upon him. No, I trust I will not die before that--
and, after all, I am quite young! Only seventy years of age! My
grandfather died in his ninetieth year, and my mother told me often
enough that I looked exactly like my grandfather; I shall,
therefore, reach my ninetieth year. I have still twenty years to
live--twenty years, that is enough--" Just then the door opened, and
a footman entered.

"Well, John," asked Blucher, "what is it? Why do you look so merry,
my boy? I suppose you have good news for us, have you not?"

"I have, your excellency," said the footman. "There is an old man
outside, an invalid, attended by a young fellow who, I believe, is
his son. The two have come all the way from Pomerania, and want to
see General von Blucher. He says he has important news for your
excellency."

"Important news?" asked Blucher. "And he comes from Pomerania? John,
I hope it will not be one who wants to tell me the same old story?"

"Your excellency, I believe that is what he comes for," said John,
grinning.

"Amelia," exclaimed Blucher, bursting into loud laughter, "there is
another fellow who wants to tell me that he took me prisoner fifty
years since. I believe it is already the seventh rascal who says he
was the man."

"The seventh who wants to get money from you and swindle you," said
Madame von Blucher, smiling.

"No, I believe they do not exactly want to swindle me," said
Blucher, "but I know they like to get a little money, and as they do
not want to beg--"

"They come and lie," interrupted Amelia, smiling. "They know already
that General Blucher gives a few louis d'ors to every one who comes
and says, 'General, it was I who took you prisoner in Mecklenburg in
1760, and brought you to the Prussians. You, therefore, are indebted
to me for all your glory and your happiness.'"

"Yes, it is true," said Blucher, laughing and smoothing his
mustache. "That is what all six of them said. But one of them did
take me prisoner, for the story is true, and if I turn away one of
those who tell me the same thing, why, I might happen to hit
precisely the man who took me, and that would be a great shame.
Therefore, it is better I imagine a whole squadron had taken me at
that time, and give money to every one who comes to me for it. Even
though he may not be the man, why, he is at least an old hussar, and
I shall never turn an old hussar without a little present from my
door." [Footnote: Blucher's own words.--Vide "Life of Prince Blucher
of Wahlstatt, by Varnhagen von Ense," p. 6.]

"Well, I see you want to bid welcome to your seventh hero and
conqueror," said Amelia, smiling. "Very well, I will quit the field
and retire into my cabinet. Farewell, my friend, and when your hero
has taken leave of you, I will await you." She nodded pleasantly to
her husband, and left the room.

"Well, John," said Blucher, sitting down again on his easy-chair at
the window, "now let the men come in. But first fill me a pipe. You
must take a new one, for I broke the one I was smoking this
morning."

John hastened to the elegant "pipe-board" which stood beside the
fireplace, and took from it an oblong, plain wooden box; opening the
lid, he drew a new, long clay pipe from it.

"How many pipes are in it yet?" asked Blucher, hastily. "A good lot,
John?"

"No, your excellency, only seven whole pipes, and eight broken
ones."

"You may ride to Neisse to-morrow, and buy a box of pipes. Now, give
me one, and let the hussar and his son come in."



CHAPTER X.

RECOLLECTIONS OF MECKLENBURG.


John, the footman, opened the door of the anteroom, and shouted in a
loud and solemn voice, "Your excellency, here is Hennemann, the
hussar, and his son Christian!"

"Well, come in!" said Blucher, good-naturedly, puffing a cloud of
smoke from his pipe.

An old man with silver-white hair, his bent form clad in the old and
faded uniform of a hussar, and holding his old-fashioned shako in
his hand, entered the room. He was followed by a young man, wearing
the costume of a North-German farmer, his heavy yellow hair combed
backward and fastened with a large round comb; his full, vigorous
form dressed in a long blue cloth coat, reaching down almost to his
feet, and lined with white flannel; under it he wore trousers of
dark-green velvet that descended only to the knees, and joined there
the blue-and-red stockings in which his legs were encased; his feet
were armed with thick shoes, adorned with buckles, while their soles
bristled with large nails.

"Where do you come from?" asked Blucher, fixing his eyes with a kind
expression on the two men.

"From Rostock, your excellency," said the old man, making a
respectful obeisance.

"From Rostock?" asked Blucher, joyously. "Why, that is my native
city."

"I know that very well, general," said the old hussar, who vainly
tried to hide his Low-German accent. "All Rostock knows it, too, and
every child there boasts of Blucher being our countryman."

"Well," said Blucher, smiling, "then you come from Rostock. Do you
live there?"

"Not exactly in Rostock, your excellency. My daughter Frederica is
married to a tailor in Rostock, and I was with her for four weeks. I
myself live at Polchow, a nobleman's estate four miles from Rostock;
I am there at the house of my eldest son."

"Is that your eldest son?" asked Blucher, pointing with his clay
pipe at the young man, who stood by the side of his aged father, and
was turning his hat in his hand in an embarrassed manner.

"No, sir, he is my youngest son, and it is just for his sake that I
have come to you. Christian was a laborer in the service of our
nobleman at Polchow, and he desired to marry a girl with whom he had
fallen in love. But the nobleman would not permit it; he said
Christian should wait some ten years until there was a house vacant
in the village, and some of the old peasants had died. This drove
him to despair; he wanted to commit suicide, and said he would die
rather than be a day laborer on an estate in Mecklenburg, which is
no better than being the nobleman's slave."

"Yes," cried Christian, indignantly, "that is true, general. A day
laborer on an estate in Mecklenburg is a slave, that is all. The
nobleman owns him. If he wants to do so, he may disable him, nay, he
may kill him. Such a laborer has no rights, no will, no property, no
home, no country; he is not allowed to live anywhere but in his
village: he cannot settle in any other place, and is not permitted
to marry unless the nobleman who owns the village gives his consent,
nor can he ever be any thing else than what his father and
grandfather were, that is to say, the nobleman's laborers. And I do
not wish to be such and do nothing else than putting the horses to
the plough. I want to marry Frederica, and become a free man, and if
that cannot be I will commit suicide."

"Ahem! he has young blood," said Blucher, well pleased and smiling,
"fresh Mecklenburgian blood. I like that! But you must not abuse
Mecklenburg, Christian; I love Mecklenburg, because it is my native
country."

"It is a good country for noblemen who have money," said Christian,
"but for day laborers who have none it is a poor country. And that
was the reason why I said to the old man, 'Vatting [Footnote:
"Vatting," Low-German for "papa."], shall I commit suicide or run
away and enlist.'"

"And I then said, 'Well, my son, in that case it will be better for
you to enlist,'" added the old man, "'and, moreover, you shall
enlist under a good general. I will show you that my life is yet
good for something; I will do for your sake what I have purposed to
do all my lifetime: I will go to General Blucher, tell him whom I
am, and ask him to reward my boy for what I did for him.'"

Blucher looked with a good-natured smile at the poor old man who
stood before him in the faded and threadbare uniform of a private
soldier.

"Well, my old friend," he said, "what have you done for me, then?"

The old man raised his head, and a solemn expression overspread his
bronzed and furrowed countenance. "General," he said, gravely, "it
was I who took you prisoner in Mecklenburg in 1760, and to me,
therefore, you are indebted for all your glory and happiness."

Blucher covered his face with his hands, that the old man might not
see his smile. "It is just as Amelia told me it would be," he said
to himself. He then added aloud: "Well, tell me the story, that I
may see whether it was really you who took me prisoner."

"It is a long story," said the old man, sighing, "and if I am to
tell it, I must ask a favor of your excellency."

"Well, what is it? Speak, my old friend," said Blucher, puffing a
cloud from his pipe, and satisfied that the old hussar would apply
to him for money.

"I must beg leave to sit down, general," said the old man, timidly.
"We have come on foot all the way from Rostock, and it is only
fifteen minutes since we reached this village. We took only time
enough at the tavern to change our dress; I put on my uniform, and
Christian put on his Sunday coat. I am eighty years old, general,
and my legs are not as strong as they used to be."

"Eighty years old!" exclaimed Blucher, jumping up, "eighty years
old, and you have come on foot all the way from Rostock! Why, that
is impossible! Christian, tell me, that cannot be true!"

"Yes, general, it is true. We have been on the way for three weeks
past, for the old man cannot walk very fast, and we had not money
enough to ride. We had to be thankful for having enough to pay for
our beds at the taverns. And my father is more than eighty years of
age! We have brought his certificate of birth with us."

"Eighty years of age, and he came on foot all the way from Rostock,
and I allow the old man to stand and offer him no chair!" exclaimed
Blucher,--"I do not ask whether he is hungry and thirsty! John!
John!" And Blucher rushed to the bell-rope and rang the bell so
violently that John entered the room in great excitement. "John,
quick!" shouted Blucher. "Quick, a bottle of wine, two glasses, and
bread, butter, and ham; and tell them in the kitchen to prepare a
good dinner for these men, and have a room with two beds made ready
for them in the adjoining house. Quick, John! In five minutes the
wine and the other things must be here! Run!"

John hastened out of the room, and Blucher approached the old man,
who looked on, speechless and deeply moved by the kind zeal the
general had displayed in his behalf.

"Come, my dear friend," said Blucher, kindly, taking him by the hand
and conducting him across the room to his favorite seat at the
window. "There, sit down on my easy-chair and rest."

"No, general, no; that would be disrespectful!"

"Fiddlesticks!" replied Blucher; "an octogenarian is entitled to
more respect than a general's epaulets are. Now do not refuse, but
sit down!" And with his vigorous arms he pressed him into the easy-
chair. He then quietly took his clay pipe from the window, and sat
down on a cane chair opposite the old hussar. "And now tell me the
story of my arrest as a prisoner. I promise you that I will believe
it all."

"General, you may believe nothing but what is true," replied the old
man, solemnly.

Blucher nodded. "Commence," he said, "but no--wait a while! There is
John with the wine and the bread and butter. Now eat and drink
first."

"I cannot eat, for I am not hungry. But, if the general will permit
me, I will drink a glass of wine."

"Come, John, two glasses!--fill them to the brim! And now, my
friend, let us drink. Here's to our native country!" Blucher filled
his glass with claret; his eyes flashed, and his face kindled with
the fire of youth, when he, the young septuagenarian, touched with
his glass that of the feeble octogenarian. "Hurrah, my old
countryman," he shouted, jubilantly, "long live Mecklenburg! long
live Rostock and the shore of the Baltic! Now empty your glass, my
friend, and you, John, fill it again, and then put the wine and the
bread and butter on the table beside the fireplace, that Christian
may help himself. Eat and drink, Christian, but do not stir, or say
a word, for we two old ones have to speak with each other. Now tell
me the story, my old friend!"

"Well," said the old man, putting down his empty glass, "I had run
away from my parents because I was just in the same difficulty as
Christian: I did not wish to remain a day laborer. I also wanted to
marry, and the nobleman would not let me. Well, I ran away, and
enlisted in Old Fritz's army, in Colonel Belling's regiment of
hussars. It was in 1760; we had a great deal to do at that time; we
were every day skirmishing with the Swedes, for we were stationed in
Mecklenburg, and the Swedes were so dreadfully bold as to make raids
throughout Brandenburg and Mecklenburg. One day, I believe it was in
August, 1760, just when we, Belling's hussars, occupied the towpath
close to Friedland in Mecklenburg, another detachment of Swedish
hussars approached to harass us. They were headed by a little
ensign--a handsome young lad, scarcely twenty years of age, a very
impertinent baby! And this young rascal rode closely to the old
hussars, and commenced to crow in his sweet little voice, abusing
us, and told us at last, if we were courageous enough, to come on;
he had not had his breakfast, he said, and would like to swallow
about a dozen of Belling's hussars. Well, the other hussars rejoiced
in the pluck of the young fellow, and a handsome lad he was, with
clear blue eyes and red cheeks. But his saucy taunts irritated me,
and when the little ensign continued laughing, and telling us we
were cowards, I became very angry, galloped up to him and shouted:
'Now, you little imp, I will kill you!'"

"Sure enough," exclaimed Blucher, in surprise, "that was what the
hussar shouted. It seems to me as though I hear it still sounding in
my ears. But none of the other hussars told me this; it is new, and
it is true. Hennemann, could it be possible that you should really
be the man who took me prisoner at that time?"

"Listen to the remainder of my story, general, and you will soon
find out whether it was I or not. I galloped up to him, and while
the Prussians and Swedes were fighting, I fixed my eyes on my merry
little ensign; when I was quite close to him, I shot down his horse.
The ensign was unable then to offer much resistance, and, besides, I
was a very strong, active man. I took him by the collar and put him
on my horse in front of me."

"And the ensign submitted to that without defending himself?" asked
Blucher, angrily.

"By no means! On the contrary, he was as red in the face as a
crawfish, and resisting struck me. I held his arms fast, but he
disengaged himself with so violent a jerk that the yellow facings of
his right sleeve remained in my hand."

"That is true," exclaimed Blucher.

"Yes, it is true," said the old man, calmly; "but it is true also
that I got hold again of the ensign and took him to Colonel von
Belling, to whom I stated that I had captured the handsome lad. The
colonel liked his face and courageous bearing; he kept the Swedish
ensign at his headquarters, where he appointed him cornet the next
day, and made the little Ensign Blucher apply to the Swedes for
permission to quit their service."

"And I got my discharge," exclaimed Blucher, quite absorbed in his
reminiscences, "and became a Prussian soldier. Good, brave Colonel
Belling bought me the necessary equipment, and appointed me his
aide-de-camp and lieutenant. The Lord have mercy on his dear soul!
Belling was an excellent man, and I am indebted to him for all I
am."

"No, general," said Hennemann, "it is to me that you are indebted,
for if I had not taken you prisoner at that time--"

"Sure enough," exclaimed Blucher, laughing, "if you had not taken me
prisoner, I should now be a poor old pensioned Swedish veteran. But
you certainly took me prisoner, I really believe you did!"

"I have the proofs that I did," said the old man solemnly.
"Christian!"

"Here I am, vatting," said Christian, rising. "What do you want?"

"Give me the memorandum-book with the papers."

Christian drew from his blue coat a red morocco memorandum-book and
handed it to his father. "Here, vatting," he said, "every thing is
in it, the certificate of birth, the enlistment paper, the
discharge, and the other thing."

"I just want to get the other thing," said the old man, opening the
memorandum-book, "and here it is!" He took out a yellow piece of
cloth and handed it to Blucher.

"It is a piece of my sleeve!" exclaimed Blucher, joyously, holding
up the piece of cloth. "Yes, Hennemann, it was really you who took
me prisoner, and I am indebted to you for being a Prussian general
to-day! And I promise you that I will now pay you a good ransom.
Give me your hand, old fellow; we ought to remain near each other.
Fifty-two years since you took me prisoner, but now I take you
prisoner in turn, and you must remain with me; you shall live at
ease, and at times in the evening you must tell me of Mecklenburg,
and how it looks there, and of Rostock, and--well, and when you are
in good spirits, you must sing to me a Low-German song!"

"Mercy!" exclaimed the old man, in dismay; "I cannot sing, general.
I am eighty years old, and old age has dried up the fountain of my
song."

"Sure enough, you are eighty years old," said Blucher, puffing his
pipe, "and at that age few persons are able to sing. But I should
really like to hear again a merry native song. I have not heard one
for fifty years, for here, you see, Hennemann, people are so stupid
and ignorant as not even to understand Low-German."

"I believe that," said the old man, gravely, "and it is not so easy
to understand--one must he a native of Mecklenburg to understand
it."

"It is a pity that you cannot sing," said Blucher, sighing.

"But, perhaps Christian can," said old Hennemann. "Tell me,
Christian, can you sing?"

"Yes, vatting," replied Christian, clearing his throat.

"'Vatting!'" exclaimed Blucher. "What does that mean?"

"Well, it means that he loves his father, and therefore calls him,
in good Mecklenburg style, 'vatting.'"

"Sure enough, I remember now," exclaimed Blucher. "Vatting! mutting!
[Footnote: "Mutting," mamma] Yes, yes; I have often used these
words, 'mutting--my mutting!' Ah, it seems to me as though I behold
the beautiful blue eyes of my mother when she looked at me so mildly
and lovingly and said, 'You are a wild, reckless boy, Gebhard; I am
afraid you will come to grief!' Then I used to beg her, 'My mutting,
my mutting! I will no longer be a bad boy! I will not be naughty! Do
not be angry any more, my mutting!' And she always forgave me, and
interceded for me with my father, whenever he was incensed against
me, and scolded me, because, instead of studying my books and going
to school, I was always loitering about the fields or hunting in the
woods. At last, when I was fourteen years old, and was still an
incorrigible scapegrace, they sent me to the island of Rugen, to my
sister, who was married to Baron von Krackwitz. But I did not stay
there very long. The Swedes came to the island, and I could not
withstand the desire to become a soldier; therefore, I ran away from
the island and enlisted in the Swedish army. Well, I had to do so, I
could not help it, for it was in my nature. Up to that time I was
like a fish on dry land, moving his tail in every direction without
crushing a fly; when I got into the water it was all right. If I had
been kept much longer out, I would have died very soon [Footnote:
Blucher's own words]. When I was now in the water--that is to say,
when I was a soldier, I lost my mother; I never saw her again, and
know only that she wept a great deal for me. And I never was able to
beg her to forgive me, and tell her, 'Do not be angry, my dear
mutting!' I was a dashing young soldier, and she was weeping for me
at Rostock, for she believed I would come to grief. Well, I was
first lieutenant in some Prussian fortress when they wrote to me
that my mother was dead. Yes, she had died and I was not at her
bedside; I was never able to say to her for the last time, 'Forgive
me, my mutting!' But now I say so from the bottom of my heart."
While uttering these words, Blucher raised his head and fixed his
large eyes with a touching and childlike expression on the wintry
sky.

Old Hennemann devoutly clasped his hands, and tears ran slowly down
his furrowed cheeks. Christian stood at the door, and dried his eyes
with his coat-sleeve.

"Thunder and lightning," suddenly exclaimed Blucher, "how foolish I
am! That is the consequence of being absorbed in one's
recollections. While talking about Mecklenburg I had really
forgotten that I am an old boy of seventy years, and thought I was
still the naughty young rascal who longed to ask his mutting to
forgive him! Well, Christian, now sing us a Low-German song."

"I know but one song," said Christian, hesitatingly. "It is the
spinning-song which my Frederica sang to me in the spinning-room."

"Well, sing your spinning-song," said Blucher, looking at his pipe,
which was going out.

Christian cleared his throat, and sang:

Spinn doch, spinn doch, min lutt lewes Dochting,
 Ick schenk Di ock'n poor hubsche Schoh!
 Ach Gott, min lewes, lewes Mutting,
 Wat helpen mi de hubschen Schoh!
 Kann danzen nich, un kann nich spinnen.
 Denn alle mine teigen Finger,
 De dohn mi so weh,
 De dohn mi so weh!

Spinn doch, spinn doch, min lutt, lewes Dochting,
 Ick schenk Di ock'n schon Stuck Geld.
 Ach Gott, min lewes, lewes Mutting,
 Ick wull, ick wihr man ut de Welt,
 Kann danzen nich, un kann nich spinnen
 Denn alle mine teigen Finger,
 De dohn mi so weh,
 De dohn mi so weh!

Spinn doch, spinn doch, min lutt, lewes Dochting.
 Ick schenk Di ock'n bubschen Mann!
 Ach ja, min lewes, lewes Mutting,
 Schenk min lewsten, besten Mann.
 Kann danzen nu, un kann ock spinnen,
 Denn alle mine teigen Finger,
 De dohn nich mihr weh,
 De dohn nioh mihr weh!

[Footnote: The song is translated as follows:

Spin, spin, my little daughter, dear!
 A pretty pair of shoes for thee!--
 Alas, my mother! let me hear
 What use are pretty shoes to me!
 I cannot dance--I cannot spin:
 And why these promised shoes to win!
 O mother mine. I will not take
 Thy kindly gift. My fingers ache!

Spin, spin, my little daughter dear!
 And a bright silver-piece is thine!--
 Alas, my mother's loving care
 Makes not this shining money mine!
 I cannot dance--I cannot spin;
 What use such wages thus to win?
 O mother dear! I cannot take
 This silver, for my fingers ache.

Spin, spin, my little daughter dear!
 For thee a handsome husband waits.--
 Oh, then, my mother, have no fear;
 My heart this work no longer hates.
 Now can I dance, and also spin,
 A handsome husband thus to win.
 Thy best reward I gladly take!
 No more--no more, my ringers ache.]

"A very pretty song," said Blucher, kindly. "And I believe I heard
the girls sing it when I was a boy. Thank you, Christian, you have
sung it very well. But, tell me now, old Hennemann, what is to
become of Christian? You yourself shall remain here at Kunzendorf,
and I will see to it that you are well provided for. But what about
Christian?"

"He is anxious to enlist, general," said Hennemann, timidly, "and
that is the reason why I brought him to your excellency. I wanted to
request you to take charge of him, and make out of him as good a
soldier as you are yourself."

Blucher smiled. "I have been successful," he said, "but those were
good days for soldiers. Now, however, the times are very
unfavorable; the Prussian soldier has nothing to do, and must
quietly look on while the French are playing the mischief in
Prussia."

"No, general," said Hennemann, "it seems to me the Prussian soldier
has a great deal to do."

"Well, what do you think he has to do?" asked Blucher.

"To expel the French from Prussia, that is what he has to do," said
the old man, raising his voice.

"Yes," said Blucher, smiling, "if that could be done, I should like
to be counted in."

"It can be done, general; every honest man says so, and it ought to
be, for the French are behaving too shamefully. They must be
expelled from Germany. Well, then, my Christian wishes to assist you
in doing so; he wishes to become a soldier, and help you to drive
out the French."

"Alas, he must apply to some one else if he wishes to do that," said
Blucher, mournfully. "I cannot help him, for they have pensioned me.
I have no regiments. I--but, thunder and lightning! what is the
matter with my pipe today? The thing will not burn." And he put his
little finger into the bowl, and tried to smoke again.

"The pipe does not draw well, because it was not skilfully filled,"
said Christian. "I know it was badly filled."

"Ay?" asked Blucher. "What do you know? John has been filling my
pipes for four years past."

"John has done it very poorly," said Christian, composedly. "To fill
such a clay pipe is an art with which a good many are not familiar,
and when it is smoked for the first time it does not burn very well.
It ought first to be smoked by some one, and John ought to have done
so yesterday if the general wished to use his pipe to-day."

"Why, he knows something about a clay pipe," exclaimed Blucher, "and
he is right; it always tastes better on the second day than on the
first."

"That is the reason why the second day always ought to be the first
for General Blucher," said Christian.

"He is right," exclaimed Blucher, laughing, "it would surely be
better if the second were always the first day. Well, I know now
what is to be made of Christian; he is to become my pipe-master."

"Pipe-master?" asked old Hennemann and Christian at the same time.
"Pipe-master, what is that?"

"That is a man who keeps my pipes in good order," said Blucher, with
a ludicrously grave air--"a man who makes the second my first day--
who smokes my pipes first--puts them back into the box at night,
preserves the broken ones, and fills them, however short they may
be. He who does not prize a short pipe, does not deserve to have a
long one. A good pipe and good tobacco are things of the highest
importance in life. Ah! if, in 1807, at Lubeck, I had had powder for
the guns and tobacco for my men, I would have raised such clouds
that the French could not have stood. [Footnote: Blucher's own
words.--Vide "Marshall Forward," a popular biography.] Well,
Christian, you shall therefore become my pipe-master, and I hope you
will faithfully perform the duties of your office."

"I shall certainly take pains to do so," said Christian, "and you
may depend on it, general, that I shall preserve the broken, short
pipes; I will not throw them away before it is necessary. But
suppose there should be war, general, and you should take the field,
what would become of me in that case?"

"Well, in that case you will accompany me," said Blucher. "What
should I do in the field if I could not get a good pipe of tobacco
all the time? Without that I am of no account. [Footnote: Blucher's
own words.] But it is necessary to do good service for Prussia, and
hence I need, above all, a good pipe of tobacco in the field. Well,
then, tell me now plainly, will you accept the office I offer you in
peace and in war, Christian?"

"Yes, general," said Christian, solemnly. "And I swear that General
Blucher shall never lack a well-lighted pipe, even though I fetch a
match from the French gunners to kindle it."

"That is right, Christian; you are in my service now, and may at
once enter upon the duties of your office. You, Hennemann, stay here
and do me the favor of living as long and being as merry as
possible. Now, pipe-master, ring the bell!"

The new pipe-master rang the bell, and John entered the room.

"John!" said Blucher, "I owe a reparation of honor to this aged
hussar. It was he who took me prisoner in 1760. He brought me the
proof of it--the yellow facing of the sleeve here. Take it and
fasten it to the old uniform of Blucher, the Swedish ensign, which I
have always preserved; it belongs to it. You see that hussar
Hennemann is an honest man, and that I owe him the ransom. He will
stay here, and have nothing to do but eat and drink well, sit in the
sun, and, in the evening, when it affords him pleasure, tell you
stories of the Seven Years' War, in which he participated. If other
hussars come and tell you they took me prisoner, you know it is not
true, and need not admit them. But you must not abuse the poor old
fellows for that reason, nor tell them that they are swindlers. You
will give them something to eat and drink, a bed overnight, and, in
the morning, when they set out, a dollar for travelling expenses.
Now take the old man and his son to the adjoining building, and tell
the inspector to give them a room where they are to live. And then,"
added Blucher, hesitatingly, and almost in confusion,--"you have too
much to do, John; you must have an assistant. It takes you too much
time to fill my pipes, and this young man, therefore, will help you.
I have appointed Christian Hennemann my pipe-master. Well, do not
reply--take the two men to the building, and be good friends--do you
hear, good friends!"

John bowed in silence, and made a sign to the two Mecklenburgians to
follow him. Blucher gazed after them with keen glances. "Well, I am
afraid their friendship will not amount to much," he said, smiling
and stroking his beard. "John does not like this pipe-master
business, and will show it to Christian as soon as an opportunity
offers. I do not care if they do have a good fight. It would be a
little diversion, for it is horribly tedious here. Ah, how long is
this to last? How long am I to sit here and wait until Prussia and
the king call upon me to drive Napoleon out of the country? How long
am I to be idle while Bonaparte is gaining one victory after another
in Russia? I have not much time to spare for waiting, and--well," he
suddenly interrupted, himself, quickly stepping up to the window,
"what is that? Is not that a carriage driving into the court-yard?"
Yes, it really is, just entering the iron gate, and rolling with
great noise across the pavement. "I wonder who that is?" muttered
Blucher, casting a piercing glance into the carriage which stopped
at this moment in front of the mansion. He uttered a cry of joy, and
ran out of the room with the alacrity of a youth.



CHAPTER XI.

GLAD TIDINGS.


"It is he, it is he!" exclaimed General Blucher, rushing out of the
front door, and hastening with outstretched arms toward the
gentleman, who, wrapped in a Russian fur robe, alighted with his two
servants. "My beloved Scharnhorst!" And he clasped his friend in his
arms as if it were some longed-for mistress whom he was pressing to
his bosom.

"Blucher, my dear friend, let me go, or you will choke me!"
exclaimed Scharnhorst, laughing. "Come, let us go into the house."

"Yes, come, dearest, best friend!" said Blucher, and encircling
Scharnhorst's neck with his arm, drew him along so hastily that,
gasping for breath, the latter was scarcely able to accompany him.

On entering the sitting-room, Blucher himself divested his friend of
his fur robe, and, throwing it on the floor in his haste, took off
Scharnhorst's cap. "I must look at you, my friend," he exclaimed. "I
must see the face of my dear Scharnhorst, and now that I see it, I
must kiss it! To see you again does me as much good as a fountain in
the desert to the pilgrim dying of thirst."

"Well, but now you must allow me to say a word," said Scharnhorst.
"And let me look at yourself. Remember, it is nearly a year since I
saw anything of you but your hand-writing."

"And that is very illegible," said Blucher, laughing.

"It is at least not as legible and intelligible as your dear face,"
said Scharnhorst. "Here, on this forehead and in these eyes, I can
read quickly and easily all that your excellent head thinks, and
your noble heart feels. And now I read there that I am really
welcome, and need not by any means apologize for not having
announced my visit to you."

"Apologize!" exclaimed Blucher. "You know full well that you afford
me the most heart-felt joy, and that I feel as though spring were
coming with all its blessed promises."

"Well, let us not wish spring to come too early this year. We need a
good deal of ice and cold weather, to build a crystal palace for
Bonaparte in Russia."

Blucher cast a flashing glance upon his guest. "Scharnhorst," he
asked, breathlessly, "you have come to bring me important news, have
you not? Oh, pray, speak! I am sure you have come to tell me that
the time has come for rising against the French!"

"No; I have simply come to see you," said Scharnhorst, smiling. "And
you are in truth a cold-hearted friend to think any other motive was
required than that of friendship."

"I thought it was time for Providence to bring about a change. But
it was kind of you to come to me merely for my sake, and, moreover,
in weather so cold as this, and at your age."

"At my age!" exclaimed Scharnhorst, smiling.

"Why, yes, my friend, at your age. If I am not mistaken, you must be
well-nigh sixty, and at that time of life travelling in a season
like this is assuredly somewhat unpleasant, and--but why do you
laugh?"

"As you refer to my age, my dearest friend, I suppose you will
permit me to speak of yours?"

"Why not? We are no marriageable girls on the lookout for husbands."

"Well, then, my dear General Blucher, how old are yon?"

"I? I am a little over seventy."

"And I am fifty-six, and yet you think old age is weighing me down,
while a wreath of snow-drops is overhanging your brow."

"Yes, that is true," said Blucher, in confusion. "I had really
forgotten my age."

"The reason is, that your heart is still young and fresh," exclaimed
Scharnhorst, looking at him tenderly, and laying his hand on
Blucher's broad shoulder. "Thank God! you are still young Blucher,
with his fiery head and heroic arm--young Blucher whose eagle eye
gazes into the future, and who does not despair, however
disheartening the present may be."

"I am sure you have brought news," said Blucher. "I can see it in
your eyes--Heaven knows whether good or bad. But you have news, I
know it."

"No, my young firebrand," exclaimed Scharnhorst, "I bring only
myself, and this self I should like now above all to lay at the feet
of your respected wife."

"Yes, that is true," said Blucher; "in my joy I almost forgot that
my Amelia ought to share it. Come, general, let me conduct you to my
wife." He took Scharnhorst's arm and conducted him rapidly across
the sitting-room toward the apartments of Madame von Blucher. "Tread
softly; you know what an admirer of yours my wife is, and how glad
she will be to see you. We will, therefore, surprise her. She
doubtless did not notice your arrival, for her windows open upon the
garden. She does not yet know that you are here, and how glad she
will be! Hush!"

He glided to the door and rapped. "Amelia," he said, "are you there,
and may I come in?"

"Of course I am here," exclaimed Madame von Blucher, "and you know
well that I have already been looking for you for two hours past.
Come in!"

"I have a visitor with me; do you allow me to enter with him,
Amelia?"

"A visitor?" asked Madame von Blucher, opening the door. "General
von Scharnhorst!" she exclaimed, hastening to him and offering him
both her hands. "Welcome, general, and may Heaven reward you for the
idea of visiting an old woman and her young husband in their wintry
solitude. Come, general, do my room the honor of entering it." She
took the general's arm and drew him in.

"Scharnhorst," said Blucher, "let me give you some good advice. Do
not make love in too undisguised a manner to my wife, for she is
right in saying that I am still a young man, and I may become
jealous; that would be a pity! I should then have to fight a duel
with my friend, and one of us would have to die; and yet we are
destined to deliver Prussia, and to drive that hateful man Bonaparte
out of Germany."

"See, madame, what a shrewd and self-willed intriguer he is!"
exclaimed Scharnhorst. "He avails himself of the boundless adoration
I feel for you to assist him in wandering into his favorite sphere
of politics. Madame, the barbarian believes it to be altogether
impossible that I come merely from motives of friendship, and
insists that it was politics that brought me!"

"Yes," said Madame von Blucher, smiling, "Blucher loves politics, he
has no other mistress."

"No," said Blucher, laughing, "I know nothing at all about politics,
and believe the world would be better off if there were no
politicians. They originate all our troubles. Those diplomatists are
always sure to spoil what the sword has achieved. Politics have
brought all these calamities upon Germany; otherwise, we should long
since have risen against the French, instead of allowing our
soldiers to fight for Bonaparte in Russia. I say it is absurd, and I
am so angry at it that it will make me consumptive. I say all those
diplomatists ought to be sent into the field against Russia in order
to study new-fangled politics in Siberia. I say--"

"You will say nothing further about the matter, my friend, for there
is John, who wishes to tell us that dinner is ready," Madame von
Blucher interrupted her husband, who, glowing with anger, and
trembling with excitement, was fighting with his arms in the air and
with a terrible expression of countenance. "Come, general, let us go
to the dining-room," said Madame von Blucher, giving her hand to
Scharnhorst. "And you, my valorous young husband, give me your hand,
too!"

"Wait a moment," Blucher replied. "I must first give vent to my
anger, or it will choke me." At a bound, he rushed as a passionate
boy toward the sofa, and, striking it with both fists, so that the
dust rose from it in clouds, shouted: "Have I got you at length, you
horrible butcher--are you at length under my scourge? Now you shall
find out how Pomeranians whip their enemies, and what it is to treat
people as shamefully as you have done. I will whip you--yes, until
you cry, 'Pater, peccavi!' There, take that for Jena, and this blow
for compelling me to capitulate at Lubeck; and this and this for the
infamies you have perpetrated upon our beautiful queen at Tilsit!
This last blow take for the Russian treaty to which you compelled
our king to accede, and now a few more yet! If Heaven does not
strike you, Blucher must; you ought not to be left unpunished!"

"Ah, well, that is enough, my friend," exclaimed Amelia, hastening
to him and seizing his arm, which he had already raised again. "You
are very capable of destroying my sofa, and you believe that you
have gained a campaign by tearing my beautiful velvet in shreds."

"Well, yes, it is enough now, and I feel better. Well, my friend,"
he said, turning to Scharnhorst, who had witnessed his foolish
antics with a grave and mournful air, "you need not look at me in so
melancholy a manner. I suppose they have told you, too, that old
Blucher at times gets crazy, and strikes at the flies on the wall,
and beats chairs and sofas, because, in his insanity, he believes
them to be Napoleon. [Footnote: Owing to this peculiarity and the
strange ebullitions of rage in which he indulged from time to time,
Blucher was really believed to be deranged for several years
previous to the outbreak of the war of liberation.] But it is
assuredly no madness that makes me act in this manner, as stupid
fools assert, but it is simply a way in which I relieve my anger,
that it may not break my heart. It is the same as if a man who has
to fight a duel should take fencing-lessons, and practise with the
sword, in order to hit his adversary. But I have satisfied my anger,
and will again be as gentle as a lamb."

"Yes, as a lamb which reverses the order of things, and, instead of
allowing the wolf to devour it, is quite ready to devour the wolf,"
said Scharnhorst, laughing.

"Let us go to dinner, generals," cried Amelia; "but on one
condition! During the repast not a word must be said about my
hateful rival, politics, nor will you be permitted to sprinkle
Napoleon as cayenne pepper over our dishes. Blucher is too hot-
blooded, and pepper does not agree with him."

"But a glass of champagne agrees with him when a dear friend is
present," exclaimed Blucher. "Oh, John, come here! Accompany my
wife, Scharnhorst; I have only to tell John what he is to fetch from
the wine-cellar."

While Blucher gave his orders to John in a hurried and low voice,
instructing him to place a substantial battery of bottles of
champagne in front of the two generals, Scharnhorst preceded him
with Madame von Blucher to the dining-room.

"Madame von Blucher," whispered Scharnhorst, after satisfying
himself by a quick side glance that Blucher was too far from them to
overhear his words, "permit me to ask a question. Is your husband
strong and healthy enough, both physically and mentally, for me to
talk to him about politics? May I communicate to him some important
news which I have received today, or would I thereby excite him too
much?"

"Do you bring glad tidings?" asked Amelia.

"I believe we may consider them so; at all events, they are
encouraging."

"In that case, general, you may unhesitatingly communicate them;
but, pray, do so only after dinner, and when he has somewhat
recovered from the excitement with which your welcome but unexpected
visit has filled him. Blucher's mind is perfectly strong and
healthy, but his body is feeble, and he is still affected with a
disease of the stomach, which, precisely at dinner, very often gives
him severe pain: Pray, therefore, no excitement and no politics at
the dinner-table."

"So, here I am," said Blucher, who had followed them, and now took
the general's arm; "now, children, quick, for I long to take wine
again with my dear Scharnhorst."

Scharnhorst faithfully complied with the wishes of Madame von
Blucher. No allusion to politics was made during the dinner, and
their conversation was harmless, merry, and desultory. They left the
dining-room, and took coffee in the cozy sitting-room of Madame von
Blucher.

"And now," said Blucher, who was sitting on the sofa by the side of
Scharnhorst, while his wife sat in the easy-chair opposite them,
"let us fill our pipes, or rather smoke them, for they have already
been filled."

"But shall we he permitted to do so in your wife's room?" asked
Scharnhorst.

"Oh, I have been accustomed to it for twenty years past," exclaimed
Amelia, laughing. "When I wished to have Blucher in my room, and by
my side, I could not show the door to his pipe; and therefore, as a
good soldier's wife, I have accustomed myself to the odor of
tobacco-smoke."

"Well," said Blucher, pointing to the two clay pipes which lay on
the silver tray beside the burning wax-candle and the cup filled
with paper-kindlers, "take a match and fire the cannon; luckily it
makes no noise, but only smoke."

Madame von Blucher handed each of the gentlemen a clay pipe, and
then held a burning paper close to the tobacco.

"Now, the guns are ready, and the battle may commence," said
Blucher, puffing a cloud from his pipe.

"You see, general," said Amelia, turning to Scharnhorst with a
significant glance, "madcap Blucher cannot refrain from talking all
the time about battles and politics. Now, indulge him in his whim,
general, and talk a little with him about these topics."

"I believe it will amount to little," growled Blucher. "If
Scharnhorst had brought good news he would not have kept me so long
from knowing it. No; the news is always the same; I know it already!
New bulletins favorable to Napoleon--nothing else!"

Scharnhorst smiled. "Why, my friend, what is the reason of your
sudden despondency? Have you, then, lost all your faith in the
approach of better times?--you who used to be more courageous than
any of us, you who hitherto cherished the firm belief in a change
for the better, and were to us a shining beacon of honor, hope, and
courage! What shall we do, and what is to become of us, when Blucher
gets discouraged and ceases to hope?"

"Well," said Blucher, "I am not yet discouraged; I still hope for a
change for the better, and know that it will surely come, for
Scharnhorst still lives and paves the way for more prosperous times.
Yes, certainly, there will be better times; Scharnhorst is secretly
creating an army for us, and when the army has been organized, he
will call me, and I shall put myself beside him at the head of the
troops, and we shall then march against the French emperor with
drums beating; we shall defeat him--drive him with his routed
soldiers beyond the frontiers of Germany, so that he never again
shall dare to return to the fatherland. Providence has spared me so
long for this purpose; I believe that I am chosen to chastise the
insolent Napoleon for all his crimes committed against Germany and
Prussia. I am destined to overthrow him, deliver my country, and
victoriously reestablish my dear king in all his former states.
Napoleon must be hurled from his throne, and I must assist in
bringing about his downfall; and before that has been accomplished I
will and cannot die. [Footnote: Blucher's own words.--Vide his
biography by Varnhagen von Ense, p. 128.] Yes, laugh at me as much
as you please; I am already accustomed to that when talking in this
style; but it will, nevertheless, prove true, and my prophecies will
be fulfilled. You may deride me, but you cannot shake my firm belief
in what I tell you."

"But I do not deride you," said Scharnhorst. "I am glad of your
reliance on Heaven, which, while all were discouraged and
despairing, stood as a rock in the midst of the breakers. I always
looked to you, Blucher; the thought of you always strengthened and
encouraged me, and when I at times felt like giving way to despair,
I said to myself, 'For shame, Scharnhorst! take heart and hope, for
Blucher still lives, and so long as he lives there is hope!'"

"Henceforth," exclaimed Blucher, with radiant eyes, giving his hand
to his friend, "henceforth no one will deny that God has made us for
each other. What you said about me I have repeated to myself every
day about you. What was my consolation when Prussia, after the
treaty of Tilsit, was wholly prostrated and ruined? 'Scharnhorst
still lives!' What did I say to myself when the cowardly ministers,
in the beginning of the present year, had concluded the abominable
alliance with France? 'Scharnhorst still lives!' And when our poor
regiments had to march to Russia as Bonaparte's auxiliaries, I said
to myself: 'Scharnhorst is still there to create a new army, and God
is there to give victory one day to this army, which I shall
command.' Oh, tell me, my friend, what are your plans? What have you
been able to accomplish in regard to the reorganization of the army?
And what about the new officers' regulations which you are having
printed?"

"They have already been printed, and I have brought a copy for you,"
said Scharnhorst, drawing a printed book from his breast-pocket, and
handing it to his friend.

Blucher gazed on it long with grave and musing eyes, read the title-
page, and glanced over the contents. "Scharnhorst," he then said,
solemnly, "this is a great and important work, and posterity only
will appreciate its whole importance, and thank you deservedly for
it. Our old military structure was utterly rotten, and the first
storm, therefore, caused it to break down and fall to pieces. But
Scharnhorst is an architect who knew how to find among the ruins
material for a new and solid structure, and this structure will one
day cause the power of Bonaparte to disappear. This book, which
entirely changes the duties and relations of the officers of all
arms, and transforms our whole military system, is the splendid plan
of the building which you are about to erect. By the introduction of
these regulations the antiquated system which brought upon Prussia
the defeats of Jena and Auerstadt, is abolished; the great
simplicity of the scheme, and its practical spirit, are the best
antidotes against the prevalence of the old-fashioned notions which
have proved so disastrous. You have performed a great work,
Scharnhorst, and Prussia must thank you for it as long as she has an
army."

"I may say at least that I have striven for a grand object," said
Scharnhorst, "and I have left nothing undone in order to attain it.
Many changes had to be made, and many evils eradicated, when the
king, after the calamitous days of Tilsit, placed me at the head of
the commission which was to reorganize the whole Prussian army. We
had to work night and day, for it was incumbent upon us to arrange a
new system of conscription, organize the levies, draw up new
articles of war, and complete the battalions, squadrons, and
batteries. It was, besides, our task to give the army an honorable
position, to constitute the soldier the sacred guardian of the
noblest blessing of all nations--Liberty and nationality; and to
give him a country for which he was to fight. The soldier,
therefore, had to be a citizen; the army was no longer to consist of
hirelings, but of the sons of the country, and to these had to be
intrusted the sacred and inevitable duty of learning the profession
of arms, and of devoting for some time their services to the
fatherland. The citizens had to be transformed into soldiers, and
the name of 'soldier' had, as it was among the Romans, to become a
title of honor. In order to bring this about, it was necessary, too,
that the distinction of birth, to which the government, in
commissioning officers and hitherto paid so much attention, should
be entirely discarded. Every recruit had to know that by bravery,
courage, industry, and intelligence, he might attain the highest
positions, and that the private soldier might become a general."

"That is the very thing by which the aristocratic officers of the
old regime became intensely exasperated against your new system,"
said Blucher. "I know what you had to suffer and contend against,
how many stumbling-blocks were cast in your way, and how they
charged you with being an innovator, and even a republican, trying
to transfer the liberty, equality, and fraternity of the French
sans-culottes into the Prussian army, and to put generals' epaulets
into the knapsack of the low-born recruit. But all these arrows
glanced off from your dear head, which was as hard as a golden
anvil, and they were unable to prevent Scharnhorst from becoming the
armorer of German liberty!"

"But his head has received many a blow," said Scharnhorst, smiling.
"However, he who wages war must expect to be wounded, and it was a
terrible war upon which I entered--one against prejudice and old
established customs--against the rights and privileges of the
aristocracy. God was with me and gave me strength to complete my
work; He gave me, in Blucher, a friend who never refused me his
advice, and, to whose sagacity and courage I am indebted for one-
half of what I have achieved. Without your aid I would often have
given way; but it strengthened me to think of you, and your applause
was a reward for my labors. May we soon be enabled to carry into
effect the new organization of the army!"

"My friend," said Blucher, shaking his head, "God has forgotten us,
I fear, and averted His eyes from Prussia and the whole of Germany.
Napoleon is an instrument in His hands, just as the knout is an
instrument of justice in the hand of the Russian executioner. And it
seems as though the nations deserved much punishment, for He still
holds his instrument firmly in His hands. But patience!--there will
be a time when He will cast it aside, and when we shall arise from
our prostration to take revenge upon our scourge."

"Who knows whether this new era will not dawn at an earlier moment
than we hope and look for," said Scharnhorst, smiling.

Blucher started, and cast a quick glance on his guest.
"Scharnhorst," he said, hastily, "you have brought news, after all.
I felt it as soon as I saw you, and it is no use to deny it any
longer. You know, and want to tell me something. Well, speak out! I
am prepared for every thing! What is it? Has Napoleon gained another
victory? Has he transported the Emperor Alexander to Siberia, and
put the Russian crown on his head at the Kremlin? Have the Russian
people prostrated themselves before him, and, like other nations,
recognized him as their sovereign and emperor? You see, I am
prepared for every thing; for I insist upon it, how high soever he
may build his throne, he must at last descend, and it will be I who
will bring him down. Now, speak out! Has he again obtained a great
victory?"

"No, general," said Scharnhorst, solemnly, "God has obtained a
victory!"

Blucher raised his head, and laid his clay pipe slowly on the table.
"What do you mean, general?" he asked. "What do you mean by saying,
'God has obtained a victory'?"

"I mean to say that He has sent into the field troops whom even
Napoleon is unable to defeat."

"What troops do you refer to?"

"I refer to the cold, the snow, the ice, the howling storm blowing
from Siberia, like the angry voice of Heaven, striking down men and
beasts alike."

"And these troops of God have defeated Napoleon?"

"They have, general!"

Blucher uttered a cry, and, jumping up from his chair, drew himself
up to his full height. "The troops of God have defeated Napoleon!"
he exclaimed, solemnly. "I have always believed in divine justice--
slow sometimes, but sure. Tell me every thing, my friend, tell me
every thing," he added, sinking back into the chair, quite
overwhelmed by what he had heard. "Commence at the beginning, for I
feel that my joy renders this old head confused, and I must
gradually accustom myself to it. Tell me the whole history of the
Russian campaign, for it is the preface I ought to read in order to
be able to understand the book. And, then, in conclusion, tell me
what the good Lord has done, and whether He will now employ His old
Blucher. I feel as though an altar-taper had been suddenly lighted
in my heart, and as though an organ were playing in my head. I must
collect my thoughts. Speak, Scharnhorst, for you see this surprising
news may make me insane." He pressed his hands against his temples
and drew a deep breath.

His wife hastened to him, and with her soft hand caressed his face,
and looked with anxious and tender glances into his wild eyes. "Be
calm, Blucher," she said. "Calm your great, heroic heart, else you
shall and must not hear any thing further. General Scharnhorst, I am
sure you will not tell him anything as long as he is so agitated."

"I will be calm," said Blucher. "You see that I am so already, and
that I sit here as still as a lamb. Scharnhorst, tell me, therefore,
every thing. I am all attention."

"And while listening to him, take again your old friend, which has
so often comforted you in your afflictions--put your pipe again into
your mouth," said Amelia, handing it to him.

But Blucher refused it, almost indignantly. "No," he said, "one does
not smoke at church, nor when the Lord speaks, and Scharnhorst is
about to tell me that the Lord has spoken. While listening to such
words, the heart must be devout, and the lips may bless or pray, but
they must not hold a pipe. And now speak, Scharnhorst; I am quite
calm and prepared for good and bad news."



CHAPTER XII.

THE OATH.


"Speak," said Blucher, once more. "I am prepared for every thing.
Tell me about Bonaparte in Russia."

"You know how victoriously and irresistibly Napoleon penetrated with
the various columns of his army into the interior of Russia," said
Scharnhorst. "Nothing seemed to have been able to withstand him--
nothing powerful enough to arrest his triumphant progress. The
Russian generals, as if panic-stricken, retreated farther and
farther the deeper Napoleon advanced into the heart of the empire.
Neither Kutusoff, nor Wittgenstein, nor Barclay, dared risk the fate
of Russia in a decisive battle; even the Emperor Alexander preferred
to leave the army and retire to Moscow to wait for the arrival of
fresh reenforcements, and render new resources available. Napoleon,
in the mean time, advanced still farther, constantly in search of
the enemy, whom he was unable to find anywhere, and everywhere
meeting another enemy whom he was nowhere able to avoid or conquer.
This latter was the Russian climate. The scorching heat, the
drenching rains, bred diseases which made more havoc in the ranks of
the French than the swords of living enemies would have been able to
do. At the same time supplies were wanting, so that the immense host
received but scanty and insufficient rations. The soldiers suffered
the greatest privations, and the Russian people, incited by their
czar and their priests to intense hatred and fanatical fury, escaped
with their personal property and their provisions from the villages
and the small towns rather than welcome the enemy and open to him
their houses in compulsory hospitality. The French army, reduced by
sickness, privations, and hunger, to nearly one-half of its original
strength, nevertheless continued advancing; it forced an entrance
into Smolensk after a bloody struggle; after taking a short rest in
the ruined, burning, and entirely deserted city, it marched upon
Moscow. In front of this ancient capital of the czars it met at
length on the 7th of September the living enemy it had so long
sought. Bagration, Kutusoff, and Barclay, occupied with their army
positions in front of it in order to prevent the approaching foe
from entering holy Moscow. You know the particulars of the bloody
battle on the Moskwa. The Russians and the French fought on this 7th
of September for eleven long hours with the most obstinate
exasperation, with truly fanatical fury; whole ranks were mowed down
like corn under the harvester's scythe; their generals and
chieftains themselves were struck down in the unparalleled struggle;
more than seventy thousand killed and wounded covered the battle-
field, and yet there were no decisive results. The Russians had only
been forced back, but not defeated and routed in such a manner as to
stand in need of peace, in order to recover from the terrible
consequences of the struggle. To be sure, Napoleon held the battle-
field, and, on the 14th of September, made his entry into Moscow,
but no messengers came to him from Alexander to sue for peace; no
submissive envoys to meet him, as he had been accustomed to see in
other conquered cities, and surrender him the keys; the streets were
deserted, and no excited crowd appeared either there or at the
windows of the houses to witness his entry. The city, whence the
inhabitants and authorities had fled, was a vast gaping grave."

"But the grave soon gave signs of animation," exclaimed Blucher,
excitedly; "the desert was transformed into a sea of fire, and the
burning city gave a horrible welcome to the French. The governor of
Moscow, Count Rostopchin, intended to greet the entering conqueror
with an illumination, and, as he had no torches handy, he set fire
to the houses. He removed the stores and supplies, compelled the
inhabitants to leave, had the fire-engines concealed, ordered
inflammable oils and rosin to be placed everywhere in order to
intensify the fury of the conflagration, and then released the
convicts that they might set fire to the city. The first house
kindled was Rostopchin's own magnificent palace, close to the gates
of Moscow. Well, it is true, Rostopchin acted like a barbarian; but
still the man's character seems grand, and his ferocity that of the
lion shaking his mane, and rushing with a roar upon his adversary.
To be sure, it was no great military exploit to burn down a large
city, but still it was a splendid stratagem, and, in a struggle with
a hateful and infamous enemy, all ways and means are permitted and
justifiable. I do not merely excuse Rostopchin, but I admire his
tremendous energy, and believe, if I were a Russian, I would
likewise have done something of the sort. His act compelled the
enemy soon to leave, as he could not establish his winter-quarters
amid smoking ruins, and to retreat instead of advancing, and obliged
the Emperor Alexander to cease his vacillating course--inasmuch as,
after the conflagration, further attempts at bringing about a
compromise and reconciliation between the belligerents were entirely
out of the question."

"No, general, Rostopchin did not bring this about," exclaimed
Scharnhorst, "but it was our great friend Stein who did it. God
Himself sent Minister von Stein to Russia, that he might stand as an
immovable rock by the side of the mild and fickle Alexander, and
that his fiery soul might strengthen the fluctuating resolutions of
the czar, and inspire him with true faith in, and reliance on, the
great cause of the freedom of the European nations, which was now to
be decided upon the snowy fields of Russia. We owe it to Stein alone
that the peace party at the Russian headquarters did not gain the
emperor over to their side; we owe it to Stein that Alexander
determined to pursue a manly, energetic course; that he refused to
allow the diplomatists to interfere, but left the decision to the
sword alone, and constantly and proudly rejected all the offers of
peace which Napoleon now began to make to him. And Stein found a new
ally in the climate uniting with him in his inexorable hostility to
the French. Napoleon felt that he ought not to await the approach of
winter at Moscow, and on the 18th of October he left the
inhospitable city with the remnants of his army. But winter dogged
his steps; winter attached itself as a heavy burden to the feet of
his soldiers; it laid itself like lead on their paralyzed brain, and
caused the horses, guns, and caissons, to stick fast in the snow and
ice. Winter dissolved the French army. Men and beasts perished by
cold; discipline and subordination were entirely disregarded; every
one thought only of preserving his own life, of appeasing his
hunger, and relieving his distress. Piles of corpses and dead horses
marked the route of this terrible retreat of the French; and when,
on the 9th of November, they entered Smolensk, the whole grand army
consisted only of forty thousand armed men, and crowds of stragglers
destitute of arms and without discipline."

"And still this cruel tyrant and heartless braggart, the great
Napoleon, dared to boast of his victories, and the splendid
condition of his army," exclaimed Blucher, angrily. "And he sent
constantly new bulletins of pretended victories into the world, and
the stupid Germans believed them to be true, the supposed successes
causing them to tremble. I have read these lying bulletins, and the
perusal made me ill. They dwelt on nothing but the victories, the
glorious conduct, and the fine condition of the grand army."

"But now you shall read a new one, friend Blucher," exclaimed
Scharnhorst; "here is the twenty-ninth bulletin, and I will
communicate to you also the latest news from the grand army and the
great Napoleon, which couriers from Berlin and Dresden brought me
last night, and which induced me to set out so early to-day in order
to reach my Blucher, and tell him of a new era. Here is the twenty-
ninth bulletin, and in it Napoleon dares no longer boast of
victories; he almost dares tell the truth."

"Let me read it!" exclaimed Blucher, impatiently seizing the printed
sheet which Scharnhorst handed to him. Gasping with inward emotion,
he began to read it, but his hands soon trembled, and the letters
swam before his eyes.

"I cannot read it through," said Blucher, sighing. "There is a storm
raging in my heart, and it blows out the light of my eyes. Read the
remainder to me, my friend. I have read it to the engagement on the
Beresina, where Napoleon says that General Victor gained another
victory on the 28th of November."

"But this victory consisted only in the fact that General Victor,
with his twelve thousand men, prevented the Russians from reaching
the banks of the Beresina, so that two bridges could be built across
it, and that the ragged wretches composing the grand army could
reach the opposite side of the river. That passage of the Beresina
was a terrible moment, which will never be forgotten by history--a
tragedy full of horrors, wretchedness, and despair. Stein's agents
have sent me Russian reports of this event, which contain the most
heart-rending and revolting details. Books will be written to depict
the dreadful scenes of that day; but neither historians, nor
painters, nor poets, will find words or colors to portray those
unparalleled horrors."

"And does he describe those scenes in his bulletin?" asked Blucher.
"Read me its conclusion. Does he allude to those horrors of the
Beresina?"

"No, general; he speaks only of the victory and the passage across
the river, and then continues: 'On the following day, the 29th of
November, we remained on the battle-field. We had to choose between
two routes: the road of Minsk, and that of Wilna. The road of Minsk
passes through the middle of a forest and uncultivated morasses;
that of Wilna, on the contrary, passes through a very fine part of
the country. The army, destitute of cavalry, but poorly provided
with ammunition, and terribly exhausted by the fatigues of a fifty
days' march, took with it its sick and wounded, and was anxious to
reach its magazines.'"

"That is to say," exclaimed Blucher, "they died of hunger, and, as
he says that they were terribly exhausted by a fifty days' march,
dropped like flies. Oh, it is true, the Emperor Napoleon is very
laconic in his account of that retreat, but he who knows how to
penetrate the meaning of his few lines cannot fail to receive a deep
impression of the wretchedness that unfortunate army had to undergo.
Read on, dear Scharnhorst."

Scharnhorst continued: "'If it must be admitted that it is necessary
for the army to reestablish its discipline, to recover from its long
fatigues, to remount its cavalry, artillery, and materiel, it is
only the natural result of the events which we have just described.
Repose is now, above all, indispensable to the army. The trains and
horses are already arriving; the artillery has repaired its losses,
but the generals, officers, and soldiers, have suffered intensely by
the fatigues and privations of the march. Owing to the loss of their
horses, many have lost their baggage; others have been deprived of
it by Cossacks lying in ambush. They have captured a great many
individuals, such as engineers, geographers, and wounded officers,
who marched without the necessary precautions, and exposed
themselves to the danger of being taken prisoners rather than
quietly march in the midst of the convoys.'"

"And the Cossacks have spared HIM!" exclaimed Blucher, impatiently.
"They did not take him prisoner! What is he doing, then, that the
Cossacks cannot catch him? Tell me, Scharnhorst--the bulletin, then,
does not, like its predecessors, dwell on the heroic exploits of the
great emperor? He does not praise himself as he formerly used to
do?"

"Oh, he does not fail to do so. Listen to the conclusion: 'During
all these operations the emperor marched constantly in the midst of
his guard, the marshal Duke d'Istria commanding the cavalry, and the
Duke de Dantzic the infantry. His majesty was content with the
excellent spirit manifested by the guard, always ready to march to
points where the situation was such that its mere presence sufficed
to check the enemy. Our cavalry lost so heavily, that it was
difficult to collect officers enough, who were still possessed of
horses, to form four companies, each of one hundred and fifty men.
In these companies, generals performed the services of captains, and
colonels those of non-commissioned officers. The "Sacred Legion,"
commanded by the King of Naples and General Grouchy, never lost
sight of the emperor during all these operations. The health of his
majesty never was better.'" [Footnote: Fain, "Manuscrit de 1812."]

"And he dares to proclaim that!" exclaimed Blucher, indignantly.
"His army is dying of hunger and cold, and he proclaims to the
world, as if in mockery, that his health never was better! It is his
fault that hundreds of thousands are perishing in the most heart-
rending manner, and he boasts of his extraordinary good health! He
must have a stone in his breast instead of a heart; otherwise, a
general whose army is perishing under his eyes cannot be in
extraordinary good health. He will be punished for it, and will not
always feel so well."

"He has already been punished, my friend," said Scharnhorst,
solemnly. "It has pleased God to chastise the arrogant tyrant and to
bow his proud head to the dust."

Blucher jumped up, and a deep pallor overspread his cheeks. "He has
been punished?" he asked, breathlessly. "Napoleon in the dust! What
is it? Speak quickly, Scharnhorst; speak, if you do not want me to
die! What has happened?"

"He has left his army, and secretly fled from Russia!"

Blucher uttered a cry, and, without a word, rushed toward the door.
Scharnhorst and Amelia hastened after him and kept him back.

"What do you wish to do?" asked Scharnhorst.

"I wish to pursue him!" exclaimed Blucher, vainly trying to
disengage himself from the hands of his wife and the general. "Let
me go--do not detain me! I must pursue him--I must take him
prisoner! If he has fled from his army, he must return to France,
and if he wants to return to France, he must pass through Germany.
Let me go! He must not be permitted to escape from Germany!"

"But he has already escaped," said Scharnhorst, smiling.

"What! Passed through Germany?" asked Blucher. "And no one has tried
to arrest him?"

"No one knew that he was there. He left his army on the 6th of
December; attended only by Caulaincourt and his Mameluke Roustan,
recognized by no one, expected by no one, he sped in fabulous haste
in an unpretending sleigh through the whole of Poland and Prussia.
Only after he set out was it known at the places where he stopped
that he had been there. He travelled as swiftly as the storm. On the
6th of December he was at Wilna, on the 10th of December at Warsaw,
and in the night of the 14th of December suddenly a plain sleigh
stopped in front of the residence of M. Serra, French ambassador at
Dresden: two footmen were seated on the box, and in the sleigh
itself there were two gentlemen, wrapped in furred robes, and so
much benumbed by the cold that they had to be lifted out. These two
gentlemen were the Emperor Napoleon and Caulaincourt. Napoleon had
an interview with the King of Saxony the same night, and, continuing
his journey, reached Erfurt on the 15th, and--"

"And to-day is already the 17th of December," said Blucher, sighing;
"he will, therefore, be beyond the Rhine. And I must allow him to
escape! I am unable to detain him! Oh, that the little satisfaction
had been granted me of capturing Napoleon! Well, it has been decreed
that this should not be; but one thing at least is settled. Napoleon
has been deserted by his former good luck; Dame Fortune, who always
was seated in his triumphal car, has alighted from it, and now we
may hope to see her soon restored to her old place on the top of the
Brandenburg gate at Berlin. Hurrah, my friend! we are going to rise;
I feel it in my bones, and the time has come when old Blucher will
again be permitted to be a man, and will no longer be required to
draw his nightcap over his ears."

"Yes, the time has come when Prussia needs her valiant Blucher,"
said Scharnhorst, tenderly laying his arm on Blucher's. "Now raise
your head, general--now prepare for action, for Blucher must
henceforth be ready at a moment's notice to obey the call of
Prussia, and place himself at the head of her brave sons, who are so
eager for the fray."

"Yes, yes, we shall have war now," exclaimed Blucher. "Soon the
drums will roll, and the cannon boom--soon Blucher will no longer be
a childish and decrepit old man whom wiseacres think they can mock
and laugh at--soon Blucher will once more be a man who, sword in
hand, will shout to his troops, 'Forward!--charge the enemy!' Great
Heaven, Scharnhorst, and I have not even dressed becomingly--I still
wear a miserable civilian's coat! Suppose war should break out to-
day, and they should come and call me to the army? Why, Blucher
would have to hang his head in shame, and acknowledge that he was
not ready!--John! John!--my uniform! Come to my bedroom, John! I
want to dress!--to put on my uniform!"

Fifteen minutes afterward Blucher returned to the sitting-room,
where his wife was gayly chatting with Scharnhorst. He was not now
the sick, suffering old man whom we saw this morning sitting on the
easy-chair at the window, but he was once more a fiery soldier and a
hero. His head was proudly erect, his eyes were flashing, a proud
smile was playing round his lips; his broad-shouldered form was
clothed in the uniform of a Prussian general; orders were glittering
on his breast, and the long rattling sword hung at his left side.

Blucher approached his wife and General Scharnhorst with dignified
steps, and, giving his hands to both, said in a grave and solemn
voice, "The time for delay, impatience, and folly, is past. With
this uniform I have become a new man. I am no longer an impatient
septuagenarian, cursing and killing flies on the wall because he has
no one else on whom to vent his wrath; but I am a soldier standing
composedly at his post, and waiting for the hour when he will be
able to destroy his enemy. Come, my friends,--come with me!"

He drew the two with him, and walked so rapidly through the rooms
that they were scarcely able to accompany him. They entered the
large reception-room, opened only on festive occasions. It contained
nothing but some tinselled furniture, a few tables with marble tops,
and on the pillars between the windows large Venetian mirrors.
Otherwise the walls were bare, except over the sofa, where hung, in
a finely-carved and gilded frame, a painting, which however was
covered with a large veil of black crape.

Blucher conducted the two to this painting; for a moment he stood
still and gazed on it gravely and musingly, and, raising his right
hand with a quick jerk, he tore down the mourning-veil.

"Queen Louisa!" exclaimed Scharnhorst, admiring the tall and
beautiful lady smiling on him. "Yes," said Blucher, solemnly, "Queen
Louisa! The guardian angel of Prussia, whose heart Napoleon broke!
This pride and joy of all our women had to depart without hoping
even in the possibility that the calamities which ruined her might
come to an end. On the day she died I covered her portrait with this
veil, and swore not to look again at her adored countenance until
able to draw my sword, and, with Prussia's soldiers, avenge her
untimely death. The time has come! Louisa, rise again from your
grave, open once more your beautiful eyes, for daylight is at hand,
and our night is ended. Now, my beautiful queen, listen to the oath
of your most faithful servant!" He drew his sword, and, raising it
up to the painting, exclaimed: "Here is my sword! When I sheathed it
last, I wept, for I was to be an invalid, and should no longer wield
it; I was to sit here in idleness, and silently witness the
sufferings of my fatherland. But now I shall soon be called into
service, and I swear to you, Queen Louisa, that I will not sheathe
this sword before I have avenged your death, before Germany and
Prussia are free again, and Napoleon has received his punishment. I
swear it to you, as sure as I am old Blucher, and have seen the
tears which Prussia's disgrace has often wrung from your eyes. May
God help me! may He in His mercy spare me until I have fulfilled my
oath! Amen!"

"Amen!" repeated Scharnhorst and Amelia, looking up to the portrait.

"Amen!" said Blucher again. "And now, Amelia," he added, quickly,
"come and give me a kiss, and, by this kiss, consecrate your
warrior, that he may deliver Germany and overthrow Napoleon. For
Napoleon must now be hurled from the throne!"



CHANCELLOR VON HARDENBERG.


CHAPTER XIII.

THE INTERRUPTED SUPPER.


It was on the 4th of January, 1813. The brilliant official
festivities with which the beginning of a new year had been
celebrated, were at an end, and, the ceremonious dinner-parties
being over, one was again at liberty to indulge in the enjoyment of
familiar suppers, where more attention was paid to the flavor of
choice wines and delicacies than to official toasts and political
speeches. Marshal Augereau gave at Berlin on this day one of those
pleasant little entertainments to his favored friends, to indemnify
them, as it were, for the great gala dinner of a hundred covers,
given by him on the 1st of January, as official representative of
the Emperor Napoleon.

To-day the supper was served in the small, cozy saloon, and it was
but a petit comite that assembled round the table in the middle of
the room. This comite consisted only of five gentlemen, with
pleasant, smiling faces, in gorgeous, profusely-embroidered
uniforms, on the left sides of which many glittering orders
indicated the high rank of the small company. There was, in the
first place, Marshal Augereau, governor of Berlin, once so furious a
republican that he threatened with death all the members of his
division who would address any one with "monsieur," or "madame"--now
the most ardent imperialist, and an admirer of the Emperor Napoleon.
The gentleman by his side, with the short, corpulent figure and
aristocratic countenance, from which a smile never disappeared, was
the chancellor of state and prime minister of King Frederick William
III, Baron von Hardenberg. He was just engaged in an eager
conversation with his neighbor, Count Narbonne, the faithless
renegade and former adherent of the Bourbons, who had but lately
deserted to Napoleon's camp, and allowed himself to be used by the
emperor on various diplomatic missions. Next to him sat Prince
Hatzfeld, the man on whom, in 1807, Napoleon's anger had fallen, and
who would have been shot as a "traitor" if the impassioned
intercession of his wife had not succeeded in softening the emperor,
and thus saving her husband's life. Near him, and closing the
circle, sat Count St. Marsan, Napoleon's ambassador at the court of
Prussia.

These five gentlemen had already been at the table for several
hours, and were now in that comfortable and agreeable mood which
epicures feel when they have found the numerous courses palatable
and piquant, the Hock sufficiently cold, the Burgundy sufficiently
warm, the oysters fresh, and the truffles well-flavored. They had
got as far as the roast; the pheasants, with their delicate sauce,
filled the room with an appetizing odor, and the corks of the
champagne-bottles gave loud reports, as if by way of salute fired in
honor of the triumphant entry of Pleasure.

Marshal Augereau raised his glass. "I drink this in honor of our
emperor!" he exclaimed, in an enthusiastic tone. The gentlemen
touched each other's glasses, and the three representatives of
France then emptied theirs at one draught. Prince Hatzfeld followed
their example, but Baron von Hardenberg only touched the brim of his
glass with his lips, and put it down again.

"Your excellency does not drink?" asked Augereau. "Then you are not
in earnest?"

"Yes, marshal, I am in earnest," said Hardenberg, smiling, "but you
used a word which prevented me from emptying my glass. You said, 'In
honor of OUR emperor!' Now, I am the devoted and, I may well say,
faithful servant of my master, King Frederick William, and therefore
I cannot call the great Napoleon my emperor."

"Oh, I used a wrong expression," exclaimed Augereau, hastily. "Let
us fill our glasses anew, and drink this time 'the health of the
great emperor Napoleon!'" he touched glasses with the chancellor of
state, and then fixed his keen eyes upon the minister.

Baron von Hardenberg raised the glass to his lips, but then withdrew
it again, and, bowing smilingly to Marshal Augereau, said: "Permit
me, marshal, to add something to your toast. Let us drink 'the
health of the great emperor, and a long and prosperous alliance with
Prussia!'"

"'And a long and prosperous alliance with Prussia,'" repeated the
four gentlemen, emptying their glasses, and resuming their chairs.

"We have just drunk to the success of our divulged secret," said
Prince Hatzfeld, smiling. "For I suppose, your excellency," turning
to Baron von Hardenberg, "this new happy alliance between Prussia
and France is now not much of a secret?"

"I hope it will soon be no secret at all," said Hardenberg. "Prussia
has received the proposition of France with heartfelt joy, and will
hail the marriage of her crown prince Frederick William as the
happiest guaranty of an indissoluble union. Only the crown prince is
too young as yet to marry, and at the present time, at least,
allusions to the happiness of his future should be avoided. His
thoughts should belong only to God and religion, for you know,
gentlemen, that the crown prince will be solemnly confirmed in the
course of a few days. Only after he has pledged his soul to God will
it be time for him to pledge his heart to love; only then
communications will be made to him as to the brilliant future that
is opening for him, and, no doubt, he will, like the king, be ready
to bind even more firmly the ties uniting Prussia with France. He
will be proud to receive for a consort a princess of the house of
Napoleon, for such a marriage will render him a relative of the
greatest prince of his century!"

"Of a prince whom Heaven loves above all others, as it lavishes upon
him greater prosperity than upon others," exclaimed Prince Hatzfeld,
emphatically. "God's love is visibly with him, and protects His
favorite. Who but he would have been able to overcome the terrible
dangers of the Russian campaign, and, with an eagle's flight, return
to France from the snowy deserts of Russia, without losing a single
plume of his wings?"

"It is true," responded Augereau, thoughtfully. "Fortune, or, if you
prefer, Providence, is with the emperor; it protects him in all
dangers, and allows him to issue victoriously from all storms. In
Russia he was in danger of ruining his glory and his army, but the
battle of Borodino, and still more that on the banks of the
Beresina, saved his laurels. The emperor travelled deserted roads,
without an escort or protection, through Poland and Germany, in
order to return to France. If he had been recognized, perhaps it
might have entered the heads of some enthusiasts to attack and
capture him on his solitary journey; but the eyes of his enemies
seemed to have been blinded. The emperor was not recognized, and
appeared suddenly in Paris, where the greatest excitement,
consternation, and confusion, were prevailing at that moment. For
Paris had just then been profoundly moved by the deplorable
conspiracy of General Mallet, and the Parisians were asking each
other in dismay whether General Mallet might not have been right
after all in announcing that Napoleon was dead, and whether his
death was not kept a secret merely from motives of policy. Suddenly
Napoleon appeared in the streets of Paris. All rushed out to behold
the emperor, or touch his horse, body, hands, or feet, to look into
his eyes, to hear his voice, and satisfy themselves that it was
really Napoleon--not an apparition. Their cheers rang, and, in their
happiness at seeing him again in their midst, they pardoned him for
having left their sons and brothers, fathers and husbands, as frozen
corpses on the plains of Russia. Never before had Napoleon enjoyed a
greater triumph as on the day of his return from the Russian
campaign. Fortune is the goddess chained to the emperor's triumphal
car, and the nations therefore would act very foolishly if they
dared rise against him."

"Happily, they have given up all such schemes," said Hardenberg,
smiling, and quietly cutting the pheasant's wing on his silver
plate. "They are asking and longing only for peace in order to dress
their wounds, cultivate their fields, and peaceably reap the
harvest."

"And the word of the Emperor Napoleon is a pledge to nations that
they shall be enabled to do so," exclaimed St. Marsan. "He wants
peace, and is ready to make every sacrifice to conclude and maintain
it."

"The German princes, of course, will joyously offer him their hands
for that purpose," said Hardenberg, bowing his head. "In truth, I
could not say at what point of Germany war could break out at this
juncture. The princes of the German Confederation of the Rhine have
long since acknowledged the Emperor of the French as their master,
and themselves as his obedient vassals. Powerful Austria has allied
herself with France by the ties of a marriage, and the hands of
Maria Louisa and Napoleon are stretched out in blessing over the two
countries. Poor Prussia has not only proved her fidelity as an ally
of France, but is now, forgetful of all her former humiliations,
ready to consent to a marriage of her future king with a Napoleonic
princess. Whence, then, could come a cause for a new war between
France and Germany? We shall have peace, doubtless--a long and
durable peace!"

"And that will be very fortunate," said Count Narbonne, "for then it
will no longer be necessary for us to allow miserable politics to
poison our suppers. 'Politics,' said my great royal patron, King
Louis XVI, the worthy uncle of the Emperor Napoleon, 'politics know
nothing of the culinary art; they spoil all dishes, and care,
therefore, ought to be taken not to allow them to enter the kitchen
or the dining-room. One must not admit them even directly after
eating, for they interfere with digestion; only during the morning
hours should audiences be given to them, for then they may serve as
Spanish pepper, imparting a flavor to one's breakfast.' That was a
very sagacious remark; I feel it at this moment when you so cruelly
sprinkle politics over this splendid pheasant."

"You are right," exclaimed Hardenberg, laughing, "I therefore beg
your excellency's pardon; for Spanish pepper, which is very
palatable in Cumberland sauce, and a few other dishes, is surely
entirely out of place when mixed with French truffles."

"Unhappy man," exclaimed Narbonne, with ludicrous pathos, "you are
again talking politics, and moreover of the worst sort!"

"How so?" asked Count St. Marsan. "What displeases you in the
remarks of Minister von Hardenberg?"

"Well, did you not notice that his excellency alluded to our
unsuccessful efforts in Spain? Spanish pepper, he said, is surely
entirely out of place when mixed with French truffles, but very
palatable in English sauces. That is to say, Spain and England are
good allies, and Spain and France will never be reconciled. And it
is true, it is a mortal war which Spain is waging against us, and
unfortunately one which, offers us but few chances of success. The
Spaniards contest every inch of ground with the most dogged
obstinacy, and they have found very valuable auxiliaries in Lord
Wellington and his English troops. They--"

"Ah, my dear count," exclaimed Marshal Augereau, smiling, "now it is
you who talk politics, and it behooves you no longer to accuse us."

"You are right, and I beg your pardon," said Narbonne; "but you see
how true the old proverb proves: 'Bad examples spoil good manners.'
Let us talk no longer about pepper, but truffles. Just compare this
truffle from Perigord with the Italian truffle at the entremets, and
you will have to admit that our Perigord truffle is in every respect
superior to the latter. It is more savory and piquant. There can be
no doubt of it that Perigord furnishes the most palatable fruit to
the world."

"What fruit do you allude to?" asked Hardenberg, smiling. "Do you
refer to the Perigord truffle, or to the Abbot of Perigord, the
great Talleyrand?"

"I see you are lost beyond redemption," said Narbonne, sighing,
while the other gentlemen burst into laughter. "Even in the face of
a truffle you still dare to amuse yourself with political puns, and
confound intentionally an abbot with a truffle! Oh, what a blasphemy
against the finest of all fruits--I allude, of course, to the
truffle--oh, it is treason committed--"

Just then the door of the saloon was hastily opened, and the first
secretary of the French embassy entered the room.

"What, sir!" shouted Count St. Marsan to him, "you come to disturb
me here? Some important event, then, has taken place?"

The secretary approached him hurriedly. "Yes, your excellency," he
said, "highly important and urgent dispatches have arrived. They
come from the army, and an aide-de-camp of Marshal Macdonald is
their bearer. He has travelled night and day to reach your
excellency at an earlier moment than the courier whom General von
York no doubt has sent to the King of Prussia. Here are the
dispatches which the aide-de-camp of the marshal has brought for
you, and which he says ought immediately to be read by your
excellency." He handed the count a large sealed letter, which the
latter eagerly accepted and at once opened.

A profound silence now reigned in the small saloon. The faces of the
boon companions at the table had grown grave, and all fixed their
eyes with an anxious and searching expression upon the countenance
of Count St. Marsan. He read the dispatch at first with a calm and
indifferent air, but suddenly his features assumed an expression of
astonishment--nay, of anger, and a gloomy cloud covered his brow.

"All right," he then said, turning to the secretary. "Return to the
legation. I will follow you in a few minutes." The secretary bowed
and withdrew. The five gentlemen were again alone.

"Well," asked Marshal Augereau, "were the dispatches really
important?"

Count St. Marsan made no immediate reply. He looked slowly around
the circle of his companions, and fixed his eyes with a piercing
expression on the countenance of Chancellor von Hardenberg. "Yes,"
he said, "they contain highly important news, and I wonder if his
excellency the chancellor of state has not yet received them, for
the dispatches concern above all the Prussian army."

"But I pledge your excellency my word of honor that I do not know
what you refer to," said Hardenberg, gravely. "I have received no
courier and no startling news from the Prussian army."

"Well, then," said St. Marsan, bowing, "permit me to communicate it
to you. General York, commander of the Prussian troops belonging to
the forces of Marshal Macdonald, has refused to obey the marshal's
orders. He has gone even further than that, concluding a treaty with
Russia, with the enemy of France and Prussia; and signed at
Tauroggen, with the Russian General von Diebitsch, a convention by
virtue of which he severs his connection with the French army, and,
with the consent of Russia, declares that the Prussian corps
henceforth will be neutral."

"But this impossible," exclaimed Hardenberg, "he would not dare any
thing of the kind; he would not violate in so flagrant a manner the
orders given him by his king!"

"But he did so," said Augereau, "and if your excellency should have
any doubts as to the truth of what Count St. Marsan said, here is
the autograph letter in which General von York informs Marshal
Macdonald of his defection; and, besides, another letter in which
the commander of the cavalry, General von Massenbach, notifies
Marshal Macdonald that he has acceded to York's convention, and
henceforth will no longer obey the marshal's orders. Conformably to
this convention, the Prussian troops have already left the positions
assigned them by Marshal Macdonald, and returned to Prussian
territory."

"It is true; there can be no doubt of it," said Hardenberg, with a
deep sigh, and handing back to the marshal the papers which he had
rapidly glanced over. He then rose from his chair and said: "This is
so unparalleled and unexpected an event, that I am at the present
moment almost unable to collect my thoughts. You will pardon me,
therefore, for leaving you; above all, I have to inform his majesty,
the king, of this important intelligence, and receive his orders in
regard to it. But then I beg leave to see Count St. Marsan at his
residence, to confer with him as to the measures to be taken
concerning this terrible event."

"I will await you at whatever hour of the night it may be," said
Count St. Marsan; "I am now about to return to my residence."

"And I to the king!" exclaimed Hardenberg, taking leave.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE DEFECTION OF GENERAL YORK.


King Frederick William had just returned to his cabinet after
attending to the last business, which he never neglected to perform
on any day of the year; that is to say, he had repaired to the
bedrooms of his children, and bidden the little sleepers "good-
night" by gently kissing them. In former times he did this by the
side of his wife, with a happy heart and a smiling face; it had
been, as it were, the last seal both pressed, at the close of every
day of their common happiness, upon the foreheads of their sleeping
children. But since Louisa had left him, to bid this "good-night"
had become, as it were, a sacred pilgrimage to his most precious
recollections. When he passed through the silent corridors at night,
and entered the rooms of his sons and daughters, he thought of her
who had left him three years before, but whom he believed he saw,
with her sweet smile and loving eyes. He took pains to remind such
of his children as he found awake of their dear departed parent,
whispering to them, "Remember your noble mother, whose eyes behold
you." And on the lips of those asleep he never failed to press two
kisses--one for himself and the other for Louisa.

The king had just returned to his cabinet, and, like a dying glimmer
of twilight, a faint smile was illuminating his countenance, which,
since the queen's death, had grown grave and sad. He seated himself
on the sofa where she had so often sat by his side, and cast a
mournful glance upon the vacant place beside him. "Alone! Always
alone!" he said in a low voice. "Nothing around me but intrigues,
quarrels, and malice! No one who loves me! Alone!" With a quick
motion he turned his head toward the side of the wall where hung
over his desk the portrait of Queen Louisa, in her white dress, and
a rose on her bosom. "Where are you, then, Louisa!" he exclaimed;
"why did you leave me, though you had sworn to bear joy and grief
with me? You are not here to share them, and--" Suddenly the king
paused and turned his eyes toward the door. It seemed to him as
though he heard hasty footsteps, and some one softly rapping at his
door. Who, at this unusual hour, could ask for admittance? Who could
dare now interrupt his solitude, when it was well understood he
desired to be left alone?

The rapping was repeated, louder than before, and a timid, imploring
voice asked, "Has his majesty returned to his cabinet?"

"It is Timm, my chamberlain," said the king. "What can he want of
me?"

Ordering him in a loud tone to walk in, the door was immediately
opened, and the chamberlain appeared on the threshold. "Pardon me,
sire," he said, "but his excellency Chancellor von Hardenberg is in
the anteroom, and urgently requests your majesty to grant him an
immediate audience."

"Hardenberg!" exclaimed the king, anxiously. "What has happened;
what--" He interrupted himself: "I will see the chancellor. Admit
him at once."

The chamberlain withdrew. The king arose and advanced several steps
toward the door; then, as if ashamed of his own impatience, he
stopped, while his face expressed the agitation of his mind.

Hardenberg entered, and, closing the door rapidly, approached the
king. "Your majesty," he said, "I beg pardon for daring to disturb
you at so late an hour; but the extraordinary importance of the news
I bring to you will be my excuse. I was at the supper-table of
Marshal Augereau, in company with the French ambassador, Count St.
Marsan, when important dispatches, just arrived from the army, were
delivered to the ambassador."

"A battle has been fought, has it not? Has my corps been routed?"
asked the king, breathlessly.

"No, your majesty, there has been no battle. A much more
extraordinary event has taken place, General von York has concluded
a convention with the Russian General Diebitsch, and signed a treaty
by which the troops commanded by York separate from the French, and
engage to remain neutral for two months."

"That is not true!" exclaimed the king. "A mere rumor!--an
impossibility!"

"Your majesty, it is but too true. I myself have read the autograph
letters in which Generals York and Massenbach inform Marshal
Macdonald of their resolution not to obey his orders longer."

The king pressed his hands against his temple, and exclaimed, in a
tremulous voice: "Oh, this is enough to throw one into a state of
apoplexy! [Footnote: The king's own words.--Vide Droysen's "Life of
York, "vol. ii., p. 36.] It is unheard of, contrary to military law,
contrary to all international obligations! It is open rebellion,
revolutionary resistance to his king and commander-in-chief! A
general who dares commit so terrible a crime must be tried by court-
martial, and sentence of death passed upon him. I cannot pardon
him!"

"Your majesty," said Hardenberg, in dismay, "it is possible that
General York may have committed a crime against discipline, but,
nevertheless, it is an heroic and magnanimous deed, and no Prussian
court-martial will dare inflict punishment on him. We do not yet
know the urgent circumstances obliging the general to make this
decision; we do not yet know from what dangers he may have preserved
the Prussian army by his quick and resolute step."

"But we know that he has committed an unparalleled crime against
discipline!"

"A crime by which he may perhaps have saved Prussia from utter
destruction! The general will be able to justify his deed."

"But it seems that he does not even deem it necessary to inform me
of his proceedings," exclaimed the king, indignantly. "He appears to
have made himself dictator, and as he does not recognize my military
laws, he refuses also to acknowledge me as commander-in-chief, to
whom he owes obedience."

"Your majesty, I believe there is his justification already," said
Hardenberg, pointing at Timm the chamberlain, who reentered the room
at this moment.

"Well, what is it, Timm?" asked the king, hastily.

"Your majesty, a courier from General von York has just arrived; he
is bearer of dispatches, which he is to deliver to your majesty in
person."

"Who is the courier?" asked the king.

"The general's aide-de-camp, Major Thile."

"Let him come in," said the king.

The jingle of spurs, and heavy, weary footsteps were heard
approaching; Major von Thile entered. His uniform was covered with
dust and mud; his hair hung in wet locks upon his forehead, and
there shone in his mustache the snow-flakes with which the stormy
night had adorned it.

"Did you arrive now?" asked the king, eying him closely.

"I did, your majesty, and, agreeably to the orders of General von
York, have had myself driven directly to the royal palace, for the
general deemed it of the highest importance that I should deliver my
dispatches as soon as possible to your majesty. Hence I rode night
and day, and, my horse breaking down today, I was obliged to take a
carriage."

"But the French courier reached Berlin earlier than you did," said
the king, gruffly. "How does that happen? Have the French quicker
horses or more devoted soldiers?"

"No, your majesty, their road to Berlin was shorter than mine, that
is all. As I could not ride across the French camp, I had to take a
roundabout road by way of Gumbinnen. This caused a delay of four
hours."

"Give me your dispatches," said the king.

Major Thile handed him a large sealed paper. The king extended his
hand to take it, but suddenly withdrew it again and started back.

"No," he said, "it does not behoove a king to receive letters from a
traitorous subject--a rebellious soldier. Take this dispatch, M.
Chancellor; open and read it to me. Give it to his excellency."

Major Thile handed Hardenberg the letter, and, while he was doing
so, the eyes of the two men met. The major's eyes expressed an
anxious question, those of Hardenberg made him a sad and painful
reply, and both were unable to restrain a sigh.

"Read," said the king, stepping into the window-niche, folding his
hands on his breast, and placing himself so that the curtains shaded
his face, and screened it from the two gentlemen.

Hardenberg unfolded the paper and read as follows:

"To his Majesty the King:--Tauroggen, December 30, 18l2.--Placed in
a very unfavorable position by setting out at a later day than the
marshal did, and being ordered to march from Mitau to Tilsit, for
the sole purpose of covering the retreat of the seventh division, I
have been compelled, on account of impassable roads, and very severe
weather, to conclude with the Russian commander, Major-General
Diebitsch, the enclosed convention, which I beg leave to lay before
your majesty. Firmly convinced that a continuation of the march
would have unavoidably brought about the dissolution of the whole
corps, and the loss of its entire artillery and baggage, as was the
case of the retreat of the grand army, I believe it was incumbent
upon me, as your majesty's faithful subject, to regard your
interest, and no longer that of your ally, for whom our auxiliary
corps would only have been sacrificed without being able to afford
him any real assistance in the desperate predicament in which he was
placed. The convention imposes no obligations whatever upon your
majesty, but it preserves to you a corps that gives value to the old
alliance, or a new one, if such should be concluded, and prevents
your majesty from being at the mercy of an ally at whose hands you
would have to receive as a gift the preservation or restoration of
your states. I would willingly lay my head at the feet of your
majesty if I have erred; I would die with the joyous conviction of
having at least committed no act contrary to my duty as a faithful
subject and a true Prussian. Now or never is the time for your
majesty to extricate yourself from the thraldom of an ally whose
intentions in regard to Prussia are veiled in impenetrable darkness,
and justify the most serious alarm. That consideration has guided
me. God grant it may be for the salvation of the country!--YORK."
[Footnote: Droysen's "Life of York," vol. i., p. 493.]

A pause ensued. The king still stood with folded arms in the window-
niche, his face shaded by the curtains, and inaccessible to the
anxious and searching glances of Hardenberg and the major.

"Does your majesty now command me to read the convention?" asked the
minister.

"No," said the king, sternly, "what do I care for a convention drawn
up by a traitor? I would not be at liberty to accept it even though
it should secure me new provinces.--Major Thile!"

"Your majesty!" said the major, advancing a few steps with stiff,
military bearing.

"Were you present at the negotiations preceding this convention? Are
you familiar with the circumstances that led to it?"

"Yes, your majesty; General von York deigned to repose implicit
confidence in me; I am perfectly familiar with the course of the
negotiations, and was present when the convention was concluded. I
observed the inward struggles of the general; I witnessed the
terrible conflict that took place in his breast between his duty as
a soldier and his conscience as a faithful subject of your majesty.
As a soldier he was conscious of the crime he was about to commit
against discipline; as a faithful subject, he felt that he ought to
commit it if he wished to avoid plunging a corps of ten thousand
men, belonging to your majesty alone, into utter and irretrievable
destruction."

"Did the negotiations last a long time? Speak! I want to know all;
but, understand me well, the truth. No protestations! Speak now!"

"Yes, your majesty, the negotiations had been going on for some
time; in fact, ever since the so-called 'grand army' made its
appearance in miserable, ragged, and starving squads--mere crowds of
woe-begone, famished beggars--while the splendid and powerful
Russian forces were constantly approaching closer to our positions
and the Prussian frontier. The Russian generals, Prince Wittgenstein
and General Diebitsch, were sending one messenger after another to
York and informing him of the dangers of his position, surrounded on
all sides by Russian troops. They advised him therefore to yield,
unless he wished needlessly to expose the soldiers of your majesty
to inevitable destruction. They urged him, for the salvation of
Prussia, to grasp the saving hand that was being held out to him,
and compel Prussia to forsake an utterly ruined ally, who, in order
to secure a brief respite, would assuredly not hesitate to sacrifice
for his own benefit Prussia's last strength and resources. But the
general was still unable to make up his mind to take a step which
might be disavowed by your majesty. In the mean time, however, the
news came that Memel had been taken and occupied by the Russians,
and Prince Wittgenstein simultaneously sent word that he had placed
a corps of fifty thousand men on the banks of the Niemen, and was
ready to pursue the French army, which would now seek safety in
Prussia. Prince Wittgenstein, therefore, demanded categorically
whether York would leave the French army, or whether he was to be
considered a part of it, and an enemy of Russia."

"And what did York reply?" asked the king, hastily.

"Your majesty, he was silent. Even we, his confidants, did not know
what decision he had come to. Suddenly a messenger from Marshal
Macdonald, who had succeeded in getting into our lines, appeared at
York's headquarters. He informed the general that the French troops
of the marshal were near Piktupohnen, and brought orders that York
should march to that place, where Macdonald would await him, and
that the French and Prussian forces should then be united.
Henceforth further hesitation was out of the question. The
messengers, both of the Russian General Diebitsch and the French
Marshal Macdonald, were at his headquarters, and insisted that he
should make up his mind as to the course to be pursued by his corps.
York either had to set out at once and force a passage through the
Russian lines, in order to join the French marshal at Piktupohnen,
or to refuse to obey the marshal's orders, and, instead of marching
upon Piktupohnen, join the Russians, and proceed to Prussia. But
General York had not yet made up his mind. Toward nightfall another
messenger from General Diebitsch arrived at his headquarters. This
messenger was Lieutenant-Colonel Clausewitz, whom Diebitsch had sent
to insist again on a categorical reply. York received him sullenly,
and said to him: 'Keep aloof from me. I do not wish to have any
thing to do with you. Your accursed Cossacks have allowed a
messenger from Macdonald to pass through your lines, and he has
brought me orders to march upon Piktupohnen, and there join him. All
doubts are at an end. Your troops do not arrive; you are too weak; I
decline continuing negotiations which would cost me my head.'"
[Footnote: York's own words.--Vide Droysen, vol. i., p. 486.]

"Did the general really say so?" asked the king, quickly. "Do you
tell me the truth?"

"Yes, your majesty, it is the whole truth. General York said so; I
was present when Clausewitz came to him. I remained with Colonel
Roden in the room when Clausewitz, at last, at his urgent request,
received from General York permission to deliver to him at least the
letters he had brought with him from Generals d'Anvray and
Diebitsch. The general read them; he then fixed his piercing eyes on
Clausewitz, and said: 'Clausewitz, you are a Prussian! Do you
believe that General d'Anvray's letter is sincere, and that
Wittgenstein's troops will be on the Niemen on the 31st of December?
Can you give me your word of honor upon it?' Lieutenant-Colonel
Clausewitz gave him his word of honor. York was silent, and
repeatedly paced the room, absorbed in his reflections; he then gave
Clausewitz his hand, and said in a firm voice, and with a sublime
air, 'You have me! Tell General Diebitsch that we will hold an
interview in the morning at the mill of Poscherun, and that I have
made up my mind to forsake the French and their cause. I will not go
to Piktupohnen!' When he said so, we who witnessed that great moment
were no longer able to restrain our transports. Forgetful alike of
etiquette and discipline, Roden, Clausewitz, and myself, rushed up
to the general to embrace him, thanking him with tearful eyes, and
telling him that he had fulfilled the most ardent wishes of the
whole corps, and that all Prussian officers would receive with
heart-felt rejoicings the news that we were to be delivered from the
French alliance. But York gazed on us with grave, gloomy eyes, and
said, with a faint smile; 'It is all very well for you, young men,
to talk in this way. But the head of your old commander is tottering
on his shoulders.' [Footnote: This whole scene is historical.--Vide
Droysen, vol. i., p. 487.] In the morning he summoned all the
officers of his corps to his headquarters, and informed them in an
affecting speech of the decision he had come to."

"What did he say?" asked the king. "Can you repeat his words to me?"

"I can, your majesty; for, after returning to my room, I wrote down
the speech I had heard in my memorandum-book, and I believe every
word of it was engraven in my memory."

"Have you your memorandum-book here?"

"I have, your majesty.'"

"Read!"

Major Thile drew his memorandum-book from his breast-pocket, and
read as follows: "'Gentlemen, the French army has been annihilated
by Heaven's avenging hand; the time has come for us to recover our
independence by uniting with the Russian army. Let those who share
my sentiments, and are ready to sacrifice their lives for the
fatherland and for liberty, follow me; those who are unwilling to do
so may remain with the French. Let the issue of our cause be
whatever it may, I shall always esteem and honor even those who do
not share my sentiments, and who prefer to remain. If we succeed,
the king may, perhaps, pardon me for what I have done; if we are
unsuccessful, then I must lose my head. In that case, I pray my
friends to take care of my wife and children.' Your majesty," said
Major Thile, closing his memorandum-book, "that was the whole
speech."

"And what did the officers reply to it?" asked the king. "Mind! the
truth!--I want to know the truth!"

"And I am courageous enough to tell you the truth, although I am
afraid that your majesty will be displeased. All the officers
received the general's speech with unbounded transports and with
tears of joy. They shook hands, they embraced, and greeted each
other, as if they had suddenly returned from a foreign country to
their beloved fatherland; as if their tongues had suddenly been
loosened, and liberty to use the language of their country had been
restored to them. No one thought of remaining with the French; every
one was animated with enthusiasm at the thought that he should at
length risk his life for the cause of his country and his king;
every one had in his heart, and on his lips, a fervent prayer for
the new sacred cause which he was to serve again, and an imprecation
for that which he had been obliged to serve. When the general
exclaimed, in a ringing voice, 'Let us then, with the assistance of
Providence, enter upon and achieve the task of liberation,' all
shouted 'Amen! We will die rather than serve the enemy longer!' Your
majesty, I have now told you nothing but the whole truth. If the
general deserves punishment, all the officers of his corps deserve
it. He called upon us to part with him if we did not share his
convictions. But none of us did so, for his convictions were ours,
and we are ready to share his punishment, too, if your majesty
should punish York for what he did, as a noble and devoted patriot!"

"Your remarks are impertinent, major," said the king sternly. "I
will not allow myself to be dazzled by your tirades. Go! You need
repose. Report to me early in the morning. You will then return with
dispatches to the army. Good-by!"



CHAPTER XV.

THE WARNING.


"Well, M. Chancellor," said the king, when Thile had left the room,
"tell me your opinion--the best way by which we may counteract this
senseless and rash step, and succeed in preserving our country from
the disastrous consequences."

"Your majesty, then, is not willing to approve of the bold act York
has taken?" asked Hardenberg.

"I hope you did not indulge for a moment in such a belief,"
exclaimed the king. "York was perhaps justified in preserving his
troops from being needlessly sacrificed; but he should have based
his conduct solely on this idea, and from it have explained his
action. Instead of doing so, he justifies it by political motives,
and thereby compromises and endangers my own position. Now, I am
myself entirely at the mercy of France, and utterly destitute of
means to brave the anger of Napoleon." [Footnote: The king's words.-
-Vide Droysen, vol. i., p. 488.]

"No," said Hardenberg, "your majesty is not entirely at the mercy of
France, and Napoleon's anger must no longer be allowed to terrify
Prussia. You have only to raise your voice and call out your
faithful subjects, and the whole nation will rise as one man;
thousands will rally round their king, and you will enter with an
invincible army upon the holy war of liberation. It will not be with
a visible army only that you will take the field--an invisible army
will accompany you--the army of minds and hearts, the grand army
whose chieftain is public opinion, whose soldier is every beggar on
the street, whose cannon is every word that is uttered, every love-
greeting and every blessing. Oh, your majesty, this 'grand army'
will pave the way for you, and will enlist everywhere new recruits,
fill your military chests, clothe and feed your soldiers, and, under
your colors, fight the enemy whom all Germany--all Europe hates
intensely, and whose yoke every one feels weighing upon his neck.
Oh, let me assure your majesty that it is only for you to be
willing, and all Prussia will rally round you for the war of
liberation!"

"But I must not be willing," said the king; "it is contrary to my
honor and my conscience. I pledged my word to the Emperor Napoleon;
I am his ally; I am deeply impressed with the sanctity of my
existing treaties with France, and feel, as every man of honor
would, that the obligation to maintain them inviolate is only
rendered the more sacred by the disasters which have overwhelmed the
imperial armies. Besides, you look at things in a light by far too
partial and rose-colored. Do not confound your enthusiastic hopes
with stern reality. The 'grand army of public opinion,' to which you
refer, is an ally which cannot be depended upon--it is fickle,
turning with every wind--it is an ally prodigal of words, but not of
deeds. If my soldiers were to be clothed, and fed by public opinion,
they would likely go naked and die of hunger. If my military chests
wait for public opinion to fill them, they would remain empty.
Public opinion, by the way, has always been on my side and against
Napoleon; it has, for six years past, disapproved--nay, indignantly
condemned his course toward Prussia, and still it has permitted
Napoleon to halve my states; to take much more than he was entitled
to by the treaty of Tilsit; to leave his troops in my states, in
spite of the express stipulations of the treaties; to impose
contributions on Prussia and extort their payment. Public opinion
deplored it as a terrible calamity that I should be, as it were, a
prisoner here in the capital of my own monarchy, and at the palace
of my ancestors, and live under the cannon of Spandau, a fortress
unlawfully occupied by the French. Public opinion, I say, deplored
my fate, but it did not come to my assistance; it did not preserve
me from the humiliations which, at Dresden, I had to endure, not
only at the hands of Napoleon, but of all the German princes. Do
not, therefore, allude again to your 'grand army of public opinion;'
I despise it, and know its fickle and faithless character. By virtue
of the existing treaties, I made my troops participate in Napoleon's
campaign against Russia. More than one-half of my soldiers have been
devoured by wolves on the fields of Russia; the other half are now
in open insurrection. And these are the troops with whom I am to
conquer!--conquer that powerful France which is able to call up
fresh armies as from the ground, and into the treasury of which her
unlimited resources are pouring millions! No, no; I will not plunge
into so hazardous an enterprise. I will not, for the sake of a
chimera, risk my last provinces, the inheritance of my children; I
could joyously give up my life in order to bring about a change of
our present deplorable situation, but I am not at liberty to
endanger my crown--the crown of my successor. Prussia must not be
blotted from the map of nations; she shall not be swallowed by
France, and I am therefore obliged patiently to bear the burden of
these times and submit to circumstances. Hence, I am not at liberty
to pardon General York's crime, but must punish him for his conduct
in accordance with the laws of war. I must give satisfaction to the
Emperor of France for the unheard-of conduct of my general, and he
shall have it! General von York shall be superseded in his command,
cashiered, and put on his trial before a military commission.
General Kleist will take command of the troops in his place."

"And will your majesty cashier likewise all the officers who
received the announcement of the bold resolution of their general
with enthusiastic cheers?" asked Hardenberg. "Will your majesty
likewise put on trial the spirit of resistance pervading the whole
Prussian corps? I beseech you again, in the name of your army and
your people--in the name of the magnanimous queen whose inspiring
eyes are gazing upon us from yonder portrait--take a bold and
sublime stand! Risk every thing in order to win every thing! Approve
York's step, place yourself at the head of the army, call upon the
Prussians--the Germans--to rally round your flag! Oh, your majesty,
believe me, Germany is only waiting for your war-cry. Every thing is
prepared, all are armed--all weapons, all hands are ready--all eyes
are fixed upon your majesty! Oh, do not hesitate longer; make our
night end, and the new day commence. Declare war against France--
leave her to her destiny!"

The king walked with rapid steps and in visible agitation; and,
whenever he passed the queen's portrait, he raised his eyes toward
it with an anxious expression. Standing in front of Hardenberg, and
laying his hand on his shoulder, he looked gravely into his pale,
quivering face. "Hardenberg," he said at last, in an undertone, "I
cannot allow General York to remain unpunished; I am not at liberty
to approve his course, even--well, yes, even though I should wish to
do so. As commander-in-chief of my army it is above all incumbent on
me to maintain discipline. York acted without regard to his
instructions, and without having received any orders from me to
enter into so dangerous a course, and I ought not afterward to
approve what one of my generals has done in so reckless and
arbitrary a manner. That would be rendering obedience dependent on
the whims and inclinations of every officer of my army.
Unconditional obedience, entire subordination of the individual
will--that is the bond which keeps armies together, and I cannot
loosen it. Where sacred and necessary principles are at stake, I
must not listen to the voice of my heart!"

"But still you ought to listen to the voice of prudence, your
majesty," exclaimed Hardenberg, emphatically. "Now, prudence renders
it necessary for you to fight at this juncture against the
perfidious enemy, who never fulfilled his treaties, never kept his
word, and is even now plotting mischief."

"What do you mean?" asked the king, hastily.

"I mean that your majesty is every day in danger of being arrested
at the slightest symptom that may appear suspicious to the French
gentlemen, and of being secretly conveyed to France. I mean that the
French are anxious that you should give them such a pretext, so that
they might charge you with secret machinations, send you to France,
and appropriate the whole of Prussia. Little King Jerome is tired of
his improvised kingdom of Westphalia. He longs for a more exalted
throne, the existence of which has already been consecrated by
centuries, and for a crown which need not, like his present one, be
specially created for him. Napoleon has promised his brother the
crown and throne of Prussia in case your majesty should give him the
slightest ground for complaint. He has therefore here in Berlin a
host of spies charged with watching every word, movement, and step
of your majesty. Oh, believe me, you are at all hours in danger of
seizure and secret removal. I am familiar with the whole plot; by
means of bribery, dissimulation, and cunning, I have wormed myself
into the confidence of, and gained over to my side, some of these
spies. They have informed me that every day, shortly before
nightfall, a closed carriage drives up to the royal palace, and
waits there all the night long; that, at a short distance from it,
soldiers are posted in isolated groups behind the trees, on the
opera place, and the corners of the streets intersecting the Linden;
that the royal palace is surrounded constantly by a number of agents
of the French police, and that some of these men always find means
to slip into the palace, where they conceal themselves in dark
corners and in the garden, or the yard, in order to watch every
movement of your majesty. What should be the object of all these
proceedings, but, on the first occasion, at the slightest symptom of
your defection, to seize the sacred person of your majesty, to carry
into effect Jerome's ambitious schemes, and transform the theatre
king into a real king?"

Frederick William's face grew pale and gloomy; he compressed his
lips as he used to do when any thing displeasing was communicated to
him. "You have told me one of the absurd stories with which nurses
try to frighten their children," he said, harshly. "But I do not
believe it, nor shall I allow myself to be frightened and take
imprudent steps. No one will dare attack or arrest me. I am the
faithful ally of France, and have proved by my actions that I am
animated with honest intentions toward her, and stand sincerely by
the alliance which I have pledged my word to maintain."

"But suppose France should look upon this defection of General York
as brought about by the secret orders of your majesty? Suppose
Napoleon, in his incessant distrust, and Jerome, in his ardent
desire for the possession of Prussia, should, notwithstanding all
protestations of your majesty to the contrary, believe in an
understanding between York and his king, and therein find a welcome
pretext for carrying into effect their infamous schemes, seizing
your majesty, and annihilating Prussia?"

"I shall give them such convincing proofs of my sentiments that it
will be impossible for them to believe in an understanding between
myself and York," exclaimed the king. "Enough! I adhere to my
resolution. York must be removed from his command, and General
Kleist will be his successor. I shall, besides, address an autograph
letter to Murat, the emperor's lieutenant at the head of the army,
and express to him my profound indignation at what has occurred, and
inform him of the penalty which I am about to inflict on York."

"Very well," said Hardenberg, sighing, "if your majesty so resolves,
it must be done; but it should be done in haste--this very hour.
Count St. Marsan is waiting for me at his residence, to learn from
me the decisions of your majesty before sending off his couriers to
the Emperor Napoleon. It will be necessary for us to lay before him
the letter which your majesty intends to write to the King of
Naples, as well as the formal order in regard to the removal of
General York. You ought also at once to name the courier who is to
convey your majesty's orders and letters to the two camps in Old
Prussia."

"You are right; all this must be done immediately," said the king,
seizing his silver bell and ringing. The door opened, and Timm the
chamberlain entered. "Go to my aide-de-camp, Major Natzmer," said
the king to him. "Inform him that he is to set out immediately on a
journey, and should, therefore, quickly prepare. In four hours every
thing must be done, and Major Natzmer must then be in my anteroom.
Go yourself to him, Timm, and inform him of my orders. This one
courier will be sufficient," said the king, turning again to
Hardenberg, after Timm had left the room. "Natzmer will first repair
to the headquarters of the King of Naples, deliver my letter to him,
show him the orders intended for Kleist and York, and then go to the
Russian camp in order to deliver these orders to my generals."

"Will your majesty not write also a letter to the Emperor Alexander,
begging him to spare your troops, whom Wittgenstein henceforth will
consider enemies, and to address a word of consolation and
encouragement to the emperor, whose magnanimous heart will bitterly
feel this new disappointment?"

"Very well," said the king, after a brief reflection, "I will write
such a letter to Alexander, and Natzmer shall himself take it after
previously seeing Murat, Wittgenstein, and York."

An hour afterward the king wrote his letters, and Hardenberg drew up
the decree removing York from the command of the army. The
chancellor of state then left the king's cabinet to repair to the
residence of the French ambassador, and inform him of the
resolutions of his majesty. The king looked after him long and
musingly, and, folding his hands behind him, paced his room. A
profound silence reigned around him; the storm of the cold January
night swept dense masses of snow against the windows, making them
rattle as if spectral hands were tapping at the panes: the wax-
tapers on the silver candelabra, standing on the king's desk, had
burned low, and their flickering light flashed on the noble portrait
of the queen. The king noticed the fitfully illuminated face gazing
upon him, as it were, with a quick and repeated greeting; he could
not help gently nodding, as if to return the salutation, and then
approached the portrait with slow steps.

"Louisa," he said, in a loud, solemn voice, "God has counted your
tears, and taken upon Himself the revenge of your wrongs. It was at
Piktupobnen where you first met Napoleon, and where the overbearing
man bowed your noble head in the dust. At Piktupobnen the Queen of
Prussia implored the emperor of the French to spare her country, and
grant her lenient terms of peace. It was France now that was waiting
for Prussia at the same place, asking Prussia for assistance, and
Prussia refused it. Where the disgraceful alliance commenced has
been seen its bitter end. God is just; He has counted your tears,
and He is preparing your revenge. It began at Piktupobnen."



CHAPTER XVI.

THE DIPLOMATIST.


During an hour Chancellor von Hardenberg, in the cabinet of the
French ambassador, Count St. Marsan, conferred in an animated and
grave manner as to Prussia's new position, and the guaranties she
offered to France for the sincerity of her alliance. Count St.
Marsan felt entirely satisfied, after reading the letter which King
Frederick William had written to the King of Naples, and the decree
removing York from his command. He cordially shook hands with the
chancellor, and assured him that this disagreeable affair would not
leave the least vestige of distrust; that his august emperor would
also feel entirely satisfied of the sincerity of the king's
sentiments.

"And you may add that this will also satisfy the emperor of the
sincerity of my sentiments toward him," said Hardenberg, smiling. "I
know that Napoleon has unfortunately often distrusted me, and has
believed me to be animated with feelings hostile to his greatness.
Henceforth, however, his majesty will have to admit that I am one of
his most reliable and faithful adherents. It was I who prevailed
upon the king to stand by France so firmly and constantly. You are
aware of it, and I need not conceal it from you, that King Frederick
William loves the Emperor Alexander, and would be happy, if
circumstances enabled him, to renew his alliance with his friend
Alexander. The Emperor of Russia has already stretched out his hand
toward him, and is only waiting for Frederick William to grasp it.
York's defection was carefully prepared on the part of Russia; it
was to be the impulse which should cause the king to take
Alexander's hand. And let me tell you, confidentially, he was not
only greatly inclined to do so, but even the enthusiasm of those
gentlemen of his suite, who, heretofore, had always been ardent
adherents of the Emperor of the French, had cooled down since the
disasters of the grand army in Russia, and they believed it to be
incumbent on them to advise the king to join Russia. But I--I have
obtained a victory over them all, and, by my zeal and eloquence,
have succeeded in convincing Frederick William that just now a firm
maintenance of the alliance with France is most advantageous both to
the honor and welfare of Prussia. The king saw the force of my
arguments, and the consequence was that he rejected the proposals of
Russia, and declared in favor of a faithful continuance of the
alliance with France, as is proved by this letter to Murat, and this
decree, removing York, which I have drawn up, and which is already
signed. France may now confidently count on Prussia, for you see we
have passed through our ordeal, and have proved faithful."

"Yes, you have," exclaimed Count St. Marsan, "and the reward and
acknowledgment due to your fidelity will soon be conferred on you.
The emperor knows full well that the magnanimous and disinterested
character of your excellency will not permit him to bestow upon you
any other rewards and thanks than those of honor and of the heart.
As for the latter, please let me return them to you now in the name
of the emperor and of France, and perhaps you will authorize me to
inform him that your excellency will consider the grand cross of the
Legion of Honor as a sufficient acknowledgment."

"Great Heaven!" exclaimed Hardenberg, with a face radiant with joy,
"you have divined the object of my most secret wishes. You have read
my mind, and understood my ambition. There is but one order to wear
which is a proud honor, and this order has not as yet decorated my
breast."

Count St. Marsan bent closer to the ear of the chancellor. "My noble
friend," he said, smiling, and in a low voice, "we shall fasten this
order to the breast of the chancellor of state on the day when we
sign the marriage-contract of the crown prince and a princess of the
house of Napoleon."

"Yes," exclaimed Hardenberg, "let it be so. I accept this condition.
I shall not claim, nor deem myself worthy of receiving this longed-
for order before the day when the Prussian crown prince will be
betrothed to an imperial princess of France. To bring about this
joyful event will henceforth be for me an affair of the heart, and,
moreover, to such an extent that, if this honor should previously be
offered me, I would refuse it, because I first wish to deserve it."

"And does your excellency believe that you will have to wait long?"
asked Count St. Marsan. "Do you believe that the day when the
betrothal will take place is yet remote?"

"I hope not. The crown prince will be confirmed next month, and
after his confirmation it will be time to speak of his marriage. I
am satisfied that all will turn out well, and conformably to our
wishes, provided--"

"Well?" asked St. Marsau, when Hardenberg suddenly paused. "Pray,
your excellency, confide in me, and tell me the whole truth. You may
rest assured of my most heart-felt gratitude, my entire discretion,
and the most unreserved confidence on my part. I beseech you,
therefore, to speak out."

"Well, then," said Hardenberg, in a low voice, and with an air of
entire sincerity, "I was going to say that every thing would turn
out conformably to your wishes, provided the king do not listen to
the incessant secret entreaties and insinuations of Russia, and the
new Russian party at our court. So long as _I_ remain here, I am
afraid of nothing; but if those gentlemen should succeed in
persuading the king to leave Berlin, and repair to a city where he
would be closer to Russia, then I would really be afraid."

"And your excellency believes that the king might entertain such an
intention?" asked Count St. Marsan, in breathless suspense.

Hardenberg shrugged his shoulders. "I do not want to believe it," he
said, "but I am almost afraid of it. However, both you and I will be
vigilant. But listen, your excellency, the clock is striking two!
Two o'clock in the morning! Both of us have yet to send off
couriers, and then we may well be allowed to seek an hour's sleep
for our exhausted bodies. Good-night, then, my dear count and ally!-
-good-night! I hasten to the king to tell him that France will be
content with the satisfaction which we offer her, and thereby I
shall procure him a quiet and peaceful slumber for the present
night."

"Ah, you are in truth a magician, your excellency!" said St. Marsan,
gayly, "for you understand both how to take away and give sleep. So
long as I am near you, I forget all weariness; and after you have
left me I shall, thanks to your words and promises, be able to sleep
more quietly than I have done for a long time. You have quieted my
soul, and my body therefore will also find rest. Bid me good-night
again, for when you say so I will be sure to have it."

"Good-night, then, my dear count," said Hardenberg, shaking hands
with his friend, and withdrawing, with a smile, from the room.

This affectionate smile was still playing round the lips of the
chancellor when he entered his carriage. But no sooner had its door
closed and the carriage was moving, than an expression of gloomy
hatred overspread his features. "I hope I have quite succeeded in
misleading St. Marsan and arousing his suspicions in regard to the
king," he said to himself. "As the king refuses to listen to my
warnings and supplications, and does not believe it to be possible
that France should dare seize him, it is time to give him some
irrefutable proofs. Perhaps he may then make up his mind to leave
Berlin. I may sign this longed-for betrothal at some other place,
too, and then fasten on my breast the order for which I am longing.
In truth," he added, laughing, "it is no fault of mine that dear
Count St. Marsan interprets my desire in the way he does. I did not
name to him the order I wish to wear. It is no fault of mine that he
imagines I wish for the grand cross of the Legion of Honor. To be
sure, I wish to obtain an order of honor, but one of a German
patriot, and that I can only obtain from the gratitude of my
countrymen and impartial history."

The carriage stopped in front of the royal palace, and Hardenberg
hastened to the king. Silence reigned in the anteroom; a few sleepy
footmen were sitting on the cane chairs beside the door, and
scarcely took notice of the arrival of the chancellor, who passed
them with soft, hurried steps, and entered the small reception-room.
Here, too, all was still, and the two candles on the table, which
had burned low, shed but a dim light in the room. The chancellor
noticed two figures sitting on both sides of the door leading into
the adjoining room, and slowly swinging to and fro, like the
pendulum of a clock. He softly approached the two sleepers. "Ah," he
whispered, with a smile, "there sleeps Timm, the chamberlain, who is
to announce my arrival to the king; and here sleeps Major Natzmer,
to whom I want to say a word before he sets out." he laid his hand
gently on the major's shoulder. Natzmer jumped up at once and drew
himself up in a stiff, military attitude. "You are very prudent in
nodding a little now," said Hardenberg, kindly giving him his hand,
"for I am afraid you will not find much time for it during the
remainder of the night. You are ready to set out immediately, are
you not?"

"I am, your excellency."

"And your dispatches, I believe, are ready, too.--My dear Timm," he
then said to the chamberlain, "pray announce my arrival to his
majesty."

"I believe it is unnecessary," said Timm, with the familiarity of a
favorite servant. "His majesty is waiting for your excellency."

"You had better announce my arrival," said Hardenberg, smiling, "for
it might be possible that I surprise the king in the same manner as
I did these two gentlemen here, and that would be disagreeable."

"That is true," said Timm, hastily approaching the door. "I will
immediately announce your excellency."

No sooner had he left the room, than the chancellor laid his hand on
the major's arm, and bent over him. "My friend," he said, in a low,
hurried voice, "I know you share my views."

"Your excellency knows that I adore you as the statesman who holds
the future happiness of Prussia in his hands, and that I abhor the
French, who have brought Prussia to the brink of ruin."

"Will you do something to bring her back from this brink?"

"Yes, your excellency, though it cost my life."

"That would be a high price. No; we stand in need of your life and
your arm, for Prussia will soon need all her soldiers. What I ask of
you is not near so valuable. Listen to me. The king sends you as a
courier to Old Prussia. Repair, in the first place, to Murat's
headquarters, and deliver the king's letter to him. Go to the
Russian headquarters, and call upon Prince Wittgenstein. All I ask
of you is to inform Prince Wittgenstein that you are the bearer of
two dispatches. Tell him that one is an autograph letter from the
king to the Emperor Alexander, and the other a decree removing
General York from his command, and ordering him to be put on his
trial before a military commission."

"What!" exclaimed Natzmer, in dismay. "Our noble York is to be
removed from his command?"

"Yes; the king has resolved to remove and cashier him, because he
has gone over with his corps to the Russians."

"York gone over to the Russians!" exclaimed Natzmer, joyously. "And
for this wondrously bold step I am to bring him a decree superseding
and cashiering him?"

"That is what the king orders you to do, and, of course, you will
have to obey. But, I repeat to you, the only thing I ask of you is
to inform Prince Wittgenstein what dispatches are in your hands, and
what their contents are."

"But suppose the king should not tell me any thing about them?
Suppose their contents, therefore, should be unknown to me?"

"The king himself will communicate the contents to you, and even
order you to mention everywhere on the road that you are the bearer
of a decree cashiering York, the criminal general. It is of great
importance to his majesty that every one, and, above all, France,
should learn that he is highly incensed at York's defection, and
that--Hush! I hear Timm coming! You will comply with my request?"

"I shall inform Prince Wittgenstein of the contents of my
dispatches."

"In that case, I hope York will be safe! Hush!"

The door opened again, and the chamberlain entered. "Your excellency
was quite right," he said; "it was well that I announced your
arrival. His majesty, like ourselves, had fallen asleep. But now he
is awaiting you." He opened the folding-doors, and Hardenberg
hastened across the adjoining room to the king's cabinet, to
communicate to him the result of his interview with the French
ambassador.

An hour afterward Major Natzmer received three dispatches at the
hands of the king. The first was a letter to Napoleon's lieutenant
at the head of the French army, the King of Naples. In this
Frederick William informed Murat that he was filled with the most
intense indignation at the step York had taken, and that he had
commissioned Major Natzmer to deliver a royal decree to General
Kleist, authorizing him to take command of the troops and arrest
General York. He declared further in this letter that, as a matter
of course, he refused to ratify the convention, and that the
Prussian troops, commanded by General Kleist, should be, as they had
been heretofore, subject to the orders of the Emperor Napoleon, and
his lieutenant, the King of Naples. [Footnote: Droysen's "Life of
York," vol. ii., p. 37.] The second dispatch was confidential, to
the Emperor Alexander, the contents of which the king had not
communicated even to his chancellor of state. The third was, the
decree superseding York, and ordering Kleist to take command of the
troops.  "I think," said the king, after Natzmer had withdrawn, "we
have now done every thing to appease Napoleon's wrath, and avert
from Prussia all evil consequences. Are you not also of this
opinion, M. Chancellor?"

"It only remains to send a special envoy to Napoleon himself and
assure him of your majesty's profound indignation," said Hardenberg,
gloomily. "The proud emperor, perhaps, expects such a proof of the
fidelity of your majesty."

The king cast a quick and searching glance on the gloomy countenance
of the chancellor, and then gazed for some time musingly. "You are
right," he said, after a pause; "I must send a special envoy to
Paris. When it is necessary to appease a bloodthirsty tiger, no
means should be left untried. I myself will write to Napoleon and
assure him that I will faithfully adhere to the alliance. Prince
Hatzfeld will depart with this letter for Paris early in the
morning."

"Your majesty will then have done every thing to satisfy the French
of the sincerity of your friendly intentions toward them, but I am
afraid they do not care to be satisfied."

"You believe, then, seriously that the French are menacing me?"
asked the king, with a contemptuous smile.

"I am convinced of it, your majesty."

"But what do you believe, then? What are you afraid of?"

"As I said before, I am afraid they will dare abduct the sacred
person of your majesty, and I beseech you to be on your guard; never
leave your palace alone and unarmed; never go into the street
without being attended by an armed escort."

"Ah," said the king, with a sad smile, "do not the French always see
to it that I am attended by an escort? Am I not always surrounded by
their spies and eavesdroppers?"

"If your majesty is aware of this, why do you not yield to my
entreaties? Why do you not leave Berlin?"

"Perhaps to go to Potsdam? Shall I be less watched there by the
spies? Shall I there be less a prisoner?"

"No, your majesty ought to leave Berlin in order to deliver yourself
at one blow, and thoroughly, from this intolerable espionage. Your
majesty ought to make up your mind to go to Breslau. There you would
be nearer your army; there your faithful subjects and followers
would rally round you, and the Emperor Alexander perhaps would soon
come thither. At all events, your majesty would there be secure from
the French spies, and your adherents would be delivered from their
anxiety for the personal safety of your majesty."

"To Breslau!" exclaimed the king, anxiously. "That is impossible!--
that would be pouring oil into the fire--that would be to advance on
the path into which York has entered."

"It would be another step toward the deliverance of your majesty,
the salvation of the country, and the annihilation of the tyrant!"
said Hardenberg, raising his voice.

The king made no reply; he stepped to the window, and, turning his
back to the chancellor, looked out musingly into the night.
Hardenberg looked now at him, and then on the queen's portrait.
Suddenly his features grew milder, and an indescribable, imploring
expression was to be seen in his eyes. "Help me, queen," he
whispered, in a fervid tone. "Direct his heart, guardian angel of
Prussia; render it strong and firm, and--"

The king turned again to the chancellor and approached him. "I
cannot comply with your request," said Frederick William, "for, if I
should go to Breslau, it would be equivalent to a declaration of
war, and we are, unfortunately, not in a position to justify that. I
must not rashly plunge myself and my country into a danger which
probably would bring about our utter ruin. But I pledge you my word
that, if your apprehensions should really be verified--if I really
obtain proofs that my person and liberty are menaced, I shall then
deem it incumbent on me to escape from this danger, and remove the
seat of government to a safer place--perhaps Breslau."

"Is your majesty in earnest?" exclaimed Hardenberg, joyously. "You
really intend, after having satisfied yourself that dangers are
threatening you here, to leave Berlin and place yourself beyond the
reach of the French?"

"I pledge you my word of honor that such is my intention," said the
king, solemnly. "And now, enough! I believe both of us need a few
hours' rest. In the course of the forenoon I will write the letter
which Prince Hatzfeld is to take to Paris. Good-night, M.
Chancellor!"

"Drive me home as fast as your horses can run," shouted Hardenberg
to his coachman, on entering his carriage.

"We shall be there in five minutes," muttered the coachman, whipping
his horses into a gallop.

Precisely five minutes afterward the carriage stopped in front of
the chancellor's residence, and a well-dressed young man, hastily
pushing aside the footman, opened the coach door.

"Ah, is it you, my dear Richard?" said Hardenberg, surprised. "Why
have you not yet gone to bed?"

"Because I could not sleep while your excellency had not returned,"
said the young man, assisting the minister in alighting. "It is
nearly four o'clock; the whole house was greatly alarmed."

"Well, and what were you afraid of, you dear fools?" asked
Hardenberg, smilingly, while ascending the staircase.

"That your enemies had found means to kidnap you, and that the
French had resorted to such an outrage to get rid of their most
dangerous and powerful adversary."

"Ah, you big children!" exclaimed Hardenberg, laughing. "How could
you give way to such senseless apprehensions while I was supping in
a friendly way at the house of the French marshal?"

"Just for that reason, your excellency," said Richard, smiling. "We
may know well how to get into a mouse-trap, but we do not know how
to get out again. A panic prevailed among your servants, and the
footmen had already made up their minds to arm themselves, go to the
house of Marshal Augereau, and forcibly deliver your excellency."

"I was lucky, therefore, in escaping from such ridicule," said
Hardenberg, gravely. "A minister who is taken home by his servants
vi et armis, because he takes the liberty not to return at an early
hour--what a splendid farce that would be! Pray be kind enough to
tell my servants that their anxiety was very foolish. The greatest
cordiality prevails between myself and the French gentlemen, and
never before has there been such a friendly understanding between
France and Prussia. My servants should always remember that, and
commit no follies."

He intentionally said this in so loud a tone that the two footmen
who preceded him with lights, as well as the two servants who
followed, heard and understood every word he uttered. Hardenberg
knew, therefore, that all his servants, fifteen minutes afterward,
would be informed of the new entente cordials between Prussia and
France; that all Berlin would be aware of it on the following day,
and that he would thus have attained his object.

"Your excellency will not yet retire?" asked Richard, when the
minister, instead of going down the corridor to his bedroom, now
halted at the door of his cabinet.

"No, M. Private Secretary," said Hardenberg, smiling. "As you are
still awake, and apparently not sleepy, let us hold a little
business conference. Come!"

No sooner had the servants put the lights on the table and left the
room, than the face of the chancellor suddenly assumed a grave air.
Ordering, with an imperious wave of his hand, his private secretary
to be silent, he hastened to his desk and quickly wrote a few lines.
"Richard," he said, casting the pen aside, and turning his head
toward the young man, who witnessed his mysterious proceedings in
great surprise, "Richard, come here!"

The young man hastened to him, and when Hardenberg gave him his
hand, with a kind smile, Richard stooped down and pressed a tender
kiss on it.

"Ah, lips as glowing as yours are, should kiss only beautiful
girls," said Hardenberg, smiling.

"But these lips like better to kiss the hand of my benefactor, my
protector," exclaimed the young man, "the kind hand of the man who
extricated me from poverty, distress, and despair; who caused me to
be fed, educated, and instructed; and who (until I myself, by his
liberal kindness, was enabled to discharge this sacred duty) secured
to my poor sick mother an existence free from cares."

"Do not allude to these trifles," said Hardenberg, carelessly. "Tell
me, rather, do you regard me with respect and love?"

"Indescribably, your excellency; with the tenderness of a son, with
the devotedness and fidelity of an old servant."

"Will you give me a proof of it?"

"I will, your excellency, and should you demand my heart's blood, I
would willingly spill it for you!"

"Listen to me, then! In five minutes you must be on horseback and
ride at a gallop, night and day, until you reach the Russian camp."

"In three days," said Richard, gravely, "but the journey will kill
my horse."

"I will give you two horses for him, provided you arrive sooner than
Major Natzmer at the headquarters of Prince Wittgenstein, commander-
in-chief of the Russian troops!"

"Has Natzmer left Berlin already?"

"Yes, about an hour since, and you know that he is considered the
most dashing and reckless horseman among all our officers. He has,
moreover, another advantage. He will ride through the French camp,
and will thence go to the Russian array, which is in the rear of it;
but you must ride around the French camp, and go by way of
Gumbinnen, unnoticed by the French, to the Russian headquarters. But
the main point is, that you arrive there sooner than Major Natzmer."

"I will arrive there sooner. Your excellency knows that I have often
been in Konigsberg and its surroundings; I know all the by-ways and
short cuts, and am, moreover, a good horseman."

"I know all that. I presume, therefore, that you will be with
Wittgenstein before Natzmer reaches him. But you will tell no one
that it is I who sent you. It is your task to find means to speak to
him alone. But wait--I will give you your credentials. Take this
ring. General Wittgenstein knows it; he has often seen it on my
finger, and he is familiar with my coat-of-arms. Send him this ring
by his aide-de-camp, and he will admit you."

"He will admit me, should I have to shoot down the sentinels."

"As soon as you are face to face with the general, deliver to him
this little note, which I have penned. Read it, and then I will
direct and seal it." He handed the paper to the young man. "Read it
aloud," he said.

"In one or two hours Major Natzmer will arrive at the headquarters
of your excellency, and beg leave to pass through the Russian camp
in order to repair to General York. If your excellency should grant
his request, and allow him to reach York's headquarters, the hopes
of Prussian patriots would be annihilated at one fell swoop. But if
York remains at the head of his troops, so enthusiastically attached
to him--if the whole nation and the whole corps may from this fact
derive the hope that York acted in compliance with the secret
instructions of his king, then we may hope for a speedy change in
our affairs. The fate and the future of Prussia therefore lie in the
hands of noble General Wittgenstein."

"Now read over the letter twice for yourself," said Hardenberg,
"that you may engrave it on your memory. For in case you should
happen to lose the letter, or if it should be stolen from you, you
must verbally repeat its contents to Prince Wittgenstein."

"I shall not lose it, and no one can steal it from me, for I shall
carry it in my heart. I have nothing further to do than to deliver
this letter to him?"

"You have to say yet to the general a few words which I dare not
intrust to paper, but only to your memory. You will say to him:
'Every thing is ready, and the period of procrastination and
hesitation is drawing to a close. In a few days the king will leave
Berlin, where he was in danger of being arrested by the French, and
repair to Breslau. At Breslau he will issue a manifesto to his
people and call them to arms.' Hush, young man, hush! no joyous
exclamations, no transports! You must set out! It is high time!
Beware of the bullets of the French, and the thievish hands of the
Russians! You must reach Wittgenstein sooner than Natzmer does; do
not forget that!"

"I shall not. Farewell, your excellency!"

"Farewell, my young friend. For a week at least, then, I shall not
see your dear face greeting me every morning in my cabinet. You must
indemnify me for it."

"In what way, your excellency?"

"You must embrace me, my young friend," exclaimed Hardenberg,
stretching out his arms toward the young man.

"Oh, how kind, how generous you are!" exclaimed Richard, encircling
the minister with his arms, and then reverentially kissing his
shoulders and his hands.

"Now, your excellency," he said, rising quickly, "now I am ready to
brave all dangers. Farewell!" He waved his hand again to the
minister, and left the room.

"He will outstrip Natzmer," said Hardenberg, gazing after him; "it
is an arrow of love which I have discharged, and it will not miss
its aim. And now let us see how it is about the other arrow of love,
which mes chers amis mes ennemis would like to discharge at me!" He
rang the bell. Conrad, his faithful old footman, entered the room.

"Has there no note come for me?" asked Hardenberg.

"Yes, there has, your excellency," said Conrad, in a low and anxious
tone. "Two letters, your excellency."

"Give them to me."

Conrad cast a searching glance over the room; he then drew two tiny,
neatly-folded letters from his bosom and handed them to the
minister. "She herself was here," he whispered, "and seemed very sad
when I told her his excellency was not at home, and at first she
refused to believe what I said. Only when I swore to her it was
true, she gave me the first note. She returned afterward and brought
the second letter."

"But why do you tell me all this in so mysterious and timid a
manner? Are you afraid lest some one has concealed himself, and
plays the eavesdropper?"

"Not that exactly, your excellency," whispered Conrad; "but--the
walls might have ears!" He pointed furtively at the ceiling of the
room.

"Ah, we are here under my wife's bedroom," said Hardenberg,
laughing. "You are afraid lest she should be awake, and overhear our
words through the floor of her room."

"Madame von Hardenberg sees, hears, and divines every thing," said
Conrad, with an air of dismay.

"It is true," muttered Hardenberg to himself, "her jealousy gives
her a thousand eyes, and the events of her own life have
familiarized her with all sorts of cabals and intrigues. In this way
she succeeded in becoming my wife and in bearing my name before the
world. But, no matter! I am not afraid of her Argus eyes, nor shall
she prevent me from pursuing my own path, and adorning my dreary
private life with a flower or two of pleasure."

"I believe and fear, your excellency," whispered Conrad, "Madame von
Hardenberg has found out that the young lady was here, and that I
received these letters from her."

"What makes you believe so?"

"Madame von Hardenberg sent for me at eleven o'clock tonight, and
asked me when your excellency would return, and whither you had
gone. When I told her I could not inform her, because I did not
know, she was pleased to box my ears and threaten that she would
before long turn me out of the house."

"These are, indeed, very valid reasons for your suppositions," said
Hardenberg, smiling. "But do not be alarmed. I know how to protect
you from being turned out, and as to having your ears boxed, it is
no insult, by the soft little hands of a lady. Any other news?"

"Yes, your excellency, the physician of the young lady was here at a
late hour in the evening, in order to tell me that she had again
fallen asleep, and, before doing so, had announced she would be
clairvoyant at eight o'clock in the morning."

"At eight o'clock!" exclaimed Hardenberg. "Do you hear, Conrad?--I
must be there at eight o'clock. That is to say, you must awaken me
at seven o'clock."

"But, your excellency, you will then have slept scarcely two hours,"
said Conrad, sadly.

"My old friend," said Hardenberg, "shall we not have time enough for
sleeping in our graves? Let us be awake here on earth as long as
possible. You will awaken me at seven o'clock. And now, come and
assist me in retiring."

Fifteen minutes afterward Hardenberg was in bed. A neat little
table, with a night-lamp burning on a golden plate, was standing at
his bedside. Before falling asleep, the chancellor read the two
notes which Conrad had delivered to him. "Protestations of love!" he
whispered, smiling and folding them up. "Protestations of love--that
is to say, falsehoods. But I must confess that this arrow, which mes
chers amis mes ennemis have discharged at me, is at least very
finely feathered and very attractive. At eight o'clock in the
morning, then! Well, I shall see whether I do not succeed in playing
my hostile friends a little trick, and in returning the arrow to
their own breast."



CHAPTER XVII.

THE CLAIRVOYANTE.


For some time past the inhabitants of Berlin had paid a great deal
of attention to the doings of Doctor Binder, and told each other
wonderful stories of the new medical system of this strange
physician. He treated his patients in an entirely novel way, and
performed his cures in a manner bordering strongly on the romantic
and miraculous. He neither felt the pulse of his sick friends, nor
did he examine their tongue; he only gazed on them for a minute with
his sombre, flaming eyes, and the patients then felt as if
fascinated by them. Their pain ceased, their blood burned less
ardently, and an indescribable feeling pervaded their body for a
moment. When the doctor perceived this, he would raise both his
hands, and with the palms softly and repeatedly stroke his subject's
face. Then the sufferer's cheeks colored; a wondrous, long-forgotten
smile played round the lips which, for many months, had opened only
to utter prayers, or sighs and complaints; the dimmed eyes began to
brighten, and fixed themselves with a radiant expression on the face
of the doctor, whose steadfast, piercing glances seemed to penetrate
the sick one's countenance, and reach down into his soul, in order
to divine, in its innermost recesses, his most secret feelings and
thoughts. By and by a sweet peace pervaded the soul of the patient;
his aching limbs relaxed; he folded his hands, which had hitherto
moved convulsively and restively on the counterpane; the eyes, which
had steadfastly rested on the face of the wonderful physician,
closed gradually, and soon his long and regular breathings indicated
that he had at length found the slumber which, during his sickness,
he had so long sought and yearned for.

It is true, the patient awoke after a time, and his sufferings
returned; the end of his slumber was often accompanied by painful
convulsions, an indescribable feeling of depression, and the most
profound sadness, but Dr. Binder was present; his eyes exorcised the
patient's pain, his hands quieted the quivering limbs, and chased
away the tears, and the sufferer fell again into a sweet and
refreshing slumber. This lulling the patient to sleep, this
fascinating gaze, and laying on of hands, were the only medicines
which the doctor administered, and by which he succeeded in freeing
them from their sufferings and diseases. People related the most
wonderful cures which he had performed; they spoke of persons who
had been blind ever since their birth, and whom he had caused to
see--of deaf-mutes, to whom he had given the power of speech and
hearing after a few days' treatment--of lame men, who suddenly,
after being touched by the doctor's hands, had thrown away their
crutches, and walked freely and easily.

But the public's attention was particularly riveted by the case of a
young girl who had been for some time past under Dr. Binder's
treatment. She had come from a distant city to seek a cure at the
hands of the famous physician and pupil of Mesmer. A bad cold had
brought about a paralysis of all her limbs; she was unable to move
her hands and feet, and had for months lain on her bed as
motionless, rigid, and dumb, as a marble statue. Her parents had, in
the anguish of their heart, at length applied to Dr. Binder. The
doctor received her into his house. He publicly invited all the
physicians of Berlin to visit his patient, to examine her condition,
and to satisfy themselves of the efficacy of his cure, he also
requested the public to watch the progress of it, and to come to his
house at the hours when he lulled his patient to sleep. The
physicians had disdainfully refused to have any thing to do with the
"quack doctor," who pretended to cure diseases without medicines;
but the public appeared the more eagerly.

And this public enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing that the
motionless form of the young girl, who at first had lain on the bed
as rigid as stone, very slowly commenced to move. It was seen that,
a few days afterward, she raised her right hand, and, shortly after,
her right foot; gradually life and motion were restored to her
limbs, and at length, at a truly solemn hour, the young girl, at the
doctor's loudly-uttered command, arose from her couch and paced the
room with firm and steady steps. It is true she uttered a piercing
cry, and fell at the feet of the doctor, her limbs quivering as
though she were seized with convulsion, but gradually she grew more
quiet; a peaceful expression beamed from her features, and she
commenced talking in a tone of joyous enthusiasm. She spoke of the
wonderful world on which she was gazing with her inward eyes, of the
visions which burst on her soul, and her lips whispered strange
prophecies. This condition of the patient repeatedly occurred every
day, and with unfailing regularity followed every "crisis."

The young woman had become a clairvoyante; and it was a truly
wonderful fact that she, who, according to the statements of her
relatives, had never cared for politics or public affairs, and to
whom it was entirely indifferent whether Napoleon or any other
sovereign ruled Germany, suddenly, in her clairvoyant state, devoted
her whole attention to political questions, and that she had, as it
were, become a prophetess of the destinies of states.

It was not very strange, therefore, that this phenomenon excited
even the attention of statesmen, and that they too went to see the
clairvoyante in her political ecstasy, and to put to her questions
on public affairs, which she answered always with truly wonderful
tact, and with the most profound insight into all such questions.

Among those who took an interest in her was the chancellor of state,
Minister von Hardenberg. Curiosity had at first induced him to call
upon her; then her clever and piquant remarks struck him as
something very strange, and at last he became a regular visitor. Of
late, at his special request, the room of the patient, during her
crises and clairvoyant trances, had been shut against all other
visitors, and only the chancellor and the physician were present.

The young woman, who, during her trances, regularly announced at
what hour of the following day she would relapse into this
condition, had predicted that she would awake from her magnetic
slumber at eight o'clock in the morning, and would then be in a
state of clairvoyance. This hour had not yet arrived; the clock
which stood in her room on the bureau under the looking-glass
indicated that about ten minutes were still wanting to the stated
time. A profound silence reigned in the room of the young patient.
The physician sat reading on a high-backed chair at her bedside--his
book contained the history and revelations of Swedenborg, the great
Swedish ghost-seer. From time to time, however, he turned his large,
flashing eyes toward the young woman, and seemed to watch her
slumber with searching glances.

The patient was motionless and rigid. A white, neat negligee
enveloped her slender figure, which was stretched out on the bed
without being covered with a counterpane. Her small, beautifully-
shaped hands were folded on her breast, her head was thrown back
sideways, and rested on a pillow of crimson velvet, which contrasted
strangely with her pale face, and black hair, that overhung her
marble cheeks in long tresses. The clock was striking eight. The
doctor cast a quick glance on the patient, and then slowly closed
his book. She began to stir and opened her lips, from which issued a
long, painful sigh. At this moment there was heard the roll of a
carriage on the street. The noise ceased, the carriage seemed to
stop in front of the house. The clairvoyante shuddered, and joy
kindled her countenance. "He is coming! he is coming!" she said, in
a deep, melodious voice. "I see him ascending the staircase. He is
pale and exhausted, and his eyes are dim, for he has slept but
little. Government affairs have kept him awake. Oh, now I am well,
for there he is!"

In fact, the door softly opened, and the chancellor cautiously
entered. By a quick wave of his hand, he ordered the doctor not to
meet him, and then approached the bed softly and on tiptoe.

The young woman did not change her position; her eyelashes did not
quiver, nor did she open her eyes, and yet she seemed to see
Hardenberg, for she said in a mournful and tremulous voice: "Well,
doctor, was I not right? Just see how pale he looks, and how the
sweet smile with which he formerly used to come to us is to-day very
faintly playing round his lips like a little will-o'-the-wisp! But I
told you already he has slept only two hours; he had to be so long
minister of state as to find scarcely two hours' rest for the poor,
exhausted man."

The physician cast an inquiring glance on the chancellor. Hardenberg
nodded smilingly. "You are right. Frederica," he said. "I was
minister of state all day long yesterday."

"No, no," she exclaimed, "not all the day. At the commencement of
Marshal Augereau's supper you were merry, and succeeded in
forgetting your onerous business; and had not the secretary of Count
St. Marsan made his appearance and brought the dispatches, you would
have finished your pheasant's wing with good appetite and in the
best of spirits."

The minister's face assumed an air of astonishment, and almost of
terror. "Ah," he said, "it seems you were present at that supper?"

"Certainly I was, for my soul is accompanying you all the time, and
my soul is the eye of my body. I see all you do, and know all your
thoughts."

"Well, then," said Hardenberg, smiling, "tell me what you saw last
night. Look backward, Frederica, and tell me where I was, and what I
did."

"Then you doubt my words?" she asked, reproachfully. "You want to
see whether I am able to tell you the truth? You know that it makes
my eyes ache to look backward, and that my spirit soars with easier
flight into the future than the past!"

"Do so nevertheless, Frederica," said Hardenberg, imperiously. "I
wish you to do so!" He laid his hand upon her arm, and the contact
made her start as an electric shock.

"I will obey," she whispered, in an humble tone. "I see you sitting
at the table of Marshal Augereau. You are in excellent spirits; you
are just telling the marshal that the betrothed of the crown prince
with a princess of the house of Napoleon will take place before
long; Count Narbonne is complaining of the political conversations
with which you are spicing the supper in too piquant a manner;
dispatches arrive and disturb your mirth."

"From whom do these dispatches come?" asked Hardenberg.

"From Marshal Macdonald, who addressed them to the French
ambassador, Count St. Marsan."

"Do you know their contents?"

"I am reading them. There is, in the first place, a letter from
General York--"

"Hush!" interrupted Hardenberg; "we will speak of that hereafter; do
not allude to it now. Tell me what else I did last night."

"After reading the dispatches, you hastened to the king to inform
him of the dreadful news. Scarcely had you been with him for a few
minutes, when a courier from General York arrived and delivered
dispatches concerning the same subject to which the others had
referred. After a protracted interview with the king, you went to
the French ambassador, and informed him of the sentiments and
resolutions of his majesty. The count declared himself satisfied
with what you told him, and you then hastened back to the king. You
there met Major Natzmer, whom the king intended to dispatch as a
courier to Murat and General York. You entered the king's room and
had another protracted interview with him. Thereupon you returned to
your residence."

"With whom did I speak there first of all?"

The clairvoyante was silent for a moment. "I do not see it," she
said, "the night is so dark."

"Open your eyes until you see!"

"Ah, I see now!" she exclaimed. "Your excellency spoke with old
Conrad. He accompanied you to your bedroom and handed you two
letters."

"She is right," muttered the chancellor, loudly enough to be heard
by the young woman and the physician. "Yes, she is right; it is all
precisely as she says." He then asked aloud: "Did I speak with any
one else than Conrad?"

"No," she said; "I do not see anybody else. Conrad told you that I
would open the eyes of my soul and see at eight o'clock this
morning. You ordered him to awaken you at seven o'clock, and went to
bed."

"What did I do before falling asleep?"

"You read the two little notes," she said, with a coy smile.

The chancellor turned his eyes toward the physician, who witnessed
this scene in silent and solemn earnestness. "Doctor Binder," he
said, "all that this young lady told me just now is strictly true.
All my doubts are henceforth dispelled, and from this hour I am one
of the believers. No; I say this is no deception, no imposition; it
is a mystery of nature, which I am unable to explain, but in which I
am compelled to believe. It is given to this young lady to look with
the eyes of her soul into the past, as well as into the future, and
to perceive and penetrate the most secret things. I believe in her,
and shall henceforth allow myself to be directed and instructed by
her revelations. I thank you for having brought this wonderful girl
to my notice, and you may always count on my heart-felt gratitude."

"Belief in the high art of my science and doctrines is the only
gratitude I am yearning for, and my only desire is not to be
prevented from healing poor patients and making suffering humanity
happy by my holy science."

"No one shall be allowed to prevent you from doing so as long as _I_
am minister, I pledge you my word," said Hardenberg, gravely. "Take
heart, therefore, and do not be afraid. I am your disciple, and at
the same time your protector. But now grant me a request: I should
like to put to our charming seer yet a few questions in regard to
last night's events. She shall, in her inspired and prophetic
prescience, give me her advice and tell me what course I must
pursue; but, in doing so, I shall have to allude to state secrets,
and to speak of affairs which no one is allowed to know but the king
and his ministers, and--"

"I pray your excellency to permit me to leave you alone with our
young seer," interrupted Doctor Binder, with a polite smile. "I have
to see several patients, and my presence is required at the 'Hall of
Crises' below, for my two young assistants are scarcely able to
restrain our female patients when the crisis sets in."

"Go, then, to your patients," said Hardenberg; "I shall stay here
with our clairvoyante until she awakes."

"If your excellency needs any thing," said the doctor, approaching
the door, "it will only be necessary for you to ring the bell; the
nurse is in the reception-room, and will immediately call my
assistants."

He bowed to Hardenberg, bent once more with a searching glance over
the couch of his patient, drew with his hands a few circles over her
head, and left the room with noiseless steps. The chancellor and the
clairvoyante were alone.



CHAPTER XVIII.

AN ADVENTURESS.


When the physician left the room, the chancellor returned to the
bedside of the young woman; her position was the same, and her eyes
were still closed. She did not see, therefore, the sarcastic smile
with which Hardenberg looked down upon her, or the proud, triumphant
expression that was beaming from his eyes. Hers were closed, and,
notwithstanding her clairvoyance, she saw nothing, nor did
Hardenberg's voice betray to her aught of the expression of his
countenance or the character of his thoughts.

"Frederica," he said, in his soft, gentle voice, "speak to me now,
my seer; be my prophetess now, and let me see the future. Tell me
what I must do in order to reconcile all these dissensions, and
harmonize all these clashing interests. On which side is justice,
prosperity, and peace?"

"On the side of the great man whose gigantic strength has lifted the
world out of its hinges, and given it a new aspect," she said,
gravely. "Stand faithfully by the alliance with France, unless you
wish the crown to fall from the head of your king, and Prussia to be
divided into two provinces, one annexed to the kingdom of
Westphalia, and the other to the duchy of Warsaw."

"But will France then still have power to do so?" asked Hardenberg;
"is not France herself on the brink of the abyss into which she has
hurled all states, princes, and crowns?"

"France is as powerful to-day as she ever was," responded the seer.
"New armies at the beck of Napoleon will spring from the ground, his
military chests will be filled with new millions, and the invincible
chieftain will lead his legions to new victories. Woe then to
Prussia if she proves faithless--woe to her, if, in insensate
infatuation, she turns her back upon France, and allows herself to
listen to the insinuations and promises by which Russia is trying to
gain her over to her side! Russia herself is weak and exhausted; she
will be unable to afford Prussia any adequate support. Be on your
guard! Russia has always been a perfidious ally; she has always
crushed the hand of her allies in her grasp, while seemingly giving
a pledge of her good faith. France alone is offering to Prussia
substantial guaranties of peace; Napoleon alone must remain the
protector of Prussia. Banish, therefore, the insidious thoughts that
are troubling your soul; try no longer to dissuade the king from
adhering to the alliance. Do not try to persuade him to approve
York's defection! He is a traitor, whose head must fall; for such is
the decree of the laws of war. To approve his defection is to throw
down the gauntlet to France, and annihilate Prussia!"

"You have played your part to perfection!" exclaimed Hardenberg,
laughing. "Please accept my sincere congratulations, my dear child;
the greatest actress in the world could not perform her role any
better than you have done to-day, and ever since I became acquainted
with you."

At the first words of the chancellor, the clairvoyante gave a
violent start; a tremor pervaded her whole frame, and a deep blush
suffused her cheeks for a moment; but all this quickly passed away,
and now she was again as rigid and motionless as she was before.

Hardenberg's eyes were fixed on her. "You do not desire to
understand me, Frederica," he said. "Well, then, I will speak
somewhat more lucidly. Will you permit me to ask two additional
questions?"

"You know very well that I must reply when your soul commands me to
do so," said the young woman, in a perfectly calm voice, "for your
soul has power over mine, and I must obey it."

"Well, then--my first question: did I really, last night, on
returning to my residence, speak with no one but old Conrad? Was no
one but he in my room until I went to bed? Look sharp, open the eyes
of your soul as wide as you can, and then reply!"

"I see," she said, after a pause; "but I see that you were alone
with Conrad, and with the thoughts of a lady who loves you."

"I am very glad that you tell me so," said Hardenberg, calmly, "for
I understand from it that my enemies, who are furnishing you with
correct reports as to all my doings, have yet remained ignorant of
an affair in which I was engaged last night. For there really was
another person with me, and your patrons would give a great deal to
find out what instructions I gave to that person. Now, as to my
second question; but I hope you hear my words, ma toute belle, and
have not yet passed from an unnatural sleep into a natural one!"

"I hear you, and I am ready to answer if your soul commands me."

"Well, then," said Hardenberg, bending over her, and fixing his
piercing eyes upon her countenance, "my question is this: How much
do your protectors give you for playing the part which you performed
before me?"

A pause ensued. Suddenly the clairvoyante opened her eyes, gazing
with an indescribable expression on the face of the minister still
bending over her.

"They give me nothing," she said, in a firm, sonorous voice, "but
the hope of acquiring a brilliant position in the future."

"You confess, then, that you have played a considerable farce?"
asked Chancellor von Hardenberg, smiling.

"I confess that I have played my part very badly, and that your
eagle eye is able to penetrate every thing. I confess that I adore
you for having unmasked me," she exclaimed, quickly encircling
Hardenberg's neck with her arms, drawing his head down to her, and
pressing a glowing kiss on his lips. Then, still keeping her arms
around his neck, she raised herself from the couch, and leaned for a
moment against the manly form of the chancellor.

Disengaging herself from him, she jumped from the bed to the floor,
and, spreading out her arms, and throwing back her head, she
exclaimed in a jubilant voice: "I am free! I need no longer play my
irksome role! Oh, I am free!"

Leaping into the middle of the room, as light-footed as a sylph, and
fascinating as one of the graces, she began to dance, raising her
feet and moving her arms in a slow, measured mariner, at the outset;
but, turning more rapidly, with more passionate movement and
increasing ardor, her countenance grew more glowing and animated.
Her large black eyes flashed fire--an air of wild, bacchantic
ecstasy pervaded her whole appearance, her cheeks were burning, her
beautiful red lips were half opened, and revealed her ivory teeth,
and her uplifted arms (from which the wide sleeves of her negligee
had fallen back to the shoulders) were of the most charming contour.
Concluding her dance, she glided breathless and with panting bosom
toward Hardenberg, who had sunk into the easy-chair, and was looking
on with wondering eyes. Bursting into loud, melodious laughter, she
sat at his feet, and, pressing her glowing face against his knees,
looked searchingly and suppliantly into his eyes.

"You are angry with me," she said; "oh, pardon me, but I had first
to give vent to my exultation. Now I will be quite sensible."

"And what do you call sensible, then?" asked Hardenberg, who, under
the power of the woman's glances, vainly tried to impart to his
countenance an air of gravity and sternness.

"I call it sensible to reply honestly to the questions your
excellency will put to me now," she said, in a caressing tone.

"Well, then, let us see whether you are really sensible or not,"
said Hardenberg. "In the first place, please rise."

She shook her head slowly. "No," she said, "I will remain at your
feet until you have heard my confession and granted me absolution."

"And suppose I refuse to grant you absolution?"

"Then I shall die at your feet!"

"Ah, it is not so easy to die."

"It is easy to die when one wants to, and has such a friend as this
is," she exclaimed, drawing from her hair one of the two long silver
pins with which her heavy black tresses were partially fastened.

"Strange girl!" murmured Hardenberg, surprised, while she was
looking up to him with radiant eyes, and a smile playing on her
lips.

"Will you ask me now?" she then said, gently and almost humbly. "I
am lying here at your feet as if you were my confessor, and I am
longing with trembling impatience for my absolution."

"Well, then, tell me, in the first place, who you are."

"Who am I?" she asked. "A cheat, who, by intrigues, cabals, and
cunning, tried to attain the object she yearned for so intensely,
namely, to lie at the feet of a noble and eminent man, as she is
doing now, and to tell him that she loves him. Who am I? An
adventuress, who has gone out into the world to seek her fortune; to
play, if possible, a prominent part; to acquire a distinguished
name, and to obtain riches, power, and influence. Who am I? A diver,
who has plunged with reckless audacity into the foaming sea, to find
at its bottom either pearls or a grave."

"But, my child," said Hardenberg, "do you not know that the divers,
when plunging into the sea to seek pearls, always gird a safety-rope
around their waist for the purpose of being drawn to the surface
whenever they are in danger of drowning?"

"The man who loves me will be my safety-rope and draw me up," she
said, gravely.

Hardenberg laughed. "In truth," he said, "I must admire your
sincerity and naivete. You must be very courageous to utter such
truths about yourself."

"Certainly, it would have been easier to play the virtuous,
forsaken, and unfortunate girl," she said, with a contemptuous
smile. "It would have been less troublesome to throw myself at your
feet, bathed in a flood of tears, and to say, 'Oh, have mercy upon
me! Free me from this unworthy role which has been forced upon me!
Save me from the torture of being compelled to dissimulate, to lie,
and to cheat. Virtue dwells in my heart, innocence and truth are
upon my lips. I have been forced to play a part that dishonors me.
Have mercy upon me, save me from the snares threatening me!'" While
saying so, she imparted to her features precisely the expression
that was adapted to her words; she had spoken in a tremulous,
suppliant voice, with folded hands and tearful eyes.

"Poor child," exclaimed Hardenberg, surprised, "you weep, you are
deeply moved! Ah, now at last you show me your true face, now you
cause me to see the poor, innocent, and unfortunate child that you
really are!"

She shook away her tears and burst into laughter. "No," she
exclaimed, "I have only proved to you that I would be able to play
the virtuous and innocent girl to perfection, and that I might,
perhaps, thereby succeed in touching your noble heart. But you have
commanded me to tell you the truth, and I have pledged you my word
to do so. I tell you, then, I am no persecuted, virtuous girl, no
innocent angel; I am a woman, carrying a heaven and a hell in her
bosom; I can be an angel, if happiness and love favor me; I will be
a demon, if fate be hostile to me. Yes," she exclaimed, jumping up
and pacing the room in great agitation, "there are hours and days
when I myself believe that I am a demon, an angel hurled down from
heaven, and doomed to walk the earth on account of some crime. There
are hours when heavenly recollections fill my imagination, when an
indescribable, blissful yearning is, as it were, enveloping me in a
veil--when there are resounding in my heart the sweetest and most
enchanting notes of sacred words and devout prayers, and when it
seems to me as though I were sitting in the midst of radiant angels,
surrounded by luminous clouds, at the feet of God, His breath upon
my cheek, and looking down with compassionate, merciful love upon
the world, lying at an unfathomable distance under my feet. And then
I say to myself: 'You have reviled and slandered yourself; you are,
after all, a good angel; God is with you, and prayer, love, and
innocence, are in your heart.' Then it suddenly seems to me as if my
heart were rent, and I heard loud, scornful laughter. I fall from my
heaven; I look around and behold men, with their bittersweet faces,
smiling on, and lying to each other; I see all their duplicity and
their infamy; I laugh at my own transports and swear never to be
human with humanity, but a demon with demons--to cheat as they
cheat, to lie, and win from them as much happiness, honor, and
wealth, as I can with some mimic talent, a cool and sharp mind, a
pretty figure, and an ugly face."

"Ah, you are slandering yourself," exclaimed Hardenberg, smiling.
"You have no ugly face."

She hastened to the looking-glass, and gazed on herself with
searching glances. "Yes," she said, "I am really ugly. My mouth is
too large, my lips too full, my face is angular and by no means
prepossessing, my nose is vulgar, my forehead too low and too wide,
these bushy eyebrows become rather a grenadier than a young lady,
and these large black eyes look like a couple of sentinels, which,
with sharp glances, have to watch the rabble of nose, mouth, ear,
and cheek, lest one should try to escape from disgust at the
ugliness of the others. But I do not regret my want of beauty, for
it is uncommon and piquant, and I can imagine that a gifted, eminent
man, who is tired of the pretty faces of so-called virtuous women,
may feel attracted by my ugliness. Beauty at least always becomes
tiresome, for it treats you at once to all that it is and has, but
ugliness excites your curiosity more and more from day to day, for,
at certain moments, it may be transformed into beauty!"

"Your own case shows that," said Hardenberg, "for, although you call
yourself ugly, there is a fascinating beauty in your whole
appearance."

She gazed on him with a long and radiant look. "You are a great man,
a genius, and you are, therefore, able to understand me. I will tell
you my history now, that you may at last grant me the blessing of
your forgiveness."

"Well, tell me your history," exclaimed Hardenberg. "Come,
Frederica, sit down by my side here on the couch on which you have
so often reposed as a modern Pythia, and proclaimed to me the
oracles which your mysterious priest had whispered to you. Now you
are no priestess uttering equivocal wisdom, but a young woman
telling the truth, and making me listen to the revelations of her
heart."

"A young woman," she repeated, sighing and reclining on the bed
close to the easy-chair on which Hardenberg was sitting. "Am I
young, then? It seems to me sometimes as though I were old--so old
as no longer to have any illusions, any hopes or wishes; as though I
were the 'Wandering Jew' who has been travelling through the world
so many centuries, seeking perpetually for the rest which he can
nowhere find. But still you are right; I am young, for I am only
twenty years old.".

"And who are your parents? Where do they live?"

"Who are my parents?" she asked, laughing. "My father was a holy
man, a high-priest in the temple of Time. It depended on him when
men were to awake or sleep, eat or work. It was his will that
regulated rendezvous and weddings, parties and arrests, and he had
no other master than the sun. He allowed the sun alone to guide him,
and still he was no Persian!"

"But he was a watchmaker?" asked Hardenberg, smiling.

"Yes, he was a watchmaker, and, thanks to him, the whole town where
he lived knew exactly what time it was. Only my mother did not know
it. She believed herself to be a great lady, although she was only a
poor watchmaker's wife, but was unable to efface the recollections
of her youth. She was the daughter of a French marquis, who, after
gambling away his whole fortune at the court of Louis XV., had
emigrated with his young wife and daughter to Berlin, in order to
seek another fortune at the court of Frederick the Great. But
Frederick the Great had already become somewhat distrustful of the
roving marquises and counts whom France sent to Berlin. Marquis de
Barbasson, my worthy grandfather, received, therefore, no office and
no money, and a time of distress set in, such as he would previously
have deemed utterly unlikely to befall the descendant of his
ancestors. He left Berlin with his family, to make his living
somewhere else as a teacher of languages. He travelled from one
place to another, and arrived at length at a small town called New
Brandenburg. There he remained, for his feet were weary, and his
poor wife was sick and tired of life. Well, Madame la Marquise de
Barbasson died, and the marquis taught the young ladies of New
Brandenburg how to conjugate avoir and etre; his daughter assisted
him, and, as she was very pretty, she taught many a young man how to
conjugate aimer. But who would have thought of marrying the daughter
of a French adventurer, who, it is true, styled himself marquis, but
was as poor as a beggar! He was unable long to bear the privations
and humiliations of his life; he fled from his creditors, and
perhaps also from his remorse, by committing suicide; and his
daughter, who was twenty years of age at that time, remained alone,
and without any other inheritance than the debts of her father. One
of the principal creditors of the marquis was the proprietor of the
house in which father and daughter had lived for three years without
paying rent, or refunding the small sums he had lent to them. This
proprietor was a young watchmaker, named Hahn, an excellent young
man, who had given the family of the French marquis not only his
money, but his heart. He loved the young Marquise de Barbasson,
unfortunate, or, if you prefer, fortunate man! for his courtship was
successful. Now, after the death of the old marquis, he played the
part of an importunate creditor, and told her she had the
alternative of paying or marrying him. The young Marquise de
Barbasson married him, and then paid the poor watchmaker in a manner
which was not very pleasant to him. She never forgave him for having
reduced her to the humble position of a watchmaker's wife, and found
it disgusting to be obliged to call herself Hahn, after having so
long borne the aristocratic name of Barbasson. However that might
be, she was his wife, and I have the honor to represent in my humble
person the legitimate daughter of Hahn, the watchmaker, and the
Marquise de Barbasson."

"And I must confess that you are representing your mother and your
father in a highly becoming manner," said Hardenberg. "You have the
bearing and the savoir vivre of a French marquise, and from your
oracular sayings I have seen that you are as familiar with the time
as a watchmaker is. But I can imagine that the descent of your
parents produced many a discord in your life."

"Say rather that my whole life was a discord," she exclaimed,
vehemently, "and that I have lived in an unending conflict between
my head and my heart, my reality and my imagination. Oh, how often,
when lying in dreary loneliness, in the shade of an oak on the shore
of the charming lake near the small town in which we lived--how
often did I utter loud cries of anguish, and say to the billows that
washed the shore with a low, murmuring sound: 'I am a French
marquise; there is aristocratic blood in my veins; it is my vocation
to shine at the courts of kings, and to see counts and princes at my
feet!' Yet none but the waves of the lake believed my words; men
treated me never as a Marquise de Barbasson, but only as little
Frederica Hahn, daughter of a poor watchmaker. I felt this as a
personal insult, and at many a bitter hour it seemed to me as
though, like my mother, I hated my poor father because he had robbed
us of our brilliant name and our nobility. My father bore my whims
patiently, for he loved me, and I believe he loved nothing on earth
better than his daughter. He saw that I was pining away in the
wearisome loneliness of our dull life; he knew that ambition was
burning in my heart like a torrent of fire, and he wept with me and
begged my pardon for being a poor watchmaker, and no nobleman. He
did all he could to make amends for this wrong; he treated me not as
his daughter, but as his superior; and, although we were scarcely in
easy circumstances, he surrounded me with all comforts becoming an
aristocratic young lady. I had my servants, my own room, a tolerably
fashionable toilet, a piano, a small library; and my father was
proud of being able to have me instructed by the best and most
expensive teachers, and of hearing that I was their most industrious
and talented pupil. But what good did all this do me? I remained
what I was--Frederica IIahn, the watchmaker's daughter--and the
blood of the Barbassons revolted against my position in life; and
the marquises and viscounts, my distinguished ancestors, appeared to
my inward eye, and seemed to beckon me and call me to the proud
castles which had formerly belonged to our family. But how should I
get thither?--how escape from my small native town?--how rid myself
of the burden of my name and my birth? That was the question which
put my brain night and day on the rack, and to which my intellect
was unable to make a satisfactory reply. An accident, however, came
to my assistance."

"Ah, in truth, I am anxious to hear this," exclaimed Hardenberg,
"for I am listening to you in breathless suspense, and am as eager
to learn the conclusion of your history as though it were the
denouement of a drama. An accident, then, furnished you with a
reply, my beautiful Marquise de Barbasson?"

"Yes, your excellency, and never shall I forget the day and the
hour. It was on a beautiful day last autumn. As I was in the habit
of doing every day, I had gone with my book into the forest on the
shore of the lake. I lay in my favorite place under a large oak, in
the dark foliage of which the birds were singing, while the waves of
the lake at my feet were a sweet accompaniment. I was reading the
lately published poetry of my favorite bard, Goethe, and had just
finished 'The Wandering Fool.' This poem struck my heart as
lightning. I dropped the book, looked up to the clouds and shouted
to them: 'What are you but wandering fools! Oh, take me with you!'
But the clouds did not reply to me; they passed on in silence, and
my sad eyes turned to the lake extended before me like a polished
mirror, and mingling with the blue mists of the horizon, and I said
to the murmuring waves, as I had said to the clouds: 'Take me with
you, wandering fools! I am suffocating in my captivity! I must leave
this small town; it is a prison--an open grave!' At this moment, the
oak above me shook its foliage; a wind drove the waves faster, until
they broke on the shore; and a sheet of paper, which some wanderer
might have lost, was blown toward me. I took it, and suddenly the
wind was silent as though it had accomplished its mission; the oak
stirred no more, the lake was tranquil, and even the clouds seemed
to pause and look on while I unfolded and read the paper."

"Oh, I imagine what it was!" exclaimed Hardenberg. "A love-letter
from one of your admirers, who knew that the beautiful nymph of the
lake had selected that spot for her sanctuary."

"Ah, you do not imagine very well, your excellency. It was no love-
letter, but a newspaper! It was a copy of your dear, venerable
Vossische Zeitung. [Footnote: The Vossische Zeitung, one of the
oldest Berlin newspapers, is still published.] I read it at first
very carelessly, but suddenly I noticed an article from Berlin,
which excited my liveliest attention. It alluded to the strange
cures performed by Doctor Binder, a magnetizer. It related that many
sufferers came to Berlin from distant cities to be cured by the
doctor, whose whole treatment consisted of laying his hands and
fixing his eyes on his patients. It dwelt especially upon the
adventures of a young woman whose strange disease had riveted the
attention of all Berlin, and who, in consequence of the doctor's
treatment, had become a clairvoyante. It said that the truly
wonderful sayings and predictions of the young woman were creating
the greatest sensation, and that even ministers and distinguished
functionaries were visiting Doctor Binder's 'Hall of Crises,' in
order to listen and put questions to the clairvoyante."

"Ah, that was little Henrietta Meyer, who died a few months ago,"
said Hardenberg.

"Yes, she was so accommodating as to die and make room for me,"
exclaimed Frederica, smiling. "When I had read this article about
her, it seemed to me as though a veil dropped from my eyes, and I
were only now able to descry my future distinctly. I jumped up and
uttered a single loud cry that sped over the lake like a storm-bird,
and was repeated many times by the distant echo. Thereupon I ran
back to town, as if carried on the wings of the wind. The men on the
streets, who saw me running past, gazed wonderingly after me. Some
of them hailed and tried to speak to me, but I took no notice of
them, ran on, reached at last the humble dwelling of my parents, and
there I fell panting and senseless. They lifted me up, and carried
me to my bed. I lay on it motionless, and with dilated eyes. No one
knew my thoughts, or heard the voices whispering in my breast and
ominously laughing. I stared upward, and matured my plan of
operations. My poor father sat all night long at my bedside, weeping
and imploring me to look at him, and tell him only by a single word,
a single syllable, that I recognized him. My tongue remained silent,
but my eyes were able to glance at and greet the poor man. But why
tell you all the particulars of my wonderful disease? In short, all
my limbs were paralyzed, and even my mind seemed affected and
confused. I could eat and sleep, but I was unable to rise, and could
not utter a word. The physicians of our small town tried all the
remedies of their science to cure me. In vain! I remained dumb. Only
once, four weeks afterward, I recovered the power of speech. It was
in the night-time, and no one was with me but my poor father, who
passed nearly every night at my bedside, always hoping for a moment
when I might get better--when the spell would leave my tongue, and
the power of speech be restored. This moment had come now; I
intimated it to my father with my eyes, stared at him, and said in a
slow and solemn voice, 'Doctor Binder, at Berlin, is alone able to
cure me!'"

"Ah," exclaimed Hardenberg, drawing a deep breath, "I give you
permission to laugh at me. I was just as foolish as your father was.
Up to this time I believed in the reality of your sickness, and felt
quite anxious and alarmed. The words you uttered during that night
quiet me again, and illuminate the gloom, like a welcome miner's
lamp in a deep shaft. I hope, however, that they did not exert the
same effect upon your father."

"No, your excellency, fortunately they did not, and the proof of it
is that I rode, a week afterward--in a comfortable carriage, and
accompanied by my father--to Berlin, to place myself under the
treatment of Doctor Binder."

"Did the doctor promise to cure you?"

"He gave me hopes at least that he would be able to do so, and,
after accepting three months' pay in advance, received me into his
house, and the cure commenced. I willingly submitted to his piercing
glances and to his laying-on of hands. I was so obliging as to fall
asleep, and scarcely three days elapsed when I began already to
become slightly clairvoyant. The doctor was himself surprised at the
rapid effect of his cure; he informed some of his distinguished
patrons of the presence of a new clairvoyante at his house, and
invited them to witness my next awakening. Among these patrons were
some influential courtiers, Prince Hatzfeld and Field-Marshal
Kalkreuth. I had been told that these gentlemen were the most
zealous adherents of the French alliance, and the most ardent
admirers of Napoleon. It was but natural, therefore, that when I
became clairvoyant on that day, in the presence of these gentlemen,
I was the enraptured prophetess of a golden future for Prussia,
provided we maintained the alliance with France. The two courtiers
were visibly surprised and delighted at my prophecies; and when the
doctor had left the room for a moment, I heard Prince Hatzfeld say
to Field-Marshal Kalkreuth, 'Ah, I wish Hardenberg were here, and
heard the predictions of this wonderful girl! He believes in
clairvoyance, and her words, therefore, would make a profound
impression upon him!' ' We must try to have him brought hither,'
said Field-Marshal Kalkreuth; 'we must try to influence the stubborn
fellow in this way.' "

"That was a very clever idea," said Hardenberg, smiling; "I almost
envy those gentlemen their very pretty intrigue. They then made
offers to you, did they not?"

"No, I made offers to them."

"How so?"

"Listen to me. When the gentlemen left, and I was again alone with
the doctor, I suddenly awoke from my trance; rising from my couch, I
stepped up to him, and made him a respectful obeisance. He looked at
me in dismay, and seemed paralyzed with stupefaction, for you know
all my limbs were palsied, and I could only move my tongue. 'My dear
doctor,' I said, very calmly, 'I hope I have proved to you now that
I am possessed of considerable talent as an actress, and that I am
as well versed in playing my part as you are in yours. Both of us
try to obtain fame and wealth, you as a magnetizer, I as a
clairvoyante, and we stand mutually in need of each other. You are
the stage-manager, and possessed of a theatre that suits me, and I
am the leading actress, without whom you would be unable to perform
your play in a satisfactory manner. Let us, therefore, come to an
understanding and make an agreement.' Eh bien, your excellency, we
did come to an understanding; we did make an agreement. With a view
to a better position that soon would be accessible to me, I remained
temporarily the first actress, and, thanks to my performances, I
attracted an audience as distinguished as it was munificent."

"Now I comprehend every thing. You must permit me, however, another
question. Are Prince Hatzfeld and Field-Marshal Kalkreuth aware that
you are nothing but an--actress?"

"By no means, your excellency. They are so kind as to take me for a
bona fide clairvoyante. The doctor told them that, by my spiritual
connection with him, I was compelled to say, think, and do whatever
he wanted and commanded me, and that, if he gave me my instructions
while I was awake, I had to act and speak in my clairvoyant state in
strict accordance with them. In this way it happened, your
excellency, that I was used as the fox-tail with which the
electrical machine is set in motion--to make an impression upon you,
and to cure you of your hostility to France. The doctor became the
confidant of these gentlemen, who desired to cure you. They
surrounded your excellency with spies, a minute diary was kept of
your movements, and this diary was brought early every morning to
the doctor, who read it to me, and we agreed then as to the manner
in which I should avail myself of the information."

"And dupe me!" exclaimed Hardenberg, laughing. "Fortunately, I did
not allow myself to be thus dealt with, but penetrated the handsome
little swindle at the outset; yet I made up my mind to continue
playing the farce for some time, because it afforded me an
opportunity to discover and foil the intentions, wishes, and schemes
of my adversaries. But tell me now, my pretty young lady, what would
have happened if I had not allowed you to perceive to-day that I was
aware of the whole trick?"

"In that case I myself would have disclosed the intrigue to your
excellency. Did I not send my young nurse twice to your house
yesterday, in order to pray you to come to me, if possible, last
night, because I had important news to communicate to you? Did I not
write to you that the doctor would not be at home during the whole
evening, and that I might, therefore, communicate an important
secret to you without being disturbed?"

"Unfortunately, I was not at home, and the supper at Marshal
Augereau's, which you used so skilfully during your pretended
trance, deprived me of an hour of important disclosures! But suppose
I had come, and met you alone; what would you have told me then?"

"Precisely what I tell you now. I would have fallen down before you
as I do now, and, clasping your knees in this manner, would have
said what I say now: 'Mercy, my lord and master, mercy! I can lie
and dissimulate no longer before your noble face; your eyes
embarrass me; your smile overwhelms me with shame; the farce is at
an end, and the truth commences. The truth, however, is that I adore
you; that I will no longer unite with your adversaries against you;
that I will serve you and none but you, and devote to you my whole
life and every pulsation of my heart!'" She attempted to conceal her
face, bathed in a flood of tears; but Hardenberg softly laid his
hands upon her cheeks, and, gently raising her head, gazed at her
long and smilingly.

"What talent!" he said; "in truth, I admire you! It was a charming
performance. True love and passion could express themselves no
better, or surpass your imitation."

She arose from her knees and looked at him with eyes flashing with
anger. "You do not believe me?" she asked, almost menacingly. "You
suspect me, although I have revealed my heart to you as sincerely as
I have ever revealed it to Heaven itself."

"Foolish girl, how can I believe you?" he asked. "Have you not gone
out into the world to plunge into adventures, and to seek your
fortune? Have you not dived into the sea to find pearls? Can you
wish me to play the agreeable part of your safety-rope--that is
all!"

"No, no!" she exclaimed, wildly stamping with her feet; "that is a
vile slander! Why should I choose precisely you for my safety-rope?-
-why reveal my soul to you? Do you not believe that those gentlemen
who are using me against you, who worship and admire me, would not
be ready to assist me? But I have rejected their homage and their
offers; I despise and abhor them all, for they are your enemies. I
hate France, I detest Napoleon, for you are opposed to the French
alliance, and you have been reviled by Napoleon; I am longing for an
alliance with Russia, for I know this to be your wish, and I have no
wishes but yours, no will but your will!"

"Ah!" exclaimed Hardenberg, laughing, "this is the strangest
political declaration of love which woman ever made to man!"

"Great Heaven! you are laughing!" she cried angrily. "You do not
believe me, then? How shall I be able to convince you?"

"I will show you a way to do so," said Hardenberg, suddenly growing
very grave.

"Tell me, and I swear to you that I will try it!"

"Serve me in the same manner as you have hitherto served my enemies.
Become the prophetess of my policy, as you have been the prophetess
of the policy of my opponents. Permit me to become the prompter of
the clever clairvoyante, and play now as inimitably against my
adversaries as you have played for them."

Frederica Hahn burst into loud laughter. "In truth, that is a
splendid idea," she said, "a revenge which your excellency has
devised against the other gentlemen. Here is my hand. I swear to
serve and to be faithful to you as long as I live. Do you now
believe in the truth of my love?"

"Let me first see the actions inspired by this love," said
Hardenberg, smiling. "I will prove to you immediately that I confide
in your head, although I am not vain enough to believe in your
heart. Listen to me, then! It is my most ardent desire that the king
should leave Berlin, and be withdrawn from the influence of the
French. Prince Hatzfeld and old Field-Marshal Kalkreuth, however,
insist that he remain at Berlin, and thereby manifest the adhesion
of Prussia to the alliance with France. I suspect, nay, I might say,
I know, that the king is in danger, and that, as soon as he utters a
free and bold word, the French will use it as a pretext to seize his
person and imprison him, as they have done Charles and Ferdinand of
Spain. Caution, therefore, the sanguine and credulous gentlemen;
point out to them the dangers menacing the king here; tell them
that. it is the bounden duty of his majesty to save himself for his
people; shout with your inspired and enthusiastic voice: 'Go!
Destruction will overwhelm you at Berlin! Save the king! Convey him
to Breslau!'"

"I will play my part so skilfully that even the boldest will be
filled with dismay," cried Frederica, with flaming eyes, "and that
dear old Field-Marshal Kalkreuth will implore the king on his knees
to leave Berlin, and go to Breslau. But, when I have played this
part for you--when you have attained your object, and I have given
you proofs of my fidelity and obedience--will you then believe that
I love you?"

"We shall see," he said, smiling. "I am, perhaps, not as wise as
Ulysses, and shall not fill my ears with wax, but listen to the song
of the siren, even at the risk of perishing in the whirlpool of
passion. Let us not impose upon ourselves any promises concerning
the destiny of our hearts; but your position in the world is an
entirely different question. As to this, I must make you promises,
and swear that I shall fulfil them. You promise that you will serve
me, enter into my plans, and support my policy?"

"Yes, your excellency, I swear to you that your opponents themselves
shall beseech the king to leave Berlin, and renounce France."

"Well, then, on the day the king arrives safely at Breslau, you will
receive from me a document securing you an annuity on which you will
be able to live independently here at Berlin."

"And is that all?" she asked, in a contemptuous tone. "You promise
me nothing but money to keep me from starvation?"

"No," said Hardenberg, smiling, "I promise you more than that. I
promise that little Frederica Hahn, the watchmaker's daughter, shall
be transformed into an aristocratic lady, and that I will procure
you a husband, who will give you so distinguished a name that the
daughter of the Marquise de Barbasson need not be ashamed of it. Are
you content with that, my beauty?"

"Would it be necessary for me to love and honor the husband whom
your excellency will give me?" asked Frederica, after a pause.

"Suppose I reply in the affirmative?" asked Hardenberg.

"Then I answer: I prefer remaining Frederica Hahn. for then I shall
at least have the right to sit at your feet and worship you, and no
troublesome husband will be able to prevent my doing so."

"Well, then, my charming little fool, I shall select for you a
husband who will, like a deus ex machina, appear only in order to
confer his name upon you at the altar, and who will then disappear
again. Do you consent to that?"

"Your excellency, that would be precisely such a husband as I would
like to have, and as my imagination has dreamed of--a husband sans
consequence--not a man, but a manikin!"

"I shall, however, see to it that this manikin, besides his name,
will lay at your feet another splendid wedding-gift, and a corbeille
de noce, which will he worthy of you. You accept my offers, then, my
friend?"

"No, unless you add something to them."

"What is it, Frederica?"

"Your love, your confidence, your belief in my love!" she exclaimed,
sinking down at his feet.

"Ah," said Hardenberg, "let us not be so audacious as to attempt to
raise the veil that may perhaps conceal a magnificent future from
our eyes!" [Footnote: This scene is not fictitious, but based upon
the verbal statements and disclosures of the lady who played so
prominent a part in it.--L. M.]



CHAPTER XIX.

THE TWO DIPLOMATISTS.


The royal family celebrated an important festival at Potsdam on the
20th of January. Crown-Prince Frederick William had been confirmed
at the palace church. In the presence of the whole royal family, of
all high officers and foreign ambassadors, the prince, who was now
seventeen years of age, had made his confession of faith and taken
an oath to the venerable and noble Counsellor Sack that he would
faithfully adhere to God's Word, and worship Him in times of weal
and woe. After the ceremonies at church were over, a gala-dinner was
to take place at court, and invitations had been issued not only to
the members of the royal family, but to the dignitaries and
functionaries, as well as the ambassadors, who had come over from
Berlin. This dinner, however, was suddenly postponed. The king was
said to have been unexpectedly taken ill. It was asserted that the
excitement which he had undergone at church had greatly affected his
nerves, bringing on a bleeding at the nose, which had already lasted
several hours, and which even the most energetic remedies were
unable to relieve.

The ambassadors repaired to the palace in order to ascertain more
about the health of the king, and the principal physician of his
majesty was able at least to assure them that his majesty's
condition was not by any means alarming or dangerous, but that the
king needed repose, and could not, according to his intention, go to
Berlin that day, but would remain at Potsdam, and, for a few days,
abstain entirely both from engaging in public affairs and receiving
visitors. This news did not seem to alarm any one more seriously
than the French ambassador, Count St. Marsan. He left the royal
palace in depressed spirits, and, entering his carriage, ordered the
driver in a hurried tone to return to Berlin as fast as possible.
Scarcely three hours elapsed when the carriage stopped in front of
the French legation, and the footman hastened to open the coach-
door. Count St. Marsan, however, did not rise from his feet, but
beckoned his valet de chambre to come to him. "Have no letters
arrived for me?" he asked.

"Yes, your excellency; this was brought to the legation a few
minutes since," said the valet, handing a small, neatly-folded
letter to the count.

St. Marsan opened the note hastily. It contained nothing but the
following words: "I have just returned from Potsdam. I am probably
an hour ahead of your excellency, for I had caused three relays to
be kept in readiness for me. As soon as your excellency has arrived,
I pray you to inform me of it, that I may hasten to you.--H."

"To the residence of Chancellor von Hardenberg!" said the count,
putting the letter into his breast-pocket, and leaning back on the
cushions. The carriage rolled away, and ten minutes afterward it
stopped in front of the residence of the chancellor of state. St.
Marsan alighted with youthful alacrity, and, keeping pace with the
footman who was to announce his arrival, hastened into the house and
ascended the staircase. At the first anteroom the chancellor met
him, greeting him with polite words and conducting him into his
cabinet. "You have anticipated me, your excellency," he said; "my
carriage was in readiness, and I only waited for a message from you
to repair immediately to your residence."

"It is, then, highly important news that your excellency will be
kind enough to communicate to me?" asked St. Marsan, uneasily.

"On the contrary, I hoped you would communicate important news to
me. I cannot conceal from you that we are all in great suspense and
excitement; and I suppose it is unnecessary for me to confess to so
skilful and experienced a diplomatist as your excellency, that the
king's illness and bleeding at the nose were mere fictions, and that
his majesty thereby wished only to avoid meeting you."

"Indeed, that was what I suspected," exclaimed St. Marsan; "for the
rest, every thing at Potsdam appeared to me very strange and
inexplicable; I confess, however, that I do not comprehend what has
aroused the king's indignation, and rendered my person so offensive
to him?"

"What!" asked Hardenberg, with an air of astonishment. "Your
excellency does not comprehend it? It seems to me, however, that
this indignation is but too well-grounded. You know the fidelity and
perseverance with which Prussia has adhered to the French alliance;
that the king has withstood all promises of Russia, however alluring
their character, and has proved by word and deed that he intends to
remain faithful to his system, and never to dissolve the alliance
with France. And now, when my zeal, eloquence, and untiring
expositions of the utility of this alliance have succeeded in
rendering him deaf to all promises, and attaching his heart more
sincerely to France, you mortify and insult the king in so defiant a
manner! Ah, count, this is to postpone the attainment of my object
to a very distant period, and to take from me, perhaps forever, the
order I am longing for. For how can I keep my word?--how can I
obtain the king's consent to the betrothal of the crown prince with
a princess of the house of Napoleon, if France treats him with so
little deference and respect, and proves to him that she herself
does not regard the treaties which she has concluded with Prussia as
imposing any obligations upon her?"

"But your excellency drives me to despair," exclaimed Count St.
Marsan, "for I confess to you again that I do not comprehend what
act of ours would justify such grave reproaches."

"Well, permit me, then, to remind you of what has happened, and
request a kind explanation. Your excellency, I suppose, is aware
that the division of General Grenier, nineteen thousand strong, has
approached by forced marches from Italy and occupied Brandenburg?"

"Yes, I am aware of that," said St. Marsan, hesitatingly; "but these
troops will rest there but a few days, and continue their march."

"On the contrary," replied Hardenberg, "they are destined to remain
in Brandenburg. Their commanders declare emphatically that they will
be stationed in this province, and Brandenburg is already so full of
French soldiers that I do not see how quarters and sustenance are to
be provided for an additional corps of nineteen thousand men.
Besides, this augmentation of the French forces is contrary to the
express stipulations of the existing treaties, and it is, therefore,
but natural that this fact, which in itself would seem to point to a
hostile intention, should have excited the serious displeasure of
the king."  "But the extraordinary circumstances in which the French
army has been placed ever since the disastrous campaign of Russia, I
believe ought to excuse extraordinary measures," said St. Marsan, in
his embarrassment. "His majesty the Emperor Napoleon, on learning
how offensive to the king is this increase in the number of troops
stationed in the province of Brandenburg, will assuredly hasten to
explain the necessity of the measure, and, however late it may be,
request his ally's consent to it."

"Ah," exclaimed Hardenberg, quickly, "you admit, then, that this
reinforcement in Brandenburg is intended to be permanent? But I have
not yet laid all my complaints before your excellency. I believe you
are aware that, according to the last convention between France and
Prussia, no French troops at all are to occupy Potsdam and its
environs, and that they are not to stay there even for a single
night?"

"Yes; I am aware of this stipulation, and believe it has hitherto
been carefully observed."

"Hitherto--that is to say, until to-day! But this fore-noon, at the
very hour we were at church witnessing the confirmation of the
prince, whom you wish to be as a new tie between France and Prussia,
this stipulation was violated in as incomprehensible as mortifying a
manner. Four thousand men of Grenier's division have marched this
morning from Brandenburg to Potsdam, and have tried forcibly--do you
understand me, your excellency?--forcibly to occupy this city. The
municipal authorities vainly endeavored to assure them that this was
entirely inadmissible, and it was only after a very stormy scene
that they succeeded in prevailing upon the troops to leave Potsdam,
and withdraw several miles from the city [Footnote: Beitzke's
"History of the War of Liberation," vol. i. p. 162.]. If no blood
was shed, it was not owing to the disposition of your troops, but to
the prudence and moderation of the Prussian authorities. Now, count;
you fully comprehend the exasperation of my master, the king; and I
hope you will give me the satisfactory explanation which he has
commissioned me to request."

"Your excellency," said St. Marsan, greatly surprised, "I really do
not comprehend why the king should be so irritated at this trifling
deviation from the stipulation of the treaties. You yourself said it
would be impossible to find quarters and sustenance for so large a
number of troops in the province of Brandenburg. This fact involved
the military commanders in difficulties, and explains why they at
last thought of sending a detachment to Potsdam, where there are so
much room and so many vacant barracks. We could not suppose that the
king would object to this, and that the sight of the brave French
soldiers would fill the ally of the Emperor of the French with
feelings of displeasure and indignation. But, you see, the troops
yielded to the will of the king, and left the city."

"But they remained near enough to be able to reoccupy it at the
first signal."

"And does your excellency believe that the French authorities might
have occasion to call troops to their assistance?" asked Count St.
Marsan, casting a quick, searching glance at the chancellor.

But Hardenberg's countenance remained perfectly calm and unchanged;
only the faint glimmer of a smile was playing round his thin lips.
"I do not know," he said, "what motives might induce the French
authorities to call troops to their assistance, as they are not in a
hostile country, but in that of an ally, unless it were that they
look upon every free expression of the royal will as an unfriendly
demonstration, and interpret as an act of hostility, for instance,
the king's determination not to reside at Berlin, but at Potsdam,
or, according to his pleasure, in any other city of the kingdom."

"The king, then, intends to leave Potsdam and remove to another
city?" inquired St. Marsan, quickly.

"I do not say that exactly," replied Hardenberg, smiling and
hesitating: "but I should not be greatly surprised if, to avoid the
quarrels between the French and Prussian authorities, and not to
witness perhaps another violation of the treaties, and a repeated
attempt of the French commanders to occupy Potsdam, he should remove
to another city, where his majesty would be safe from such
annoyances."

"The king intends to leave Potsdam," said St. Marsan to himself. He
added aloud: "I do not know, however, of any city in the kingdom of
Prussia where, owing to the present cordial relations between
Prussia and France, there are no French authorities and French
troops.--Yes, it occurs to me that, according to the treaties
concluded last year, there are no French troops in the province of
Silesia, except on the military road from Glogau to Dresden, and
that they and their auxiliaries are expressly forbidden to pass
through Breslau. Breslau, then, would be a city where the king would
not run the risk of meeting French troops."

"You admit, then, that it is dangerous for the king to meet them? In
that case it would truly be a very justifiable and wise step for the
king to repair to Breslau."

"It is settled, then, that the king will go to Breslau?" asked St.
Marsan. "Your excellency intended to be so kind as to intimate this
to me?"

"It is settled, then, that the king is in danger near the French
troops?" asked Hardenberg. "Your excellency intended to be so kind
as to intimate this to me? Ah, it seems to me we have been playing
hide and seek for half an hour, while both of us really ought to be
frank and sincere."

"Well, then, let us be," exclaimed St. Marsan. "I have likewise
reason to complain, and must demand explanations. What does it mean
that the Prussian government has suddenly dispatched orders to all
provincial authorities to recall the furloughed soldiers and proceed
to another draft; that artillery-horses are bought, and a vast
quantity of uniforms made?"

"It means simply, your excellency, that the King of Prussia expects
to be requested by his ally, the Emperor of the French, to furnish
him additional auxiliaries, and that he hastes to make the necessary
preparations, to be able to comply at the earliest moment. These
preparations, moreover, had to be made in so hasty a manner,
because, as soon as the Russians advance farther into the interior
of Prussia, of course both a conscription and the recall of the
furloughed soldiers would be impossible."

"But this is not all. The king yesterday authorized the minister of
finance to issue ten million dollars in treasury-notes, to be taken
at par. What is this enormous sum destined for, M. Chancellor? Why
does the king suddenly need so many millions?"

"You ask what the king needs so much money for? Sir, the clause
ordering these treasury-notes at par would be a sufficient reply to
your question. When a government is unable to procure funds in any
other way than by compelling its subjects to take its treasury-notes
at par, it proves that it has no credit to negotiate a loan--no
property which it might render available; it proves that not only
its treasury, but the resources of the country, are completely
exhausted, and that it has reached a point where it must either go
into hopeless bankruptcy or endeavor to maintain itself by
palliatives. Prussia has come to this. Let us not examine by whose
fault or by what accumulation of expenses and obligations, this
condition of affairs has been brought about; but the fact remains,
and, as the king is unwilling that the state should be declared
bankrupt, he resorts to a palliative, and issues ten million dollars
in treasury-notes. In this manner he obtains funds, is enabled to
relieve the distress of his subjects, and to procure horses and
uniforms for the new regiments to join the forces of his ally, the
Emperor Napoleon. Does not this account for the issue? Are you
satisfied with this explanation, count?"

"I am; for I have no doubt that your excellency is sincere."

"Have we not yet proved that we are sincere?" exclaimed Hardenberg,
in a tone of virtuous indignation. "Notwithstanding all allurements
and promises by which Russia is trying to gain us over to her side,
we are standing by France--and, please do not forget, at a time when
she is overwhelmed with calamities, we give her our soldiers, and,
the old ones having perished, recruit and equip new ones for her; we
make all possible sacrifices--nay, we even run the risk of making
the king lose the sympathies of his own subjects, who, you know, are
not very favorable to a continuation of this alliance! And still
France doubts the king's fidelity and my own heartfelt devotion! he
entertains such doubts at a moment when I declare it to be my chief
object to effect a marriage of the crown prince with an imperial
princess; and when I have already succeeded so far that I believe I
may almost positively promise that the king will give his consent."

"What!" exclaimed St. Marsan, surprised. "The king consents to such
a marriage?"

"He will," said Hardenberg, smiling, "provided France make the first
overtures, secure him important advantages, and raise the kingdom to
a higher rank among the states of Europe." [Footnote: Beitzke, vol.
i., p. 159]

"Oh, the emperor, will grant Prussia all this," said St. Marsan,
joyously. "It is too important to his majesty, when a princess of
his family ascends the throne of Prussia, that he should not
willingly comply with all the wishes of his future brother, the King
of Prussia."

"Then we are agreed," exclaimed Hardenberg, offering his hand to the
count, "and all misunderstandings have been satisfactorily
explained. Only confide in us--firmly believe that the system of the
king has undergone no alteration--that no overtures, direct or
indirect, have been made to Russia, and that he has rejected the
offers which she has made to him. The repudiation of General York's
course is a sufficient proof of all this. Only believe our
protestations, count, and entreat your emperor to dismiss the
distrust he still seems to feel, and which alienates the hearts of
the greatest emperor and the noblest king."

"I will inform his majesty of the very words your excellency has
addressed me, and I have no doubt that the emperor on reading them
will have the same gratification with which I have heard them.
Thanks, therefore, your excellency! And now I will not detain you
longer from enjoying your dinner. Both of us have returned from
Potsdam without dining, and it is but natural that we should make up
for it now. Therefore, farewell, your excellency!"

Hardenberg gave him his arm, and conducted him with kind and
friendly words into the anteroom.

"Does your excellency think," said St. Marsan, on taking leave,
"that I may venture to-morrow to go to Potsdam and personally
inquire about his majesty's health?"

"Your excellency had better wait two or three days," said
Hardenberg, after a moment's reflection. "By that time I shall have
succeeded in overcoming the king's displeasure, and if the French
troops in the mean time have made no further attempts to occupy
Potsdam, but, on the contrary, have withdrawn still farther from the
city, it will be easy for me to persuade the king that the whole
occurrence was a mere misunderstanding. Have patience, then, for
three days, my dear count!"

"Well, then, for three days. But then I shall see the king at
Potsdam, shall I not?"

"Ah," exclaimed Hardenberg, smiling, "how can I know where it will
please his majesty to be three days hence? The king is his own
master, and I should think at liberty to go hither and thither as he
pleases, provided he does not go to the Russian camp, and I would be
able to prevent that."

"It is certain," muttered Count St. Marsan, when he was alone in his
carriage, "it is certain that the king will no longer be at Potsdam
three days hence, but intends to remove secretly, and establish his
court at a greater distance. The moment, therefore, has come when we
must act energetically. The troops have come for this very purpose,
and the emperor's orders instruct us, in case the king should
manifest any inclination to renew his former alliance with Russia,
and to break with France, immediately to seize the king's person, in
order to deprive the Prussian nation, which is hostile to us, of its
leader and standard-bearer. Well, then, the orders of the emperor
must be carried into execution. We must try to have the king
arrested to-day. I shall immediately take the necessary steps, and
send couriers to Greiner's troops." The carriage stopped, and Count
St. Marsan, forgetful of his dinner, hastened into his cabinet, and
sent for his private secretaries. An hour afterward two couriers
left the French legation, and shortly after an elegant carriage
rolled from the gateway. Two footmen, who did not wear their
liveries, were seated on the high box; but no one was able to
perceive who sat inside, for the silken window-curtains had been
lowered.

Chancellor von Hardenberg, after the French ambassador left him,
instead of going to the dining-room, returned to his cabinet. Like
Count St. Marsan, he seemed to have forgotten his dinner. With his
hands folded behind him, he was slowly pacing his room, and a proud
smile was beaming in his face. "I hope," he said to himself, "I have
succeeded in reassuring, and yet alarming the count. He believes in
me and in the sincerity of my sentiments, and hence in the fidelity
of Prussia to France, and this reassures him; but he understood very
well the hints I dropped about the possibility of the king leaving
Potsdam and going to Breslau, and this alarms him. He may, perhaps,
be hot-headed enough to allow himself to be carried away by his
uneasiness, and make an attempt to seize the king. If he should, I
have won my game, and shall succeed in withdrawing the king from his
reach by conveying him to Breslau. Well, fortunately, I have a
reliable agent at the count's house, and if any thing should happen,
he will take good care to let me know it immediately. I may,
therefore, tranquilly wait for further developments." At this moment
the door opened, and Conrad, the old valet de chambre, entered,
presenting a letter on a silver tray to the chancellor of state.

"From whom?" asked Hardenberg.

"From her!" whispered Conrad, anxiously. "Her nurse brought the
letter a few minutes ago, and she says it ought to be at once
delivered to your excellency."

"Very well," said Hardenberg, beckoning to Conrad to leave the room.
But Conrad did not go; he remained at the door, and cast imploring
glances on his master.

"Well," inquired Hardenberg, impatiently, "do you want to tell me
any thing else?"

"I do," said Conrad, timidly; "I just wished to tell you that her
excellency Madame von Hardenberg has condescended again this morning
to box my ears, because I refused to tell her whither his excellency
the chancellor went every evening."

"Poor Conrad!" said Hardenberg, smiling, "my wife will assuredly pat
your cheeks until they are insensible. There, take this little
golden plaster."

He offered a gold-piece to Conrad, but the faithful servant refused
to accept it. "No, your excellency, I do not wish it, for I have as
much as I need, and I know that your excellency will take care of me
when I am too old and feeble to work. I only intended to take the
liberty to caution your excellency, so that you may be a little on
your guard. Madame von Hardenberg has told her lady's-maid that she
intends to follow the chancellor to-night, in order to find out
whither he goes, and that she then would go in the morning to the
lady and make such a fuss as to deter her from receiving your
excellency any more. The lady's-maid has confided this to me, und
ordered me to report it immediately, for you know that we all would
willingly die for you, and that even the female servants of her
excellency remain with her only because they love and adore you, and
because it is a great honor to belong to the household of a master
whom all Berlin loves and reveres."

"I thank you and the others for your attachment and fidelity," said
Hardenberg, nodding kindly to his old servant. "Tell my wife's maid
that I am especially obliged to her, and that I desire her to
continue serving me faithfully. For what you all have to suffer by
the displeasure of my wife, I shall take pains to indemnify you,
particularly if you mention as little as possible to outsiders any
thing about the state of affairs prevailing in my family, and the
sufferings we all have to undergo in consequence of it. Go, Conrad;
be reticent and vigilant! I shall profit by your advice, and my wife
will be none the wiser." He nodded once more to Conrad, and, when
the servant left the room, Hardenberg turned his eyes again toward
the little note which he still held unopened in his hand. He
unfolded it hastily and read. It contained only the following words:
"My predictions are producing a good effect. Dear Kockeritz is
greatly alarmed for the safety of his beloved king, and even old
Kalkreuth was startled by the terrible prophecies of the
clairvoyante. I am sure both of them will advise the king to shun
the danger, and transfer the seat of government to some other place.
Heaven grant that their words may be impressive, and that we may
attain our object--for you, the liberty of Prussia; for me, the
thraldom of my heart! For what else do I wish than to be your slave,
and to lie at your feet, to narrate to you the story of my love? For
you I wish to be an humble slave; for all others, Diavolezza
Frederica, the watchmaker's daughter--and when shall I become a
marquise?"

"It is true," said Hardenberg, smiling, and tearing the paper in
small pieces; "it is true, she is a diavolezza, but one of the most
amiable and charming sort, and perhaps ere long I shall,
notwithstanding her deviltry, consider her an angel, and believe her
charming comedy to be entirely true and sincere. But this is no time
for thinking of such things. The grave affairs of life require our
exclusive attention. Kockeritz, then, has been convinced, and even
Kalkreuth has been shaken in his stupid belief in the French! Well,
may we at length succeed in taking the fortress of this royal
heart!--Ah, some one raps again at the door! Come in! What, Conrad,
it is you again? Do you come to tell me that my wife has again boxed
your ears?"

"No," said Conrad, smiling. "This time I have to announce a French
soldier, who insists on seeing your excellency. He says he has found
a precious ornament which you have lost, and for which he would
himself get his reward."

"Well, let him come in; we shall see what he brings me," said
Hardenberg.

A few minutes afterward Conrad opened the door, and a French soldier
entered the room. "Now, let us see what you have found, my friend,"
said Hardenberg, "and what you bring back to me before I have missed
it."

"Your excellency, it is a precious ornament," said the soldier; "but
I must give it to you in secret."

"Withdraw, Conrad," said Hardenberg, beckoning to the servant, who
had remained at the door, and was distrustfully and anxiously
watching every motion of the soldier.

Conrad obeyed, but he left the door ajar, and remained close to it,
ready to reenter the cabinet at the first word of his beloved
master.

"Now we are alone. Speak!" said Hardenberg.

"Your excellency," whispered the soldier, advancing several steps,
"the valet de chambre of Count St. Marsan--that is to say, my
brother--has sent me to you. He dares not himself come, for the
house of your excellency is watched by spies, and he would instantly
be suspected, if he were seen entering it. I am to ask your
excellency whether you will give me twenty louis d'ors for a letter
from my brother which I am to deliver to yon."

"This letter, then, contains highly important information?"

"Yes, your excellency; my brother says he would let you have it at
so low a rate because he had so long been connected with you, and
because you had always treated him in a munificent manner."

"Does your brother require me to pay that sum before I have received
the letter?"

"He said he would leave that entirely to your excellency; only he
thinks it would be more advantageous to you to pay the money before
reading the letter."

"How so, more advantageous to me?"

"Because your excellency, after reading it, would doubtless, in your
joy at having received this singular and important information, pay
him a larger sum than he himself had asked."

"In that case I prefer to read the letter first," said Hardenberg,
smiling, "for I must not allow your brother's generosity to surpass
mine."

"Well, then, your excellency, here is the letter," said the soldier,
handing a small, folded paper to the chancellor of state.

Hardenberg took it, and, as if to prevent the soldier from seeing
the expression of his face while he was reading it, he stepped into
the window-niche and turned his back to him. The soldier, however,
fixed his lurking glances on the chancellor. He saw that a sudden
shock made the whole frame of the chancellor tremble, and a
triumphant smile overspread the countenance of the secret observer.

After a few minutes Hardenberg turned round again, and, carefully
folding up the paper, concealed it in his bosom. "My friend," he
said, "your brother was right. Twenty louis d'ors would be too low a
price for this letter. We must pay more for it." He stepped to his
desk, and, opening one of the drawers, took a roll from it and
counted down a number of gold-pieces on the table. "Here are thirty
louis d'ors," said Hardenberg, "and one for your trouble. See
whether I have counted correctly. Tell your brother to continue
serving me faithfully, and furnishing me with reliable reports. He
may always count on my gratitude!"

Scarcely had the soldier left the room, when Hardenberg drew the
paper from his bosom and glanced over it again. "At length!" he
exclaimed, joyously. "The decisive moment is at hand! Now I hope to
attain my object!" He rang the bell violently. "Have my carriage
brought to the front door in half an hour," he said to Conrad, as
soon as he entered the room. "But my own horses are tired. Send for
four post-horses. A courier is immediately to set out for Potsdam,
and see to it that relay horses be in readiness for me at Steglitz
and Zehlendorf!"



CHAPTER XX.

THE ATTACK.


It was six o'clock in the afternoon. The gloomy January day had
already yielded to a dark, cold night, enshrouding the city and
vicinity of Potsdam. The king was, as usual, to go to Sans-Souci
toward nightfall. There, far from the turmoil of the world, he liked
to spend his mornings and evenings, retiring from intrusive eyes
into the quiet of his simple domestic life. Like his august grand-
uncle, Frederick II., the king laid down his crown and the splendor
of his position at the gates of the small palace of Sans-Souci, and,
at this country-seat, consecrated by so many historical
recollections, he was not a king, but a man, a father, and a friend.
At Sans-Souci his children gathered around him every evening, and,
by their mirth and tender love, endeavored to dispel the clouds from
the careworn brow of their father; at Sans-Souci, Frederick William
received the small circle of his intimate friends--there old General
von Kockeritz, Field-Marshal Kalkreuth, Count Dohna, Chancellor von
Hardenberg, and the few who had remained faithful to him, were
allowed to approach without ceremonial or etiquette. Foreign guests
and court visitors, however, were never received at the country
palace; he saw them only in the city of Potsdam, where he transacted
government affairs. Thither the king repaired punctually at ten
o'clock every morning, where took place the meetings of the cabinet,
the consultations with the high functionaries, the audiences given
to the foreign ambassadors, and the official levees, and there the
king took his dinner in the midst of his family and the officers of
his court. But as soon as the clock struck seven he entered his
carriage without any attendants, and drove out to Sans-Souci. This
had been his invariable habit for many years; and when the
inhabitants of the street leading to his country-seat heard the roll
of a carriage at that hour, they said as positively as though they
heard the clock striking, "It is just seven, for the king is driving
to Sans-Souci."

The coachman, as was his habit, as soon as the clock struck six,
would harness two horses to the plain carriage which the king always
used, and generally drove up to the small side-gate a few minutes to
seven o'clock. Without giving any orders, or uttering a word, the
king would enter, and noisily closing the door, give thereby the
signal to start. The chime of the neighboring church had just
commenced playing the first part of the old hymn of "Ueb immer Treu
mid Redlichkeit," [Footnote: "Practise always truth and honesty."]
thus indicating that it was half-past six when the carriage appeared
at the side-gate. The wind was howling across the palace square and
through the colonnade in front of the neighboring park, hurling the
snow into the face of the driver, and lifting up the cape of his
cloak around his head, as if to protect him from the cold and stormy
night. Thomas, the king's coachman, had just removed with some
difficulty the large cape from his face, and rubbed the snow from
his eyes, when he heard the side-gate open. A dark figure emerged
from it and entered the carriage, and noisily closed the door.
Thomas had received his accustomed signal, and, although wondering
that the king had come fifteen minutes earlier than usual, he took
the reins, whipped the horses, and the carriage rolled away along
the route to Sans-Souci. The snow-storm drowned the roll of the
wheels, and rendered the vehicle almost invisible; besides, there
was no one to take particular notice of it, for only here and there
some closely-muffled person was to be seen on the street, too busy
with himself--too much engaged in holding fast his fluttering cloak
and protecting himself from the driving snow.

The square in front of the palace was deserted. The two sentinels
were walking up and down with slow, measured steps in front of the
main portal, now looking up to the brilliantly-lighted windows of
the royal sitting-room, and now contemplating the two dim lanterns
which stood on the iron railing, and whose light, struggling with
the storm, seemed about to be extinguished. The side-gate of the
palace remained dark and lonely, but only for a short time. From the
side of the market-place a carriage slowly approached, and stopped
in front of the palace, precisely on the same spot which the king's
carriage had previously occupied. The coachman sat as rigidly and
stiffly on the box as worthy Thomas, and the storm played with his
cloak, and threw the snow into his face, precisely in the same
manner. A patrol marched across the palace-square, and approached
the sentinels in front of the main portal; the usual words of
command were heard, the guard was relieved, and the sentinels
marched off, surrendering their places to their less fortunate
comrades. When they passed the side of the palace where the carriage
was to be seen, they said to each other: "Ah, we are off guard a few
minutes too early. It cannot be quite seven o'clock, for the king's
carriage is still waiting at the gate." The driver's laugh was
unheard.

It was really not yet seven--the hour when the king usually left the
palace. He was still in his sitting-room, and his two old friends,
General von Kockeritz and Field-Marshal Kalkreuth, were with him. A
pause in their conversation set in, which seemed to have been of a
very grave character, for the faces of the two old gentlemen looked
serious and careworn, and the king was pacing the room slowly and
with a gloomy air.

"Kockeritz." he said, after a pause, standing in front of the old
general, who was his most intimate friend, and looking him full in
the face, "you are really in earnest, then? You believe in the
prophecies of the clairvoyante?"

"I confess, your majesty, that I cannot but believe them," said
Kockeritz, sighing. "Her words, her whole manner, all her gestures,
bear the stamp of truthfulness to such an extent, that I would deem
it a crime against nature to believe her to be an impostor; she has,
moreover, already predicted to me the most wonderful things, and in
her trance read my thoughts. She has looked, as it were, into the
depth of my soul, so that I cannot doubt longer that she really is a
prophetess."

"And you, field-marshal--do you, too, believe in her?" asked the
king.

"I do, reluctantly, and in spite of myself, but I cannot help it,"
said the old field-marshal, shrugging his shoulders. "This girl
speaks so forcibly, with such eloquence and such fervor of
expression, that one is obliged to believe in her. Your majesty
knows that I have always sided with those who have deemed the
alliance of Prussia with France to be indispensable for the welfare
and salvation of the country, and that I entertain the highest
admiration for the genius, the character, and military talents of
the Emperor Napoleon; I have never concealed my conviction that
Prussia is lost if your majesty renounce Napoleon, and accept the
proffered hand of Russia. Still, this girl has filled me with
misgivings. She cried in so heart-rending a tone, with so impressive
an anxiety, 'Save the king-the king is in danger! Leave Berlin--
leave Potsdam!--save the king!' that I felt a shudder pervading my
limbs, and it seemed to me as though I saw already the hand which
was raised menacingly against the sacred head of your majesty. I
certainly do not believe that the Emperor Napoleon has any thing to
do with this danger; but some officious man in authority, some
adventurous general, might strike a blow on his own responsibility,
and in the belief that he would gain the favor of his emperor, and
anticipate his most secret wishes."

"And what do you believe?" asked the king, moodily. "Tell me,
Kockeritz, what sort of danger do you think is menacing me?"

"I do not know, your majesty," said Kockeritz, almost timidly, "but
I am sure there is danger, and I would beseech your majesty to
remove the seat of government to some place where you would be
safer, and where we would not be exposed to the attacks of prowling,
reckless detachments of soldiers, such as we saw here to our
profound regret but a few days since. Your majesty ought to go to
Breslau!"

"Ah," exclaimed the king, vehemently, "Hardenberg has succeeded,
then, in gaining you over to his views? You are now suddenly of
opinion that I ought to remove to Breslau?"

"Your majesty, I swear to you that Chancellor von Hardenberg has not
even tried to gain me over to his views, and that he assuredly would
not have succeeded. I have no political motives whatever in
entreating your majesty now to go to Breslau, but am actuated
exclusively by my fears for your personal safety. These troops of
General Grenier have greatly alarmed me; their strange expedition to
Potsdam was calculated to give rise to the most serious misgivings,
and when I add to this the prophecies of the clairvoyante, a
profound concern for the safety of your majesty fills my heart, and
I feel like imploring you on my knees to leave Potsdam and to go to
Breslau!"

"Let me join in the request of General Kockeritz, your majesty,"
said Field-Marshal Kalkreuth, sighing; "I, who on the battle-field
never knew fear, am afraid of a danger to which I am not even able
to give a name."

"And, owing to these vague presentiments, I am to take a step that
might endanger the peace of my country and the existence of my
crown!" exclaimed the king, with unusual vehemence, "For, do not
deceive yourself in regard to this point: if I go to Breslau,
Napoleon, who is perpetually distrusting me, and who is well aware
that my alliance with him is highly repugnant to my inclinations and
my personal wishes, would deem it equivalent to an open rupture, and
believe I had gone over to his enemy, the Emperor of Russia. But,
what is still worse, my country, my people, will also believe this
to be the case. Every one will suppose that, although I publicly
branded York's defection as a crime, and removed him from the
command-in-chief, I secretly connived at what ho did, and that my
journey to Breslau is but a continuation of York's plans. Every one
will believe that our policy has undergone a change, and that the
alliance with France is at an end. It was an eyesore to the people;
and if they now believe themselves to be delivered from it, the most
calamitous consequences might ensue. A rising against the French
will take place as soon as I merely seem to give the signal for it."

"Yes, that is true," exclaimed Kalkreuth; "your majesty is right; it
might, after all, be dangerous if you suddenly leave the city where
you have so long resided. It might be deemed equivalent to a rupture
with France, and we are, unfortunately, too weak to run so great a
risk. France is the natural ally of Prussia; that is what the great
Frederick said, and Napoleon is also of this opinion. By changing
your system of policy, your majesty would only endanger your
position and give the Emperor Napoleon grounds for treating you as
an enemy. To be sure, I know that there are fools who regard France
as prostrated, and utterly unable to rise again, but you will soon
see her with an army of three hundred thousand men, as brilliant as
the former."

"I am entirely of your opinion," said the king, thoughtfully, "the
resources of France seem inexhaustible, and--"

At this moment the door of the cabinet was softly opened, and Timm
the chamberlain made his appearance. "His excellency, Chancellor von
Hardenberg," he said, in a loud voice, and at the same moment
Hardenberg appeared on the threshold of the royal room.

"Pardon me, your majesty," he said, quickly approaching, "for
availing myself of the permission you have given me of entering your
cabinet without being ceremoniously announced; but pressing affairs
will excuse me."

"Has any thing occurred at Berlin?" asked the king, hastily.

"No, your majesty; Berlin is, at least for the present, perfectly
quiet," said Hardenberg, laying stress on every word. "But scenes of
the most intense excitement and an open insurrection might have
occurred at Berlin and at Potsdam if I had not fortunately arrived
here in time."

"What do you mean?" inquired the king.

"I mean," replied Hardenberg, slowly and solemnly, "I mean that your
majesty is at this very moment in danger of being seized and
abducted by the French."

The king gave a start, and his face colored for a moment; Kockeritz
and Kalkreuth exchanged glances of terror and dismay.

"You have also seen the clairvoyante, then?" asked the king, after a
pause, almost indignantly. "You too have allowed yourself to be
frightened by her vaticinations?"

"No, your majesty, I do not believe in them, but only in what is
true and real. Will your majesty condescend to listen to me for a
moment?"

"Speak, M. Chancellor of State."

"I must confess that, imitating the example set us by the French, I
have my spies and agents at the legation of Count, St. Marsan, and
at the residence of Marshal Augereau, governor-general of the
province of Brandenburg, just as well as they have theirs at the
palace of your majesty, at my house, and everywhere else. I pay my
spies liberally, and hence they serve me faithfully. Well, three
hours since I received a message from my first and most reliable
spy, and this message seemed to me so important that I immediately
hastened hither in order to take the necessary steps, and, if
possible, ward off the blow aimed at your majesty."

"And what blow--what danger is it?"

"I have told your majesty already that you are in danger of being
carried off by the French. Will your majesty permit me to read to
you what my spy (who, as I stated already, is a very reliable man)
writes me about it?"

"Read!" exclaimed the king.

Hardenberg bowed, and, taking a paper from his memorandum-book, read
as follows: "'They intend to seize the king to-night. A courier has
been dispatched to the troops of Grenier's division, which, since
yesterday, is encamped at a short distance from Potsdam; he conveys
to the troops the order to march to the outskirts of the city, and
to wait there at a carefully designated point for the arrival of a
carriage. They are then to surround this carriage, and take it at a
full gallop along the road leading to Brandenburg. The king will be
in this carriage--seized in a very simple manner. It has been
ascertained that the king drives at seven o'clock every evening to
Sans-Souci, and the most minute details of what occurs on this
occasion have been reported. A man will, therefore, conceal himself
shortly after nightfall near the door by which the king leaves the
palace. He will approach the carriage a few minutes before seven,
enter it, and noisily close the door as the king is in the habit of
doing. The coachman will believe this to be the usual signal, and
start. As soon as he has reached the deserted avenue outside the
gate that leads to Sans-Souci, the man sitting in the carriage will
open the front window, throw a cape over the coachman's head, thus
blindfolding and preventing him from uttering any cries. At the same
time two agents, concealed behind the trees, will approach, stop the
horses, seize the coachman, draw him from the box, tie his hands and
feet, and then put him into the carriage. The horses are to be half
unhitched so that neither they nor the coachman will be able to stir
from the spot. In the mean time another carriage will occupy the
place of the former, and wait for the king at the side-gate of the
palace. As soon as his majesty has entered, it will start, take at
first the route of Sans-Souci, but outside of the gate will
immediately turn to the left, and drive for some time at a quick
trot along the narrow road near the garden. At some distance from
the city the chasseurs of Grenier's division will await it, and then
form its escort. The carriage is arranged in such a manner that it
cannot be opened on the inside. As soon as the king has entered it,
he will, therefore, be a prisoner.'"

"And you believe in the reliability of these statements?" asked the
king, when Hardenberg paused.

"I am satisfied of it, your majesty. The reports of my spy have
hitherto always proved correct and reliable. It would be impossible
for me to doubt his accuracy."

The king looked at his watch. "It is already a quarter past seven,"
he said. "Then it is not my carriage that is waiting for me at the
palace-gate, but another?"

"Yes, your majesty."

"The clairvoyante was right," muttered General Kockeritz.

"If I now enter the carriage, you believe, M. Chancellor, I would be
carried off?"

"That is what my spy reports, and I have additional evidence
confirming his statements. At least it is entirely correct that
Grenier's chasseurs are again in the immediate vicinity of Potsdam.
I confess to your majesty that, owing to this danger, I have already
taken the liberty, without obtaining your consent, to take most
urgent steps, and that I have conferred with the commanders of the
garrison of Potsdam for this purpose. These gentlemen, like myself,
felt the necessity of immediate action. Couriers and spies were sent
out by them in all directions, and have brought the news that the
four thousand men who, two days ago, made an attempt to occupy
Potsdam forcibly, are now again approaching the city in the utmost
haste. Already about fifty chasseurs are stationed behind the high
fence of the last garden on the road, alluded to in the letter of my
spy, and seem to wait there for the carriage. Your majesty will see
all my statements confirmed if you will be gracious enough to
receive the report of the officer who commanded the expedition, and
who has now accompanied me to the palace. The commanders of the
garrison found the proofs of the insidious intentions of the French
to be so startling that they are causing at this moment all their
troops to form in line, and are marching them as noiselessly as
possible to the neighboring park."

"Without having previously applied to me for orders?" asked the
king, quickly.

"Your majesty, the pressing danger excuses this rashness. I have
engaged to solicit your majesty's consent to this measure."

"The troops shall be sent to their quarters," said the king,
energetically, after a moment's reflection.

"Great Heaven!" exclaimed General Kockeritz, anxiously, "what does
your majesty intend to do? Will you expose yourself to the danger
of--"

"Hush!" interrupted the king, sternly, seizing the bell and ringing.
The chamberlain entered. "The officer who is waiting in the anteroom
is to come in," ordered the king. A minute afterward the officer
appeared, and remained in a military attitude at the door.

"Did you reconnoitre to-night?" inquired the king.

"I did, your majesty. A part of Grenier's division is rapidly
approaching the city; fifty chasseurs are already on the garden road
behind the last board fence."

"Return to the general commanding," ordered the king. "The troops
are at once to leave the park and go back to their quarters. The
whole affair is to be kept a secret, and all eclat to be avoided.
Go!"

The officer saluted, and turned toward the door, but on opening it
he looked back and cast an inquiring glance on the face of the
chancellor. Hardenberg nodded almost imperceptibly. The officer went
out and closed the door after him. [Footnote: When the king heard
that the troops had been marched to the park, he ordered them to be
dismissed to their quarters; but the apprehensions of the officers
were so great that they dared to obey the royal orders only
partially. They marched the troops from the park to another place,
where they kept them under arms during the whole night and a part of
the following day.]

"I do not wish this affair to be made public," said the king,
"otherwise I should have to renounce France immediately and
decidedly; but my circumstances forbid me to do so."

"But, your majesty, you are now exposing yourself to the danger of
falling into the hands of the French," exclaimed General Kockeritz,
anxiously. "If Grenier's troops enter Potsdam now, they would meet
with no resistance whatever, as your majesty has withdrawn our own
soldiers."

"The French troops will not enter Potsdam after seeing that their
plan has failed, and that I do not arrive in the coach at the place
where the chasseurs are waiting for me," said the king.

"Besides," exclaimed Field-Marshal Kalkreuth indignantly, "it
remains to be seen whether the whole intrigue is not a mere fiction.
The chancellor of state himself said that he paid his spies well.
Perhaps some enterprising fellow has got up this story for the sole
purpose of receiving a large reward. He could imagine that the king,
after being warned, would not drive out to Sans-Souci to-night, and
that the affair therefore would be buried in the darkness of this
evening."

"And does your excellency believe, too, that my spy caused four
thousand men to march upon Potsdam to second his intrigue?" asked
Hardenberg, smiling. "Do you believe that he is able to send
detachments of chasseurs whithersoever he pleases?"

"I cannot believe in this plan; it would be too audacious!"
exclaimed Field-Marshal Kalkreuth. "I ask a favor of your majesty.
If this report is correct, the carriage in which you are to be
abducted ought now to be at the palace-gate and await your majesty.
Please permit me to go down-stairs and enter it in your place. I
want to see whither they will take me."

"No," said the king--"no! I wish to avoid any thing like an open
rupture with France. The time for that has not come yet."

"Oh," whispered Hardenberg to himself, sadly and reproachfully,
"that time will never come! My hopes are blasted."

The king paced the room silently and musingly, with his hands folded
behind him. Field-Marshal Kalkreuth and General Kockeritz followed
every motion in anxious suspense. Hardenberg cast down his eyes, and
his features were expressive of profound grief.

"Gentlemen," said the king, "come with me! Let us go down to my
carriage!"

"Your majesty, I trust, does not intend to enter it?" exclaimed
Kockeritz, in dismay.

"Come with me!" said the king, almost smilingly. "Come!"

The firm, determined tone of his majesty admitted of no resistance.
The three left the cabinet with him in silence, crossed the anteroom
and the lighted corridor, until they arrived at the small staircase
leading to the side-gate of the palace. All was silent. Not a
footman met them on the way, and only a single sentinel stood at the
upper end of the passage. The king, who led the way, went quickly
down and across the small hall toward the door, which he opened with
a jerk. The storm swept into the hall and beat into the faces of the
gentlemen. It had already blown out the two lanterns in front of the
door, and an impenetrable darkness reigned outside.

 "Hush, now!" whispered the king. "Step out softly and place
yourselves here at the wall. No one will see you. Wait now!" He
quickly stepped to the carriage, scarcely visible in the darkness,
and, groping for the knob of the coach door, opened it. A moment of
breathless suspense ensued for those who stood at the wall, and
tried to see what was to occur. The king slammed the door, and
jumped back toward the gate. At the same moment the coachman whipped
the horses and the carriage rapidly sped away.

"Now, let us reenter the palace," said the king, with perfect
composure. "It is a stormy night! Come!" He stepped back into the
hall, and the gentlemen followed. "Well," he said, smiling, and
standing still, "the coachman, in the firm belief that I am in the
carriage, will take the indicated route; the chasseurs will surround
the carriage and capture it. Let those who got up this miserable
intrigue convince themselves to their shame that it has miscarried.
They will not dare complain, and the whole affair will never be
revealed."

"But suppose it should really have been your majesty's carriage?"
asked Kalkreuth. "The darkness was so great that it could not be
recognized."

"But the darkness did not prevent me from feeling," said the king,
"and my hands served me this time instead of my eyes. I felt that it
was another carriage than mine. The door-knob was much larger. But
now I should like to have some news about my dear old coachman,
Thomas, and learn what has become of him."

"If your majesty will permit me, I will try to ascertain if the
carriage is still in the avenue outside the gate," said Kalkreuth,
quickly.

"I intended to request you to do so, field-marshal," said the king.
"Your coach is in readiness, is it not?"

"It is, your majesty."

"Let the servants, then, have it brought up," said the king,
ascending the staircase. On arriving at the anteroom, he himself
ordered the lackey in waiting to have the carriage of the field-
marshal brought to the door.

"If your majesty will permit me," said General Kockeritz, "I will
accompany the field-marshal."

"I ask for the same favor," said the chancellor of state, quickly.

"Accompany the field-marshal, general," said the king, turning to
Kockeritz. "Take no servants with you, except Timm my chamberlain,
who may render assistance to my poor Thomas. My chamberlain is
reticent and faithful. Pray have your carriage stopped at the
entrance of the avenue, and proceed then on foot. If you find every
thing as stated in the spy's report, Timm will drive the carriage to
Sans-Souci, that my good old coachman may go to bed and recover from
his fright. You will tell him, however, that I wish him not to
breathe a word about his adventure. You, gentlemen, will thereupon
return and report to me. And you, M. Chancellor, will follow me into
my cabinet."



CHAPTER XXI.

THE COURIER'S RETURN.


On reaching his cabinet, the king slowly paced his room, seemingly
without noticing the presence of the chancellor. Hardenberg, who
waited in silent patience, withdrew softly into a window-niche, and
listened to the noise of the carriage rolling away at this moment.
"The spies the king has sent out are driving to the avenue," said
Hardenberg to himself. "They will, no doubt, find every thing as
stated in the report, and yet all will be in vain. He will not make
up his mind to enter a bold course, and while he is hesitating all
of us and Prussia will perish."

While he was thus absorbed in his sombre reflections, and sadly
gazing out into the dark night, he had not noticed that the king
stood still at the other end of the room, and, with his arms folded
on his breast, was casting searching glances on the chancellor of
state. Now he crossed the room with slow steps and erect head, and
stood in front of Hardenberg. "M. Chancellor," said Frederick
William, in an unusually mild and gentle tone, "you are sad and
discontented, are you not? You are almost despairing, and it seems
to you that the King of Prussia, whom the French have again so
deeply insulted and humiliated, and whom Napoleon is now threatening
even with seizure, should at length revolt against such treatment,
and submit no longer to it. It seems to you that, cut to the quick
by so many slights, insults, and perfidies, he ought to put an end
to his temporizing policy; to rise and exclaim, 'I will die rather
than bear this disgrace any longer! I will die rather than endure
those humiliations.' You are right; were I, like you, so fortunate
as to be nothing but a man who had to defend only his own honor and
existence, I would be allowed to risk every thing in order to win
every thing. But I am the king, and, moreover, the king of an
unfortunate state. I must forget my own wrongs, and remember only
that I have sacred duties to fulfil toward my people, and that, so
far as my own person is concerned, I am not yet allowed to possess
any other courage than that of resignation. I am not allowed to
stake the existence of my monarchy and the welfare of my people to
obtain personal satisfaction. Until I obtain the incontestable
certainty that such a course would be brought to a successful issue,
I must not throw down the gauntlet to France, for failure in this
case would be not only my ruin, but that of my whole people. I shall
wait, therefore, M. Chancellor, for an opportunity; but I believe
that this course requires on my part more constancy and courage than
if I, as you wish me to do, should now unreservedly forsake France
and render the decision of my fate dependent on the fortune of war.
It is my solemn conviction that I ought not to do this, but advance
only step by step, and with the utmost caution and deliberation,
for--Well, what is it?" asked the king, turning to the chamberlain,
who opened the door and entered the cabinet.

"Pardon me, your majesty, for disturbing you," said the chamberlain,
respectfully. "But the gentleman who has just entered the anteroom
assured me that he was the bearer of important news, which admitted
of no delay."

"And who is the gentleman?"

"Sire, it is Major Natzmer, whom your majesty sent recently as a
courier to Old Prussia."

"Natzmer?" exclaimed the king, joyously, "admit him at once!--Ah, M.
Chancellor, we shall hear now how affairs are looking in my province
of Prussia, and how my troops have received York's removal from his
command."

"I hope Major Natzmer will bring your majesty good and joyful news,"
said Hardenberg, with perfect outward calmness, while his heart was
throbbing with impatience for Major Natzmer, who now entered; and,
while he saluted the king, Hardenberg fixed his eyes, with an
anxious expression, on the countenance of the new-comer. For a
moment their eyes met. There was an inquiry in those of Hardenberg;
Natzmer replied by a slight motion of his eyelids, and an almost
imperceptible smile.

"In the first place, report to me briefly and succinctly," said the
king. "Reply to all my questions as pointedly and clearly as
possible. Afterward we will expatiate on the most important points.
Well, then, you saw Murat and Macdonald?"

"I did, your majesty. I met the King of Naples at Elbing, and had
the honor of delivering your majesty's letter to him. He received me
very kindly, and was delighted at being thus assured of your
friendly feelings toward France. Marshal Macdonald, to whose
headquarters I then repaired, was less kind and polite. He was still
exceedingly indignant at the course of General York, which he openly
stigmatized as traitorous; but he was pacified when I informed him
that I was the bearer of an order depriving York of his command, and
was about to convey it to the camp of the Russians and Prussians."

"He raised no obstacles, then, but allowed you to pass over without
hinderance to the Russian camp?"

"Yes, your majesty. While Macdonald continued his march, I rode to
the Russian pickets, and was conducted by an officer, detailed by
General Choplitz for this purpose, to the commander-in-chief, Prince
Wittgenstein, who had established his headquarters at Heilsberg."

"What business had you at Wittgenstein's headquarters?"

"I wanted, in accordance with your orders, to ask his permission to
pass through to General York; and, besides, I wished to ascertain
where the Emperor Alexander had established his headquarters, that I
might repair to them."

"Prince Wittgenstein, of course, gave you immediate permission to
pass through his camp, did he not?"

"No, your majesty; he refused my request."

"How so? What reasons could he adduce? Did you tell him what you
intended to do at York's headquarters?"

"Your majesty ordered me to tell every one what I was to do at
General York's headquarters, and what punishment you intended to
inflict upon him. I was therefore authorized and obliged to inform
General Wittgenstein of the object of my mission."

"And he dared to resist you?"

"He did, your majesty. He declared that he would not permit me by
any means to go to York, and that so long as he lived no one should
bring to the general a dispatch by which the most generous,
magnanimous, and valiant general of the Prussian army was to be
deprived of his command."

"Then he really prevented you from going to York?"

"Yes, your majesty; he told me I was his prisoner, and did not
permit me to leave him."

"So that, at this moment, General York has not, as I desire,
transferred his command to General Kleist?"

"Precisely, your majesty. General York is still in command."

"And he did not receive the order removing him from his position?"

"I was unable to deliver it, and your majesty required me to give it
to none but the general himself. I was, however, a prisoner at
General Wittgenstein's. He asked me whether I had received other
commissions; and when he heard that I was to deliver a letter to his
majesty the emperor, he immediately had a sleigh brought to the
door, detailed an officer to escort me, and we set out for the
imperial headquarters."

"Let us speak of that hereafter," said the king, quickly. "Tell me
first whether you have heard further news about my corps. General
York, then, is still in command?"

"Yes, your majesty."

"But even though he has not received the dispatches, he must have
seen the news in the newspapers. For the Berlin journals contained a
copy of the order superseding him, and he must have noticed it."

"I was told by General Wittgenstein, on returning from the
headquarters of the Emperor of Russia, that York had been informed
by the newspapers of the severe punishment which your majesty
intended to inflict upon him, and that you disavowed him and the
course he had taken. Accordingly, he requested General Kleist to
take command of the troops. But Kleist refused to do so, alleging
that he had received no direct orders from your majesty, and that
the dispatches of your majesty, addressed to him personally, would
determine his course, and induce him to take command of the troops."

"General Kleist was right in making this declaration," said the
king. "So long as York had not received the dispatches, he remained
commander-in-chief."

"He is still at the head of the army," exclaimed Natzmer, "for I
bring back the dispatches addressed to Generals York and Kleist. As
I was unable to deliver them, I return them to your majesty."

The king took the papers which the major presented to him,
contemplating them for a moment. He turned toward Hardenberg, and
saw that heart-felt joy was beaming from his face. "Are you glad
that my orders have not been carried into effect, M. Chancellor of
State?" asked the king.

"Yes, your majesty," said Hardenberg, in a voice tremulous with
emotion, "I am glad of it, for now it seems to me as if our night is
drawing to a close, and a new morning is about to dawn upon Prussia.
York took the first step for this purpose, and it will be necessary
for your majesty to pursue the same course. For, as York has not
been deprived of his command, the French will no longer believe that
you disavow the action of your brave general, and your people and
all Germany will take heart, for they will see that the era of
disgrace is past, and that a German king dares at length to resist
the French tyrant."

"Well, we shall see," said the king. "Now, Major Natzmer, tell me
about your mission to his majesty the Emperor Alexander. I told you
that it was a state secret. Did you keep it?"

"I did, your majesty."

"Well, tell me the result."

"Will your majesty permit me to withdraw?" said the chancellor,
approaching the door. "As you intrusted Major Natzmer with a secret
mission--"

"Oh, no, your excellency, pray remain; I wish you to hear the
message I sent to the emperor, and what he replied to it.--Answer my
questions now, major. Did you carry out the commission I gave you?
Did you verbally lay before the emperor the message which I dared
not confide to pen and paper? Did you tell the emperor that I would
offer him a defensive and offensive alliance if Alexander would
engage to carry on the war against Napoleon to the best of his
power, and cross the Vistula and the Oder without delay? Did you
make this offer to Alexander in my name?"

"I did, your majesty."

The king glanced quickly at Hardenberg, and the surprised face of
his chancellor of state made him smile.

"And what did the emperor reply?" asked Frederick William, turning
again to the major.

"The emperor was overjoyed at the offer, and declared his readiness
to grant all which you would stipulate now and hereafter. The
Emperor Alexander imposed only a single condition."

"What was it?"

"He demanded that the fortress of Graudenz should be garrisoned by
Russian troops, and insisted most obstinately on this point."

"Did you not tell him that I had made up my mind in regard to this
point, and would renounce the proposed alliance if Graudenz, the
most remote fortress of my kingdom, should be garrisoned by other
than Prussian troops?"

"I stated this to the emperor."

"And then?"

"The emperor resolved to yield even this point, and to leave
Graudenz to the Prussian troops."

A sunbeam seemed to light up the grave, calm face of the king, and
the cloud that generally darkened his brow disappeared. "M.
Chancellor," he said, turning to Hardenberg with a mild and kind
smile, "are you now reconciled with your Fabius Cunctator? Will you
forgive me for having hesitated until Natzmer would bring me
Alexander's reply?"

"Oh, sire," exclaimed Hardenberg, "my soul bows in joyous
admiration, and your greatness and mildness make me blush."

At this moment the door opened, and Kockeritz and Kalkreuth entered
the cabinet.

"Ah," exclaimed the king, meeting them, "my two generals whom I sent
out on a reconnoissance! Well, gentlemen, speak! Did you find my
carriage?"

"We did, your majesty," said Field-Marshal Kalkreuth, sighing. "The
report was but too true. A vile plot had been formed; we have the
proofs, for we really found the carriage of your majesty in the
avenue leading to Sans-Souci; the horses had been partially
unhitched--"

"And my poor coachman?" asked the king. "Kockeritz, tell me what has
become of my faithful Thomas?"

"We found him exactly in the condition stated in the spy's report,"
said General Kockeritz, hastily. "He lay in the interior of the
carriage; his hands and feet firmly tied; his head covered with a
cape, which had been closely fastened round his neck to prevent him
from crying; it had, moreover, almost choked him when we arrived."

"But he has recovered from his fright?" asked the king, in a tone of
sympathy.

"Yes, your majesty," said Kockeritz, "and he would not permit Timm
to accompany him to Sans-Souci. He felt strong enough to return to
Potsdam, and arrived here at the same time as we did."

"I suppose you have ordered him to say nothing about the whole
affair?"

"Yes, your majesty, and he swore he would not mention it."

"And now, gentlemen, give me your opinion. Field-Marshal Kalkreuth,
you have satisfied yourself now that the French really intended to
seize and abduct me to-night?"

"I have unfortunately satisfied myself that they made such an
attempt," said the field-marshal.

"And you, Kockeritz, believe so, too?"

"I do, your majesty; I am fully convinced that such an outrage was
in contemplation."

"And you, M. Chancellor of State?"

"I was confident of the existence of this plot before coming hither,
and every thing has confirmed it; yes, such an outrage was surely
intended. The French meant to seize your sacred person."

"Will your majesty permit me also to reply to this question?" said
Major Natzmer.

"What do you mean?" asked the king, surprised. "Have you not just
arrived? How can you pass an opinion on what occurred before your
arrival?"

"Your majesty, it is true I have just now come; but still I knew
what was to occur here, and what an infamous transaction was
planned," said Major Natzmer. "The Emperor Alexander gave me this
information; he had just received from a perfectly reliable source
the news that Marshal Augereau had been instructed to seize the
person of your majesty. The emperor was greatly alarmed, and told me
he would be unable to find any rest until he had heard that you were
safe, and had left Berlin and Potsdam. [Footnote: Droysen's "Life of
York," vol. ii., p. 120.] I myself set out at once in the greatest
consternation, and as I left the emperor on the 13th of January, I
would have arrived here much earlier if I had not heard at Landshut
that Murat had issued an order to all the authorities to have me
arrested and conveyed to the French headquarters, [Footnote: Ibid.]
This compelled me to take a roundabout course, and now I rejoice the
more heartily as I have arrived at the very time to caution your
majesty, in the name of the Emperor Alexander, against the insidious
designs of the French."

The king made no reply. He paced the room slowly and with his head
bent down; the four gentlemen stood in silence on both sides of the
cabinet. Suddenly standing in the middle of the room, with his
countenance full of determination, he said: "Gentlemen, I will tell
you a state secret. Will you pledge me your word of honor, all four
of you, that you will keep it?"

"We will!" they all shouted at the same moment.

"Listen to me, then," added the king. "I shall leave Potsdam and
repair to Breslau, whither the seat of government will be
temporarily transferred. All the necessary preparations must be made
from this hour with the utmost dispatch and prudence. To-morrow
night I shall set out with the crown prince; the rest of the royal
family will follow me on the next day. Troops will be stationed
along the route; the hussars forming my escort, and the lifeguards
following to Breslau. It is my duty to place myself beyond the reach
of insidious attacks, and to render it impossible for the French to
seize me. I will, therefore, go to Breslau!" While uttering these
words, the king glanced successively at the faces of the four
gentlemen. He saw that Field-Marshal Kalkreuth looked gloomy and
abstracted, and opposite him the chancellor of state, with burning
cheeks and radiant eyes.

"Well, Hardenberg," said the king, mildly, "have you nothing to say
to me?"

"I am unable to say any thing," whispered Hardenberg, in a tremulous
voice, "but I do what I have not done for many years past--I weep
tears of joy! Our night is at an end; a new morning is dawning upon
Prussia, and the sun of a new era will shed his beams upon all of
us!"



CHAPTER XXII.

THE MANIFESTO.


The people were moving in dense crowds through Berlin. The long and
splendid street "Unter den Linden" was filled with a vast multitude,
whoso greeting cheers resembled the noise of the ocean's billows.

"The king has safely arrived at Breslau!" cried one of the men to
another, and immediately the enthusiastic cry of "Long live the
king!" burst from all those who heard it, and, like a jubilant echo,
the people along the whole street repeated, "Long live the king!"

"The king has reappointed General Scharnhorst quartermaster-general,
and General Blucher is with him at Breslau!" exclaimed a stentorian
voice. "Long live Scharnhorst! Long live Blucher!" shouted the
crowd. "Long live our heroes!" "Down with the French!" and thousands
answered in tones of intense hatred, "Down with the French!"

"They so long trampled us under foot!" cried another citizen. "Now,
let us pay them for it! Come, let us go to the French ambassador and
give him a few groans! We will no longer be silent!"

"Yes, we are determined to speak!" yelled the multitude, who hurried
toward the gate in front of which the residence of the ambassador
was situated. But suddenly they were stopped by a procession
approaching from the Brandenburg gate. It was headed by three men--
one of short and feeble frame, his face pale and emaciated, but lit
up by large flashing blue eyes; the second was tall and broad-
shouldered, his eye looking frank and bold, and his hair falling on
his shoulders like a lion's mane; the third was not tall, but of a
firmly-knit frame, and, with his proud head and intrepid air, looked
like the embodiment of chivalry. Behind them was a line of more than
two hundred youths, in light, simple attire, their cheeks glowing
with excitement or exercise, and their eyes flashing with
enthusiasm.

"Hurrah!" shouted the people. "Here are the Turners! Here is Father
Jahn with his Turners! Long live Jahn!"

The Turners, at a beck from "Father Jahn," had taken position across
the street, and thus, like a chain, prevented the citizens from
passing on. The three leaders stood in front, and gazed gravely upon
the approaching multitude.

"Clear the track!" cried the crowd. "We have business to attend to
on the square in front of the gate!"

"Believe me, it is as I said," whispered the smallest of the three
men to his neighbor. "It is a riot directed against the French
ambassador!"

"Where are you going?" shouted the man with the lion's mane, pushing
back those at the head of the crowd with his herculean arms.

"We are going to the French ambassador, to sing him a new German
song, and accompany it with stones for his windows."

"And why do you wish to do so?" asked the tall man. "What do you
care for the Frenchman on this beautiful and joyous day? Men like
you have something else to do than to break the windows of the
French ambassador. There will be other battles before long. I hope
you have heard or read what great events have occurred; I hope you
know the message which the king has sent to us from Breslau?"

"No, we know nothing about them!" replied a few voices. "Yes, we
do," said others. "But we would like to hear the news again," cried
another. "Pray, repeat it to us, Father Jahn!"

"I am not very well able to do so; our gymnastic performances to-day
have exhausted me," replied Jahn. "I went out of the gate with my
pupils at an early hour in the morning. These two gentlemen came to
us and told us the news, and that is the reason why we have come
back. My friend will tell you what he told me, and he knows better
how to speak than I do, for he has an eloquent tongue. This is well
known to all of you, for who among you is not acquainted with
Frederick Schleiermacher, the great preacher?"

"Schleiermacher! Long live Schleiermacher! Let Schleiermacher repeat
to us what the king said! Let him tell us what is on the large
placards on the street corners. Hearing it read, we understand it
better than on reading it ourselves."

And many arms were stretched out toward the feeble little man who
stood by the side of Jahn, lifting him up and placing him gently on
the balcony fixed above the door of a neighboring house.

"That is a good pulpit," shouted the people; "Schleiermacher,
address us from it!"

The little man with bright eyes and a genial countenance gazed for a
moment in silence upon his auditors, who thronged around him in
suspense and curiosity. He then raised his arms, commanding silence.
The laughter, shouts, and yells, died away; all eyes were fixed upon
Schleiermacher, and the noise of the multitude seemed arrested as by
a magician's wand, as the voice of the preacher resounded through
the street clear and distinct. "You want me to read what has been
addressed to us all," he said, "the manifesto which Minister von
Hardenberg has issued to the people in the king's name. Listen,
then!" He took a large folded paper from his breast-pocket, and,
opening it, read as follows: "'The dangerous position in which the
state has been placed by recent events requires a rapid augmentation
of the troops now in arms, while our finances admit of no lavish
expenditures. In consideration of the patriotism and faithful
attachment to the king which have always animated the people of
Prussia, and manifested themselves most strikingly in times of
danger, there is but an opportunity required to give a definite
direction to these sentiments, and to the desire for activity which
distinguishes so many young men, that they may swell by their
accession to the army the ranks of the older defenders of the
country, whom they would emulate in nobly fulfilling the first of
all duties incumbent upon us. For this reason his majesty has
designed to order the organization of companies of volunteers, to be
embodied with the regiments of infantry and cavalry already in the
service, that an opportunity to enter the army in a manner suitable
to their education, and their position in life, may be given to all
those classes who, under the existing conscription laws, are exempt
from service, and are rich enough to pay for their own outfit and
horse, and that a prospect of distinguishing themselves may be held
out to men who, owing to their education and intellect, might
immediately do good service, and soon be appointed line and field
officers.' [Footnote: Hardenberg issued this manifesto at Breslau,
on the 3d of February; it was published at Berlin on the 5th.] It is
unnecessary for me to read the conclusion of the proclamation," said
Schleiermacher. "You know enough, for you know now that the king
calls his people; that he calls upon all the youths and men of his
kingdom to rally round him, and that he requests, and does not order
them to do so. The country is in danger; and not the king's order,
but your own voluntary action, is to make you soldiers of the
fatherland and put arms into your hands. Remember that your free
will is your most precious and sacred possession, and that he is
twice a hero whom it actuates, and is not forced into duty. No
greater honor can be conferred on you than that your country calls
you, trusts in your strong arm, and hopes in your free will to save
it from destruction. Take that into consideration, and decide then
whether you will stay at home or obey the call."

The two men who had been by his side at the head of the procession,
Jahn, the brave Turner, and the chivalrous La Motte Fouque, now
ascended the balcony.

"I do not care to stay at home when my country calls me to her aid!"
exclaimed M. de la Motte Fouque, in a loud, sonorous voice. "I
joyfully offer my services as a soldier. I have a wife and children,
but my country is to me more precious than they are, and I enroll
here my name as the first volunteer who responds to the call of his
king and country."

"And I enroll my name as the second volunteer!" exclaimed Jahn, the
Turners' father. "I swear here to my country that I will joyously
fight for it. Henceforth, my blood and life belong to the
fatherland.--And where are you, my boys, my Turners? Shall I march
out all alone, or will you accompany me?"

"We will go with you!" cried a hundred youthful voices, and their
enthusiastic shouts rent the sky. "We will march with you! We will
fight for the fatherland!" And the crowd, carried away by what they
saw and heard--the men with tearful eyes, the youths with flashing
glances--all shouted: "We will march with you! We will fight for the
fatherland!" Neighbor gave his hand to neighbor, and friend embraced
friend; those who had never before seen each other understood the
common feeling, and those who had never exchanged a word conversed
now like old acquaintances. One grand impulse seemed to move the
multitude--one patriotic feeling beamed from all eyes--one vow
burned in all hearts: to be faithful soldiers to their country. It
was no mere transitory enthusiasm, soon to disappear, and to be
succeeded by a corresponding reaction--it was no momentary ardor
kindled by the manifesto issued at Breslau, but the sacred fire of
patriotism burning in the heart of the whole people of Prussia, and
increased from day to day. Every one felt himself a soldier, and
would have considered it a disgrace to remain at home while others
marched to the war of liberation.

The pupils of the lyceums closed their books, and the teachers did
not prevent them; they only appeared in the school-rooms, to say to
the half-grown youths: "Farewell! The country has called us! Let us
march to the field! Those of you who have reached their seventeenth
year, and are willing to fight, follow us!" And, with shouts of
exultation, the older youths rallied round their teachers, while the
younger ones retired with tearful eyes, as if ashamed of their age.
What occurred in the lyceum was repeated in the offices, the courts,
the counting-houses of the bankers and merchants. No one would stay
at home, or refuse the country his arm and his strength. All selfish
calculations, all distinctions of rank had ceased. Princes and
counts were seen in the ranks of the volunteers by the side of the
humblest youths; and poor men, who had sold every thing they had to
buy arms and a uniform, did not think of their future, or what was
to become of them after their return from the war. The fatherland
had called them, and they voluntarily took up arms in its defence.
Death had lost its terrors, life had lost its value. With exulting
hearts, mothers saw their sons preparing for the struggle. The
affianced bride uncomplainingly clasped her departing lover for the
last time in her arms; without fear for the fate of his wife and
children, the husband and father embraced his dear ones, and his
wife did not attempt to dissuade him. She would have despised him if
he desired to remain, and loved his wife and his children more
devotedly than his country, calling to him in the hour of her peril.

Four days had not yet elapsed since the publication of the manifesto
of the king, when there stood on the Gendarmes market at Berlin one
hundred and fifty young volunteers, who, within a few days, had
fully armed and equipped themselves, either from their own means, or
with the assistance of friends, and who were now about to march to
Potsdam in order to set out with a company of ninety volunteers,
which had been recruited in that city for the king's headquarters at
Breslau. [Footnote: Nine thousand young men volunteered at Berlin in
the first three days after the manifesto was issued, and active
preparations were made to uniform and equip them at the earliest
moment.] All Berlin wished to participate in the farewell of this
first company of volunteers which were sent to its king. Every one
desired once more to shake hands with the courageous defenders of
the country--to shout a love-greeting, a last wish to them, and
bless the soldiers of the fatherland. The windows of the houses on
the Gendarmes market were therefore filled with ladies and children,
who greeted the departing volunteers with their handkerchiefs, with
wreaths and flowers; the church bells were ringing in their honor,
and the fathers of the city, the burgomasters, and other members of
the municipality, adorned with their golden chains, were assembled
on the market-place to conduct the young soldiers, in the name of
the city, to the gate, and behind them a dense multitude filled the
square. Those remaining looked gloomy, and envied their brethren,
because they were to take the field at so early a day; wishing thorn
joy, they shouted: "Prepare quarters for us; we shall soon follow
you!"

The church bells were ringing, and amid their solemn peals and the
deafening cheers of the many thousands who nodded to them in the
streets, and from the windows of the houses, the young soldiers left
the Gendarmes market, escorted by the members of the municipality.
They did not, however, march directly to the Potsdam gate. They
would not leave Berlin without receiving the blessing of the Church,
and this was to be given by the man who read to them the manifesto
four days before, and who had exhorted them to comply with the call
of their country. A committee, appointed by the young volunteers,
had therefore waited on Schleiermacher, and requested him to give
the blessing of the Church to their grave undertaking, and he gladly
granted their request. The procession marched to Trinity church.
There were waiting their mothers, sisters, and brides, greeting them
with loving glances, and beckoning them to occupy the reserved
places, embracing and praying hand in hand with them for the last
time. The organ poured forth its solemn concords, and from all lips
burst forth the anthem of "In allen meinen Thaten lass ich den
Hochsten rathen." [Footnote: "In all my deeds. I let the Highest
counsel."] The last notes of the music had not yet died away, when
the noble face of Schleiermacher appeared in the pulpit. His eyes
were beaming as never before; his voice was never so fervent and
powerful, nor had he ever spoken with such irresistible eloquence,
energy, and courage, as on that day. A profound silence reigned in
the vast building; every one listened eagerly to the inspiring words
of the prophet of a new and better era, and inwardly resolved to
remember the stirring exhortations which Schleiermacher now, in
concluding his sermon, addressed to the young men, that they may
remain pure and true in the service of so righteous a cause. The
thoughts of the audience were with God; to Him their hearts had all
turned. But now Schleiermacher's voice grew softer; his eyes, which
had hitherto been raised toward heaven, looked upon the wives and
mothers, who sat in long lines before him. "Rejoice in the Lord, ye
mothers," he said, "blessed are you in having given birth to such
sons! blessed your breasts that nourished such children! God gave
them to you, and you give them to the fatherland! Rejoice in the
Lord, for He will achieve great things through them! Rejoice, and do
not weep!" But now they could restrain no longer their tears and
sobs. The words addressed to them had touched their feelings. They
felt their hearts' wounds, and wept aloud. An electric shock, as it
were, pervaded the whole assembly; not an eye remained dry, not a
heart was unmoved; even Schleiermacher's voice was tremulous when he
uttered his "Amen!"

They departed from the church to the Potsdam gate, and along the
road leading to Potsdam, continuing their march on the following
day, after being joined by the company which La Motte Fouque had
recruited in that city. The grief of their separation from their
dear ones was forgotten as they hastened toward the future--a future
of battles and victories.

"Now, no more tears, no more sighs! Let us sing a merry song!" said
the young volunteers.

"Yes. Where is a poet who can sing us a song such as we need now?"

"Fouque is here; let him sing! Yes, Fouque is among us! We have
elected him captain! He is a chivalrous soldier, and gained his
spurs in 1794, during the war against the French. He deserves to be
our captain!"

"But he deserves, too, to be our bard, for by his 'Undine' he has
also won his laurels as a poet."

"Let us have a song, brave La Motte Fouque!" shouted all the
volunteers. "There is Father Jahn, who will persuade him. Ask Fouque
to sing us a war-song!"

Jahn galloped up to the poet, who was riding in thoughtful silence
at the head of his company; it is true, he had heard the
solicitations of the young men, but continued his way, smiling and
muttering to himself. "Fouque," shouted Jahn, in his stentorian
voice; "do you not hear the requests of our bold youths? Give some
expression to the enthusiasm burning in their hearts. Let us have a
song, then, my poet!"

"Well," replied Fouque, quickly raising his head, and smiling on his
friend; "I have just composed a poem. Listen to me, my friends!" He
turned his horse, and in a loud voice commanded the volunteers to
halt.

"You wish me to sing. I will give you a song just as it has sprung
up in my heart during the march, and I have also composed the air.
When I have finished repeat it with me!" And he began to sing in a
powerful voice:

"Frisch auf zum frohlichen Jagen,
 Es ist schon an der Zeit!
 Es fangt schon an zu tagen,
 Der Kampf ist nicht mehr weit!"

"Auf lasst die Faulen liegen,
 Gonnt ihnen ihre Ruh;
 Wir rucken mit Vergnugen
 Dem lieben Konig zu."

"Der Konig hat gesproehen:
 Wo sind meine Jager nun?
 Da sind wir aufgebrochen,
 Ein wackeres Werk zu thun."

"Wir woll'n ein Heil erbauen
 Fur all das deutsche Land,
 Im frohen Gottvertrauen
 Mit rustig starker Hand."

"Schlaft ruhig nun, Ihr Lieben!
 Am vaterlichen Heerd,
 Derweil mit Feindeshieben
 Wir ringen Keck bewehrt."

"O Wonne die zu schlutzen,
 Die uns das Liebste sind!
 Hei! Lasst Kanonen hlitzen.
 Ein frommer muth gewinnt!"

"Die mehrsten zieh'n einst wieder
 Zuruck in Siegerreih'n;
 Dann toen Jubellieder
 Dess' wird'ne Freude sein!"

"Wie gluh'n davon die Herzen
 So froh und stark und weich.
 Wer fallt, der kann's verschmerzen,
 Der hat das Himmelreich!"

[Footnote: La Motte Fouque composed this poem on the march from
Potsdam to Breslau, whither he conducted the first companies of
volunteers. It was the first song of liberty published in 1813:

Mount! mount! for sacred freedom fight!
 The battle soon must be.
 The night is past, and red the light
 Streams o'er the dewy lea.

Up! let the coward idlers sleep!
 Who envies them their rest?
 We march with joyful hearts to keep
 Our honored king's request.

To us he said: "My brave ones all!--
 My chasseurs! where are they?"
 Responsive to his patriot call
 We hastened to obey.

We vowed to strike with mighty hand
 As it becomes the free--
 A safeguard for our native land
 With Heaven's grace to be.

Sleep calmly, wives and children dear
 To God your sorrows tell.
 The hour, alas! of blood is near,
 But all your fears dispel.

Approved we hasten to the field;
 What though the strife begins!
 'Tis joy our loved ones thus to shield,
 For pious courage wins.

Returning, all may not be found!
 But some, in glory's grave,
 Shall never hear the songs resound
 Of those they died to save.

Come, glowing heart! despise the pain
 Of death; for, evermore,.
 Shall he who falls, a kingdom gain
 On heaven's eternal shore!]



CHAPTER XXIII.

LEONORA PROHASKA.


Old Sergeant Prohaska sat sad and musing in his old easy-chair near
the stove; before him lay a copy of the Vossische Zeitung, which he
had just perused. He laid it aside with a sigh; supporting his head
on the leathern cushion, he puffed clouds of smoke from his short
clay pipe. Close to him, at the small table standing in the niche of
the only window which admitted light into the small, dark room, sat
a young girl, busily engaged in drawing threads from a large piece
of linen, and putting them carefully on the pile of lint on the
table. She was scarcely eighteen years old, but her noble, pale
countenance wore an expression of boldness and energy; her forehead
was high, and vigorous thoughts seemed to dwell there. Large black
eyes were flashing under her finely-arched eyebrows, which almost
touched each other above her beautifully-chiselled, slightly-curved
nose. Round her crimson lips was an expression of melancholy, and
her cheeks seemed to have been bleached by grief rather than
sickness. She was tall and well formed, but her whole appearance was
more remarkable for the stern and heroic character it indicated than
for grace and loveliness. While she was thus at work, and engaged in
preparing lint, troubled thoughts seemed to pass from time to time
across her face, and she raised her eyes to heaven with an angry and
reproachful expression. She impulsively cast aside the linen, and
jumped up. "No, father," she exclaimed, drawing a deep breath, "I
cannot bear it any longer!"

"What is it that you cannot bear any longer, Leonora?" exclaimed her
father, surprised.

"To sit here and prepare lint while the whole world is astir, while
every heart is swelling with patriotism and warlike enthusiasm! And
I cannot do any thing, I cannot join in the universal exultation--I
can do nothing but prepare lint! Father, it is heart-rending, and I
cannot bear it!"

"Must not I bear it?" asked her father in a tremulous voice. "Must
not I sit still behind the stove, while all my old comrades are
taking up arms and marching into the field? My right leg was buried
at Jena, and I must limp about now as a miserable cripple; I cannot
even take revenge for the disgrace of Jena; I cannot even pay the
French for my leg by cutting off the heads of some of their accursed
soldiers. I am a cripple, while others are hastening into the field!
When _I_ must bear that, a girl like you ought assuredly not to
complain."

"Father," said Leonora, with flashing eyes, "do not despise me
because I am a girl! Did you not tell me of the heroic women of
Spain and the Tyrol, and of their glorious deeds? Did you not tell
me that, by their intrepid patriotism, they had set a sublime
example to the men. and that by their influence their country was to
be saved? Was not the heroine of Saragossa a woman? Did not women
and girls fight like heroes in the gorges of the Tyrol?"

"Yes, that is true," exclaimed her father, smiling, "but then they
were Spanish and Tyrolese girls. They have fire in their veins, and
love their country with an undying patriotism."

"Ah, one need not be born in the South to have warm blood,"
exclaimed Leonora, ardently, "It is not the sun that gives love of
country, and patriotic hearts may throb even under the snow."  "Have
you such a heart, Leonora?" asked her father, casting on her a long
and searching look.

"Father," she said, pressing her hands on her bosom, "there is
something burning here like fire; and at times when I hear how all
are rallying round the flag--and how the warlike enthusiasm is
pervading the whole country, I feel as if the blood would burst from
my heart and head. It is true I am no Spanish girl, but I am a
Prussian girl!"

"Ah, I would you were a Prussian boy!" sighed her father, shaking
his head. "If you were, I believe you would look well in the ranks
of the volunteers; they would not likely reject the young soldier of
eighteen."

"I am quite tall and strong, although I am but a girl," exclaimed
Leonora, with flashing eyes; "I have seen among the soldiers who
started yesterday many volunteers who were a great deal shorter and
slighter than I am."

"But, at all events, they had shorter hair and a stronger voice than
you have," laughed her father.

"Oh, I can cut off my hair," she said, quickly; "and as for my
voice, Kalbaum, the tailor, who accompanied the volunteers, has a
voice no stronger than mine, and yet he was accepted. And then--"

"Hush!" interposed her father quickly. "I hear your mother coming.
Do not speak of such things when she is present. It would alarm her.
Bold thoughts must be locked up in our hearts, for, if we speak of
them, it looks like braggadocio; we are only allowed to speak of
bold deeds. Do not forget that, my daughter, and give me a kiss!"
Leonora hastened to her father, and encircling him with her arms,
pressed a glowing kiss on the lips of the old invalid.

"Father," she whispered, "I believe you understand me, and can read
my thoughts!"

"God alone is able to read our thoughts," said her father, solemnly,
"and it is only from Him that we must not conceal any thing. But
what is that? Is not your mother weeping outside?" And old Prohaska
jumped up and limped, as quickly as his wooden leg permitted, toward
the door.

At this moment the door was noisily opened, and a woman appeared on
the threshold. Behind her was a tall, slender, and pale boy,
scarcely fourteen years of age. Both entered the room with tearful
eyes and loud lamentations.

"Wife, what is the matter--what has happened?" exclaimed Old
Prohaska, anxiously.

"Why do you weep, my brother?" asked Leonora, hastening to the boy,
and clasping him in her arms. He laid his head on her breast and
wept aloud.

"What has happened?" wailed his mother. "All our hopes are blasted;
we have been rejected!"

"Rejected? Where? And by whom?" asked the invalid, in amazement.

"By the military commission!" cried his wife, drying her tears with
her long apron.

"What did you want of the military commission? Did you desire to
become a vivandiere, old woman?"

"No, but Charles wanted to enlist, father! Yes, you must know all
now. We thought we would prepare a joyous surprise for you, but the
good Lord and the military commission would not let us do so. Look,
old man! I perceived very well how painful it was to you, and how it
was gnawing at your heart, that your wooden leg compels you to
remain here at Potsdam, and prevents your marching out with the
soldiers who are hurrying to the headquarters of their king at
Breslau."

"Yes, it is true, it is very sad! My general, old Blucher, under
whom I fought in 1806, is also at Breslau, and what will he say when
he looks for his old hussars of 1806, and does not find Prohaska! He
will say, 'Prohaska has become a coward--a lazy old good-for-
nothing.'"

"No, father, he will not say so," exclaimed Leonora, ardently; "if
he knows you, he cannot say so.--But speak, mother, tell us what
makes you weep, and what has so afflicted my dear brother?"

"Both of us noticed father's secret grief, and comprehended how
painful it was for him to be unable to participate in the war." said
her mother. "I had not mentioned it to any one, and to God alone I
had complained how grievous it is that I have no full-grown son,
who, instead of his father, might serve his king at the present
time. Last night, when all of you were asleep, Charles came to my
bedside. 'Mother,' he said to me, 'mother, I must tell you
something! I will and must enlist! It would be an eternal disgrace
for me to stay at home, particularly as father is disabled, and
cannot fight any more. Mother, the honor of the family is at stake;
I must enlist or die!'"

"Ah, you are a true brother of mine," exclaimed Leonora, with a
radiant face, drawing the boy closer to her heart.

"And what did you reply to Charles, mother?" asked the invalid.

"'You are my only son, and my heart would break if I should lose
you. But you are right; it would be a disgrace for our whole family
if it did not furnish a single soldier to the king and the
fatherland, and if no substitute should enlist in your father's
place, and revenge him on the French for crippling hiin at Jena. I
will go with you to the military commission to-morrow, and we will
pray the gentlemen to accept you, although you are still under age.
We will pray them until they overlook your youth and enroll your
name. But say nothing about it to father until we have been
successful; then, tell him all.'"

"And you really went with him to the commission?" asked the old man,
hastily.

His wife responded by nodding and sighing, and burst again into
tears.

"Yes, father," exclaimed the boy, raising his head from Leonora's
shoulder, and drying his eyes with an angry gesture, "we went to the
military commission. We begged, implored, and wept! It was all in
vain! They said they were not allowed to accept boys of fourteen; I
was too young, and looked too feeble. In our despair we went to
Eylert, the preacher, and begged him to intercede for me. He is
always kind to me, and often praises me for my industry in preparing
for confirmation. I revealed my whole heart to him; I told him I
must consider myself disgraced, if now, that every one who is not a
coward is taking the sword, I am compelled to go to school. I told
him I should not dare to raise my eyes, and should think all the
inhabitants would point with their fingers at me; the children in
the streets would deride me; and the old men would contemptuously
avert their heads when I passed them."

"Ah, my beloved brother," exclaimed Leonora, enthusiastically,
"hitherto I have loved you as a child, but henceforth I shall love
as a hero!"

"But it was all in vain," cried Charles, sobbing aloud in his grief
and anger. "Even M. Eylert could not give us any comfort. He said it
was impossible for the commission to accept me, for, though they
overlooked my youth and my somewhat feeble health, they could not
enroll me because I had not yet been confirmed. But as we begged so
very hard, and shed so many tears, M. Eylert had at last pity on me,
and went with us once more to the military commission. But it was of
no avail. I am under age and have no certificate of confirmation,
and M. Eylert's intercession was fruitless. [Footnote: Eylert,
"Frederick William III.," vol. ii., p. 160.] They rejected me!
Father, what am I to do now? I am doomed to remain here at Potsdam,
with my tall figure, which will charge me with cowardice in the eyes
of every one, while my schoolmates, who are much shorter than I am,
are allowed to enlist and fight for their country. Oh, mother, why
am I not your eldest child'? Then I should he preserved from the
disgrace of running about as a coward, or of being obliged to have
my certificate of birth constantly in my pocket!"

"My brother," said Leonora, laying her strong white hand on her
brother's light hair, "if I could give you the four years by which I
am older than you, I would do so, though it should cost me my life,
for I comprehend your grief. But I am innocent of your affliction,
and I pray you, therefore, not to be angry with me. It was God's
will that I should be older, and have your place. You must take into
consideration that the war may last a long time; six months hence
you will be confirmed, and then it will be time for you to enlist in
the king's army, and fight for liberty. Besides, my dear brother, it
is not even settled yet whether all these warlike preparations are
really intended for France. To be sure, every one is in hope that
such is the case, but as yet no one is sure of it, for the king has
not declared his intentions, and he is still at peace with France."

"No, the king has declared his intentions," cried Charles,
impetuously. "And that is exactly what causes my distress and my
despair. It is certain now that there will be war with France. You
do not know, then, what has occurred?"

"No," exclaimed father and daughter at the same time, "we do not--we
have not yet seen any one. Tell us the news, Charles."

"Well, we heard already at the office of the military commission
that a courier had just arrived from Breslau, and brought a
proclamation, addressed by the king to his people; they said it had
immediately been sent to the printing-office, and was to be posted
on all the street corners. The courier, besides, brought the news
that the Emperor of Russia had arrived at Breslau, and that the
first visit was to Baron von Stein, who secretly lived at Breslau."

"Hurrah!" shouted old Prohaska. "Prussia is safe now, for Baron von
Stein is back again, and he will know how to expel Napoleon and his
French from the country. Where Minister von Stein is he tolerates no
French, and that is the reason why Bonaparte hates him, and has
always been afraid of him. My boy, this is glorious news! Stein is
back again; now we shall be all right! Have you any other news?"

"Yes, there is a great deal yet, father, but the tears burst from my
eyes when I think of it, because I am unable to participate in the
struggle."

"Oh, what is it?" begged Leonora. "What else has happened at
Breslau?"

"Well," said Charles, in a tremulous and melancholy voice, "the
courier reports that many hundreds of volunteers are arriving every
day, not only from all parts of Prussia, but the whole of Germany,
and that the city is rejoicing as though a festival were to be
celebrated, and not as though we were on the eve of a terrible war.
Above all, there is Major von Lutzow, round whose standard hosts of
young men are rallying, enlisting a corps of volunteer riflemen, to
whom he has given the name of 'The Legion of Vengeance.' They are to
wear a black uniform as sign of the sorrow and disgrace that have
weighed down the fatherland since 1806, and which they intend to
avenge before discarding it."

"Oh, that is a grand idea," exclaimed Leonora, with flashing eyes.
"To march out in mourning--to rush to the battlefield like angels of
death and shout, 'We are the legion of avengers, sent by Prussia to
atone for her disgrace! Our uniform is black, but we intend to dye
it red in the blood of the French!' And then to fight exultantly in
the thickest of the fray for the fatherland, and for our queen,
whose heart was broken by the national dishonor and wretchedness!
Oh, it must be blissful, indeed, to march with that legion to avenge
the tears of Queen Louisa, and--"

"But Leonora!" cried her mother, staring in amazement at the young
girl who stood before her with glowing cheeks, panting bosom, and
uplifted right arm, as if she had just drawn the sword--"but,
Leonora! what is the matter with you? What does your impulsiveness
mean? Has Charles infected you with his enthusiasm? Do you want to
increase the excitement and despair of the poor boy? He cannot join
the 'Legion of Venegance;' he cannot be one of Lutzow's riflemen!"

"No," said Leonora, vehemently and almost triumphantly, "HE cannot
be one of Lutzow's riflemen!"

"Leonora!" cried her father, in a warning tone, "Leonora, what are
you saying?"

She started and dropped her arm. "It is true," she muttered to
herself, "we should not betray our thoughts; God alone must know
them."

Her father limped to her, and, laying his hands on her shoulder,
looked into her excited and glowing face. "Come, my daughter," he
said, "let us go out into the street and read what the king says to
his people. For I believe the king's proclamation must have been
printed by this time. Come, Leonora!"

"No, it is unnecessary for you to go into the street for that
purpose, father," said Charles, "we have brought a copy of the
proclamation; the man who was to post them gave us one for you,
saying it would no doubt gladden your heart. Where did you leave it,
mother?"

"I put it into my pocket. Here it is!" said the mother, taking a
large printed sheet from the pocket hanging under her apron. "There,
father, read it."

The old man took the paper and handed it to Leonora.

"Read it to us, my child," he said, tenderly. "I like best to hear
from your lips what the king says to his people."



CHAPTER XXIV.

JOAN OF ORLEANS.


Leonora took the paper and read as follows, with crimson cheeks, and
her heart aglow with enthusiasm:

"To my People!--I need not state the causes of the impending war
either to my faithful people or to the Germans in general.
Unprejudiced Europe is fully aware of them. We succumbed to the
superior strength of France. The peace which wrested from me one-
half of my subjects, did not confer any blessings upon us, but
inflicted deeper wounds upon us than war itself. The enemy was bent
on exhausting the resources of the country; the principal fortresses
remained in his hands; agriculture was paralyzed, and so were the
manufactures of our cities, which had formerly reached so proud an
eminence; trade was everywhere obstructed, and the sources of
prosperity were thus almost entirely ruined. The country was rapidly
impoverished. By the most conscientious fulfilment of the
engagements I had taken upon myself, I hoped to mitigate the onerous
burdens imposed upon my people, and to convince the French emperor
at length that it was to his own advantage to leave Prussia in the
enjoyment of her independence; but my best intentions were foiled by
arrogance and perfidy; and we saw only too plainly that Napoleon's
treaties, even more than his wars, would slowly and surely ruin us.
The moment has come when all deceptions have ceased.
Brandenburgians, Prussians, Silesians, Pomeranians, Lithuanians! you
know what you have suffered for seven years past; you know what your
fate would be if we should not succeed in the struggle about to
begin. Remember the history of the past; remember the noble elector;
the great and victorious Frederick; remember what our ancestors
conquered with their blood--freedom of conscience, honor,
independence, commerce, industry, and science; remember the great
examples of our powerful allies, especially the Spaniards and the
Portuguese. Even smaller nations, for the same blessings, entered
into a desperate struggle with more powerful foes, and achieved a
glorious victory. Remember the heroic Swiss and Dutch. Great
sacrifices will be required of all classes, for our undertaking is a
great one, and the numbers and resources of our enemies are not to
be underrated. You will prefer to make these sacrifices for the
fatherland and your legitimate king rather than for a foreign ruler,
who, as is proved by many examples, would devote your sons and your
last resources to objects entirely foreign to you. Confidence in
God, courage, perseverance, and the assistance of our allies, will
crown our honest exertions with victory. But whatever sacrifices may
be required, they are not equivalent to the sacred objects for which
we make them, and for which we must fight and conquer, if we do not
wish to cease being Prussians and Germans. It is the last, decisive
effort which we make for our existence, our independence, our
prosperity. There is no other issue than an honorable peace or a
glorious overthrow. You would not shrink even from the latter, for
honor's sake. But we may confidently hope for the best. God and our
firm determination will make us victorious, and we shall then obtain
peace and the return of happier times."

"FREDERICK WILLIAM.    BRESLAU, March 17, 1813."

[Footnote: This proclamation was drawn up by Counsellor von Hippel,
who proposed that the king should apply to his people directly, and
call upon them to rise against the French. He communicated it to the
chancellor of state at one of the conferences held every evening at
Breslau, at Hardenberg's rooms, in presence of Gneisenau,
Scharnhorst, Thile, and a few others. Hardenberg and all the rest
approved it, and so did the king, when it was laid before him on the
following day.--Vide Hippel's work on the "Life of Frederick William
III.," p. 63.]

A pause ensued when Leonora ceased reading. Her father, who was
standing by her side, and was supporting his hands on his crutch,
heard her with a very grave face. Her mother sank down on one of the
cane chairs, and listened devoutly, her hands clasped, and her eyes
turned toward heaven; while her son, who was sitting by her side,
leaned his arms on the table, and buried his face in his hands.

"Is that all?" asked the invalid, after a while. "I should really
like to hear more of it, for it sounds as sacred as a church organ.
Did you read it all, Leonora?"

"No, father, there is still another manifesto. It is printed under
the one I read to you. You yourself must read it, for my heart is
throbbing as if about to burst. In his second manifesto the king
orders a 'landwehr' and a 'landsturm' to be formed. Listen to what
he says at the end of this second manifesto: 'My cause,' he says,
'is the cause of my people, and of all patriots in Europe.'"

"Yes, he is right," said old Prohaska; "the king's cause is our
cause!"

"Queen Louisa died for us all," exclaimed Leonora; "we should all
join the Legion of Vengeance--that is, to avenge her death!"

"And I--I cannot do any thing," wailed Charles, raising his face,
which was bathed in tears, and lifting up his hands as if
supplicating God to help him. "I must wait and suffer here; I am
doomed to remain a boy while my school-fellows have become men."

"Hush," said his mother, "an idea strikes me; we may, after all, be
somewhat useful to our country, though we are unable to furnish
soldiers for it. There is a great deal to be done besides fighting.
The king's manifesto says expressly: 'Great sacrifices will be
required of all classes.' Well, then, my dear ones, let us make
sacrifices for the fatherland and our king!"

"What sacrifices do you mean, mother?" asked the invalid. "What have
we, if we cannot furnish any soldiers?"

"We have our labor," exclaimed his wife, with pride. "When there is
war, and battles are fought, there are wounded soldiers, I suppose?"

"Of course, and cripples, too," said the invalid, pointing to his
wooden leg.

"And the wounded are brought home and conveyed to the hospitals, are
they not? Who is to attend to them, to dress their wounds, give them
food, and nurse them? We women will do so! That is our task! I will
nurse the first wounded brought to Potsdam. The first maimed
soldier, however, whom I meet at the hospital, and whose right leg
has been amputated as that of my dear husband, we shall take to our
house. You may nurse him here, old man; console him and show him
that he may live quite happily, though with but one leg, and that
wife and children will love their husband and father no less
ardently, provided he is a true man, and has a courageous heart."

"You are right, mother," exclaimed Prohaska. "Let us take a wounded
soldier into our house, and I will nurse him as a brother, teaching
him how to use his wooden leg, while you are at the hospital,
attending to the other sufferers. But you have not thought of the
children. What are Leonora and Charles to do while we are thus
engaged?"

"They can help us," said his wife, quickly. "Leonora will have a
great deal to do. She will prepare lint, make nourishing soups, wash
bandages, and sew shirts and clothing."

The invalid cast a quick glance on Leonora. She stood, drawn up to
her full height, in the middle of the room; a proud, contemptuous
smile was playing about her lips, which uttered no word in reply to
her mother's plans.

"But what will Charles do?" asked Prohaska, quickly. "He cannot be
as useful as his sister."

"Father!" ejaculated Leonora, somewhat reproachfully.

"Hush!" he said, almost sternly, "mother is right; it behooves you
women to prepare lint, cook soups, nurse the wounded, and sew shirts
for them. But war itself is the task of the men. But, my wife,
before telling me what Charles is to do for our wounded, I must ask
a very sad question. Where shall we find money for the expenses we
shall have to incur? We are unfortunately poor, dependent on the
labor of our hands. This small house and my pension of three dollars
a month constitute our whole fortune, and if you were not the most
skilful hair-dresser in Potsdam--if I could not besides earn a few
dollars by making baskets, and if Leonora were not the best
seamstress in town, I should like to know how we could live and send
Charles to the Lyceum. But if we are to nurse the wounded, and
devote our labor to them alone, we shall unfortunately soon lack the
necessaries of life."

"I have thought of all that, husband," said his wife, eagerly. "But,
listen to me! Charles wants also to have his share in our
sacrifices, he does not intend to be idle while all are at work to
promote the welfare of the country. As he cannot enlist and fight,
he must use his head. He will, therefore, publish this
advertisement: 'As I have unfortunately been rejected by the
military commission on account of my youth, and because I have not
yet been confirmed, I request generous patriots to allow me to give
private lessons to their children, that I may earn a sufficient sum
to nurse and support a wounded soldier till his complete recovery.'"

"Yes, I will do that!" exclaimed Charles. "The citizens will learn
then why I have not enlisted, and I shall, moreover, be able to earn
money for the country. I shall certainly get pupils, for my teachers
are pleased with me, and I am already in the first class. I can give
lessons in Latin, Greek, mathematics, and history; I have good
testimonials, and, for the sake of the noble object I have in view,
parents will assuredly intrust their children to me, and pay me well
for my trouble."

"All of you will have employment, then," said Leonora, "and your
labor will benefit the country. But I also want to render myself
useful to the country."

"Well, you can assist me," said her mother; "you can prepare food,
wash, and sew shirts."

"However industrious I might be, mother, I could in that way earn
only as much as my own support would cost," said Leonora, shaking
her head. "I can be of no use to you, I am superfluous; I will go
therefore to another place, where I can render myself useful and
make money."

"But whither do you intend to go, and what do you wish to do?" asked
her mother in amazement, while her father cast searching glances
upon her.

"To Berlin, and seek a situation as saleswoman," said Leonora. "What
money I earn I shall send to you, and you will spend it for your
wounded soldier. You know, mother, my godfather, Rudolph
Werkmeister, who is a merchant at Berlin, has often asked me to go
to see him, and take such a situation at his house. I have always
refused, because I did not like to leave you, but thought I would
stay with you and devote my whole life to nursing you; but God has
decreed otherwise. Yesterday my godfather wrote again, stating that
his wife had been taken sick, and that he was greatly embarrassed
because he had no one at his house on whom he could depend. He
offers me a salary of eighty dollars a year. Now, I pray you, dear
parents, let me go! Let me pursue my own paths, and do my duty as I
understand it. Dear mother, I am sure you will not refuse your
consent? You will permit me to go this very day to Berlin, and make
money for our wounded soldiers?"

"I will, my child," said her mother, her voice trembling with
emotion. "I have no diamonds and golden chains to give my country,
so I give to it the most precious and beautiful jewels I have--my
children. Yes, go, my Leonora; take the situation offered you, and
give the money you earn to the fatherland and its soldiers."

"Oh, thanks, mother!" exclaimed Leonora, hastening to her and
clasping her in her arms--"thanks, for permitting me to put my mite
on the altar of the country!" She kissed her mother with fervent
tenderness, and then turned toward her father. "And you, father,"
she said, in a low and almost timid tone--"you do not say a word--
you do not give your consent."

The invalid stood leaning on his crutch, and looked thoughtfully
into the noble face of his daughter. He then slowly raised his right
hand and laid it on Leonora's shoulder. "I repeat what your mother
said. Like her, I have no treasures to give my country except this
jewel, my Leonora! Go, my daughter!--do what you believe to be your
duty, and may God bless you!" Opening his arms, she threw herself
into them and leaned her head on his breast.

"And now," said Prohaska, gently disengaging himself from a long and
tearful embrace, "let us be calm. These are the first tears I have
wept since the death of our dear Queen Louisa--the first for your
sake, my Leonora! May the Lord forgive them to a poor father who has
but one daughter! The heart will yield to its emotions, but now I
must again be a soldier, who knows no tears!"

"But, husband, Leonora will not leave us immediately," said her
mother. "She must remain yet a day with us. Alas! we discover what
treasures we possessed only when we lose them. I believe I have
never loved Leonora so intensely as I do at this hour, and my heart
is unable to part with her so suddenly. I must first accustom myself
to the separation, and engrave her image upon my soul, that I may
never forget her dear features. Let her stay, then, until to-
morrow!"

The invalid gravely shook his head. "No," he said; "what is to be
done must be done at once; otherwise, our hearts will grow weak, and
our tears soften our resolutions. To-day I can permit Leonora to
leave us; whether I shall be able to do so to-morrow, I do not
know."

"Father, the stage-coach starts for Berlin in two hours, and I shall
take passage in it!" exclaimed Leonora, quickly. "You are right,
what is to be done must be done now, and when we have taken a
resolution, we must not hesitate to carry it into effect. I will go
to my chamber and pack my trunk."

"I will go and help you," said her mother, hastening toward the
door, and leaving the room with Leonora.

"And I will write my advertisement," said Charles. "It must be
published to-morrow, that I am obliged to stay here because my
country will not accept me as a soldier, and that I desire to give
private lessons, the proceeds of which are to be devoted to the
support of a wounded soldier."

"And I--what shall I do?" asked the old invalid, when he was alone.
"I must swallow my tears, and tell no one my thoughts. I shall
quietly accustom myself to the idea that the darling of my heart, my
Leonora, is to leave me, and that my old eyes are to see no more her
dear face, or my ears hear her voice. Ah, when she looked at me, I
felt as though it were spring in my heart, and the sun shining
there; and when I heard her voice I thought it music rejoicing my
soul. Now, how quiet and gloomy all around me will be in the small
house--no more sunshine or music! all will be gone when Leonora is
gone. And will she come back, then?--will not some bullet, some
sword-blade--hush, my thoughts! I must not betray them! Be still, my
heart, and weep! Be still and--" Tears choked his voice, and the
strong man, overwhelmed with grief, sank into his easy-chair and
sobbed aloud. After a long time he raised himself again and dried
his tears. "Fie, Sergeant Prohaska!" he said aloud. "You sit here
and cry like an old woman, and wring your hands in grief, instead of
being glad and thanking the Lord that a substitute has been found
for the invalid sergeant with the wooden leg. Thunder and lightning,
Sergeant Prohaska! I advise you to behave yourself, and not be weak
and foolish, while women are becoming men. Keep your head erect,
turn your eyes on the enemy, and then, 'Charge them!' as old father
Blucher used to say. I will go to work now," he continued, drawing a
deep breath, after repeatedly pacing the small room with measured
steps. "Yes, I will go to work, and that no one may discover that I
have wept, I will sing a beautiful song I learned yesterday from a
volunteer. Yes, I will work and sing!" He hastened to the chamber
adjoining the sitting-room, and brought from it a neat half-finished
basket upon which he had been at work the day before. "It must be
finished to-day; I have promised it," he said, sitting down on his
old easy-chair. He then commenced working assiduously, and sang in a
powerful voice:

"Nun mit Gott! Es ist beschlossen!
 Auf, Ihr wackern Streitgenossen,
 Endlich kommt der Ehrentag!
 Besser flugs und f rohlich sterben,
 Als so langsam bin verderben,
 Und versiechen in der Schmach."

"Endlich darf das Herz sich regen,
 Sich die Zunge frei bewegen,
 Alle Fesseln sind eutzwei.
 Ach, da Alles schier zerstoben,
 Kam der Retterarm from oben,
 Neugeboren sind wir, fred!"

"Tag der Freiheit, Tag der Wonne!
 Bruder, seht! es tanzt die Sonne,
 Wie am ersten Ostertag!
 Todte sprengen ihre Grufte,
 Und durch Berg und Thai und Klufte
 Hallt ein freudig Jauchzen nach!"

"Auferstanden, auferstanden
 Aus der Knechtschaft Todesbanden,
 Streiter Gottes, nun zu Hauf!
 Unsre Adler! Ha sie wittern
 Ihrer Raub--die Feinde zittern,
 Unsre Adler fahren auf!"

"Zu den Waff en, zu den Rossen,
 Auf, Ihr wackern Kampfgenossen
 Er ist da, Der Ehrentag!
 Besser flugs und frohlich sterben,
 Als so langsam hin verderben,
 Und versiechen in der Schmach!"

[Footnote:
 It is resolved in God's great name!
 Up, comrades! to the field of fame!
 This day of glory save.
 Quickly and merrily to die
 Is better than the sick-bed sigh,
 And an unhonored grave.

Our heart at last resumes its life--
 Our tongues now urge to holy strife;
 The broken chains we see.
 When all seemed lost, a saving hand
 From heaven vouchsafes to bless our land,
 And make us strong and free.


O happy day! The sun new-born
 Is dancing as on Easter morn!
 See, risen brothers, see!

"We come from slavery's grave unbound,
 And mountains and the vales resound
 With songs of jubilee.

Ascending from Oppression's night,
 Behold the dawn of freedom's light!
 Soldiers of God, arise!
 The enemy will rue this day,
 For victory's eagle scents the prey
 And onward quickly flies.

To arms! to horse! my comrades brave!
 And let the battle-standard wave,
 For now is honor's day.
 The dying shout of bloody strife
 Is better than the pining life
 That sinks by slow decay."]

"Yes, it is better to die quickly and merrily than slowly pine away
and perish in disgrace," repeated a sonorous voice behind him. It
was Leonora, who had just entered the room, unnoticed by her father,
and had listened to the last verse of his song. "Yes, the song is
right," she said, enthusiastically. "But I, father, have already
been pining away for a long time. The first volunteer I saw was as a
dagger that pierced my soul, and ever since I have been ill and
suffering, and in my heart a voice has been continually singing the
words I once heard at the theatre: 'I wish to be a man!'"

"And why do you wish to be a man?" asked her father, bowing his
head, and seemingly devoting his whole attention to his work.

"Because a man is allowed to do freely and boldly what he deems
right and good," replied Leonora; "because, when the fatherland
calls him, he may step forth with a bold front, and reply: 'Here I
am! To thee, my country, belongs my arm--my blood! For thee I am
ready to fight, and if need be to die!' Father, when a man talks
thus, his words are sublime--the women clasp their hands and listen
devoutly to him, and the children fall on their knees and pray for
him. But if a girl talk thus, it would be as mockery; the women
would deride their heroic sister, and the children point at and
shout after her, 'Look at the foolish girl who wants to do what is
solely the task of man! Look at the crazy one, who imagines she can
do men's work!' Her most sacred sentiments, her most patriotic
desires and resolutions, would be mercilessly ridiculed!"

"That is the reason, my child," said her father, calmly laboring at
his basket, "why she should not betray her sentiments, and confide
her thoughts to God alone. Have you forgotten what Charles read to
us about Joan of Orleans? She left her parents silently and
secretly, and went whither God called her."

"But her father cursed and disowned her for it," said Leonora, in a
tremulous voice. "Do you think her father was right, merely because
she followed the voice of God, and went out to deliver her king and
country?"

"No," said Prohaska, laying his basket aside and rising, "I do not;
I was always indignant when that particular passage was read to us."

"And what would you have said, father?" asked Leonora, in a tone of
profound emotion. "Imagine me to be Joan, the inspired maid of
Orleans, and that I say: 'Father, I cannot remain any longer in this
narrow dwelling. The voice of the king and the fatherland has
penetrated my heart also, and has called me. I must obey it, for I
feel courageous and strong enough, and it would be cowardly to
disobey.' What would you say if I were Joan of Orleans, and should
talk thus to you?"

"I should say, 'Kneel down, my Leonora, and receive my last
blessing,'" replied Prohaska, straightening himself and approaching
his daughter.

Leonora knelt down, and, raising her tearful eyes to her father,
whispered: "What blessing would you give me if I were Joan of
Orleans? Oh, think I am she, and give me your blessing!"

"If you were Joan of Orleans," responded the old man, solemnly, "and
should kneel before me as you do now, and ask my blessing, I should,
as I do now, lay my hands on your head, and say to you: 'God the
Lord, who holds heaven and earth in His hand, and without whose will
not a hair falls from our head, watch over you and protect you! May
He be with you on the battle-field! May He give you a brave heart, a
strong arm, and a steady eye! May He give you courage to brave
death! Yon have chosen men's work, you have pledged your love and
your life to the fatherland; go, then, and be a man; love your
country like a man, fight like a man, and, if need be, die like a
man!' But when your last hour has come, my daughter, think of your
father, and pray to God with your last thoughts that He may soon
deliver me also, and take me away, for I shall feel lonely on earth
when you are no more, and even the victorious shouts of the
returning would no longer gladden my old soldier's heart if I find
you not among the conquerors. But, hush! let no tear desecrate this
secret hour of our last farewell! God has called all strong and
courageous hearts--follow His call! It is incumbent on every one to
love his country more intensely than parents, brothers, and sisters.
Go, then, my daughter; do your duty, and remember that your father's
blessing will be with you in life as well as in death! And now, give
me a last kiss."

Leonora rose from her knees, and, encircling his neck with her arms,
pressed a glowing kiss on his lips. "Father," she said, looking at
him with a beaming face, "my lips have not yet kissed any man's lips
but yours, and here I swear to you--and may God have mercy on me at
my last hour if I do not keep my oath!--I swear to you that I shall
kiss no man until I am permitted to return to you, my father!"

"I believe you, dear Leonora," said Prohaska, solemnly.

"Leonora, my child, it is time now!" exclaimed her mother, hastily
entering the room. "The postilion has already passed our house, and
in a quarter of an hour the stage-coach will stop at our door. I
have myself gone to the postmaster, and he granted it as a favor
that the stage-coach should stop here, and thus save you the trouble
of going to the post-office. This will enable you to remain with us
fifteen minutes yet."

"But my trunk, mother; we have to take it to the post-office?" asked
Leonora.

"Oh, it would have been too heavy for us," said Mrs. Prohaska;
"Charles and two of his school-mates are just carrying it to the
post-office. Leonora's trunk is quite heavy, father. Thank God, she
is well provided, and for the first year it will be quite
unnecessary for her to buy any thing."

"My dear mother would indeed have packed up all her own things and
dresses for me if I had not prevented her," said Leonora, smiling.

"I should like best to pack up my own heart for you, my dear child,"
exclaimed her mother, deeply moved, "but, as I could not do so, I
put my bridal dress into your trunk. It is a nice silk dress, and I
have worn it only three times in my life--on my wedding-day, and on
the days when my two children were baptized; it is as good as new. I
suppose, husband, you will permit me to give it to her?"

"Of course, but what is she to do with it?" asked Prohaska.

"Why, what a question!" exclaimed Mrs. Prohaska, "she is to wear it,
and look pretty when she goes to parties on Sundays. Leonora, I
suppose you will know what to do with it?"  "Yes, mother, I thank
you from the bottom of my heart for the beautiful present, and I
promise you that I shall use it only in a noble and worthy manner,"
said Leonora, gravely. "My mother's bridal dress shall not be worn
for frivolous purposes, but it shall serve me to attain the highest
and purest objects."

"Oh, I know," whispered the mother, who was scarcely able to
restrain her tears, "I know that you are an excellent girl, and a
good daughter, and that you will never do any thing of which your
old parents would have to be ashamed. You have always been my pride
and joy, and never would I consent to part with you unless every one
had now to make the greatest sacrifices for the king and the
fatherland. But still it is very painful, and--"

"Wife," interposed the old sergeant, "no tears now! When we are
alone we shall have time enough for weeping. As long as Leonora is
here, let us gaze at and rejoice in her.--I have to give you a
commission yet. Go to my general, old Blucher, and tell him he ought
not to be angry with me--that he must not believe me a lazy coward
because I do not go to the war. Tell him that my leg had to be
amputated some time after the battle, and that he ought to excuse my
absence when the roll is called."

"I will assuredly repeat your words to the general, father."

"Why!" asked Mrs. Prohaska, wonderingly, "is General Blucher now at
Berlin?"

"No," said her husband, carelessly, "he is at Breslau, whither all
the volunteers are marching."

"But how is Leonora, then, to repeat your words to him?" asked his
wife, in amazement.

"Father means that I shall tell General Blucher when he comes to
Berlin?" said Leonora, quickly. "They say Blucher will come soon to
expel the French from the capital, and father thinks I might then
repeat those words to his old chieftain."

"Sister, sister, the stage-coach is coming," shouted Charles,
rushing breathlessly into the room. "The postilion has already blown
his bugle for the third time!"

"Well, then, my child, we must part," said the old sergeant, deeply
moved, and clasping Leonora in his arms. "God bless you, my
daughter! Your father's thoughts will always be with you!" He
disengaged himself from her arms, and pushed her gently toward her
mother. The two women remained a long time locked in each other's
arms. Neither of them said a word, but their tears and their last
looks were more eloquent than words.

"And you forget me?" asked Charles, reproachfully. "You do not care
to take leave of me?"

Leonora released herself from her mother's embrace, and encircled
her brother's neck with her arms. "Farewell, darling of my heart!"
she cried. "Be a good son to father and mother, and remember that
you must henceforth love them for both of us. Farewell, brother, and
forgive me for being born earlier than you, and thus preventing your
being in my place. God decreed it thus, putting us in our own
places, and we must both fill them worthily."

"Yes," said Charles, amid his tears, "certainly we will."

A carriage was rattling over the pavement, and stopped in front of
the house. A bugle sounded.

"Father, mother, and brother, farewell!" exclaimed Leonora. Then,
raising her arms to heaven, she added: "God in heaven, watch over
them, and, if such be Thy will, let me return to them!" She hastily
wrapped herself in her cloak, and, without looking at them again,
rushed out of the room, and jumped into the coach.

"Farewell, farewell!" shouted father, mother, and brother, who had
followed her, and were standing in front of the house.

She leaned her head out of the coach window. "Farewell," she
exclaimed, "and God--" The bugle drowned her words; the carriage
rolled away.

The loving relatives gazed after it until it had disappeared around
the next corner, and then returned sighing into the small house.
Charles hastened to his little chamber up-stairs to give vent to his
grief. The parents returned to their sitting-room. "Oh, how still it
is here now, as still as in the grave," sighed Mrs. Prohaska, "for I
miss my child, and will miss her everywhere. Oh, husband, my heart
aches, and I feel as though I had lost my Leonora forever! Ah, why
did we allow her to go? Why did we not keep her here, our child, our
only daughter? Oh! if she should never return, if she should die! O
God, have mercy on a poor mother's heart--protect my dear child!"
She sank down on a chair, and, covering her face with her apron,
sobbed aloud.

The old sergeant paced the room in silence. He scarcely knew that
the tears, like large pearls, were running down his cheeks into his
gray beard. The loud sobs of his wife aroused him. "Hush, wife;
hush!" he said, standing in front of her. "It is too late now for
weeping. Let us rather be glad, for Leonora is possessed of a brave
heart, and has done her duty toward her country and her old invalid
father. Let us, therefore, be glad, and sing!" And he commenced to
sing in a tremulous voice, while the tears were still rolling from
his eyes:

"Ihr Deutsche auf in Sud und Nord!
 Hinweg gemeiner Neid!
 Wir alle reden eine Sprach'
 Und stehen air fur eine Sach'
 Im ehrenvoilen Streit!"

"Und wer sich feig entzieht dem Kampf
 Fur Freiheit und fur Ehr',
 Wer nicht das Schwertergreift zur Stund!
 Der leb' und sterb' als schlechter Hund,
 Der sei kein Deutscher mehr!"

[Footnote:
 Arise, ye Germans, North and South!
 And honor's path pursue.
 Since all one common language speak
 And all one sacred object seek,
 Your jealousies subdue.

Let him who shirks his country's call,
 To freedom and to fame,
 Both live and die a cowardly hound,
 Despised wherever may be found
 A man of German name.]



CHAPTER XXV.

THE NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVES.


Leonora Prohaska reached Berlin at four o'clock in the afternoon. On
the way, closing her eyes, she leaned back on the cushions, so that
her companions paid little attention to her, whom they believed to
be asleep. But Leonora heard every word, and every conversation of
her fellow-travellers strengthened her soul and restored her former
courage. They spoke of the enthusiasm in every city, village, and
house--an enthusiasm spreading far beyond the frontiers of Prussia,
and carrying all away as an irresistible torrent, drawing with it
even the most cautious and timid, and filling the most desponding
and disheartened with joyous hopes. One of the travellers was just
returning from Breslau, and dwelt with impassioned eloquence on the
bustle prevailing there; on the volunteers who were flocking in vast
numbers to that city and parading every day under the king's
windows; and on brave Major von Lutzow, who, with his beautiful
young wife, had come to Breslau, and was endeavoring to live at a
miserable tavern, because no other accommodations were to be had.

"And in the bar-room," he said, "beautiful Madame von Lutzow
receives the names of the volunteers who wish to enlist in the
Legion of Vengeance. Her husband is busily engaged, from dawn till
late at night, in organizing his corps; in trying to procure arms,
horses, and equipments for his men, and his handsome wife is his
recruiting officer. She is as charming as an angel, the daughter of
a wealthy count, and has, by her marriage with Major von Lutzow,
contrary to her parents' wishes, so much exasperated her proud
father that he gave her no dower, but imposed it as a condition of
his consent that Major von Lutzow should marry without any. But the
count's daughter joyously descended from the proud castle to the
humble dwelling of the Prussian major, whom she loved on account of
his bravery, and the scars which he bore on his forehead, and which
he had received in 1806, in the war against the French."

"I know the lady," said the second traveller; "she is a daughter of
the Danish Count von Ahlefeldt, a wonder of loveliness, grace, and
refined manners. She hates the French as intensely as her husband,
and it was precisely this common hatred of the French that brought
them together."

"How so?" asked the other. "Pray tell us all about it."

"Several years ago, the young countess, attended by her governess,
made a journey to a fashionable German watering-place. Both took
dinner at the table d'hote of the 'Kurhaus,' where a crowd of
persons from all countries were assembled. The neighbor of the young
countess at the table happened to be a French officer, who managed
to involve the young lady in a highly animated and interesting
conversation. He told her in a very attractive manner of his
campaigns and travels, and the young countess listened to him with
pleasure and manifested her sympathy for him. The Frenchman dared to
seize her hand and kiss it. The young countess started; a deep blush
suffused her fair face, and, without reflecting, obeying only her
first impulse, she took a glass of water which stood before her, and
poured it over the hand which the Frenchman had dared to kiss.
Several Prussian officers, seated near her had witnessed the
occurrence, and, on noticing how she removed the stain of the French
kiss from her hand, could not refrain from bursting into a loud
cheer. One of them was Major von Lutzow. After dinner he approached
the countess, was introduced to her by a mutual acquaintance, and
expressed his ardent thanks, in the name of all Germans, for the
bold rebuke she had administered to the Frenchman. That was the
beginning of her acquaintance with Major von Lutzow, and the end of
it was her marriage with him. [Footnote: I am indebted for an
account of this occurrence to the Countess Ahlefeldt (formerly
Madame Major von Lutzow) herself, who related it to me with charming
naivete and grace.--L.] She is now at Breslau, and you have seen
her."

"Yes, for I went to the major's headquarters with a friend who
wished to enlist in his corps. We met there, however, only herself.
She received my friend's request to enlist under her husband with so
much grace, with such a look of joy--she dwelt in such soul-stirring
words on the great and holy national war about to break out, and in
which every one ought to participate, that I was quite fascinated by
her eloquence, and would have enlisted at once if I had not already
entered a landwehr regiment."

Not a word of this conversation escaped Leonora, and she said to
herself: "I must make the acquaintance of this lady. I will go to
her, mid she will enlist me for the German fatherland!"

The travellers continued their conversation, relating that Frederick
William had not believed in the success of the first manifesto, in
which he called for volunteers; and, for this reason, had not signed
the manifesto which Chancellor von Hardenberg had drawn up; that
four days afterward the king, who had just explained with unusual
vehemence to General Scharnhorst the utter uselessness of this call,
was interrupted by a strange noise in the street; and that, anxious
to discover what was the cause, he stepped to the window, and
General Scharnhorst followed him; that a line of at least eighty
wagons had come in sight, and in them none but armed men were
seated, who halted in front of the palace, and an aide-de-camp, who
entered the room at that moment, informed the king that they were
volunteers just arrived from Berlin; that Scharnhorst turned to him,
and exclaimed triumphantly: "Will your majesty be convinced now that
your people are ready to fight for you and the fatherland?" and that
the king made no reply, but a flood of tears rushed from his eyes,
and he smiled amidst his emotion.

At length Leonora arrived at Berlin. She stood alone beside her
trunk in the court-yard of the royal post-office building. No notice
was taken of her; no one manifested any sympathy for her; but she
did not flinch, and her heart was free from doubt or anxiety. She
sent for a hackney-coach by one of the boys playing in the court-
yard, and then drove away. But she did not order the coachman to
convey her to her godfather, Werkmeister, the merchant on Jager
Street. Driving first to Tauben Street, the carriage stopped in
front of a large, gloomy house. She alighted, and, begging the
coachman to wait for her, slipped into the house. Quickly ascending
three narrow flights of stairs, she reached a silent corridor, on
both sides of which were small doors, and on each a number had been
painted. Knocking at the door of number three, a female voice
inquired, "Who is there?"

"It is I, Leonora Prohaska!"

A loud cry of joy resounded; the door was hastily opened, and a
young soldier in full uniform appeared on the threshold. It was now
Leonora who uttered a cry, and blushing drew back. "Pardon me," she
said, timidly; "there must be a mistake. I am looking for my friend,
a young milliner, named Caroline Peters."

The young soldier laughed, but it was the fresh, ringing laughter of
a girl. "Then you really do not recognize me, Leonora?" he
exclaimed. "You really take me for what I like to be and am not--a
man?"

"Great Heaven! is it you?" exclaimed Leonora. "You--"

"Hush!" whispered the other, hastily drawing her into the room, and
carefully locking the door. "For mercy's sake, let no one hear us!
What a scandal it would be, if it should be discovered that
Volunteer Charles Petersen receives the visits of pretty girls at
his room! This hotel is entirely occupied by volunteers, and none of
them suspect that I am a woman, nor shall they ever find it out. But
now welcome, my dear Leonora, and tell me what has brought you to
Berlin. Did you receive my letter?"

"Yes, Caroline, I did," said Leonora, gravely, "and it gave me pain,
for you called me cowardly and destitute of honor, because I
intended to stay at home when my country was in need of the arms of
all its children, and when every one of any courage was
participating in this holy struggle."

"And that is the truth, Leonora," exclaimed Caroline; "the
fatherland has called us all, and those who do not listen to this
call are cowards!"

"But who told you that I did not listen to it?" asked Leonora.

"What!" ejaculated Caroline, joyously. "Leonora, you, too--"

"Hush!" interrupted Leonora, "we must talk about all this afterward.
I am in haste now, for there is a hackney-coach waiting for me at
the door, and my trunk is on it. Tell me now quickly, Caroline, can
I stay with you over night?"

"In female dress, Leonora? That would be hardly prudent."

"No, in male attire, Caroline."

"Oh, then you are a thousand times welcome here," exclaimed
Caroline, encircling her with her arms, and drawing her to her
heart.

"But I have not yet my male attire," said Leonora, smiling, "nor
have I money to buy it. Give me, therefore, quickly, the name of
some one who buys dresses, for I will drive to him immediately with
my trunk, and sell all I have brought with me."

"Come, Leonora, I will accompany you," said Caroline. "I know at the
Hospital Bridge a very patriotic and kind-hearted old Jew, to whom I
have also sold my wearing apparel, and who paid me a very liberal
price for it, when I told him that I wanted to buy a uniform for my
brother. Let us drive there, but I will remain in the carriage while
you go into the store, for he might recognize me. You will also find
men's clothing, which you may purchase for your brother--that is to
say, for yourself."

"Come, then, and let us make haste," said Leonora, drawing her
friend with her.

Fifteen minutes afterward the hackney-coach halted in front of one
of the second-hand clothing-stores near the Hospital Bridge, and
Leonora alighted, holding in her arms a large package of dresses,
shawls, skirts, and aprons, which she had taken from her trunk
during the drive. Mr. Hirsch, the dealer in second-hand clothing,
who was standing in front of his store, received her with a pleasant
greeting, and invited her to enter and tell him what she wanted.

Leonora put the wearing apparel on the counter, and, drawing a deep
breath, said in a tone of embarrassment, "I should like to sell
these things, sir."

The Jew put his spectacles slowly on his nose, and then lifted up
the dresses, one after another, contemplating them with scrutinizing
glances.

"If he should not give me as much money as I need?" Leonora asked
herself, anxiously, "if these things should not amount to so much
that I cannot purchase a uniform?"

And old Hirsch, as if he heard the anxious question of her heart,
said, shaking his head: "I cannot give very much for these few
calico dresses and aprons. They are all very nice and well
preserved, but of no value whatever."

"But there is also a silk dress, sir," said Leonora, in a tremulous
voice, "an entirely new silk dress."

"New?" asked the Jew, shrugging his shoulders, drawing out the
dress, and unfolding it with a sneer. "The dress is not new, for it
is made after such an old fashion that it could be worn only at a
masked ball; and the stuff is not worth any thing, either, for it is
only half silk. It was just made to look at. It appears like heavy
silk, but the oblique threads that make it look so heavy are all
cotton. How much do you want for the whole, my pretty miss?"

"I do not know," said Leonora, in a low voice, "as much as you can
give me for it."

"Yes, yes," grumbled the old man, "I am to give a great deal of
money for very poor goods; that is what they all ask me to do. I
will tell you, I cannot give you more than twelve dollars for the
whole lot."

"Twelve dollars!" ejaculated Leonora, with such an expression of
dismay that the Jew started, raising his green spectacles to his
forehead, and fixing his small, twinkling eyes on Leonora.

"Twelve dollars!" repeated Leonora, and, no longer able to restrain
her tears, she wrung her hands, and muttered: "It is all in vain,
then! Twelve dollars arc not sufficient to buy a uniform and arms."

Hirsch heard her words. "What?" he asked, hastily. "You want to sell
the dresses in order to buy a uniform and arms?"

"Yes, sir," replied Leonora, "my mother and I wanted to sell our
dresses, because we hoped we would get money enough to buy my
brother a complete uniform--a rifle, sword, and shako; for my
brother intends to enlist in Lutzow's corps of riflemen."

"Your brother intends to enlist in Lutzow's corps of riflemen?"
asked Hirsch, quickly. "Is that no pretext, eh? Do you not tell me
so merely for the purpose of extorting money from me? Can you swear
to me that that is why you wish to sell the dresses?"

"I can swear it by the great God in heaven, in whom we all believe,"
said Leonora, solemnly. "But I can prove it to you, too--"

"How so? In what way?"

"By buying a uniform for my brother here at your store. He is of the
same height as I am, and has precisely the same figure: we are
twins."

"And your brother intends to enlist in Lutzow's corps? Why did he
not himself come to select a uniform?"

"He is at Potsdam, sir, and does not know that I am here. To-morrow
is his birthday, and we want to surprise him by giving him his
uniform to-morrow."

"And he shall have it!" exclaimed the Jew; "yes, he shall have it! I
read in your eyes that you have told me the truth, my child, and
that you do not want the money for frivolous purposes, but for the
great cause of the German fatherland. I have also a heart for my
country, and no one shall say that we Israelites do not feel and act
like true Germans--that our hearts did not suffer under the disgrace
which, for long years, has weighed down all Germany, and that we
will not joyfully sacrifice our blood and our life; and, what is
still more, our property, for the sake of the fatherland. Who was
the first man at Berlin to make a voluntary contribution to this
object? It was a Jew! The president of the Jewish congregation, M.
Gumpert, made the first patriotic contribution. He sent three
hundred dollars to the military commission, with the request that
this amount might be spent for buying equipments for poor
volunteers. [Footnote: Historical.] Our Gumpert was the first man
who made a sacrifice for the benefit of the fatherland, and I do not
wish to be the last. I made a mistake in appraising your things; I
will do it over again, and what I can give I will give." He glanced
again at the dresses; then shaking his head, and stroking the silk
dress with his long, lean hand, he said, "How could I make such a
mistake, and believe this stuff to be only half silk? It is all
silk, heavy silk--and two dresses of the now fashionable tight cut
can easily be made out of this splendid one. For this alone I will
give you twenty dollars, and as for the other things, well, I will
give you twenty dollars more."

"Oh," exclaimed Leonora, radiant with joy, and giving both her hands
to the old Jew--"oh, you are a noble, generous man, a true patriot!
I thank you, and may the delivered land some day reward you!"

"Ah, poor Hirsch cannot deserve great rewards at the hands of the
fatherland," said the old man, sighing. "I am poor, I have not even
a son whom I might give to the country, and intrust with the task of
avenging me. I had a son, a good, dear boy; but, in 1807, when the
French arrived here, he wished to defend our property against the
soldiers who broke into our house; he grew very angry with the
infamous ruffians, and called them and their emperor murderers and
robbers. Thereupon they mortally stabbed him--they killed him before
my own eyes! He was my only child, my only joy on earth! But, hush!
this is no time for lamentations. I will rejoice--yes, rejoice, for
the hour of vengeance has come, and we will pay the French for what
wrongs they have inflicted on us. If I were not so old and feeble, I
should myself willingly fight, but now I am only able to assist in
equipping soldiers. Your brother shall become a soldier, my child;
we will equip him for the Legion of Vengeance. He shall avenge my
son, my innocent, beloved son, upon Napoleon the tyrant, and the
French rabble, who have trampled us under foot so long and so
disgracefully. Yes, yes, I will give you forty dollars for your
things, but I will not give you the whole amount in cash. Look at
this black uniform; it is quite new, the tailor delivered it only
yesterday. Did not you tell me that your brother is of the same
stature as you are?"

"Of the same stature and figure, for he is my twin-brother."

"Well, let us see if this uniform fits you."

Mr. Hirsch took out his tape-line, and measured Leonora's figure
with the skill of au experienced tailor. He then applied the tape-
line to the trousers and the coat of black cloth. "It fits
splendidly," he exclaimed. "And here is also a nice silk vest that
belongs to it. Now, listen to me! I charge you twelve dollars for
the whole suit; you will, therefore, receive twenty-eight dollars in
money. Now you will, in the first place, buy your brother a fine
rifle, such as Lutzow's riflemen need. You will pay ten dollars for
it; besides a sword and a shako, which will cost together five
dollars. You will have thirteen dollars left. For this amount you
will put a pair of good shirts and a new pair of boots into your
brother's knapsack, and the remainder you will give him for pocket-
money. Is it to be so? Is the bargain struck?"  "Yes, the bargain is
struck."

"Very well. Here is your uniform, and here are the twenty-eight
dollars." He counted the shining dollars on the counter, and then
pushed the money and the clothing toward Leonora. "Here is our
Luztow's rifleman's uniform," he exclaimed.

"And here are the dresses, sir," said Leonora, handing the wearing
apparel to the old man, but, while doing so, she quickly bent over
it, and pressed a kiss on the silk dress.

Old Hirsch looked at her with amazement.

"It is my mother's bridal dress, sir," said Leonora, as if
apologetically. "It was our greatest treasure, and I gave it only a
farewell kiss."

The Jew looked down musingly. "Listen, my child," he said; "I must
not sell this dress. I shall keep it until the war is over. If your
brother gets safely back, you may bring him here, and, as a greeting
of welcome, I will present your mother's bridal dress to him. But in
return, he must do me a favor."

"What favor?"

"Whenever he cuts down a Frenchman, he is to shout, 'Moses Hirsch is
avenged!' Moses was the name of my dear, unfortunate son, and I
think he will sleep more calmly in his grave when he hears that his
father has sent out an avenger of his death. Will you promise me, in
your brother's name, that he will not forget to shout what I tell
you?"

"I promise it! Whenever my brother cuts down a Frenchman, he will
shout, 'Moses Hirsch is avenged!'"

"Thank you!" said Hirsch, greatly moved. "My son will hear it, and
he will smile down from heaven on his old, lonely father. And now,
my dear, beautiful child, good-by! Give me the package; I will take
it for you to the carriage!"

"No, no, give it back to me," exclaimed Leonora, anxiously. But the
old man did not listen to her. He took the package, and hastened
with it out of his store to the hackney-coach.

Charles Petersen, at this moment, looked impatiently out of the
window, and shouted to her friend to make haste.

Old Hirsch uttered a cry and stared at Caroline. "Great Heaven!" he
exclaimed, "you in uniform--you a volunteer?"

"Ah," said Caroline, concealing her confusion by loud laughter, "I
see what astonishes you. You confound me with my sister. I know she
sold her dresses to you to buy a uniform and arms for me. Yes, it is
difficult to distinguish us, for we greatly resemble each other. The
reason is, we are twins."

"He has a twin-sister as you have a twin-brother," said Hirsch,
turning to Leonora with a strange smile. "Hush! I understand all
now. God protect the courageous twins! Coachman, start!"

"Whither?" asked the coachman.

"To M. Werkmeister's house, 23 Jager Street," replied Leonora,
nodding a last greeting to the old Jew. The carriage wheeled away.

"What do you want at M. Werkmeister's?" asked Caroline.

"To pay him my last visit as a girl," said Leonora.

"Returning from his house, I shall divest myself of my female
costume and become your comrade. Let us then go out together and buy
my arms."

"But would it not be better for me to drive back to our hotel while
you are Werkmeister's?" asked Caroline. "You have had the hackney-
coach already above an hour, and we volunteers must be as economical
as possible, in order to support ourselves as long as we can, and
not become a burden to the state."

"That is true," said Leonora. "I will alight here, and you will be
so kind as to take my trunk and the package to your quarters." The
hackney-coach halted, and Leonora, wrapping herself in her shawl,
leaped out of the carriage. "Drive back to Tauben Street, now," she
said, "and assist the gentleman in carrying this trunk up to his
room. But previously I will pay you the whole fare. How much do I
owe you?"

"From the post-office to Tauben Street, four groschen," said the
coachman, composedly.

"And besides?"

"Nothing else."

"How so--nothing else? You waited a good while in Tauben Street; we
then drove hither, where you waited a long while again, and now you
are about to return to Tauben Street."

"Yes; but in Tauben Street we took in a volunteer," said the
coachman, whipping his horses in a gentle, caressing manner. "We
hackmen never take any money for driving a volunteer. Every one must
do as much for the fatherland as he can. You owe me, therefore, only
four groschen."

"Here they are," said Leonora, handing the money to the hackman,
"and we are much obliged to you."

"Oh, you are not obliged to me at all," said the hackman, "for you
see I do not drive girls for nothing--only volunteers."

"To-morrow he will drive me, too, for nothing," said Leonora, gazing
after the hackney-coach. "To-morrow I will no longer be a girl! For
I am going now to bid a last adieu to my outward maidenhood and my
past!" And she walked with resolute steps across the Gendarmes
Market toward Jager Street.

"I must tell my dear godfather that I cannot accept his offer," she
said to herself; "for, if I should not, he might perhaps write
another letter to me to Potsdam, and mother: would then learn
prematurely that I told her a falsehood, and am not now at my
godfather's house; but when he knows that I cannot come, he will not
write again, and no one will discover my plans."

There was an unusual throng to-day in front of the house No. 23 on
Jager Street, where Werkmeister the merchant lived. It was not
without difficulty that Leonora penetrated through the crowd to the
door, where was to be seen a large placard, containing the following
words: "Gold wedding-rings exchanged for iron ones here." Somewhat
astonished at this strange inscription, Leonora entered the house,
and stepped across the hall to the open door of her godfather's
litting-room.

M. Rudolph Werkmeister, without looking attentively at her,
presented her a small box containing a large number of glittering
rings. "Please select one of these, and drop the gold ring into the
aperture of the locked box," he said.

Leonora looked at him smilingly. "It is I, godfather," she said,
offering him her hand.

"Ah, it is you, Leonora Prohaska," exclaimed M. Werkmeister, putting
down the box. "You have received my letter, then, my child? You have
at length made up your mind to comply with my wishes--to come to my
house, and to assist my wife at the store and in the household?
Well, you could not have come at a better hour, and I thank you for
your kindness."

Leonora fixed her large dark eyes with an affectionate expression on
the good-natured, pleasant face of the merchant, and stepping up to
him laid both her hands on his shoulders. "Godfather, dear
godfather," she said, greatly moved, "do not be angry with me, and
forgive me for coming only to tell you I cannot accept your offer.
Do not ask me why I cannot. I am not allowed to tell you the reason,
but I know that, when you learn it some day, you will certainly
approve what I have done. I really am no ungrateful girl, but I
cannot come to you, dear M. Werkmeister. I have greater and holier
duties to fulfil--duties to which God Himself has called me!"

"That is to say, my child, you do not wish to leave your poor old
parents?" asked Mr. Werkmeister, in great emotion. "You will stay
with them at their small house and eat the invalid's brown bread
rather than live luxuriously at the beautiful capital of Prussia?
You are right, perhaps, my child. You are the only joy of your
parents, and I was selfish, perhaps, in trying to rob them of you.
But, in doing so, I thought more of yourself, and desired to give a
better and brighter sphere to your youth. But we must all pursue the
paths which God and our conscience have marked out for us."

"Yes," exclaimed Leonora, enthusiastically, "you are right. Let me,
therefore, pursue my own path, and may Heaven accompany me! You are
not angry with me, then, godfather? You really are not? No? Now give
me your hand, godfather, and let me take leave of you with an
affectionate kiss!" She threw her arms round the old man's neck, and
kissed him tenderly.

"But you do not intend to leave immediately?" asked M. Werkmeister,
surprised. "You have not even seen my sick wife, and talk already of
taking leave?"

"Ah, I must go. I have still much to attend to, and must leave
Berlin to-night. But, tell me one thing! What is the meaning of the
inscription at your door, and why is there such a crowd in front of
your house?"

"They are reading the placard which I have hung out," said M.
Werkmeister--"the request which I addressed to all patriots."

"And what do you request of them to do, godfather?"

"I request all families, and especially all wives and affianced
brides, to bring their gold wedding-rings to me and receive iron
ones in return; and in commemoration of these times, I have had ten
thousand iron rings made, and the royal authorities approved my
scheme and intrusted me with the collection of the gold ones. My
request was published in the papers of this morning, and already
more than thirty gold rings have been exchanged. Look, here are the
iron ones. They are very neat, are they not?--the exact shape of
genuine wedding-rings; only in place of the names, the inside
contains the words, 'I gave gold for iron, 1813.' Read!"

"Oh, that is a very beautiful idea," exclaimed Leonora,
contemplating the ring which he had handed her. "Such a memento will
henceforth be the most precious ornament of all wives, and no gold
will shine so brilliantly and be so valuable as these iron rings
with which our women pledge their love to their native land. Ah,
dear godfather, I would like to ask a favor of you. I am no wife,
nor am I an affianced bride, and I have, therefore, no wedding-ring
to give you. I have nothing but my heart, and in this heart there is
no other love than that of country. Let me, therefore, offer it to
the fatherland instead of gold, and give me for it an iron ring with
the beautiful inscription: 'I gave gold for iron, 1813.'"

"There is a ring, my child; your heart is pure gold; let it remain
so; then you will well deserve your ring!" He placed it on her
finger, and she thanked him with a blissful smile.

"And now I go, dear godfather," said Leonora. "Farewell, and do not
forget me! And--"

At this moment a lady entered the room. Her dress indicated poverty,
and her face was pale and sunken, but her eyes were lit up with a
noble enthusiasm. "The wedding-rings are exchanged here?" she asked.

"Yes, here."

She quickly drew two from her finger, and handed them to M.
Werkmeister. "Take them," she cried. "One of these rings belongs to
me, the other I drew from the finger of my dear husband. Ten years
have elapsed since then; I have always worn them, and, although I
have often suffered great privations, I could never part with my
only treasure. But to-day I do so joyously. Give me my iron rings!"
She took those handed her, and placed them on her finger. "Farewell,
sir," she said. "These will be my daughter's heirloom, and I know
she will rejoice over them." She had not yet crossed the threshold
when another lady appeared, and another, and more followed in rapid
succession. The newspapers, containing the request, had been read in
the whole city; all the married women hastened to comply with it,
and to lay down their wedding-rings on the altar of the fatherland.
Leonora stood as if fascinated by the beautiful and soul-stirring
scene. With radiant eyes she gazed at the ladies who came and
received with joyous pride iron rings in exchange for gold ones--at
the young women, who, blushing and with tearful eyes, gave up their
first love-pledge--at the old matrons who came totteringly to
exchange the golden reminiscences of the days of their youth for
iron ornaments. [Footnote: On the first day about two hundred
wedding-rings were exchanged.--Vide Beitzke, vol. i.] Tears of
profound emotion fell from Leonora's eyes. She wished to embrace
these women and thank them for their patriotism.

"I will also prove to the country how ardently I love it," she said
to herself. "I will also make my sacrifices. I must go, Caroline is
waiting for me. I must buy arms for the soldiers whom I intend to
furnish." She shook hands with her godfather in silence. The crowd
in front of the door receded before her, and allowed her to pass,
filled with reverence for the women who returned from the solemn
sacrifice they had made. She passed on, absorbed in her reflections.
Once she raised her hand, and contemplated the iron ring on her
finger. "I gave gold for iron!" she said, raising her dark eyes
toward heaven. "I am now a bride, too, the bride of my country! Will
it give me only iron for the gold of my love? Only a bullet or a
sword-cut? No matter! I am the bride of the fatherland! I will live
and die for it!" She was aroused from her musings by cheers suddenly
resounding from the side of the Gendarmes Market. An immense crowd
had assembled there, and shouted frantically, their faces beaming
with joy.

"What is it?"

And a hundred jubilant voices replied: "General York is coming with
the Prussians! The king has reinstated York! The court-martial has
acquitted him!" [Footnote: York made his entry into Berlin at the
head of the Prussian troops on the 17th of March, 1813, and was
received with boundless enthusiasm.]

"Long live noble General York!" shouted the crowd. "York was the
first man to take heart, and brave the French!"

"York is coming to Berlin!" shouted others, hurrying from the
adjoining streets to the market-place. "York, with his Prussians, is
outside the King's Gate, and to-morrow he will make his entry into
Berlin!"

"Long live the brave general! All Berlin will meet him to-morrow,
and cheer him who first drew his sword against the French! The new
era is dawning on Prussia!"

"Yes, the new era is dawning on Prussia!" exclaimed Leonora. "We
have long walked in sadness. But morning is breaking--the morning of
freedom. Now we shall boldly raise our heads. The country has called
us, and we all have heard the call, and are ready to conquer or die.
Hail, brave York! The time of thraldom is past! We shall rise from
the dust, and the Germans will now reconquer the sacred right of
being Germans. Oh, my heart, rejoice! I am no longer a girl, I am
one of Lutzow's riflemen, and to-morrow I shall go to Breslau, and
add another soldier to the Legion of Vengeance. Farewell, Leonora
Prohaska, farewell! Now you are a man, and your soul must be manly,
strong, and hopeful. Long live Prussia!"



WAR AND AN ARMISTICE.


CHAPTER XXVI.

THEODORE KORNER.


Another corps of volunteers leaving Berlin had arrived at Breslau,
and just alighted from their wagons on the large market-place,
called the "Ring," and received their tickets for quarters at the
city hall. Two of these volunteers, emerging from the building,
descended arm in arm the steps of the front staircase. They were two
young men of slight forms and strangely youthful appearance. Not the
faintest down was around their fresh lips, and white and delicate
were their foreheads. But no one was surprised at their tender age,
for people were accustomed nowadays to see lads emulate manhood,
believing that courage did not depend on years. By the side of aged
men, boys who had just been confirmed were seen to enter the ranks
of the volunteers, and handle their muskets with the same strength
and energy as veteran soldiers. No one, therefore, particularly
noticed the youthful age of the two volunteers who came forth from
the city hall, and were now crossing the place arm in arm.

"Now our lot is cast," said one of them, with a smile. "We are
soldiers!"

"Yes, we are soldiers," cried the other, "and we shall be brave
ones, Caroline!"

"Caroline!" echoed the other, in dismay. "How imprudent! Did we not
leave our female names with our wearing apparel at Berlin with the
Jew, Leonora?"

"Ah, and you call me, too, by my female name," said Leonora, with a
gentle smile. "No matter! it is all right enough so long as no one
hears it. We have no secrets from each other, and we are, therefore,
allowed to call each other by the names received at the baptismal
font."

"But before the world we call ourselves differently now; I am
Charles Petersen, and you--what is your name now, Leonora?"

"My name is Charles Renz," said Leonora, smiling. "That was the name
of my dear teacher, to whom I am indebted for what little knowledge
I have acquired, and who originally induced me to take the step I
have ventured upon. He had been a soldier a long time, and loved his
country and the royal family. History was his favorite study, and he
told me of the heroic deeds of ancient nations in their struggles
for liberty. His eyes beamed with transcendent ardor, and the words
flowed from his lips like a stream of poetry. He taught me that,
when the country was in danger, it was the duty of the women to take
up arms in its defence, and that there was no more beautiful death
than that on the field of honor. Joan of Orleans and the Maid of
Saragossa were his favorite heroines, and he always called Queen
Louisa the martyr of German liberty. When she died, three years ago,
the first idea that struck me was, how my old teacher would bear up
under this grief, and that it was incumbent upon me to comfort him.
I hastened to him, and found him sad and disheartened. 'Now my hopes
for Germany are gone,' he said, 'for the genius of German liberty
has left us and fled to heaven. Beautiful and noble Queen Louisa
might, perhaps, have still inspired the Germans to rise in arms
against the tyrant; but she is dead, and liberty has died with her.'
'No,' I cried, 'no! liberty will blossom from her grave. Germany
will rise to avenge the martyrdom of the queen; Germany's wrath will
be kindled anew by the sufferings of this august victim that
Napoleon's tyranny has wrung from us. Yes, the country will rise to
avenge Louisa.' He gazed at me a long while, and his tears ceased to
flow. After a prolonged pause he said: 'If it be as you say, if
Germany take up arms, what will you do, Leonora? Will you stay at
home, knit stockings, and scrape lint, or will you sacrifice your
heart, your blood, your life, and be a heroine?' I exclaimed,
joyously: 'I will sacrifice all to the fatherland, and help to
achieve the victory, or die on the battle-field!' The eyes of my old
teacher were radiant with delight. 'Swear it to me, Leonora,' he
cried, 'swear to me, by all that is sacred--swear by the memory of
our sainted Queen Louisa!' I laid my hand on the Bible, and swore by
the memory of Queen Louisa to fight like a man and a hero. I am now
about to fulfil my oath, and, as my dear old teacher has died, I
have adopted his name as my inheritance, and call myself Charles
Renz. It seems to me it is a doubly sacred duty now to be brave, for
I must do honor to my teacher's name."

"And you will do so, I am sure," cried Caroline. "And I will do so,
too, Leonora. No teacher has impelled me to love my native land.
This sentiment is spontaneous; perhaps because I have nothing else
to love. I am alone in the world; my dear parents are dead; I have
no brothers or sisters, no lover; and inasmuch as I have nothing to
love, I gave up my heart to hatred. I hate the French, and, above
all, Napoleon, who has brought so much misery on Europe, and for ten
years has spilt rivers of blood. It is hatred that has incited me--
hatred has forced the sword into my hand, and when we go into
battle, I shall not only call, like you, 'Long live the fatherland!'
but add, 'Death to the tyrant Napoleon, the enemy of the Germans!'
Yes, I hate this Bonaparte more intensely than I love my own life;
and, as I could not stab him with the needle, with which I made caps
and bonnets for the fair ladies of Berlin, I have cast it aside, and
taken up the sword. That is my whole history--the history of the ci-
devant milliner Caroline Peters, the future horseman Charles
Petersen."

"What!" ejaculated Leonora, in amazement. "You intend to enlist in
the cavalry?"

"If they will accept me. I am well versed in horsemanship, for when
my father was still living I rode out with him every day. He was a
much-respected farmer in the suburbs of Stralsund, and owned many
horses. During the siege of Stralsund he lost every thing, and we
were reduced to extreme poverty. My father died of grief, and since
that time I have not again mounted a horse. But I think I still know
how to manage one, and am not afraid of doing so."

"But why will you? Why not remain in the infantry, which would be
much more natural and simple?"

"Why? Shall I tell you the truth, Leonora? Let me tell you, then,
confidentially; it is because long marches would incommode me. And
you? Would it not be better for you to follow my example?"

"No," said Leonora, "I shall remain in the infantry, and become one
of Lutzow's riflemen--a member of the Legion of Vengeance.--I
believe we have arrived at the house designated to us. Major von
Lutzow lives here; the numerous volunteers who are going in and out
show that we have reached his headquarters. Now, Caroline, farewell!
and let me greet you, friend Charles Petersen!"

"Leonora, farewell! and let me greet you, friend Charles Renz!" They
shook hands and looked into each other's glowing faces.

"Forward now, comrade!" said Caroline, walking toward the house

"Forward!" echoed Leonora, jubilantly.

Arm in arm they walked across the gloomy hall to the low, brown
door, entering the room pointed out to them as Major von Lutzow's
recruiting-office. It was a large, low room; long tables, painted
brown, such as are to be found in small taverns or beer-saloons,
stood on both sides of the smoky whitewashed walls; low stools, of
the same description, were beside them, and constituted, with the
tables, the only furniture of this hall, where the citizens and
mechanics had formerly taken their beer, and where now the
volunteers came to take the oath of fidelity to the fatherland and
Major von Lutzow. In the middle of this room stood a young lady of
rare beauty. A plain black dress enveloped her form, reaching to her
neck and veiling her bust. Her face was very white and delicate, a
complexion to be found only among the fair daughters of the North;
her blond hair fell down in heavy ringlets beside her faintly-
flushed cheeks; a fervent light was beaming from her large light-
blue eyes.

"That is Madame von Lutzow, to whom the travellers in the stage-
coach alluded," said Leonora to herself; "it is the count's noble
daughter, who poured a glass of water over her hand because a
Frenchman had kissed it, and who descended from her father's castle
to marry a poor Prussian officer, whom she loved for the scars on
his forehead."

The beautiful lady approached the two young volunteers with a sweet,
winning smile. "You wish to see Major von Lutzow, do you not?" she
inquired. "Unfortunately, he is not at home; pressing business
matters prevent him from personally welcoming the young heroes who
wish to join him. He has charged me with doing so in his place, and
you may believe that I bid you welcome with as joyous a heart as my
husband would do."

"Oh, we are so happy to be received by you," said Leonora, smiling,
"for we were told at Berlin of noble and beautiful Madame von Lutzow
enlisting the Legion of Vengeance, and who is so true a
representative of the great idea of our struggle. For our struggle
is one both of vengeance and love. Since then we have longed to be
enlisted by you, madame, and to take our oath of fidelity."

"I accept it in the name of Major von Lutzow," said the lady, with a
gentle smile. "Here are your numbers, and now give me your names
that I may enter them in the recruiting book." She approached the
table on which the large open book was lying, and quickly noted down
the names which the two volunteers gave, affixing the numbers
already given. "Now, then," she said, kindly, nodding to them, "you
are enlisted in the sacred service of the fatherland, and I hope you
will do your duty. I hope you--"

At this moment the door was opened hastily, and a young man rushed
into the room.

"Theodore Korner!" ejaculated the lady, greeting him cordially.

"Yes, Madame von Lutzow, it is I," exclaimed the young man, saluting
the two volunteers--"it is I, and I come to you a prey to boundless
despair!"

Madame von Lutzow hastened to him, and looked with an expression of
heart-felt sympathy into his handsome, pale face.

"Yes, indeed," she said, "your face looks like a cloud from which
thunder and lightning may be expected at any moment. What is the
matter? What has happened to you, my poet and hero?"

"Come, let us go," whispered Caroline to her friend.

"No, let us stay," said Leonora, in a low voice. "If it is a secret,
they will bid us go; but I should like to know what ails the fine-
looking young man whom Madame von Lutzow calls a poet and a hero.
Oh, I have never yet seen a poet, and this one is so handsome!"

"Let us sit down on this bench," whispered Caroline, "and--"

"Hush, let us listen!" said Leonora, sitting down.

"It is not that, then?" exclaimed the lady, who in the mean time had
continued her conversation with the young man. "Your father has not
rebuked his son for the quick resolve he had taken."

"No, no," said Theodore Korner, hastily, "on the contrary, my father
approves my determination to enlist, and sends me his blessing. I
received a very touching letter from him this morning."

"It is his affianced bride, then, that has driven our poet to
despair, because he loves her more ardently than the fatherland,"
said Madame von Lutzow. "It is true, I cannot blame her for it, for
the woman that loves has but one country--the heart of her lover,
and she is homeless as soon it turns from her. But this is precisely
the grand and beautiful sacrifice--that you give up for the sake of
your country all that we otherwise call the greatest and holiest
blessings of life--your affianced bride; your pleasant, comfortable
existence; a fine, honorable position, and a future full of a poet's
fame and splendor. It is, indeed, a sacrifice, but a sacrifice for
which the fatherland will thank you, and which will incite thousands
to emulate your noble example."

"Would it were so!" exclaimed Korner, enthusiastically, raising his
large black eyes to heaven; "would that our patriotic ardor struck
all hearts like a thunderbolt, and kindled a conflagration, whose
flames would shed a lustre over the remotest times! I do not deny
that I felt how great was the sacrifice I made, but this very
feeling filled me with enthusiasm. All the stars of my happiness
were shining upon me in mild beauty, but I was not allowed to look
up to them because it was the night of adversity; but now that this
night is about to vanish, and a new morning is dawning, my stars,
too, must fade before the sun of liberty. That was the sacred
conviction which drove me away from Vienna, from my betrothed bride,
and caused me to cast aside all that otherwise imparts value to
life. A great era requires great hearts. I felt strong enough to go
out and bare my breast to the storm. Could I do nothing but sing
songs in honor of my victorious brethren? No one would have then
loved and esteemed me any longer; my parents would have been ashamed
of me, and my affianced bride would have contemptuously turned away
from the cowardly poet. Therefore, I gave up every thing for the
sake of my native land. It is true, my parents and my Emma will weep
for me. May God comfort them! I could not spare them this blow. It
is not much that I risk my life; but that this life is adorned with
love, friendship, and joy, and that I nevertheless risk it, is a
sacrifice that can be compensated only by love of country, more
sacred than any other love, and to it we should devote our life.
[Footnote: His own words.--Vide "Theodore Korner's Works," edited by
Carl Streckfuss p. 54] My noble father feels and knows this, and so
does my betrothed."

"And yet, agreed though you are with yourself and your dear ones,
why this despair?" asked Madame von Lutzow, with a smile.

Korner looked down in confusion, and then raised his flaming eyes
with a strange expression. "Ah, madame," he exclaimed, "I divine
your stratagem; it is that of an angel, and, therefore, worthy of
you."

"What stratagem do yon mean?" she asked, with a semblance of
surprise.

"The angelic stratagem by which you comforted me in my grief,
without knowing its cause. When I rushed so impolitely into this
room, I told you that I was in despair. And you, instead of urging
me to tell you at once the cause of it, inquired for the great
affairs of my life, and whether my affliction came from my parents
or my affianced bride. You thereby wished to admonish me that these
momentous affairs and relations of my life, not having lost their
harmony, my grief was, perhaps, but a passing dissonance, and that
it really might not be worth while to give way to despair on account
of it. I am sure, madame, I have understood you: was not this the
object of your questions?"

Madame von Lutzow nodded gently. "You have understood me," she said.
"I think in all our grievances we should, before giving way to
vexation or despair, lay the great questions of life before us, and
inquire whether that which weighs us down touches them, whether it
strikes at our true happiness. Now, if this is not the case, we
should bear the grievance lightly, and not consider it a misfortune.
To feel greatly what is great, and to heed little what is little, is
the true wisdom of life."

"You are right, as you always are," said Theodore Korner,
reverentially bowing to the beautiful lady, "and let me penitently
confess, then, that I have this time heeded greatly what is little
and have considered what grieved me a great misfortune. But now that
I have confessed my guilt, the guardian angel of the volunteers must
have mercy upon me and come to my assistance. For something very
unpleasant has really befallen me, and no philosophy can dispute
it."

"Well, confess what it is," exclaimed Madame von Lutzow, smiling.

"You know, madame, that our Legion of Vengeance is to be solemnly
consecrated at the village of Rochau, at the foot of the Zobtenberg,
on Sunday next?"

"Of course I do, and I shall accompany Lutzow and the volunteers in
order to witness the ceremony."

"At the village church we are all to appear for the first time in
our black uniforms, to receive the preacher's blessing, and to be
consecrated as soldiers of the fatherland. I myself have written a
poem, adapted to the air of an anthem, for this solemn occasion, and
all my comrades will sing it. After the sermon the volunteers in the
church will take the oath of war upon the swords of their officers.
I have been ardently yearning for this day, and now I shall probably
be unable to participate in its services, for--do not laugh, madame,
at my insignificant mishap--the tailor refuses to make me a uniform
by that time, and in citizen's clothes, as a fashionable dandy, I
really cannot appear among the brave men who will proudly walk about
in their litefkaes. The tailor says it is impossible for him to make
a uniform at so short a notice; he pretends to be overwhelmed with
work, and does not know where to find hands. Now you, the helping,
advising, and protecting genius of the volunteers, are my last
consolation and resort. If you send for the cruel tailor, and tell
him how important it is for me to participate in that ceremony, your
words will render possible what now he declares impossible.
Therefore, send for the tailor, madame; he fortunately lives close
by, in the court-yard, in the large rear building; order him to make
me a uniform, and he will have to do so, for who could withstand
your words?"

"Well, I will try," said Madame von Lutzow, smiling. "I will see
whether my words are so impressive as to move a tailor's heart."

"And if he is unable to comply with your wishes because he lacks
assistants," said Leonora, hastily rising from her seat near the
door, and approaching Korner and Madame von Lutzow, "I offer myself
as an assistant, for I am a tailor."

"So am I," exclaimed Caroline, vividly. "I know, too, how to ply the
needle, and am ready to assist in sewing a comrade's uniform."

"Ah, the volunteers whom I have just enlisted, and whose pardon I
have to ask for having forgotten them," cried Madame Von Lutzow,
smiling.

"We have rather to ask your pardon for staying here," said Leonora.
"But we are indebted to you and to the poet Theodore Korner for the
most soul-stirring sentiments, and it seems to me as though we have
received only now the true consecration for the future that lies
before ns. Now, that I know what great sacrifices one may joyously
make, I feel how incumbent it was upon me to make them too, and I
have no remorse at leaving my parents and my brothers--It is
certainly true, as the poet said: 'A great era requires great
hearts!' And therefore I will try, to the best of my power, to have
a great heart, that I may be worthy of our great era."

"A great and noble heart is beaming from your eyes, my friend," said
Theodore Korner, offering his hand to Leonora. "I greet you both as
dear comrades of mine, and beg you to treat me as one."

"Yes, we will do so," exclaimed Caroline, shaking hands with the
poet. "And we will prove it directly by going to that tailor and
offering to assist him in making the uniform of our esteemed
lieutenant."

"Softly, my friend!" laughed Theodore Korner, "I have not yet risen
so high; I am no lieutenant."

"But you will be soon," said Caroline, ardently; "for one may easily
read in your face that you are born to command, and not to obey. We
volunteers are to elect our own officers. Well, then, I shall vote
for Theodore Korner." [Footnote: Theodore Korner was elected
lieutenant by his comrades on the 24th of April.]

"So shall I!" ejaculated Leonora.

"But while indulging in such dreams as to the future, we forgot the
grim tailor," said Theodore Korner, smiling. "Madame von Lutzow, I
beseech you, pity my distress, and send for him, that your eloquence
may soften his heart."

"But suppose he does not comply?" asked Madame von Lutzow. "It would
be wrong, too, to occupy his time while so busy. You say the man
lives near?"

"Scarcely fifty steps from here."

"Well, then, conduct me to him!" said Madame von Lutzow, "we will
pay a visit to him as Torquato Tasso once went to the Duke di
Ferrara. You, my two young friends, will please accompany us, that
we may present to him two willing assistants. Come!"

"Yes, madame, and may your eloquence prevail!" exclaimed Korner,
opening the door, and posting himself beside it in order to allow
the lady to pass out. Graceful and smiling, she hastened through the
gloomy room and approached the door, followed by the two volunteers
with their rosy faces and bright eyes. When about to cross the
threshold, she stood and gazed archly at Korner, "Stop," she said,
"I have to impose a condition. If we are to assist a poet, he must
in return pay us a poet's tribute. I shall not cross this threshold
before you recite one of your new war-songs."

"Yes, a song!" cried the two volunteers.

"Well, you are silent?" asked Madame von Lutzow, smiling. "Strike
the chords of your lyre, and let us hear a battle-hymn!"

"No, not a battle-hymn," said Theodore Korner; "that requires the
accompaniment of clashing arms and booming cannon. But to the fair
patroness of the Legion of Vengeance I will communicate, although it
is not completed, my hymn to the guardian angel of German liberty--
Queen Louisa!" Raising his dark-blue eyes to heaven, he recited the
following lines, addressed "to Queen Louisa:"

"Du Heilige I hor Deiner Kinder Flehen,
 Es dringe machtig anf zo deinern Licht.
 Kannst wieder freundlich auf uns niedersehen
 Verklarter Engel! Ifinger weine nicht!
 Benn Preussens Adler soll zum Kampfe wehen.
 Es drangt Dein Volk sich jubelnd zu der Pflicht,
 Und Jeder wahlt, und keinen siehst du leben,
 Den freien Ted fur ein bezwung nes Leben."

"Wir lagen noch in feige Nacht gehettet;
 Da rief nach Dir Deiu besseres Geschick,
 An die unwurd'ge Zeit warst Du gekettet,
 Zur Rache mahnte Dein gebroch'ner Blick.
 So hast Du uns den deutschen Muth gerettet.
 Jetzt sieh auf uns, sieh auf Dein Volk zuruck,
 Wie alle Herzen treu und muthig brennen!
 Nun woll uns auch die Deinen wieder nennen!"

"Und wie einst, alle Krafte zu beleben,
 Ein Heil'genbild, fur den gerechten Krieg
 Dem Heeresbanner schutzend zugegeben,
 Als Oriflamme in die Lufte stieg:
 So soil Dein Bild auf unsern Fabnen schweben,
 Und soil uns leuchten durch die Nacht zum Sieg!
 Louise sei der Schutzgeist deutscher Sache!
 Louise sei das Losungswort zur Rache!"

[Footnote:
 O sainted one I now let thy children's prayer,
 As incense, rise to realms of heavenly light;
 Beholding us thou canst' with gladness hear,
 And tears no more may dim thy vision bright:
 For Prussia's standard in the battle near
 Will nerve thy people to their ancient might.
 Thy sons in crowded ranks await the strife,
 Preferring a free death to slavery's life.

Enthralled in long and timid gloom we lay;
 When Heaven recalled thee, and thy fetters broke
 Which bound thee to thy times' unworthy sway,
 Thy dying eyes of future vengeance spoke.
 Thus didst thou save on that sad final day
 The German honor, and our courage woke.
 Behold us now, as we all fear resign,
 With glowing hearts, and once more call us thine!

As erst to serried legions in the field,
 A sacred symbol, as a golden flame,
 Lit up the battle-standard, and revealed
 For whom the victory's just though bloody claim:
 So let us, 'neath thy bannered image, wield
 A valiant sword--our "oriflamme" thy name--
 The pledge of honor and the gathering cry,
 To live for Prussia's glory, or to die!]

"Louisa shall be the guardian angel of the German cause and the
battle-cry of vengeance!" echoed the two volunteers.

Madame von Lutzow said nothing. She stood, with her white hands
clasped, as if in prayer, and her sweet face turned heavenward.
Tears were glittering in her eyes; and, giving her hand to the poet,
she said in a low voice: "You have paid us a tribute worthy of you.
Thanks! And now come!" She quickly crossed the threshold toward the
court-yard. Korner was by her side; Leonora and Caroline, the two
volunteers, followed her.

"The four windows on the ground-floor yonder are those of the
tailor's shop," said Korner.

Madame von Lutzow nodded, and walked across the wide court-yard
toward the house.



CHAPTER XXVII.

THE HEROIC TAILOR.


The tailor and his hands were very busy. All sorts of colored cloths
and pieces of uniforms were lying about. On the bench, in the middle
of the room, sat four workmen, hard at work. Not a word interrupted
the silence now desecrated by the noise of the opening door. He who
sat on a somewhat raised seat, and was just braiding a magnificent
scarlet hussar-jacket, hastily looked up. His hand, armed with his
needle, had just risen and remained suspended; his eyes, which he
had at first raised carelessly from his work, were fixed on the
door, which framed so unusual and attractive a picture--a young lady
of surpassing beauty, surrounded by three youthful soldiers, who
looked very fine and imposing, too, and whose looks were turned to
him with a kind and inquiring expression.

"You are M. Martin, the merchant tailor, are you not?" asked the
lady, greeting the tailor with a gentle nod.

"That is my name," said M. Martin, involuntarily rising from his
seat.

"Well, then, my dear sir," said the lady, advancing a few steps into
the shop, "I should like to say a word to you."

"Yes, I imagine what it is," exclaimed the tailor, who fixed his
eyes now upon Theodore Korner, and recognized his tormentor. "The
gentleman has been here twice already about a uniform for Sunday.
But I could not make it, if an angel descended from heaven to
entreat me."

"Well, I thank you for your compliment," said Madame von Lutzow,
smiling. "But tell me now, sir, why can you not accommodate him?"

"Because I have more work now than I am able to finish. I was rash
enough to accept so many orders, that I do not know how I shall be
able to fill them; and in the excitement and confusion prevalent in
the city it is impossible to get assistance at present."

"Well, if that is the only reason, we bring you fresh help. These
two young volunteers are ready to work under your supervision, and
finish the uniform of their comrade."

The tailor glanced toward the two young volunteers. "Lads, scarcely
sixteen years old!" he said, shrugging his shoulders; "it is
impossible that they can be experienced artists."

"But both affirm that they are tailors," said Madam von Lutzow, "and
skilled in their trade."

"Yes, sir, please give us a trial," begged Leonora.

"We are quick and skilful workmen," protested Caroline.

"Regular tailors?" asked M, Martin.

"Yes, regular tailors," replied Leonora.

"Very well. Finish this collar; the needle is still in it," said M.
Martin, handing the scarlet soldier-jacket to Leonora.

The young volunteer blushed, and said in a low voice: "To be sure;
sir. I must ask you to show me how to do it, for I have never yet
worked on men's clothes."

"A ladies' tailor?" exclaimed M. Martin, with an expression of
boundless contempt. "The other one, too?"

"Yes, I also am a ladies' tailor," said Caroline, smiling.

"And they are bold enough to offer their assistance to me!"
exclaimed M. Martin, shrugging his shoulders.

"It is only necessary for you to give them proper directions, sir,"
said Madame von Lutzow, entreatingly, "for as they know how to ply
the needle they will easily understand what to do."

"And if the uniform should not fit well, or be badly made, it will
be laid at my door, and M. Martin will be blamed for it. I assure
you I cannot take the job; I am short of workmen of the necessary
experience. No one wants to work now-adays--all heads are turned--
all young men are enlisting."

"No, sir," said the lady, "all heads are turned right again--to one
thing necessary at this time--to the service of the fatherland."

"Bah! my shop is my fatherland," said the tailor, contemptuously.

"That is not true," exclaimed Madame von Lutzow, "you do not and
cannot think so. For if you did, you would be no Prussian, no
German, and no one could love and respect you. During the period of
adversity and disgrace, your shop may have been a comfort to you;
but now that the sun of liberty is rising, all hearts must throb
joyously; all must go out and gaze upon the new world; the shop no
longer contains the work worthy of a freeman--it is to be found only
on the battle-field--deliverance of the country!"

"The lady is right!" exclaimed the tailor's three assistants, who
had hitherto looked up but stealthily from their work, but now cast
it aside with impetuosity. "Yes, the lady is right! It is a shame
for honest men to sit here in this room and ply the needle, while
our friends and brethren are drawing the sword and marching out to
the holy war of liberation. We must also participate in the great
struggle!"

"Oh, yes," cried the tailor, in grim despair, "now my last workmen
are coaxed away from me! You have taken the money I offered you when
you entered my service, and as honest men you must keep your word.
Resume your work! You know well that we are very busy."

The men commenced their work again with morose faces, whispering to
each other: "As soon as the week has expired, we shall leave the
shop and enlist."

"Well, madame, what do you wish?" exclaimed the tailor, furiously.
"You have come to give me a job, and at the same time you disparage
my business, and seduce my workmen to leave me. I shall soon have to
close my shop."

"But you will not do so, dear M. Martin, before having made a
uniform for this young man," said Madame von Lutzow, in an
entreating tone and with a sweet smile. "I have certainly not come
to disparage your honorable business, for what should we do without
the skilful tailor, who makes the uniforms of our soldiers and fits
them out, as it were, for the service of their country? Oh, I am
sure that you have worked at them with grand reflections, since this
labor is more agreeable to you than if you had to make the most
gorgeous suit for a chamberlain, and it gladdens you to think: 'I am
likewise working hard for the fatherland. I am in my own way a
soldier of the country; for I devote to it my skill and labor.'"

"That is true," said M. Martin, in confusion, "and that you may not
believe me to be a worse man than I really am, I must tell you that
I do not take pay for these jobs, but that I have offered to make
twelve uniforms for our soldiers free of charge. I have nothing else
to offer; hence, I give all I can!"

"And there is no nobler gift!" exclaimed Madame von Lutzow. "You are
a good man; pray give me your hand and let me thank you." She
offered her hand to the tailor, and he put his broad, cold hand
timidly into it.

"Oh, now I fear nothing," said Madame von Lutzow, joyfully; "as you
are so good a patriot, you will fulfil our prayer, and make a
uniform for this young man for next Sunday."

"But I have told you already that I cannot," replied M. Martin,
almost tearfully--"I cannot finish it."

"And I reply: Try, sir! I am sure you will finish it. For, take into
consideration, dear M. Martin, that your own reputation is at stake,
and that all the brave volunteers would execrate your name if it
should be your fault that their favorite and celebrated bard could
not attend the Sunday's ceremony."

"How so? What bard do you allude to, madame?"

"I allude to the great poet who stands before you--Theodore Korner."

"Ah, this is Theodore Korner!" exclaimed the tailor, "The poet who
wrote 'Toni,' the splendid comedy that I saw last winter at our
theatre?"

"The same, my dear sir," said Madame von Lutzow, while Korner nodded
to the tailor with a pleasant smile. "And he has written many other
beautiful plays, and magnificent songs to boot. This is the reason
why, though he is only twenty-one years old, he is famous throughout
Germany, and at Vienna occupied a brilliant position. He is
affianced to a dear, sweet young woman, whom he loves with all his
heart, and to whom he was to be married within a month; but suddenly
the battle-cry of freedom resounded throughout Germany, the King of
Prussia called upon the able-bodied young men to volunteer and
avenge the disgrace of Germany, and see what love of country can
accomplish! The young man casts aside every thing--he gives up all,
his fame, his betrothed, his position, and hastens with enthusiasm
to offer his arm and his services-to exchange his poetical fame and
his earthly happiness for victory or an honorable death on the
battle-field."

"Oh, that is really glorious," cried the men, striking with their
clinched right hands their knee, as though it were a recruiting-
drum.

"Yes, it is so," said M. Martin, thoughtfully, to himself.

"Madame," whispered the poet, smiling, "you make me blush by your
too kind praise."

"Is it my fault that a plain statement of the facts in the case is
such praise for you?" asked Madame von Lutzow. "For I have told you
the truth, M. Martin, and all happened precisely as I have stated
it. He has given up all to enlist. Vainly do his parents and his
loved one weep for him. He hears nothing--sees nothing--for his
country calls him, and he obeys. He does not desire happiness before
his country is free, and sweeter than the most blissful life seems
to him a glorious death for the fatherland. So he has come; the
volunteers greeted him with shouts of exultation, and they believe
now that Providence will cause their arms and their bravery to be
successful, since an inspired bard will take the field with them,
and endow them with redoubled ardor by his songs. But, before taking
the field, they wish to implore God's blessing at the altar, and on
Sunday next all those who are already uniformed and equipped are to
take the oath of war and be consecrated. Theodore Korner has written
for the occasion a pious hymn, which all the volunteers will sing,
and now how can you be so cruel as to prevent him from singing his
own hymn with them?"

"I?" cried the tailor, in dismay.

"Yes, you! For, if you do not accommodate him, he cannot be
present."

M. Martin heaved a profound sigh, and cast a glance of despair
around his shop. "There are still three hussar-jackets to be
finished," he murmured. "If it were but a hussar-uniform that the
gentleman asks for! But he does not wish to join the hussars?"

"No, my friend. I enlist in the Legion of Vengeance, and become one
of Major von Lutzow's volunteer riflemen. It will, therefore, be
less troublesome to suit me."

"But that dress is not near as showy as the other," said the tailor,
morosely. "An entirely black uniform with red trimmings on the
sleeves looks sad, and--cruel."

"And that is as it ought to be, my dear sir. The black color
signifies our grief, the red signifies blood."

And suddenly he commenced to sing:

"Noch trauera wir im schwarzeu Racherkleide
 Um den gestorbnen Muth,
 Doch fragt man Euch, was dieses Roth bedeute;
 Das deutet Frankenblut!"

"Mit Gott!--Einst geht hoch uber Feindesleichen
 Der Stern des Friedens auf;
 Dann pflanzen wir ein weisses Siegeszeichen
 Am freien Rheinstrom auf."

[Footnote:
 By this black uniform we ever mourn
 The public spirit dead!
 And why is then this crimson facing worn?--
 With Frenchmen's blood it's red.

When high above vast heaps of slaughtered foes,
 The star of peace shall shine,
 The banner white, which victory bestows,
 Raise by our own free Rhine.]

"Then we shall raise a white symbol of our victory on the banks of
the free Rhine!" echoed the volunteers, and the tailor and his
assistants.

"M. Martin!" cried Madame von Lutzow, laughing, "you have forgotten
yourself; you have joined in the chorus!"

"Yes, it is true," ho said, "I have sung these few words with them;
they make my heart swell, and--I do not know what has happened to
me--it seems to me the song and all you have said make another man
of me, and--"

"You will make the uniform for Theodore Korner?" asked Madame von
Lutzow, smiling.

M. Martin was silent, and quickly raised his head and looked at his
assistants, who were gazing at him inquiringly.

"You have made up your minds, then?" he asked; "when the week is up,
and your jobs are finished, you intend to leave me, and volunteer?"

"Yes, we have come to that determination," replied the three,
unanimously, "and nothing shall prevent us from carrying it out,"

"Well, then, I must close my shop, and discontinue the tailoring
business."

"But what do you intend to do, then, sir?" asked one of the
journeymen, in surprise.

"I intend to enlist!" replied M. Martin. "This beautiful lady and
the song have enchanted me. Hurrah! I also will enlist!"

"But my uniform?" asked Korner.

"Oh, you need not be concerned," exclaimed the tailor, in a proud
tone; "it shall be made! I will work all night, and not lay aside my
needle before it is done. Will you help me, journeymen?"

"Yes, sir, we will!"

"And you, too, volunteers? It is true, you are only ladies' tailors,
but you know at least how to line and pad a coat. Will you take the
job?"

"Yes, M. Martin, we will joyously do so," cried Leonora and
Caroline.

"Well, then, we can finish two uniforms by Sunday--one for the poet,
the other for myself!"

"My dear sir, I thank you from the bottom of my heart," said Madame
von Lutzow; and then, turning her radiant face to Korner, she asked,
"Are you now satisfied?"

"Ah, I knew well that no one could resist you, and that you are our
good angel," whispered the poet, pressing the hand of the lovely
lady to his lips.

"But listen, M. Korner," said the tailor; "if I am to work for you
so industriously, I must impose a condition, and you must promise to
fulfil it."

"What is it?"

"It is that you shall not pay me for my labor."

"But, sir, it is impossible for me to--"

Madame von Lutzow laid her hand softly on his shoulder. "I am sure
you do not wish to offend this excellent man?" she whispered.

"It is impossible for me to take pay for a favor which I do to one
of my future comrades," said M. Martin. "I suppose that is what you
wanted to say, and you are right. But if you insist on indemnifying
me, there is another way for you to do so."

"Pray tell me."

"You sang two verses, which sounded so bold and fresh that they
touched my heart. Was that the whole song, or are there any more
verses?"

"No, sir, they are the two last; three others precede them."

"Well, comrade," said M. Martin, gayly, "if you insist on my doing
my last tailoring job for you, then sing me the other three."

Korner glanced inquiringly at Madame Lutzow. "I do not know," he
said, hesitatingly, "if madame will permit it?"

Madame von Lutzow smiled. "I not only permit, but pray you to sing,"
she said. "Give us the whole song, and let us all join in the
refrain. Come, brave soldiers of the future! cast aside your work,
form in line, and sing with us the song of the Black Riflemen!"

The three journeymen jumped up, and posted themselves beside M.
Martin. The lady again withdrew to the door. On both sides stood the
two young volunteers, with their blooming faces, and between these
two groups stood the tall and noble form of the young poet, whose
fine face beamed with courage and energy, and on whose brow genius
had pressed the kiss of inspiration.

"Now, listen attentively!" said Theodore Korner, smiling. "My song
is easy to sing, for who is ignorant of the song of the Rhenish
wine? Let us sing it to that melody!"

And through the tailor's shop, hitherto so peaceful and silent,
resounded the song of the Black Riflemen:

"In's Feld, in's Feld, die Rachegeister mahnen,
 Auf, deutsches Volk, zum Krieg!
 In's Feld, in's Feld! Hoch flattern unsere Fahnen,
 Sie fuhren uns zum Sieg!"

"Klein ist die Schaar, doch gross ist das Vertranen
 Auf den gerechten Gott!
 Wo seine Engel ihre Veste bauen,
 Sind Hollenkunste Spott."

"Gebt kein Pardon! Konet Ihr das Schwert nicht heben,
 So wurgt sie ohne Scheu!
 Und hoeh verkauft den letzten Tropfen Leben,
 Der Tod macht Alle freil"

[Footnote:
 To the field! the spirits of vengeance cry;
 Rise, and your country save!
 Uplift your eagle banners to the sky--
 For victory they wave!

In number small, but great our confidence
 In a just God's decree;
 When His own angels build our sure defence,
 Vain is hell's strategy.

No quarter give, but strike the fatal blow,
 Dear let your life-blood be;
 Ask not for mercy, and to none bestow,
 For death makes all men free.

This whole scene is based on facts, for which I am indebted to
personal communications from the Countess Ahlefeldt. Theodore Korner
fell in the first year of the war of liberation, before the decisive
battle of Leipsic, on the 26th of August, 1813, in a skirmish which
the corps of Major von Lutzow had with the French near Gadebusch.
Only an hour prior to his death, while lying in ambush, he wrote his
immortal "Song of the Sword" in his note-book. The statement of Mr.
Alison, the historian, that he was killed in the battle of Dresden,
is erroneous.

Leonora Prohaska fell in an engagement on the Gorde, the 16th of
September, 1813. A bullet pierced her breast. When she felt that she
was dying, she revealed to her comrades that she was a woman, and
that her name was Leonora Prohaska, and not Charles Renz.

Caroline Peters was more fortunate. She participated in the
campaigns of 1813 and 1814, was decorated with the order of the Iron
Cross on account of her bravery, and honorably discharged at the end
of the war. She was then married to the captain of an English vessel
whom she accompanied on his travels, and with whom she visited her
relatives at Stettin in 1844.--L. M.]



CHAPTER XXVIII.

THE GENERAL-IN-CHIEF OF THE SILESIAN ARMY.


General Blucher was more morose and dejected than he had been for a
long time. From the day he heard of the king's arrival at Breslau,
and immediately left his farm of Kunzendorf to repair to that city,
a perpetual sunshine lit up his face, and a new spring bloomed in
his heart. But now the old clouds of Kunzendorf were again lowering
on his brow, and a frost seemed to have blighted all the blossoms of
his hope.

He sat on the sofa, closely wrapped in his dressing-gown, drumming
with his hand a quickstep on the table in front of him, while he was
blowing clouds of smoke from his long pipe. Very gloomy thoughts
appeared to fill Blucher's soul, for his bushy eyebrows contracted,
the quickstep was more rapid, and the smoke arose in denser masses.
In the violence of his inward trouble, he grimly shook his head
without thinking of the fragile friend in his mouth. Its delicate
form struck against the corner of the table and broke into pieces.

"So," muttered Blucher to himself, "that was just wanting to my
afflictions. It is the second pipe broken to-day. Well, there will
be a day when Bonaparte shall pay me these pipes that he has already
cost me. That day must come, or there is no justice in Heaven.
Christian! O Christian!"

The door opened. Christian Hennemann appeared on the threshold,
awaiting the orders of the general.

"Another wounded pipe, Christian," said Blucher, pointing at the
pieces on the floor. "Pick them up, and see if there is not a short
pipe among them."

"No, your excellency," said Christian, approaching and carefully
picking up the pieces, "that is no wounded pipe, but a dead one.
Shall I fetch another to your excellency?"

He was about to turn away, but Blucher seized the lap of his hussar-
jacket. "Show me the broken pipe," he said, anxiously; "let me see
if it really will not do any more."

"Well, look at it, your excellency," said the pipe-master, in a
dignified tone, holding up the bowl with a very small part of the
tube. "It is impossible for you to use it again. If I should fill
the bowl with tobacco and light it, your excellency, it would
assuredly burn your nose."

"That is true," said Blucher, mournfully; "I believe you are right.
I might burn my nose, and that would be altogether unnecessary now.
I burn it here at Breslau every day."

"How did you do it?" asked Christian, in dismay. "Your excellency
has not yet smoked short pipes."

"Because I am myself like a short pipe," cried Blucher, with a grim
smile, "or because the miserable, sneaking vermin at court--well,
what does it concern you? Why do you stand and stare at me? Go,
Christian, and fetch me a new Pipe."

"What, a new pipe!" asked a voice by his side. "Why, Blucher, you
are still in your dressing-gown!"

It was his wife who had just entered the room by the side-door and
approached her husband without being noticed. She was in full
toilet, her head adorned with plumes, her delicate form wrapped in a
heavy dark satin dress, trimmed with costly silver lace. Her neck
and ears were ornamented with jewelry in which large diamonds shone;
in her hand, radiant with valuable rings, she held a huge fan,
inlaid with pearls and precious stones.

"Yes, Amelia, I am still in my dressing-gown," said Blucher,
gloomily gazing at his wife. "Why, you are splendidly dressed to-
day! What is it for?--and whither do you design to go?"

"Whither!" exclaimed the lady, in surprise. "But, husband, do you
forget, then, the festival to take place to-night?"

"Well, what is it?" asked Blucher, slowly drawing his long white
mustache through his fingers.

"Blucher, to-night the great ball takes place which the city of
Breslau gives at the city hall in honor of the Emperor of Russia,
when both their majesties will appear."

"Well, what does that concern me?"

"It concerns you a great deal, for you have solemnly promised the
burgomaster, who came personally to invite us, that you would attend
the ball to-night."

"And I shall not go to it after all, Amelia," cried Blucher,
striking with his hand on the table. "No, Amelia! I am no dancing-
bear to turn around at a ball, and to be led by the nose."

"But, Blucher, what has happened to you?" asked his wife,
wonderingly. "You were as merry and high-spirited as a young god of
spring; the violets laughed when they saw you pass by, and the snow-
drops rang their tiny bells in your honor, and now suddenly it is
winter again! Pray, tell me, what has happened to you?"

"Nothing at all has happened to me--that is just the misfortune,"
cried Blucher. "It is more than a month now since I have been
sitting here at Breslau, and nothing has happened. I am still what I
always was--an old pensioned general, who has no command, and
nothing to do but to retire to Kunzendorf and plant cabbage-heads,
while others in the field are cutting off French heads. And it will
be best for me to go back to Kunzendorf. I have nothing to do here;
no one cares for an old fellow like me. I have hoped on from day to
day, but all my hopes are gone now. Amelia, take off your tinsel,
and pack up our traps. The best thing we can do will be to start
this very evening and return to our miserable, accursed village!"

"Dear me! what a humor you are in!" exclaimed his wife, "Every thing
will be right in the end, my husband; you must not despair; things
are only taking their course a little more deliberately than my
firebrand wishes. But finally all will be precisely as you want it,
for without Blucher they are unable to accomplish any thing, and
will, therefore, at last resort to him."

"And I tell you they will try to get along without me," cried
Blucher; "I shall be a disgraced man, at whom the very chickens will
laugh, if he has to sneak back to Kunzendorf instead of taking the
field. Pack up. Amelia, wo shall leave this day!"

"But that is impossible, Blucher! It would look like a cowardly
flight, and your enemies would rejoice over it. No, you must go to
the ball to-night; you--"

"General Scharnhorst!" announced a footman at this moment, and there
appeared in the open door the general, dressed in his gala-uniform,
and his breast decked with orders.

"I am glad you have come, general," exclaimed Amelia, hastening to
him, and shaking hands with her friend. "Look at that stubborn old
man, who does not wish to go to the ball! Say yourself, general,
must he not go?"

"Certainly he must," said Scharnhorst, smiling, "and I come to beg
of you a seat in your carriage, and to let me have the honor of
appearing in the suite of General and Madame von Blucher. You had,
therefore, better dress at once, my dear general. It is high time.
Even their majesties have already set out."

Blucher gently shook his head, and slowly raised his eyes toward
Scharnhorst, who stood in front of him. "Scharnhorst," he said,
"every thing turns out wrong, and I wish myself dead rather than see
such a state of affairs."

"What do you mean, general?" inquired Scharnhorst. "What has
happened?"

Blucher cast a piercing glance on him, and seemed to read in the
depths of his soul. "Is the matter settled?" he asked. "Pray, my
friend, tell me the truth without circumlocution. It is better for
me to know it at once than allow this incertitude longer to gnaw at
my heart. Scharnhorst, I implore you, tell me the truth! Has the
commander of the Silesian army been appointed?"

"No, general," said Scharnhorst, gravely.

"And you do not know whom they will appoint? The truth, my friend!"

"Well, then, the truth is, that I do not know it, and that their
majesties themselves do not know it, although every patriot thinks
they ought not to doubt which of the three gentlemen who stand on
the list should be appointed, for every heart echoes, 'General
Blucher is the man whom we need, and who will lead us to victory.'
The emperor and the king are still vacillating; precious time is
lost--Napoleon is organizing new armies, and strengthening himself
on all sides, while they are hesitating."

"Three, then, stand on the list," said Blucher. "I have two
competitors. Who are they, general?"

"One is Field-Marshal Kalkreuth."

Blucher started, and his eyes flashed with anger. "What!" he cried.
"That childish old man to command an army! He who is constantly
singing hymns of praise to Napoleon and his French--he who, only the
other day, showed again that he deemed a frown of Bonaparte more
terrible than the peril of a German patriot! He command an army to
vanquish Napoleon! I suppose you know what he has done? He betrayed
to the French ambassador, Count St. Marsan, who followed our king to
Breslau in order to watch him, that Minister von Stein, our noblest
friend, had secretly come for the purpose of negotiating with the
king in the name of the Emperor of Russia; that he was living in a
garret, and that conferences of the enemies of Napoleon were held
there every night." [Footnote: Pertz's "Life of Stein," vol. iii.,
p. 210.]

"Yes, that is true," said Scharuhorst, "Field-Marshal Kalkreuth did
so, and it is no fault of his that Baron von Stein, with his
friends, one of whom I happen to be, was not secretly seized and
carried off by the French. Fortunately, dear Count St. Marsan did
not believe the field-marshal who betrayed his German countryman.
The French ambassador allowed himself to be deceived by the
stillness that reigned in the garret, which, according to the
statement Kalkreuth made to him, was inhabited by dangerous Minister
von Stein." [Footnote: Beitzke, vol. i., p. 170.]

"Well, and this man, the head of the French party, they wish to
appoint general-in-chief of the Silesian army," said Blucher,
mournfully. "Amelia, pack up our traps; let us return to
Kunzendorf."

"But Field-Marshal Kalkreuth has not yet been appointed," Said
Scharnhorst, smiling; "I believe his two competitors have as good--
nay, better prospects than he has."

"It is true, I forgot the second competitor," grumbled Blucher. "Who
is it?"

"It is Lieutenant-General Count Tauentzien, in whom the Emperor
Alexander takes a great deal of interest."

"Of course," said Blucher, sarcastically, "he is a count, and he has
such a polish, and courtly manners; he knows how to flatter the
sovereigns, and tell them only what is agreeable. But now, you
yourself must admit, Scharnhorst, that it is best for me to set out
immediately for Kunzendorf, and that I have no prospects--none
whatever! The two sovereigns, the king and emperor, alone will make
the appointment, will they not?"

"Of course, they alone!"

"Well, each of them has a candidate of his own. The emperor is in
favor of Count Tauentzien, and the king is for Field-Marshal
Kalkreuth. Who, then, is to think of and speak for me?"

"Your glory will speak for you, general," said Scharnhorst,
feelingly; "the love which every soldier feels for you will speak,
and you will speak for yourself by your noble appearance--your self-
reliant bearing, your energy and strength, which do not shrink from
truth. Come, let us get ready for the ball, and, my friend, do not
impose any restraint upon yourself there; give the reins to your
discontent; tell every one frankly and bluntly that you are
dissatisfied--that you ardently desire to be appointed general-in-
chief, and that you would consider it a great misfortune if another
man should be preferred to you."

"But, dear general," exclaimed Madame von Blucher, in dismay, "how
can you give Blucher such advice? You know how hot-headed and rash
he is! He will rave about so, that the king and the emperor
themselves will hear him."

"Well," said Scharnhorst, smiling, "it is sometimes very well that
there should be a man courageous enough to tell the kings and
emperors the truth, and prove to them that mankind do not always
fawn upon them with polite submissiveness."

"Scharnhorst is right," exclaimed Blucher, suddenly straightening
himself; "yes, I will go to the ball, and tell them there at least
what sort of men those are whom they wish to appoint, and what we
may expect from them. They shall not afterward excuse themselves by
saying that they were not forewarned, and that no one had called
their attention to Blucher. I will do it myself--yes, thunder and
lightning! I will remind them of Blucher, and they shall hear and
understand me."

"Well," cried Madame von Blucher, "I beg permission to stay at home,
for Blucher will have a scene, at which I do not wish to be
present."

"Oh, no, there will be no scene whatever," said Blucher. "I shall
make my obeisance to their majesties and then step aside, but of
course I am not to keep altogether still, and--well, you know my
motto, 'At them!' [Footnote: "Immer drauf:"] Well, then, 'at them!'
Let us go to the bail. You must accompany me, Amelia, there is no
help for it; for it may be necessary for you to bring me back to
reason. You know well that no one but you can do that."

"I am sure, madame, you will not abandon us at this critical hour?"
begged Scharnhorst. "You do not desire his guardian angel to leave
him?"

"Yes, I will go with you," she said, smiling, "if for no other
purpose than to restrain my fiery thunderer in proper time."

"Well, it may not be of any avail," said Blucher, dryly. "By Heaven!
I must unbosom myself a little to-day--I must tell them the truth,
which no one here at Breslau likes to hear.--Well, Amelia, do me the
favor to turn toward the window. I wish to take off my dressing-gown
and pat on my uniform coat--then I am dressed; only my coat is
wanting; it lies on the chair yonder; wait until I have put it on,
and then we shall ride to the ball. I will call John to assist me."

"Do not call any one," said Scharnhorst, "but permit me to assist
you. Here is the coat."

"And here I am," cried Blucher, throwing off the dressing-gown and
quickly plunging into the coat which Scharnhorst handed him.

"But now listen, general," said Scharnhorst, handing Blucher the
sword and belt. "As you arc so very amiable and kind, I will tell
you good news. Gneisenau will be here to-morrow."

"What? Is he no longer in England?" asked Blucher, joyously.

"No, he is in Germany, and, as he wrote to me, will arrive to-morrow
at the latest. He landed nearly a week ago from a Swedish ship at
Colberg, where he was received with enthusiasm. The whole city was
illuminated on the evening of his arrival, and the citizens marched
in procession to his lodgings. [Footnote: Beitzke, vol. i., p. 196.]
You see the old hatred and the old love are still alive in the
people; they have not forgotten their oppressors, nor their heroes
either."

"Then Gneisenau has come, too," exclaimed Blucher; "he is the petrel
that heralds the storm. There will be war now, certainly; and if I
am not permitted to share in it, my heart will burst like an
overcharged gun. Gneisenau come! all men are coming, and Blucher is
to stay at home! Well, if they do not appoint me commanding general,
I will enlist as a private. For I must participate in the war that
is to put an end to Bonaparte's tyranny; and, if I cannot be first
dancer, I shall be one of the musicians.--Christian, have the
carriage brought to the door!"



CHAPTER XXIX.

THE BALL AT THE CITY HALL OF BRESLAU.


The large saloon of the city hall of Breslau presented an
exceedingly festive and brilliant spectacle. The walls were
tastefully decorated with festoons and flags, exhibiting alternately
the Russian and Prussian colors; between them were the Prussian
eagle and the double-headed Russian eagle in richly-gilt medallions,
surrounded by resplendent tapers. On the ceiling were suspended
three enormous chandeliers, each adorned with fifty large wax
candles, which shed a flood of light through the whole hall, and
reflected themselves a hundred times in their balls and pendants of
rock crystal. In the gallery, fixed on the upper half of one of the
walls of the hall, and splendidly decorated with garlands and
Prussian and Russian flags, sat a band of fifty musicians, who
caused soul-stirring greetings to roll down into the hall, where the
brilliant and numerous crowd of guests, whom the municipal
authorities had invited, were moving up and down; the ladies in the
most magnificent toilets, in the gorgeous splendor of diamonds and
other precious stones, of flowers and laces; the gentlemen in their
gold-embroidered uniforms, their breasts ornamented with orders; but
among them were seen also the dark figures of Lutzow's riflemen, the
plain coats of the citizens, and even some of the peasantry in their
becoming rural costumes. All classes were represented at this great
ball, which the municipal authorities of Breslau gave in honor of
the Emperor of Russia, for these representatives of all classes were
to offer to Alexander the homage of the Prussian people, and to
return thanks to the noble ally of the king for the assistance that
he intended to lend to Prussia.

The emperor and the king, therefore, were received with boundless
enthusiasm when they entered the hall arm in arm, each decorated not
with his own orders, but with those of his ally. Alexander had
acknowledged this flattering reception with the affability and the
smiling grace peculiar to him; Frederick William, with the gravity
and calmness that never left him. After the first presentations and
official addresses were over, Alexander requested the presiding
burgomaster to set aside the embarrassing ceremonial, and to allow
every one to yield without restraint to the enjoyment of the
festival. In order to give an example to the assembled guests, the
emperor suggested to the managers that dancing might begin, and,
offering his arm to the wife of the presiding burgomaster, he opened
the ball with the Polonaise. After the dance he moved about the hall
with the most amiable affability, always endeavoring by his kindness
and politeness to cause all to forget the gulf separating them from
the emperor. The king had, like him, participated in the opening of
the ball; but he retired, grave, silent, and cold as ever, into the
adjoining apartment which was destined for the private audience-room
of the two sovereigns, and which none wore permitted to enter but
those whom the footmen of the king and the emperor expressly
invited. As long as Alexander and Frederick William were in the
large hall, they only desired to be the guests of their kind hosts,
and affable and unassuming members of the party; no sooner, however,
had they crossed the threshold of their audience-room than they were
again the king and the emperor, whom no one was allowed to approach
without being requested. From this audience-room a door, veiled by
heavy velvet curtains, led into another apartment, where a small
table, covered with the choicest cold viands, and the most exquisite
and rare wines, had been set for the two sovereigns, and this small
apartment led to the large supper-room that was again connected by a
small room with the vast saloon. One of the long walls of this
supper-room was occupied with an enormous buffet, loaded with the
most select delicacies in colossal dishes of silver and porcelain,
and beside which were large crystal bowls, filled with smoking punch
or fragrant cardinal. In the remaining space was a number of small
round tables ready for supper, at which those might take seats who
desired to refresh themselves after the exhausting pleasures of the
festival.

Alexander and Frederick William had retired into the audience-room,
and sent for those persons whom they desired to distinguish
particularly tonight. There were Majors von Lutzow and Petersdorf,
who had been invited to the honor of an audience which had been
conferred even upon some of the volunteers, among them upon Baron la
Motte Fouque and Theodore Korner; and Alexander told them with
charming enthusiasm of his sympathy for the heroic Prussian nation,
and of his admiration of its glorious self-denial. He stated to
Major von Lutzow that, if he did not happen to be emperor, he would
not allow any one to prevent him from volunteering in his Legion of
Vengeance; and to Theodore Korner, in proof of the admiration he
felt for his poems, he recited the first verses of his patriotic
song, "Frisch auf, mein Volk, die Flammenzeichen rauchen."

Frederick William contented himself with addressing a kind word, a
brief salutation, to each of them, and then again moving toward the
portiere, looked at the motley crowd in the ball-room. Suddenly,
while the two sovereigns were standing side by side, engaged in a
familiar chat, and looking into the hall, an unusual commotion was
noticed. All rushed toward the entrance of the hall, through which
the two burgomasters had just stepped into the outer reception-room.
Undoubtedly some one was expected, and moreover one whom all the
guests were anxious to see and to welcome in the most enthusiastic
manner.

The large folding-doors opened, and between the two burgomasters
appeared the slender, firmly-knit form of General Blucher. Behind
him was General Scharnhorst, escorting Madame von Blucher. Blucher
advanced, with a winning smile on his fine, good-natured
countenance, greeting the assembled guests by pleasantly nodding to
the right and left. At first his polite salutations were returned in
silence, but gradually there arose murmurs and whispers--the eyes
which were fixed upon the hero's form grew more radiant, and soon
cheers resounded through the whole hall--deafening shouts of "Long
live Blucher!--Long live our hero, brave General Blucher!"

"A flourish!" shouted other voices to the musicians. The presiding
burgomaster nodded smilingly, and waved his white handkerchief. The
musicians made a loud flourish resound, and more deafening and
jubilant became the shouts of "Long live Blucher!--Long live our
hero!" Blucher bowed, confused and almost ashamed, and with so
charming an expression of surprise and joy that this called forth a
new outburst of tumultuous applause and enthusiasm.

The two sovereigns stood in the open door of the audience-room, and
witnessed this strange and unexpected scene, Alexander smiling and
apparently well pleased, Frederick William grave and with a slight
shadow on his brow.

"Ah, sir," said Alexander, in a low and quick voice, "it seems to me
the guests intend to make a little demonstration in honor of your
general, and to give us a gentle hint whom they would like to have
appointed general-in-chief of the Silesian army."

"Indeed, it seems so," said Frederick William, morosely, "but I do
not like such demonstrations, and they have no effect upon myself."

"But let us now greet the hero," exclaimed Alexander, smiling;
"people ought to see that we share the general sympathy." He quickly
stepped into the ballroom; the king followed him slowly and
hesitatingly.

"Welcome, my dear General Blucher," said Alexander, offering his
hand to the general, while the king saluted him merely with a nod.
The hum and noise which hitherto filled the hall like the roar of
the sea, immediately died away. Silence ensued; everyone stood still
as if riveted to his place; all eyes were turned in eager suspense
and with breathless curiosity toward the group that stood in the
middle of the hall; all tried to catch a word, a glance, in order to
draw therefrom their own conclusions. And, amid this general
silence, was heard the melodious voice of Alexander, who said again,
"Welcome, my dear General Blucher! I am really glad to greet you,
and to meet you again after so long an interval. I did not know,
indeed, that you were here in Breslau; otherwise I would have called
upon you."

"That would have been very gracious, and in accordance with the
character of your majesty," said Blucher, loudly and firmly. "For
your majesty is known never to forget those who are worthy of being
remembered. All patriots have learned, with feelings of gratitude
and enthusiasm, that your majesty, directly after your arrival,
called upon that noble and intrepid German, Minister von Stein, who
was living solitary, sick, and deserted, in his garret, and who, up
to that time only a few faithful friends and a few cowardly enemies
had remembered." [Footnote: Minister von Stein had arrived sick at
Breslau, and lived, as stated above, in a small garret, which Major
von Lutzow had surrendered to him. Only his intimate friends visited
him there, and this was the reason why Count St. Marsan, whom Field-
Marshal Kalkreuth had informed of Stein's arrival at Breslau, did
not believe in the truth of this information. Baron von Stein,
however, received secretly many proofs of love and sympathy. The
king alone took no notice of him, and the members of the court, too,
were prohibited from entering into any relations with Stein. There
was a change for the better, however, as soon as the Emperor of
Russia arrived, and at once called upon Stein. Now all hastened to
visit him, and overwhelmed him with protestations of devotion, which
he rejected frequently with great asperity.]

These words, uttered in a loud and powerful voice, produced various
effects. The Emperor Alexander smiled and bowed his head quickly and
repeatedly; King Frederick William frowned slightly, and this
authorized the gentlemen of his suite, who stood behind him, Field-
Marshal Kalkreuth and General Knesebeck, to frown too, and cast
angry glances at Blucher. Madame von Blucher, who had modestly kept
somewhat in the background, turned very pale, and leaned tremblingly
upon the arm of General Scharnhorst, who smiled and whispered,
"Blucher is grand! He is a true fire-king among the will-o'-the-
wisps!" The two burgomasters and the host of courtiers smiled when
they glanced at the emperor, and looked grave and gloomy when they
turned their eyes to the clouded brow of the king. Blucher, however,
did not seem to notice the impression produced by his words, and
looked around as composedly as if he had made a mere courtier's
reply to the emperor's gracious salutation.

"I am happy to be one of Stein's friends," said Alexander, "but I do
not think it requires particular courage to profess friendship for a
magnanimous man whom all Germany reveres and admires."

"No, your majesty," said Blucher, calmly, "only a short time ago it
required a great deal of courage for a German to profess friendship
for Minister von Stein, for the Emperor Napoleon hates and fears
him, and for this reason three-fourths of the Germans hate and fear
him from humble respect for the Emperor of the French.--Is it not
so?" added Blucher, suddenly turning to Field-Marshal Kalkreuth, who
stood close behind the king. "is it not as I say? Do you not admit
that I am right, Field-Marshal Kalkreuth?"

This question, which was addressed to a by-stander, with utter
disregard of etiquette, caused the blood of the courtiers to freeze,
and made Field-Marshal Kalkreuth turn purple with anger. The Emperor
Alexander, however, burst into loud laughter, and, turning to the
king, he whispered to him in a hurried, low voice, "You are right,
sire, Blucher is a mad-cap, a genuine hussar, always ready to
charge!" The king nodded, and as Alexander laughed, he forced
himself also to smile a little. Field-Marshal Kalkreuth responded to
Blucher's question only by a quick, angry glance and a gentle bow.
"Well," said Alexander, turning again to Blucher, "I am satisfied,
however, that you did not belong to the three-fourths of the Germans
that hated and loved according to the wishes of the Emperor
Napoleon, general?"

"No, your majesty," exclaimed Blucher, "I have always belonged to
his most consistent and implacable enemies, though I really owe him
a great deal--nay, almost my life."

"How your life?" asked Alexander, in amazement. "Did the emperor
ever save you from peril?"

"Yes, your majesty," said Blucher, casting a quick and fiery glance
around the large circle of his audience, "the Emperor Napoleon did
save me from a danger menacing my life. For, ever since the
disastrous days of Tilsit, I was near dying of grief at the
misfortunes of Prussia; and when our noble and august Queen Louisa
died--our queen, who was so true and patriotic a German lady, and
whose heart had been broken by the calamities that had befallen
Prussia--I really thought a dagger had pierced my heart, and I would
have to bleed to death. But then I comforted myself by remembering
that Napoleon still lived, and that I ought to live, too, in order
to see the day when the tyrant would be brought to judgment, and I
felt strengthened by the conviction that God had destined me to be
the instrument by whom He wanted to destroy Napoleon, and that I was
intended to assist in delivering Germany and avenging Queen Louisa;
and this thought, sire, kept me alive, invigorating and
strengthening me; it rendered me again so young and ardent that I am
yearning for the fray like a war-horse that has heard the bugle-
call."

A murmur of applause was heard, and only the feeling of awe inspired
by the presence of the two sovereigns seemed to restrain a
tumultuous outburst of general sympathy. Every one looked with proud
and joyful glances now at the aged general, whose noble face was
full of courage and determination, and again at the Emperor
Alexander, who seemed to contemplate the intrepid soldier with a
sort of amazement.  A brief pause ensued, when the king approached
Madame von Blucher, standing by the side of Scharnhorst. "Good-
evening, madame," said the king, in a loud and somewhat harsh voice;
"please tell me how old General Blucher is."

"Your majesty," said Madame von Blucher, making a profound
obeisance, "according to his heart and strength, he is a youth;
according to his certificate of birth, he is seventy-one years old."

"So old!" said the king; "Blucher so aged a man! But, it is true,
his tongue is that of a stripling."

"Your majesty," said Blucher, quickly turning, "may it please the
good God and my king to give me an opportunity to refute my
certificate of birth, and to prove that I am a vigorous, courageous
lad, who knows how to use his sword as well as his tongue!"

"It is not sufficient, however, to know how to use the sword and the
tongue, but one must know, too, how to restrain both," said the
king, quickly turning and beckoning Field-Marshal Kalkreuth to his
side, with whom he commenced chatting.

The Emperor Alexander laid his hand hastily on Blucher's shoulder,
as if to soften and restrain the impending outburst of the general's
anger, and, looking with a kind smile into his flushed face, he
said: "restraint is not what suits you? Your motto is, 'Always
forward!' And you believe it is time that all Germany, myself, and
my army, should adopt this motto? Well, perhaps you are right, my
dear general. At all events, it will be seen soon who are right,
those who wish to procrastinate, or those who are in favor of
immediate and decisive action."

He nodded pleasantly to Blucher, and then called General Scharnhorst
to his side, turning, like the king, back to the audience-room. The
guests who had crowded in breathless silence into the middle of the
hall, dispersed again and returned to the adjoining rooms. Blucher
escorted his wife to the gallery occupied by ladies, and then
followed the burgomasters, who had solicited the honor of conducting
him to the supper-room.

Frederick William's brow was gloomy and clouded, and he was even
graver and more reticent than usual. He retired into the background
of the room, addressing only now and then a few quick words to
Field-Marshal Kalkreuth, who stood by his side. Alexander's
countenance was serene and pleasant, and a smile played round his
lips while he conversed eagerly with General Scharnhorst.

"You say, then, that Stein is of the same opinion?" asked Alexander,
thoughtfully. "He thinks, too, that General Blucher should be
preferred?"

"Yes, sire," said Scharnhorst, "this is the opinion of Minister von
Stein, and, I may add, the opinion of every Prussian who has the
happiness and greatness of the fatherland at heart. Sire, those who
are in favor of a timid and vacillating policy, who would like to
negotiate and compromise, who still believe in the possibility of a
reconciliation with France, who still think that the pen should
smoothen the rugged path before us, or unravel the knot of our
difficulties--those cowardly, grovelling hearts are the real enemies
of our cause, and more dangerous than Napoleon with all his armies.
For they are weighing down our courage, paralyzing our arms, and
stifling our enthusiasm. But for them the king, who, in his modesty,
is utterly unaware how fiery a soul, how great a heart he is
possessed of, would have long since concluded an alliance with your
majesty. But the king is unfortunately so modest that he distrusts
himself, and subordinates his own opinion to that of his old and, as
he believes, well-tried and faithful advisers. Now, these advisers
are to blame for all the misfortunes of Prussia; they inveigled us
into the alliance with France; they caused us to adhere to it, and
would even now like to force us back into it. They would stifle the
fire of patriotism because they are afraid lest it annihilate them
and destroy their unworthy efforts. For this reason Blucher, with
his heroic soul, is as much an eyesore to them as Stein, with his
plans of liberation and his energetic action for constitutional
reform. One wishes to create a new Prussia, the other a new state,
and both these ideas are utterly distasteful to some, for they cling
to the rotten old system, and new things fill them with terror."

Alexander listened to the words of Scharnhorst with the liveliest
attention, and looked down musingly.

"Listen, general!" he said, in a low and hurried voice, glancing
around the room as if to convince himself that no one could overhear
his words, "reply honestly and sincerely to the following question:
Is the King of Prussia sufficiently strong to cope with France for
any length of time?"

"No," said Scharnhorst, firmly. "The army the king could place in
the field would not be able to achieve a single victory over
Napoleon. But the Prussian nation is strong, and arming itself for a
struggle in which it will triumph, because no army can resist the
will of a united people, and because God is an ally of the nations
fighting for their liberty and their princes; but he who is
audacious enough to endeavor to stifle the flame of this national
enthusiasm, instead of bearing it aloft like an oriflamme in the van
of the great army of liberation, would render himself guilty of a
fearful sin. Prussia will conquer with her whole people, but she
will succumb if she relies only on her army."

"It is true," said Alexander, thoughtfully, "the Prussian nation has
manifested of late a wonderful enthusiasm, and has risen as one man.
It has risen for its king and its honor, and--do you not believe
that it will fight equally well for both, whether Tanentzien,
Kalkreuth, or Blucher, be its chieftain?"

"No, sire," said Scharnhorst, quickly; "I know that it will not. The
people, with their quick and unerring instinct, know those very well
in whom they may confide, and I request your majesty to take
graciously into consideration that it is this time the people that
must render Prussia victorious. It is true, the regiments of
volunteers that have already been organized would not disband, even
though Kalkreuth or Tanentzien should be appointed general-in-chief
of the Prussian or Silesian army, but the regiments that have not
yet been organized and equipped will hesitate and retire, unless
they know that a general will command them who has sworn unending
hatred to the Emperor Napoleon, and who will die a thousand times on
the battle-field rather than conclude peace and a new alliance with
him. Now, such a general is Blucher, the youth of seventy, a modern
knight 'without fear and without reproach.' If he stands at the head
of our army, the Prussian people will rally exultingly round the
standards, and the diminished regiments be replaced by new ones that
will rush into the field, because they know that there is at their
head a hero in whose breast there is room for only two sentiments--
love of country and hatred of the French; and who serves, without
fear, his God, his king, and his fatherland, impelled by this very
hatred and love, without any secondary motives--nay, perhaps, even
without personal ambition."

"If Blucher is really such a hero as you depict him," cried
Alexander, "it would be a crime not to place him at the head of the
Silesian army. Had you told the king all you have told me, he would
certainly not have hesitated a moment as to the general who should
be appointed commander-in-chief."

"Sire, I did tell him all that my heart and my head prompted me, and
to-day at noon I was still convinced that the king would appoint
General Blucher as soon as he should have satisfied himself that he
thereby would not act contrary to the will and wishes of your
majesty. But the little scene at the hall a few minutes ago has
unfortunately shaken my conviction, for the king seemed offended at
the rough and somewhat impetuous bearing of the hussar general."

"And this very bearing of the hussar general, as you call Blucher,
has impressed me very favorably, for he who relies so firmly on his
own strength must feel sure of victory. I like to see, towering
above the crowd of the fawning courtiers surrounding us, men who do
not bend their backs, nor sink into the dust, before our so-called
'divine rights,' but who stand erect, and fear no one, because they
are true to themselves."

"If that is the opinion of your majesty, then I am at liberty to
confess that I share it," said a voice behind him; and when the
emperor turned, he met the smiling gaze of the king, who had
approached during the conversation with Scharnhorst, and, as he did
not wish to interrupt it, listened to its conclusion without being
noticed by the two speakers.

"What!" asked Alexander, offering his hand to the king. "Your
majesty, then, is of my opinion--you like, too, the men who
sometimes allow us to see their brow instead of their reverentially-
bent back, and who tell us the truth instead of those eternal,
perfumed flatteries?"

"Certainly, sire," said the king, gently bowing his head. "It is
true, the truth is sometimes a somewhat bitter medicine, but it
restores our health, while sweet flatteries spoil our taste and ruin
our stomach."

"And we must really have a healthy stomach to digest the hard fare
of these times!" exclaimed Alexander, smiling. "Scharnhorst thinks
that Blucher would be a good physician for our stomachs. That is
your opinion, general, is it not?"

"Sire, he is at least a physician who will not resort to
palliatives," said Scharnhorst, "but will immediately try to
eradicate the evil by a thorough operation."

"But I have been told that a great many patients have died in
consequence of operations, when they might have lived a long time if
they had borne their ills with patience and resignation," said the
king, growing again gloomy and thoughtful.

The emperor laid his hand on the shoulder of his royal friend. "But
who would prefer a life on the sick-bed to the quick and glorious
death of a hero on the field of honor?" he said, feelingly. "Not
you, my august friend, I know; and even better than to me it is
known to the angel who is hovering over you, and whose earthly eyes
were closed in grief. But," Alexander interrupted himself, "these
are thoughts that are unsuitable for a festival, and I beg your
majesty's pardon for having ventured to indulge in them."

"Still, they are the thoughts that always accompany and never leave
me, sire," said the king. "True, I have overcome my grief, but I
will never learn to forget. At the present time I am thinking of my
Louisa with redoubled longing. How her heart would have rejoiced
over the renewal of an alliance which she so fervently desired, and
how the noble spirit of the nation would have delighted and inspired
her!"

"The noble queen, I believe, was also a warm friend of General
Blucher, was she not?" asked the emperor, after a pause. "I believe
she belonged to those who expected a great deal from him, and
thought him a hero and a powerful enemy of Napoleon? Is it not so,
sire?"

"Yes," said the king, thoughtfully, "the queen had a great regard
for Blucher, and considered him a brave and faithful patriot."

"And what did she think of Field-Marshal Kalkreuth?" asked
Alexander, with seeming carelessness. "Did he belong to those, too,
in whom the queen confided, and from whom she expected the salvation
of the fatherland?"

The king quickly looked up and met for a moment the searching gaze
which the emperor fixed on him. Frederick William smiled, and
inclined his head, as if he well understood the emperor's question.
"No," he said, "Queen Louisa rarely approved of the views of the
field-marshal, and although she felt high esteem for the general who
had already shown himself a brave man under the great Frederick, she
did not agree with the predilection he manifested for the Emperor
Napoleon and his invincible armies."

"A predilection," exclaimed Alexander, smiling, "which I believe the
field-marshal has not yet got rid of, notwithstanding the experience
which Napoleon gained on the battle-fields of Russia."

"On the same battle-fields on which your majesty gathered new
laurels," said the king, bowing slightly.

"And now there will spring up real laurel-woods for your majesty
here in Germany!" exclaimed the emperor. "The only question for us
now is, to find the right sort of gardener who knows how to
cultivate them. But, I repeat, our thoughts are not suitable to this
festival. Come, sire, permit me to offer you my arm as your
cavalier, and to conduct you to the buffet, for how exalted soever
our position may be, we must not forget that we are men, and that
our stomachs sometimes need food."

He offered his arm to the king, and conducted him to the small
supper-hall adjoining the audience-room. The gentlemen who were
present followed them, and the chamberlains hurried to the sideboard
to have supper served up to the two sovereigns.



CHAPTER XXX.

THE APPOINTMENT.


Alexander took a seat by the king's side at the small table, loaded
with a heavy gold service, set for them alone near the door, which
was covered with a heavy portiere, and led into the large supper-
hall. The emperor and the king had just put upon their plates some
of the appetizing pate de foie gras which the master of ceremonies
himself had served up, and were proceeding like other mortals to
consume them with great relish. The cavaliers, improving the
opportune moment of silence, stood about the room and partook of the
viands taken from the sideboard. Suddenly this silence was
interrupted by a voice which was not uttered in the room itself, but
swept through it like the blast of a trumpet: "If this hesitation
and vacillation continue, all is lost; and it would then be better
for us to throw ourselves immediately at the feet of Bonaparte, and
crave quarter, than unnecessarily spill the precious blood of the
people, and at last submit. He who does not advance goes backward
without noticing it, and he who is not courageous enough to attack,
is vanquished even before his adversary has forced him to battle."

"Why," exclaimed Alexander, smiling, "these are sentences that
remind me of General Blucher."

"Your majesty is right, it is his voice," said the king; "he will
give vent to his indignation, and, perhaps, at our expense. Let us
not listen to him."

"On the contrary, I beg your majesty's kind permission to listen,"
said Alexander, pleasantly. "There is in the words of the general
something that is as refreshing as a pure wind dispelling unhealthy
vapors. Ah, hear him, sire; his tones are roaring like a hurricane."

In fact, the voice in the adjoining room had grown more violent, and
the Emperor Alexander was seated in such a manner that he could
distinctly hear every word uttered:

"What! you really believe it to be possible that they will appoint
Field-Marshal Kalkreuth general-in-chief, and intrust our young and
splendid army to him? Great Heaven! do they not know, then, that
Kalkreuth, however excellent a man and brave a soldier he may be, is
not fit to confront Napoleon? Is it not a matter of notoriety that
the field-marshal loves and admires Bonaparte, and that he considers
a rupture with France a great calamity for Prussia? How could he
ever win a battle who could never look straight forward at the
battle-field, but would squint sideways to see what faces Napoleon
would make, and whether he would not frown at the audacity of the
Prussians, who dare try to defeat the great Napoleon? We need a man
with a direct look--one who fixes both his eyes on the object. We do
not want any schielwippen! They may all go to the mischief, for one
never knows what they are about! I repeat, we need a man with a
straight look!"

"What is that? schielwippen?" inquired the emperor, smiling. "I
thought I had learned the German language pretty thoroughly from my
mother and my wife, both of whom have the honor of being natives of
Germany, but I have never heard this word from them. Pray, sire,
tell me what it means."

"I must confess that I do not understand it either," said the king,
shrugging his shoulders.

"General Scharnhorst!" cried the emperor. "Pray can you tell us what
schielwippen means?"

"Sire," said Scharnhorst, laughing, "it is a slang term for a man
who squints. General Blucher likes to use the language of the
people."

"Well, the Prussian people have recently used such grand and
magnificent language," said Alexander, "that we may say with heart-
felt conviction, 'Vox populi vox Dei!' and that it reflects great
credit on Blucher, if it is true that he speaks like the people.
But, hush! what does he say now?"

"The cowards have brought all our misfortunes upon us!" thundered
Blucher's powerful voice. "The hesitating men who always wish to
patch up and stop the holes, instead of tearing down the old ruin
and building a new house, are our curse, and have always involved
Prussia in untold calamities. When I think of them I would like to
have them here, to treat them as Jahn treated the other day one of
the Turners at Berlin. Do you know the story?"

"No," shouted several voices, "we unfortunately do not."

"Well, I will tell it to you. Jahn went with his pupils down the
Linden to the Brandenburg gate to perform the usual gymnastic
exercises on the drill-grounds outside the city. On the way he
happened to cast his eyes on the gate, where the Victoria formerly
stood, and which the French stole and carried off to Paris. Jahn,
like every honest man who looks at the gate, felt his heart swell
with anger. He turned to the boy who was marching by his side and
asked him, 'What stood formerly over the pillars of the gate'?'--
'The Victoria,' said the boy.--'Where is it now?' inquired Jahn.--
'It is in Paris, where the French carried it.' Jahn asked again,
'What do you think when looking up to the vacant place on the top of
the gate?'--'Well,' said the boy, with great composure, 'what should
I think? I think it is a pity that the Victoria is no longer there.'
And when he said so, Jahn lifted up his hand and slapped the boy's
face. 'You should think that we will fetch back the Victoria, you
monkey!' he shouted. That is the whole story, but I remember it
whenever I see these dear tame men who merely say, 'It is a pity
that we have been so unfortunate!' and whose hearts feel only a mild
regret instead of the most ardent revenge. And then my hand itches,
and I would like to lift it up, like Jahn, and slap their faces."

"Your Blucher is a splendid hussar," said Alexander, looking at the
king. "I believe it is dangerous to stand before him when his hand
is itching."

"Yes, his hand has been itching from the days of Jena," exclaimed
the king, smiling. "He has been anxious to fight ever since. For
this reason I gave him the estate of Kunzendorf, and sent him
thither. I thought he would there quietly cure himself; but it seems
it was in vain; my expectations have been disappointed. I believe
his hand is incurable."

"Your majesty, therefore, had better yield to him, and allow him to
fight," said Alexander, almost entreatingly. "The opportunity is
excellent at the present time. If you place him at the head of the
Silesian army, he will no longer slap the faces of his friends and
neighbors on the right and left, but will rush forward and stretch
out his itching hand to deal the French terrible blows."

"I am only afraid he would be too rash in his wild hussar spirit,"
said the king, "and spoil every thing by trying to tear down all
barriers."

"A man should be placed by his side who knows how to check his
boldness," exclaimed Alexander--"a man who does not stifle Blucher's
ardor, but gives it the true direction."

"But where shall we find such a one?"

"I believe your majesty may find him close by," said Alexander,
pointing to Scharnhorst, who was leaning against the portiere.

"Ah, sire," cried the king, almost merrily, "I believe yon are a
magician, and understand my most secret thoughts. Scharnhorst has a
great mind, and I owe him much. If he would take upon himself that
difficult and ungrateful part by the side of Blucher, I believe the
general's impetuosity would be less dangerous."

"Your majesty, please ask him whether he will or not," said
Alexander.

The king called Scharnhorst to his side. "You have influence over
General Blucher, have you not?" he asked, hastily.

"I may say, at least, your majesty, that General Blucher is
convinced of my love and devotion, and that he confides a little in
me."

"Could you make up your mind to occupy a secondary position by his
side, and, if I should appoint Blucher general-in-chief of the
Silesian army, become his chief of staff?"

"Your majesty," exclaimed Scharnhorst, "I would deem it a great
honor to serve under the heroic old man, and I am certain that with
him I would enter upon a glorious career, particularly if your
majesty should grant me a request."

"What is it? Speak!"

"If your majesty should condescend to place General Gneisenau, who
will arrive to-morrow, as quartermaster-general."

The king nodded. "You have selected a noble companion," he said,
smiling.

"It will be a splendid trefoil, it seems to me," cried the emperor.
"Blucher, Scharnhorst, and Gneisenau! They are three well-sounding
names! But listen, sire, Blucher is still thundering. There is a way
to calm this tempest."

"What is it?" asked the king, smiling.

"Your majesty ought to be so gracious as to send for General
Blucher, and tell him that you wish to confer upon him the command-
in-chief of the Silesian army."

"You advise me to do so, sire?" inquired the king. "Your majesty, in
counselling this, gives up no wish?"

"Yes, I do," said Alexander, smiling. "I should wish to see General
Tanentzien appointed commander-in-chief, just as your majesty
probably would prefer to bestow this position on Field-Marshal
Kalkreuth. Let us both, therefore, sacrifice our wishes to the great
object for which I now believe Blucher to be the proper instrument."

"So let it be, your majesty," exclaimed the king. "I will send for
Blucher." he beckoned to Scharnhorst to approach again. "Pray go and
fetch your friend, General Blucher," said the king, rising, like the
emperor, from the table.

"And I beg leave, while the general goes into the hall, to cast a
glance into the next room, to see what Blucher is doing," said the
emperor. "Now draw the portiere back, General Scharnhorst, and stand
there. In this way I am able to survey the whole hall."

Scharnhorst, in accordance with the emperor's order, opened the
portiere and stood in it; by his side, shaded by the curtain, stood
the emperor and the king. Both gazed into the supper-hall, which
presented a highly animated spectacle. At all the small tables sat
the guests in attractive groups, the ladies in their rich toilets,
the gentlemen in their brilliant uniforms. All were merry and
loquacious; the choice delicacies had put everyone in good spirits;
the fiery wine had loosened all tongues. Even the eyes of the ladies
were sparkling with a higher lustre, and a deeper crimson burned on
their cheeks. But all those merry faces turned frequently toward the
small table on one side of the hall near the portiere. There sat
General Blucher with his wife; several gentlemen were seated near
him. On the table stood one of the crystal bowls that had previously
adorned the handsome sideboard, and from this bowl, filled with an
amber-colored liquid, arose a delightful perfume. Blucher seemed to
inhale the fragrance with pleasure, for an expression of infinite
comfort beamed from his features, and whenever he emptied his glass
he seized the silver ladle that lay in the bowl, and then drew his
white mustache with a smile of gratification through his fingers,
while his eyes surveyed the whole company with a flashing glance.
Then a shadow passed across his brow. "We are highly elated to-day,
because we are at length to take up arms against our foe," he said;
"we are overjoyed because we are to take our revenge. And suppose
every thing should again turn out wrong; suppose the cowards and the
schielwippen should, after all, remain at the helm? Great Heaven!
the very idea maddens me! For I know them! I know that they will
ruin every thing. At the decisive moment they are vacillating, and,
in order to dishearten others, too, they exaggerate the strength of
the enemy a hundred-fold, and belittle our own resources in the same
proportion. Would that Heaven were to decree, 'Blucher shall command
the Prussians!' Good Lord, I pledge Thee my head that I would expel
Bonaparte with all his French from Germany, though I had but thirty
thousand soldiers behind me!" [Footnote: Blucher's words.--Vide
Varnhagen, "Life of Blucher," p. 136.]

"Now call him in, general," whispered Alexander. Scharnhorst stepped
into the hall. The king and the emperor left the supper-hall and
returned into the audience-room.

A few minutes afterward Blucher entered, followed by Scharnhorst,
who remained at the door, while Blucher advanced boldly toward the
two sovereigns.

"Your majesty was so gracious as to send for me," he said, bowing to
the king.

"Yes," said the king, gravely. "I wish to ask you whether you belong
to the vacillating cowards, or whether you are a whole man?"

"And I," exclaimed Alexander, pathetically--"I wish to request you
to confess whether you are also a schielwippe?"

Blucher looked at the two sovereigns with a gloomy, inquiring
glance. But suddenly his face brightened, and a smile played round
his lips. "Ah," he cried, "I understand! Your majesties have
overheard my prattle, and have sent for me to order me to be silent.
But I cannot, your majesties; I cannot! I must give vent to my
wrath, my vexation, and grief! I must be allowed to scold, for if I
did not I would be obliged to weep, and it would be a disgrace for
Blucher to act like an old woman! Let me scold, then, your
majesties; it relieves my heart a little, and my auger teaches me to
forget my grief."

"You grieve, then, general?" inquired Frederick William, smiling.

"Yes. my lord and king. I do grieve intensely. I should like to lay
my complaint before your majesty, and I will do so, too. I--"

"Hush!" interposed the king,--"hush, my firebrand of seventy-one
years! First reply to this question: would you like to be appointed
general-in-chief of the Silesian army?"

"Would I like to be appointed general-in-chief?" cried Blucher, his
eyes sparkling with joy. "Your majesty, that is just as though you
ask me whether I like to live any longer. For I tell your majesty I
will die at once rather than let any one else have that position."

"Well, then," said the king, in a grave and dignified tone, "I
appoint you general-in-chief of the Silesian army. Do you accept the
position?"

Blucher uttered a cry, and his face brightened as if lit up by a
sunbeam. "I accept it," he exclaimed, "and here I swear to your
majesty that I shall not lay down my command before Prussia is again
what she was prior to the battle of Jena, and that I shall not
sheathe my sword before we have driven Napoleon beyond the Rhine,
and have made him so humble that he will never again dare to cross
it. I swear to your majesty, upon my honor, that I will hurl
Bonaparte from his throne--that I will not rest before the crown has
fallen from his head! God has spared me that I may chastise
Napoleon; He has told me every night in my dreams, 'Do not despond,
do not lose heart! Keep up thy courage and thy confidence, for I
shall soon need thee! Thou shalt soon cut Napoleon down from his
power, and throw him into the dust whence he sprang.' And I have
answered, 'I am on hand, and wait only for the struggle to begin.'
Now I say to your majesty what I then said, 'I am on hand, and the
struggle is to begin!' I have sworn every day to chastise Bonaparte,
and while I live I shall thank your majesty for giving me an
opportunity. I am, then, general-in-chief of the Silesian army?"

"Yes, I appoint you, and his majesty the emperor approves my
selection," said the king. "All necessary directions, instructions,
and orders, you will receive to-morrow in writing. You will
immediately enter upon your office, and place yourself at the head
of the troops. Do you wish to prefer requests and impose
conditions?"

"Yes, your majesty, I must impose two conditions. In the first
place, General Scharnhorst must be my chief of staff, for Blucher is
only half a man when Scharnhorst is not with him. I have the arm, he
has the head; therefore we must be together."

"Your request is granted, and Scharnhorst has already accepted the
position," said the king, smiling.

"Secondly, I must impose the condition that I be allowed to leave
Breslau to-morrow with my Prussians, and advance toward Saxony."

"What! You intend to start at once?" cried Alexander and Frederick
William, in amazement.

"Yes, at once," said Blucher, with a joyful air. "The years of
waiting are past, and now comes the day of vengeance. Like a
thunderstorm we must burst upon the French. Before they expect us we
must expel what troops of theirs remain in Germany, dissolve the
Confederation of the Rhine, and by our bold exploits stir up all
Germany that she may rally round our flag, and form an enormous army
before Napoleon has concentrated his newly-organized forces. That is
our task, and, if it pleases God, we will fulfil it."



CHAPTER XXXI.

AFTER THE BATTLE OF BAUTZEN.


For two days the battle had been raging, and even now, in the
afternoon of the 22d of May, the struggle was undecided. Blucher,
who, with his Prussians, occupied the heights of Kreckwitz, near
Bautzen, still hoped to achieve a victory. For two days the
Prussians and Russians fought like lions along the extended line of
battle; they engaged the hostile legions with undaunted courage and
joyful enthusiasm, regardless of the scorching heat, hunger, thirst,
and exhaustion. During these days Blucher was constantly in the
midst of his troops. Where the shower of bullets was thickest, where
the danger was most imminent, his voice was heard inciting the
soldiers; where the enemy approached with his most formidable
columns, Blucher stood with his faithful companion Gneisenau at the
head of his Prussians, brandishing his sword, advancing with
exulting cheers upon the enemy, and causing him to retreat.

The heights of Kreckwitz had to be held till General Barclay de
Tolly, with his Russians, would arrive, and Generals York and
Kleist, with their Prussians, to cover Blucher's left flank, which
was threatened by Marshal Ney. The booming of cannon was incessant.
The Russians stood like a wall, and when the front ranks were swept
down, others took their places; the living stepped over the dying,
undaunted, and remembering only one thing--that they had to take
revenge for the lost battle of Lutzen. [Footnote: Fought May 2,
1813. The French call this battle that of Lutzen; the Germans
generally that of Gross-Gorschen. Both sides claimed a victory. But
the latest German historians, especially Beitzke, admit that the
Germans were defeated.]

"Boys," shouted Blucher to his soldiers, just as the balls of the
enemy struck down whole ranks, "boys, remember that we have resolved
to sabre the French. They have exhausted the soil of Germany, we
must fertilize it with French corpses. Remember Gross-Gorschen,
where they wounded our General Scharnhorst. We must chastise them
for that, and capture a few French generals. [Footnote: General
Scharnhorst was wounded at the battle of Gross-Gorschen by Blucher's
side. He believed his wound was not dangerous, but he left the
headquarters to be cured. He went at first to Altenburg, and then to
Prague, to attend the peace congress. His wound reopened, and he
died at Prague on the 20th of June, 1813.] We must get at least four
of their marshals in return for General Scharnhorst, for the fellows
are light, and four of them do not weigh as much as one Scharnhorst.
Now, tell me, shall we get those four French marshals?"

"Yes, Father Blucher, yes!" shouted the Prussians, jubilantly. "Long
live Father Blucher!"

"Only a little longer, and the day is ours!" cried Gneisenau, in a
ringing voice. "The legions of Marshal Ney are charging again, but
General Barclay, with his Russians, has occupied the Windmill-knoll,
near Gleime, and will repulse him as we shall Napoleon's columns.
The heights of Kreckwitz are the Thermopylae of the Prussians, and
we will fall to a man rather than surrender!"

"Yes, that we will do!" cried the officers, enthusiastically, and
the soldiers echoed their shouts.

At this moment a terrific cannonade resounded on the right wing of
the Prussian troops. "There are the French!" exclaimed Blucher.
"Boys, now bring in those marshals!" The cannon roared, the muskets
rattled, and, as though heaven desired to participate in this
struggle of the nations, the thunder rolled, and flashes of
lightning darted into the clouds of battle-smoke.

But who was galloping up suddenly on a charger covered with foam,
his hair fluttering in the breeze, and his face pale and terrified?
It was a Prussian colonel, and still he does not join in the
exultation of his countrymen. He approached Generals Blucher and
Gneisenau.

"Halloo! Lieutenant-Colonel von Muffling," shouted Blucher, "are you
back? Do you bring us greetings from Barclay de Tolly? Has he
finished the French? Well, we are just about to recommence our work
here--the last work for to-day."

"General," cried Muffling, anxiously, "the French will soon have
finished Barclay de Tolly, and defeated us! For he is unable to hold
out. He has only fifty thousand men, and Ney is attacking him with a
much larger force. Barclay sends me for reenforcements, and if we do
not strengthen his line, he cannot maintain himself on the Windmill-
knoll. In a quarter of an hour it will be in Ney's hands."

"No; in a quarter of an hour Ney will be in our hands," shouted
Blucher, confidently. "Ney is a marshal, and we must have him!
Boys," he cried, drawing himself up in his stirrups, and looking
back toward his troops--"boys, we must have Marshal Ney, must we
not?"

"Yes, Father Blucher, we must have Marshal Ney!"

Heaven responded with a loud clap of thunder, the earth was shaken
by the booming of the cannon, the air was rent by the cheers of the
living, and the groans and imprecations of the wounded and dying.
Blucher still stood with his Prussians on the heights of Krockwitz,
his face radiant with enthusiasm, his eye flashing with courage; but
a warning adviser stood by his side.

"General," whispered Muffling, "we are lost if we remain here
longer. We must retreat."

"Retreat!" cried Blucher, in an angry voice, and a clap of thunder
burst at that moment.

Muffling pointed silently down into the plain, and over to the
Windmill-knoll. "Look yonder! Napoleon is advancing directly upon
our front, the Windmill-knoll is evacuated, Barclay has gone, and
the Russians are routed!"

"But we still stand," cried Blucher, triumphantly, "and we shall
stand in spite of Napoleon and the devil! And, then, we are not
without support. The Russian artillery attached to our corps is
thundering against the enemy, and York and Kleist are covering our
left wing."

"But, general, listen! The Russian artillery is firing less rapidly;
General Kleist is no longer able to cover our left wing, for the
sovereigns have sent him to Bairuth to cover Barclay's flank; and as
for York, he was unable to prevent the enemy from placing a battery
near Basantwitz. I saw it when I rode hither. We are, therefore, in
a triple cross-fire." And, as though the enemy intended to confirm
these warning words, the cannon flashed from three sides, and hurled
their balls into the ranks of the Prussians.

The flush of hoped-for victory paled in Blucher's face; Gneisenau
grew grave and gloomy. The staff came nearer to their chieftain, and
tried to read his thoughts in his eyes. The jubilant shouts of the
soldiers were hushed; heaven was still thundering, and in the
distance burning villages, like gigantic torches, lit up the
landscape, and shed a blood-red lustre over the gray sky. Blucher
looked around in silence; his lip quivered, his eyebrows contracted,
and large drops of cold perspiration stood on his forehead.
Gneisenau was by his side, gloomy and taciturn, like his chieftain.
Behind them halted the staff-officers, mournful as their leaders,
for now every one recognized the danger, and knew that, if they
remained at the "Thermopylae of Prussia," they would have to defend
themselves to the last man, or lay down their arms, because, as soon
as the enemy closed up the fourth side, escape would be impossible.
[Footnote: Muffling, "Aus meinem Lebem," p. 42]

On the other side of Blucher halted Colonel Muffling, who had
brought back such calamitous tidings from his reconnoissance. He
pointed silently to the French columns of Marshal Ney, that just
commenced climbing the heights, and then pulled out his watch. "We
have fifteen minutes left," he said, in a loud, solemn voice,
"fifteen minutes to extricate ourselves from the noose. Afterward we
shall be hemmed in. If we do not improve the time the cowards will
surrender, and the brave die fighting to the last, but unfortunately
without promoting in the least the welfare of the fatherland."
[Footnote: Muffling's words--Ibid., p. 43.]

Blucher did not reply, gazing down with a sombre eye on the enemy,
coming up in increasing masses. The cannon of the French, firing
from three sides, spoke a disheartening language. The Russian
batteries had ceased firing, for their ammunition was exhausted.

"Gneisenau," asked Blucher at last, in a hollow voice, and sighing,
as though a stone weighed down his breast, "Gneisenau, what do you
say?"

"I must admit that Lieutenant-Colonel von Muffling is right," sighed
Gneisenau. "Under the present circumstances all further bloodshed
will be useless, and it is our bounden duty to preserve our men for
a better opportunity. We must hasten to retreat." [Footnote:
Gneisenau's words.--Ibid., p. 43.] A single savage imprecation burst
from Blucher's lips, but only the nearest bystanders heard it, for
it was drowned by the roar of artillery and the thunder of heaven.
With a quick jerk he drew his cap over his forehead, so that his
eyes were shaded--those eyes which had flashed so defiantly, but
which were now dim, who could say whether from the rain that was
pouring down, or the smoke of battle, or from despairing tears? He
slowly turned toward the gentlemen of his staff. "We must descend,
therefore, from the heights," he said, in a harsh voice. "Forward!
March down the turnpike toward Weissenberg. Make the enemy at least
pay dearly for compelling us to retreat. Let the cavalry advance,
covering our retreat, and let not a single man or standard fall into
the hands of the French! Come, gentlemen, listen to what I have
still to say to you."

The quarter of an hour allowed by Muffling had not yet elapsed when
the Prussians commenced slowly descending the heights of Kreckwitz,
and marching down the turnpike toward Weissenberg. Blucher had
ridden from the position at a brisk trot, with Gneisenau and the
officers of his staff, and galloped a short distance along the level
valley-road; then halting suddenly, and, turning his horse, he
looked up to the heights, from which the Prussians were descending
in perfect order, but in gloomy silence. "This is the second time we
have been obliged to retreat," said Blucher, mournfully, "the second
time that Bonaparte is luckier than we are; the blockheads will now
say again that Bonaparte is invincible, and that they are fools who
resist him, God being on his side, and fortune never forsaking him.
But I say it is false; the good God is not on his side, but the
devil is, and fortune is only lulling him to sleep, to plunge him
the surer and deeper into the abyss. But it is true, nevertheless,
that this is the second battle we have lost, and the second time
that we are obstructed in our advance. But I swear here--and may
Heaven record my oath!--that this shall be the last time that I fall
back; that I will specially pay Bonaparte for my grief and anxiety
for the past month, and that I will bring him as much trouble as one
man can to another. What a fearful account Bonaparte has to settle
with me! how much he has to pay me! But, no matter; my sword is
sharp, and will surely erase one item of his indebtedness after
another. From this day I will begin. Will you lend me your
assistance, gentlemen?"

"Yes," replied the officers of his staff, "we will!"

"Well, then it is all right," said Blucher, nodding; "from to-day M.
Napoleon had better beware of me. Hitherto, I have only hated him;
now I abhor him, and the word backward exists no longer for me and
my Prussians!" He quickly galloped up to his troops. "Well, boys,"
he cried, "the heights of Kreckwitz are of no use to us, and it is
better for us, therefore, to descend from them, and leave them to
Bonaparte, who may put them into his pocket, if it affords him
pleasure; but henceforth let us reverse matters, and put HIM into
our pocket and keep him warm; otherwise, he might feel cold again,
as he did in Russia. Forward now, boys; forward! And as we are now
moving, I am sure you see that we do not move backward; he who
asserts that we are retreating is a blockhead. Forward!"

But whatever Blucher said--how plausibly soever he tried to
represent to his troops that they were not retreating, but
advancing--it was unfortunately but too true that the battle of
Bautzen was lost, and that the Prussians and Russians were obliged
to fall back. It is true, they did so in excellent order, but--they
retreated and Napoleon could boast of a new victory on German soil.

The whole army of the allies commenced retreating about dusk on the
same day, and turned again toward Silesia. The troops marched
sullenly, and sombre too were the faces of the two sovereigns, the
Emperor Alexander and King Frederick William. Full of hope that they
would achieve a victory, they had taken the field with their troops;
but now their hopes were blasted, and they were compelled to return
whence they had set out.

While the troops were marching down the wide highways, the two
sovereigns, preceding their forces, took a short cut to Reichenbach.
They were alone; only two footmen followed them at some distance;
not a vestige of their earthly greatness surrounded them. They were
both silent; slowly riding along, the king looked grave, while the
emperor frequently turned his eyes, with an expression of mournful
emotion, upon his friend, or raised them heavenward, with an
entreating glance. Silence reigned around; only at a great distance
was heard the dull rumbling of wagons, and here and there on the
horizon still flickered the burning ruins of a village.

For some time they thus rode side by side, when the king stopped his
horse. "There must be a change!" he exclaimed, in a tone of grief
and despair. "We are moving eastward, but we must advance westward."

"We must all move eastward," said the emperor, in a deep, fervent
tone; "from the east came our salvation; eastward, therefore, every
good Christian turns his face whenever he prays for assistance and
redemption."

The king, perhaps, did not hear these words, for he made no reply,
but looked moody and thoughtful. Both did not notice that the sky
had brightened, and that the sun in its splendor was shedding its
setting beams. It was a beautiful evening. The earth, refreshed by
the rain, exhaled sweet odors; the air was fresh and balmy, and the
blooming fields waved as a gentle sea. The sovereigns were too much
concerned with themselves to be attracted by the beauties of outward
nature. Their eyes were turned inward.

"Oh," resumed the king, after a pause, "what will be the end of all
this? Were not they right who cautioned me against this war, and
pointed to Napoleon's luck in order to prevent me from entering upon
it? Have not my troops done all that can be demanded of human
strength? Have they not braved with heroic resolution all fatigues
and privations, and behaved in battle with unsurpassed valor? Have
not the Russians also manifested the noblest devotion, and the most
intrepid constancy? And still our armies have been defeated in two
pitched battles--and still we are retreating? What have we to hope
for? What new resources have we? May we still hope for the accession
of Austria to our alliance?"

He uttered these questions in an undertone and thoughtfully, as if
to himself, and forgetful of the presence of another who could hear
him. When the emperor, therefore, replied to him, Frederick William
gave a start, and raised his head almost in surprise.

"No," said the emperor, gravely--"no, we must not count on Austria;
or, if you please, NOT YET. The mission of Count Stadion ought to
have proved this to us. They sent their diplomatist to treat with us
that, in case of a victory, we might not consider Austria, too, as
our enemy. Now, that we have not been victorious. Count Stadion will
undoubtedly leave our headquarters, repair to those of Napoleon, and
assure him of the most faithful and sincere devotion of Austria.
Austria desires only negotiation--to fight with words, not with the
sword."

"But, without Austria," cried the king, vehemently, "we are too
weak! Oh, at times it seems to me as though no human strength were
able to accomplish any thing against the surpassing genius of
Napoleon, and as though God alone, who made him so great, and raised
him so high, could humble him! We have done all that men could do,
but it is all in vain! He has conquered!"

"But we have made him purchase his victories very dearly," said
Alexander, "and if we yielded, it was at least with honor. None of
our battalions were dispersed, and I believe the number of prisoners
is about the same on both sides. On the whole, nothing is lost as
yet, and with God's help we will soon do better."

"Yes, but only with God's help," cried the king; "we need it above
all; without it we are lost."

"But God is with us," exclaimed Alexander, enthusiastically, "I know
it; I have gained this firm conviction ever since the great and
terrible days of Moscow and the Beresina. God sent me those days of
trial and terror that I might believe--and now I do believe. Until
then I was a man enthralled by worldly doubts, relying upon my own
strength, and rejoicing, not without vanity, in my earthly
greatness. I thought of God, I loved Him, but He did not fill my
whole soul--I pursued my own path, and diverted myself. But the
conflagration of Moscow illuminated my mind, and the judgment of the
Lord on the ice-fields filled my heart with a fervor of faith which
it had never felt until then. With the flames of the holy city the
hand of God wrote on the reddened sky, 'I am the Lord thy God!' With
the rivers of blood flowing from the grand army of the French, the
finger of the Lord wrote on the snow-fields, 'Thou shalt have no
other gods before me!' Since then there is a wonderful joy, an
indescribable humility, and an immovable faith in my heart--since
then I have become another man. To the deliverance of Europe from
utter ruin I owe my own soul's salvation." [Footnote: The emperor's
words.--Vide Eylert, "Frederick William III.," vol. ii., p. 248.]

"It is He alone who is able to deliver us," said the king,
profoundly moved; "I bow my head in humility, and confess that we
are nothing without Him. May He send us His support!"

"He will," exclaimed Alexander, fervently; "God will be with us, for
we are engaged in a just cause!"

"Yes, it is just," responded Frederick William, with deep emotion,
and, slowly raising his eyes, he whispered, "Pray for us, Louisa,
that we may conquer!"

Both were silent, and, with pious emotion, they lifted their hearts
to heaven. Suddenly a joyful gleam kindled the face of the king,
and, offering his hand to Alexander, he said in a deeply-moved tone,
"We must not despond, but courageously continue the struggle. If
God, as I hope, bless our united efforts, we will profess before the
whole world that the glory belongs to Him alone." [Footnote: The
king's words.--Vide Eylert, "Frederick William III.," vol. ii., p.
248.]

"Yes," cried Alexander, putting his right hand into that of his
friend. "Let us not be ashamed to declare that the glory belongs to
God. And now, my friend," exclaimed the emperor, when they halted,
"let us repair to our headquarters, and hold a council of war with
our generals."

"Very well," replied Frederick William; "let us examine the strength
of our forces, and see what ought to be done. The battle of Bautzen
must not be the end of this war."



CHAPTER XXXII.

BAD NEWS.


A moment of repose had interrupted the great contest. Napoleon had
offered an armistice to the allies prior to the battle of Bautzen;
they rejected it, full of confidence in their strength. After the
battle of Bautzen, the offer was repeated, and accepted. Time was
needed for levying additional troops, organizing new regiments, and
concentrating new corps. But Napoleon, deceived by his victories,
relying on his good luck, and on the mistakes of his enemies, was
fully satisfied that this armistice was but the forerunner of peace;
and that the allies, warned by the two lost battles, would be eager
to accept any peace not altogether dishonorable. The negotiations
were opened at Prague. France, Prussia, and Russia, sent their
plenipotentiaries to that city; and Austria, having taken upon
herself the part of a mediator, instructed her envoy, Minister
Metternich, to participate in the congress. The armistice was from
the 4th of June to the 24th of July--time enough for agreeing on a
peace equally advantageous to both sides--time enough, too, in case
it should not be concluded, to concentrate the armies and bring
reinforcements from France.

So soon as the armistice was signed, Napoleon returned to Dresden,
to await there the result of the negotiations. At the Marcolini
Palace the emperor again established his headquarters; but no
brilliant festivals were given, as previous to his expedition to
Russia; the kings and princes of Germany did not gather round the
powerful conqueror. The Emperor of Austria remained quietly but
sullenly at Vienna; the King of Prussia was at Reichenbach, and was
now the enemy of Napoleon, and all the princes of the German
Confederation of the Rhine, who, but a year before, were humble
courtiers of Napoleon, kept aloof in morose silence, or refused
obedience to their former master, and raised difficulties when
called upon to furnish new troops and open additional resources.
None of them came to offer homage to him whom they had just feared
as the most powerful ruler in the world. Only the old, feeble King
of Saxony (who, at the commencement of the war had fled with his
millions, and the diamonds of the Green Vault, to Plauen, in the
most remote corner of his territories), [Footnote: Lebensbilder,
"vol. iii., p. 466."] returned at the rather imperious request of
Napoleon to Dresden. The emperor dined with him sometimes, but only
in the most intimate family circle, and without any outward
splendor; at night he went to the French theatre, which had been
ordered to Dresden during the armistice. Sometimes, his favorites,
the ladies Mars and Georges, and the great Talma, were allowed to
sup with the emperor after the performance, and the beautiful Mars,
the impassioned fervor of the gifted Georges, and the conversation
of the no less genial than adroit Talma, succeeded in dispelling the
emperor's discontent. But no sooner was he alone with his thoughts,
his labors, his plans, than his countenance assumed its sombre
expression. Thus days and weeks elapsed, and the congress was still
assembled at Prague; the end of the armistice was drawing nigh, and
the plenipotentiaries had not yet been able to agree on the
conditions of peace.

It was on the morning of the 28th of June. Napoleon had just
finished his breakfast, and entered his map-room to conceive there
the plans of future campaigns, when the door of the reception-room
opened, and Minister Maret, Duke de Bassano, came in. Maret belonged
to the few men in whom his master placed implicit confidence, and
whose fidelity he never doubted; to those who had at all times free
access to him, and were permitted to enter his apartments without
being announced. Nevertheless, his arrival seemed to surprise
Napoleon. Never before had the duke entered his room at so early an
hour, for he knew well that the emperor, engaged in examining his
maps and devising plans, did not like to be disturbed. It was
undoubtedly something unusual that induced the Duke de Bassano to
come to him at such a time.

Napoleon cast a quick glance on Maret's face. Standing up beside the
map-table, and leaning his hand upon it, he asked, vehemently,
"Well, Maret, what is it?"

"Sire, I have come only to deliver to your majesty a few letters
which the courier has just brought from Paris," said the duke,
handing him some sealed packages.

"Is a letter from the empress among them?" asked Napoleon, hastily.

"Yes, sire."

The emperor had already found it, and, throwing the others upon the
table, he hastily opened the one from his wife and read it. His
face, which until then had been so stern and gloomy, gradually
assumed a milder and kindlier expression.

"Ah, dear Louisa," he said, when he had read it, "how affectionately
she writes, how she is yearning for me, and how well she knows how
to tell me of the King of Rome, who is constantly inquiring for his
father, and every night, when he goes to bed, calls aloud, 'Dear
papa emperor come back soon!'"

"A call, sire, in which, I am satisfied, all France joins," said
Maret, quickly.

"Ah!" exclaimed the emperor, contemptuously shrugging his shoulders,
"I know well that France--that even my marshals join in it, not from
any devotion to myself, but because they want peace. The little King
of Rome, however, is longing for me, and the empress, too, is
wishing for my return, without caring much whether there is war or
peace. These two love me! Ah, what a happy family would we three be
if a lasting peace could be established! I am tired of war; like all
of you, I am yearning to return home, and to enjoy a little the
fruits of our numerous victories."

"Sire," said Maret, in a low, entreating voice, "it is easy for your
majesty to do so, and to restore peace to Europe."

"Do you wish also to join in the nonsense asserted by the fools?"
asked Napoleon, sharply. "Always the same air--the same strain! You
at least, Maret, ought not to sing it, for you alone are aware of
the proposals and negotiations between me and my enemies, and should
know that it does not depend on me alone to restore peace, but that
I shall, perhaps, only be he who must receive it."

"Still, sire, a few concessions on the part of your majesty would be
sufficient to bring about peace," Maret ventured to say.

"What do you mean?" inquired Napoleon, whose voice now assumed an
angry tone. "Do you intend to intimate, by your longing for
concessions, that I should submit to the disgraceful and humiliating
terms on which Austria gives me hopes of her further friendship and
alliance? She dares ask of me the restoration of Illyria and the
territory annexed to the grand-duchy of Warsaw; she demands for
Prussia the evacuation of her fortresses, the restitution of
Dantzic, and the restoration of the whole sea-shore of Northern
Germany. And Austria, in making these proposals to me, in her
equivocal part as mediator, does not do so with the friendliness of
an ally, but she dares to threaten me, to say to me, 'If France does
not accept, Austria will be obliged to side with the enemies of
France, and make common cause with them.' I am ready to make peace,
but I shall die sword in hand rather than sign conditions forced
upon me. I will negotiate, but will not allow them to dictate laws
to me." [Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Vide Beitzke, vol. i., p.
560.]

"Sire, none would dare dictate laws to your majesty. On the
contrary, Austria will be glad if you merely declare that you are
ready to negotiate, and she will not have much to ask. She will be
content if you restore Illyria to her; and I am convinced of it,
never will the Emperor Francis ally himself seriously with the
enemies of his son-in-law."

"But the Emperor Francis is not his cabinet," exclaimed Napoleon. "I
might, perhaps, repose confidence in the personal attachment of my
father-in-law, but this could not blind me to the policy of his
cabinet. This policy never changes. Treaties of alliance and
marriages may somewhat retard its course, but never deflect it.
Austria never renounces what she was compelled to cede. When she is
weaker than her enemy, she resorts to peace, but this is always only
an armistice for her, and, in signing it, she thinks of a new war.
Such has been her conduct during the long series of years during
which I have been fighting and negotiating with her. When closely
pressed, she always accepted peace, and offered me her hand for the
conclusion of an alliance; but whenever a reverse befell me, she
withdrew her hand and broke the alliance. Now believing that she
sees her own interest, she immediately resumes a hostile attitude
toward me. She will open the passes of Bohemia to the allies, and
thereby permit them to turn the positions of the French army, attack
us in the rear, and cut us off from France. In a word, Austria ia
unable to forget any thing! She will remain our enemy, not only so
long as she has losses to make up, but so long as the power of
France might threaten her with new humiliations. This instinct of
jealousy is more powerful than her attachment; she will always
strive to aggrandize herself and to weaken France, and if I should
grant her Illyria to-day, she would, perhaps, to-morrow claim the
whole of Lombardy, and her former provinces in the Netherlands.
[Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Vide "The Emperor Francis and
Metternich," p. 80.]  Do not deceive yourself about it, Maret, and
do not think that Austria wants peace with us because the Emperor
Francis is my father-in-law. I must dictate peace to them sword in
hand, and then they will hasten to remind me that I am the son-in-
law of the emperor, and in consideration of this relationship they
will ask of me favorable terms."

"But this, it seems to me, is the very situation in which your
majesty is placed now," exclaimed Maret. "Your majesty has recently
achieved two new victories."

"But what victories!" said Napoleon, gloomily; "they have cost me as
many soldiers as the enemy, and procured me no advantages. I had
hoped to gain many trophies; but in the battles of Lutzen and
Bautzen not a cannon, not a flag, but a few insignificant prisoners
fell into our hands. After two dreadful massacres, we have obtained
no results whatever--and those men have not left me a single nail to
pick up. [Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Constant, vol. v.] They are
no longer the soldiers of Jena, you may be sure of it, Maret;
another spirit animates them and their commanders. The Prussians
fought like lions in those battles, and their commander, General
Blucher, is like a chieftain in the Illiad. He is at the same time a
general and a private soldier, a madcap and a Ulysses. The army
loves him, and the king confides in him. He hates me, and has an
excellent memory for his defeats of Auerstadt and Lubeck, and wants
to take revenge for them."

"But it is unnecessary for Russia to take revenge," said Maret.

"Yes," murmured Napoleon, gloomily. "On her snow-fields I lost my
army, and perhaps also my luck. But, no matter; I shall struggle on
to the end, and compel Fortune to become again my friend, that I may
do without other allies. She surely owes me attachment and fidelity,
for have I not again paid her a heavy tribute? was it not necessary
for me to act like Polycrates to keep out of bad luck? He sacrificed
only a ring to the gods, while I sacrificed two friends to Fortune,
and one of them my best friend--Duroc. The victory of Lutzen cost me
Bessieres; that of Bautzen, Duroc. It was a heavy sacrifice, Maret;
my heart is still bleeding in consequence of it, and this wound will
never heal."

Maret made no reply, but turned his head aside, and his face had a
strange expression of uneasiness and embarrassment.

Napoleon noticed it, and slightly shrugged his shoulders. "You think
that I grow sentimental, duke," he said, rudely, "and you mean that
my long military experience should have rendered me insensible to
such accidents. You are right; let us refer to them no more. Let us
rather read what the courier has brought."

He stretched out his hand for the other letters, and took up the
first one without looking at it. When he saw the superscription, his
face brightened, and, fixing a quick, reproachful glance upon Maret,
he said: "Fate is less rigorous than you are, Maret. It reminds me
that faithful friends still remain, and that all the companions of
my youth are not yet dead. There is a letter from Junot! He is one
of my faithful friends!" Opening it, he read hastily, and his face
darkened. "Maret," he cried, in an angry voice, "read--see what
Junot dares write to me!" He handed the letter to Maret. "Read it
aloud," he cried, "otherwise I shall be afraid lest my eyes deceive
me, and I mistake his words. Not the commencement, but the last page
is what I want to hear."

Maret read in a tremulous voice: "'I, who love your majesty with the
fervor which the savage feels for the sun--I, who belong to you with
body and soul--must tell you the truth; and this is: we must wage an
eternal war for you, BUT _I_ WILL DO SO NO MORE! I want peace! I
want at length to be able to rest my weary head and aching limbs in
my house, in the midst of my family, to enjoy their devotion, and no
longer to be a stranger to them--to enjoy what I have purchased with
a treasure that is more precious than all the riches of India--with
my blood, with the blood of a man of honor, a good Frenchman, a true
patriot. Well, then, I ask--I demand--the repose that I have
purchased by twenty-two years of active service, and by seventeen
wounds, from which my blood has welled, first for my country, and
then for your glory. It is enough!--my country needs repose, and
your glory is as radiant as the sun. I repeat, therefore, I want
peace. I speak in the name of all your marshals and generals, in the
name of your army, in the name of all France: WE DEMAND PEACE; give
it to us, then!--JUNOT, Duke d'Abrantes.'" [Footnote: "Memoirs of
the Duchess d'Abrantes," b. xvi., p. 323.]

"Well!" inquired Napoleon, when Maret had read the letter, "what do
you think of this impudence?"

"Sire," said Maret, in a low, tremulous voice, "your majesty knows
well that the Duke d'Abrantes is very dangerously ill, and that he
is said to be subject to frequent fits of insanity."

"It is true, it is the language of a madman, but one who knows very
well what he says. For he is right; he dares utter what all my
marshals are thinking, and gives utterance to their thoughts,
because he imagines that my friendship for him gives him that right.
The fool! I shall prove to him that I am, first and above all, the
emperor, and that the emperor will, without regard to the person,
punish the man who is so audacious as to threaten him. Oh, I am glad
that it is Junot who has made himself the mouth-piece of my generals
and marshals! I shall punish him with inexorable rigor, and that
will silence the others forever. They will not dare that which not
even Junot was permitted to do with impunity; they will obey when my
first anger has crushed this traitor Junot. For he is a traitor, a--
"

"Oh, sire, I implore you, do not proceed!" interposed Maret; "have
mercy upon him who stands already before a higher Judge, to receive
his sentence!"

"What do you mean?" asked Napoleon.

"I mean, sire," replied Maret, solemnly, "that I came to bring you a
sad message, and that your majesty, therefore, just now did me
injustice. Sire, when you deplored the death of your lamented
friend, the Duke de Frioul, I was silent and embarrassed, not
because I deemed such regrets unbecoming, but because I was filled
with unbounded grief at the thought that I had come to communicate a
similar affliction. The courier brought me also a letter from M.
Albert de Comminges, Junot's brother-in-law. He requests me therein
to inform your majesty of a melancholy occurrence--the Duke
d'Abrantes is dead! Here is a letter from M. de Comminges to your
majesty."

The emperor made no reply, but his face, which generally seemed
immovable, commenced quivering, and his lips trembled. He took the
letter in silence, and, opening it with a hasty hand, began to read
it. But suddenly he dropped it, and, pressing both his hands to his
forehead, he groaned aloud. Then he quickly stooped down, picked up
the letter and read it through. "Junot!" he then cried in a tone of
profound woe--"Junot!" He crumpled the letter in his hands, and,
with an expression from the depths of his heart, he repeated,
"Junot! Oh, my God, Junot, too!"

At this moment his wandering eye fell upon Maret, who was gazing at
him, pale and filled with profound compassion. Napoleon started and
concealed the tears which came to his eyes. Before an observer he
was not accustomed to show himself a man overcome by grief. He
smiled, but with an indescribably mournful expression, and said in a
firm voice, "Another brave soldier gone! The third victim that the
war has required of me, Maret! It takes the very men who were
indispensable to me, because they set so shining an example of
bravery and fidelity to the whole army. That is the only reason why
I complain!"

"Your majesty has a twofold right to complain," said Maret, in his
calm voice; "Junot loved your majesty with the obedience of a
servant, the submissiveness of a child, the enthusiasm of a pupil,
the ardor of a friend. He would have gone through fire for you, and
he was justified in saying that he loved your majesty with the love
the savage feels for the sun. Your majesty was his sun!"

"Yes, he loved me," said Napoleon, in a low voice, dropping his head
on his breast, "and I could count upon his fidelity. We had spent
our youth together, had overcome together a thousand dangers, and
courageously braved the vicissitudes of fate. His star had risen
with mine. Will not mine sink with his? Oh, Junot, how could you
leave me now, when you knew that I stood so greatly in need of you?
Junot, this is the first time that you desert me, and forget your
plighted faith. I am on the eve of a great and doubtful war,
surrounded by enemies--and my friends are deserting me and escaping
into the grave!" He paused, bowing his head lower upon his breast,
and wrinkling his forehead in his grief. A sad silence ensued, which
Maret dared not interrupt, by a motion or a word. At length, the
emperor raised his, face again, resuming his usual coldness and
indifference. "Maret," he said, in a firm voice, "I have no one in
Illyria now, since Junot, governor of that province, has died. I
must send another governor. But whom?"

"Sire," said Maret, in a timid voice, "will you not take the
proposals of Austria into consideration? She demands nothing but
Illyria as the price of her alliance and friendship. Fate itself
seems to give us a sign to grant this demand, for it has removed the
governor of Illyria."

"Fate!" cried Napoleon, shrugging his shoulders, "you only
acknowledge its hints when it suits your purposes; you deny its
existence when it would seem to be contrary to your wishes. Fate
caused the governor of Illyria to die, because, as you yourself
said, he was subject to fits of insanity; it has thereby given me an
opportunity to place a sensible and prudent man in Junot's stead, a
man who will not dare tell me such impudent things as you read to me
from his letter. Well, then, I will obey the hint of Fate. Write
immediately to Fouche. He is at Naples; tell him to set out at once
and come to Dresden. I intend to appoint him governor of Illyria.
Dispatch a courier with the letter. But wait! I have not yet read
all the dispatches brought from Paris."

He stepped back to the table, and took one of the letters from it.
"A letter from the Duke de Rovigo," he said, in a contemptuous tone,
"from the police minister of Paris! He will tell me a great many
stories; he will pretend to have seen many evil spirits, and, after
all, not know half of what he ought to know, and what Fouche would
have known if he still held that position. There, read it, Maret,
and communicate the most important passages to me." He threw himself
into the chair that stood in front of his desk, and, taking a
penknife, commenced whittling the wooden side-arm, while Maret
unfolded the dispatch and quickly glanced over its contents.

"Sire," he said, "this dispatch contains surprising news. It speaks
of a new enemy who might rise against your majesty."

"Well," said Napoleon, who was just cutting a large splinter from
the chair, "what new enemy is it?"

"Sire," said Maret, shrugging his shoulders, "it is Louis XVIII."

Napoleon started, and looked at his minister with a flash of anger.
"What do you mean?" he asked, sternly. "Who is Louis XVIII.? Where
is the country over which he rules?"

"Sire, I merely intended to designate the brother of the unfortunate
King Louis XVI."

"My uncle!" said Napoleon, with a proud smile, driving his knife
again into the back of the chair. "Well, what then? Whereby has the
Count de Lille surprised the world with the news of his existence?"

"Sire, by a proclamation addressed to the French, and in which he
implores them to return to their legitimate lord and king, making
them many promises, which, however, do not contain any thing but
what the French possess already by the grace of your majesty."

Napoleon shrugged his shoulders. "Savary, then, has at length seen a
copy of the English newspapers which published this proclamation,"
he said. "I read it several weeks ago."

"No, sire, it seems that the proclamation has not only appeared in
the English newspapers, but is circulating throughout France. The
Duke de Rovigo reports that secret agents of the Count de Lille are
actively at work in France. They are scattering every day thousands
of printed copies of the proclamation among the people. They are
circulated at night in the streets, secretly pushed under the doors
into the houses and rooms so that the police agents are unable to
take them away. These copies, it appears, are printed on hand-
presses, for their lines are often irregular and slanting, and
indicate an unpractised hand, but those who receive them try to
decipher them, and deliver them to the police only after having read
them." [Footnote: "Memoires du Duc Kovigo," vol. vi., p. 351.]

Napoleon said nothing; he was still whittling the back of his chair,
and did not once look up to his minister, who stood before him in
reverential silence. "I thought I had crashed this serpent of
legitimacy under my foot," he murmured at last to himself, "but it
still lives, and tries again to rise against me. Ah, I despise it,
and I have reason to do so. I alone am now the legitimate ruler of
France; the fifty battles in which I have fought and conquered for
France are my ancestors; the will of the French people has made me
emperor, and the voice of all the sovereign princes of Europe has
recognized my throne. The daughter of an emperor is my partner; and
the King of Rome, the future emperor of the French, will be more of
a legitimate ruler than any other prince, for the battles of his
father and the ancestors of the Hapsburgs form his pedigree. Let the
Count de Lille, then, flood France with copies of his proclamation,
I shall in the mean time win battles for France, and with the
bulletins of my victories drive his proclamations from the field. I-
-"

At this moment the door opened, and Roustan's black face looked in.
"Sire, the Duke de Vicenza requests an audience," he said.

"Caulaincourt!" exclaimed Napoleon, surprised, rising and throwing
the penknife on the floor. "Caulaincourt! Let him come in!"



CHAPTER XXXIII.

THE TRAITORS.


Roustan stepped back, and the imposing form of the Duke de Vicenza
appeared on the threshold. The emperor hastily met him and looked at
him with a keen, piercing glance. "Caulaincourt," he exclaimed,
"whence do you come, and what do you want here?"

"Sire," said the duke, gravely and solemnly, "I come from Prague,
whither the order of your majesty had sent me, to attend the
congress and to conduct the negotiations in the name of your
majesty."

"These negotiations are broken off, then, as you have come without
having been recalled?"

"No, they are not broken off, but I have important news to
communicate to your majesty, and as I think that we are served best
when serving ourselves, I have made myself the bearer of my own
dispatches, to be sure that they reach your majesty in time. I have
travelled post-haste, and shall return to Prague in the same
manner."

"Well, then, inform me of the contents of your dispatches orally and
quickly."

"Sire, I inform your majesty that the Count de Metternich is on the
road to this city to convey to you the ultimatum of Austria."

A flash of anger burst from the emperor's eyes. "He dares meet me!
does he not fear lest I crush him by hurling his duplicity and
treachery into his face? For I know that Austria is playing a double
game, negotiating at the same time with me and my enemies."

"But it is still in the power of your majesty to attach Austria to
France, and secure a continued alliance with her," exclaimed the
Duke do Vicenza. "This is the reason why I have hastened hither: to
implore your majesty not to reject entirely, in the first outburst
of your anger, the proposals of Austria, however inadmissible they
may appear to be. I left Vienna simultaneously with Count
Metternich, but succeeded in getting somewhat the start of him; he
will be here in an hour, and I have, therefore, time enough to
communicate to your majesty important news which I learned at Prague
yesterday, and which is sufficiently grave to influence perhaps your
resolutions."

"Speak!" commanded the emperor, throwing himself again into the
chair, and taking, for want of a penknife, a pair of scissors from
his desk, in order to bore the back of the chair with it. "Speak!"

"In the first place, I have to inform your majesty that the Emperor
of Austria has left Vienna for Castle Gitschin, in Bohemia, and that
an interview of the Emperor Francis with the allied monarchs took
place there on the 20th of June."

"Ah, the first step to open hostility has been taken, then," cried
Napoleon.

"This interview, however, led to no results," added Caulaincourt.
"The Emperor Francis, on the contrary, declared emphatically that he
was still merely a mediator, and would consider the alliance with
France as dissolved, if your majesty should reject the ultimatum
with which he should send Metternich to Dresden."

"That is the equivocal and insidious language which the Austrian
diplomacy has always used," exclaimed the emperor, shrugging his
shoulders. "They want to keep on good terms with all, in order to
succeed in being the friend of him who is victorious. My father-in-
law, it seems, has learned by heart, and recited the lesson which
Metternich taught him. Proceed, Caulaincourt."

"Next, I have to inform your majesty that a definite treaty was
concluded yesterday between Austria and the allies. It was concluded
at Reichenbach. Austria has solemnly engaged to declare war against
you if you refuse to accept her terms, the last she would send.
Besides, Prussia and Russia concluded a treaty with England, which
engaged to assist both powers with money and materiel, and which, in
return, received the promise that Hanover, England's possession in
Germany, should be considerably enlarged at the end of the war, and
that new territories should be added to it."

"And the short-sighted monarchs have been foolish enough to grant
this to England!" cried Napoleon, with a sneer. "In their blind
hatred against me they grant more territory in Germany to their most
dangerous enemy, that England may spread still further the vast net
of her egotism, and catch all Germany in it, flood the country with
her manufactured goods, and drive the commerce of the continent into
British hands! Ah, those gentlemen will soon perceive what a mistake
they have committed in yielding to the demands of those greedy
English traders. For if England gives money instead of asking it,
she must have a great many substantial advantages in view, and these
she can obtain only at the expense of the German sovereigns, to whom
she will furnish subsidies now. Are you through with your news,
Caulaincourt?"

"No, sire, I have still something to add," said the Duke of Vicenza,
in a melancholy voice.

The emperor looked at him with a piercing glance, which seemed to
fathom the depths of his soul.

"Speak!" he said, quickly.

"Your majesty knows that the crown prince of Sweden, Bernadotte,
landed with his army at Stralsund on the 20th of May?"

"Yes, I do," said Napoleon, shrugging his shoulders. "My former
marshal, who acquired in my service a name and some fame, whom I
permitted to accept the dignity of crown prince of Sweden that was
offered him, a Frenchman, had the meanness to turn his arms against
his country, and ally himself with the enemies of France. But still
it seems that his courage is failing him. A month ago he disembarked
in Germany, and is idle with his troops in Mecklenburg. He allowed
Hamburg to fall; he did nothing to save Brandenburg, and appears
ready to embark again for Sweden. Looking the crime of treason full
in the face, he was unable to bear the thought of it, and will
retreat from it to the steps of the Swedish throne."

"No, sire," said Caulaiueourt, gravely, "the crown prince of Sweden
has made up his mind, and hesitates no longer. The Emperor Alexander
sent an envoy to Bernadotte, and requested of him an interview with
the monarchs of Prussia and Russia, for the purpose of concerting
with them a joint plan of operations for the campaign. Bernadotte,
thanks to the persuasive eloquence of the Russian envoy, eagerly
accepted this invitation, and the interview is to take place on the
9th of July at Trachenberg, in Silesia. The crown prince is already
on the road with a truly royal suite, and he has been solemnly
assured that the sovereigns will receive him at Trachenberg with all
the honors due his rank as a sovereign and legitimate prince. The
envoy of the Emperor of Russia is accompanying Bernadotte on this
journey, to strengthen the favorable dispositions of the crown
prince, and render him at once an active and energetic member of the
alliance."

"Who is this envoy whom Alexander has dispatched to Bernadotte?"
asked Napoleon.

"Sire, it is Count Pozzo di Borgo."

"Ah, my Corsican countryman, and once an ardent friend," exclaimed
Napoleon. "He has never forgiven me for not having assisted him, the
enthusiastic republican, in becoming King of Corsica, but having
left France in possession of my native country. As he was unable to
become a king, M. Pozzo di Borgo entered the service of the Czar of
Russia to fight against me, his countryman, with the power of his
tongue, as my other countryman with the arms of the Swedes. Well, I
think it will not do the allies much good to unite with traitors and
apostates, and to look for assistance against me from them. I gain
more moral weight by this struggle against traitors than my enemies
by their support. Bernadotte's treason is my ally."

"Sire, another man has joined the traitor, a Frenchman, who wants to
fight against France, against his emperor and former comrade."

"Still another! A third traitor! Who is it?"

"Sire, it is General Moreau."

"What! has Moreau returned from America?" asked Napoleon, looking up
quickly.

"Yes, sire; he has left the banks of the Delaware to fight against
his country, as a general of the Emperor of Russia."

The emperor looked thoughtfully, and suddenly he raised his eves,
while a pleased expression lit up his countenance.

"My enemies assert that I have a heart of iron," he said, in a
gentle voice; "they charge me with being insensible to human
emotions--to compassion, friendship, and love. Well, then, I could
have had Moreau and Bernadotte both killed; they were in my power,
and deserved death. Moreau had entered into a conspiracy against me
and the existing laws of our country--a conspiracy whose object was
to assassinate me. I believe I would have been justified if I had
made him feel the rigor of my laws, and expiate his murderous intent
by death. Bernadotte disobeyed my orders in two battles; I would
have been justified in having him tried by a court-martial, which
would certainly have passed sentence of death upon him. I permitted
Moreau to emigrate to America, and indulge his republican
predilections there without hinderance; and Bernadotte to go to
Sweden, and gratify the desires of his ambitious heart. I pardoned
both because I loved them. They now reward me by allying themselves
with my enemies. This is all right, however, for I have placed both
under heavy obligations, and nothing is more difficult to forgive
than benefits."

"Sire, as I have alluded to these traitors, I must mention still
another. General Jomini, adjutant-general of Marshal Ney, has
deserted his post and gone over to the camp of the allies to offer
his services to the sovereigns. He has become a member of the
Emperor Alexander's staff."

"Well," cried Napoleon, with the semblance of unalloyed mirth, "the
world and posterity will have to pardon me now if I lose a few
battles in this campaign, for those who are fighting against me are
commanded by generals who have learned the art of war from me--
pupils of mine. I must, therefore, allow them to gain a battle or
two to prove that I am a good teacher. Besides, Jomini is not as
guilty as Moreau and Bernadotte. He is a native of Switzerland, and
his treason is aimed only at myself, and not at his country."

"It seems such is Jomini's excuse, too," said Caulaincourt, "for I
have been told that he treated General Moreau with surprising
coolness, and when the latter offered him his hand he did not take
it, but withdrew with a chilling salutation. To the Emperor
Alexander, who rebuked him for it, he replied that he would gladly
welcome General Moreau anywhere else than at the camp of the enemies
of Moreau's own country. For if he, Jomini, were a native of France,
he would assuredly at this hour not be at the camp of the Emperor of
Russia."

"Ah!" exclaimed the emperor, "I am convinced that miserable Jomini
imagines that he acted in a very noble and highly-dignified manner.
A traitor who is ashamed of another traitor, and blushes for him!
Ah, Caulaincourt, what a harrowing spectacle! These acts of
treachery will in the end make me unhappy! [Footnote: Napoleon's
words.--Constant's "Memoires," vol. v., p, 245.] For does not
Austria, too, wish to betray me? Has she not entered into an
alliance with me, and does she not now wish to forsake me merely
because she imagines that it would be more advantageous to her to
side with my enemies? Austria is oscillating, and Metternich thinks
he can preserve her equilibrium by placing Austrian promises as
weights now into this, now into that scale. But the cabinet of
Vienna deceives itself. Count Metternich wants his intrigues to pass
for policy, while the whole object of Austria is to recover what she
has lost." [Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Fain, "Manuscrit de 1813,"
vol. i.]

At this moment a carriage was heard to roll up to the palace and
stop close under the windows of the cabinet. Maret, who, during the
conversation between Napoleon and Caulaincourt, had retired into a
window-niche, turned and looked out into the street.

"Sire," he then said, quickly, "Count Metternich has arrived, and
already entered the palace."

"Ah, he is really coming, then!" exclaimed Napoleon, with an air of
scornful triumph; "he wishes me to tear the mask from his smirking
face! Well, I shall comply with his wishes; I, at least, shall not
dissemble, nor veil my real thoughts! Austria shall learn what I
think of her!"

The door opened, and Roustan entered again. "Sire," he said. "his
excellency Count Metternich, minister plenipotentiary of his majesty
the Emperor of Austria, requests an audience of your majesty."

Napoleon turned his head slowly toward the Dukes de Vicenza and
Bassano. "Enter the cabinet of my private secretary, Fain," he said.
"Leave the door ajar; I want you to hear all. Fain, if he pleases,
may take notes of this interview, that he may afterward accurately
testify to it. Go!"

The two gentlemen bowed in silence and withdrew. The emperor gazed
after them until they disappeared through the door of the cabinet;
then turning toward Roustan, "Let him come in," he said, with a
quick nod.

A few minutes afterward the slender form, and the handsome, florid,
and smiling face of Count Clement de Metternich appeared on the
threshold of the imperial cabinet.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

NAPOLEON AND METTERNICH.


The emperor quickly met the Austrian minister, but, as if
restraining himself, he stood in the middle of the room. Metternich
approached, making a still, solemn bow, and quickly raised his head
again, and turning his fine face, from which the smile did not
vanish for a moment, toward the emperor, he waited in respectful
silence for the latter to address him. Napoleon cast a menacing
glance of hatred upon him; but Metternich did not seem to perceive
his threat. He fixed his large blue eyes with perfect calmness on
the face of the emperor, and awaited the commencement of the
conversation.

The emperor felt that it was his province to break this silence.
"Well, Metternich," ho said, "yon are here, then! You are welcome!
But answer me, without circumlocution, What do you want?"

"Sire, Austria wishes me to mediate a peace between the Prussian and
Russian allies and your majesty."

"Ah, you want peace!" exclaimed Napoleon, sarcastically. "But why so
late? We have lost nearly a month, and your mediation, from its long
inactivity, has become almost hostile. It appears that it no longer
suits your cabinet to guarantee the integrity of the French empire?
Be it so; but why had you not the candor to make me acquainted with
that determination at an earlier period? It might have modified my
plans--perhaps prevented me from continuing the war."

"But your majesty ought graciously to remember that, for the
present, there is no question of Austria and her wishes," said
Metternich, calmly; "that Austria is merely trying to mediate peace
between your majesty and the sovereigns of Russia and Prussia."

"Ah, that is what you call mediating," exclaimed Napoleon,
sneeringly. "When you allowed me to exhaust myself by new efforts,
you doubtless little calculated on such rapid events as have ensued.
I have gained, nevertheless, two battles; my enemies, severely
weakened, were beginning to waken from their illusions, when
suddenly you glided among us, and, speaking to me of an armistice
and mediation, you spoke to them of alliance and war. But for your
pernicious intervention, peace would have been at this moment
concluded between the allies and myself. You cannot deny that, since
she has assumed the office of mediator, Austria has not only ceased
to be my ally, but is becoming my enemy. You were about to declare
yourself so when the battle of Lutzen intervened, and, by showing
you the necessity of augmenting your forces, made you desirous of
gaining time. You have improved your opportunity, and now you have
your two hundred thousand men ready, screened by the Bohemian hills;
Schwartzenberg commands them; at this very moment he is
concentrating them in my rear; and it is because you conceive
yourself in a condition to dictate the law, that you pay this
visit."

"Sire, dictate!" echoed Metternich, in a tone of dismay, but with a
strange smile.

"Yes, dictate!" repeated Napoleon, in a louder voice. "But why do
you wish to dictate to me alone? Am I, then, no longer the same man
whom you defended yesterday? If you are an honest mediator, why do
you not at least treat both sides alike? Say nothing in reply, for I
see through you, Metternich: your cabinet wishes to profit by my
embarrassments, and augment them as much as possible, in order to
recover a portion of your losses. The only difficulty you have is,
whether you can gain your object without fighting, or throw
yourselves boldly among the combatants; you do not know which to do,
and possibly you come to seek light on the subject. Well, then, let
us see! Let us treat! What do you wish?"

"Sire," said Metternich, with his smiling calmness, which had not
yielded for an instant to the storm of Napoleon's reproaches,
"Austria has no motives of self-interest. The sole advantage which
the Emperor Francis wishes to derive from the present state of
affairs is the influence which a spirit of moderation, and a respect
for the rights of independent states, cannot fail to acquire from
those who are animated with similar sentiments. Austria wishes not
to conquer, but to preserve."

"Speak more clearly," interrupted the emperor, impatiently; "but do
not forget that I am a soldier."

"Your majesty has taught Europe by upward of fifty battles never to
forget that," said Metternich, with a pleasant nod. "Austria wishes
to wound your majesty neither as a soldier nor as an emperor. She
simply desires to establish a state of things which, by a wise
distribution of power, may place the guaranty of peace under the
protection of an association of independent states."

"Words, words!" cried Napoleon, impatiently. "Words having no other
object than evasion, veiling your own designs! But I mean to go
directly to the object. I only wish Austria to remain neutral, and I
am ready to make sacrifices to her for it. My army is amply
sufficient to bring back the Russians and Prussians to reason. All
that I ask of you is to withdraw from the strife."

"Ah, sire," said Metternich, eagerly, "why should your majesty enter
singly into the strife? Why should you not double your forces? You
may do so, sire! It depends only on you to add our forces to your
own. Yes, matters have come to that point that we can no longer
remain neutral; we must be either for or against you."

The emperor bent on him one of those piercing glances which the
eagle bends upon the clouds to which he is soaring, seeking for the
sun behind them. "And which would be more desirable to you," he
asked, "to be for or against me?"

"Ah, sire, the Emperor Francis wishes for nothing more ardently than
that the state of affairs should enable him to be for France, whose
emperor is his son-in-law."

"But my father-in-law imposes conditions! Pray, tell me what they
are!" exclaimed Napoleon, striding up and down the apartment, while
Metternich walked by his side, respectfully holding his hat in his
hand.

"Tell me what these conditions are!" repeated Napoleon.

"Sire, they are simply these," said Metternich, in a bland tone.
"During the late decade the affairs of Europe have been disturbed in
a somewhat violent manner. Austria only wishes to have the
equilibrium of Europe reestablished, and all the states occupy again
the same position which they held prior to these convulsions. If
your majesty consents to contribute your share to this restoration,
Austria in return offers to France her lasting alliance and, in case
the other powers should pursue a hostile course, her armed
assistance. Austria wishes to make no conquests, to acquire no
provinces, no titles--she is animated with the spirit of moderation.
She demands only order, justice, and equality for all, and,
moreover, only the restoration of such states as have been
recognized for centuries as members of the general confederacy of
European states, the reconstruction of those thrones which have
existed for ages, and whose rulers have a legitimate right to their
sovereignty. I believe your majesty cannot deny that the Bourbons
have a well-founded right to Spain, and that the Spaniards now, by
the blood shed in their heroic struggle, have established their
right to restore the throne to their legitimate rulers. You will
have to admit, further, that no Christian sovereign, how powerful
soever he may be, has a right to overthrow the Holy See of St.
Peter, and to keep the vicegerent of God away from the capital which
all Christendom has so long recognized as his own. You will have to
admit, too, that both Lombardy and Illyria have long been
possessions of Austria, and that Switzerland has been recognized as
a confederation of republics by all the powers of Europe. If your
majesty acknowledges all this, and consents to restore the state of
things in accordance with those well-established rights, it only
remains for us to find compensation for the three powers which have
already allied themselves against you. As for Prussia, I believe a
portion of Saxony would be the most suitable indemnity for her.
Russia, I suppose, would be content if, after the dissolution of the
duchy of Warsaw, Poland should once more fall to her share, and
England demands only the possession of a few fortified places and
safe harbors on the shores of Holland."

The emperor uttered a cry of anger, and, suddenly halting, cast
glances on Metternich which seemed to borrow their fire from the
lightning. "Are you through with your proposals, sir?" he asked, in
a threatening tone.

Metternich bowed. "Yes, sire."

"Well, then," cried the emperor, stepping up to the minister, "to
all this I respond only by the question: How much money has England
given you to play this part?"

At this question, uttered in a menacing voice, Metternich turned
pale, the smile passed from his lips, his brow darkened, and his
eyes, usually so mild and pleasant, kindled with anger, and allowed
the thoughts, generally concealed in the innermost recesses of the
diplomatist's heart, to burst forth for a moment, and betray hatred.

"Ah," cried Napoleon, in a triumphant tone, "I have at length torn
the mask from your smiling features, and I see that a serpent is
hidden under them as under roses. It would sting, but I know how to
be on my guard; I will never grant Austria the right to insult,
dictate to, and humiliate me. I will compel her, as I have done so
often, to prostrate herself in the dust before me, and ask mercy and
forbearance. Do you hear what I say? I will humiliate Austria,
trampling her in the dust." The emperor violently raised his
clinched fist, and striking it downward struck Metternich's hat,
which the minister still held in his hand, and caused it to fall to
the ground.

The emperor paused and looked at Metternich, as if to request him to
pick up the hat. But the latter did not make the slightest movement.
His thoughts and his hatred had already retired into his bosom; his
brow was serene again, and his accustomed smile returned. He looked
first at the hat, and then at the emperor, who followed his glances,
and met them sullenly and defiantly. This little incident, however,
seemed to have dispelled Napoleon's anger, or at least to have
appeased the first stormy waves of the sea. When he spoke again his
tone was milder, and his look less scorching, returning from time to
time, as it were involuntarily, to the hat lying on the floor a few
steps from him. He commenced pacing the apartment again with quick
steps. Metternich followed him, only with somewhat slackened pace,
and thus compelled the emperor to walk a little slower.

"Now," said Napoleon, loudly, "I know what you want! Not only
Illyria, but the half of Italy, the return of the pope to Rome,
Poland, and the abandonment of Spain, Holland, and Switzerland! This
is what you call the spirit of moderation! You are intent only on
profiting by every chance; you alternately transport your alliance
from one camp to the other, in order to be always a sharer in the
spoil, and you speak to me of your respect for the rights of
independent states! You would have Italy; Russia, Poland; Prussia,
Saxony; and England, Holland and Belgium: in fine, peace is only a
pretext; you are all intent on dismembering the French empire! And
Austria thinks she has only to declare herself, to crown such an
enterprise! You pretend here, with a stroke of the pen, to make the
ramparts of Dantzic, Custrin, Glogau, Magdeburg, Wesel, Mentz,
Antwerp, Alessandria, Mantua, in fine, all the strong places of
Europe, sink before you, of which I did not obtain possession but by
my victorious arms! And I, obedient to your policy, am to evacuate
Europe, of which I still hold the half; recall my legions across the
Rhine, the Alps, and the Pyrenees; subscribe a treaty which would be
nothing but a vast capitulation; and place myself at the mercy of
those of whom I am at this moment the conqueror! It is when my
standards float at the mouths of the Vistula, and on the banks of
the Oder; when my army is at the gates of Berlin, and Breslau; when
I am at the head of three hundred thousand men, that Austria,
without drawing a sword, expects to make me subscribe such
conditions! This is an insult, and it is my father-in-law that has
matured such a project; it is he that sends you on such a mission!"
[Footnote: This whole speech contains only Napoleon's words.--Vide
Fain, "Manuscrit de 1813," vol. i.]

While thus speaking, the emperor was still walking, and Metternich
by his side. Whenever they passed the hat lying on the floor,
Napoleon cast a quick side-glance on Metternich, who appeared to
take no notice of the hat, and it seemed entirely accidental that he
slightly wheeled aside, and thus succeeded in passing without
touching it.

"You," cried Napoleon, in a thundering voice, "have taken upon
yourself the mission of insulting me, and you think I will quietly
submit?"

"Sire," said Metternich, with his imperturbable calmness, "I believe
you have already punished me for it!"

Now for the first time his eyes turned significantly toward his hat,
and then fixed themselves steadfastly on the emperor. They did not
dare to threaten, but they defied Napoleon. They said: "You have
insulted me by knocking my hat out of my hand. I will not pick it
up, but demand satisfaction."

Possibly Napoleon understood this language, for a smile, full of
sarcasm and contempt, played around his lips, and he slightly
shrugged his shoulders.

"I beg you to consider, besides," added Metternich, calmly, "that I
am here only because my sovereign has commissioned and ordered me to
repair to you, and that, as a faithful servant, I have repeated only
what the emperor commanded me."

"Ah," cried Napoleon, with a harsh laugh, "you wish to make me
believe that you are but the emperor's echo? Well, I will suppose it
to be true. Then go and tell your master that I henceforth decline
his mediation, and that nothing would exasperate me more than the
idea that Austria, in return for her crimes and her breach of faith,
should reap the best fruits and become the pacificator of Europe.
Ask the Emperor Francis in what position he intends to place me in
regard to my son? Tell him he is entirely mistaken if he believes a
disgraced throne can be a refuge in France for his daughter and
grandson. [Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Vide Fain, "Manuscrit de
1813," vol. i.] That is my reply to the Emperor Francis. Go!"

Metternich bowed; considering the emperor's words equivalent to his
dismissal, he turned and crossed the room. His way led him past his
hat; he took no notice of it, but quietly walked on toward the door.

"He does not wish to take his hat," thought Napoleon.

Metternich reached the door, turned again to the emperor, and made
him a last reverential bow.

"One word more, Count Metternich!" cried Napoleon. "Come, I have
still something to say to you."

Metternich blandly nodded assent and returned. Napoleon commenced
again pacing the room, with Metternich by his side. The emperor now
directed his steps in such a manner that he himself was near the
hat. "I wish to prove to you, Metternich," said Napoleon, "that I
have seen through you, and that the true reason of your coming is
well known to me. You did not for an instant believe that I could
accept these proposals, which would dishonor and annihilate me; you
know me too well for that; but they were only to be the pretext of
the real wish that brought you hither. To be able to ally yourself
in a seemingly loyal manner with my enemies, you want to get rid of
the alliance which is still connecting Austria with France. In
direct contradiction to all that Austria has hitherto said to me,
you wish to annul the treaty of Paris. Admit that this is the case."

The emperor, with his eyes fixed steadfastly upon Metternich,
crossed the apartment. Suddenly seeming to find an obstacle in his
way, he turned his eyes toward the floor. It was Metternich's hat,
which his foot had already touched. As if merely to remove the
obstruction, he stooped, took up the hat, and threw it with an
indifferent and careless motion on a chair near the door. He then
quietly passed on and fixed his eyes again upon Metternich.
[Footnote: Vide "Memoires de la Duchesse d'Abrantes," vol. xvi., p.
173. There is another version of this scene, according to which it
was not Metternich's, but the emperor's hat that fell to the floor.-
-Vide Hormayr, "Lebensbilder," vol. iii., p. 480.] "Well, reply to
me--deny it if you can!"

"Sire," said Metternich, in a bland, insinuating voice, "I had
already the honor of telling you that matters have come to that
point that we can no longer remain neutral, but that we can take up
arms for your majesty, only if you consent to grant us all that I
have laid before you, and--"

"No," interrupted Napoleon, proudly, "do not repeat the insult! The
interview is ended. I know what you desire, and I do not intend to
disappoint you! I will not be a dead weight upon my friends, nor
raise the slightest objection to the abandonment of the treaty that
allies me with Austria, if such be the wish of the Emperor Francis.
I shall tomorrow repeat this to you in writing and in due form. Now
we are through--farewell!" He turned his back on Count Metternich,
with a quick nod, and continued his way across the room.

Metternich cast a last smiling glance on him; went with rapid, soft
steps to the chair, took his hat which the emperor had picked up,
hastened across the room, and went out without a word or a bow.

When Napoleon heard him close the door, "He is gone," he murmured,
"the alliance is broken. I have now no ally but myself!" For a
moment he looked melancholy, and then starting glanced at the small
door leading into the cabinet of Baron Fain, his private secretary.
He remembered that his two dukes were there, and that they could not
only hear but see all. Composing his agitated face, he shouted in a
merry voice, "Caulaincourt and Maret, come in!"

The door opened immediately; the Dukes de Bassano and Vicenza
appeared on the threshold and reentered the room. "Well, have you
heard every thing?" asked Napoleon.

"Yes, sire."

"And Fain? has he taken notes?"

"Sire, he has written down every thing as far as it was possible,
considering the rapidity of the conversation." [Footnote: Fain,
"Memoires de 1813." Fain gives a full account of this interview, and
I have strictly followed his narrative.]

"Ah, I shall read it afterward," said the emperor; "it is always
good to know in what manner we shall be recognized by posterity.
Now, gentlemen, since you have heard all, you understand that war is
unavoidable, and that Austria will side with my enemies."

"Sire, we have heard it, and it has filled our souls with uneasiness
and anxiety," said Maret.

"Perhaps, nevertheless, a compromise may still be possible,"
exclaimed Caulaincourt. "The armistice has not yet expired, and, in
accordance with the orders of your majesty, I have already made the
necessary overtures for prolonging it to the 15th of August."

"It will be prolonged, you may depend upon it," said Napoleon, "for
the allies need time for completing their preparations. We shall
have an armistice to that time, but then war will break out anew,
and it will be terrible. I shall not indeed wage it as emperor, but
as General Bonaparte." [Footnote: Napoleon's words.]

"Oh, sire," sighed Maret, "the whole world is longing for peace, and
France, too, entertains no more ardent wish. I have received many
unmistakable intimations in regard to it. Paris is not only hoping
for peace, but expecting it confidently, after the two victories by
which your majesty has humiliated your enemies."

"Paris is very badly informed if she thinks peace to depend upon
me," replied Napoleon, indignantly. "You see how greedily Austria
augments the demands of my enemies, by placing herself at their
head. We were always obliged to conquer peace. Very well, we will
conquer it again. The armistice will be prolonged to the 15th of
August--time enough to complete, on our side, all necessary
preparations, and decree a new conscription. But then, after the
armistice, war--a decisive, bloody war--a war that will lead to an
honorable peace! Believe me, he who has always dictated peace cannot
submit to it with impunity. Courage, therefore! France wants peace,
and so do I, but my cannon shall dictate the terms, and my sword
write them!" [Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Vide "Memoires du Due de
Rovigo," vol. ii.]



DELIVERANCE OF GERMANY.


CHAPTER XXXV.

ON THE KATZBACH.


The armistice expired on the 15th of August, and hostilities were
resumed. The state of affairs, however, was essentially different
from what it was at the commencement of the armistice; for, at that
time, Napoleon had just obtained two victories. During the
armistice, the allies had won an important victory over him; they
had gained Austria over to their side, and now, at the renewal of
hostilities, Austria reenforced the allies with two hundred thousand
men. For nearly fourteen years Napoleon was invariably the more
powerful enemy, not only on account of his military genius, but of
the numerical strength and excellent organization of his forces.

For the first time the enemy opposed him with superior forces, and
this vast host struggled, moreover, with the utmost enthusiasm for
the deliverance of the fatherland--with the energy of hatred and
wrath against him who had so long enslaved and oppressed it. But
Napoleon still possessed his grand military genius. Soon after the
expiration of the armistice, he gained a new victory over the
allies, that of Dresden; [Footnote: The battle of Dresden lasted two
days, the 26th and 27th of August. Moreau died on the 2d of
September, and the battle of Culm was fought on the 29th and 30th of
August.] and in this battle Moreau, the French general, who was
fighting against his own countrymen, was struck by a French ball,
which caused his death in a few days. But the allies took their
revenge for the defeat of Dresden in the great victory of Culm,
where they, also after a two days' battle, achieved a brilliant
triumph over General Vandamme.

General Blucher and his Silesian army had not participated in these
battles. At the time when the Russians, the Austrians, and a part of
the Prussians, were fighting and yielding at Dresden, Blucher was at
length to attain his object, and. meet the enemy in a pitched
battle. Since the 20th of August he stood near Jauer with his army,
which was ninety thousand strong, composed of Russians and
Prussians, and awaited nothing more ardently than the approach of
the enemy, in order to fight a general battle. Fortune seemed to
favor his wishes, for Napoleon himself was advancing. On the 21st of
August the scouts reported the approach of the hostile columns, who
had crossed the Bober at Lowenberg. Blucher's eyes lit up with
delight; he stroked his white mustache, and said: "We shall have a
fight! To-morrow we meet the French!"

But the morning of the 23d of August dawned, and the eyes of the
general were still unable to descry the advancing enemy. Yet his
scouts reported that the French army was advancing, and that only a
detachment had set out for Dresden. "Then Bonaparte has left with
this detachment," grumbled Blucher; "for if he were still with them,
the French would not creep along like snails."

At length, on the 26th of August, the general's wishes seemed to be
near fulfilment. The French were advancing. They approached the
banks of the Katzbach, to the other side of which the Silesian army
was moving. "We shall have a fight!" shouted General Blucher,
exultingly; "the good God will have mercy on me after all, and treat
me to a good breakfast! I have been hungering for the French so
long, that I really thought I should die of starvation. I shall
furnish the roast; and, that there may be something to drink, the
rain is pouring down from heaven as though all the little angels on
high were weeping for joy because they are to have the pleasure of
seeing old Blucher at work!--Glorious hosts in heaven!" added
Blucher, casting a glance at the leaden sky, "now do me only the
favor to put an end to your weeping, and do not give us too much of
a good thing. Pray remember that you put under water not only the
enemy, but ourselves, your friends. Do not soften the soil too much,
else not only the French will stick in the mud, but ourselves, your
chosen lifeguard!"

But "the little angels on high" poured down their "tears of joy" in
incessant torrents from early dawn. It was one of those continuous
rains from a dull gray sky, giving little hope of fine weather for
many days. The soil was softened, the mountain-torrents swollen, and
vast masses of water foamed into the Katzbach, so that this peaceful
little stream seemed a furious river. A violent norther was blowing,
and driving the rain into the faces of the soldiers, drenching their
uniforms, penetrating the muskets, and moistening the powder.

"Well, if the boys cannot shoot to-day, they will have to club their
muskets," said Blucher, cheerfully, when he and his suite rode out
of Bollwitzhof, his headquarters, to reconnoitre the position of the
French.

But the wind and rain rendered a reconnoissance a matter of
impossibility. The enemy was nowhere to be seen, but still the dull
noise of rumbling cannon and trotting horses was heard at a
distance, and the patrols reported that they had seen the foe
approaching the Katzbach in heavy columns; not, however, on the
other bank, but on this side. At this moment General Gneisenau came
up at a full gallop. He had gone out toward the pickets to
reconnoitre, and came back to report that the French were forming in
line of battle at a short distance on the plateau near Eichholz, and
that they had crossed to the right side of the Katzbach.

"Right or left," said Blucher, "it is all the same to me, provided
we have them. If they have already crossed the river, well then they
know the road, and will be better able to find their way back. Let
us allow them to cross, until there are enough of them on this
side." Then, turning with noble dignity toward his officers, he
added, in an entirely changed, grave, and measured tone: "Gentlemen,
the battle will commence in a few hours. Promptness and good order
are of vital importance now.--The orderlies!"

The orderlies hastened to him. "You will ride to General York, who
is occupying the plateau of Eichholz, and tell him to allow as many
French as he thinks he can beat to march up the ascent, and then he
is to charge them!" shouted Blucher to the first orderly, and, while
he sped away at a furious gallop, the general turned to the second.
"You will hasten to General von Sacken and tell him that it is time
for attacking the French!--And we, gentlemen," he added, addressing
his staff, "will place ourselves at the head of our troops. The
soldiers must have their meals cooked by two o'clock; all the
columns will then commence moving. When the enemy falls back, I
expect, above all, the cavalry to do their duty, and to act with
great courage. The foe must find out, that on retreating he cannot
get out of our hands unhurt. And now, forward! The battle begins at
two o'clock!" He spurred his horse, and galloped again toward the
troops. With a serene face and joyful eyes he rode along the front.
"Boys," he shouted, "cook your dinners quickly, do not burn your
mouths, and do not eat your soup too hot; but when you have eaten
it, then it is time for cooking a whipping soup for the French."

"Yes, Father Blucher, we will cook it for them!" shouted the
soldiers.

"I am afraid that soup won't agree with the French," said Blucher,
with a humorous wink. "Blue-bean soup is hard to digest. But they
will have to swallow it, whether they like it or not, won't they?"

"Yes, they will!" laughed the soldiers; and Blucher galloped over to
the other regiments, to fire their hearts by similar greetings.

It was two o'clock! "Boys, the fun will commence now!" shouted
Blucher's powerful voice. "Now I have French soldiers enough on this
side of the river. Forward!"

Forward they went, at a double-quick, directly at the French. The
cannon boomed, the musketry rattled; but the rain soon silenced the
latter.

"Boys," shouted Major von Othegraven to his battalion of the
Brandenburg regiment, "if we cannot shoot them, we can club them!"
And amid loud cheers the soldiers turned their muskets, and struck
their enemies with the butts. A terrible hand-to-hand struggle
ensued--howls of pain, dreadful abuse and imprecations burst from
both sides; but at length they ceased on this part of the field: the
Brandenburg soldiers had killed a whole French battalion with the
stocks of their muskets! [Footnote: Beitzke, vol. ii., p. 204.]

The battle raged on amid the terrible storm beating on the
combatants. The wind blew violently, and the rain descended in
torrents. The men sank ankle-deep in the softened soil, but
"Forward!" sounded the battle-cry, and the soldiers left their shoes
in the mud, rushing in their socks or bare-footed on the enemy, who
fought with lion-hearted courage, here receding and there advancing.

"Father Blucher, we are doing well to-day!" shouted the soldiers to
their chieftain, galloping up to the infantry.

"Yes, we are doing well," cried Blucher; "but wait, boys--we shall
do still better!"

At this moment the artillery boomed from the other side. Two
officers galloped up to Blucher. One was the orderly he had sent to
General von Sacken.

"What reply did General von Sacken make?" shouted Blucher.

"'Reply to the general, "Hurrah!"' [Footnote: Beitzke, vol. ii., p.
201.] was all he said, your excellency."

"A splendid comrade!" cried Blucher, merrily.

"General," said the second officer, in an undertone, "I beg leave to
make a communication in private."

"In private? No communications will be made in private to-day,"
replied Blucher, shaking his head; "my staff-officers must hear
every thing." And he beckoned to his aides and officers to come
closer to him.

"Your excellency then commands me to utter aloud what I have to
say?"

"Well, speak directly, and, if you like, so loudly that the French
will hear, too!"

"Well, then, general, I have to tell you that no time is to be lost,
and that we must hasten to advance, for the Emperor Napoleon himself
is coming up at the head of his troops; he is already in the rear of
your excellency,"

"Ah," inquired Blucher, with perfect composure, "is the Emperor
Napoleon in my rear? Well, I am glad of it; then he is able to do me
a great favor." He turned his eyes again toward the battle array
with a defiant smile, as if confident of final victory.

The victory was not decided, although the murderous struggle had
lasted already an hour. Marshal Macdonald constantly moved up fresh
troops, and Blucher had sufficient reserves to meet them. Here the
Prussians gave way, and there the French. 'From the right wing of
the Prussian army orderlies informed General Blucher that General
York, with his troops, had repulsed the enemy, and was advancing
victoriously; messengers hastened to him from the left wing, and
told him that General Langeron was about to fall back, that the
Prussian cavalry were retreating, and the French cavalry approaching
in dense masses, and that the Prussian batteries were in imminent
danger of falling into the hands of the enemy.

Blucher uttered an oath--a single savage oath; then he turned his
head aside and shouted, "Hennemann! pipe-master!"

Christian Hennemann galloped up immediately. He was in full hussar-
uniform, but did not belong to the ranks; he was in the suite of his
general, and had to be constantly near him. On the pommel of his
saddle was a long iron box, and in his mouth a short clay pipe.
"General, here I am!"

"Give me a short pipe, for now we charge the enemy!"

Hennemann took the pipe from his mouth, handed it to the general,
and said, with the utmost equanimity: "Here it is! It has been
burning some time already, and I began to think the general had
entirely forgotten the pipe and myself."

Blucher put the pipe into his mouth. At this moment a Brandenburg
regiment of lancers galloped up, headed by Major von Katzeler,
Blucher's former adjutant. "We are going to assist our men!" shouted
Katzeler, saluting the general with his sword.

"We are moving to the relief of our comrades!" cried a captain of
hussars, thundering up at the head of his regiment.

"Very well!" said Blucher. "God bless me. I must go with them! I can
stand it no longer!" Drawing his sword, he galloped with the courage
and ardor of a youth to the head of the column of hussars, who
received him with deafening cheers. The bugles sounded, and forward
sped Blucher at an impetuous gallop.

Suddenly some one shouted by his side: "General! general!" It was
the pipe-master. Blucher, looking at him with eyes flashing with
anger, said: "Begone! Ride to the rear!"

"God forbid!" said Hennemann, composedly; "here is my place; did not
the general order me always to remain near him and hold a short pipe
in readiness? Well, I am near, and the pipe is ready."

"I do not want it now, Christian; we are about to charge the enemy.
To the rear, pipe-master!"

"I cannot think of it, general; no one is at liberty to desert his
post, as you told me yourself," cried Hennemann. "I am at my post,
and will not allow myself to be driven from it. You will soon enough
need me."

"Forward!" cried the general. And amid loud cheers the hussars
rushed upon the enemy, Blucher fighting at their head, brandishing
his sword with the utmost delight, forcing back the enemy, and
wresting from him the advantages he had already gained. The French
being driven back, Blucher suddenly commanded a halt.

"Boys!" he shouted, in a clarion voice, "this is a butchery to-day;
let us stop a moment, take a drink, and fill our pipes.--Pipe-
master, my pipe!"

"Did I not say that you would soon need me?" asked Hennemann, in a
triumphant voice. "Here is your pipe, general!"

When the horses had taken breath, and the bold hussars a drink, and
filled their pipes, the general's voice was again heard: "Forward in
God's name!--we shall soon be done with the French!"

Toward dusk the battle was decided. In wild disorder fled the enemy,
delayed by the softened soil, blinded by the rain, and obstructed by
the Katzbach and the Neisse, with their roaring waters swelling
every moment. In hot pursuit was the exultant victor, thundering
with his cannon, and hurling death into the ranks of the fugitives.
Field-pieces were planted on the banks of those streams, and when
the French approached, they were greeted with fearful volleys.
Turning in dismay, flashing swords and bayonets menaced them. Piles
of dead were lying on the banks of the Katzbach; thousands of
corpses were floating down the foaming waters, showing to Silesia
the bloody trophies of battle, and that Blucher had at length taken
revenge upon his adversary. At seven o'clock in the evening all was
still. On all sides the French had fled.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

BLUCHER AS A WRITER.


Darkness came, and the rain continued. The "dear little angels in
heaven," who, as Blucher said in the morning, wept for joy at the
prospect of a fight, were now perhaps shedding tears of grief at the
many thousands lying on the battle-field with gaping wounds, and
whose last sighs were borne away on the stormy wind of the night.

Blucher rode across the field toward his headquarters; no one was by
his side but his friend, General Gneisenau, and, at some distance
behind them, Christian Hennemann, holding a burning pipe in his
mouth. Absorbed in deep reflections, they were riding along the
dreadful road strewed with dead and wounded soldiers, and through
pools of blood. Even Blucher felt exhausted after the day's work;
his joy was suppressed by the incessant rain that had drenched his
clothes, and by the groans of the dying, which rent his ears and
filled his soul with compassion. But soon overcoming his sadness, he
turned toward Gneisenau. "Well," he said, "this battle we have
gained, and all the world will have to admit it; now let us think
what we may put into our bulletin to tell the people HOW we have
gained it. For ten years past Bonaparte has issued such high-
sounding accounts of his victories that I always felt in my anger as
though my heart were a bombshell ready to burst. Well, this time,
let us also draw up such a bulletin of victory, and show that we
have learned something. Let us proclaim that we have conquered, and
draw up the document as soon as we arrive at Brechtelshof."

"General, you will have to decide the name of the battle," said
Gneisenau. "How is it to be known in history?"

"Yes, that is true," said Blucher, thoughtfully, "it must have a
name. Well, propose one, Gneisenau!"

"We might call it the battle of Brechtelshof, because the
headquarters of our brave chieftain, our Father Blucher, are at that
place," said Gneisenau, in a mild tone.

"No, do not mix me up with the matter," said Blucher, hastily; "the
good God has vouchsafed us a victory, let us humbly thank Him for
it, and not grow overbearing.--Wait, I have it now! We shall call
it, in honor of General von Sacken, the battle of the Katzbach; for,
by Sacken's vigorous cannonade from Eichholz, on the Katzbach, and
with the assistance of his brave cavalry, that drove the enemy into
the river, we gained the victory, and the battle ought to have that
name. 'The battle of the Katzbach!'--Well, here are our quarters!"

"Now, general, you must rest," said Gneisenau, with the tenderness
of a son. "You must change your dress, take food, and repose on your
laurels, though there is but a straw mattress for you."

Blucher shook his head. "My clothes will dry quickest if I keep them
on my body," he said, "and I must do so, for we have still a great
many things to attend to; we must inform the king of our victory,
take care of our wounded, arrange for the pursuit of the enemy; and,
finally, write the bulletins of victory. We may take refreshment,
but I do not care for laurels with it--laurels are bitter. But let
us take a drink, and smoke a pipe.--Pipe-master!"

Fifteen minutes afterward, General Blucher entered with Gneisenau
the small chamber called his headquarters; all the other rooms were
filled with the wounded prior to the general's arrival at
Brechtelshof. Pains had been taken to render this chamber as cosy
and comfortable as possible, and, when Blucher entered, he was
gratified in seeing a straw mattress near the wall, and on the table
(beside a flickering tallow-candle placed in a bottle) a flask of
wine, with a few glasses, and near it a large inkstand and several
sheets of paper.

"Well," cried Blucher, cheerfully, "let us divide fraternally,
Gneisenau; I will take the wine, and you the ink. But, first, I will
give you a glass, and in return you will afterward let me have a
drop of ink." Sitting down on one of the wooden stools, he quickly
filled two glasses to the brim. "Gneisenau," he said, solemnly, "let
us drink this in honor of those who are lying on the battle-field,
and who hare died like brave men! May God bid them welcome, and be a
merciful Judge to them! Let us drink also in commemoration of Queen
Louisa and Scharnhorst, who both doubtless looked down upon us from
heaven to-day, and assisted us in achieving a victory. To them I am
indebted for all I am. But for the angelic face of the queen the
calamity of the accursed year 1807 would have driven me to despair
and death: and but for Scharnhorst I should never have been
appointed general-in-chief. Why, they all considered me a bombastic
old dotard of big words and small deeds; but Scharnhorst defended me
before the king and the emperor, and what I am now I am through him,
because he, the noblest of men, believed in me. And I will not give
the lie to his faith, I will still accomplish glorious things--to-
day's work is only a beginning."

"But what you have done to-day is something glorious, your
excellency," said Gneisenau. "That we have gained the battle, thanks
to your generalship and the enthusiasm of the troops, is not the
greatest advantage. A more important one is, that the Silesian army
has been able to prove what it is, and what a chieftain is at its
head. Now, all those will be silenced who constantly mistrusted and
suspected us; who tried to sow the seeds of discord between the
Silesian army and the headquarters of the allies; and who were
intent on preventing your excellency from entering upon an
independent and energetic course of action."

"It is true, they call me a mad hussar," said Blucher, shrugging his
shoulders; "and Bonaparte, as I read somewhere the other day, calls
me even a drunken hussar. Well, no matter! let them say what they
please. And, moreover, they are all, to some extent, justified in
making such assertions; for I cannot deny that the years of waiting,
during which I was obliged to swallow my grief, really made me a
little mad, and with sobriety I never intend to meet Bonaparte; but,
for all that, it is unnecessary for me to be drunk with wine. I am
still intoxicated with joy that we have at length been allowed to
attack the French, and God grant that I may never awaken from this
intoxication! Well, Gneisenau, now let us go to work!--you with the
ink, and I with the wine! Draw up the necessary instructions for the
pursuit of the enemy, and, in the mean time, I will consider what I
have to write."

Gneisenau took the pen, and wrote; Blucher the glass, and drank.
Half an hour passed in silence; Gneisenau then laid down his pen,
for he had finished the instructions; and Blucher pushed the glass
aside, for the bottle was empty.

"I beg leave now to read the instructions to your excellency," said
Gneisenau.

"No," said Blucher, "not now! I have myself gathered some thoughts,
and if I defer writing them down, they will fly away like young
swallows. Such ideas, that are to be written down, are not
accustomed to have their nest in my head, and for this reason I will
let them out immediately. I will write to the king and to the city
of Breslau, informing him that we have gained the battle, and the
city of Breslau that it ought to do something for my wounded. Give
me the pen; I shall not be long about it." With extraordinary
rapidity he wrote words of such a size that it would have been easy
even for a short-sighted person to read them at a distance; and,
although they were drawn across the paper very irregularly, the
general always took pains to have broad intervals between the lines,
that there might be no probability of leaving them illegible. A
sheet was soon filled; Blucher fixed his signature, and contemplated
the paper for a moment. Half an hour afterward two other sheets,
filled with strange and uncouth characters, lay before the old
general, and he cast the pen aside with a sigh. "It is abominable
work to write letters," he said; "I cannot comprehend why you,
Gneisenau, who are so good a soldier, at the same time know so well
how to wield the pen. It is not my forte, although I had a notion
once to be a savant, and really become a sort of writer. In those
calamitous days, subsequent to 1807, despair and ennui sought for
some relief to my mind, and made me write a book, and I believe a
good one."

"A book?" asked Gueisenau, in amazement. "And you had it printed,
your excellency?"

"Not I; I was no such fool as to do that. The critics and newspaper
editors, who talk about every thing, and know nothing, would have
pounced upon my book, and severely censured it. No, my dear
Gneisenau, one must not cast pearls before swine. I keep my book in
my desk, and show it only to those whom I particularly esteem. When
we return home from the campaign I will let you read it; I know it
will please you, and you will learn something. My work is called
'Observations on the Instruction and Tactics of Cavalry.' A splendid
title, is it not? Well, you may believe me, there is a great deal in
it, and many a one would be glad of having written it. [Footnote:
Blucher was proud of this work, the only one he ever wrote, and
always referred to it in terms of great satisfaction.--Vide
Varnhagen von Ense, "Life of Prince Blucher of Wahlstatt," p. 530.]
Let us say no more about it. Here are my two dispatches; there is
the letter to the king, and here is my letter to the city of
Breslau, and--you must do me a favor, Gneisenau. You must read what
I have written, and if I have made any blunders in orthography or
grammar, be so kind as to correct them."

"But, your excellency," said Gneisenau, "no one can express himself
so vigorously as you, and no one knows how to put the right word in
the right place as quickly as you do."

"Yes, as to the words, yon are right. But the grammar! there's the
rub. Men are so foolish as to refuse speaking as they please, but
render life even more burdensome by all sorts of grammatical rules.
I have never in my whole life paid any attention to them, but have
spoken my mind freely and fearlessly. But as people really do
consider him a blockhead who does not talk as they do, let us humor
them, and please correct my mistakes; but, pray, do so in such a
manner that it will not be found out." He handed Gneisenau the pen,
and pushed the two letters toward him. "Correct what I have
written," he said; "in the mean time I will read what you have
written."

"And pray be so kind as to correct it, too, your excellency," begged
Gneisenau, "for possibly I may have made mistakes weighing heavier
than mere infractions of grammatical rules, and I may not have
succeeded in rendering your instructions in words as concise and
distinct as you gave them to me."

"Well, we shall see," exclaimed Blucher, smiling, and taking up the
paper.

"Very good," he said, after reading it through, "every thing is done
just as I wished it, and if all our commanders act in accordance
with these instructions, we shall give the enemy no time for taking
a position anywhere, but completely disperse his forces without
being compelled to fight another battle."

"And when the city of Breslau reads this noble and affecting plea
for your wounded," said Gneisenau, "they will be nursed in the most
careful manner, and our able-bodied soldiers will receive wagon-
loads of food and refreshments. And when the king reads this
dispatch, announcing our victory in language so modest and
unassuming, his heart will feel satisfaction, and he will rejoice
equally over the victory and the general to whom he is indebted for
it."

"Have you corrected the grammatical blunders?"

"I have, your excellency; I have erased them so cautiously that no
one can see that any thing has been corrected."

"Well, then, be so kind as to dispatch a courier."

"But, your excellency," said Gneisenau, "shall the courier take only
these two dispatches? Have you forgotten that you promised Madame
von Blucher to write to her after every battle, whether victorious
or not, and that I solemnly pledged her my word to remind your
excellency of it?"

"Well, it is unnecessary to remind me," cried Blucher, taking up the
letter he had first written. "Here is my letter to Amelia. She is a
faithful wife, and I surely owed it to her to tell her first that
the Lord has been kind and gracious enough toward me to let me gain
the battle. But you need not correct it. My Amelia will not blame me
for my grammatical blunders, and to her I freely speak my mind."

"Did you inform your wife, too, that you drew your sword yourself,
and rushed into the thickest of the fray?"

"I shall take good care not to tell her any thing of the kind,"
exclaimed Blucher. "As far as that is concerned, I did not speak my
mind to her. It is true I had promised my dear wife to be what she
calls sensible, and only to command and play the distinguished
general who merely looks on while others do the fighting. But it
would not do--you must admit, Gneisenau, it would not do; I could
not stand still like a scarecrow, while my old adjutant, Katzeler,
was charging with the hussars; I had to go with them, if it cost my
life. You will do me the favor, however, not to betray it to
Amelia."

"Even though I should be silent, your excellency, your wife would
hear of it."

"You believe Hennemann will tell her?" asked Blucher, almost in
dismay. "Yes, it is true, she has ordered the pipe-master not to
lose sight of me in battle, and always to remain near me with the
pipe. Well, the fellow has kept his word; but he will now also
fulfil what he promised my wife, and tell her every thing. Yes, the
pipe-master will tell her that I was in the charge of the light
cavalry."

"Yes," exclaimed Gneisenau, smiling, "he will betray to your wife
and to history that Blucher fought and charged at the battle of the
Katzbach like a young man of twenty. But for the pipe-master history
might not know it at all."

"Gneisenau, you are decidedly too sharp," cried Blucher, stroking
his mustache. "Well, please forward the dispatches, and then let us
try to sleep a little. We must invigorate ourselves, for we shall
have plenty to do to-morrow. 'Forward, always forward!' until
Bonaparte is hurled from his throne; and hurled from it he will be!
Yes, as sure as there is a God in heaven!"



CHAPTER XXXVII.

THE REVOLT OF THE GENERALS.


On the morning of the 10th of October, Napoleon took leave of the
King and Queen of Saxony, after delivering at Eilenburg, whither he
had repaired with the royal family of Saxony, a solemn and
enthusiastic address to the corps which his faithful ally, King
Frederick Augustus, had added to his army, and which was to fight
jointly with the French against his enemies. He then entered the
carriage and rode to Duben, followed by his staff, the whole park of
artillery, and all the equipages. Gloomy and taciturn, the emperor,
on his arrival at the palace of Duben, retired into his apartments
and spread out the maps, on which colored pins marked the various
positions of the allies and his own army. "They are three to one
against me," he murmured, bending over the maps and contemplating
the pins. "Were none but determined and energetic generals, like
Blucher, at their head, my defeat would be certain. They would then
hem me in, bring on a decisive battle, and their overwhelming masses
would crush me and my army. Fortunately, there is no real harmony
among the allies; they will scatter their forces, post them here and
there, and in the mean time I shall march to Berlin, take the city,
repose there, and, with renewed strength, attack them one after
another. Ah, I shall succeed in defeating them, I--"

There was a low knock at the door, and Constant, his valet de
chambre, entered the room. "Sire," he said, "Marshal Marmont and the
gentlemen of the staff are in the reception-room, and request your
majesty graciously to grant them an audience."

An expression of surprise overspread the emperor's face, and for an
instant he seemed to hesitate; but gently nodding he said, calmly:
"Open the door. I grant them the audience."

Constant opened the folding-doors, and in the reception-room were
seen the marshals and generals assembled. Their faces were pale and
gloomy, and there was something solemn and constrained in their
whole bearing. When Napoleon appeared on the threshold, the groups
dispersed, and the gentlemen placed themselves in line, silent and
noiseless, along the wall opposite the emperor, seemingly at a loss
whether they or the emperor should utter the first word. Napoleon
advanced a few steps. For the first time his generals, the
companions of so many years and so many battles, seemed unable to
bear the emperor's glance. Napoleon saw this, and a bitter smile
flitted over his face. "Marmont," he exclaimed, in his ringing
voice, "what do you all want? Speak!"

"Sire," said the marshal, "we wish to take the liberty of addressing
a question and a request to your majesty."

"First, the question, then!"

"Sire, we take the liberty of asking whether your majesty really
intends to cross the Elbe with the army, and to resume the struggle
on the right bank?"

"You ask very abruptly and bluntly," said Napoleon, haughtily. "I
need not listen to you, but I will do so, nevertheless. I will reply
to your question, not because I must, but because I choose to do so.
Yes, gentlemen, I intend to transfer the whole army to the right
bank of the Elbe in order to occupy Brandenburg and Berlin, then
face about to the river, and make Magdeburg the support of my
further operations. [Footnote: Beitzke, vol. ii., p. 491.] This is
my plan, and you, according to your duty, will assist me in carrying
it into execution. I have replied to your question. Now let me hear
your request."

"Sire," said Marmont, after a brief silence, "now that we have heard
your gracious reply, I dare to give expression to our request, which
is not only ours, but that of all the officers of the army of
France. Sire, we implore you, give up this bold plan of operations;
do not vainly shed the blood of thousands! The odds are too great,
not only in numbers, but in warlike ardor. The enemy is struggling
against us with the fanaticism of hatred, and his threefold
superiority seems to secure victory to him. Our army, on the
contrary, is exhausted and tired of war, and the consciousness of
being engaged in a struggle that apparently holds out no prospects
of ultimate success, is paralyzing both its physical and moral
strength. Sire, we implore you, in the name of France, make peace!
Let us return to the Rhine! Let us at last rest from this prolonged
war! Oh, sire, give us peace!"

"Oh, sire, give us peace!" echoed the generals, in solemn chorus.

The emperor's eyes were fixed in succession upon the faces of the
bold men who dared thus to address him, and who, at this hour,
confronted him in a sort of open revolt. An expression of anger
flushed his face for an instant, and his features resumed their
impenetrable, stony look. "You have come to hold a council of war
with me," he said. "To be sure, I have not summoned you, but no
matter. It is your unanimous opinion that we should return to the
Rhine, and thence to France, avoid further battles, and make peace?"

"Sire, we pray your majesty this time to repress your military
genius under the mantle of your imperial dignity," cried the
marshal. "As soon as the general is silent, the emperor will
perceive that his people and his country need repose and peace.
France has given her wealth, her vigor, and her blood, for twenty
years of victories, and she has joyfully done so; but now her wealth
is exhausted, her strength and her youth are gone, for there are in
France no more young men, only the aged, invalids, and children; the
fighting-men lie on the battle-fields. Boys have been enrolled, and
are forming the young army of your majesty. Sire, it is the last
blood that France has to sacrifice: spare it! The enemy is thrice as
strong as we are, and even the military genius of your majesty will
be unable to achieve victories in so unequal a struggle. Listen,
therefore, to reason, to necessity, and to our prayer; make peace.
Sire, let us return to France!"

Another flush suffused Napoleon's face, but he controlled his anger.
"You believe, then, that it depends on me only to make peace?" he
asked, in a calm voice. "You think we would find no obstacles in our
way if we endeavored now to return to France?--that the enemy would
leave the roads open to us, and be content with our evacuating
Germany? This is a great mistake, gentlemen. I cannot make peace,
for the allies would not accept it. They know their strength, and
are intent on having war. You say their armies are thrice as strong
as mine, and that is the reason why we could not conquer? I might
reply to you what the great Conde replied to his generals, when he
was about to attack the superior Spanish army, 'Great battles are
gained with small armies.' And on the following day he gained the
battle of Lons. Yes, gentlemen, the victor of Rocroy and Lons was
right; great battles are gained with small armies; only we must make
our dispositions correctly, and scatter the forces of our
adversaries, instead of giving them an opportunity to concentrate
upon one point. It is, therefore, of vital importance for me to hold
the line of the Elbe, for with it I possess all the strong points of
Bohemia; and, besides, the fortresses of Custrin, Stettin, and
Glogau, are close to it. If I have to abandon that river, I abandon
all Germany to the Rhine, with all the fortresses, and the vast
materiel stored there. That would be to weaken us and strengthen the
enemy, now on the left bank. I will, therefore, cross to the right
bank of the Elbe, for thence I am able to deploy my whole army
without hinderance, and connect my line with Davoust at Hamburg, and
St. Cyr at Dresden. We shall easily take Berlin, raise the sieges of
Glogau, Stettin, and Custrin, and become masters of the situation.
Prussia, the hot-bed of this fermentation and revolution, will be
subjugated and crushed. That will discourage the others, and they
will fall back as they have so often, their plans will be
disorganized, and then I shall have gained my cause; for the
strength of the allies consists chiefly in the fact that they are
temporarily in harmony. Let us disorganize their plans, foster their
separate interests, and we gain every thing. When the Prussians see
their country threatened, they will hasten to its assistance; the
Russians, Swedes, and Austrians, will refuse to change and
reorganize their plans of operations for the sake of Prussia, and
discord will prevent them from acting. If Germany had been united,
and acted with one will, I could not have taken from her a single
village or fortress. Fortunately, however, the people do not act
unanimously; wherever ten Germans are assembled, there are also ten
separate interests at war among them, and this fact has delivered
the country into my hands. Let us, therefore, profit by this
national peculiarity; let us stir up their separate interests, and
that will be as advantageous as though we gained a battle. We shall,
then, cross over to the right bank of the Elbe, make Berlin our
centre, support our left on Dresden, our right on Magdeburg, and
face toward the west. At all events, this will bring about an entire
change of position, and it will then be my task to force my plans of
operation upon the allies." [Footnote: Beitzke, vol. ii., p. 492.]
"A task that would be easily accomplished by the genius of your
majesty, which is so superior to that of all the generals of the
allies," said the marshal; "but still this whole plan, how admirable
soever it may be, is altogether too bold. If we pass over to the
right bank of the Elbe, we would give up all connection with France;
the allies, it would be believed, had, by skilful manoeuvres, cut us
off--hurled us into inevitable destruction. Moreover--your majesty
will pardon me for this observation--we can no longer count upon the
assistance of our German auxiliaries. They will abandon us at the
very moment when we need them most. Even Bavaria is no longer a
reliable ally, for, notwithstanding the benefits your majesty has
conferred on her, she is about to ally herself with Austria. Sire,
you said a few minutes ago that you counted upon the discord of the
Germans, but this exists no more, or rather it exists only among the
princes; but we have no longer to fight the latter alone--we have to
struggle against the genius of Germany, which has risen against us,
and for the first time the whole nation is united in hatred and
wrath. Sire, this national spirit is more powerful than all princes
and all armies, for it overcomes the princes, and makes new armies
spring as if from the ground to defend the sacred soil of the
fatherland. Those armies we shall be unable to conquer: for one-half
of ours is composed of soldiers exhausted by continued wars, and
longing for peace; and the other half of young, ignorant conscripts,
who will yield to unwonted privations. Therefore, sire, I dare renew
my prayer, and implore your majesty to give up your plan against
Berlin! Let us not pass over to the right bank of the Elbe, but
march toward the Rhine!"

"Is that your opinion, too, gentlemen?" asked Napoleon, turning
toward the generals. "Do you, though I have condescended to explain
to you at length my plan, and the motives that have caused me to
adopt it, still persist in your belief that it would be better not
to pass to the right bank of the Elbe, but to return to the Rhine?"

"Yes," cried the generals, unanimously, "we persist in our opinion."

Napoleon drew back a step, and a pallor overspread his face; but
apparently he remained as cold and calm as ever. "My plan has been
deeply calculated," he said, after a pause; "I have admitted into
it, as a probable contingency, the defection of Bavaria. I am
convinced that the plan of marching on Berlin is good. A retrograde
movement, in the circumstances in which we are placed, is
disastrous; and those who oppose my projects have undertaken a
serious responsibility. However, I will think of it, and inform you
of my final decision." [Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Vide Fain,
"Manuscrit de 1813," vol. i.] He saluted the generals with a
careless nod and retired again into his cabinet.

The generals looked with anxious faces at one another when the door
closed. "What shall we do now?" they inquired. "Wait, and not
yield!" murmured the most resolute among them, and all agreed to do
so.

With gloomy glances did Napoleon, after his return to his cabinet,
look at the door that separated him from his mutinous generals. He
felt that now a new power had taken the field against him that might
become more dangerous than all the others, and that was the revolt
of his generals. He heard distinctly their last words. They had not
said, "We persist in our opinion, and would like to return," but,
"We must return to France." His generals, then, dared to have a will
of their own, and opposed to that of their emperor. They knew it,
and it did not deter them!

"Ah, the wretches," he murmured to himself, "they are blind! They
will not see that we are hastening to destruction. They compel me to
return as Alexander's generals compelled him to return! Woe to us!
We are lost!" He sank down on the sofa; and now, when none could see
him, the veil dropped from his face, the imperial mantle fell from
his cowering form, and he was but a weak, grief-stricken man, who,
with a pale and quivering face, was uncertain what to do. Hour after
hour elapsed. He was still sitting in the corner of the sofa, rigid
and motionless; only the sighs which heaved his breast from time to
time, and the quiver of his eyelids, betrayed the life that was
still animating him.

The court-marshal entered and announced dinner. The emperor waved
his hand to him that he might withdraw, and his marshals and
generals vainly awaited him. They looked at each other inquiringly
and murmured, "He is reflecting! We can wait, but we cannot yield!"

At the stated hour in the afternoon, the two topographers of the
emperor, Colonel Bacler d'Alba, and Colonel Duclay, entered the
emperor's cabinet. As usual, they rolled the table, covered with
maps and plans, before the emperor, and then took seats at the other
table standing in the corner, which was also covered in like manner.
They waited for the emperor, as was his habit, to speak and discuss
his movements with them. But he was silent; he took up, however, a
large sheet of white paper, and pen, and began to write. What did he
write? The topographers were unable to see it; they sat pen in hand,
and waited. But Napoleon was still silent. Hour after hour passed;
not a sound of the triumphant, joyous, and proud life which used to
surround the victorious emperor was to be heard in the dreary palace
of Duben. The anterooms were deserted; the generals remained all day
in the audience-room, and gazed with sullen faces upon the door of
the imperial cabinet. But this door did not open. In the cabinet the
emperor was still on his sofa, now leaning back in meditation, and
now bending over the map-table, and writing slowly. Opposite him sat
the two topographers, mournfully waiting for him to speak to them.
[Footnote: Odeleben, "The Campaign in Saxony in 1813."] But Napoleon
wrote, gazed into the air, sank back on the sofa, groaned, raised
himself again, and wrote on.

This indifference and silence made a strange impression, which
frightened even the generals, when the topographers, whom the
emperor had at length dismissed with a quick wave of the hand, and
an imperious "Go!" entered the audience-room, and told them of this
extraordinary conduct. But Napoleon had written something, and it
was all-important for them to know what. They wished to discover
whether letters or plans had been penned by the emperor, and with
what he had been occupied all day. "Let us speak with Constant,"
they whispered to each other. "He alone will enter the cabinet to-
day. He has keen eyes, and will be able to see what the emperor has
written." Constant consented to cast, at a favorable moment, a
passing glance on the emperor's desk. The generals remained in the
audience-room and waited.

An hour passed, when Constant, pale and sad, entered the room; he
held a large, crumpled sheet of paper in his hand. "The emperor has
retired," he whispered. "He called me, and when I entered the
cabinet, he was still sitting on the sofa at the map-table, and
engaged in writing. Suddenly he threw down the pen and seized the
paper, crumpled it in his hand, and threw it on the floor. I picked
it up, and may communicate it to you, for it contains no secrets."
All the generals stretched out their hands. Constant handed the
paper to Marshal Marmont. The sheet contained nothing but large
capital letters, joined with fanciful flourishes. [Footnote:
Constant, "Memoires," vol. v., p. 269.] The generals gazed at each
other with bewildered eyes. Those capital letters, this work of a
child, was the day's labor which the energetic emperor had
performed! The letters, traced so carefully and elaborately, made an
awful impression on the beholders--a whole history of secret
despair, stifled tears of grief, and bitter imprecations, spoke from
this crumpled sheet of paper. The generals turned pale, as if
imminent danger was hovering over them--as if Fate had sent them its
Runic letters, which they were unable to decipher. They left the
room in silence, but murmured still, "We can wait, but we cannot
yield."

Night had come. Silence settled on the mournful palace of Duben. The
emperor lay on his field-bed, but he did not sleep; for Constant,
who was in the cabinet adjoining the imperial bedchamber, heard him
often sigh and utter words of anger and grief. In the middle of the
night the valet heard a loud, piercing cry, and ran into the
bedchamber. The emperor was in agony, writhing, and a prey to
violent convulsions. He was ill with colic, which so often visited
him, and the pallor of death overspread his face.

Constant hastened to bring the usual remedies, but he did not send
for the doctor; for he knew that Napoleon did not like to have any
importance attached to this illness. The pain at length yielded to
the remedies applied. The emperor submitted to Constant's
entreaties, and drank the soothing tea which he always took at these
evil hours, and the efficacy of which in such cases had been
discovered by the Empress Josephine. He put the teacup on the table,
and locked very melancholy. Possibly he remembered how often
Josephine's presence had comforted him during such hours--how her
small hand had wiped the cold perspiration from his forehead--how
his weary head had rested in her lap, and how her tender words had
consoled and strengthened him. Possibly he remembered all this, for
he murmured in a low voice, "Ah, Josephine, why are you not with me?
You are my guardian angel! My star has set with you!" Then his head
sank back on the pillow, and he closed his eyes. Perhaps his grief
made him sleep.

Early on the following morning a carriage rolled into the court-
yard, and Marshal Augereau requested an audience of the emperor, who
had reentered his map-cabinet.

"Augereau," said the emperor to his marshal, "you bring me bad
news!"

"Only news, sire, which your majesty has already foreseen. It is the
defection of Bavaria, and her accession to the alliance."

The emperor bent his head on his breast. "It must be so. All are
deserting me. I must submit. Augereau," he said, aloud, "Bavaria has
deserted me, but, what is still worse, my generals have done so,
too. They will no longer follow me. They refuse to obey me; my plans
seem too rash and dangerous. They do not wish to go to Berlin--they
want peace! Do you understand, Augereau, peace at a moment when all
are arming--when war is inevitable, and when it is all-important for
me to extricate myself as advantageously as possible from the snare
in which we shall be caught if the allies profit by their
superiority, and draw together the net surrounding ns."

"Sire, and I believe they have the will to do so," cried Augereau.
"Nothing but the commanding military genius of your majesty is still
able to conquer."

A painful smile quivered round the pale lips of the emperor. "Ah,
Augereau," he said, "we are no longer the soldiers of Jena and
Austerlitz. I have no longer any generals on whose obedience I may
count. I shall give up my plan, I shall not pass over to the right
bank of the Elbe, but, by taking this resolution, I renounce all
victories and successes, and it only remains for me to succumb with
honor, and to have opened as advantageous a passage as possible
through Germany to France."

The marshals and generals were again assembled in the audience-room,
and gazed in sullen expectation at the door of the imperial cabinet.
Suddenly the emperor, pale and calm as usual, walked in, followed by
Marshal Augereau. All eyes were fixed upon the emperor, whose lips
were to proclaim the events of the future.

Advancing into the middle of the room, he raised his head, and
sternly glanced along the line of generals. "Gentlemen," he said, in
a loud voice, "I have changed my plan. We shall not pass over to the
right bank of the Elbe, but turn toward Leipsic to-morrow. May those
who have occasioned this movement never regret it!" [Footnote:
Napoleon's words.--Constant, vol. v., p. 260.]

A shout of joy burst forth when the emperor paused. The generals
surrounded him, now that they had attained their object, to thank
him for his magnanimity, and then they cheerfully looked at each
other, shook hands, and exclaimed in voices trembling with emotion,
"We shall again embrace our parents, our wives, our children, our
friends!" [Footnote: Ibid.]

"Ah, Augereau," said the emperor, mournfully, "you see I could not
act otherwise; it was their will! But you, who are of my opinion
that this retrograde movement is a calamity, will be able to testify
in my favor if the future shows that I am right. You will state that
I was compelled to pursue a path which I knew would lead to
destruction!"



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE BATTLE OF LEIPSIC.


The struggle had already been going on for two days. On the 15th and
16th of October the Austrians, Russians, Prussians, and Swedes, had
fought a number of engagements with the French between Halle and
Leipsic. The Austrians, or the army of Bohemia, commanded by
Schwartzenberg, the general-in-chief, had been defeated by the
French at Wachau on the 16th of October; but the Prussians and
Russians, under Blucher, had gained a brilliant victory at Mockern
on the 16th of October; and though the Swedes, under Bernadotte, had
not participated in the battle, and had, as usual, managed on that
day to keep away from the carnage, they had at the same time
contrived to participate in the glory of victory.

The French had not gained a single decisive battle during these two
days, and yet Napoleon himself was at the head of his forces,
directing their movements. Thousands of his soldiers lay on the
blood-stained field of Wachau, and thousands more were mown down at
Mockern. His army was melting away hour by hour, while that of his
enemies constantly increased. Fresh reserves were moved up; the
battle array of the allies grew more imposing and overwhelming, and
the great, decisive battle was drawing nigh.

It was the evening of the second day, the 16th of October. Napoleon,
who had his headquarters on the preceding day at Reudnitz, four
miles from Leipsic, removed them for the night into the open field,
from which the city could be seen, and behind it the numerous fires
of the allies gleamed through the gathering shades. Beside the
emperor's tent a large camp-fire was kindled, and near it, on a
small field-stool, covered with red morocco, sat Napoleon, his gray
overcoat closely buttoned up, his three-cornered hat drawn over his
forehead, and his arms folded on his breast. His guards, who were
encamping in the plain in wide circles around him, could distinctly
see him, partially illuminated by the camp-fire. That bent, dark
form was their only hope--a hope which did not look up to the stars
shining above them, but which was satisfied with a mortal, who they
believed could guide and protect them. And he indeed could save them
from death by discontinuing the struggle, by accepting peace, though
at the heaviest cost--at the sacrifice of all his possessions
outside of France.

Two forms approached the camp-fire. It was only when they stood by
the emperor's side, that he perceived them and looked up. He
recognized the grave faces of Marshal Berthier and Count Daru.

"What do you want?" he asked, in a husky voice.

"Sire," said Berthier, solemnly, "we come, as envoys of all the
superior officers of the army, to lay our humble requests before
your majesty."

"Have you any thing to request?" asked Napoleon, sneeringly. "I
thought I had fulfilled at Duben all the wishes of my generals; I
gave up my plan against Berlin and the right bank of the Elbe, and
marched to Leipsic, in order to take the direct road to France. Are
my generals not yet satisfied?"

"Sire, who could suppose that on this road we would meet all the
corps of the allies?" sighed the Prince of Neufchatel. "Even your
majesty did not know it."

"I did not," replied Napoleon, "but my star forewarned me, and I
conceived the plan of going to Berlin. You overcame my will; what do
you still want?"

"Sire," said Berthier, almost timidly, "we want to implore your
majesty to offer an armistice and peace to the allies. Our troops
are dreadfully exhausted by these days of incessant fighting, and
are, besides, discouraged by the continued victories of our enemies.
The generals, too, are disheartened, the more so as we are unable to
continue the struggle two days longer, because our ammunition begins
to fail. We have recently used such a vast amount that scarcely
enough remains for a single day. Sire, if we, however, continue to
fight and are defeated, the road to France is open to our enemies,
and your majesty cannot prevent the allies from marching directly
upon Paris, for France has no soldiers to defend her when our army
is routed. Let your majesty, therefore, have mercy on your country
and your people; discontinue the war, and make proposals of peace!"

"Yes, sire." said Daru, "become anew the benefactor of your country,
overcome your great heart for the welfare of your people and your
army, whose last columns are assembled around you, and await life or
death from your lips. The terrible, unforeseen event has taken us by
surprise; we were not sufficiently prepared. We have no ambulances,
no hospitals; all the elements of victory are wanting, for when the
soldier knows that, after the battle, if he should be wounded or
taken sick, he will find a good bed, careful treatment, and medical
attendance, he goes with a feeling of some sort of security into
battle; but we are destitute of these necessities. Your majesty
knows full well that this is no fault of mine, but still it is so,
and that we lack almost every thing. Your majesty, therefore, will
be gracious enough to take a resolution which, it is true, is
painful and deplorable, but under the circumstances indispensable."

Napoleon listened to the two gentlemen with calmness and attention.
When Count Daru was silent, he fixed a sarcastic eye first on him,
then on Berthier. "Have you anything else to say?" he then asked.
The two gentlemen bowed in silence.

"Well, then," said Napoleon, rising, and, with his arms folded, "I
will reply to both of you. Berthier, you know that I do not attach
to your opinion in such matters as much as a straw's value; you may,
therefore, save yourself the trouble of speaking! As to you, Count
Daru, it is your task to wield the pen, and not the sword; you are
incapable of passing an opinion on this question. As to those who
are of the same way of thinking, and whose envoys you are, tell them
as my determined and final answer simply, 'They shall obey!'"
[Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Vide "Memoirs of the Duchess
d'Abrantes," vol. xvi., p. 386.]

He turned his back upon them and entered his tent. Constant and
Roustan had taken pains to give it as comfortable and elegant an
appearance as possible. A beautiful Turkish carpet covered the
floor. On the table in the middle of the tent were placed the
emperor's supper, consisting of some cold viands on silver plates
and dishes. On another table was an inkstand, papers, books, and
maps; and in a nook, formed by curtains and draperies, stood the
emperor's field-bed. The sight of this snug little room, and the
stillness surrounding him, seemed to do him good; the solitude
allowed him to let the mask fall from his face, and to permit the
melancholy and painful thoughts which filled his soul to reflect
themselves in his features. With a sigh resembling a groan he sank
down on the easy-chair. "They want to crush me to earth," he
murmured--"to transform the giant into a pigmy, because they are too
much afraid of his strength. Their fear has at length made brave men
of these allies, and they have resolved to put me on the bed of
Procrustes, and to reduce me to the size of a common man, like
themselves. Will it be necessary to submit to this? Must I allow
them to cut off my limbs, to save my life?" He paused, and became
absorbed deeper in his reflections.

Suddenly he was interrupted by approaching footsteps. The curtain of
the tent was drawn back, and one of the emperor's adjutants
appeared. "Sire," he said, "the Austrian General Meerfeldt, who was
taken prisoner by your majesty's troops at Wachau, has just arrived
under escort, and awaits your orders."

The emperor rose more quickly than usual. "Fate responds to my
questions and doubts," he said to himself, hastily pacing his tent
floor. "I endeavored to find an expedient, and a mediator appears
between myself and my enemies. All is not yet lost, then, for Fate
seems still to be my ally." He turned with a quick motion of his
head toward the adjutant. "Admit General Meerfeldt. I will see him."

A few minutes afterward the Austrian general entered the tent. The
emperor quickly met him, and gazed with a strange, triumphant look
into the embarrassed face of the count. "I believe we are old
acquaintances," said Napoleon, "for, if I am not mistaken, it was
you who, in 1797, solicited the armistice of Leoben, and you
participated, too, in the negotiations which terminated in the
treaty of Campo-Formio."

"Yes, sire, you are right; I had at that time the good fortune to
become acquainted with General Bonaparte," said Count Meerfeldt,
with a deep bow; "he was just entering a career which has led him
from victory to victory, and adorned his head with well-merited
laurels."

"Yes, you were one of the signers of the treaty of Campo-Formio,"
exclaimed Napoleon. "But that was not all. Was it not you who wished
to present me, in the name of the emperor of Austria, with some
magnificent gifts? What was it you came to offer me then?"

"Sire," said the count, in confusion, "I had orders to repeat that
which Count Cobenzl had already vainly proposed to General
Bonaparte. I had orders to offer him, in the emperor's name, a
principality in Germany, several millions in ready money, and a team
of six white horses."

"I declined the principality in Germany because I thought that one
ought either to inherit or conquer sovereignties, but never accept
them as gifts, for he who accepts a gift always remains the moral
vassal of the giver. I rejected the millions because I would not
allow myself to be bribed; but I did accept the six horses, and with
them made my entry into Germany and came to Rastadt."

"It was the first triumphal procession of your majesty in Germany,
and, like Julius Gassar you could say, 'I came, saw, and
conquered!'"

"Since then circumstances have greatly changed," said the emperor,
thoughtfully; "General Bonaparte became the Emperor Napoleon, and
the latter did what General Bonaparte refused to do: he accepted at
the hands of the Emperor of Austria a gift more precious than
principalities, for it was a beautiful young wife. Ah, general, you
are my prisoner, and I ought not to release you, but send you to
Paris, that you might have the good fortune of kissing the hand of
the Empress of France, the daughter of my enemy, and of seeing
whether the little fair-haired King of Rome looks like his
grandfather.--But no, I will set you at liberty, I will make you my
negotiator! You were one of those with whom I concluded, in the name
of France, the first peace with Austria; I, therefore, commission
you now to mediate my last peace; for I want to wage no more wars--I
am tired of this unceasing bloodshed; I ask naught but to repose in
peace, and dream of the happiness of France, after having dreamed of
its glory. Go, repeat this to the emperor, your master; tell him
that I desire no more conquests, but repose. Tell him that I long
for nothing more ardently than peace, and that I am ready to
conclude it, even before our swords have crossed."

"Sire," said Count Meerfeldt, hesitatingly, "if I repeat all this to
the emperor, he will ask me what guaranties your majesty offers him,
and what cessions of territory you propose to make."

"Cessions of territory!" exclaimed Napoleon. "Yes, that is it! You
want to render me powerless; that is all you are fighting for; that
is why the Russians and Swedes are in Germany; that is why the
Germans accept subsidies at the hands of England!--all to attain a
single object: to deprive me of my power, and narrow the boundaries
of France. But do you think that the Russians, the Swedes, and the
English, will require no indemnities for services rendered, and that
they will very conveniently find them in the territories which you
propose to wrest from me? What will Germany gain thereby? She will
have rendered France, her natural ally, so powerless that she can
never assist her, and, in return, she will have secured a footing in
Germany to her three natural enemies, Russia--that is, barbarism;
England--that is, foreign industry and commerce in colonial goods;
Sweden--that is, navigation on the northern shores. But you will do
all this rather than leave me in possession of my power, though I
tell you that I wish to fight no more, but long for repose. Is it
not so?"

"Sire," said Count Meerfeldt, in a low voice, "the allied sovereigns
are, perhaps, familiar with the words of Caesar, who said that
laurels, if they were not to wither, should be often bathed in
hostile blood, and fed every year with soil from new fields of
victory. Your majesty being the modern Caesar, the allies may be
afraid lest you should adopt this maxim."

"Yes," cried Napoleon, "you are afraid of the very sleep of the
lion; you fear that you will never be easy before having pared his
nails and cut his mane. Well, then, after you have placed him in
this predicament, what will be the consequence? Have the allied
sovereigns reflected? You think only of repairing, by a single
stroke, the calamities of twenty years; and, carried away by this
idea, you never perceive the changes which time has made around you,
and that for Austria to gain now, at the expense of France, is to
lose. Tell your sovereign to take that into consideration, Count
Meerfeldt; it is neither Austria, nor France, nor Prussia, singly,
that will be able to arrest on the Vistula the inundation of a half-
nomadic people essentially conquering, and whose dominions extend to
China. I comprehend, however, that in order to make peace, I must
make sacrifices and I am ready to do so. [Footnote: Napoleon's
words.--Fain, "Manuscrit de 1813," vol. i., pp. 412, 414.] For the
very purpose of stating this to the Emperor Francis, I set you at
liberty, provided you give me your parole to serve no longer in this
campaign against France."

"Sire, to fight against France has been so painful a duty that I
joyfully give my word to serve no longer unless permitted to do so
for France--that is to say, for your majesty."

"You may go, then, and lay my proposals before the Emperor Francis.
You will tell him this: I offer to evacuate all fortresses in
Germany to the Rhine, and consent to the dissolution of the
Confederation of the Rhine. I am ready to restore Illyria and Spain
to their former sovereigns. I further consent to the independence of
Italy and Holland. If England refuses to grant peace on the seas, we
will try to negotiate it, and Austria is to be the mediator."
[Footnote: Ibid]

"Sire, these are such satisfactory promises," cried Count Meerfeldt,
"that I am afraid my mere word will be insufficient to convince my
master that you really intend to grant so much."

"I will give you a letter to the Emperor Francis, in which I shall
make these proposals," said Napoleon, quickly. "Yes, I will write
once more to the emperor. Our political alliance is broken, but
between your master and me there is another bond, which is
indissoluble. That is what I invoke, for I always place confidence
in the regard of my father-in-law."

He went to his desk, and penned a few lines with a hasty hand,
folded, sealed, and directed the letter. "Here," he said,
approaching the count, "is my letter to my father-in-law. You will
immediately repair to him, and deliver it into his hands. The
emperor will communicate it to the other sovereigns, and they will
take their resolutions accordingly. Tell him that I shall not attack
to-morrow, but discontinue further hostilities until I have received
his answer; and that I shall certainly expect him to return an
answer by to-morrow. Adieu, general! When on my behalf you speak to
the two emperors of an armistice, I doubt not the voice which
strikes their ears will be eloquent indeed in recollections."
[Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Vide Beitzke, vol. ii., p. 592.]

"It is my last effort," murmured the emperor to himself, when Count
Meerfeldt had left; "if it fail, nothing but a struggle of life and
death remains to me, and, by Heaven, I will certainly fight it out!
The crisis is at hand, and I cannot evade it. I will meet it with my
eyes open. The laurels of Marengo and Austerlitz are not yet
withered. To-morrow there will be a cessation of hostilities, and on
the day after to-morrow peace, or war to the last!"

On the 17th of October no hostilities took place. Napoleon awaited
the reply of his father-in-law. But it did not come; it was deemed
unnecessary to observe the forms of courtesy toward him before whom,
only a year ago, they had prostrated themselves so often in the
dust.

The battle recommenced on the 18th of October. The booming of a
thousand cannon was the answer of the allies. Napoleon, with only
three hundred cannon, replied that he understood this answer to his
peace propositions. Upward of three hundred thousand soldiers of the
allies filled the plains around Leipsic. Napoleon had scarcely one
hundred and twenty thousand to oppose to them, and his men were
exhausted and discouraged. But he appeared on this day along the
whole line, encouraging his troops by his cheerful countenance and
his brief addresses. He seemed to infuse fresh courage and
enthusiasm into the hearts of the French. They arose with the
heroism of former days, and plunged into the thickest of the fight;
the earth trembled beneath the thunder of cannon, the cheers of the
victors, and the imprecations of the vanquished. The French did not
yield an inch; they stood like a wall, broken here and there, but
the gaps filled up again in a moment, and those who had taken the
places of the fallen exhibited the same devoted heroism, for
Napoleon was there.

And Blucher was also there. He halted opposite the enemy with his
Silesian army (one-half of which he had placed under the crown
prince of Sweden), composed of Russians and Prussians. Blucher, too,
fired the hearts of his men by energetic words, and they fought with
matchless bravery, for they fought before the eyes of their general.
He shared with them every fatigue and danger; he drank with them,
when he was thirsty, from one bottle; lighted his pipe from their
pipes, and spoke to them, not in the condescending tone of a master,
but in their own unreserved and cordial manner. Rushing onward with
shouts of victory, they attacked the enemy with irresistible
impetuosity, forcing the French to fall back, step by step.

"Every thing is going on right, Gneisenau!" exclaimed Blucher.
"Bonaparte cannot hold out; he must at length retreat. He is
contracting the circle of his troops more and more, and advancing
toward Leipsic. Ah, I understand, M. Bonaparte; you want to march
through Leipsic and keep open the passage across the Saale! But it
won't do--it won't do! For Blucher is here, and his eyes are yet
good.--A courier! Come here! Ride to General York! He is to set out
this very night and occupy the banks of the Saale, and impede as
much as possible the retreat of the enemy, who intends to fall back
across the Saale.--Another courier! Ride to General Langeron! He is
to return to-night to the right bank of the Partha, support General
Sacken, and, as soon as the enemy begins to retreat, pursue him with
the utmost energy."

"But, general," said Gneisenau, when the courier galloped off, "as
yet Napoleon does not seem to think of retreating. He maintains his
position and offers a bold front."

"He will not do so to-morrow," said Blucher, laconically. "If we do
to-day what we can. he is annihilated. God grant that our victory
may be followed up, and that they may not grow soft-hearted again at
headquarters! The Emperor of Austria never forgets that Bonaparte is
his son-in-law; nor the crown prince of Sweden that he is a native
of France, and he would like to spare his countrymen further
bloodshed; nor the Emperor of Russia, that at Erfurt he plighted
eternal fidelity to Napoleon, and kissed him as his brother. But our
king, I believe, will always remember that Bonaparte humiliated and
oppressed us, and that Queen Louisa died of grief and despair. He
will not suffer the others to make peace too early, and cause us to
shed our blood and spend our strength for nothing. We must be
indemnified, and it is by no means enough for us merely to gain a
victory over Bonaparte. He must surrender all that he has taken from
us. Germany must have satisfaction, and I must have mine, too; for
the anger I have felt for years has almost killed me. I want to be
even with him, and shall not rest before he is hurled from his
throne.--What is going on there? Why are they cheering yonder? Look,
Gneisenau, one of the enemy's columns is advancing upon us. Do you
hear the music? What does it mean?"

"It means, general," shouted an orderly, who galloped up, "that the
Saxons are coming over to us. With thirty-two field-pieces, and
drums beating, they have left the lines of the French, and, when
these tried to prevent them, they turned their bayonets against
their former comrades."

Blucher's eye lit up. "Well," he said, "now they will no longer
extol Bonaparte's extraordinary luck. To-day at least he has none.
The Saxons have felt at last that they are Germans, and wish to
purge themselves of their disgrace. I say, Gneisenau, Bonaparte must
retreat to-morrow." And what Blucher said here to Gneisenau was what
Berthier said to Napoleon: "The battle is lost! We must retreat."

Night came. It is true, the French remained on the field; they did
not flee, but they had no strength to continue the battle; their
ammunition was exhausted, for they had discharged on this day an
incredible amount of cannon-shot. Napoleon felt that he had
certainly to retreat, and submit to what was inevitable. At the
camp-fire, near the turf-mill, sat the emperor; his generals
surrounded him, and listened in silence to his words, falling from
his lips slowly and sadly. He ordered dispositions to be made for a
retreat, and Berthier repeated the orders to his two adjutants, who
were kneeling on the other side of the camp-fire, and writing them
down. Suddenly, in the middle of a sentence, Napoleon paused, and
his head dropped on his breast. The emperor had fallen asleep!

His generals, respecting this respite from sorrow and misfortune,
preserved silence. The fire shed a blood-red lustre over the group;
at times the flames flickered up higher, and illuminated the form of
the emperor, who, with his head on his breast, his arms hanging down
on both sides of the camp-stool, his body gently moving to and fro,
was still wrapped in slumber. At times, when the fire blazed up, and
shed a flood of light on the plain, shadows were seen emerging from
the gloom, and a long line moved past. It was a portion of the
imperial army already retreating toward Leipsic.

A quarter of an hour thus elapsed when Napoleon gave a slight start,
and, raising his head, cast a long look of astonishment on the
persons surrounding him. His sleep had made him for an instant
forget his troubles, but the sombre glances of his generals and the
noise of the troops filing by, reminded him of what had happened.
His eye resumed its calm expression, and, in a firm, sonorous voice
he recommenced giving his orders. Suddenly a whizzing sound was in
the air above him--a grenade fell to the ground close to the
emperor, burrowed into the earth, and scattered the camp-fire.

"It is a cold night," said the emperor, composedly; "make up the
fire again, and add fresh fuel!"

The adjutants ran to collect the firebrands, and the generals
themselves hastened to pile on the fuel. But another whizzing sound
rent the air, and another grenade fell into the fire, which had just
blazed up again; it almost extinguished the flames, and remained in
the midst of the coals.

Napoleon gazed musingly on the ball, and strange thoughts probably
filled his soul at the sight of this messenger at his feet.
[Footnote: Beitzke, vol. ii., p. 615.] "It is enough," he said
calmly; "no more fire may be kindled! My horse! To Leipsic! I will
spend the night there." The horses were brought; attended by
Berthier, Caulaincourt, and a few orderlies, the emperor rode to
Leipsic, and took up his quarters at the Hotel de Prusse.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

THE NINETEENTH OF OCTOBER.


It was eight o'clock on the following morning. A dense fog covered
Leipsic as with an impenetrable veil, and extended far over the
landscape. No one could see as yet, in the darkness of the night,
what had been done by friend or foe. At times the allies heard loud
explosions, and saw flashes on the side of the French; then all was
dark and silent again. Suddenly, however, a bright glare illuminated
the night, for in the French camp large fires blazed, and, like a
flaming serpent, stretched our far into the plain.

"Ha!" said Blucher; "Gneisenau, I was right after all: Bonaparte is
retreating. Do you know the meaning of those fires? The French have
placed their caissons on both sides of the road, and set them on
fire, that they may serve as beacons to the retreating troops. See!
they reach up to the city of Leipsic. It is as I said; the French
intend to march through that city, and retreat across the Saale.
Well, I think General York will await them there, and Langeron will
finish them. But come, Gneisenau, the fog is clearing. Let us ride
to yonder knoll; we shall be able to see better there."

With the nimbleness of a lad Blucher mounted his horse, and, no
longer restraining his impatience, he galloped off. Gneisenau rode
by his side, and at some distance behind him trotted the pipe-
master, with the iron box on the pommel of his saddle.

They reached the crest of the knoll and stopped. The fog had
disappeared, and they could distinctly see a field of horror and
desolation as far as their eyes reached. The immense plain was
covered far and wide with piles of corpses; rivulets of blood
intersected the down-trodden soil; fragments of wagons, cannon, and
vast heaps of horses, lay in wild disorder, and all around the
horizon gleamed the dying fires of upward of twenty villages.

Blucher cast a mournful look on this harrowing spectacle.
"Gneisenau," he said, "it is almost impossible for one to rejoice
over this victory, for it costs too many tears--too much blood. How
those poor brave men are lying there, dead or dying, and have not
even a grave at which their mothers and wives may weep! May the good
God in heaven have mercy on their souls, and comfort those who are
weeping for them!" He took off his cap, and, shading his face with
it, uttered a short, low prayer for the repose of the dead. With a
quick jerk he then put on his cap again. "Well," he said, "we have
prayed, and we will now try to find that accursed Bonaparte, who is
at the bottom of all this carnage, and--"

At this moment the pipe-master galloped up to his general.

"Well, what do you want, Christian?"

"The morning pipe," said Christian, presenting the short pipe to his
master.

Blucher stretched out his hand for it, but drew it back and cast a
glance on the piles of dead which covered the battle-field. "No,
pipe-master," he said, solemnly, "it would be unbecoming to smoke
here. We should show our respect for the dead; but hold the pipe in
readiness for me, and when we ride back I will take it. Now, get out
of my way, that I may no longer see the pipe, else--Begone,
Christian!"

"No, I shall stay," said the pipe-master, coolly; "I have promised
the general's wife always to stay near him, and, besides, you will
soon need me, for you will not stand it long without your pipe. Call
me, your excellency, when you want me." He moved his horse a few
steps back, and was busily occupied in keeping the general's pipe
lit.

Blucher and Gneisenau in the mean time were keenly looking to the
side of the French camp; but not a vestige of it was to be seen.
There could be no doubt now that Napoleon had commenced retreating;
he had profited by the night to remove the remnants of his army
toward Leipsic, that they might still be able to cross the Saale
without hinderance. Blucher uttered a loud cry of joy. "He is
retreating! Gneisenau, am I right now?"

"Yes, general, you are. With your sagacity you have divined
Napoleon's plans better than the rest of us, and, thanks to your
wise dispositions, he will find Langeron and Sacken at the gates of
Leipsic, and York on the banks of the Saale."

"My dear sir, he will find us, too," exclaimed Blucher, in great
glee. "We are not through yet; I know Napoleon thoroughly. You
think, perhaps, that he has merely rested at Leipsic, and will
evacuate the city without fighting? No, sir, then you do not know
much about him. He will not yield an inch unless he must. By a
battle in and around Leipsic, he intends to cover the retreat of his
army, and I tell you, Gneisenau, we shall have hard work yet.
Forward!"

"Yes, forward!" cried Gneisenau. "We must dispatch couriers to all
the generals, and send them the glad tidings."

"Now comes the last assault," shouted Blucher. "We must take the
city by storm; and this will blow Bonaparte over the Rhine, and back
to France, like a bundle of rags! Forward! Pipe-master, my pipe! We
will attack them!"

At ten in the morning the cannon commenced booming again around
Leipsic. The city was attacked on all sides by the armies of the
allies. In the south stood the commander-in-chief, Prince
Schwartzenberg, with the Austrian army; in the east, the Russian
General Benningsen and the crown prince of Sweden; in the north,
Blucher, with the Prussians, and the Russian corps under General
Sacken.

"Charge!" shouted Blucher to his troops. "General Bulow has attacked
the Halle gate; we must hasten to his assistance, for the French are
stubborn."

At this moment another volley of grape-shot was discharged from the
pieces which the French had placed inside the city, and hurled death
and destruction into the ranks of the assailants.

"We must reenforce Bulow," cried Blucher! "General Sacken must
advance his troops! We must hurl light infantry against the gate!
Charge! Forward!" And, brandishing his sword, Blucher galloped to
the side of General Sacken, who was moving with the Russians toward
the point of attack.

"Forward!" thundered Blucher to the troops. The Russians did not
understand him, but they saw his countenance radiant with impatience
and warlike ardor, his flashing eyes, and uplifted hand pointing the
sword at the gate, and they understood his meaning.

"Perod!" shouted the Russians, exultingly. "Forward! Perod!"

The grape-shot of the enemy, and the rattling fire of the French
skirmishers behind the walls, drowned their shouts. But when the
artillery ceased and the smoke disappeared, they saw again the face
of the old general with his young eyes, and the long white mustache,
He halted on his horse in the midst of the shower of bullets fired
by the skirmishers, and uttered again and again his favorite
command.

"Marshal Perod!" shouted the Russians. "He is a little Suwarrow!
Long live little Suwarrow! Long live Marshal Forward!" and, amid
renewed battle--cries in honor of Blucher, and with resistless
impetuosity, the Russians assaulted the gate.

While these scenes were passing outside the city, Napoleon remained
within. He had sat up till daylight with Caulaincourt and Bertmer,
receiving reports and issuing orders; toward morning he had slept a
little, and now, at ten o'clock, he dictated his last orders to the
two generals. In the streets were heard the roar of artillery, the
crashing of falling buildings, the wails, shrieks, and shouts of the
terrified inhabitants. The field-pieces rattled past, regiments
trotted along, and disappeared around the corners, constituting a
scene of indescribable terror and destruction; but here, in the
emperor's room, every thing presented a spectacle of peace and
repose. Caulaincourt and Berthier sat at their desks, writing. The
emperor was slowly walking up and down. He did not even listen to
the noise outside; he dictated his orders in a calm, firm voice, and
his face was as immovable as usual.

"Marshal Macdonald," said the emperor, concluding his instructions,
"is commissioned to defend the city and the suburbs; for this
purpose he will have his own corps, and those of Lauriston,
Poniatowsky, and Keynier. He will hold the city until the corps of
Marmont and Ney have evacuated it, and the rear-guard safely
withdrawn. As soon as these troops have crossed the Pleisse, the
bridge will be blown up." He nodded to his generals, and, striding
across the room, opened the door of the antechamber. "To horse,
gentlemen!" he shouted to the generals assembled there. "We must
start for Erfurt!" He slowly descended the staircase and mounted his
horse, the generals and adjutants following him in silence.

But the emperor did not turn his horse toward the side where the
troops were marching along in heavy columns; he rode to the market-
place, and halted in front of a large, old-fashioned house in the
middle of the square. The King of Saxony and his consort lived
there. "Wait!" said the emperor to his suite, alighting from his
horse, and walking past the saluting sentinels into the house.

In the small sitting-room up-stairs were old King Frederick
Augustus, his consort, and the Princess Augusta. The king sat with
his hands folded on his knees, and his lustreless eye fixed on the
windows, trembling incessantly from the roar of artillery and the
rattle of musketry. The queen was near him, and whenever the volleys
resounded, she groaned, and covered her face with her handkerchief,
which was already moist with tears. The Princess Augusta knelt in a
corner of the room, praying, while tears were rolling down her
cheeks.

"Oh," murmured the queen when another rattle of musketry rent the
air, "why does not a bullet strike my heart!"

"Father in heaven, and all saints, have mercy on us!" prayed the
princess.

"Grant victory to the great and noble Emperor Napoleon, my God!"
sighed the king. "I love him as a father, and he has always treated
me with the love of a son. I have remained faithful to him when all
the others betrayed him. Punish not my constancy, therefore, my Lord
and God; grant victory to Napoleon, that happiness may be restored
to me!"

A cry burst from the lips of the queen, and she started up from her
seat. "The emperor!" she cried, looking toward the door.

Yes, in the open door that form in the gray, buttoned-up overcoat,
with the small hat, and pale, stony face, was the Emperor
Napoleon's. "I come to bid you farewell," he said, stepping slowly
and calmly to the king.

"Farewell!" groaned Frederick Augustus, sinking back. "All is lost,
then!"

"No, not all, sire," said Napoleon, solemnly. "We have lost a
battle, but not our honor. The fortune of battles is fickle. After
twenty years of victory, it has this time declared against me. But
honor remains to me. I have, for four days, held out against an army
three times as large as mine in troops, as well as in artillery, and
they have not overpowered me. I have voluntarily evacuated the
battle-field, not in a wild flight as did the Prussians at Jena, and
the Austrians at Austerlitz. Our honor is intact. With that we must
content ourselves this time."

"Oh, sire," cried the king, with tearful eyes, "how generous you
are! You speak of our honor! But _I_ have lost my honor, for my
troops have committed treason--they deserted my noble, beloved ally
during the battle! Oh, sire, pardon me! I am innocent of the
defection of my troops!" And, rising, the king made a movement as if
to kneel; but Napoleon held him in his arms, and then gently pressed
him back into the easy-chair. "Sire," he said, "treason is a disease
which, by this time, has become an epidemic in Germany. All those
who are now fighting against me are traitors, for all of them were
my allies, and, while still negotiating with me, they had already
formed a league against me. Your Saxons were infected by the troops
from Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Baden."

"Alas," sighed the king, "I had a better opinion of my Saxons! They
have turned traitors, and my heart will always remain inconsolable."

"But this is no time for giving way to grief," said Napoleon. "Your
majesty must leave Leipsic immediately. You must not expose yourself
to the dangers of a capitulation, which, unfortunately, has become
unavoidable. Come, sire, intrust yourself to my protection. By my
side, and in the midst of my troops, you will be safe."

"No," said the king, resolutely; "I remain! Let them kill me; I am
tired of the dangers of flight! But you, sire, you must make haste!
Leave us!--your precious life must not be endangered! Every minute
renders the peril more imminent! Hasten to preserve yourself to your
people, your consort, and your son!"

"My son!" said Napoleon, and for the first time something like an
expression of pain flashed over his features. "Poor little King of
Rome, from whose blond ringlets his own grand-father wants to tear
the crown!" He dropped his head on his breast.

"Sire, make haste!" implored the king.--"Make haste!" echoed the
queen and the princess.

At this moment there was a terrific roar of artillery. The queen
buried her face in her hands; the princess had knelt again and
prayed; the king leaned his head against the back of the chair, pale
as a corpse, and with his eyes closed. Napoleon alone stood erect;
his face was calm and inscrutable; his glances were turned toward
the windows, and he seemed to listen eagerly to the thunders of war.

The door was violently opened, and General Caulaincourt appeared,
pale and breathless.

"Sire," he said, "you must leave! Bernadotte has taken one of the
suburbs by assault, and the forces of Blucher, Benningsen, and
Schwartzenberg, are pouring in on all sides into the city, so that
our troops are compelled to defend themselves from house to house."

"Sire, have mercy!--save yourself!" cried the king. "I can no longer
help you, no longer support you! I have nothing left to give you--
nothing but my life, and that is of no value! Save yourself, unless
you want me to die at your feet!"

"Sire," exclaimed Caulaincourt, "every minute increases the danger.
A quarter of an hour hence your majesty may, perhaps, be unable to
get out of the captured city."  Napoleon turned with a haughty
movement toward his general. "Nonsense," he said, "have I not a
sword at my side? But, as you wish me to go, sire--as you are
alarmed, I will leave! Farewell! May we meet in happier
circumstances!"

"Sire, up there!" said the king, solemnly, pointing toward heaven.
He then quickly rose from his seat, and approaching Napoleon, who
had taken leave of the queen and the princess, took his arm and
conducted him hastily out of the room, through the corridor, and
down the staircase. At the foot he stood, and clasping the emperor
in his arms, whispered, "Farewell, sire; I feel it is forever! I
shall await you in heaven! Not another word now, sire! Make haste!"
He turned, and slowly reascended the staircase. The emperor mounted
his horse, and directed his course toward the gate of Ranstadt.
Behind him rode Berthier, Caulaincourt, and a few generals; a
mounted escort followed them.

The streets presented a spectacle of desolation and horror, which,
the closer they approached the gate, became more heart-rending.
Field-pieces, caissons, soldiers on foot and on horseback, screaming
women, wounded and dying cows, sheep, and swine, entangled in an
enormous mass, made it impossible to pass that way. Napoleon turned
his horse, and took the road to St. Peter's gate. Slowly, and with
perfect composure, he rode through Cloister and Burg Streets. Not a
muscle of his fane betrayed any uneasiness or embarrassment; it was
grave and inscrutable as usual.

When he arrived at the inner St. Peter's gate, he found the crowd
and confusion to be nearly as great as at that of Ranstadt; he did
not turn his horse, but said, in a loud voice, "Clear a passage!"
The generals and the mounted escort immediately rode forward, and,
unsheathing their swords and spurring their horses, galloped into
the midst of the crowd, driving back those who could flee, trampling
under foot those who did not fall back quick enough, and removing
the obstacles which obstructed their passage. In five minutes a way
was cleared for the emperor--the wounded lying on both sides, and a
few corpses in the middle of the street, showed how violently the
cortege had penetrated the obstructing mass. The emperor took no
notice of this; he was silent and indifferent, while his escort
attacked the crowd, and rode on as if nothing had occurred.

At length the city lay behind him; he had passed the bridge across
the Elster, and reached the mill of Lindenau, where he intended to
establish his headquarters. Constant and Roustan had already reached
the place with the emperor's carriages, and prepared a room for him.
Napoleon rapidly stepped into it, and, greeting Constant with a nod,
he said, "Only a little patience! In a week we shall be in Paris,
and there you shall all have plenty of repose! We shall leave our
beautiful France no more! Ah, how the Empress will rejoice, and how
charming it will be for me again to embrace the little King of
Rome!"

It was touching and mournful, indeed, to hear this man, usually so
cold and reserved, this general who had just lost a great battle,
speak of his return home and his child in so gentle and affectionate
a tone, and to see how his rigid features became animated under the
charm of his recollections, and how the faint glimmer of a mournful
smile stole upon his lips. But it soon disappeared, and, with a
sigh, the emperor drooped his head.

"Your majesty ought to try to sleep a little," said Constant, in an
imploring voice.

"Yes, sleep!" exclaimed Napoleon. "To sleep is to forget!"

It was the first, the only complaint which he allowed to escape his
lips, and he seemed to regret it, for, while he threw himself on the
field-bed, he cast a gloomy glance on Constant, and, as if to prove
how easy it was for him to forget, he fell asleep in a few minutes.

From the neighboring city resounded the artillery, indicating the
final struggle of the French and the allies. The emperor's slumber
was not disturbed, for the roar of battle was too familiar to him.
Suddenly, however, there was a terrific explosion that shook the
earth; the windows of the room were shattered to pieces, and the bed
on which the emperor was reposing was pushed from the wall as if by
invisible arms. He sprang to his feet and glanced wonderingly
around. "What was that?" he inquired. "It was no discharge of
artillery, it was an explosion!" He quickly left the mill and
stepped out of the front door. There stood the generals, and looked
in evident anxiety toward Leipsic. Here and there bright flames were
bursting from the roofs of the houses; one-half of the city was
wrapped in clouds of smoke, so that it was impossible to distinguish
any thing.

"An explosion has taken place there," said Napoleon, pointing to
that side.

At this moment several horsemen galloped rapidly toward the mill;
they were headed by the King of Naples in his uniform, decked with
glittering orders. A few paces from the emperor he stopped his horse
and alighted.

"Murat," shouted the emperor to him, "what has happened?"

"Sire," he said, "a terrible calamity has occurred. The bridge
across the Elster, the only remaining passage over the river, has
been blown up!"

"And our troops?" cried the emperor.

"Sire, the rear-guard, twenty thousand strong, are still on the
opposite bank, and unable to escape."

The emperor uttered a cry, half of pain, half of anger. "Ah," he
exclaimed, "this, then, is the way in which my orders are carried
out! My God! twenty thousand brave men are lost--hopelessly lost!"
He struck both his hands against his temples.

No one dared disturb him; his generals surrounded him, silent and
gloomy. Presently, some horsemen galloped up; at their head was a
general, hatless and in a dripping uniform.

"Sire, there comes Marshal Macdonald," exclaimed Murat.

Napoleon hastened forward to meet the marshal, who had just jumped
from his horse.

"You come out of the water, marshal?" inquired Napoleon, pointing to
his wet uniform.

"Yes, sire. By swimming my horse across, I have escaped to this side
of the river, and I come to inform your majesty that the troops
intrusted to me have perished through no fault of mine. Sire, they
were twenty thousand strong, and I come back alone. I come to lay my
life at the feet of your majesty."

"God be praised that you at least have been preserved," said the
emperor, offering his hand to Macdonald. "But you say the troops
have perished? Is, then, that impossible for the soldiers which was
possible for you? Cannot they swim across to this side of the
river?"

"Sire, my escape was almost miraculous. I owe it to my horse, who
carried me across in the agony of despair; I owe it to God, who,
perhaps, wished to preserve a faithful and devoted servant to your
majesty. But, by my side, no less faithful servants were carried
away, and, standing on the other bank, I saw their corpses drifting
along."

"Who were they?" asked Napoleon, abruptly, and almost in a, harsh
tone.

"Sire, General Dumoustier was one; but he is not the victim most to
be lamented of this disastrous day."

"Who is it?" exclaimed the emperor, and, casting around a hasty,
anxious glance, he seemed to count his attendants to see who was
missing.

"Sire," said Macdonald, in a trembling voice, "Prince Joseph
Poniatowsky plunged with his horse into the river--"

"And he perished?" cried Napoleon.

"Yes, sire, he did not reach the opposite bank!"

The emperor buried his face in his hands, and groaned. He sat for
some time motionless. At length he removed his hands from his face,
which looked like marble, bloodless and cold.

"And my soldiers?" he inquired. "Did they endeavor to escape as
Poniatowsky?"

"Yes, sire! Thousands threw themselves into the river, but only a
few succeeded in escaping, while the others fell into the deep and
muddy channel; and those who were on the opposite bank were made
prisoners by the allies, who are now in possession of the city."

"Twenty thousand men lost!" sighed Napoleon, and he relapsed into
gloomy thought. Presently he raised his head again and cast a
flaming glance on Macdonald.

"Marshal," he said, "you will investigate this affair in the most
rigorous manner; you will give me the name of him who has dared to
disobey my orders. He is the murderer of twenty thousand men! He
deserves death, and I shall have no mercy on him!"

"Sire, he stands already before his Supreme Judge! It was the
corporal charged with applying the match as soon as our troops had
all passed. He thought he saw the enemy advancing upon the bridge,
and fired the train, throwing himself into the Elster. He is
drowned!"

"It is good for him," said Napoleon. "God will deal more leniently
with him than I should have done. To horse, gentlemen, to horse!" He
walked slowly and with bowed head to his horse, and murmured,
"Another Beresina! It costs me twenty thousand soldiers!"

The generals followed him, and as they saw him walking with bowed
head, they whispered to one another, "Look at him now, how he is
broken down! That was his very appearance when he returned from
Russia! He has no strength to bear up under misfortune!"

While the emperor and his suite slowly and mournfully took the road
to Mark Ranstadt, the allies made their entrance into Leipsic. At
the head of the procession rode the Emperor of Russia and the King
of Prussia; behind them followed their brilliant staff, and then
came the victorious troops, with colors flying and drums beating.
The cannon still thundered, but louder were the cheers and exultant
acclamations of the people, who crowded the streets by thousands, to
receive the sovereigns and the victorious army. The windows of the
houses were opened, and at them stood their inmates with joyful
faces, holding white handkerchiefs in their hands, with which they
waved their greetings. The friends--the long-yearned-for friends
were there, and they received them with tears, exultation, and
thanksgiving. Merry chimes rang from every steeple, and proclaimed
the resurrection of Germany. The sovereigns rode to the great
square; they halted in front of the very house of the King of
Saxony, but they turned no glance upward to the windows, behind the
closed blinds of which the unfortunate royal family were assembled.
The victors seemed to have forgotten them.

The two monarchs alighted, for now came from the other side the
crown prince of Sweden, Bernadotte, at the head of his guards, and
through the other street approached the commander-in-chief of the
allies, Prince Schwartzenberg. The Russian emperor and the Prussian
king advanced into the middle of the square, and Bernadotte and
Schwartzenberg arrived there simultaneously with them. Suddenly,
deafening cheers rent the air; they drew nearer, and amid these
acclamations Blucher, at the head of his staff, rode up. When he
perceived the monarchs, he stopped his horse and vaulted with
youthful agility from the saddle in order to meet them; but the
Emperor Alexander, anticipating him, was by his side. "God bless
you, heroic Blucher!" he exclaimed, affectionately embracing him,
"You have fulfilled your promise made at Breslau. You have become
the liberator of Germany. Your brave sword and your intrepid heart
have conquered. Come, I must conduct you to the King of Prussia!" He
took Blucher's arm, and, advancing with him, he said, "Sire, I bring
you here your hero, Blucher!"

"You bring me Field-Marshal Blucher!" said the king. "God bless you,
field-marshal!"

"Sire," exclaimed Blucher, "you apply to me an honorary title--"

"Which you deserve," interrupted the king. "Do not thank me, for, if
you do, for conferring a title on you, how shall I thank you, who
have given me by far greater honor? I know what I owe you, Blucher;
your energy, courage, determination, and ardor, have gained ns the
most glorious victories!"

"I have only done my duty, your majesty," said Blucher. "But I think
our work is not half done yet, your majesty; we are to-day in fact
only at the commencement of it. It is not enough for us to drive the
French from Leipsic; we must pursue them, and expel them from
Germany. For this purpose we must make haste. We have no time to
rest on our laurels and sing hymns--the main point is to pursue the
enemy--pursue him incessantly and effectually."

"Again, the hot-headed madcap, whose fiery spirit believes that
every thing is done too slowly," exclaimed the Emperor Alexander,
smiling. "Now I ask you, as the king asked you at Breslau, 'How old
are you?'--you who never need rest, like other poor mortals--myself,
for instance? I confess that, after all this excitement and these
long fatigues, I am longing for repose, and would not take it amiss
if war and pursuit were no longer thought of. But you are always
intent on going forward!"

"Sire," exclaimed the king, who in the mean time had conversed with
General Sacken, "I just learned that your troops have anticipated
me, and given Blucher a title that is far better than mine. At the
gate of Halle they cheered, and called him 'Marshal Forward!'"  "Ah,
I should like to embrace my soldiers for this excellent word," cried
Alexander. "That is an honorary title, Blucher, which no prince can
confer, and which only your own merit and the gratitude of the
people can bestow. Yes, you are 'Marshal Forward,' and by that name
history will know you; and Germany will love, praise, and bless you.
You have earned this title by your deeds, and the soldiers have
conferred it upon you as a token of their appreciation. Now, the
soldiers are a part of the people, and the voice of the people is
the voice of God. Heaven bless you, 'Marshal Forward!'"

At this moment a procession was approaching from the other side of
the square, consisting of twenty-four young maidens dressed in
white. All held wreaths in their hands, while the three who headed
the procession carried them on silken cushions. They approached the
emperor, the king, and the crown prince of Sweden, and offered them
the wreaths. [Footnote: The emperor of Austria did not make his
entry with the other monarchs, but came only in the afternoon to
Leipsic, where he remained scarcely an hour. He then returned to
Rotha.--Beitzke, vol. ii.] The emperor took that presented to him,
and pressed it with a quick and graceful movement on Blucher's head.
"I represent the Muse of History," he said, "and crown 'Marshal
Forward' in a becoming manner."

"And I," said the crown prince of Sweden, handing his laurel-wreath
to Prince Schwartzenberg, "I present this to the commander-in-chief
of all our armies, and wish him joy of having achieved a victory
over which so many nations will rejoice, and which will render his
name illustrious now and forever."

"Ah," cried Schwartzenberg, "I have unfortunately been unable to do
much. I have only faithfully carried out my orders, and it is to
them, and to the brave troops, that we are indebted for the
victory," [Footnote: Prince Schwartzenberg's words.--Beitzke, ii.,
639]

The king said nothing; holding his wreath, he looked at it gravely
and musingly. The presentations were over, and the princes prepared
to return to their quarters.

"I hope, sire, we shall all remain together to-day?" remarked
Alexander, turning toward the king.

"Pray excuse me, sire," said Frederick William, bowing, "I intend to
go to Berlin to-night, but I shall be back in a few days."

"But you, I suppose, will remain?" asked Alexander, turning toward
Bernadotte.

"I shall remain, your majesty," said the crown prince of Sweden,
with a polite smile. "My troops are in need of rest."

"Yes, his troops are always in need of rest," murmured Blucher to
himself; "I believe--"

Just then the Emperor Alexander turned toward him. "Well, field-
marshal, and you--you will stay, too, will you not? I pray you to be
my guest to-day."

"Sire, I regret that I cannot accept this gracious invitation," said
Blucher. "I cannot stay, and my troops, thank God! are not in need
of rest. I shall start immediately in pursuit of the enemy. It is
not enough for us to have gained a victory; we must also know how to
profit by it. I shall march this very evening, and take up my
quarters for the night at Skeuditz."

"Marshal Forward! always Marshal Forward!" exclaimed Alexander,
smiling.--"Come, sire, let us hasten to dinner; otherwise he will
not even permit us to dine, but compel us all to set out
immediately." He took the king's arm, and went with him to the
horses standing near. When he was about to vault into the saddle, he
turned toward one of his adjutants. "Ah," he said, "there is another
little matter which I almost forgot!--General Petrowitch, go up
there." He pointed to the house of the King of Saxony. "Inform the
king, in my name, that he is a prisoner. [Footnote: Beitzke, vol.
ii., p. 652] Have a guard of thirty men placed in front of the
house."

On the same evening Blucher rode, by the side of Gneisenau and
attended by his staff, out of the gate of Leipsic, following his
troops already on the road to Skeuditz. "Well," said Blucher,
smoking his pipe, "we cannot deny that there has been an abundant
shower of orders and titles to-day, and that we have all been
thoroughly drenched. So I am a field-marshal now; the Emperor of
Austria has conferred on me the order of Maria Theresa; and the
Emperor of Russia has given me a splendid sword, which I will send
as a souvenir to my Amelia. And you, Gneisenau, I hope you have also
received your share?"

"Why, yes," said Gneisenau, "I have received titles from all the
three monarchs. You are right, there was all day a perfect shower of
them--orders and honors; and not a general, not a dignitary or
diplomatist has been forgotten. Count Metternich, you know, has been
raised by his sovereign to the rank of a prince, in acknowledgment
of his diplomatic services; and Prince Schwartzenberg, already
enjoying the highest Austrian honors, has received permission to add
the escutcheon of the Hapsburgs to his coat-of-arms."

"These two have been in the shower of honors, but very little in the
shower of balls," remarked Blucher, laconically. "I wonder what
rewards will be conferred on the crown prince of Sweden?"

"He has already received the highest Prussian, Austrian, and Russian
orders," replied Gneisenau, scornfully. "As stated before, no one
has been forgotten but ONE!"

"Who is it?" asked Blucher. "Who has been forgotten?"

"Field-marshal, one deserving the most honor--one that joyfully
sacrificed property, blood, and life, who did not demand any reward,
and did every thing for the sake of honor, and from love of country,
and for the princes."

"What!" cried Blucher, angrily. "The monarchs have forgotten to
reward such a one?"

"Yes, field-marshal, they have! This one is the people, the German
people!--the noble, enthusiastic people, who joyously and generously
shed their blood for the deliverance of the fatherland, whose
mothers and wives allowed their sons and husbands exultingly to
march into the field, and made themselves sisters of charity for the
wounded and sick; whose men and youths did not hesitate to leave
their houses, their families, their property, their business, but
readily took up arms to deliver the fatherland; whose aged men
became young, whose children transformed themselves into youths, to
participate in the holy struggle--all these, the great, noble German
people, have received no reward, and not even a promise!"

"But, Gneisenau, how strange you are!" said Blucher, drawing his
mustache through his fingers. "The monarchs have rewarded those whom
they were able to reward. How can they reward the people? What could
they do?"

"They could bestow on them more liberty, more independence and
honor," said Gneisenau. "by giving them the constitution which the
King of Prussia promised to his people in his manifesto of the 17th
of March."

"Yes, that is true," said Blucher, thoughtfully. "Well, Stein is
present, and he will surely remind the king of what he ought to do.
He is a patriot and a true man!"

"Yes, but he is alone," said Gneisenau, mournfully. "His voice will
die away like that of the preacher in the desert. You will see,
field-marshal, these promises will soon be forgotten!"

"Well," exclaimed Blucher, "we shall see. For the time being let us
rejoice that we have fought the great battle of the nations, and
that Napoleon's doom is sealed now. It is all-important for us to
finish him quickly and without mercy. You know my battle-cry: 'He
must be dethroned!'--Oh, pipe-master! Another pipe, this one does
not burn."

As Napoleon and Blucher left Leipsic on the 19th of October, King
Frederick William set out from the city for Berlin to rejoice with
his people, and to thank God for the victory. All Berlin received
the king with exultation, and the 20th of October was a day of
universal joy. Germany was free, and this conviction transported
every heart, and every one wished to greet the king. Thousands
surrounded the royal palace at Berlin all day, and whenever the king
appeared at the windows or on the balcony, they saluted him with
cheers and waving of hats and handkerchiefs. Multitudes thronged
toward the cathedral, to thank God for the glorious victory
vouchsafed to them. In every house were festivities in honor of the
great battle of the nations fought at Leipsic.

But during this universal exultation the king left Berlin, without
his suite, attended only by his old friend, General Kockeritz, and
rode to Charlottenburg. No notice was taken of the unpretending
equipage, drawn by two horses, destitute of escutcheons and
liveries, which drove out of the Brandenburg gate, and the king
reached Charlottenburg without being recognized. He did not,
however, enter the palace, but ordered Kockeritz to fetch the
castellan, that he might open the vault of the royal tomb; then,
wrapping his cloak closer about him, under which he seemed to
conceal something, he trod the dark path leading to the mausoleum.
He paced the gloomy avenue of cypress and pines with a slow step,
absorbed in deep reflection. Holy peace surrounded him--not a sound
of the people's joy reached him--naught disturbed the silence, save
some gentle breeze that rustled the foliage, and as a spirit-voice
greeted the king's return. The recollections of other days, with all
their troubles, came to him, and revived the painful emotions of the
past. He had suffered so much, and alone! And as he had been alone
in his affliction, he was now alone in his prosperity. No one was
with him at this holy hour to understand his heart, except her whose
spirit he believed to be always near him. Grief for the humiliation
of her country occasioned her death; joy and pride in the victory of
her country would, if possible, have reawakened her from the dead.

The king slowly walked toward the mausoleum. The door was open, and
he entered softly. He looked around to assure himself that he was
alone, and that no strange eyes desecrated this devout pilgrimage.
He took off his cloak, and that which he had borne under it was no
longer hidden. It was the laurel-wreath presented on the preceding
day at Leipsic. With this crown of victory in his hand he approached
the black sarcophagus in which reposed all that was mortal of
Louisa! Bending over it, he kissed the place beneath which her head
rested, and laid down the wreath. [Footnote: Eylert, "Characterzuge
aus dem Leben Friedrich Wilhelm III." vol. ii., p. 162.]

 "Take it, Louisa," he murmured. "It belongs to you! Your spirit was
with us, and led us to victory. Oh, why did you leave me? Why are
you not with me in the days of prosperity as in the days of
adversity? I have seen your beautiful eyes shed many tears, but now
I cannot see them brighten with joy. I can hear no more your sweet
voice, your merry laughter! I am alone!" He leaned his hands on the
sarcophagus, and, pressing his head on the laurel-wreath, shed
abundant tears. After a long pause, he rose and suppressed his
grief. "Farewell, my Louisa," he said. "I know that you are with me,
and that your love accompanies me! Farewell!" Casting a parting
glance on his wife's tomb, the king left the sacred cell, and walked
slowly toward the palace through the shadowy and silent avenue of
the cypress-trees.



HANNIBAL ANTE PORTAS


CHAPTER XL.

BLUCHER'S BIRTHDAY.


Two months had elapsed since the great battle of Leipsic, during
which, to Blucher's unbounded despair, much had been spoken, much
negotiated, many schemes devised, but nothing done. Owing to the
slowness of the allies, Napoleon had succeeded, aside from some
unfortunate engagements during the retreat, in safely returning with
the remnant of his army to France; and this dilatory system of the
allies seemed to be constantly adopted. The armies advanced slowly,
or not at all. For weeks the headquarters had been at Frankfort-on-
the-Main. There were the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia, the
crown prince of Sweden, and Prince Schwartzenberg as representative
of the Emperor of Austria, besides Metternich and Hardenberg, and
the whole army of diplomatists, who deemed it incumbent on them to
put an end with their pens to this war which the swords of the
generals had concluded by a victory. The peace party were
incessantly intent on gaining the allies at headquarters over to
their side, and the crown prince of Sweden and Prince Metternich
stood at their head. Bernadotte cautioned the allies against the
dangers in which an invasion of France would involve them;
Metternich deemed it more advisable for them to conclude an
advantageous peace with the angry lion Napoleon. Blucher kept
murmuringly away from the headquarters, and stayed with his staff at
Hochst, near his troops.

It was the 16th of December. The field-marshal was alone in his
room, and sat on the sofa, in his comfortable military cloak,
smoking his morning pipe. Before him lay a map of Germany, on which
he fixed his eyes, and across which he eagerly moved his fingers
from time to time, drawing lines here and there, and apparently
conceiving plans of operation. The door opened, and Pipe-Master
Hennemann walked in.--In full gala-uniform, holding both hands
behind him, he stood at the door, hoping that his field-marshal
would see and ask him what he wanted. But Blucher did not look up;
he was absorbed in studying his map. Christian Hennemann, therefore,
ventured to interrupt him. "Field-marshal," he said, in a low and
timid voice, "I--"

"Well, what do you want, Christian?" asked Blucher, lifting his eyes
from the map. "What is the matter? Why do you wear your gala-
uniform, and look as if you were about to go on parade? Have you
become a Catholic in this Catholic country, Christian, and are you
celebrating a saint's holiday?"

"Yes, field-marshal," said Christian, resolutely stepping forward,
"I am celebrating the holiday of my saint, and his name is Blucher!"

"He is a queer saint," cried Blucher, laughing. "But what does it
all mean, Christian?"

"It means, field-marshal, that this is your birthday, and that you
are seventy-one years old to-day."

"That is true," said Blucher to himself. "My birthday! I had given
strict orders not to celebrate it, and I had forgotten it myself!"

"But no one can prevent me from celebrating it, your excellency!"
exclaimed Christian. "That would be very pretty, if I could not
congratulate my 'Marshal Forward' on his birthday. Long live my
field-marshal! And may God spare him many years to us yet, that we
may catch Bonaparte at Paris; for, if 'Marshal Forward' does not do
it, no one will!"

"Yes, if they would only let me!" cried Blucher, striking with his
hand on the table; "but they will not! I am sitting here like a pug-
dog in a deal box, and Bonaparte stands outside; I can only bark--I
cannot bite him, for they will not let me out."

"They will have to, your excellency," said Hennemann, quickly, "and
before many pipes are smoked. But I would request your excellency to
be so kind as to smoke this pipe." He drew forth his right hand,
which he had held behind him, and produced a short pipe, neatly
adorned with a rose-colored ribbon terminating in a rosette with two
long ends. "Field-marshal," he said, "in return for all the favors
you have conferred on me, a poor boy, and for having made me, a
stupid peasant-lad, pipe-master of the famous Field-Marshal Blucher,
I take the liberty of presenting you with this short pipe." And
making a polite obeisance, he handed it to the general, who took it
smilingly, and was about to reply, but Christian added, in a louder
voice, "But your excellency must not think that this is a common
pipe. In the first place, it is not made of clay."

"No," said Blucher, contemplating it; "the small tube is made of
wood, and mounted with silver, sure enough; the bowl is carved out
of wood, too, and there is another bowl inside."

"But it is no common wood, your excellency," said Christian,
solemnly. "You remember that I requested a furlough immediately
after the battle of Leipsic, and said I would go home, see my dear
Mecklenburg again, and visit my brothers and sisters. Well, that was
not my principal object; there was another reason why I wanted to
go. I have never forgotten what my General Blucher said when I first
came to him, and what he told us of his mutting--that he still loved
her. Well, I thought it would gladden the field-marshal's heart to
have a little souvenir of his mother. And, therefore, I wended my
way to Rastow, where my dear field-marshal's mother is buried. I
went to her grave, said my prayers, and then cut off a branch from
the linden which stands on her grave. Like every other son of
Mecklenburg, you ought to have a souvenir of your mutting. Here it
is. The tube and the bowl of the pipe I carved out of the branch cut
from the linden, and, that you might know what it is, I cut these
letters in the wood. Read, sir."

"Sure enough, there are letters on it," cried Blucher. "They say
'Souvenir of Mutting!'"

"Yes, that it is," said Christian; "you know, with us, those who
love their mother call her as you did, and therefore I offer you
this souvenir."

"Christian," said Blucher, in a tremulous voice, "that was well
done, and I can tell you that you give me great joy, and that I
shall not forget your kindness. This shall be my gala-pipe, and I
will smoke it on gala-days only, that is to say, when we go into
battle. I thank you a thousand times, Christian, my boy, and if my
dear mutting has not forgotten me, she will look down upon her boy
to-day, who is seventy-one years old, and it will gladden her to
know that he has now a memorial of her--and from her grave! You were
on her grave, then, Christian? How does it look?"

"It was decked with flowers, your excellency, and finches and larks
were chirping in the large linden overshadowing it. The old grave-
digger told me the linden had been planted on the day when Madame
von Blucher was buried, and it was quite a small twig at that time."

"Yes, that is the course of things," said Blucher, mournfully; "when
I saw my mother last, she was a handsome lady, and I was a boy of
sixteen. I have not felt that so many years have elapsed since then,
and I feel myself still as active as a lad. But they tell me I am
decrepit, and that there is but a step between me and the grave."

"Well, I should like to see the giant who could cross that step,"
cried Christian; "a hundred thousand French corpses and Bonaparte's
overturned throne lie in that step between you and the grave."

Blucher laughed. "You are a good boy, pipe-master, and in honor of
you I will smoke the new pipe to-day. Fill and light it; I will--who
knocks there?--Open the door, Christian."

"It is I, your excellency," said General Gneisenau, who entered the
room. "You must not refuse to see me. It is true, you have forbidden
any celebration, serenade, or congratulation; but you must not turn
me from your door; for you know that I love you like a son, and
therefore you must permit me to come and wish myself joy that Field-
Marshal Blucher still lives for the welfare of Germany."

Blucher kindly shook hands with him. "Would that you were right,
Gneisenau, and that I really lived for the welfare of Germany! But
the gentlemen at headquarters need me no longer. I am once more a
nuisance and a stumbling-block--I am, according to them, the old
madcap again--the rash hussar, just because I shout, 'We must
advance upon Paris!' while the trubsalsspritzen [Footnote: A
favorite expression of Blucher when he alluded to the timid
diplomatists who advised the allies to make peace with Napoleon.]
are croaking all the time, 'We must make peace! If we go to France,
we are lost!' Gneisenau, if this state of affairs goes on for any
length of time, this will be my last birthday, for I shall die of
anger. I know if we make peace, the blood shed has been in vain, and
our victories in vain; and in a few years, when he has recovered
from his losses, Bonaparte will commence the same game, and we shall
have to pass through the same series of disastrous events. But they
are destitute of courage. Bernadotte does not want us to hurt the
French, and the Emperor of Austria desires to spare his dear son-in-
law, and they are besieging our king and the Emperor Alexander in
such a vigorous manner, that they are at a loss what to do."

"And what should we be here for?" inquired Gneisenau, smiling. "What
would Field-Marshal Blucher be here for, if we do not march forward?
No, the gentlemen who are so desirous of making peace are greatly
mistaken if they believe that they are able to set at naught our
successes, and that it depends on their will only to make peace or
war. The wheel that is to crush Napoleon is in motion, and no human
hand can arrest it. Let the trubsalsspritzen, as your excellency
says, croak: public opinion in Germany and throughout Europe speaks
louder, and it clamors for war, and we shall have it. For this
reason your excellency ought not to despond, nor prevent us from
celebrating your birthday in a worthy manner. Your whole army longs
to present its congratulations to you, and the officers of York's
corps, who intended to give your excellency a ball to-night, and had
so confidently counted upon your consent that they had already made
all arrangements, are in despair because you did not accept their
invitation. General York himself is quite vexed at your refusal, and
thinks you decline because you do not wish to meet him."

"I do not care if he is vexed, old curmudgeon that he is!" cried
Blucher. "He must always have something to grumble at, and has often
enough said very hard things about me. Let him do so again, for
aught I care! I shall, nevertheless, not go to the ball. What should
I do there? Merry I cannot be, for my indignation almost stifles my
heart, and, instead of smiling on people, I would rather show them
my fist. Ah, Gneisenau, men are mean and contemptible, after all,
and those at headquarters are the most despicable! They want peace!
Do you comprehend that, Gneisenau--peace! now that we are on the
road to Paris, and only need make up our minds to destroy the power
of our enemy! Oh, it is enough to make a fellow swear! To the
gallows with all the trubsalsspritzen!--all the old women who are
wearing uniforms, and who, in place of cocked hats, should rather
put nightcaps on their heads!"

"Ah!" exclaimed Gneisenau, smiling, "should they do so, your
excellency would tear off their nightcaps, and forcibly put their
hats again on their heads. And as for the old women, Blucher, the
young hero, will in the end rout them all, and drive them from the
field."

"Ah, Gneisenau, if I succeed in doing so, then I should be young
again, and live to see still many a birthday," sighed Blucher. "I
have conceived every thing so clearly and well--the whole plan of
the campaign was already settled in my mind! Come, Gneisenau, let me
show you all on the map, and then you will have to admit that
Napoleon would be annihilated if we could carry this plan into
execution. Come, look at the map!"

Gneisenau stood by the side of the field-marshal, and bent over the
map lying on the table.

"See," said Blucher, eagerly, "here is Paris, here is the Rhine, and
here are we; farther below--"

"But, your excellency," interrupted Gneisenau, surprised, "you have
a very old and poor map; it is impossible to base any strategic
plans on it."

"How so?" asked Blucher, in amazement.

"Because this map is certainly incorrect, your excellency; we have
entirely new and very accurate maps now, made from the latest
surveys."

"Ah, what do I care for your surveys?" cried Blucher, impatiently.
"By your surveys, I suppose, you cannot displace the countries,
cities, and rivers? Paris remains where it is, the Rhine flows where
it has always flowed, and behind the Rhine lies Germany, where it
has always lain?"

"Yes, but you will not find on this map the towns, villages,
forests, rivers, and hills, which you will meet on your advance, and
which, if not taken into consideration, might prove formidable
obstacles."

"What do I care for the towns, villages, forests, rivers, and
hills?" replied Blucher: "I advance all the time, and that says
every thing. In the towns and villages I shall cause my troops to
take up their quarters; through the forests we shall cut a road if
there is none; we shall build bridges across the rivers, and run
over the tops of the mountains; if the field-pieces cannot be hauled
over them, we shall take them around the base. The most important
thing is, that we advance, and I am quite able to consider that on
my map here.--Now, then! here is Paris. Put your finger on Paris,
Gneisenau." The general obeyed, and pressed the tip of his
forefinger on the spot indicated. "And here," cried Blucher,
pressing his own finger on the map, "here are we, the Silesian army.
Between us lies the Rhine. Put your other finger on the Rhine,
Gneisenau." Gneisenau put his middle-finger on the black line
marking the Rhine. "Now put your little-finger down here, between
Mannheim and Kehl; there stands the army of Bohemia under Prince
Schwartzenberg; and up here, where I hold my thumb, in Holland, is
Bulow, with his corps. See, on this side, we have therefore
completely hemmed in France; and, on the other side, where the
Atlantic Ocean is--or is it no longer there on your new-fangled
maps?"

"Yes, your excellency," exclaimed Gneisenau, laughing, "it is still
there."

"Well, then, England posts her ships there; and in the south, on the
Pyrenees, stand the Spaniards, who have sworn to revenge themselves
on Bonaparte. Now we advance all at the same time into France.
Prince Schwartzenberg penetrates with his army through Switzerland;
Bulow marches through the Netherlands, after conquering them, and
joins my forces; and I cross the Rhine here in three large columns
with the Silesian army--the first column at Mannheim, the second at
Kaub, and the third--well, now I have no finger left to--"

"Here is mine, your excellency," said Gneisenau, raising the finger
marking the line of the Rhine.

But Blucher hastily pressed it down. "Do not remove that!" he cried;
"what is to become of my whole plan if that finger should desert its
position? Keep it there, then!--Well, here, where I hold my left
thumb, at Coblentz, the third column will cross the Rhine. On the
other bank we shall all unite, take Sarrebruck, advance by forced
marches upon Metz, and--"

"Your excellency," shouted the pipe-master, throwing open the door,
"a courier from the King of Prussia, from Frankfort-on-the-Main!"

"Let him come in!" cried Blucher, hastily throwing off his military
cloak, and putting on his uniform-coat. He had not yet quite done so
when the courier entered the room.

"What orders do you bring from my king and master?" inquired
Blucher, meeting the officer.

"Your excellency, his majesty King Frederick William III., and his
majesty the Emperor Alexander, request Field-Marshal Blucher to
repair immediately to Frankfort, where the monarchs have an
important communication to make to the field-marshal. They wish your
excellency to start forth-with, in order to reach Frankfort as soon
as possible."

"Inform their majesties that I shall be there in two hours.--Well,
Gneisenau, what do you say now?" asked Blucher, when the courier
left the room.

"I say that the monarchs have at length discovered who alone can
give them efficient assistance and valuable advice, and that they
have, therefore, applied to Field-Marshal Blucher."

"And I tell you," shouted Blucher, in a thundering voice, "that the
monarchs send for me to inform me that we are to face about and go
home. If it were any thing else, they would have sent me word by an
officer; but, as it is, they are afraid lest I grow furious, and so
they intend to inform me in the mildest possible manner of their
decision, and wish to pat my cheeks tenderly while telling me of it.
But they mistake; I shall tell them the truth, as I would any one
else, and they shall see that it is all the same to me whether they
have a crown on their heads or a forage-cap; the truth must out, and
they shall hear it, as sure as my name is Blucher! But I must dress
for the occasion--it shall be a gala-day for me. With my orders on
my breast, and the emperor's sword of honor at my side, I will
appear before them and tell them the truth."



CHAPTER XLI.

PASSAGE OF THE RHINE.


The Emperor Alexander and King Frederick William were in the king's
cabinet, awaiting Field-Marshal Blucher, for the courier had just
returned and reported that the field-marshal promised to be at
Frankfort within two hours.

"The two hours have just elapsed," said Alexander, glancing at the
clock, "and Blucher, who is known to be a very punctual man, will
undoubtedly soon be here. Ah, there is a carriage; it is he, no
doubt!"

"Yes, it is he," said the king, who had stepped to the window, and
was looking out. "He is alighting with the nimbleness of a youth, in
spite of his seventy-one years. He is really a hero!"

"And will your majesty be so kind as to enter into my jest? Will you
assist me in it, and confirm my words?"

"Certainly, sire; but I tell you, beforehand, our jest may render
the old firebrand very grave, and we may happen to get a scolding."

"That is just what I am longing for," replied the emperor, smiling.
"Old Blucher's scolding is wholesome, and invigorates the heart; it
is a new and vital air which his words breathe upon me. It is
flattering to be scolded for once like a common mortal."

"Well, if you desire that, sire," said the king, smiling, "Blucher
will certainly afford you this pleasure to-day."

The door opened; a footman entered and announced Field-Marshal
Blucher. The two monarchs met him. Both shook hands with him, and
bade him welcome with great cordiality. This, however, instead of
gladdening Blucher, filled him with distrust.

"They pat me, because they want to scratch me," said Blucher to
himself, "but they shall not fool me!" His features assumed a
defiant expression, and a dark cloud covered his brow.

"To-day is your birthday, field-marshal," said the king; "that is
the reason we have sent for you; we desired to congratulate you in
person. You have passed through a year of heroism, and the new one
cannot bring you nobler laurels than those you have already."

"Ah, your majesty, I believe it might after all," said Blucher,
quickly. "The laurels growing in France are the noblest of all; that
is why I should like to gather them."

"Ah! the Emperor Napoleon will not suffer it," said Alexander. "He
values them too highly, and it is not advisable for us to seek them,
for he is not the man to allow us to take what belongs to him."

"But he was the very man to take a great many things that did not
belong to him," cried Blucher, vehemently.

"That which did not belong to him we have taken again, and have
satisfied the ends of justice," said the king, gravely.

"No, we have not satisfied the ends of justice," cried Blucher. "It
is justice if we march to Paris--to take all from him whom your
majesties still call the Emperor Napoleon, but who, in my eyes, is
nothing but an infamous tyrant, presumptuous enough to put a crown
on his head, and ascend a throne to which he has no right whatever,
and who, moreover, has treated us Germans as though we were his
slaves. Ay, it is justice if we take from the robber of kingdoms,
the braggart winner of battles, all that he has appropriated, and
send him back to Corsica. That would be justice, your majesty; and
if it is not administered, it is a morbid generosity that prevents
it, and which is utterly out of place in regard to him."

The emperor cast a glance full of indescribable satisfaction on the
king, who responded to it with a gentle nod.

"My dear Blucher," said Alexander, kindly, "you have not yet
permitted me to wish you joy of your birthday. God bless you, my
dear field-marshal, and may this year bring us the peace and repose
which one so much needs after the exposures of campaign life, and
especially when he is seventy-one years old!"

"I do not know whether I am as old as that," said Blucher,
indignantly; "I know only that I am by no means desirous of repose,
but rather deem it a great misfortune just now."

The emperor seemed not to have heard him, but continued quietly:
"Yes, certainly, my dear field-marshal, you need retirement; at your
venerable age we should not subject ourselves to such prolonged
fatigues in the field."

"Besides, I am sure you wish peace, like the rest of us," said the
king, who saw that the veins on Blucher's forehead were swelling,
and who wished to forestall too violent a reply. "We have reflected
a long while how we might give you a pleasant surprise on your
birthday, but it was difficult for us. Yon have already all the
orders and honor we can bestow; you are blessed with riches, and we
have found it difficult to make you a present worthy of the respect
and love we entertain for you."

"But his majesty the king has resolved to give you something which
will gladden your noble heart. Field-marshal, we give you peace as a
birthday present! We have resolved, to make peace with Napoleon; and
to-day, on your birthday, the conditions, which, you know, have for
a long time past formed the subject of secret negotiations, are to
be signed. The Emperor Napoleon has declared his readiness to accept
them, and, therefore, there are no further obstacles to the
cessation of war."

"To-morrow our troops will set out for home," said the king. "The
requirements of honor and duty have been satisfied; the welfare and
prosperity of our subjects demand peace. You, my dear field-marshal,
have been selected to direct the retreat of the troops. Conformably
to the wishes of his majesty the Emperor Alexander, and his royal
highness the crown prince of Sweden, I appoint you commander-in-
chief of all the retreating troops. The generals will have strictly
to comply with your orders; and, just as Prince Schwartzenberg was
general-in-chief of the advance, you, field-marshal, are general-in-
chief of the retreat. Confiding in your energy, sagacity, and zeal,
we hope that you will conduct the retreat, satisfactorily, and the
men will reach their homes as soon as possible. You are now,
therefore, commander-in-chief; that is your birthday gift, and we
hope you will be content with it."

"No," cried Blucher, drawing a deep breath, and unable longer to
restrain his anger, "I am not content with it--not at all; and I
must say that I do not wish this appointment, which seems to me a
disgrace. General-in-chief of the retreating armies! I should like
to ask his majesty the Emperor of Russia why his soldiers have given
me the honorary title of 'Marshal Forward,' if I am now to be
'General-in-chief Backward?' If your majesty has given me the
golden-sheathed sword only for the purpose of wearing it on parade,
I do not want it. Sire, here it is; I lay it down at your feet with
due respect. Your majesty, you desired to give it to the general-in-
chief of the retreating troops, and that I am not, and cannot be!"
He hastily unbuckled his sword, and laid it on the table beside the
emperor.

"And why can you not?" asked Alexander, composedly.

"Because I cannot disgrace my honest name by doing dishonest
things," cried Blucher, vehemently.

"Blucher, you forget yourself," said the king, almost sternly; "your
words are too strong."

"Yes, your majesty, I know that they are strong," exclaimed Blucher;
"but the truth is strong, too; I must relieve myself of it; I can no
longer keep it back, and, the truth is, that it would be a shame and
a stupidity if we retreat without reconquering, on the left bank of
the Rhine, that which we were obliged to cede to France. Your
majesties have said that the requirements of honor and justice are
satisfied. Permit me to reply that this is not so, and cannot be, if
we retreat; for we show that we are still distrusting our own power,
and, notwithstanding our superior army, deem ourselves too weak to
attack the man who has been attacking us for nearly twenty years,
and to whom nothing was sacred, whether treaties, or rights of
property, or nationality. No, the requirements of justice are not
satisfied if we face about now and consider the frontiers of France
more sacred than the French have ever considered the frontiers of
Germany. Bonaparte has as yet Holland, a piece of Germany, and
Italy, and he says he will not yield a single village which he has
conquered, though the enemy stand on the heights of Paris. It would
but be right for us to march to that city, and compel him to
disgorge, not merely a village, but all that he has taken. And if
this be not done, if the peace-croakers attain their object, a cry
of disappointment and anger will burst forth throughout Europe, and
the nations, lifting their hands to God, will curse the
pussillanimity and weakness of their princes. They would be
justified in doing so; for it was not for this that brave men, at
the first call of their king, left their families; it was not for
this that they sacrificed their property on the altar of the
fatherland. The women did not become nurses and sisters of charity,
nor did their husbands and sons shed their blood, that only one
great battle might be gained over Bonaparte, and that he then might
be allowed leisurely to evacuate Germany. We did not even pursue
him, but marched slowly, while he safely wended his way to the
Rhine, And now he is to remain quietly in France! The world is to
receive no satisfaction, and the tyrant is not to be punished! If
that be right and just, well--no matter! I am an old soldier, and am
not versed in the tricks of diplomatists! Nor do I care to be versed
in them! They know how to manage matters so insidiously that at last
they convert wrong into right--falsehood into truth, and disguise
their cowardice in such a manner that it looks like wisdom. The only
thing I understand is, that I am no more of any use, and I request
your majesty to give me my discharge as a birthday present--be so
kind as to grant it immediately. I am much too young to become
General-in-chief Backward, and it is, therefore, better for me to
stand aside, and let others take the command of the retreating
troops. Your majesties will graciously pardon me if I take the
liberty of withdrawing." He bowed with respect and turned quickly
toward the door.

"But why in such haste?" asked the king. "Pray stay; I have not yet
granted your discharge."

"But your majesty, I know, will grant it, and I consider you have
already done so. I beg leave to withdraw."

"But stay!" exclaimed Alexander.

"Pardon me, your majesty, I must go!"

"Why? Tell us honestly the truth, field-marshal."

"Well," said Blucher, standing at the door, "if your majesty orders
me to tell the truth, I will do so. I must go, because I cannot
endure it here; I must find some place where I may give vent to my
rage, and, by a vast amount of swearing, relieve my heart."

"What!" cried Alexander, laughing. "Your heart is still oppressed?"

"Yes, your majesty, what I have said is as nothing," replied
Blucher, in a melancholy tone; "those words were only as a few rain-
drops; the whole violence of my anger, with its thunder, lightning,
hail, and storm, is still in my heart, and may God have mercy on him
on whom it will burst! Your majesties may see that it is high time
for me to withdraw."

"Otherwise, you think, the thunder-storm might burst here?" inquired
Alexander, smiling.

"I am afraid so, sire," replied Blucher, gravely.

"Perhaps it may be allayed, however," said Frederick William,
approaching Blucher. "You have determined, then, not to accept the
position offered you?"

"I demand at once my discharge, your majesty; my discharge!"

"You do not wish to be commander-in-chief of the retreating troops?"
asked Alexander.

"My name is 'Marshal Forward!'" said Blucher, proudly.

"And it is your firm belief, field-marshal," asked the king, "that
it would be neither just nor honorable for the allies now to make
peace and go home?"

"Your majesty, it is--it is my earnest conviction, and I shall never
be able to change it."

"Well, then," said Alexander turning toward the king, "is not your
majesty, too, of the opinion that it would be advantageous for us to
allow ourselves to be directed by the views and convictions of so
brave and experienced a general? Do you not believe that we owe it
to him, in consideration of the distinguished services which he has
performed, to believe him, the brave soldier, rather than the tricky
diplomatists?"

"I have no doubt of it," said the king, smiling, "and I confess that
all that the field-marshal has told us has greatly modified my
views, and induced me to adopt another course. If Blucher insists
that, in order to satisfy the requirements of honor and justice, we
should not now make peace, I believe him."

"And if he has insurmountable objections to being called Marshal
Backward," exclaimed the emperor, merrily, "well, then, he must
retain the name my soldiers have given him."

"But, your majesty," cried Blucher, who listened with amazement,
"what means all this?"

"It means," said the king, putting his hand on Blucher's shoulder,
"it means that I cannot grant you the discharge which you have
requested, because I need your services more than ever."

"It means," said the emperor, putting his hand on Blucher's other
shoulder, "that Marshal Forward is the very man we need at this
juncture. For, in spite of all ministers, diplomatists, and peace-
croakers (I thank you for that word), we have determined to carry on
the war to the best of our power."

Blucher uttered a cry of joy, and lifting up his large eyes, he
exclaimed: "Good Heaven, I thank Thee, with all my heart; for the
day is dawning now, and we shall soon see how the sun shines in
Paris!"

"You did not wish to be commander-in-chief of the retreating army,"
said the king, kindly; "let us appoint you, then, second general-in-
chief of the advancing army."

"How so? I do not understand that," said Blucher, bewildered. "That
is to say, I remain general-in-chief of my Silesian army?"

"Yes, but with enlarged power and independence, and with a greater
number of troops. Your corps has suffered a great deal; on your
victorious fields of Mockern and Leipsic you lost many brave
soldiers. Your ranks need filling up, in order that you may act
vigorously and energetically. Therefore, three new corps will be
added to your forces [Footnote: Varnhagen von Ense, "Biography of
Prince Blucher of Wahlstatt," p. 205.]--a Prussian corps under
General Kleist, a Hessian corps under the crown prince of Hesse, and
a mixed corps under the Duke of Saxe-Coburg, the whole amounting to
about fifty thousand fresh soldiers. With these reenforcements,
added to your own eighty-five thousand men, you will be at the head
of an army with which great things may be accomplished, and with
which I believe you may gather your laurels in France."

"Moreover," said Alexander, kindly, "you will hereafter not be
responsible to any other commander. We shall consider jointly with
you all operations of the war, and the whole plan of the campaign,
and lay before you all general communications. Prince Schwartzenberg
will always keep you well instructed of the movements of the grand
army, and only REQUEST you to inform him of those you deem it best
for the Silesian army to make in cooperation with the former.
[Footnote: Varuhagen von Euse, "Biography of Prince Blucher of
Wahlstatt," p. 205.] You will, therefore, be entirely at liberty to
carry your own plans into execution, and will have only to report to
Schwartzenberg and to us what you are doing. Are you now content,
Blucher?"

"Do you still demand your discharge as a birthday present?" inquired
the king.

"You ask me whether I am content, or demand my discharge?" cried
Blucher, cheerfully. "Now that we advance, I would not take my
discharge, and should your majesty give it to me, to punish me for
my unseemly conduct, I would secretly accompany the army and fight
in the ranks; for you ought to know that I do not advocate a
vigorous prosecution of the war on account of the honor it might
reflect on me, but for the rights of all Germany; and for this
reason I am not only content, but I thank Heaven, my king, and the
Emperor Alexander, from the bottom of my heart; and especially for
the great confidence you place in me. This is the most flattering of
all the honors you have lavished upon me, and I shall endeavor with
head and arm to render myself worthy of it. I shall always remember
that my king intrusted me with the sacred mission of blotting out
the disgrace of Jena, and of causing our angel, Queen Louisa, who
shed so many tears for us on earth, to rejoice in heaven over our
deeds--and--" his words choked his utterance, his eyes grew dim;
pressing his hand to them with a quivering movement, he said, in a
stifled voice, "I believe--may God forgive me!--I believe I am
weeping! But my tears are tears of joy; they do my heart good, and
your majesties will forgive them!--Well, now I am all right again,"
he added, after a pause. "I request your majesties to give me
instructions, and tell me what is to be done, and when we shall
cross the Rhine."

Toward nightfall Blucher returned from Frankfort to Hochst. In front
of his door he was met by General Gneisenau, Colonel Muffling, and
several other gentlemen of his staff. Blucher made a very wry face,
receiving them with loud grumbling. "Oh, it is all very well," he
said, alighting from his carriage. "I can now communicate bad news
to you. We shall lie still here, like lazy bears, during the whole
winter; we shall neither advance nor retreat. The diplomatists have
hatched out the idea, and I am sure they will arrange a pretty
treaty of peace for us! Well, I do not care; I will try to suppress
my grief, and lead a happy life. If we are inactive, we shall at
least try to kill time in as pleasant a manner as possible. I shall
commence diverting myself this very day, and, despite the apostles
of peace, show that they have not ruffled my temper. The officers of
York's corps will give a ball at Wiesbaden to-night. I will go,
immediately setting out for Wiesbaden, and conveying the tidings to
old York. Well, gentlemen, prepare to accompany me; and you, General
Gneisenau, be so kind as to go with me to my room for a minute or
two. I wish to tell you something." He saluted the officers, and
stepped quickly into the house. Followed by Gneisenau, he entered
the room, and carefully locked the door. The wrinkles now
disappeared from his forehead, and an expression of happiness beamed
in his face. "Gneisenau," he said, encircling the tall form of his
friend in his arms, "now listen to what I have to say. What I told
you about peace was not true. We are to advance--ay, to advance! and
it seems to me as if I hear Bonaparte's throne giving way!"

"What, your excellency!" exclaimed Gneisenau, joyfully, "we are
going to advance--to march into France?"

Blucher hastily pressed his hand on his mouth. "Hush, general!" he
whispered. "At present no one must hear it; it is a secret, and we
must try to conceal our movements as much as possible. We ought to
do our best to mislead the enemy--that is my plan. We must make him
believe that the whole offensive force of the allies is turning
toward Switzerland, and that the Silesian army is to remain on the
Rhine as a mere corps of observation. Napoleon will make his
dispositions accordingly: he will leave but a small force on the
bank of the Rhine opposite us, and on passing over to the other side
we shall meet with little resistance."

"That is again a plan altogether worthy of my Ulysses," said
Gneisenau, smiling. "It is all-important now for us to let every
one, and above all Napoleon, know as soon as possible that we stay
here."

"I will swear and rave so loudly that he will certainly hear it in
Paris," said Blucher. "Let us curse the necessity imposed on us, and
secretly make all necessary dispositions, inform the commanders, and
issue the orders, so that we may all cross the Rhine at midnight on
the 31st of December."

"What! The passage is to take place at midnight on the 31st of
December?" asked Gneisenau.

"Yes, general. Let us begin the new year with a great deed, that we
may end it with one."

"But will that be possible, field-marshal? Can all our troops be
prepared at so short a notice?"

"That is your task, Gneisenau; ideas are your province, execution is
mine. You are my head, I am your arm; and these two, I believe,
ought jointly to enable us to cross the Rhine at midnight on the
31st of December, as the holy army of vengeance, which God Himself
sends to Bonaparte as a New-Year's gift. But come, Gneisenau, let us
ride to the ball. I must dance! Joy is in my legs, and I must allow
it to get out of them. I shall ask old York to dance, and, while we
two are hopping around, I must tell him what is to be done. We are
to advance!"

Blucher's resolutions were carried into effect. All dispositions
were made in a quiet and efficient manner; and while the field-
marshal scolded vehemently at the inactivity of the winter, General
Gneisenau secretly took steps to prepare for the passage of the
Rhine. Napoleon's spies at Frankfort and on the Rhine heard only the
grumbling of Blucher, but they did not see the preparations of
Gneisenau.

On the 26th of December orders were dispatched to the commanders of
the different corps of the great Silesian army, communicating the
time and place of crossing the Rhine, and on the 31st every soldier
of that army stood on the bank ready for the passage. This was to be
effected at three different points--Mannheim, Caub, and Coblentz.
The grand, all-important moment had come; midnight was at hand.

It was a clear and beautiful night; the deep-blue sky was spangled
with stars, and the air cold and bracing. None saw the blank columns
moving toward the Rhine. The French, on the opposite side, were
asleep; they did not perceive Field-Marshal Blucher, who, at Caub,
on the bank of the river, was halting on horse back by the side of
his faithful Gneisenau, apparently listening in breathless suspense.
Suddenly, the stillness was interrupted by the chime of a
neighboring church-clock; another struck, and, like echoes, their
notes resounded down the Rhine, in all cities and villages,
proclaiming that the old year was past, and a new one begun.

Blucher took off his gray forage-cap, and, holding it before his
face, uttered a low, fervent prayer. "And now, forward!" he said, in
a resolute tone. "Let us in person convey our 'happy New-Year' to
the French!--And Thou, great God, behold Thy German children, who
are shaking off the thraldom of long years, and who have become
again brave men! Heavenly Father, bless our undertaking! Bless the
Rhine, that it may flow to the ocean again as a free German river
for German freeman!--And now, boys, forward! Build your bridges, for
Heaven sends us to France to punish Bonaparte, and sing him a song
of the Rhine! Forward!"



CHAPTER XLII.

NAPOLEON'S NEW-YEAR'S-DAY.


It was early on the morning of the 1st of January. Napoleon was
angrily pacing his cabinet, while the police-minister, Duke de
Rovigo, was standing by the emperor's desk, and waiting, as if
afraid to look at his master, lest his anger burst upon his head.

"Why did you not tell me so yesterday, Savary?" asked Napoleon, with
his flaming eyes on the police-minister. "Why did you not inform me,
immediately after the close of the meeting of the Chamber of
Deputies, of the seditious and refractory spirit of the speeches
which certain members dared to deliver?"

"Sire, I had no proofs of their guilt. Speeches, it is true, had
been made, but they vanish, and offer no solid grounds for
convicting men of crime. As I have not the honor of being a member
of the committee which your majesty has appointed to take the
condition of France into consideration, I was unable to hear the
speeches delivered at the meeting. I had to obtain palpable
evidence. I knew, not only that the commission of the Chamber of
Deputies had resolved to have an address to your majesty published,
but that the opposition speaker of the committee, M. Raynouard,
intended to have his speech printed and circulated, in order to
prove to France that the committee of the Chamber had done every
thing to give peace to the nation."

"As if that were the task of those gentlemen--as if they had to give
me advice, or could influence me!" cried Napoleon, vehemently. "They
have never dared raise their voices against me; but now that we are
surrounded by enemies--now that it is all-important for France to
startle the world by her energy and the unanimity of her will, these
men dare oppose me! You allowed, then, their addresses to be sent to
the printing-office, Savary?"

"Yes, sire. But I had the printing-office surrounded by my police-
agents, and waited until the composition was completed and the
printing commenced. Then they entered the press-room, seized the
copies already printed, knocked the types into pi, and burned the
manuscripts, [Footnote: "Memoires d'un Homme d'Etat," vol. xii., p.
294.] as well as the proofs, except this one, which I have the honor
of bringing to your majesty."

The emperor, with an impetuous movement, took up the printed sheet
lying on the table by the side of the duke, and glanced over it.
"Savary," he said, pointing out a passage on the paper, "read this
to me. Read the conclusion of Raynouard's speech. Read it aloud!" He
handed the paper to the duke, and pointed out the passage.

Savary read as follows: "'Let us attempt no dissimulation--our evils
are at their height; the country is menaced on the frontiers at all
points; commerce is annihilated, agriculture languishes, industry is
expiring; there is no Frenchman who has not, in his family or his
fortune, some cruel wound to heal. The facts are notorious, and can
never be sufficiently enforced. Agriculture, for the last five
years, has gained nothing; it barely exists, and the fruit of its
toil is annually dissipated by the treasury, which unceasingly
devours every thing to satisfy the cravings of ruined and famished
armies. The conscription has become, for all France, a frightful
scourge, because it has always been driven to extremities in its
execution. For the last three years the harvest of death has been
reaped three times a year! A barbarous war, without object, swallows
up the youth torn from their education, from agriculture, commerce,
and the arts. Have the tears of mothers and the blood of whole
generations thus become the patrimony of kings? It is fit that
nations should have a moment's breathing-time; the period has
arrived when they should cease to tear out each other's entrails; it
is time that thrones should be consolidated, and that our enemies be
deprived of the plea that we are forever striving to carry into the
world the torch of revolution. . . . To prevent the country from
becoming the prey of foreigners, it is indispensable to nationalize
the war; and this cannot be done unless the nation and its monarch
bo united by closer bonds. It has become indispensable to give a
satisfactory answer to our enemies' acensations of aggrandizement:
there would be real magnanimity in a formal declaration that the
independence of the French people and the integrity of its territory
are all that we contend for. It is for the government to propose
measures which may promptly repel the euemy, and secure peace on a
durable basis. Those measures would be at once efficacious, if the
French people were persuaded that the government in good faith
aspired only to the glory of peace, and that their blood would no
longer be shed but to defend our country, and secure the protection
of the laws. But these words of 'peace' and 'country' will resound
in vain, if the institutions are not guaranteed which secure those
blessings. It appears, therefore, to the commission, to be
indispensable that, at the same time that the government proposes
the most prompt and efficacious measures for the security of the
country, his majesty should be supplicated to maintain entire the
execution of the laws which guarantee to the French the rights of
liberty and security, and to the nation the free exercise of its
political rights." [Footnote: "Memoires d'un Homme d'Etat," vol.
xii., p. 208.]

"Well," cried the emperor, impetuously, "what do you think of that?
Does it not sound like the first note of the tocsin by which the
people are to be called upon to rise in rebellion?"

"Sire, it is the language of treason!" replied Savary. "The conduct
of the members of this committee would justify your majesty to have
them shot as traitors." [Footnote: Ibid., p. 294.]

The emperor made no reply, but bowed his head on his breast, and,
with his hands folded behind him, paced the room for a few moments.
"Savary," he then said, "it is sufficient for us to be at war with
our foreign enemies; let us not get into difficulty with our
domestic adversaries. This is not the time for doing so. If we
conquer our foreign enemies, the domestic ones will of themselves be
silent; but if we succumb, every thing will be different. Those
gentlemen have acted both foolishly and ungenerously (at a moment
when it is all-important that France should act and think as one
man), to stir up political partisan feeling; and it is ungrateful to
oppose me at a time when, overwhelmed with care and work, I need my
whole energy to maintain my position. Let us leave it to fate to
punish the traitors. They will not have long to wait!"

"And those haughty members of the Chamber of Deputies do not even
feel that they are deserving of punishment," exclaimed the duke,
indignantly. "The whole committee, and M. Raynouard with them, have
accompanied me to the Tuileries, and repaired to the throne-hall in
order to offer your majesty their congratulations for the new year."

"Ah, it is true, to-day is New-Year's-day," said Napoleon; "I had
almost forgotten it, for the cares and anxiety of the old year have,
as a most faithful suite, followed me into the new year. But I am
glad you remind me of it! I will go to the throne-hall and receive
the congratulations of my faithful subjects, or those who call
themselves so. Follow me!"

In the throne-hall were assembled, as on every New-Year's-day, the
dignitaries of France and the most prominent authorities of the
government; but for the first time, since the establishment of the
empire, the representatives of the foreign powers and the
ambassadors of the European princes failed to appear at the
reception in the Tuileries. In former years they had hastened to
present their congratulations; to-day not one of those
representatives was present, not even the ambassador of the Emperor
of Austria, Napoleon's father-in-law--not even the ambassador of the
King of Naples, his brother-in-law! The troops of the Emperor
Francis had invaded France; the troops of King Murat had returned to
Naples, and he had informed his brother-in-law that the welfare of
his own country rendered it necessary for him to forsake France. The
very princes of the Confederation of the Rhine, hitherto the most
sycophantic flatterers of the emperor, had likewise turned away from
him; all the allies, adulators, and friends of his days of
prosperity had left him, as rats desert the sinking ship. No one was
in the throne-hall except the dignitaries and officers of France,
and one-half of these came, perhaps, because the duties of their
offices rendered it incumbent on them--because the events of the
future could not be positively foreseen, and the emperor, thanks to
his lucky star, might finally conquer his enemies.

The emperor entered with his usual proud and careless indifference.
His quick glance swept past the ranks of the assembly, and rested
for a moment on the place where the ambassadors of the foreign
governments formerly stood beside the throne, and where no one was
to be seen to-day. But not a feature changed; he was still calm and
grave. With a gentle nod he turned toward the ministers who were on
the left, and addressed each of them a few kind words; he then
quickly ascended the steps of the throne. Under the canopy, he
turned his eyes toward the side where were the members of the senate
and the legislature.

Napoleon's eyes flashed down the silent assembly with an expression
of terrible anger. When he spoke, his voice rolled like thunder
through the hall, and echoed in the trembling hearts of those who
were conscious of their guilt, and who hung their heads under the
outburst of their sovereign's wrath. "Gentlemen of the legislature,"
he said, "you come to greet me. I accept your greetings, and will
tell you what you ought to hear. You have it in your power to do
much good, and you have done nothing but mischief. Eleven-twelfths
of you are patriotic, the rest are factious. What do you hope by
putting yourselves in opposition? To gain possession of power? But
what are your means? Are you the representatives of the people? I
am. Four times I have been invoked by the nation, and have had the
votes of four millions of men. I have a title to supreme authority,
which you have not. You are nothing but the representatives of the
departments. Your report is drawn up with an astute and perfidious
spirit, of the effects of which you are well aware. Two battles lost
in Champagne would not have done me so much mischief. I have
sacrificed my passions, my pride, my ambition, to the good of
France. I was in expectation that you would appreciate my motives,
and not urge me to what is inconsistent with the honor of the
nation. Far from that, in your report you mingle irony with
reproach: you tell me that adversity has given me salutary counsels.
How can you reproach me with my misfortunes? I have supported them
with honor, because I have received from nature a sturdy temper; and
if I had not possessed it, I would never have raised myself to the
first throne in the world. Nevertheless, I have need of consolation,
and I expected it from you: so far from receiving it, you have
endeavored to depreciate me; but I am one of those whom you may
kill, but cannot dishonor. Is it by such reproaches that you expect
to restore the lustre of the throne? What is the throne? Four pieces
of gilded wood, covered with a piece of velvet. The real throne has
its seat in the heart of the nation. You cannot separate the two
without mutual injury; for it has more need of me than I have of it.
What could the nation do without a chief? When the question was, how
we could repel the enemy, you demand institutions as if we had them
not! Are you not content with the constitution? If you are not, you
should have told me so four years ago, or postponed your demand to
two years after a general peace. Is this the moment to insist on
such a demand? You wish to imitate the Constituent Assembly, and
commence a revolution? Be it so. You will find I will not imitate
Louis XVI.: I would rather abandon the throne, I would prefer making
part of the sovereign people, to being an enslaved king. I am sprung
from the people; I know the obligations I contracted when I ascended
the throne. You have done much mischief; you would have done me
still more, if I had allowed your report to be printed.--You speak
of abuses, of vexations. I know, as well as you, that such have
existed; they arose from circumstances, and the misfortunes of the
times. But was it necessary to let all Europe into our secrets? Is
it fitting to wash our dirty linen in public? In what you say there
is some truth and some falsehood. What, then, was your obvious duty?
To have confidentially made known your grounds of complaint to me,
by whom they would have been thankfully received. I do not, any more
than yourselves, love those who have oppressed you. In three months
we shall have peace: the enemy will be driven from our territory, or
I shall be dead. We have greater resources than you imagine: our
enemies have never conquered us--never will. They will be pursued
over the frontier more quickly than they crossed it. Go!" [Footnote:
Bucher et Roux, "Histoire Parl. de France," vol. xxxix., pp. 460,
46l.]

The last words of the speech were still resounding through the hall
when the deputies, with pale faces, bowing timidly and silently
before the throne, turned and walked toward the door. All eyes were
riveted on them, and it was felt that the men whom the emperor
dismissed with such a strain of vehement invective were twenty new
enemies whom Napoleon sent into the provinces, and who would bring a
new hostile army--public opinion--into the field against him. Many
hoped that the emperor, perceiving his blunder, would call back the
deputies by some pleasant word, in order to bring about a
reconciliation between him and those who, whatever the emperor might
say, represented in the throne-hall the opinion of the people.

But Napoleon did not call them back; standing on his throne, haughty
and defiant, he looked after the disappearing deputies in anger; and
only when the door of the anteroom closed, did he turn his eyes
toward those who surrounded him. As if by a magician's wand his face
resumed its former expression of august calmness. He slowly left the
throne, and, dropping here and there a few condescending words,
crossed the hall. Suddenly he noticed Baron Fontaine, the architect
of the imperial palaces. "Ah," exclaimed Napoleon, quickly advancing
toward him, "you are here, Fontaine? I intended to send for you to-
day. Did you bring your plans with you?"

"Yes, sire."

"Well, then, come; and you, ministers, Duke de Rovigo, Duke de
Vicenza, Duke de Bassano, pray follow me into my cabinet."

The officers and cavaliers who remained in the hall looked after the
emperor with anxious glances. "A cabinet meeting on this holiday!
and at which the imperial architect has to be present!" they
whispered. "What means this? Will the emperor commission M. de
Fontaine to transform the Tuileries into a fortress, and construct
ramparts and ditches? Are we, if all should be lost, to defend
ourselves? Or will the emperor convert Paris into a fortress? Is M.
de Fontaine to erect outworks and fortifications? Or will the
emperor have a new Bastile built for the purpose of confining the
traitorous legislature and several hundreds of these new-fangled
royalists who are now springing up like mushrooms?"

But the emperor did not think of all this when, followed by the
three ministers and Baron Fontaine, he entered his cabinet. An
expression of affability overspread his features, and round his lips
played the sunny smile which appeared so irresistible to all who had
ever seen it. "Come hither, gentlemen," he said, merrily, "let us
act here as judges. Fontaine brings us plans for a palace for the
King of Rome. It is high time for me to think of building one for
the heir-apparent, and this idea has engrossed my mind for a long
period. If the times had not been so unfavorable, it would already
have been completed. I will begin now, in order to prove to the
foreign powers how great is the confidence felt by France and her
emperor in their ability to withstand the attacks of the allies;
for, while their armies are fighting the enemy, they are
constructing a palace for their future emperor.--Now let me see your
plans, Fontaine; unroll them!"

Fontaine spread out on the table the papers which he had brought
with him from the anteroom. The emperor bent over them, and asked
the architect to explain to him the different lines and figures. The
three ministers stood beside them, grave and silent, and their
furtive glances seemed to ask whether this really was not a scene
intentionally contrived by the emperor--whether he really could
think of building a palace for the King of Rome at a moment, when
France was hemmed in on all sides, and menaced by enemies,
endangering the existence of the imperial throne!

But Napoleon really seemed to be quite sincere. With his magic
energy he appeared to have banished all gloomy thoughts, and to be
engrossed only in plans for a serene future. "See here,
Caulaincourt," he said, pointing to one of the plans, "what do you
think of this? It is a sort of castle or fort, and looks well, does
it not?"

"Very, indeed," replied Caulaincourt. "It reminds me of the palace
at Oranienbaum, which Paul I. built. The towers at the corners, the
bastions, and ditches, are similar; and the interior had not only
many rooms, but secret staircases, doors, and hidden passages."

"And yet Paul I. was assassinated in that palace!" cried the
emperor, whose face suddenly darkened. "The doors and passages did
not protect him from murderers.--Well, Maret and Savary, what do you
think of it? Do you deem it best that I should build the palace for
the King of Rome in the style of a fortress, like that of
Oranienbaum?"

"Sire," exclaimed Savary, eagerly, "so precious a head cannot be
sufficiently protected. In building a palace for the king, less
attention should be paid to an attractive appearance than to safety
and convenience."

"Is that your opinion, too, Maret?"

The Duke de Bassano was silent for a moment, and closely examined
the plan. "No, sire," he then said, looking at the emperor, with a
polite yet somewhat singular smile--"no, sire. I believe we should
avoid the semblance of a fortress built for the heir-apparent, just
as though he should ever need such a place of refuge against his own
subjects, and in the middle of his capital! People would say your
majesty intended to reconstruct for your successor the old Bastile."

"Maret is right," exclaimed the emperor. "No fortress! The
confidence, love, and attachment of his people should be the only
safeguard of a monarch. Ramparts did not save Paul I.; the greatest
precautions, locked and guarded doors, did not protect the sultan
from the scimitars of the Janizaries; every one falls when his hour
has struck; it will strike for me, too, and my life will belong to
him who is willing to give up his life for mine! But I shall teach
my son to govern the Parisians without fortresses, and make them
love him. [Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Vide "Memoirs of the Duchess
d'Abrantes."] It is true, however, there will always be malicious
men to frustrate our efforts, and sow the seeds of discord between
me and my people."

"Sire," said Fontaine, anxious to turn the emperor's thoughts into a
different channel, "here is another plan. The former was in the old
feudal style; this would look more like a villa."

"That is the very thing I want," exclaimed the emperor, eagerly. "A
villa in the grandest possible style--a palace magnificent enough to
be mentioned after the Louvre, but still with all the peculiarities
of a villa. For the palace of the King of Rome, after all, will be
only a sort of villa in Paris; as a winter residence the Tuileries,
or the Louvre, would be preferred. But, though I want the building
to be large and brilliant, the total cost must not exceed ten
million francs. I do not want a chimera, but something real,
substantial, and practical, for myself and the king, and not a
fanciful structure merely gratifying to the architect. The
completion of the Louvre will give glory enough to the architect. As
to the palace of the King of Rome, he may forget his personal
interest, and think only of rendering the structure as convenient as
possible. It is to become a sort of Sans-Souci, where one is merry,
forgets care, enjoys the sunshine in the apartments, and the shade
in the garden, and may combine the simplicity of rural life with the
comforts of a great city. Imagine you were building a commodious
residence for a rich private citizen, a convalescent who has need of
comfort, repose, and diversion. There must be, therefore, a small
theatre, a small chapel, a concert-hall, a ball-room, a billiard-
room, and a library; fish-ponds, and shady groves in the garden--in
short, a genuine villa." [Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Vide
Constant, "Memoires," vol. v., p. 184.]

"I believe your majesty will find all that you wish for united in
this," said the Duke de Bassano, who had carefully examined the
second plan. "It is a villa in grand style, and surely worthy of a
great prince."

"Ah," said the emperor, with a profound sigh, "would it were already
finished, and I could live in it with my son! I--"

At this moment the folding-doors of the cabinet were thrown open,
and the usher's voice shouted, "His majesty the King of Rome!"



CHAPTER XLIII.

THE KING OF ROME.


The emperor, with a joyful exclamation, turned toward the door. On
its threshold stood a boy of remarkable beauty, such as Correggio or
Murillo would have selected as a cherub model. His slender but
vigorous form was clothed in sky-blue velvet, embroidered with
silver, and his fairy-like feet wore shoes of the same color. His
dimpled arms were bare, and a fleece of golden ringlets fell on his
fair neck and shoulders. An ingenuousness, undeformed by bad
training, increased the charm of his natural beauty. There was
nothing affected in his blooming face; and, while a happy temper
played about his lips, there was a light in his large blue eyes,
reminding the beholder of his great father, from whom he also
inherited a forehead which, when the attractions of his childhood
had passed away, would at once assert his manly gravity and thought.

Behind the boy appeared the dignified form of Madame de Montesquiou,
his governess, who seemed to take pains to keep back the boy, and,
seizing his hand, hastily whispered a few words to him. But he
forcibly disengaged himself, and, without noticing any one but the
emperor, rushed toward him with open arms. "Papa," he cried, in an
imploring tone--"papa, have you not given me permission to come to
you at any time?"

"Yes, sire," said the emperor, tenderly, lifting him into his arms,
"and the proof of it is that you are here."

"Well, dear 'Quiou," asked the boy, in a triumphant tone, turning
toward Madame de Montesquiou--"did I not tell you so?--The usher
would not admit me, papa, though I told him I am the King of Rome!"

"He ran away from me," said the governess, "in the first anteroom,
and so fast that I could not follow him."

"It was because I wanted to see my dear papa emperor," cried the
child, fixing his eyes with an expression of indescribable
tenderness on his father.

"But that was the reason, sire," said the governess, "why the usher
would not immediately open the door to you. He did not know whether
he was allowed to do so, and waited, therefore, until I came."

"But why did he not know that he was allowed to do so?" cried the
little king, impetuously. "Did I not tell him, 'I WILL it, I am the
King of Rome?' Pray tell me, papa emperor, do not the ushers obey
you either when you say, 'I will it?'"

The emperor laughed as loudly and merrily as he had done in the days
of his prosperity, and the ministers and Baron Fontaine joined
heartily in his mirth; even Madame de Montesquiou could not suppress
a faint smile. The boy saw it, and asked hastily, "Why do you laugh,
'Quiou? Did I say any thing ridiculous?"

"No, rather something charming," said the emperor, smiling, laying
his hand on the blond head of his child, and pressing it closer to
his breast. With the child still in his arms, he seated himself in
an easy-chair, and, placing the little fair-haired king on his knee,
gazed at him with joyful eyes. His whole countenance was changed,
and beaming with mildness; even his voice assumed another tone, and
seemed incapable of command or threat.

"Sire," said the emperor, "we were just speaking of you."

"Ah," cried the child, with an arch smile, "I know what it was! My
papa emperor was thinking of a New-Year's present!"

"But, sire," exclaimed the governess, sharply, "it is unseemly to
ask for presents."

A blush suffused the child's face, and seemed reflected on the pale
cheeks of the emperor, who felt almost pained at seeing him so much
ashamed of himself.

"Madame," he said, turning hastily to the governess, "I have to ask
a favor of you: pray leave the King of Rome here with me for a time.
I myself will take him back to you, and I promise to watch carefully
over his majesty."

Madame de Montesquiou made a ceremonious obeisance; the little king
kissed his hand to her, and she then left the cabinet. No sooner had
the door closed than the boy, with a smile, encircled the emperor's
neck with his arms, and cried, "Now we are alone, papa emperor!"

"Oh, no!" said the emperor, smiling, "did you not yet see these
gentlemen?"

"No," said the child, looking round in surprise, "I saw only you,
papa!"

Never had the lips of the most beautiful woman uttered words that
gladdened his heart so much as these. But before his ministers he
was almost ashamed of his sensitiveness, and, therefore, he forced
himself to assume a graver air. "Sire," he said, "above all, you
must greet these gentlemen; they are my ministers, and very dear
friends of mine."

"Ah, then they are friends of mine, too," cried the boy, with that
politeness which comes from the heart. Quickly descending from his
father's knee to the carpet on the floor, the little King of Rome
walked several steps toward the gentlemen, and bowed so deeply to
them that his blond ringlets rolled down over his face. "Pardon me,
gentlemen," he said, "if I did not see and greet you! I came to my
papa emperor because to-day is a holiday, and I desired to wish him
a happy New-Year. I see you now, gentlemen, and, if you will permit
me, I wish you all, too, a happy New-Year."

The gentlemen bowed, and looked with an expression of gentle
sympathy and emotion on the lovely child, as if imploring the
blessing of Heaven upon him. The emperor probably read this in their
eyes, for he greeted the gentlemen with a pleasant smile, and nodded
to them with the triumphant air of a happy father.

"Papa emperor," exclaimed the child, turning once more to his
father, "my dear Madame 'Quiou says that France has now need of
prosperity, and that I, therefore, ought to pray the good God to
grant us His favor."

"Well, and did you do so?" inquired the emperor.

"Yes," replied the child, "I did, from the bottom of my heart."

"How did you pray? Let me hear, sire; it can do no harm if you pray
to God once more to grant us His favor. What did you say?"

The child assumed a grave air, and knelt down. He then raised his
clasped hands, and, leaning back his head, lifted up his large blue
eyes. "Good God," he said aloud, "I pray to Thee for France and for
my father!"

These words, uttered in so clear and melodious a voice, sounding
like an angel's greeting in the solemn cabinet of the emperor, made
a wonderful impression. The gentlemen averted their heads, to
conceal their emotion from Napoleon. But he paid no attention to
them; his eyes rested on his child with an expression of profound
affection; a veil seemed to overspread them, and as it perhaps
prevented the emperor from seeing his kneeling child distinctly, he
quickly moved his hand across his eyes. The veil disappeared, but
the hand that had drawn it aside was moist.

The boy jumped up and hastened back to his father, who clasped him
tenderly in his arms, and then, as if to apologize, turned toward
his ministers. "Well, gentlemen," he said, gayly, "do you believe
that the voice of the King of Rome is strong enough to reach to
heaven, and bring prosperity to France and to myself?"

"Sire, I do," said the Duke de Bassano, in a trembling voice.

"And I feel convinced of it," said the Duke de Rovigo. "If any
prayer can reach heaven, this must."

"It will bless France and her august emperor," said the Duke de
Vicenza. "Sire, permit me to ask a favor of you. Give to France as a
New-Year's present of your love, the picture of the King of Rome
praying for France and his father. Your majesty, send for Isabey,
and have him represent the king in this charming attitude. He will
paint such a picture both with his hand and his heart, and within a
month it must be circulated as a copperplate throughout France.
Sire, I venture to assert that this engraving will win all hearts,
and the members of the legislature cannot excite half as much hatred
in the provinces as this picture will produce love."

"You are right," said the emperor, "that is an excellent idea.
France shall learn that my son prays, first for it, and then for
me.--Maret, see to it that Isabey come to-morrow. The plate must be
ready for distribution in the course of a month. [Footnote: This
copperplate really appeared shortly after; it is a sweet and
beautiful portrait of the little King of Rome.] And now," added the
emperor, putting the child again on his knee, "now tell me what do
you want me to give you as a New-Year's present?"

"Oh," cried the little king, smiling, "I know something, dear papa
emperor, but I dare not say what it is."

"Ah, you may," said the emperor. "I pledge you my word that I will
fulfil your wish, if it be possible. Speak, then."

"Sire," asked little Napoleon, nodding toward the ministers, "sire,
will these gentlemen not betray me to Madame de Montesquieu?"

"I warrant you they will not," said the emperor, gravely. "Let me
hear what you want."

"Well, then, papa emperor," said the boy, leaning his head on his
father's breast, and looking up to him, "I feel a great wish that I
could run just once all alone into the street, and play in the mud
and the gutter, as other children do." [Footnote: Bausset, "Memoires
sur Intterieur du Palais Imperial," vol. ii.]

The emperor burst into loud laughter, in which the others did not
fail to join. "Ah, you see, gentlemen," exclaimed the emperor, "this
is a new rendering of Lafontaine's celebrated 'Toujours perdrix!'
The King of Rome, being able to command all that is beautiful and
agreeable to his heart's content, is longing for the gutter.--Be
patient, sire, I cannot immediately fulfil your wish, but I shall
have a palace for you, and in its court-yard you shall have a
gutter, too. Sire, look at those plans which Baron Fontaine has
drawn up for a palace destined for you alone."

"What! For me alone?" asked the child, in dismay. "You will not live
with me in the palace?"

"No, sire. The King of Rome must have a palace of his own where he
will reside with his court."

"Papa emperor, I thank you for your New-Year's gift," said the boy,
sullenly; "I thank you, but do not accept it. I do not want a palace
of my own. I thank your majesty, but prefer remaining at the
Tuileries."

"But, sire, just think of it--a splendid palace belonging to you
alone!"

"I do not want to live alone!"

"Well, sire, then you will request your beautiful mother, the
empress, to live with you. Will that be sufficient?"

The boy glanced quickly and anxiously around the room, as if to
satisfy himself that neither the empress nor Madame de Montesquiou
was present; he then threw both his arms round the emperor's neck,
and exclaimed, "I want to be where you are, papa!"

Napoleon pressed his lips with passionate tenderness on his son's
head. "Well, sire," he said, in a voice tremulous with love, "I
believe your wishes will have to be complied with. As soon as your
palace is completed I shall live with you. Do you accept your palace
on this condition?"

"Yes, my dear papa emperor," exclaimed the prince, joyously, "now I
accept it, and thank you for it."

"Well, you hear that, Fontaine," said Napoleon, turning toward his
architect. "You may begin the construction of the palace; the King
of Rome accepts it. I sanction this second plan. Build a magnificent
villa, and it must be completed in two years. In two years--"

Suddenly the emperor paused, and his face darkened. "Ah," he said,
gloomily, putting his hand on the prince's head, "ah, we purpose
building you a palace, but if they conquer me you will not even
possess a cabin!" [Footnote: Napoleon's words.--Vide "Memoirs of the
Duchess d'Abrantes."] The emperor's head dropped on his breast, and
a pause ensued, which the child, usually so vivacious, did not
venture to interrupt.

At length Napoleon said: "Go, Fontaine, and take your plans along; I
will confer further about the matter. And you, ministers, come, we
have to settle some questions of importance. But, first, I must take
the king back to his governess."

The boy clung with almost anxious tenderness to his father. "Ah,
dear, dear papa emperor," he begged, "let me stay here! I will be
quiet--oh, so very quiet! I will only sit on your knee, lean my head
on your breast, and not disturb you at all."

"Well, you may stay then," said Napoleon. "We shall see whether you
really can be quiet and not disturb us."

The little child kept his word. Sitting quietly on the emperor's
knee, and leaning his little head on his father's breast, he did not
interrupt in the least the important conference of Napoleon and his
ministers. An hour afterward the conference was over, and the dukes
were dismissed.

"Now, sire," said Napoleon, turning toward the child, now "let us
play."

But the little king, who always received these words with
exultation, remained silent, and when the emperor bent over him, he
saw that he had fallen asleep. "Happy king!" murmured Napoleon,
"happy king! who can fall asleep in the midst of state business!"
Softly and cautiously drawing the boy closer to his breast, and
taking pains not to disturb his slumber, he sat still and
motionless, scarcely breathing, although sad thoughts oppressed his
mind. It was an interesting spectacle--this lovely boy leaning his
head in smiling dreams on the breast of his father, who was looking
down on him with grave and tender eyes.

The emperor sat thus a long time. Strange and wonderful thoughts
stole upon him--thoughts of past happiness, of past love. He thought
of how long he had yearned to possess a son, and how many tears his
first consort shed--how ardently he had been loved by the noble and
beautiful Josephine, whom, in his pride, which demanded an heir-
apparent, he had thrust into solitude. Providence had given
Bonaparte all that his heart had longed for--a beautiful young wife,
who loved him, and who was the daughter of an emperor; and a sweet,
lovely child that was to be the heir of his imperial throne. But
Providence, by giving him all, had taken all from Josephine--the
heart and hand of her husband, her dignity and authority as an
empress and sovereign. She was now nothing but a deserted and
unhappy lady, who had only tears for her past, no joy in the
present, no hopes for the future.

All this was on account of the child adored by his father, and
hailed by France; and yet, despite all the mischief this little boy
had done her and the fact that he was the child of another woman,
Josephine loved him, and often implored the emperor to let her see
and embrace the little King of Rome. He had always refused to grant
this request, in order not to stir up the jealousy of his young
wife, but, at this quiet hour, when he was alone with his sleeping
child, Napoleon thought of Josephine with melancholy tenderness.
Amid the profound silence which surrounded him, his recollections
spoke to him. They pointed him to Josephine in the imperishable
splendor of her love, her grace, and goodness; he thought he saw her
sweet lips, which had always a smile for him; her brilliant eyes,
which had ever looked tenderly on him, and which had learned to read
his most secret thoughts.

"Poor Josephine!" he murmured, "poor Josephine! she loved me
ardently, and many things might be different now if she were still
by my side. She was my guardian angel, and with her my success has
departed. She sacrificed her happiness to me and my ambition; and
while formerly all hastened to offer congratulations on this day and
pay homage to the empress, she now sits lonely and deserted at
Malmaison.--No," he then said aloud, "no, she shall not be lonely
and deserted! I surely owe it to her to occasion her a moment of
joy. She shall see my son--I myself will take him to her." He
cautiously lifted up the boy in his arms and rose. The prince awoke
and looked smilingly up to his father, who carried him to the sofa
and laid him with tender care on the cushions. But little Napoleon
jumped up, and said laughingly. "I am no longer tired. The dukes are
gone now, and let us play, papa!"

"No, sire," said the emperor, "not now, I have business to attend
to. But listen to me: at noon to-day I will take a ride with yon,
all alone--that is to be my New-Year's present."

The boy uttered a cry of joy. "All alone, papa emperor? Oh, that
will be splendid!"

"But now go to Madame de Montesquiou, sire," said the emperor.--
"Constant!" When the valet de chambre entered the room, he ordered
Constant, "Pray conduct his majesty the King of Rome to Madame de
Montesquiou, and tell her I shall call for him in a few hours in
order to take a ride with him alone, without any attendants
whatever.--Adieu, Sire, in a few hours we shall meet again."

But the boy stood and looked at the emperor with grave and sullen
glances. "Sire," he said, "my dear Madame 'Quiou tells me often a
king ought to keep his word. Now I ask you must an emperor not keep
his word also?"

"Certainly, sire!"

"Well, then, your majesty, take me to Madame 'Quiou," cried the boy,
joyously; "you told her you would do so. Come, papa!"

"Ah," exclaimed the emperor, smiling, "you are right--an emperor
must fulfil his word, though he has pledged it only to a king. Come,
sire, I will conduct you to Madame de Montesquiou. Constant, await
me here!"

A few minutes afterward, the emperor returned to his cabinet.
"Constant," he said, in a low voice, "I know you loved the Empress
Josephine, and have not forgotten her, I suppose?"

"Sire, the empress was my benefactress; I owe to her all that I am,
and she was always kind to me."

"More so than the present empress, you mean to say?" asked the
emperor, casting a searching glance on his valet de chambre; and, as
Constant was silent, Napoleon added, "It is true, the young empress
is less condescending than my first consort. But that is, Constant,
because she was brought up as the daughter of an emperor, and her
feelings were restrained by the narrow limits of etiquette.
Josephine forgot too much that she was an empress, Maria Louisa
forgets it too little; but her heart is good and gentle, and she
would never wish to grieve me. So, Constant, you have not yet
forgotten the Empress Josephine?"

"Sire, none that ever knew the Empress Josephine could help
remembering her. For my own part, I can never forget her."

"Ah, what a fripon you are, to give me such a reply! Well, I will
prove to you, M. Fripon, that I have not forgotten Josephine,
either. This is New-Year's-day. Would you not like to offer your
congratulations to the Empress Josephine at Malmaison?"

"Sire, if so humble and low a servant as I am may dare, I should
certainly be very happy to lay my congratulations at her feet."

"Go, I permit you to do so, and the empress will surely receive you
very kindly."

"Particularly, sire, if I had a message from his majesty the emperor
to deliver."

"Fripon, I believe you take the liberty of guessing my thoughts!
Yes, I will give you a message. Hasten to the Empress Josephine,
take her my greetings, but see that the empress receives you without
witnesses.--Do you hear, Constant--without witnesses? Then tell her
to have her carriage immediately brought to the door, and, on the
pretext of being alone with her mournful New-Year's meditations, to
take a ride without attendants. But when she is at a considerable
distance from Malmaison, she is to order the coachman to drive to
the little castle of La Bagatelle. She must be there precisely at
four o'clock. I shall be there, and tell her majesty I shall not
come alone. Now make haste, Constant! Recommend entire reticence to
the empress. As to yourself, pray do not forget that, if any one
shall hear of this affair, you must be held responsible. Go!"



CHAPTER XLIV.

JOSEPHINE.


Just as the clock struck four, the carriage of the Empress Josephine
wheeled into the courtyard of the little castle of La Bagatelle. She
inquired of the castellan, in a tremulous voice, whether any one had
arrived there, and she breathed more freely when he replied in the
negative. She left the carriage with youthful alacrity and entered
the castle, followed by the castellan, who gazed in amazement at
this empress without court or suite, who arrived stealthily and
tremblingly, like a maiden to meet her lover for the first time. She
hurried through the well-known apartments of the castle, and entered
the hall in which, during the days of her happiness, she had so
often received the foreign princes and ambassadors, or the
dignitaries of France. The hall was now empty; no one was there to
receive the deserted empress; but bright, merry fires were burning
in the fireplaces, and every thing was in readiness for the
reception of distinguished guests.

"You knew, then, that I was to come?" inquired the empress of the
castellan.

"Your majesty," he replied, in a low and reverential voice, "M.
Constant was here, and gave orders to have the rooms in readiness.
If your majesty wishes refreshments, you will find every thing
served up in the dining-room."

"No, no, I thank you," cried the empress, hastily. "But tell me is
my dressing-room--my former dressing-room," she corrected herself
falteringly--"is that heated, too?"

"Your majesty will find all your rooms comfortable, just as though
you still condescended to reside here."

"Well, then, I will go to that room. If any one comes, I shall
notice it through the opened doors; it is unnecessary for you to
inform me; I will go then at once to the reception-room."

The castellan withdrew, and Josephine hastened through the adjoining
apartment into the dressing-room. With a long, painful sigh she
glanced around the room which had so often witnessed her happiness
and her triumphs. Here, surrounded by her ladies in front of this
mirror, she had had her hair dressed, and the emperor had almost
always made his appearance at that hour to chat with her, look at
her toilet, and delight her heart by a smile, a glance, that was
more transporting to her than all the homage and flattery paid her
by all her other admirers. Now she was here again, but alone, and
with a mournful sigh she stepped to the mirror which had so often
reflected her charming portrait, radiant with happiness, and
sparkling with diamonds.

And what did she see now in this mirror? A woman with a pale, grief-
stricken face, features growing old, and a desponding exhaustion
which only a good and pleasant life can disguise when the vigor of
youth has faded.

"Oh, I have become old!" sighed Josephine; "the years of tears and
solitude count double, for one consumes then in days the strength of
many years. I have grown old because I have wept for HIM, and
because I have felt his misfortunes. Oh, how will he look? Will his
cheeks be even paler and his eyes gloomier than formerly? I have not
seen him since his return from his disastrous campaign; if I read
the history of his sufferings on his face, my grief will kill me.
But no," she encouraged herself, "I will not weep, nor trouble him
with my tears. I will be serene, and suppress my emotions. He will
not come alone; but whom will he bring with him? I hope not the
woman who is my rival--to whom I had to yield my throne!--No, I know
Bonaparte's heart, I know that he would be incapable of such
cruelty. She, young, beautiful, the reigning empress--I, old,
sorrowful, faded, the deserted empress! I--ah, there is a carriage
rolling into the courtyard! He comes!" Her whole form trembled, and,
breathless, her face suffused with deep blushes, she sank into an
easy-chair. "I love him still," she murmured; "my heart does not
forget!" A low knocking at the small side-door leading to the inner
corridor, was heard, and Constant entered. Josephine rose hastily,
and with quivering lips asked, "Constant, is he there?"

"Yes, your majesty. The emperor requests you to repair to the
reception-room. He will be there in a moment."

"And who is accompanying him?"

"His majesty has commissioned me to tell you that it would afford
him great satisfaction to prepare a little surprise for your
majesty, and that he has, therefore, fulfilled a wish which you have
felt for a long time."

"Constant!" exclaimed Josephine, joyfully, "the emperor brings the
King of Rome to me?"

"Yes, your majesty."

"Ah, her child!" cried the empress, with an emotion of jealousy,
burying her face in her hands.

"The emperor requests your majesty to be so gracious as not to let
the little king suspect whom he has the honor to approach,"
whispered Constant.

"Ah, she is not to suspect that her child has come to me!" murmured
Josephine, while fresh tears trickled down her cheeks.

"The emperor, besides, implores your majesty not to frighten the
prince by a sadness which your majesty, in the generosity and
kindness of your heart, has so often overcome."

"Yes," said the empress, removing her hands from her face, and
hastily drying her tears with her handkerchief, "I will not weep. It
is true, I have often begged that I might see the King of Rome--the
child for whom I have suffered so much, and to read in his face
whether he is worthy of my sacrifice. The emperor is so kind as to
fulfil my wish; tell him that I am profoundly grateful to him, that
I will restrain my emotion and not make the prince suspect who I am.
Tell him that I shall not weep when I see the child of the present
empress. No, do not tell him that, Constant; it would grieve him--
tell him only that I thank him, and that he shall not be displeased
with me. Go! I am ready, and shall be happy to see the boy. It is
not HER child, but HIS that I am to embrace." And greeting Constant
with that inimitable smile of grace and kindness peculiar to her,
she walked toward the reception-room. "How my heart throbs!" she
murmured; "it is as if my limbs were failing me--as if I should
die." Nearly fainting, she slowly glided through the adjoining
apartment, and entered the reception-room. "Courage, my heart! for
it is HIS child that I am to greet." Sitting down on an easy-chair
near the window, she looked in anxiety and suspense toward the large
folding doors.

At length the emperor appeared. Josephine had not seen him for
nearly a year, and at first her eyes beheld only him. She read in
his pallid and furrowed face the secret history of his sorrows,
which he had not, perhaps, communicated to any one, but which he
could not conceal from the eye of love. Unutterable sympathy and
tender compassion for him filled her soul. And now she almost
timidly looked upon the child that Napoleon led by the hand.

How charming was this child! How proud of him was his father!
Josephine felt this, and she said almost exultingly to herself "I
have not, been sacrificed in vain! This child is an ample indemnity
for my tears. I am the boy's real mother, for I have suffered,
sorrowed, and prayed for him!" Rejoicing in this sentiment, which
seemed to restore the beauty of former days, Josephine stretched out
her arms toward the child.

"Go, my son, and embrace the lady," said Napoleon, dropping the hand
of the prince. He advanced, while his father stood at the table in
the middle of the room, supporting his right hand on the marble
slab. He looked gravely but kindly upon the empress, from whom he
felt separated, by the presence of his child, as by an impassable
gulf.

The little prince offered his hand to the empress with a smile, and
Josephine drew him into her arms, pressing his head to her bosom. A
sigh, in spite of herself, came from the depths of her heart. She
slowly bent back the boy's head and gazed at him with a mournful but
loving expression. Then her glance fell upon the emperor, and, with
an indescribable look of love and tenderness, she said: "Sire, he is
like you; God bless him for it!"

There was something so touching and heartfelt in these words--in the
tone of her voice, and the glance of her eyes, that the emperor was
profoundly moved, and responded only by a silent nod, not venturing
to speak lest the tremor of his words should betray his emotion.
Even the little king seemed to understand the excellent heart of
this lady. He clung to her and said in a sweet voice, "I love you,
madame, and want you to love me, too!"

"I love you, sire," cried Josephine, "and shall pray God every day
to preserve you to your father--to your parents," she corrected
herself with the self-abnegation of a true woman. "You will one day
confer happiness on France and your people, for you undoubtedly wish
to become as good, great, and wise, as your father."

"Oh, yes, my papa emperor is very good, and I love him dearly!"
exclaimed the boy, looking toward his father. "But, papa, why do you
not come to us? Why do you not shake hands with this dear lady, who
is so good and loves me so well?"

"The emperor is generous," said Josephine, gently; "he wished me to
have you a moment by yourself, sire; he has you every day, but I
have never had you before."

"Why did you not come and see me?" asked the child. "You live near
Paris; and, if you loved me, you would often come and see how the
little King of Rome is getting on. The emperor told me you were a
dear and kind-hearted lady, and that every one loved you."

"Did he tell you so, sire?" exclaimed the empress, drawing the boy
into her arms. "Oh, tell the emperor that I shall always be grateful
to him for it, and that these words will forever silence my grief."
Her eyes glanced in gratitude to the emperor, who softly laid his
finger on his mouth, to admonish her to be silent and calm.

The little prince had now, with the facility with which children
pass from one subject to another, turned his attention to a large
diamond brooch fastened to Josephine's golden sash. "How beautiful
it is!" he exclaimed--"how it is flashing as though it were a star
fallen from heaven, and fastened to your breast, because it loves
you, madame, and because you are so good! And what fine ornaments
you have on your watch! Ah, look here, papa emperor; see those
pretty things! Come, papa, and look at them!"

"No, sire," said the emperor, with a strange and mournful smile,
"let me remain here. I can see all those pretty things quite
distinctly."

"They are very beautiful, are they not?" cried the child. "And if--"

"Well, sire," asked Josephine, "why do you pause? Pray speak!"

The boy had suddenly assumed a grave air, and gazed upon the
ornaments of the empress. "I was just thinking--but you will be
angry if I tell you what, madame."

"Certainly not, sire; tell me what you thought."

"It occurred to my mind that we met in the forest on our way a poor
man who looked haggard and wretched, and begged us to give him
something. But papa and I could not, for we had already distributed
all our money among the unfortunate persons whom we had previously
met. Why are there so many poor people, madame?--why does my papa
emperor not order all men to be happy and rich?"

"Because it is impossible for him to do so, sire," said Josephine.

"And because, in order to be able to make others happy, we must
ourselves be rich!" exclaimed the emperor, smiling. "Now you said
yourself, sire, we could not give the poor man in the forest any
thing, for we had nothing to give him."

"Yes, and I was very sorry," said the boy, "And now I was thinking
if we sent for the poor man, and you, madame, gave him your watch
and your diamonds, and he sold them, he would have a great deal of
money, and be very rich and happy."

Josephine pressed the boy tenderly to her heart. "Sire," she said,
"I promise you that I will send for your poor man and give him so
much money that he will never again be wretched."

"Oh!" exclaimed the prince, encircling the lady's neck with his
arms, "how good you are, madame, and how I love you!"

Josephine pressed his head to her bosom. "Oh, you may certainly love
me a little," she replied, with a touching smile; "I have really
deserved it of you."

"Sire," said the emperor, advancing a few steps, "now bid the lady
farewell. We must go."

"Papa!" cried the boy, joyously--"papa, we must take the dear lady
with us; she is so good, and I love her. Let her live with us in the
Tuileries, and always stay with us. I want her to do so, and you,
too, papa, do you not?"

Josephine's eyes filled with tears, and she looked at the emperor
with an expression of unutterable woe. He immediately averted his
face, perhaps to prevent Josephine from noticing his emotion. "Come,
sire," he said imperiously, "it is high time; it is growing dark.
Take leave of madame!"

"Oh, no; I will not take leave of her!" cried the boy, vehemently.
"I say to her rather--Come with us to the Tuileries!"

"It cannot be, sire," said Josephine, smiling amidst her tears.

"Why?" cried the boy, impatiently, and throwing back his head.
"Come; you may accompany the emperor, and I want you to do so!"

Napoleon, painfully moved by this scene, quickly advanced to the
prince, and took his hand. "Come, sire," he said in a tone so grave
that the boy dared no longer resist. Submitting to his father's
will, he stepped back, and, pleasantly bowing, took leave of the
empress.

"We shall meet again," said Josephine, and, turning her tearful eyes
to Napoleon, she asked, "We shall meet again, sire, shall we not?"

"Yes," said Napoleon, gravely, "we shall meet again." He then took
leave of her with an affectionate look, which fell as a sunbeam upon
her desolate heart, and, leading the boy by the hand, turned quickly
toward the door. She looked after them in silence and with clasped
hands. As the door opened, the emperor turned again with a parting
but melancholy glance.

Josephine was again alone. With a groan she fell on her knees, and
lifting her face toward heaven, she cried, "My God, protect--
preserve him! Whatever I may suffer, oh, let him be happy!"



CHAPTER XLV.

TALLEYRAND.


For a week the emperor had scarcely left his cabinet; bending over
his maps, he anxiously examined the position of his army, and that
of the constantly advancing allies. Every day couriers with news of
fresh disasters arrived at Paris; rumors of invading armies
terrified the citizens, and disturbed the emperor's temper. It was
impossible for the government to conceal the misfortunes which had
befallen France from the beginning of the new year. The people knew
that Blucher had crossed the Rhine, and, victoriously penetrating
France, on the 16th of January had taken up his quarters at Nancy.
It was publicly known that a still larger army of the allies,
commanded by Prince Schwartzenberg, had advanced through
Switzerland, Lorraine, and Alsace, taken the fortresses, overcome
all resistance, and that both generals had sworn to appear in front
of Paris by February, and conquer the capital. All Paris knew this,
and longed for peace as the only way to put an end to the sufferings
of the nation. The strength and the superiority of the allied army
could not be concealed, and it was felt to be impossible to expel
the powerful invaders.

Napoleon himself at length saw the necessity of peace, and,
conquering his proud heart, he sent the Duke de Vicenza, his
faithful friend Caulaincourt, to the headquarters of the allies, to
request them to send plenipotentiaries to a peace congress. The
allies accepted this proposition, but they declared that, despite
the peace congress, the course of the war could not in the least be
interrupted; that the operations in the field must be vigorously
continued. Napoleon responded to this by decreeing a new
conscription, ordering all able-bodied men in France to be enrolled
in the national armies. The terrors of war were, therefore,
approaching, and yet Paris was in hope that peace would be
concluded; Caulaincourt was still at the headquarters of the allies,
treating with them about the congress.

Early on the morning of the 23d of January, another dispatch from
Caulaincourt to Maret was received at Paris, and the minister
immediately repaired to the Tuileries, to communicate it to the
emperor. This dispatch confirmed all the disastrous tidings which
had arrived from day to day, and convinced Napoleon and his minister
that the vast superiority of the allied armies rendered it
impossible for the emperor to rid his country of the formidable
invaders.

"Maret," said Napoleon, gloomily, "come and look at this map. What
do you see here?"

"Sire, a number of colored pins extending in all directions."

"And a small number of white pins. Well these are my troops; the
colored pins designate the armies of my enemies. They are allied;
but I--I have no longer a single ally at this hour; I stand alone,
and have to meet eight different armies. See here, Maret: there is,
in the first place, the grand army of the Russians, Austrians,
Bavarians, and Wurtembergers, commanded by Prince Schwartzenberg,
and accompanied by the allied monarchs; next, there is the grand
Prussian army, with the Russian and Saxon corps, under the command
of Blucher, the hussar; here stand the Swedes under Bernadotte,
reenforced by Russian and English corps, and the German troops of
the Confederation of the Rhine; there comes the Anglo-Batavian army;
here, farther to the South, is Wellington's army, composed of
English, Spaniards, and Portuguese; there, in Italy, is an Austrian
corps under Bellegarde; at no great distance from it, the Neapolitan
corps under the King of Naples; and, finally, here at Lyons, is
another Austrian corps under Bubna. The armies of Schwartzenberg,
Blucher, and Bernadotte, are about six hundred thousand strong. And
now see what forces I have--I cannot call them armies! Augereau's
corps is stationed near Lyons; Ney, Marmont, and Mortier, are with
their corps here between the Meuse and the Seine; Sebastiani and
Macdonald are with the remnants of their corps on the frontier of
the Netherlands. Maret, my troops are hardly one hundred thousand;
the allies, therefore, are six to one."

"Sire," said Maret, "even a military genius like that of your
majesty, will be unable to cope with such odds, and it reflects no
dishonor on the bravest to submit to the decrees of Fate."

"It is true," murmured Napoleon, throwing himself into his easy-
chair, with his arm leaning on the desk, and his head bent forward--
"it is true, I have no sufficient force to oppose them; their armies
are six times as strong as mine, and, unless fortune greatly favors
me, I must yield!"

"But fortune has forsaken us, sire, and we have no strength left.
Yield, therefore, sire; submit to a stern necessity; comply with the
anxious demand of France; restore peace to your people--to the
world! Do not endanger, without prospect of success, your precious
life, which is necessary to France--your throne, threatened by
foreign and domestic foes. All is at stake. Save France, save the
throne! Make peace at any cost!"

While Maret was speaking, Napoleon slowly raised his head, and sent
a flaming glance on his minister. Now that Maret was silent, the
emperor quickly took up an open book from his desk and handed it to
Maret. "I will not answer you, duke," said Napoleon, "but Marmontel
shall. Read this. Read it aloud."

Maret read: "'I know of nothing more sublime than the resolution
taken by a monarch living in our times, who would be buried under
the ruins of his throne rather than accept terms to which a king
should not listen; he was possessed of too proud a soul to descend
lower than unavoidable misfortune. He knew full well that courage
may restore strength and lustre to a crown, but that cowardice and
dishonor never can.'" [Footnote: Marmontel, "Grandeur et Decadence
des Romains," ch. v.]

"That is my reply, Maret," exclaimed Napoleon. "The example of Louis
XIV. shall teach me to perish rather than humiliate myself."

"Sire," said Maret, solemnly, "Marmontel is wrong; there is
something more sublime than to be buried under the ruins of a
throne--a king sacrificing his own greatness to the welfare of a
state that must perish with him."

"Never!" exclaimed the emperor, impetuously. "I can die beneath the
ruins of my throne, but I cannot sign my own humiliation! Maret, I
have made up my mind: I will continue this struggle to the last: I
will conquer or die! Tomorrow I set out for the army. Ah, I want to
see whether that drunken general of hussars, Blucher, shall not
yield to me, notwithstanding his crazy cavalry tricks; whether
Schwartzenberg, my faithless pupil, who had learned the art of war
from me, will meet me in a pitched battle; and whether Bernadotte,
my rebellious subject, dare look me in the face. Maret, the decisive
struggle is at hand. I will take the field, save Paris, and conquer
the enemy. I must call upon all the men of France to defend the
sacred soil of our country, and convert every house into a castle,
every village into a fortress, so that my enemies shall have to
wrest every inch of ground from us at a vast sacrifice. Not another
word about peace! Every thing is ready. Troops are hurrying forward
from Spain to fill up my army; in a few days they will be here.
Between the Seine and the Marne all my forces will unite and put a
stop to the advance of the allies upon Paris. We shall occupy a
position by which it will be easy for us to divide, disperse, and
crush the enemy. Here, in the plain between these rivers, I shall
march along the Aube, scatter the allied army, hurl most of my
troops at one of its wings, and, by skilful manoeuvres, compel the
other wing to fall back. The enemy must retreat; I shall profit by
it, and when I have gained a great battle over him, I can impose my
own terms; I have then conquered an HONORABLE peace for France--one
that we can subscribe to without blushing. Ah, I see a brilliant
future! It is time to begin. My eagles are ascending; they are not
ravens or bats--they are soaring to the sun." As the emperor uttered
these words his soul illuminated his face; he was again the
conqueror, confiding in his star.

Maret looked anxiously, but admiringly, at Napoleon's face, in which
great resolutions were beaming, and he read there an assurance and
determination that nothing could change. "You have made up your
mind, then, sire: the war is to go on, and the peace congress is not
to meet?"

"On the contrary," exclaimed Napoleon, smiling, "let it meet, if the
allies wish it. While Caulaincourt, Metternich, and Hardenberg, are
dictating terms of peace with their pens, we shall do so with our
swords, and we shall soon see which will make the more progress. But
let us now commence with some movements of peace. We must be on good
terms with Spain and Rome. Let Ferdinand return as King to Spain,
and as such become my ally. I shall also open the doors of Pope
Pius's prison at Fontainebleau; let him return as pope to Rome, and,
as God's vicegerent, be on my side. Maret, here are already two
allies. In order to conquer, but one is wanting; and it is for you,
Maret, to procure it."

"Sire, what is the name of this ally?" asked the Duke de Bassano, in
amazement.

"Money! money! and, for the third time, money! Procure me five
millions in cash, and I can add one hundred thousand men to my
army."

"Ah, sire, our chests are empty!" sighed Maret.

"But I must have money," replied Napoleon, vehemently. "Without it
no war can be waged--no victory gained. Five millions, Maret; I need
them; I must have them!"

Maret looked thoughtful. Suddenly his face kindled, and his whole
frame shook with joy. "Sire, your majesty asks for five millions?"

"Yes, five millions, to begin with."

"Well, then, sire, I can tell you where to find them, and perhaps
more."

"Where?"

"Sire, will you pledge me your imperial word not to betray that it
was I who told you where to find this money?"

"Certainly, Maret."

"Listen, sire; but permit me to whisper what I do not wish even the
walls to hear." He bent close to the emperor's ear.

Napoleon listened with breathless attention, and nodded repeatedly.
"You really believe this to be true, Maret?" he then asked, eagerly.

"Sire, I affirm it to be true. It is a secret known only to three
persons! It was betrayed to me to gain me over by an act of
treachery--but that is altogether another matter; the fact is
sufficient."

"And this fact is, that I shall find with my mother the millions
that I need?" said the emperor. "Maret, if that is so, I shall have
them this very day."

"Your majesty believes so? Madame Letitia--"

"My mother is avaricious, you wish to say? It is true, her extreme
economy has often vexed me; to-day it gladdens my heart; for, thanks
to her parsimony, I shall find with her what I need for my army. She
will deny these millions to me, to be sure; but you told me where to
look for them, and I pledge you my word I know how to find and take
them! Hush, not another word! I shall have what I want within an
hour. Go now, Maret. You will meet the Prince de Benevento in the
antechamber. Send him to me. I have to address a few parting words
to M. de Talleyrand."

The emperor stood in the middle of the magnificently furnished
cabinet when the Prince de Benevento slowly opened the door and
entered. The prince bore the emperor's piercing look with a
perfectly composed air. Not a feature of his aristocratic
countenance expressed any anxiety and his smile did not for an
instant vanish from his lips. With a sort of careless bearing he
approached the emperor, who allowed him to come near him, still
watching every expression of his countenance.

"I wished to see you," he said, "in order to tell you that I shall
set out for the army the day after to-morrow." Talleyrand bowed, but
made no reply. "Do you desire to accompany me?" asked the emperor,
vehemently.

"Sire, what should I do at the headquarters of the army?" said
Talleyrand, shrugging his shoulders. "Your majesty knows well that I
could be of very little service in the army--that I am able only to
wield the pen."

"And the tongue!" added Napoleon. "But before leaving Paris I will
give you some wholesome advice; bridle both your tongue and your pen
a little better than you have done of late. I know that you will not
shrink from any treachery, and that you are the first rat that will
desert the sinking ship; but consider what you are doing. The ship
is not yet in danger, and, spreading her sails, she will move
proudly on her way."

"I hope she will have favorable winds and deep water," said
Talleyrand, bowing carelessly.

Napoleon looked at him with hatred and rage. These equivocal words--
the calm, cold tone in which they were uttered, disturbed the
emperor, and his blood boiled. "I believe in the sincerity of your
wish," he said, "although there are many who assert that you are a
traitor. I have given you fair warning; now prove to those who are
accusing you, that they are doing you injustice. No intrigues! You
will be closely watched. Beware!" Talleyrand bowed again, and his
face still retained its indifferent, smiling expression. "Listen now
to what I have to say," added Napoleon. "Prior to my departure I
desire to put an end to the dissensions with Rome and Spain. The
pope will leave Fontainebleau to-morrow and return to Rome. The
Infante of Spain, too, is at liberty to return to his country and
ascend the throne of his ancestors. Go to-morrow to Valencay. It was
you who conveyed Ferdinand thither; you must, therefore, open the
doors of his prison that you locked."

"Sire, I thank your majesty for the favor which you desire to confer
on me," said Talleyrand, gravely. "But it was not I who arrested the
sacred person of the legitimate King of Spain; it was not I who
dared to deprive him of his rights--nay, his very liberty. I acted
only as the obedient servant of my master, for your majesty's orders
made me the jailer of the Infante of Spain."

Napoleon approached Talleyrand, and his flaming eyes seemed to
pierce his soul. "What!" he shouted, in a loud voice. "You wish to
give yourself now the semblance of innocence in this affair? What!
You only executed my orders, and I made you the jailer of the
infante! Who was it, then, that urged me to do this? Who was it that
told me it was indispensable for me to crush the head of this
Spanish hydra? Who wished even to persuade me to more energetic
measures than imprisonment, in order to get rid of the royal family
of Spain? Who told me at that time that it would be wiser and better
for the welfare of Europe to cut the Gordian knot instead of untying
it? Do you remember who did all this?"

Talleyrand made no reply. His countenance still exhibiting the same
indifferent composure, he seemed scarcely to have heard the rebukes
of the emperor. His head slightly bent forward, his eyes half
closed, his lips compressed, he stood leaning with one hand on the
back of a chair, and with the other playing with his lace-frill.
This conduct greatly augmented the emperor's anger. "Will you reply
to me?" thundered Napoleon, stamping the floor, and so near to
Talleyrand's foot that the prince softly drew it back. "Will you
reply to me?"

Talleyrand looked at the emperor with immovable calmness. "Sire," he
said, slowly, "I do not know what your majesty means."

"You do not know what I mean?" echoed Napoleon. "If you do not,
listen!" Unable longer to overcome his anger, he advanced toward
Talleyrand, and the prince drew back. As if beside himself, the
emperor raised his clinched fists, and held them toward the prince's
face, moving through the large room, while Talleyrand, looking the
emperor full in the face, retreated, taking care to get nearer the
door.

"I will tell you that you are a traitor," cried Napoleon, rushing
forward--"a traitor who would like to deny to-day what he did
yesterday, because he believes that another era is dawning, and that
he must betray his master before the cock crows for the first time.
You wish to deny that it was you who urged me to imprison the
Spanish prince? You are impudent enough to tell me that to my face?"
So saying, the emperor's clinched fists almost touched the cheek of
the prince, who was still receding, and now noticed with a feeling
of relief that he had reached the end of his dangerous promenade.

"Do you really dare deny your past in so barefaced a manner?" cried
Napoleon, still holding his fist so close to Talleyrand's cheek that
he almost felt it.

The prince softly put his hand behind his back, and fortunately
succeeded in seizing the door-knob. He opened the door with a hasty
jerk so wide that the gentlemen assembled in the anteroom enjoyed
the spectacle of Napoleon with uplifted fists threatening his
minister.

"Sire," said Talleyrand, in a calm voice, "I shall not dare say any
thing; for I know of no reply to what your majesty has said." The
prince pointed with a sarcastic smile to the clinched fists of the
emperor, and, without complying with the requirements of usual
ceremony, he hastened, more rapidly than his lame foot generally
permitted him to do, through the antechamber, saluting the gentlemen
as he passed with a wave of his hand and a smile. On stepping into
the outer room he accelerated his pace, gliding down-stairs as
softly as a cat, and hurrying across the hall to his carriage.

"Home," he said aloud, "at a gallop!" When the horses started,
Talleyrand leaned back, and said to himself, "This was our last
adieu! I shall take good care not to meet Napoleon again, provided
he is stupid enough to give me time for making my dispositions."

The emperor in the mean time, half ashamed of himself, reentered the
cabinet, and locked the door. Angry as a lion in his cage, he paced
to and fro with quick steps, when suddenly a gentle voice behind him
said, "Sire, pray be so gracious as to listen to me!"

The emperor turned with an angry gesture, and saw the Duke do Rovigo
standing near the open door of the antechamber. "Well, Savary, what
do yo want?" he asked in a faint voice. "Shut the door, and come
here. Speak! What do you want?"

"Sire, to implore you to be on your guard," said the duke. "Your
majesty has just had a violent scene with the Prince de Benevento."

"Who told you so?"

"Sire, we could distinctly hear your majesty's voice in the
antechamber; and, when the prince opened the door, the rest, like
myself, saw your threatening attitude. In an hour all Paris will
know it."

"Well?"

"Sire, the Prince de Benevento is not the man to forgot an insult,
and it will mortify him doubly that the world will hear of it."

"Let it mortify him!" cried Napoleon. "All of you have insinuated to
me that Talleyrand is a traitor, deserving punishment. I have
chastised him; that is all."

"Sire, the chastisement was either too severe, or not severe
enough," said Savary, gravely. "Had it been too severe, the generous
heart of your majesty would think of offering him some satisfaction;
but I know Talleyrand, and am firmly convinced of the truth of my
statement--I pronounce him a plotter of dangerous intrigues. Your
majesty therefore cannot chastise him too severely; and, having gone
so far, you must now go still farther."

"How so? What do you mean?"

"Sire, I mean that your majesty, instead of allowing the Prince de
Benevento to return home, ought to send him to Vincennes, and
recommend him to the special care of your friend General Daumesnil."

"Ah, I ought to have him arrested!" cried Napoleon, shrugging his
shoulders. "I ought to make a martyr out of a traitor!"

"No, sire, punish a traitor, neither more nor less! I know that
Talleyrand is one. He is in secret communication with the
legitimists, corresponding with the Bourbons, through other hands;
at his house, meetings of malcontents and secret royalists are held
every day; there the fires are kindled that will soon burst into
devouring energy, unless your majesty extinguish them in time. You
have disdained to regain Talleyrand by promises or honors. You have
insulted him, and he will revenge himself, if the power of doing so
be left him. Sire, I venture to remind your majesty of Machiavel,
'One ought never to make half an enemy.'"

"It is true," murmured Napoleon to himself, thoughtfully, "nothing
is more dangerous than such half enmities. Under the mask of
friendship they betray us the more surely."

"Hence, sire, pray tear this mask from Talleyrand's treacherous
face. Meet him as an open enemy. Then either his enmity will be
destroyed by terror, or he will betray his intentions."

"I lack proof to convict him," said Napoleon, in a hesitating and
wavering tone.

"Well, yes," exclaimed Savary, "you have no proof, but there cannot
be the least doubt as to the intrigues which he is bold enough to
plot. The opportunity is too favorable that he should not endeavor
to embrace it. Sire, I should like to urge the example of the great
police-minister of Louis XV. Whenever M. de Sartines was on the eve
of a festival, or any great public ceremony, he sent for all
suspicious persons to whom his attention was particularly directed,
and said to them, 'I have no charge against you at present, but to-
morrow it may be different. Habit you know has power over you, and
you are unlikely to resist temptation. It would be incumbent upon me
to treat you with extreme rigor. For your sake, as well as mine, be
kind enough therefore to repair for a few days to a prison, the
choice of which I leave to yourselves.' The suspected persons
willingly complied with his request, and no arrests were made."

"You may be right; M. de Sartines was undoubtedly a sagacious
police-minister," said the emperor, musingly. "His precaution is
good for those who are afraid; but I am not! If I conquer my
enemies, I thereby trample in the dust this vile serpent, too, that
would sting me, and then would crawl as a worm at my feet. If I
yield to my enemies, let the structure which I have built fall upon
me. It will not matter then whether Talleyrand's hand, too, broke
off a piece of the wall or not; it would have fallen without him.
Not another word about it, Savary! My carriage--I will ride to my
mother!"

On the evening of the same day, the Prince de Benevento left his
palace, entered a hackney-coach, and was driven to one of the remote
streets of the Faubourg St. Germain. He stopped in front of a small,
mean-looking house; and, when the coach had gone, the prince knocked
three times in a peculiar manner at the street door. It opened, and
he cautiously entered. No one was to be seen in the lighted hall;
but Talleyrand seemed perfectly familiar with the locality; and
crossing, without hesitation, a long passage, he ascended the
thickly-carpeted staircase. Here was another locked door, beside
which was a bell, which the prince rang three times. The door was
opened, and he walked through a long corridor. The passage widened,
and the prince was now in a brilliant hall, decorated with paintings
and gildings. The entrance through the small house was plainly but a
circuitous road to one of the palaces of the Faubourg St. Germain
where the royalists were plotting mischief. At the end of this hall
was a portiere, in front of which was a richly-liveried footman.
Talleyrand whispered a few words; the servant bowed and opened the
door. The prince now entered a saloon, furnished in the most
magnificent and tasteful style, where another liveried attendant was
waiting. "The Countess du Cayla?" asked the Prince de Benevento.

"She is in her cabinet. Shall I announce your highness?"

"It is unnecessary."

He quickly approached and knocked softly at the door of the cabinet.
A sweet voice bade him come in. Before him stood a young lady who
welcomed him with a charming smile, but with an air of ill-concealed
amazement. "Oh, the Prince de Benevento!" she exclaimed, merrily.
"You come to me to-day; but yesterday, when I went to you to bring
you greetings from our august master, King Louis XVIII., you feigned
not to understand whom I wished to speak of, and imposed silence."

"To-day I come to make amends for what I did yesterday, countess,"
said Talleyrand, with his graceful kindness. "Be good enough to
inform his majesty King Louis XVIII. that he may henceforth count
upon my services and my zealous devotedness. I shall assist him in
opening the road to Paris, and do all I can that his majesty may
soon be able to make his entrance into the capital of his kingdom."

"Then you have forsaken Napoleon openly and unreservedly!" exclaimed
the Countess du Cayla, the zealous agent of the Count de Lille, whom
at that time none but the royalists secretly called King Louis
XVIII. "You are, then, one of us, now and forever?"

"Yes, I consider myself a member of your party," said Talleyrand,
"and at heart I was always one of the most faithful and zealous
servants of the king. I can prove it, for it was I who led Napoleon,
step by step, frequently even in spite of his reluctance, to the
brink of ruin, on which he is standing now, and I am ready to give
him a last thrust to plunge him into the abyss. The emperor has been
guilty of great folly to-day. He ought to have had me arrested, but
he failed to do so. For this mistake I shall punish him by profiting
by my liberty in the service of his majesty the king. Let us
consider, therefore, countess, what we ought to do for the speedy
return of King Louis XVIII. to Paris."

"Yes, let us consider that," exclaimed the countess; "and if you
have no objection, prince, we shall allow the faithful friends of
his majesty to participate in the consultation. Upward of one
hundred friends are already assembled in the large saloon, and they
are doubtless astonished at my prolonged absence. Come, prince! You
will meet an old friend among your new friends."

"Who is it, countess?"

"The Duke d'Otranto!"

"What? Is he here? Has he dared to return?"

"He has, with the emperor's sister, the Princess Eliza Bacciochi;
and he is believed to be with her in the south of France, in order
to await the course of events. But he has secretly and in disguise
come to Paris, in order, like you, to offer his services to King
Louis. Late events seem to have converted him into a very zealous
royalist, and he openly admits his conversion. He boasts of having
said to the Princess Eliza: 'Madame, there is but one way of
salvation: the emperor must be killed on the spot.'" [Footnote:
"Memoires du Duo de Rovigo," vol. vi., p. 352.]

"In truth, he is right," said Talleyrand, smiling; "that would
speedily put an end to all embarrassments. Well, the emperor intends
to join the army; perhaps, a hostile bullet may become our ally, and
save us further trouble. If not, we shall speak of the matter
hereafter. Permit me, countess, to conduct you to the saloon."



CHAPTER XLVI.

MADAME LETITIA.


Profound silence reigned in the palace of "Madame Mere." It was
noonday, and the male and female servants, as well as the ladies of
honor of the emperor's mother, had left the palace to take elsewhere
the dinner which Madame Letitia refused to give them, and for which
she paid them every month a ridiculously small sum; only the two
cooks, whom madame, notwithstanding her objections, had to keep, in
compliance with the express orders of the emperor, were in the
kitchen, but under the vigilant supervision of old Cordelia, the
faithful servant who had accompanied madame from Corsica to France,
and who, since then, notwithstanding all vicissitudes, had remained
her companion. Cordelia not only watched the cooks and gave them
what was needed for preparing the meals, but, as soon as the dishes
were handed to the servant who was to carry them to the table, she
hastened after him in order to prevent him from putting anything
aside. When Cordelia went with the servant, she opened, with an air
of self-importance, a cupboard fixed in the wall of the corridor,
near the dining-room, of which she alone possessed the key, and, as
soon as the servant returned with the fragments of the dinner, she
locked them in this cupboard with the wine and bread; only on
Sundays did the dinner-table of Madame Mere provide any thing for
the servants.

To-day, however, was not Sunday, and hence Madame Cordelia herself
had placed a bottle, half filled with wine remaining from
yesterday's dinner, on the table, at which no one but Madame Letitia
was to seat herself, one of the ladies of honor, who always dined
with her, having been excused on account of indisposition. Madame
Letitia was therefore alone to-day; it was unnecessary for her to
submit to the restraint of etiquette, and she yielded with genuine
relief to an unwonted freedom. She was in her sitting-room, busily
engaged in taking from a large basket, the plebeian appearance of
which contrasted strangely with the magnificent Turkish carpet on
which it stood, the folded clothes which the washerwoman had just
delivered. The appearance of Madame Mere herself was also in some
contrast with the gorgeous surroundings amid which she moved.

The room was furnished with princely magnificence, the walls being
hung with heavy satin, and curtains of the same description, adorned
with gold embroideries, suspended on both sides of the high windows;
the richly-carved chairs and sofas were covered with purple velvet,
and the tables had marble slabs of Florentine workmanship. A
chandelier of rock-crystal hung in solid gold chains from the
ceiling; masterly paintings in broad, rich frames were on the silken
walls; Japan vases stood on gilded consoles, and numerous costly
ornaments added to the splendor of the aristocratic apartment.

Madame Letitia, standing beside the wash-basket, presented a marked
contrast with all this. Her tall figure was wrapped in a light white
muslin dress trimmed below with rosettes, and from which protruded a
rather large foot, covered with a cotton stocking, and encased in a
coarse, worn-out shoe. A sash of rose-colored silk, with faded
embroidery, encircled her waist; a lace shawl, crossed over her
bosom, and tied in a careless knot on her back, enveloped her neck
and full shoulders. Her hair, falling down in heavy gray ringlets,
was surmounted by a sort of turban, and a large bouquet of
artificial roses, fastened above her forehead, was her only
ornament.

There was nothing therefore imposing in the appearance of the
emperor's mother; but still there was something noble about her, and
that was her face. It was of imperishable beauty; its outlines were
classic and of great dignity, and her eyes, which were of the deep,
incomparable color which she had bequeathed to her son the emperor,
possessed still the lustre of youth; her lips were fresh, and her
teeth faultless; not a single wrinkle furrowed her forehead, and her
finely-curved nose added to the imperious expression of her
features. The whole bearing of Madame Letitia indicated a lofty and
yet a gentle spirit. He who beheld only this form, with its strange
dress, could not refrain from smiling; but a glance at the beautiful
and dignified face filled the beholder with feelings of reverence
and admiration.

Madame Letitia, as we have said, was engaged in unpacking the
clothes just returned by the laundress. This was an occupation which
she never intrusted to any of her attendants, but in which she could
generally engage only secretly and at night, after she had dismissed
them; for the emperor made it incumbent on his mother's ladies of
honor to observe the strictest etiquette, and forbade her to occupy
herself with affairs improper for the mother of an emperor. Hence,
Madame Letitia was obliged, for the most part, to lead the life of
an aristocratic lady, embroider a little, ride out, have her
companions read to her, receive visitors, and pass the day in ennui.
Only at night, when the ladies left the palace--when etiquette
permitted Madame Letitia to retire with her maid Cordelia into her
bedroom--only then commenced her active life. At that time madame
conversed with her confidantes about her household affairs; she
decided what dishes should be prepared for the following day. and,
when all were asleep and she was sure of being watched by no one,
she proceeded with her faithful Cordelia to the cupboard of the
corridor to examine the remnants saved from dinner, and to decide
whether they might not be served up again.

On this day she was free from the restraints of etiquette. The lady
on service had been taken ill; and her second lady of honor, not
anticipating such an event, had obtained leave to take a trip to
Versailles. Madame Letitia, therefore, was at liberty to dispose of
her time as she pleased; she could fearlessly indulge in occupations
entirely contrary to etiquette, and she embraced this rare
opportunity in the course of the forenoon of examining the clothes,
which otherwise would have had this honor only after nightfall. But
the consequence was, that the usually serene forehead of Madame
Letitia grew dark, because she was by no means satisfied with the
performance of her laundress. Just as her busy hands took up another
piece from the basket and unfolded it, the door behind her opened.
She heard it, but did not turn, knowing very well that it was
Cordelia who entered her room, for no one else had the right of
taking such a liberty without being duly and formally announced.

"Cordelia," she exclaimed, "Cordelia, come and look at these towels
of the cook; all of them are already threadbare, and it is but a
year since I bought them. You ought to tell the cook very
emphatically that she should be more careful and not ruin my towels.
Do you hear, Cordelia?"

"Cordelia is not here," said a grave, angry voice behind her. Madame
Letitia started, and a deep blush suffused her cheeks. Close behind
her stood the emperor, fixing his stern eyes on his mother.

"The emperor!" she murmured, yielding to the first movement of
terror, and sinking back on her chair.

"Yes, the emperor!" said Napoleon, approaching and casting angry
glances on the clothes spread out on the table. "The emperor pays a
visit to his mother, and finds to his amazement that little respect
is felt here for his orders, and that it is deemed unnecessary to
comply with his wishes. Ah, madame, how can the emperor expect the
people to obey him everywhere and unconditionally, when his own
family set an example of disobedience, and openly show that the
emperor's orders are indifferent to them?"

"When have I shown indifference to them?" asked Madame Letitia,
casting a despairing glance on the basket.

"You show it at this very hour," said the emperor, sternly, "and
every thing proves that you are in the habit of disobeying my
wishes. I met with no footmen in the outer antechamber; I did not
see the chamberlain of your imperial highness in the adjoining
room."

"It is noonday, and they have gone to dinner."

"Ah, it is true, your imperial highness directs your court to take
their meals at other houses," exclaimed the emperor, with a
sarcastic smile. "You are paying board-money to the chamberlain, the
valet de chambre, and the footman, so that it is unnecessary for you
to feed them. But where is your waiting-lady, madame? Did I not
issue orders that etiquette should be observed at my mother's
palace, and that your imperial highness should always have your lady
of honor with you?"

"The Duchess d'Abrantes was suddenly taken sick this morning, and
had to return to her house."

"In that case the second lady of honor ought to have taken her
place."

"Yesterday I gave permission to the Countess de Castries to go to a
family-festival to be celebrated at Versailles, and she went early
this morning."

"Every thing, then, is here just as it ought to be!" cried the
emperor, indignantly, thrusting the basket with his foot. "It is in
strict accordance with my wishes that your house is empty, that you
are so occupied, that you are alone, and that there was no one to
announce my visit?"

"But Cordelia certainly was there, and quite ready to attend to
this."

"Yes, she was," cried the emperor, "and it is true she wished to do
me that honor. But I would not allow her, and preferred coming to
you without being announced. In truth, it would be too ludicrous if
the old Sibyl had served the emperor as mistress of ceremonies."

"She formerly did him far greater and more difficult service," said
Madame Letitia, in a firm and calm voice, for she had fully
recovered her presence of mind, and, rising from her easy-chair,
proudly bridled herself up and turned toward the emperor her face,
which now had resumed its expression of noble dignity and composure.

"When I first saw your countenance," she said, calmly, "I was
frightened, and greeted you in my terror as the emperor. Pardon me
for it! I ought to have remembered that when the emperor crosses the
threshold of this house, he ceases to be emperor, and is simply
Napoleon Bonaparte, who, as it behooves a son, comes to pay his
respects to his mother. Hence, I ought to have greeted you at once
as my son, and if I did not, it was because I was frightened, for I
am not accustomed to see anyone enter here without being announced.
Now, I have overcome my terror, I bid you welcome with all my heart,
my dear son!" She offered her hand to Napoleon so proudly that the
emperor, scarcely aware of what he did, pressed the small white hand
of his mother to his lips.

A gentle smile lit up the beautiful face of Madame Letitia. "I
forgive you also your vehement words, my son," she said; "and how
could I be angry with you for forgetting for a moment that you are
here only my son, when I myself remembered only that you are the
emperor? Let us, therefore, make peace again. Napoleon, my son, I
bid you welcome once more with all my heart."

"Even, my mother, if I should come to ask my dinner of you?"
inquired the emperor, smiling.

Madame Letitia was silent for a moment. "Even then!" she said, after
a pause. "My son will be content with what I am able to give, and he
will pardon an old woman, who attaches little value to the pleasures
of the table, if she has, on account of her health, but a very plain
dinner."

"That is to say, we shall have the national dish of Corsica--rice
dumplings baked in oil!" exclaimed the emperor, laughing.

"So it is," said madame, merrily. "Ah, I see my son has not
forgotten his native Corsica; then he will also have a kind look for
poor old Cordelia, who, both in good and evil days, has been the
most faithful and honest servant of our house, who frequently
carried Napoleon Bon