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Title: Berlin and Sans-Souci; Or, Frederick the Great and His Friends
Author: Mühlbach, L. (Luise)
Language: English
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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 "Berlin and Sans-Souci; Or, Frederick the Great and His Friends" ***

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BERLIN AND SANS-SOUCI

OR,

FREDERICK THE GREAT AND HIS FRIENDS


An Historical Romance


BY

L. MUHLBACH

AUTHOR OF JOSEPH II. AND HIS COURT, FREDERICK THE GREAT AND HIS
COURT, MERCHANT OF BERLIN, ETC.


TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY MRS. CHAPMAN COLEMAN AND HER DAUGHTERS



CONTENTS.


BOOK I.

CHAPTER
     I.   The Alchemist's Incantation
    II.   The Old Courtier
   III.   The Morning Hours of a King
    IV.   The Pardoned Courtier
     V.   How the Princess Ulrica became Queen of Sweden
    VI.   The Tempter
   VII.   The First Interview
  VIII.   Signora Barbarina
    IX.   The King and Barbarina
     X.   Eckhof
    XI.   A Life Question
   XII.   Superstition and Piety


 BOOK II.

     I.   The Two Sisters
    II.   The Tempter
   III.   The Wedding-Festival of the Princess Ulrica
    IV.   Behind the Curtain
     V.   A Shame-faced King
    VI.   The First Rendezvous
   VII.   On The Balcony
  VIII.   The First Cloud
    IX.   The Council of War
     X.   The Cloister of Camens
    XI.   The King and the Abbot
   XII.   The Unknown Abbot
  XIII.   The Levee of a Dancer
   XIV.   The Studio
    XV.   The Confession
   XVI.   The Traitor
  XVII.   The Silver-Ware
 XVIII.   The First Flash of Lightning


 BOOK III.

     I.   The Actors in Halle
    II.   The Student Lupinus
   III.   The Disturbance in the Theatre
    IV.   The Friends
     V.   The Order of the King
    VI.   The Battle of Sohr
   VII.   After the Battle
  VIII.   A Letter Pregnant with Fate
    IX.   The Return to Berlin
     X.   Job's Post
    XI.   The Undeceived
   XII.   Trenck's First Flight
  XIII.   The Flight
   XIV.   "I will"
    XV.   The Last Struggle for Power
   XVI.   The Disturbance in the Theatre
  XVII.   Sans-Souci

 BOOK IV.

     I.   The Promise
    II.   Voltaire and his Royal Friend
   III.   The Confidence-Table
    IV.   The Confidential Dinner
     V.   Rome Sauvee
    VI.   A Woman's Heart
   VII.   Madame von Cocceji
  VIII.   Voltaire
    IX.   A Day in the Life of Voltaire
     X.   The Lovers
    XI.   Barbarina
   XII.   Intrigues
  XIII.   The Last Struggle



BERLIN AND SANS-SOUCI

OR,

FREDERICK THE GREAT AND HIS FRIENDS.



BOOK I.


CHAPTER I.

THE ALCHEMIST'S INCANTATION.


It was a lovely May morning! The early rays of the sun had not
withered the blossoms, or paled the fresh green of the garden of
Charlottenburg, but quickened them into new life and beauty. The
birds sang merrily in the groves. The wind, with light whispers,
swept through the long avenues of laurel and orange trees, which
surrounded the superb greenhouses and conservatories, and scattered
far and wide throughout the garden clouds of intoxicating perfume.

The garden was quiet and solitary, and the closed shutters of the
castle proved that not only the king, but the entire household, from
the dignified and important chamberlain to the frisky garden-boy,
still slept. Suddenly the silence was broken by the sound of hasty
steps. A young man, in simple citizen costume, ran up the great
avenue which led from the garden gate to the conservatory; then
cautiously looking about him, he drew near to a window of the lower
story in a wing of the castle. The window was closed and secured
with inside shutters; a small piece of white paper was seen between
the glass and the shutter. A passer-by might have supposed this was
accidental, but the young burgher knew that this little piece of
paper was a signal. His light stroke upon the window disturbed for a
moment the deathlike silence around, but produced no other effect;
he struck again, more loudly, and listened breathlessly. The
shutters were slowly and cautiously opened from within, and behind
the glass was seen the wan, sick face of Fredersdorf, the private
secretary and favorite of the king. When he saw the young man, his
features assumed a more animated expression, and a hopeful smile
played upon his lip; hastily opening the window, he gave the youth
his hand. "Good-morning, Joseph," said he; "I have not slept during
the whole night, I was so impatient to receive news from you. Has he
shown himself?"

Joseph bowed his head sadly. "He has not yet shown himself," he
replied in a hollow voice; "all our efforts have been in vain; we
have again sacrificed time, money, and strength. He has not yet
appeared."

"Alas!" cried Fredersdorf, "who could believe it so difficult to
move the devil to appear in person, when he makes his presence known
daily and hourly through the deeds of men? I must and will see him!
He MUST and SHALL make known this mystery. He shall teach me HOW and
of WHAT to make gold."

"He will yield at last!" cried Joseph, solemnly.

"What do you say? Will we succeed? Is not all hope lost?"

"All is not lost: the astrologer heard this night, during his
incantations, the voice of the devil, and saw for one moment the
glare of his eye, though he could not see his person."

"He saw the glare of his eye!" repeated Fredersdorf joyfully. "Oh,
we will yet compel him to show himself wholly. He must teach us to
make gold. And what said the voice of the devil to our astrologer?"

"He said these words: 'Would you see my face and hear words of
golden wisdom from my lips? so offer me, when next the moon is full
and shimmers like liquid gold in the heavens, a black ram; and if
you shed his blood for me, and if not one white hair can be
discovered upon him, I will appear and be subject to you.'"

"Another month of waiting, of patience, and of torture," murmured
Fredersdorf. "Four weeks to search for this black ram without a
single white hair; it will be difficult to find!"

"Oh, the world is large; we will send our messengers in every
quarter; we will find it. Those who truly seek, find at last what
they covet. But we will require much gold, and we are suffering now,
unhappily, for the want of it."

"We? whom do you mean by we?" asked Fredersdorf, with a contemptuous
shrug of the shoulders.

"I, in my own person, above all others, need gold. You can well
understand, my brother, that a student as I am has no superfluous
gold, even to pay his tailor's bills, much less to buy black rams.
Captain Kleist, in whose house the assembly meets to-night, has
already offered up far more valuable things than a score of black
rams; he has sacrificed his health, his rest, and his domestic
peace. His beautiful wife finds it strange, indeed, that he should
seek the devil every night everywhere else than in her lovely
presence."

"Yes, I understand that! The bewitching Madame Kleist must ever
remain the vain-glorious and coquettish Louise von Schwerin;
marriage has infused no water in her veins."

"No! but it has poured a river of wine in the blood of her husband,
and in this turbid stream their love and happiness is drowned.
Kleist is but a corpse, whom we must soon bury from our sight. The
king has made separation and divorce easy; yes, easier than
marriage. Is it not so, my brother? Ah, you blush; you find that
your light-hearted brother has more observant eyes than you thought,
and sees that which you intended to conceal. Yes, yes! I have indeed
seen that you have been wounded by Cupid's arrow, and that your
heart bleeds while our noble king refuses his consent to your
marriage."

"Ah, let me once discover this holy mystery--once learn how to make
gold, and I will have no favor to ask of any earthly monarch; I
shall acknowledge no other sovereign than my own will."

"And to become the possessor of this secret, and your own master,
you require nothing but a black ram. Create for us, then, my
powerful and wealthy brother, a black ram, and the work is done!"

"Alas! to think," cried Fredersdorf, "that I cannot absent myself;
that I must fold my hands and wait silently and quietly! What
slavery is this! but you, you are not in bondage as I am. The whole
world is before you; you can seek throughout the universe for this
blood-offering demanded by the devil."

"Give us gold, brother, and we will seek; without gold, no black
ram; without the black ram, no devil!"

Fredersdorf disappeared a moment and returned with a well-filled
purse, which he handed to his brother. "There, take the gold; send
your messengers in every quarter; go yourself and search. You must
either find or create him. I swear to you, if you do not succeed, I
will withdraw my protection from you; you will be only a poor
student, and must maintain yourself by your studies."

"That would be a sad support, indeed," said the young man, smiling.
"I am more than willing to choose another path in life. I would,
indeed, prefer being an artist to being a philosopher."

"An artist!" cried Fredersdorf, contemptuously; "have you discovered
in yourself an artist's vein?"

"Yes; or rather, Eckhof has awakened my sleeping talent."

"Eckhof--who is Eckhof?"

"How? you ask who is Eckhof? You know not, then, this great, this
exalted artist, who arrived here some weeks since, and has entranced
every one who has a German heart in his bosom, by his glorious
acting? I saw him a few days since in Golsched's Cato. Ah! my
brother, on that evening it was clear to me that I also was born for
something greater than to sit in a lonely study, and seek in musty
books for useless scraps of knowledge. No! I will not make the world
still darker and mistier for myself with the dust of ancient books;
I will illuminate my world by the noblest of all arts--I will become
an actor!"

"Fantastic fool!" said his brother. "A GERMAN ACTOR! that is to say,
a beggar and a vagabond! who wanders from city to city, and from
village to village, with his stage finery, who is laughed at
everywhere, even as the monkeys are laughed at when they make their
somersets over the camels' backs; it might answer to be a dancer,
or, at least, a French actor."

"It is true that the German stage is a castaway--a Cinderella--
thrust aside, and clothed with sackcloth and ashes, while the
spoiled and petted step-child is clothed in gold-embroidered robes.
Alas! alas! it is a bitter thing that the French actors are summoned
by the king to perform in the royal castle, while Schonemein, the
director of the German theatre, must rent the Council-house for a
large sum of money, and must pay a heavy tax for the permission to
give to the German public a German stage. Wait patiently, brother,
all this shall be changed, when the mystery of mysteries is
discovered, when we have found the black ram! I bless the accident
which gave me a knowledge of your secret, which forced you to
receive me as a member in order to secure my silence. I shall be
rich, powerful, and influential; I will build a superb theatre, and
fill the German heart with wonder and rapture."

"Well, well, let us first understand the art of making gold, and we
will make the whole world our theatre, and all mankind shall play
before us! Hasten, therefore, brother, hasten! By the next full moon
we will be the almighty rulers of the earth and all that is
therein!"

"Always provided that we have found the black ram."

"We will find him! If necessary, we will give his weight in gold,
and gold can do all things. Honor, love, power, position, and fame,
can all be bought with gold! Let us, then, make haste to be rich. To
be rich is to be independent, free, and gloriously happy. Go, my
brother, go! and may you soon return crowned with success."

"I have still a few weighty questions to ask. In the first place,
where shall I go?"

"To seek the black ram--it makes no difference where."

"Ah! it makes no difference! You do not seem to remember that the
vacation is over, that the professors of the University of Halle
have threatened to dismiss me if my attendance is so irregular. I
must, therefore, return to Halle to-day, or--"

"Return to Halle to-day!" cried Fredersdorf, with horror. "That is
impossible! You cannot return to Halle, unless you have already
found what we need."

"And that not being the case, I shall not return to Halle; I shall
be dismissed, and will cease to be a student. Do you consent, then,
that I shall become an actor, and take the great Eckhof for my only
professor?"

"Yes, I consent, provided the command of the alchemist is complied
with."

"And how if the alchemist, notwithstanding the blood of the black
ram, is unhappily not able to bring up the devil?"

At this question, a feverish crimson spot took possession of the wan
cheek of Fredersdorf, which was instantly chased away by a more
intense pallor. "If that is the result, I will either go mad or
die," he murmured.

"And then will you see the devil face to face!" cried his brother,
with a gay laugh. "But perhaps you might find a Eurydice to unlock
the under world for you. Well, we shall see. Till then, farewell,
brother, farewell." Nodding merrily to Fredersdorf, Joseph hurried
away.

Fredersdorf watched his tall and graceful figure as it disappeared
among the trees with a sad smile.

"He possesses something which is worth more than power or gold; he
is young, healthy, full of hope and confidence. The world belongs to
him, while I--"

The sound of footsteps called his attention again to the allee.



CHAPTER II.

THE OLD COURTIER.


The figure of a man was seen approaching, but with steps less light
and active than young Joseph's. As the stranger drew nearer,
Fredersdorf's features expressed great surprise. When at last he
drew up at the window, the secretary burst into a hearty laugh.

"Von Pollnitz! really and truly I do not deceive myself," cried
Fredersdorf, clapping his hands together, and again and again
uttering peals of laughter, in which Pollnitz heartily joined.

Then suddenly assuming a grave and dignified manner, Fredersdorf
bowed lowly and reverentially. "Pardon, Baron Pollnitz, pardon,"
said he in a tone of mock humility, "that I have dared to welcome
you in such an unseemly manner. I was indeed amazed to see you
again; you had taken an eternal leave of the court, we had shed
rivers of tears over your irreparable loss, and your unexpected
presence completely overpowered me."

"Mock and jeer at me to your heart's content, dear Fredersdorf; I
will joyfully and lustily unite in your laughter and your sport, as
soon as I have recovered from the fearful jolting of the carriage
which brought me here. Be pleased to open the window a little more,
and place a chair on the outside, that I may climb in, like an
ardent, eager lover. I have not patience to go round to the castle
door."

Fredersdorf silently obeyed orders, and in a few moments Von
Pollnitz was lying comfortably stretched out on a silk divan, in the
secretary's room.

"Ask me no questions, Fredersdorf," said he, breathing loudly;
"leave me awhile to enjoy undisturbed the comfort of your sofa, and
do me the favor first to answer me a few questions, before I reply
to yours."

"Demand, baron, and I will answer," said Fredersdorf, seating
himself on a chair near the sofa.

"First of all, who is King of Prussia? You, or Jordan,--or General
Kothenberg,--or Chazot,--or--speak, man, who is King of Prussia?"

"Frederick the Second, and he alone; and he so entirely, that even
his ministers are nothing more than his secretaries, to write at his
dictation; and his generals are only subordinate engineers to draw
the plans of battle which he has already fully determined upon; his
composers are only the copyists of his melodies and his musical
conceptions; the architects are carpenters to build according to the
plan which he has either drawn or chosen from amongst old Grecian
models: in short, all who serve him are literally servants in this
great state machine; they understand his will and obey it, nothing
more."

"Hum! that is bad, very bad," said Pollnitz. "I have found, however,
that there are two sorts of men, and you have mentioned in your
catalogue but one species, who have fallen so completely under the
hand of Frederick. You have said nothing of his cook, of his valet-
de-chambre, and yet these are most important persons. You must know
that in the presence of these powers, a king ceases to be a king,
and indeed becomes an entirely commonplace mortal, who eats and
drinks and clothes himself, and who must either conceal or adorn his
bodily necessities and weaknesses like any other man."

Fredersdorf shook his head sadly. "It seems to me that Frederick the
Second is beyond the pale of temptation; for even with his cook and
his valet he is still a king; his cook may prepare him the most
costly and luxurious viands, but unhappily they do not lead him into
temptation; a bad dish makes him angry, but the richest and choicest
food has no effect upon his humor; he is exactly the same before
dinner as after, fasting or feasting, and the favor he refuses
before the champagne, he never grants afterward."

"The devil! that is worse still," murmured Pollnitz. "And the valet-
-with him also does the king remain king?"

"Yes, so entirely, that he scarcely allows his valet to touch him.
He shaves, coifs, and dresses himself."

"My God! who, then, has any influence over him? To whom can I turn
to obtain a favor for me?"

"To his dogs, dear baron; they are now the only influential
dependants!"

"Do you mean truly the four-footed dogs?--or--"

"The four-footed, dearest baron! Frederick has more confidence in
them than in any two-legged animal. You know the king always trusted
much to the instincts of his dogs; he has now gone so far in this
confidence, as to believe that the hounds have an instinctive
aversion to all false, wicked, and evil-minded men. It is therefore
very important to every new-comer to be well received by the hounds,
as the king's reception is somewhat dependent upon theirs."

"Is Biche yet with the king?"

"Yes, still his greatest favorite."

"I am rejoiced to hear that! I was always in favor with the Signora
Biche; it was her custom to smell my pocket, hoping to find
chocolate. I beseech you, therefore, dearest friend, to give me some
chocolate, with which I may touch and soften the heart of the noble
signora, and thus induce the king to look upon me favorably.

"I will stick a half pound in each of your pockets, and if Biche
still growls at you, it will be a proof that she is far more noble
than men; in short, that she cannot be bribed. Have you finished
with your questions? I think it is now my time to begin."

"Not so, my friend. My head is still entirely filled with questions,
and they are twining and twisting about like the fishing-worms in a
bag, by the help of which men hope to secure fish. Be pitiful and
allow me to fasten a few more of these questions to my fishing-rod,
and thus try to secure my future."

"Well, then, go on--ask further!"

"Does Frederick show no special interest in any prima donna of the
opera, the ballet, or the theatre?"

"No, he cares for none of these things."

"Is his heart, then, entirely turned to stone?"

"Wholly and entirely."

"And the queen-mother, has she no influence?"

"My God! Baron Pollnitz, how long have you been away? You ask me as
many questions as if you had fallen directly from the moon, and knew
not even the outward appearance of the court."

"Dear friend, I have been a whole year away, that is to say, an
eternity. The court is a very slippery place; and if a man does not
accustom himself hourly to walk over this glassy parquet, he will
surely fall.

"Also there is nothing so uncertain as a court life; that which is
true to-day, is to-morrow considered incredible; that which was
beautiful yesterday is thrust aside to-day, as hateful to look upon:
that which we despise to-day is to-morrow sought after as a rare and
precious gem.

"Oh, I have had my experiences. I remember, that while I was
residing at the court of Saxony, I composed a poem in honor of the
Countess Aurora of Konigsmark. This was by special command of the
king; the poem was to be set to music by Hasse, and sung by the
Italian singers on the birthday of Aurora. Well, the Countess Aurora
was cast aside before my poem was finished, and the Countess Kozel
had taken her place. I finished my poem, but Amelia, and not Aurora,
was my heroine. Hasse composed the music, and no one who attended
the concert, given in honor of the birthday of the Countess Kozel,
had an idea that this festal cantata had been originally ordered for
Aurora of Konigsmark!

"Once, while I was in Russia, I had an audience from the Empress
Elizabeth. As I approached the castle, leaning on the arm of the
Captain Ischerbatow, I observed the guard, who stood before the
door, and presented arms. Well, eight weeks later, this common guard
was a general and a prince, and Isoherbatow was compelled to bow
before him!

"I saw in Venice a picture of the day of judgment by Tintoretto. In
this picture both Paradise and Hell were portrayed. I saw in
Paradise a lovely woman glowing with youth, beauty, and grace. She
was reclining in a most enchanting attitude, upon a bed of roses,
and surrounded by angels. Below, on the other half of the picture--
that is to say, in Hell--I saw the same woman; she had no couch of
roses, but was stretched upon a glowing gridiron; no smiling angels
surrounded her, but a hideous, grinning devil tore her flesh with
red-hot pincers.

"Pope Adrian had commanded Tintoretto to paint this picture, to make
it a monument in honor of the lovely Cinnia, and to glorify her by
all the power of art. Cinnia was a very dear friend of Adrian. He
was not only a pope, but a man, and a man who took pleasure in all
beautiful things. Cinnia was enchanting, and it was Tintoretto's
first duty to paint her picture, and make her the principal object
in Paradise. But look you! the Last Judgment by Tintoretto was a
large painting, so large that to count even the heads upon it is
laborious. The heads in each corner are counted separately, and then
added together, It required some years, of course, to paint such a
picture; and by the time Tintoretto had completed Paradise and
commenced the lower regions, many sad changes had occurred. The fond
heart of the seducing Cinnia had withdrawn itself from the pope and
clung tenaciously to Prince Colonna. The Holy Father, as we have
said before, notwithstanding he was pope, had some human weaknesses;
he naturally hated the fair inconstant, and sought revenge. He
recommended Tintoretto to bring the erring one once more before the
public--this time, however, as a guilty and condemned shiner in
hell.

"Dear Fredersdorf, I think always of this picture when I look at the
favorites of princes and kings, and I amuse myself with their pride
and arrogance. When I see them in their sunny paradise of power and
influence, I say to myself, 'All's well for the fleeting present,
I'll wait patiently; soon I shall see you roasting on the glowing
gridiron of royal displeasure, and the envious devils of this world
filled with rapture at your downfall, will tear your flesh to
pieces.' Friend Fredersdorf, that is my answer to your question as
to whether I have in one short year forgotten the quality of court
life."

"And by Heaven, that is a profound answer, which shows at least that
Baron Pollnitz has undergone no change during the last year, but is
still the experienced man of the world and the wise cavalier!"

"But why do you not give me my title, Fredersdorf? Why do you not
call me grand chamberlain?"

"Because you are no longer in the service of the king, but have
received your dismissal."

"Alas! God grant that the Signora Biche is favorable to me; then
will the king, as I hope, forget this dismissal. One question more.
You say that the queen-mother has no influence; how is it with the
wife of the king, Elizabeth Christine? Is she indeed the reigning
sovereign?"

"When did you return to Berlin?"

"Now, to-night; and when I left the carriage, I hastened here."

"Well, that is some excuse for your question. If you have only just
arrived, you could not possibly know of the important event which
will take place at the court to-night. This evening the king will
present his brother, Augustus William, to the court as Prince of
Prussia, and his successor, I think that is a sufficient answer to
your question. As to Queen Elizabeth Christine, she lives at
Schonhausen, and might be called the widow of her husband. The king
never addresses one word to her, not even on grand festal days, when
etiquette compels him to take a seat by her at table."

"Now, one last question, dear friend. How is it with yourself? Are
you influential? Does Frederick love you as warmly as he did a year
ago? Do you hope to reach the goal of your ambition and become all-
powerful?"

"I have ceased to be ambitious," sighed Fredersdorf. "I no longer
thirst to be the king of a king. My only desire is to be independent
of courts and kings--in short, to be my own master. Perhaps I may
succeed in this; if not, be ruined, as many others have been. If I
cannot tear my chains apart, I will perish under them! As for my
influence over the king, it is sufficient to say, that for six
months I have loved a woman to distraction, who returns my passion
with ardor, and I cannot marry her because the king, notwithstanding
my prayers and agony, will not consent."

"He is right," said Pollnitz, earnestly, as he stretched himself out
comfortably on the sofa; "he is a fool who thinks of yielding up his
manly freedom to any woman."

"You say that, baron? you, who gave up king and court, and went to
Nurnberg, in order that you might marry!"

"Aha! how adroitly you have played the knife out of my hands, and
have yourself become the questioner! Well. it is but just that you
also should have your curiosity satisfied. Demand of me now and I
will answer frankly."

"You are not married, baron?"

"Not in the least; and I have sworn that the goddess Fortuna alone
shall be my beloved. I will have no mortal wife."

"The report, then, is untrue that you have again changed your
religion, and become Protestant?"

"No, this time rumor has spoken the truth. The Nurnberger patrician
would accept no hand offered by a Catholic; so I took off the glove
of my Catholicism and drew on my Protestant one. My God! to a man of
the world, his outside faith is nothing more than an article of the
toilet. Do you not know that it is bon ton for princes when they
visit strange courts to wear the orders and uniforms of their
entertainers? So it is my rule of etiquette to adopt the religion
which the circumstances in which I find myself seem to make suitable
and profitable. My situation in Nurnberg demanded that I should
become a Protestant, and I became one."

"And for all that the marriage did not take place?"

"No, it was broken off through the obstinacy of my bride, who
refused to live in good fellowship and equality with me, and gave me
only the use of her income, and no right in her property. Can you
conceive of such folly? She imagined I would give myself in
marriage, and make a baroness of an indifferently pretty burgher
maiden; yes, a baroness of the realm, and expect no other
compensation for it than a wife to bore me! She wished to wed my
rank, and found it offensive that I should marry, not only her fair
self, but her millions! The contest over this point broke off the
contract, and I am glad of it. From my whole soul I regret and am
ashamed of having ever thought of marriage. The king, therefore, has
reason to be pleased with me."

"You are thinking, then, seriously of remaining at court?"

"Do you not find that natural, Fredersdorf? I have lived fifty years
at this court, and accustomed myself to its stupidity, its
nothingness, and its ceremony, as a man may accustom himself to a
hard tent-bed, and find it at last more luxurious than a couch of
eider-down. Besides, I have just lost a million in Nurnberg, and I
must find a compensation; the means at least to close my life
worthily as a cavalier. I must, therefore, again bow my free neck,
and enter service. You must aid me, and this day obtain for me an
audience of the king. I hope your influence will reach that far. The
rest must be my own affair."

"We will see what can be done. I have joyful news for the king to-
day. Perhaps it will make him gay and complaisant, and he will grant
you an audience."

"And this news which you have for him?"

"The Barbarina has arrived!"

"What! the celebrated dancer?"

"The same. We have seized and forcibly carried her off from the
republic of Venice and from Lord McKenzie; and Baron Swartz has
brought her as prisoner to Berlin!"

Pollnitz half raised himself from the sofa, and, seizing the arm of
the private secretary, he looked him joyfully in the face. "I have
conceived a plan," said he, "a heavenly plan! My friend, the sun of
power and splendor is rising for us, and your ambition, which has
been weary and ready to die, will now revive, and raise its head
proudly on high! That which I have long sought for is at last found.
The king is too young, too ardent, too much the genius and poet, to
be completely unimpassioned. Even Achilles was not impenetrable in
the heel, and Frederick has also his mortal part. Do you know,
Fredersdorf, who will discover the weak point, and send an arrow
there?"

"No."

"Well, I will tell you: the Signora Barbarina. Ah, you smile! you
shake your unbelieving head. You are no good psychologist. Do you
not know that we desire most earnestly that which seems difficult,
if not impossible to attain, and prize most highly that which we
have won with danger and difficulty? Judge, also, how precious a
treasure the Barbarina must be to Frederick. For her sake he has for
months carried on a diplomatic contest with Venice, and at last he
has literally torn her away from my Lord Stuart McKenzie."

"That is true," said Fredersdorf, thoughtfully; "for ten days the
king has waited with a rare impatience for the arrival of this
beautiful dancer, and he commanded that, as soon as she reached
Berlin, it should be announced to him."

"I tell you the king will adore the Signora Barbarina," said
Pollnitz, as he once more stretched himself upon the sofa pillows.
"I shall visit her to-day, and make the necessary arrangements. Now
I am content. I see land, a small island of glorious promise, which
will receive me, the poor shipwrecked mariner, and give me shelter
and protection. I will make myself the indispensable counsellor of
Barbarina; I will teach her how she can melt the stony heart of
Frederick, and make him her willing slave."

"Dreams, dreams!" said Fredersdorf, shrugging his shoulders.

"Dreams which I will make realities as soon as you obtain me an
audience with the king."

"Well, we will see what can be done, and whether--but listen, the
king is awake, and has opened his window. He is playing upon the
flute, which is his morning custom. His morning music is always the
barometer of his mood, and I can generally judge what kind of royal
weather we will have, whether bright or stormy. Come with me to the
window and listen awhile."

"Agreed," said Pollnitz, and he sprang with youthful elasticity from
the divan and joined Fredersdorf at the window. They listened almost
breathlessly to the sweet tones which seemed to whisper to them from
the upper windows; then mingling and melting with the perfume of the
orange-blossoms and the glorious and life-giving morning air, they
forced their sweet and subtle essence into the room with the cunning
and hardened old courtiers.

Fredersdorf and Pollnitz listened as a sly bat listens to the merry
whistling of an innocent bird, and watches the propitious moment to
spring upon her prey. It was an adagio which the king played upon
his flute, and he was indeed a master in the art. Slightly
trembling, as if in eternal melancholy, sobbing and pleading, soon
bursting out in rapturous and joyful strains of harmony, again
sighing and weeping, these melting tones fell like costly pearls
upon the summer air. The birds in the odorous bushes, the wind which
rustled in the trees, the light waves of the river, which with soft
murmurs prattled upon the shore, all Nature seemed for the moment to
hold her breath and listen to this enchanting melody. Even
Fredersdorf felt the power and influence of this music as he had
done in earlier days. The old love for his king filled his heart,
and his eyes were misty with tears.

As the music ceased, Fredersdorf exclaimed involuntarily: "He is,
after all, the noblest and greatest of men. It is useless to be
angry with him. I am forced against my will to worship him."

"Now," said Pollnitz, whose face had not for one moment lost its
expression of cold attention and sly cunning, "how says the
barometer? May we promise ourselves a clear and sunny day?"

"Yes, Frederick is in one of his soft and yielding moods. It is
probable he has been some hours awake and has written to some of his
friends--perhaps to Voltaire, or Algarotti; this makes him always
bright and clear."

"You think I shall obtain my audience?"

"I think you will."

"Then, dear friend, I have only to say that I hope you will give me
the chocolate for that noble and soul-searching hound, the Signora
Biche."



CHAPTER III.

THE MORNING HOURS OF A KING.


King Frederick had finished the adagio, and stood leaning against
the window gazing into the garden; his eyes, usually so fierce and
commanding, were softened by melancholy, and a sad smile played upon
his lips. The touching air which he had played found its echo
within, and held his soul a prisoner to troubled thoughts. Suddenly
he seemed to rouse himself by a great effort to the realities of
life, and, hastily ringing the bell, he commanded Jordan, the
director of the poor and the almshouse, to be summoned to him.

A few moments later, Jordan, who had been for some days a guest at
the castle of Charlottenburg, entered the king's room. Frederick
advanced to meet him, and extended both hands affectionately. "Good-
morning, Jordan," said he, gazing into the wan, thin face of his
friend, with the most earnest sympathy. "I hope you had a refreshing
night."

"I have had a charming night, for I was dreaming of your majesty,"
he replied, with a soft smile.

Frederick sighed, released his hands, and stepped back a few paces.
"Your majesty?" repeated he. "Why do you lay so cold a hand upon
that heart which beats so warmly for you? To what purpose is this
etiquette? Are we not alone? and can we not accord to our souls a
sweet interchange of thought and feeling without ceremony? Do we not
understand and love each other? Forget, then, for awhile, dear
Jordan, all these worldly distinctions. You see I am still in my
morning-dress. I do not, like the poor kings upon the stage, wear my
crown and sceptre in bed, or with my night-dress."

Jordan gazed lovingly and admiringly upon his great friend. "You
need no crown upon your brow to show to the world that you are a
king by the grace of God. The majesty of greatness is written upon
your face, my king."

"That," said Frederick with light irony, "is because we princes and
kings are acknowledged to be the exact image of the Creator, the
everlasting Father. As for you, and all the rest of the race, you
dare not presume to compare yourselves with us. Probably you are
made in the image of the second and third persons of the Trinity,
while we carry upon our withered and wearisome faces the
quintessence of the Godhead."

"Alas! alas, sire, if our pious priest heard you, what a stumbling-
block would he consider you!"

The king smiled. "Do you know, Jordan," said he gravely, "I believe
God raised me up for this special mission, to be a rock of offence
to these proud and worldly priests, and to trample under foot their
fooleries and their arrogance? I look upon that as the most
important part of my mission upon earth, and I am convinced that I
am appointed to humble this proud church, the vain and arrogant work
of hypocritical priests, and to establish in its place the pure
worship of God."

"Yes, yes," said Jordan, shrugging his shoulders; "if the mass of
men had the clear intellect of a Frederick! if their eyes were like
those of my royal eagle, to whom it is given to gaze steadfastly at
the sun without being dazzled. Alas! sire, the most of our race
resemble you so little! They are all like the solemn night-owls, who
draw a double curtain over their eyes, lest the light should blind
them. The church serves as this double eyelid for the night-owls
among men, or, rather, the churches, for the cunning and
covetousness of those priests has not been satisfied with one
church, but has established many."

"Yes," said the king angrily; "they have sown dragons' teeth, from
which bloodthirsty warriors have sprung, who wander up and down, and
in mad ambition tear all mankind, and themselves included, to
pieces. Listen, Jordan, we have fallen upon a subject which, as you
know, has interested and occupied me much of late, and it is
precisely upon these points that I have sought your counsel to-day.
Be seated, then, and hear what I have to say to you. You know that
the pietists and priests charge me with being a heretic, because I
do not think as they think, and believe as they believe. Which of
them, think you, Jordan, has the true faith? What is truth, and what
is wisdom? Each sect believes itself--and itself alone--the
possessor of both. That is reason enough, it appears to me, for
doubting them all."

"In the same land?"

"Yes, in various places in the same city, we are taught entirely
different and opposing doctrines in the name of religion. On one
hand, we are threatened with everlasting fire in the company of the
devil and his angels, if we believe that the Almighty is bodily
present in the elements offered at the sacrament of the Lord's
supper. On the other hand, we are taught, with equal assurance, that
the same terrible punishment will be awarded us unless we believe
that God is literally, and not symbolically, present in the bread
and wine. The simple statement of the doctrines of the different
churches in the world would fill an endless number of folios. Each
religion condemns all others, as leading to perdition; they cannot
therefore all be true, for truth does not contradict itself. If any
one of these were the true faith, would not God have made it clear,
and without question, to our eyes? God, who is truth, cannot be dark
or doubtful! If these differences in religion related only to
outward forms and ceremonies, we would let them pass as agreeable
and innocent changes, even as we adopt contentedly the changes in
style and fashion of our clothing. The doctrines of faith, as taught
in England, cannot be made to harmonize with those fulminated at
Rome. He to whom it would be given to reconcile all opposing
doctrines, and to unite all hearts in one pure and simple faith
would indeed give peace to the world, and be a Messiah and a
Saviour."

"Yes, he would accomplish what God himself, as it appears, has not
thought proper to do; his first great act must be to institute and
carry out a terrible massacre, in which every priest of every
existing religion must be pursued to the death."

"And that is precisely my mission," said the king. "I will institute
a massacre, not bodily and bloodily, but soul-piercing and
purifying. I say to you, Jordan, God dwells not in the churches of
these imperious priests, who choose to call themselves the servants
of God. God was with Moses on Mount Sinai, and with Zoroaster in the
wilderness; he was by Dante's side as he wrote his 'Divina
Commedia,' and he piloted the ships of Columbus as he went out
bravely to seek a new world! God is everywhere, and that mankind
should reverence and believe in and worship him, is proved by their
bearing his image and their high calling."

Jordan seized the hand of the king and pressed it enthusiastically
to his lips. "And the world says that you do not believe in God," he
exclaimed; "they class you with the unbelievers, and dare to preach
against you, and slander you from the pulpit."

"Yes, as I do not adopt their dogmas, I am, to them, a heretic,"
said the king laughing; "and when they preach against me, it proves
that they fear me, and look upon me as a powerful enemy. The enemy
of the priests I will be as long as I live, that is to say, of those
arrogant and imperious men who are wise in their own eyes, and
despise all who do not agree with them! I will destroy the
foundations of all these different churches, with their different
dogmas. I will utterly extinguish them by a universal church, in
which every man shall worship God after his own fashion. The worship
of God should be the only object of every church! All these
different doctrines, which they cast in each other's teeth, and for
love of which they close their doors against each other, shall be
given up. I will open all their churches, and the fresh, pure air of
God shall purify the musty buildings. I will build a temple, a great
illimitable temple, a second Pantheon, a church which shall unite
all churches within itself, in which it shall be granted to every
man to have his own altar, and adopt his own religious exercises.
All desire to worship God; every man shall do so according to his
conscience! Look you, Jordan, how pathetically they discourse of
brotherly love, and they tear each other to pieces! Let me only
build my Pantheon, and then will all men, in truth, become brothers.
The Jew and the so-called heathen, the Mohammedan and the Persian,
the Calvinist and the Catholic, the Lutheran and the Reformer--they
will all gather into my Pantheon, to worship God; all their forms
and dogmas will simultaneously fall to the ground. They will believe
simply in one God, and the churches of all these different sects
will soon stand empty and in ruins." [Footnote: Thiebault, in his
"Souvenirs de Vingt Ans," tells of Frederick's plan for a Pantheon.]

While the king spoke, his countenance was illumined; a noble
enthusiasm fired his large clear eyes, and his cheeks glowed as if
from the awakening breath of some new internal light.

Jordan's glance expressed unspeakable love, but at the same time he
looked so sad, so pained, that Frederick felt chilled and
restrained.

"How, Jordan! you are not of my opinion?" said he, with surprise.
"Our souls, which have been always heretofore in union, are now
apart. You do not approve of my Pantheon?"

"It is too exalted, sire, to be realized. Mankind require a form of
religion, in order not to lose all personal control."

"No, you mistake. They require only God, only love for this exalted
and lofty Being, whom we call God. The only proof by which we can
know that we can sincerely love God, lies in a steadfast and strong
purpose to obey Him. According to this, we need no other religion
than our reason, the good gift of God. So soon as we know that He
has spoken, we should be silent and submissive. Our inward worship
of God should consist in this, that we acknowledge Him and confess
our sins; our outward worship in the performance of all our duties,
according to our reason, the exalted nature of God, and our entire
dependence upon Him."

"It is to be regretted, sire, that this world is not sufficiently
enlightened to comprehend you. I am afraid that your majesty will
bring about exactly the opposite of that which you design. All these
religious sects which, as you say, are so entirely antagonistic,
would by this forced union feel themselves humiliated and trampled
upon; their hatred toward each other would be daily augmented; their
antipathies would find new food; and their religious zeal, which is
always exclusive, would burn with fiercer fury. Not only the
priests, but kings and princes, would look upon the carrying out of
your plan with horror. And shall not this daring step bring terror
into the cabinets of kings? A monarch, who has just drawn the eyes
of all politicians upon himself, now proposes to take charge of the
consciences of his subjects, and bow them to his will! Alas, how
would envy, with all her poisonous serpents, fasten upon the
triumphal car of a king who, by the great things he has already
achieved, had given assurance of yet greater results, and now stoops
to tyrannize over and oppress the weak and good, and cast them among
the ruins of their temples of worship to weep and lament in despair!
No, my king, this idea of a Pantheon, a universal house of worship,
can never be realized. It was a great and sublime thought, but not a
wise one; too great, too enlarged and liberal to be appreciated by
this pitiable world. Your majesty will forgive me for having spoken
the honest truth. I was forced to speak. Like my king, I love the
one only and true God, and God is truth."

"You have done well, Jordan," said the king, after a long pause,
during which he raised his eyes thoughtfully toward heaven. "Yes,
you have done well, and I believe you are right in your objections
to my Pantheon. I offer up to you, therefore, my favorite idea. For
your dear sake, my Pantheon shall become a ruin. Let this be a proof
of the strong love I bear you, Jordan. I will not contend with the
priests in my church, but I will pursue them without faltering into
their own; and I say to you, this will be a long and stiff-necked
war, which will last while my life endures. I will not have my
people blinded and stupefied by priests. I will suffer no other king
in Prussia. I alone will be king. These proud priests may decide, in
silence and humility, to teach their churches and intercede for
them; but let them once attempt to play the role of small popes, and
to exalt themselves as the only possessors of the key to heaven,
then they shall find in me an adversary who will prove to them that
the key is false with which they shut up the Holiest of Holies, and
is but used by them as a means to rob the people of their worldly
goods. Light and truth shall be the device of my whole land. This
will I seek after, and by this will I govern Prussia. I will have no
blinded subjects, no superstitious, conscience-stricken, trembling,
priest-ridden slaves. My people shall learn to think; thought shall
be free as the wanton air in Prussia; no censor or police shall
limit her boundary. The thoughts of men should be like the life-
giving and beautifying sun, all-nourishing and all-enlightening;
calling into existence and fructifying, not only the rich, and rare,
and lovely, but also the noxious and poisonous plant and the
creeping worm. These have also the right of life: if left to
themselves, they soon die of their own insignificance or
nothingness--die under the contempt of all the good and great."

"I fear," said Jordan, "that Frederick the Great is the only man
whose mind is so liberal and so unprejudiced. Believe me, my king,
there is no living sovereign in Europe who dares guarantee to his
subjects free thought and free speech."

"I will try so to act as to leave nothing to fear from the largest
liberty of thought or speech," said the king, quietly. "Men may
think and say of me what they will--that troubles me not; I will
amuse myself with their slanders and accusations of heresy; as for
their applause--well, that is a cheap merchandise, which I must
share with every expert magician and every popular comedian. The
applause of my own conscience, and of my friends--thy applause, my
Jordan--is alone of value for me. Then," said he, earnestly, almost
solemnly, "above all things, I covet fame. My name shall not pass
away like a soft tone or a sweet melody. I will write it in golden
letters on the tablet of history; it shall glitter like a star in
the firmament; when centuries have passed away, my people shall
remember me, and shall say, 'Frederick the Second made Prussia
great, and enlarged her borders; he was a father who loved his
people more than he did himself, and cheerfully sacrificed his own
rest and comfort in their service, he was a teacher who spoke to
them by word of mouth, and gave liberty to their souls.' Oh, Jordan,
you must stand by me and help me to reach this great goal for which
I thirst. Remain with me, dear friend, remain ever by my side, and
with thy love, thy constancy, thy truth, and thy sincerity, help me
to establish what is good, and to punish the evil; to acknowledge
and promote what is noble and expose the unworthy to shame and
confusion. Oh, Jordan! God has perhaps called me to be a great king;
remain by me, and help me to be a good and simple-minded man."

He threw himself with impetuosity on Jordan's breast, and clasped
him passionately in his arms. Jordan returned the king's embrace,
and silently raised his moist eyes to heaven. A prayer to "Our
Father" spoke in that eloquent eye, a heart-felt, glowing prayer for
this man now resting upon his bosom, and who for him was not the
all-powerful and commanding sovereign, but the noble, loving, and
beloved friend, this poet and philosopher, before whose mighty
genius his whole soul bowed in wonder and admiration; but suddenly,
in this moment of deep and pious emotion, a cold, an icy chill,
seemed to shiver and play like the breath of death over his
features, and the hot blood, like liquid metal, rushed madly through
his veins; he gave a light, short cough; with a quick, abrupt
movement, he released himself from the arms of the king. Withdrawing
a few steps, he turned away, and pressed his handkerchief to his
lips.

"Jordan, you suffer, you are sick," said the king, anxiously.

Jordan turned again to him; his face was calm, and even gay; his
eyes beamed with that strange, mysterious, and touching fire of
consumption which hides the shadow of death under the rosy lip and
glowing cheek; and, less cruel than all other maladies, leaves to
the soul its freshness, and to the heart its power to love and hope.

"Not so, sire," said Jordan, "I do not suffer. How can I be
otherwise than well and happy in your presence?" As he said this he
tried to thrust his handkerchief in his pocket.

The king looked earnestly at this handkerchief. "Jordan, why did you
press that handkerchief so hastily to your lips?"

Jordan forced a smile. "Well," said he, "I was obliged, as your
majesty no doubt saw, to cough, and I wished to make this
disagreeable music as soft as possible."

"That was not the reason," said Frederick; and, stepping hastily
forward, he seized the handkerchief. "Blood! it is drenched in
blood," said he, in a tone so full of anguish, that it was evident
he recognized and feared this fatal signal.

"Well, yes, it is blood; your majesty sees I am blood-thirsty!
Unhappily, I do not shed the blood of your enemies, but my own,
which I would gladly give, drop by drop, if I could thereby save my
king one hour's suffering or care."

"And yet you, Jordan, are now the cause of my bitterest grief. You
are ill, and you conceal it from me. You suffer, and force yourself
to seem gay, and hide your danger from me, in place of turning to my
physicians and demanding their counsel and aid."

"Frederick the Wise once said to me, 'Physicians are but quacks and
charlatans, and a man gives himself up to a tedious suicide who
swallows their prescriptions.'"

"No, it was not 'Frederick the Wise,' but 'Frederick the Fool,' who
uttered that folly. When the sun is shining, Frederick has no fear
of ghosts; but at the turn of midnight, he will breathe a silent
'Father in heaven,' to be protected from them. We have no use for
confidence in physicians when we are healthy; when we are ill we
need them, and then we begin to hold them in consideration. You are
ill, your breast suffers. I entreat you, Jordan, to call upon my
physician, and to follow his advice promptly and systematically. I
demand this as a proof of your friendship."

"I will obey your majesty, immediately," said Jordan, who now found
himself completely overcome by the weakness which follows loss of
blood; trembling, and almost sinking, he leaned upon the table.
Frederick perceived this, and rolling forward his own arm-chair,
with loving and tender care, he placed Jordan within it. He called
his servant, and ordered him to roll the chair to Jordan's room, and
go instantly for the physician Ellertt.

"It will be all in vain, and I shall lose him," murmured the king.
"Yes, I will lose him, as I have lost Suhm, and as I shall soon lose
my Caesarius, the good Kaiserling. Alas! why did God give me so warm
a heart for friendship, and then deprive me of my friends?"

Folding his arms, he stepped to the window and gazed thoughtfully
and sadly into the garden below, but he saw not its bloom and
beauty; his eyes were turned inward, and he saw only the grave of
his friend. Suddenly rousing and conquering himself, he shook off
the weary spirit of melancholy, and sought comfort in his flute, the
faithful companion of all his sufferings and struggles.



CHAPTER IV.

THE PARDONED COURTIER.


Frederick commenced again to play, but this time it was not an
adagio, but a joyous and triumphant allegro, with which he sought to
dispel the melancholy and quench the tears flowing in his troubled
heart. He walked backward and forward in his room, and from time to
time stood before the sofa upon which his graceful greyhound, Biche,
was quietly resting. Every minute the king passed her sofa, Biche
raised her beautiful head and greeted her royal friend with an
intelligent and friendly glance and a gentle wagging of her tail,
and this salutation was returned each time by Frederick before he
passed on. Finally, and still playing the flute, the king pressed
his foot upon a silver button in the floor of his room, and rang a
bell which hung in Fredersdorf's room, immediately under his own.

A few minutes later the secretary entered, but stood quietly at the
door till the king had finished his allegro and laid aside his
flute.

"Good-morning," said the king, and he looked up at his favorite with
so sharp and piercing a glance that Fredersdorf involuntarily
trembled, and cast his eyes to the ground. "You must have been long
wide awake, you answer the bell so quickly."

"Yes, your majesty, I have been long awake. I am happy, for I have
good news to bring you."

"Well, what is it?" said the king smiling. "Has my god-mother, the
Empress Maria Theresa, voluntarily surrendered to the Emperor
Charles VII.? Have France and England become reconciled? or--and
that seems to me the most probable--has my private secretary
mastered the mystery of gold-making, after which he has so long
striven, and for which he so willingly offers up the most costly and
solemn sacrifices?" The king laid so peculiar an expression upon the
word SACRIFICE that Fredersdorf wondered if he had not listened to
his conversation with Joseph, and learned the strange sacrifice
which they now proposed to offer up to the devil's shrine.

"Well, tell your news quickly," said the king. "You see that I am
torturing myself with the most wild and incredible suppositions."

"Sire, the Barbarina reached Berlin last night."

"Truly," said the king, indifferently, "so we have at last ravished
her from Venice, and Lord Stuart McKenzie."

"Not exactly so, your highness. Lord Stuart McKenzie arrived in
Berlin this morning."

Frederick frowned. "This is also, as it appears, a case of true
love, and may end in a silly marriage. I am not pleased when men or
women in my service entertain serious thoughts of love or marriage;
it occupies their thoughts and interferes with the performance of
their duty."

"Your majesty judges severely," murmured Fredersdorf, who knew full
well that this remark was intended for his special benefit.

"Well, this is not only my opinion, but I act in consonance with it.
I allow myself no relaxation. Have I ever had a love-affair?
Perhaps, Fredersdorf, you believe my blood to be frozen like ice in
my veins; that I have a heart of stone; in short, that I ceased to
be a man when I became a king."

"Not so; but I believe your majesty is too great and too exalted to
find any one worthy of your love."

"Folly, folly, sheer folly, Fredersdorf! When a man loves, he does
not weigh himself in the scales and find out how many pounds of
worth he has; he only loves, and forgets all other earthly things.
Now, for myself, I dare not forget that I am a king, and that my
time and strength belong to my people. My heart is too tender, and
for this reason I fly from love. So should you also flee, you also
dare not forget that your life is consecrated to your king. The
Signora Barbarina shall not forget that she is in my service;
dancing, and not loving, must now occupy her thoughts and actions. I
will allow her flirtations and amours, but a true love I absolutely
forbid. How can she go through with her ballets, her pirouettes, and
entrechats gayly and gracefully if a passionate love sits enthroned
within her heart? I have promised the English ambassador, who is the
cousin of this Lord Stuart McKenzie, that I will separate these
lovers. At this moment the friendship of England is of much
importance to me, and I shall certainly keep my promise. Write
immediately to the director of police that I command him not only to
banish Lord McKenzie from Berlin, but to send him under guard to
Hamburg, and there place him upon an English ship bound for England.
In twelve hours he must leave Berlin. [Footnote: This order was
obeyed. Lord McKenzie, the tender lover of the beautiful Barbarina,
who had followed her from Venice to Berlin, was, immediately on his
arrival, banished from Prussia by the special command of the king,
and taken to Hamburg; from thence he addressed some passionate
letters to his beautiful beloved, which she, of course, never
received, and which are preserved in the royal archives at Berlin.
(See Schneider's "History of Operas.")] Is that your only news,
Fredersdorf?"

"No, sire," said he, stealing a glance toward the door, which at
this moment was lightly opened. "I have another novelty to announce,
but I do not know whether it will be acceptable to your majesty.
Baron von Pollnitz--"

"Has sent us the announcement of his marriage?"

"No, sire, he is not married."

At this moment, the Signora Biche began to bay light notes of
welcome, and raised herself up from her comfortable position on the
sofa. The king did not remark her, however; he was wholly occupied
with Fredersdorf.

"How! do you say he is not married?"

"No, he has not married," said a plaintive voice from behind the
door, "and he prays your majesty, of your great grace, to allow him
to dedicate his whole life to his royal master, forgetting all other
men and women." The king turned and saw his former master of
ceremonies kneeling before the door, and his clasped hands stretched
out imploringly before him.

Frederick gave a hearty peal of laughter, while Biche, raising
herself with a joyful bark, sprang toward the kneeling penitent, and
capered playfully about him; she appeared indeed to be licking the
hand in which the sagacious baron held loosely a large piece of her
favorite chocolate. At first, the king laughed heartily; then, as he
remarked how tenderly Biche licked the hand of the baron, he shook
his head thoughtfully. "I have had a false confidence in the true
instinct of my little Biche; she seems, indeed, to welcome Pollnitz
joyfully; while a sharp bite in his calf is the only reception which
his wicked and faithless heart deserves."

"Happily, sire, my heart is not lodged in my calves," said Pollnitz.
"The wise Biche knows that the heart of Pollnitz is always in the
same place, and that love to my king and master has alone brought me
back to Berlin."

"Nonsense! A Pollnitz can feel no other love than that which he
cherishes for his own worthy person, and the purses of all others.
Let him explain now, quickly and without circumlocution, if he
really wishes my pardon, why, after going to Nurnberg to marry a bag
of gold, containing a few millions, he has now returned to Berlin."

"Sire, without circumlocution, the bag of gold would not open for
me, and would not scatter its treasures according to my necessities
and desires."

"Ah! I comprehend. The beautiful Nurnberger had heard of your rare
talent for scattering gold, and thought it wiser to lose a baron of
the realm than to lose her millions."

"Yes, that's about it, sire."

"I begin to have a great respect for the wisdom of this woman," said
Frederick, laughing. "I think she has a more reliable instinct than
my poor Biche, who, I see, still licks your hands."

"Oh, Biche knows me better than any man," said Pollnitz, tenderly
patting the greyhound. "Biche knows that my heart is filled with but
one love--love to my king and master. She knows that I have returned
to lay myself as she does, in all humility and self-abandonment, at
the feet of my royal Frederick, to receive either kicks or favors,
as he may see fit to bestow them; to be equally grateful for the
bones he may throw to me in his pity, as for the costly viands he
may grant in the magnanimity of his great soul."

"You are an absolute and unqualified fool," said the king, laughing,
"and if it was not against my conscience, and unworthy of human
nature, to engage a man as a perpetual buffoon, I would promote you
to the office of court fool. You might, at least, serve as an
example to my cavaliers, by teaching them what they ought to avoid."

"I have merited this cruel contempt, this painful punishment from my
royal master," said Pollnitz. "I submit silently. I will not, for a
moment, seek to justify myself."

"You do well in that. You can make no defence. You left my service
faithlessly and heartlessly, with the hope of marrying a fortune.
The marriage failed, and you come back with falsehood in your heart
and on your lips, chattering about your love for my royal house. You
are not ashamed to liken yourself to a hound, and to howl even as
they do, in order that I may take you back into favor. Do not
suppose, for one moment, that I am deceived by these professions--if
you could have done better for yourself elsewhere, you would not
have returned to Berlin; that not being the case, you creep back,
and vow that love alone has constrained you. Look you, Pollnitz, I
know you, I know you fully. You can never deceive me; and, most
assuredly, I would not receive you again into my service, if I did
not look upon you as an old inventory of my house, an inheritance
from my grandfather Frederick. I receive you, therefore, out of
consideration for the dead kings in whose service you were, and who
amused themselves with your follies; for their sakes I cannot allow
you to hunger. Think not that I will prepare you a bed of down, and
give you gold to waste in idleness. You must work for your living,
even as we all do. I grant you a pension, but you will perform your
old duty, as grand master of ceremonies. You understand such
nonsense better than I do. You were educated in a good school, and
studied etiquette from the foundation stone, under Prussia's first
king; and that you may not say we have overlooked your great worth,
I will lay yet another burden upon your shoulders, and make you
'master of the wardrobe.' It shall not be said of us, that nonsense
and folly are neglected at our court; even these shall have their
tribute. You shall therefore be called 'Master of the Robes,' but I
counsel you, yes, I warn you, never to interfere with my coats and
shirts. You shall have no opportunity to make a gold-embroidered
monkey of me. Etiquette requires that I must have a master of the
robes, but I warn you to interest yourself in all other things
rather than in my toilet."

"All that your majesty condescends to say, is written in letters of
flame upon my heart."

"I would rather suppose upon your knees; they must indeed burn from
this long penance. I have read you a lecture, a la facon of a
village schoolmaster. You can rise, the lecture is over."

Pollnitz rose from his knees, and, straightening himself, advanced
before the king, and made one of those low, artistic bows, which he
understood to perfection. "When does your majesty wish that I should
enter upon my duties?"

"To-day--at this moment. Count Tessin, a special ambassador from
Sweden, has just arrived. I wish to give him a courtly reception.
You will make the necessary arrangements. Enter at once upon the
discharge of your functions."

"I suppose, sire, that my salary also commences so soon as I begin
the discharge of my duties?"

"I said nothing about a salary. I promised you a pension; and, not
wishing to maintain you in absolute idleness, I lay upon you these
absurd and trifling duties."

"Shall I not, then, receive two pensions, if I discharge the two
functions?" said Pollnitz, in a low voice.

"You are an out-and-out scoundrel," said Frederick, "but I know all
your tricks. I shall not follow my father's example, who once asked
you how much it required to maintain worthily a cavalier of rank,
and you assured him that a hundred thousand thalers was not
sufficient. I grant you a pension of two thousand thalers, and I
tell you it must suffice to support you creditably. Woe to you, when
you commence again your former most contemptible and miserable life!
woe to you, when you again forget to distinguish between your own
money and the money of others! I assure you that I will never again
pay one of your debts. And in order that credulous men may not be so
silly as to lend you money, I will make my wishes known by a printed
order, and impose a tax of fifty thalers upon every man silly and
bold enough to lend you money. Are you content with this, and will
you enter my service upon these terms?"

"Yes, on any conditions which your majesty shall please to lay upon
me. But when, in spite of this open declaration of your majesty,
crazy people will still insist upon lending me money, you will
admit, sire, in short, that it is not my debt, and I cannot be
called upon for payment."

"I will take such precautions that no one will be foolish enough to
lend you money. I will have it publicly announced that he who lends
you money shall have no claim upon you, so that to lend you gold is
to give you gold, and truly in such a way as to spare you even the
trouble of thanks. I will have this trumpted through every street.
Are you still content?"

"Oh, sire, you show me in this the greatest earthly kindness; you
make me completely irresponsible. Woe to the fools and lunatics who
are mad enough to lend me money! From this time onward, I shall
never know a weary or listless moment. I shall have always the
cheering and inspiring occupation of winning the hearts of trusting
and weak-minded dunces, and, by adroit sleight-of-hand, transferring
the gold from their pockets to my own."

"You are incorrigible," said the king. "I doubt if all mankind are
made after the image of God. I think many of the race resemble the
devil, and I look upon you, Pollnitz, as a tolerably successful
portrait of his satanic majesty. I don't suppose you will be much
discomposed by this opinion. I imagine you look upon God and the
devil in very much the same light."

"Oh, not so, your majesty; I am far too religious to fall into such
errors."

"Yes, you are too religious; or, rather you have to many religions.
To which, for example, do you now profess to belong?"

"Sire, I have become a Protestant."

"From conviction?"

"So long as I believed in the possibility of marrying several
millions--yes, from conviction. These millions would have made me
happy, and surely I might allow myself to become a Protestant in
order to be happy."

"Once for all, how many times have you changed your religion?" said
the king, thoughtfully.

"Oh, not very often, sire! I am forever zealously seeking after the
true faith, and so long as I do not find that religion which makes
me content with such things as I have, I am forced to change in
justice to myself. In my childhood I was baptized and brought up a
Lutheran, and I had nothing against it, and remained in that
communion till I went to Rome; there I saw the Holy Father, the
Pope, perform mass, and the solemn ceremony roused my devotional
feelings to such a height that I became a Catholic immediately. This
was, however, no change of religion. Up to this time I had not acted
for myself; so the Catholic may be justly called my first faith."

"Yes, yes! that was about the time you stole your dying bride's
diamonds and fled from France."

"Oh, your majesty, that is a wicked invention of my enemies, and
utterly unfounded. If I had really stolen and sold those magnificent
brilliants--worth half a million--from my dying love, it would have
been sufficient to assure me a luxurious life, and I should not have
found it imperative to become a Catholic."

"Ah, you confess, then, that you did not become a Catholic from
conviction, but in order to obtain the favor of the cardinals and
the Pope?"

"Nothing escapes the quick eye of your majesty, so I will not dare
to defend myself. I came back to Berlin then, a Catholic, and the
ever-blessed king received me graciously. He was a noble and a pious
man, and my soul was seized with a glowing desire to imitate him. I
saw, indeed, how little I had advanced on the path to glory by
becoming a Catholic! I made a bold resolve and entered the Reformed
Church."

"And by this adroit move you obtained your object: you became the
favorite of my father the king. As he, unhappily, can show you no
further favor, it is no longer prudent to be a reformer, so you are
again a Lutheran--from conviction!"

"Oh, all the world knows the great, exalted, and unprejudiced mind
of our young king," said Pollnitz. "It is to him a matter of supreme
indifference what religious sect a man belongs to, so he adopts that
faith which makes him a brave, reliable, and serviceable subject of
his king and his fatherland."

Frederick cast a dark and contemptuous glance at him. "You are a
miserable mocker and despiser of all holy things; you belong to that
large class who, not from convictions of reason, but from worldly-
mindedness and licentiousness, do not believe in the Christian
religion. Such men can never be honest; they have, perhaps, from
their childhood been preached to, not to do evil from fear of hell-
fire; and so soon as they cease to believe in hell-fire, they give
themselves up to vice without remorse. You are one of these most
miserable wretches; and I say to you, that you will at last suffer
the torments of the damned. I know there is a hell-fire, but it can
only be found in a man's conscience! Now go and enter at once upon
your duties; in two hours I will receive Count Tessin in the palace
at Berlin."

Pollnitz made the three customary bows and left the room. The king
gazed after him contemptuously. "He is a finished scoundrel!" Then
turning to Fredersdorf, who at that moment entered the room, he
said, "I believe Pollnitz would sell his mother if he was in want of
money. You have brought me back a charming fellow; I rejoice that
there are no more of the race; Pollnitz has at least the fame of
being alone in his style. Is there any one else who asks an
audience?"

"Yes, sire, the antechamber is full, and every man declares that his
complaint can only be made personally to your majesty. It will
require much time to listen to all these men, and would be, besides,
a bad example. If your majesty receives fifty men to-day, a hundred
will demand audience to-morrow; they must therefore be put aside; I
have advised them all to make their wishes known in writing."

"Well, I think every man knows that is the common mode of
proceeding; as these people have not adopted it, it is evident they
prefer speaking to me. There are many things which can be better
said than written. A king has no right to close his ear to his
subjects. A ruler should not resemble a framed and curtained picture
of a god, only on rare and solemn occasions to be stared and
wondered at; he must be to his people what the domestic altar and
the household god was to the Romans, to which they drew near at all
hours with consecrated hearts and pious memories. Here they made
known all their cares, their sorrows, and their joys; here they
found comfort and peace. I will never withdraw myself from my
subjects; no, I will be the household god of my people, and will
lend a willing ear to all their prayers and complaints. Turn no man
away, Fredersdorf; I will announce it publicly, that every man has
the right to appeal to me personally."

"My king is great and good," said Fredersdorf, sadly; "every man but
myself can offer his petition to your majesty and hope for grace;
the king's ear is closed only to me; to my entreaties he will not
listen."

"Fredersdorf, you complain that I will not give my consent to your
marriage. What would you? I love you too well to give you up; but
when you take a wife you will be forever lost to me. A man cannot
serve two masters, and I will not divide your heart with this
Mademoiselle Daum; you must give it to me entire! Do not call me
cruel, Fredersdorf; believe that I love you and cannot give you up."

"Oh, sire, I shall only truly belong to you in love and gratitude,
when you permit me to be happy and wed the maiden I so fondly love."

"I will have no married private secretary, nor will I have a married
secretary of state," said the king, with a dark frown. "Say not
another word, Fredersdorf; put these thoughts away from you! My God,
there are so many other things on which you could have set your
heart! why must it be ever on a woman?"

"Because I love her passionately, your majesty."

"Ah, bah! do you not love other things with which you can console
yourself? You are a scholar and an alchemist. Well, then, read
Horace; exercise yourself in the art of making gold, and forget this
Mademoiselle Daum, who, be it said, in confidence between us, has no
other fascination than that she is rich. As to her wealth, that can
have but little charm for YOU, who, without doubt, will soon have
control of all the treasures of the world. By God's help, or the
devil's, you will very soon, I suppose, discover the secret of
making gold."

"He has, indeed, heard my conversation with Joseph," said
Fredersdorf to himself, and ashamed and confused, he cast his eyes
down before the laughing glance of the king.

"Read your Horace diligently," said Frederick--"you know he is also
my favorite author; you shall learn one of his beautiful songs by
heart, and repeat it to me."

The king walked up and down the room, and cast, from time to time, a
piercing glance at Fredersdorf. He then repeated from Horace these
two lines:

     "'Torment not your heart
       With the rich offering of a bleeding lamb.'"

"I see well," said Fredersdorf, completely confused, "I see well
that your majesty knows--"

"That it is high time," said the king, interrupting him, "to go to
Berlin; you do well to remind me of it. Order my carriage--I will be
off at once."



CHAPTER V.

HOW THE PRINCESS ULRICA BECAME QUEEN OF SWEDEN.


Princess Ulrica, the eldest of the two unmarried sisters of the
king, paced her room with passionate steps. The king had just made
the queen-mother a visit, and had commanded that his two sisters
should be present at the interview.

Frederick was gay and talkative. He told them that the Signora
Barbarina had arrived, and would appear that evening at the castle
theatre. He invited his mother and the two princesses to be present.
He requested them to make tasteful and becoming toilets, and to be
bright and amiable at the ball and supper after the theatre. The
king implored them both to be gay: the one, in order to show that
she was neither angry nor jealous; the other, that she was proud and
happy.

The curiosity of the two young girls was much excited, and they
urged the king to explain his mysterious words. He informed them
that Count Tessin, the Swedish ambassador, would be present at the
ball; that he was sent to Berlin to select a wife for the prince
royal of Sweden, or, rather, to receive one; the choice, it
appeared, had been already made, as the count had asked the king if
he might make proposals for the hand of the Princess Amelia, or if
she were already promised in marriage. The king replied that Amelia
was bound by no contract, and that proposals from Sweden would be
graciously received.

"Be, therefore, lovely and attractive," said the king, placing his
hand caressingly upon the rosy cheek of his little sister; "prove to
the count that the intellectual brow of my sweet sister is fitted to
wear a crown worthily."

The queen-mother glanced toward the window into which the Princess
Ulrica had hastily withdrawn.

"And will your majesty really consent that the youngest of my
daughters shall be first married?"

The king followed the glance of his mother, and saw the frowning
brow and trembling lip of his sister. Frederick feared to increase
the mortification of Ulrica, and seemed, therefore, not to observe
her withdrawal.

"I think," said he, "your majesty was not older than Amelia when you
married my father; and if the crown prince of Sweden wishes to marry
Amelia, I see no reason why we should refuse him. Happily, we are
not Jews, and our laws do not forbid the younger sister to marry
first. To refuse the prince the hand of Amelia, or to offer him the
hand of Ulrica, would indicate that we feared the latter might
remain unsought. I think my lovely and talented sister does not
deserve to be placed in such a mortifying position, and that her
hand will be eagerly sought by other royal wooers."

"And, for myself, I am not at all anxious to marry," said Ulrica,
throwing her head back proudly, and casting a half-contemptuous,
half-pitiful look at Amelia. "I have no wish to marry. Truly, I have
not seen many happy examples of wedded life in our family. All my
sisters are unhappy, and I see no reason why I should tread the same
thorny path."

The king smiled. "I see the little Ulrica shares my aversion to
wedded life, but we cannot expect, dearest, that all the world
should be equally wise. We will, therefore, allow our foolish sister
Amelia to wed, and run away from us. This marriage will cost her
anxiety and sorrow; she must not only place her little feet in the
land of reindeers, bears, and eternal snows, but she must also be
baptized and adopt a new religion. Let us thank God, then, that the
prince has had the caprice to pass you by and choose Amelia, who, I
can see, is resolved to be married. We will, therefore, leave the
foolish child to her fate."

It was Frederick's intention, by these light jests, to comfort his
sister Ulrica, and give her time to collect herself. He did not
remark that his words had a most painful effect upon his younger
sister, and that she became deadly pale as he said she must change
her faith in order to become princess royal of Sweden.

The proud queen-mother had also received this announcement angrily.
"I think, sire," said she, "that the daughter of William the Second,
and the sister of the King of Prussia, might be allowed to remain
true to the faith of her fathers."

"Madame," said the king, bowing reverentially, "the question is not,
I am sorry to say, as to Amelia's father or brother; she will be the
mother of sons, who, according to the law of the land, must be
brought up in the religion of their father. You see, then, that if
this marriage takes place, one of the two contracting parties must
yield; and, it appears to me, that is the calling and the duty of
the woman."

"Oh, yes," said the queen bitterly, "you have been educated in too
good a school, and are too thoroughly a Hohenzollern, not to believe
in the complete self-renunciation of women. At this court, women
have only to obey."

"Nevertheless, the women do rule over us; and even when we appear to
command, we are submissive and obedient," said the king, as he
kissed his mother's hand and withdrew.

The three ladies also retired to their own rooms immediately. Each
one was too much occupied with her own thoughts to bear the presence
of another.

And now, being alone, the Princess Ulrica found it no longer
necessary to retain the smiles which she had so long and with such
mighty effort forced to play upon her lips; every pulse was beating
with glowing rage, and she gave free course to her scorn.

Her younger sister, this little maiden of eighteen years, was to be
married, to wed a future king; while she, the eldest, now two-and-
twenty, remained unchosen! And it was not her own disinclination nor
the will of the king which led to this shameful result; no! the
Swedish ambassador came not to seek her hand, but that of her
sister! She, the elder, was scorned--set aside. The king might
truthfully say there was no law of the land which forbade the
marriage of the younger sister before the elder; but there was a law
of custom and of propriety, and this law was trampled upon.

As Ulrica thought over these things, she rose from her seat with one
wild spring. On entering the room she had completely overcome, and,
with trembling knees, she had fallen upon the divan. She stood now,
however, like a tigress prepared for attack, and looking for the
enemy she was resolved to slay. The raging, stormy blood of the
Hohenzollerns was aroused. The energy and pride of her mother glowed
with feverish pulses in her bosom. She would have been happy to find
an enemy opposed to her, the waves of passion rushing through her
veins might have been assuaged; but she was alone, entirely alone,
and had no other enemy to overcome than herself. She must, then,
declare war against her own evil heart. With wild steps she rushed
to the glass, and scrutinizingly and fiercely examined her own
image. Her eye was cold, searching, and stern. Yes, she would prove
herself; she would know if it were any thing in her own outward
appearance which led the Swedish ambassador to choose her sister
rather than herself.

"It is true, Amelia is more beautiful, in the common acceptation of
the word; her eyes are larger, her cheek rosier, her smile more
fresh and youthful, and her small but graceful figure is at the same
time childlike and voluptuous. She would make an enchanting
shepherdess, but is not fitted to be a queen. She has no majesty, no
presence. She has not by nature that imposing gravity, which is the
gift of Providence, and cannot be acquired, and without which the
queen is sometimes forgotten in the woman. Amelia can never attain
that eternal calm, that exalted composure, which checks all approach
to familiarity, and which, by an almost imperceptible pressure of
the hand and a light smile, bestows more happiness and a more
liberal reward than the most impassioned tenderness and the warmest
caresses of a commonplace woman. No, Amelia could never make a
complete queen, she can only be a beautiful woman; while I--I know
that I am less lovely, but I feel that I am born to rule. I have the
grace and figure of a queen--yes, I have the soul of a queen! I
would understand how to be imposing, and, at the same time, to
obtain the love of my people, not from any weak thirst for love, but
from a queenly ambition. But I am set aside, and Amelia will be a
queen; my fate will be that of my elder sisters, I shall wed a poor
margrave, or paltry duke, and may indeed thank God if I am not an
old maiden princess, with a small pension."

She stamped wildly upon the floor, and paced the room with hasty
steps. Suddenly she grew calmer, her brow, which had been
overshadowed by dark clouds, cleared, and a faint smile played upon
those lips which a moment before had been compressed by passion.

"After all," she said, "the formal demand for the hand of Amelia has
not yet been made; perhaps the ambassador has mistaken my name for
that of Amelia, and as he has made no direct proposition, I am
convinced he wishes to make some observations before deciding. Now,
if the result of this examination should prove to him that Amelia is
not fitted to be the wife of his prince, and if Amelia herself--I
thought I saw that she turned pale as the king spoke of abandoning
her faith; and when she left the room, despair and misery were
written upon that face which should have glowed with pride and
triumph. Ah, I see land!" said Ulrica, breathing freely and sinking
comfortably upon the divan, "I am no longer hopelessly shipwrecked;
I have found a plank, which may perhaps save me. Let me consider
calmly,"--and, as if Fate itself were playing into her hand, the
door opened and Amelia entered.

One glance was sufficient to show Ulrica that she was not deceived,
and that this important event had brought no joy to poor Amelia. The
lovely eyes of the princess were red with weeping; and the soft
lips, so generally and gladly given to gay chat and merry laughter,
were now expressive of silent anguish. Ulrica saw all this, and laid
her plans accordingly. In place of receiving Amelia coldly and
repulsively, which but a few moments before she would have done, she
sprang to meet her with every sign of heart-felt love; the little
maiden threw herself weeping convulsively into her sister's arms,
and was pressed closely and tenderly to her bosom.

"Tears!" said Ulrica lovingly, as she drew her sister to the sofa
and pressed her down upon the soft pillows; "you weep, and yet a
splendid future is this day secured to you!"

Amelia sobbed yet more loudly and pressed her tear-stained face more
closely to the bosom of her sister. Ulrica looked down with a
mixture of curiosity and triumph; she could not understand these
tears; but she had a secret satisfaction in seeing the person she
most envied weeping so bitterly.

"How is this? are you not happy to be a queen?"

Amelia raised her face hastily and sobbed out: "No! I am not pleased
to be an apostate, to perjure myself! I am not content to deny my
faith in order to buy a miserable earthly crown! I have sworn to be
true to my God and my faith, and now I am commanded to lay it aside
like a perishable robe, and take another in exchange."

"Ah, is it that?" said Ulrica, with a tone of contempt she could
scarcely control; "you fear this bold step by which your poor
innocent soul may be compromised."

"I will remain true to the belief in which I have been educated, and
to which I have dedicated myself at the altar!" cried Amelia,
bursting again into tears.

"It is easy to see that but a short time only has elapsed since you
took these vows upon you. You have all the fanaticism of a new
convert. How would our blessed father rejoice if he could see you
now!"

"He would not force me to deny my religion; he would not, for the
sake of outward splendor, endanger my soul's salvation. Oh! it is
harsh and cruel of my brother to treat me as a piece of merchandise;
he asks not whether my heart or principles can conscientiously take
part in his ambitious plans."

Ulrica cast a long and piercing glance upon her sister. She would
gladly have searched to the bottom of her soul; she wished to know
if this fierce opposition to the marriage was the result of love to
the faith of her fathers.

"And you are not ambitious? you are not excited by the thought of
being a queen, of marrying a man who will fill a place in the
world's history?"

The young girl raised her eyes in amazement, and her tears ceased to
flow.

"What has a woman to do with the world's history?" she said; "think
you I care to be named as the wife of a king of Sweden? It is a sad,
unhappy fate to be a princess. We are sold to him who makes the
largest offer and the most favorable conditions. Well, let it be so;
it is the fate of all princesses; it is for this we are educated,
and must bow humbly to the yoke; but liberty of conscience should be
at least allowed us, freedom of thought, the poor consolation of
worshipping God in the manner we prefer, and of seeking help and
protection in the arms of that religion we believe in and love."

"One can be faithful to God even when unfaithful to their first
faith," said Ulrica, who began already to make excuses to herself
for the change of religion she contemplated.

"That is not in my power!" cried Amelia passionately. "I cling to
the religion of my house, and I should tremble before the wrath of
God if I gave it up."

"After all, it is but a small and unimportant difference between the
Reformed and Lutheran Churches," said Ulrica, much excited, and
entirely forgetting that the question had as yet no relation to
herself. "One can be as pious a Christian in the Reformed Church as
in the Lutheran."

"Not I; it is not in my power," said Amelia, with the wilfulness of
a spoiled child not accustomed to opposition. "I will not become a
Lutheran. A Pollnitz may change his faith, but not the daughter of
Frederick William. Did not the king with indignation and contempt
relate to us how Pollnitz had again changed his religion and become
a Protestant? Did we not laugh heartily, and in our hearts despise
the dishonorable man? I will not place myself in such a position."

"Then, my sister, there will be stormy times and stern strife in our
household: the bitter scenes of earlier days will be renewed. Our
royal brother is not less resolute than our stern father. I fear
that his brothers and sisters are nothing more to him than useful
instruments in this great state machine, and they must bow
themselves unquestioningly to his commands."

"Yes, I feel this; I see it clearly," said Amelia, trembling; "and
for this reason, dear sister, you must stand by me and help me. I
swear to you that I will not become a Lutheran."

"Is that your unchangeable resolution?"

"Yes, unchangeable."

"Well, if that is so, I will give you my counsel."

"Speak, speak quickly," said Amelia, breathlessly, and throwing her
arms around the slender waist of her sister, she laid her head
trustingly upon her shoulder.

"Firstly, the Swedish ambassador has not made a formal demand for
your hand; that probably proves that he will first examine and
observe you closely, to see if you are suited to be the wife of the
prince royal. We have still, therefore, a short delay, which, if
wisely used, may conduct you to the desired goal. But, Amelia, prove
yourself once more; ask counsel again of your heart and conscience,
before you make a final resolve. I will not have you complain of me
in future, and say that my foolish and guilty counsel lost you the
throne of Sweden."

"Oh, fear not, my beloved sister. I will not be queen of Sweden at
the cost of my immortal soul."

"You will not, then, reproach me, Amelia?"

"Never."

"Listen, then. From this moment lay a mask upon your face; that is
to say, assume a proud, rude, overbearing tone to all around you--
toward your friends, your servants, the court circle, yes, even
toward the members of your family. Particularly in the presence of
this Swedish ambassador, show yourself to be a capricious, nervous,
and haughty princess, who scarcely thinks it worth the trouble to
speak a word, or give a friendly glance, to a man in his position.
When you speak to him and he attempts to answer, cut short his
replies, and command him to be silent; if he strives to win your
favor by the most respectful civility, let an unmistakable
expression of contempt be written upon your face, and let that be
your only answer. Regulate your conduct for a few days by these
rules, and I am convinced you will attain your object."

"Yes, yes! I understand, I understand!" said the young girl,
clapping her little white hands, and looking up joyously. "I shall,
by my pride and passion, freeze the words in the mouth of my lord
ambassador, so that the decisive word cannot find utterance. Oh!
this will be a precious comedy, my sweet sister, and I promise you
to carry out my role of heroine to perfection. Oh, I thank you! I
thank you! I am indeed happy to have found so wise a sister, so
brave a comrade in arms, while surrounded with such perils!"

"She would not have it otherwise," said Ulrica, laconically, as she
found herself again alone. "If she is without ambition, so much the
worse for her--so much the better for me! And now, it is high time
to think of my toilet--that is the most important consideration. To-
day I must be not only amiable, but lovely. To-day I will appear an
innocent and unpretending maiden."

With a mocking smile she entered her boudoir, and called her
attendants.



CHAPTER VI.

THE TEMPTER.


Princess Ulrica was earnestly occupied with considerations of her
toilet. Amelia had returned to her room, musing and thoughtful.

There were difficulties in the way of the new role she had resolved
to play, and by which she expected to deceive the world. She stood
for a moment before the door of her dressing-room, and listened to
the voices of her attendants, who were gayly laughing and talking.
It was her custom to join them, and take a ready part in their merry
sports and jests. She must now, however, deny herself, and put a
guard over her heart and lips. Accordingly, with a dark frown on her
brow and tightly-compressed lips, she entered the room in which her
maids were at that moment arranging her ball toilet for the evening.

"It seems to me that your loud talking is most unseemly," said
Amelia, in a tone so haughty, so passionate, that the smiles of the
two young girls vanished in clouds. "I will be obliged to you if you
will complete your work noiselessly, and reserve your folly till you
have left my room! And what is that, Mademoiselle Felicien? for what
purpose have you prepared these flowers, which I see lying upon your
table?"

"Your royal highness, these flowers are for your coiffure, and these
bouquets are intended to festoon your dress."

"How dare you allow yourself to decide upon my toilet,
mademoiselle?"

"I have not dared," said Felicien, tremblingly; "your royal highness
ordered moss roses for your hair, and bouquets of the same for your
bosom and your robe."

"It appears to me," said Amelia, imperiously, "that to contradict
me, and at the same time assert that which is false, is, to say the
least, unbecoming your position. I am not inclined to appear in the
toilet of a gardener's daughter. To prove this, I will throw these
flowers, which you dare to assert I ordered, from the window; with
their strong odor they poison the air."

With a cruel hand, she gathered up the lovely roses, and hastened to
the window. "Look, mademoiselle, these are the flowers which you
undertook to prepare for my hair," said Amelia, with well-assumed
scorn, as she threw the bouquet into the garden which surrounded the
castle of Monbijou; "look, mademoiselle."

Suddenly the princess uttered a low cry, and looked, blushing
painfully, into the garden. In her haste, she had not remarked that
two gentlemen, at that moment, crossed the great court which led to
the principal door of the castle; and the flowers which she had so
scornfully rejected, had struck the younger and taller of the
gentlemen exactly in the face. He stood completely amazed, and
looked questioningly at the window from which this curious bomb had
fallen. His companion, however, laughed aloud, and made a profound
bow to the princess, who still stood, blushing and embarrassed, at
the window.

"From this hour I believe in the legend of the Fairy of the Roses,"
said the elder of the two gentlemen, who was indeed no other than
Baron Pollnitz. "Yes, princess, I believe fully, and I would not be
at all astonished if your highness should at this moment flutter
from the window in a chariot drawn by doves, and cast another shower
of blossoms in the face of my friend."

The princess had found time to recover herself, and to remember the
haughty part she was determined to play.

"I hope, baron," she said, sternly, "you will not allow yourself to
suppose it was my purpose to throw those roses either to your
companion or yourself? I wished only to get rid of them."

She shut the window rudely and noisily, and commanded her attendants
to complete her toilet at once. She seated herself sternly before
the glass, and ordered her French maid to cover her head with jewels
and ribbons.

The two gentlemen still stood in the garden, in earnest
conversation.

"This is assuredly an auspicious omen, my friend," said Pollnitz to
the young officer, who was gazing musingly at the roses he held in
his hand. He had raised his eyes from the flowers to the window at
which the lovely form of the princess had, for a few moments,
appeared.

"Alas!" said he, sighing, and gazing afar off; "she is so
wonderfully beautiful--so lovely; and she is a princess!"

Pollnitz laughed heartily. "One might think that you regretted that
fact! Listen to me, my young friend; stand no longer here, in a
dream. Come, in place of entering the castle immediately, to pay our
respects to the queen-mother, we will take a walk through the
garden, that you may allay your raptures and recover your reason."

He took the arm of the young man, and drew him into a shady, private
pathway.

"Now, my dear friend, listen to me, and lay to heart all that I say
to you. Accident, or, if you prefer it, Fate brought us together.
After all, it seems indeed more than an accident. I had just
returned to Berlin, and was about to pay my respects to the queen-
mother, when I met you, who at the same time seek an audience, in
order to commend yourself to her royal protection. You bear a letter
of commendation from my old friend, Count Lottum. All this, of
course, excites my curiosity. I ask your name, and learn, to my
astonishment, that you are young Von Trenck, the son of the woman
who was my first love, and who made me most unhappy by not returning
my passion. I assure you, it produces a singular sensation to meet
so unexpectedly the son of a first love, whose father, alas! you
have not the happiness to be. I feel already that I am prepared to
love you as foolishly as I once loved your fair mother."

"I will not, like my mother, reject your vows," said the young
officer, smiling, and extending his hand to Pollnitz.

"I hoped as much," said Pollnitz; "you shall find a fond father in
me, and even to-day I will commence my parental duties. In the first
place, what brings you here?"

"To make my fortune--to become a general, or field-marshal, if
possible," said the young man, laughing.

"How old are you?"

"I am nineteen."

"You wear the uniform of an officer of the life-guard; the king has,
therefore, already promoted you?"

"I was a cadet but eight days," said Trenck, proudly. "My step-
father, Count Lottum, came with me from Dantzic, and presented me to
the king. His majesty received me graciously, and remembered well
that I had received, at the examination at Konigsberg, the first
prize from his hand."

"Go on, go on," said Pollnitz; "you see I am all ear, and I must
know your present position in order to be useful to you."

"The king, as I have said, received me graciously, even kindly; he
made me a cadet in his cavalry corps, and three weeks after, I was
summoned before him; he had heard something of my wonderful memory,
and he wished to prove me."

"Well, how did you stand the proof?"

"I stood with the king at the window, and he called over to me
quickly the names of fifty soldiers who were standing in the court
below, pointing to each man as he called his name. I then repeated
to him every name in the same succession, but backward."

"A wonderful memory, indeed," said Pollnitz, taking a pinch of
Spanish snuff; "a terrible memory, which would make me shudder if I
were your sweetheart!"

"And why?" said the young officer.

"Because you would hold ever in remembrance all her caprices and all
her oaths, and one day, when she no longer loved you, she would be
held to a strict account. Well, did the king subject you to further
proof?"

"Yes; he gave me the material for two letters, which I dictated at
the same time to his secretaries, one in French and one in Latin. He
then commanded me to draw the plan of the Hare Meadow, and I did
so."

"Was he pleased?"

"He made me cornet of the guard," said Trenck, modestly avoiding a
more direct answer.

"I see you are in high favor: in three weeks you are promoted from
cadet to lieutenant! quick advancement, which the king, no doubt,
signalized by some other act of grace?"

"He sent me two horses from his stable, and when I came to thank
him, he gave me a purse containing two hundred 'Fredericks.'"

Pollnitz gave a spring backward. "Thunder! you are indeed in favor!
the king gives you presents! Ah, my young friend, I would protect
you, but it seems you can patronize me. The king has never made me a
present. And what do you desire to-day of the queen-mother?"

"As I am now a lieutenant, I belong to the court circle, and must
take part in the court festivals. So the king commanded me to pay my
respects to the queen-mother."

"Ah, the king ordered that?" said Pollnitz; "truly, young man, the
king must destine you for great things--he overloads you with
favors. You will make a glittering career, provided you are wise
enough to escape the shoals and quicksands in your way. I can tell
you, there will be adroit and willing hands ready to cast you down;
those who are in favor at court have always bitter enemies."

"Yes, I am aware that I have enemies," said Trenck; "more than once
I have already been charged with being a drunkard and a rioter; but
the king, happily, only laughed at the accusations."

"He is really in high favor, and I would do well to secure his
friendship," thought Pollnitz; "the king will also be pleased with
me if I am kind to him." He held out his hand to the young officer,
and said, with fatherly tenderness: "From this time onward, when
your enemies shall please to attack you, they shall not find you
alone; they will find me a friend ever at your side. You are the son
of the only woman I ever loved--I will cherish you in my heart as my
first-born!"

"And I receive you as my father with my whole heart," said Trenck;
"be my father, my friend, and my counsellor."

"The court is a dangerous and slippery stage, upon which a young and
inexperienced man may lightly slip, unless held up by a strong arm.
Many will hate you because you are in favor, and the hate of many is
like the sting of hornets: one sting is not fatal, but a general
attack sometimes brings death. Make use, therefore, of your
sunshine, and fix yourself strongly in an immovable position."

"The great question is, what shall be my first step to secure it?"

"How! you ask that question, and you are nineteen years old, six
feet high, have a handsome face, a splendid figure, an old, renowned
name, and are graciously received at court! Ah! youngster, I have
seen many arrive at the highest honors and distinctions, who did not
possess half your glittering qualities. If you use the right means
at the right time, you cannot fail of success."

"What do you consider the best means?"

"The admiration and favor of women! You must gain the love of
powerful and influential women. Oh, you are terrified, and your brow
is clouded! perhaps, unhappily, you are already in love?"

"No!" said Frederick von Trenck, violently. "I have never been in
love. I dare say more than that: I have never kissed the lips of a
woman."

Pollnitz gazed at him with an expression of indescribable amazement.
"How!" said he; "you are nineteen, and assert that you have never
embraced a woman?" He gave a mocking and cynical laugh.

"Ordinary women have always excited my disgust," said the young
officer, simply; "and until this day I have never seen a woman who
resembled my ideal."

"So, then, the woman with whom you will now become enamored will
receive your first tender vows?"

"Yes, even so."

"And you wear the uniform of the life-guard--you are a lieutenant!"
cried Pollnitz with tragical pathos, and extending his arms toward
heaven. "But how?--what did you say?--that until to-day you had seen
no woman who approached your ideal?"

"I said that."

"And to-day--?"

"Well, it seems to me, we have both seen an angel to-day!--an angel,
whom you have wronged, in giving her the common name of fairy."

"Aha! the Princess Amelia," said Pollnitz. "You will love this young
maiden, my friend."

"Then, indeed, shall I be most unhappy! She is a royal princess, and
my love must ever be unrequited."

"Who told you that? who told you that this little Amelia was only a
princess? I tell you she is a young girl with a heart of fire. Try
to awake her--she only sleeps! A happy event has already greeted
you. The princess has fixed your enraptured gaze upon her lovely
form, by throwing or rather shooting roses at you. Perhaps the god
of Love has hidden his arrow in a rose. You thought Amelia had only
pelted your cheek with roses, but the arrow has entered your soul.
Try your luck, young man; gain the love of the king's favorite
sister, and you will be all-powerful."

The young officer looked at him with confused and misty eyes.

"You do not dare to suggest," murmured he, "that--"

"I dare to say," cried Pollnitz, interrupting him, "that you are in
favor with the brother; why may you not also gain the sister's good
graces? I say further, that I will assist you, and I will ever be at
your side, as a loving friend and a sagacious counsellor."

"Do you know, baron, that your wild words open a future to my view
before which my brain and heart are reeling? How shall I dare to
love a princess, and seek her love in return?"

"As to the first point, I think you have already dared. As to the
second, I think your rare beauty and wondrous accomplishments might
justify such pretensions."

"You know I never can become the husband of a princess."

"You are right," said Pollnitz, laughing aloud; "you are as innocent
as a girl of sixteen! you have this moment fallen headlong in love,
and begin at once to think of the possibility of marriage, as if
love had no other refuge than marriage, and yet I think I have read
that the god of Love and the god of Hymen are rarely seen together,
though brothers; in point of fact, they despise and flee from each
other. But after all, young man, if your love is virtuous and
requires the priest's blessing, I think that is possible. Only a few
years since the widowed margravine, the aunt of the king, married
the Count Hoditz. What the king's aunt accomplished, might be
possible to the king's sister."

"Silence, silence!" murmured Frederick von Trenck; "your wild words
cloud my understanding like the breath of opium; they make me mad,
drunk. You stand near me like the tempter, showing to my bewildered
eyes more than all the treasures of this world, and saying, 'All
these things will I give thee'; but alas! I am not the Messiah. I
have not the courage to cast down and trample under foot your
devilish temptations. My whole soul springs out to meet them, and
shouts for joy. Oh, sir, what have you done? You have aroused my
youth, my ambition, my passion; you have filled my veins with fire,
and I am drunk with the sweet but deadly poison you have poured into
my ears."

"I have assured you that I will be your father. I will lead you, and
at the right moment I will point out the obstacles against which
your inexperienced feet might stumble," said Pollnitz.

The stony-hearted and egotistical old courtier felt not the least
pity for this poor young man into whose ear, as Trenck had well
said, he was pouring this fatal poison. Frederick von Trenck, the
favorite of the king, was nothing more to him than a ladder by which
he hoped to mount. He took the arm of the young officer and
endeavored to soothe him with cool and moderate words, exhorting him
to be quiet and reasonable. They turned their steps toward the
castle, in order to pay their respects to the queen-mother. The hour
of audience was over, and the two gentlemen lounged arm in arm down
the street.

"Let us go toward the palace," said Pollnitz. "I think we will
behold a rare spectacle, a crowd of old wigs who have disguised
themselves as savans. To-day, the first sitting of the Academy of
Arts and Sciences takes place, and the celebrated President
Maupertius will open the meeting in the name of the king. This is
exactly the time for the renowned worthies to leave the castle. Let
us go and witness this comical show."

The two gentlemen found it impossible to carry out their plans. A
mighty crowd of men advanced upon them at this moment, and compelled
them to stand still. Every face in the vast assemblage was
expectant. Certainly some rare exhibition was to be seen in the
circle which the crowd had left open in their midst. There were
merry laughing and jesting and questioning amongst each other, as to
what all this could mean, and what proclamation that could be which
the drummer had just read in the palace garden.

"It will be repeated here in a moment," said a voice from the crowd,
which increased every moment, and in whose fierce waves Pollnitz and
Trenck were forcibly swallowed up. Pressed, pushed onward by
powerful arms, resistance utterly in vain, the two companions found
themselves at the same moment in the open space just as the drummer
broke into the circle, and, playing his drumsticks with powerful and
zealous hands, he called the crowd to order.

The drum overpowered the wild outcries and rude laughter of the vast
assemblage, and soon silenced them completely. Every man held his
breath to hear what the public crier, who had spoken so much to the
purpose by his drum, had now to declare by word of mouth. He drew
from his pocket a large document sealed with the state seal, and
took advantage of the general quiet to read the formal introductory
to all such proclamations: "We, Frederick, King of Prussia," etc.,
etc.

On coming to the throne, Frederick had abolished all that long and
absurd list of titles and dignities which had heretofore adorned the
royal declarations. Even that highest of all titles, "King by the
grace of God," had Frederick the Second set aside. He declared that,
in saying King of Prussia, all was said. His father had called
himself King of Prussia, by the grace of God; he, therefore, would
call himself simply the King of Prussia, and if he did not boast of
God's grace, it was because he would prove by deeds, not words, that
he possessed it.

After this little digression we will return to our drummer, who now
began to read, or rather to cry out the command of the king.

"We, Frederick, King of Prussia, order and command that no one of
our subjects shall, under any circumstances, lend gold to our master
of ceremonies, whom we have again taken into our service, or assist
him in any way to borrow money. Whoever, therefore, shall, in
despite of this proclamation, lend money to said Baron Pollnitz,
must bear the consequences; they shall make no demand for repayment,
and the case shall not be considered in court. Whosoever shall
disobey this command, shall pay a fine of fifty thalers, or suffer
fifteen days' imprisonment."

A wild shout of laughter from the entire assembly was the reply to
this proclamation, in which the worldly-wise Pollnitz joined
heartily, while his young companion had not the courage to raise his
eyes from the ground.

"The old courtier will burst with rage," said a gay voice from the
crowd.

"He is a desperate borrower," cried another.

"He has richly deserved this public shame and humiliation from the
king," said another.

"And you call this a humiliation, a merited punishment!" cried
Pollnitz. "Why, my good friends, can you not see that this is an
honor which the king shows to his old and faithful servant? Do you
not know that by this proclamation he places Baron Pollnitz exactly
on the same footing with the princes of the blood, with the prince
royal?"

"How is that? explain that to us," cried a hundred voices in a
breath.

"Well, it is very simple. Has not the king recently renewed the law
which forbids, under pain of heavy punishment, the princes of the
blood to borrow money? Is not this law printed in our journals, and
made public in our collections of laws?"

"Yes, yes! so it is," said many voices simultaneously.

"Well, certainly, our exalted sovereign, who loves his royal
brothers so warmly, would not have cast shame upon their honor.
Certainly he would not have wished to humiliate them, and has not
done so. The king, as you must now plainly perceive, has acted
toward Baron Pollnitz precisely as he has done to his brothers."

"And that is, without doubt, a great honor for him," cried many
voices. No one guessed the name of the speaker who was so
fortunately at hand to defend the honor of the master of ceremonies.
A general murmur of applause was heard, and even the public crier
stood still and listened to the eloquent unknown speaker, and forgot
for a while to hurry off to the next street-corner and proclaim the
royal mandate.

"Besides, this law is 'sans consequence,' as we are accustomed to
say," said Pollnitz. "Who would not, in spite of the law, lend our
princes gold if they had need of it? And who has right to take
offence if the state refuses to pay the debts which the princes make
as private persons? The baron occupies precisely the same position.
The king, who has honored the newly returned baron with two highly
important trusts, master of ceremonies and master of the robes, will
frighten his rather lavish old friend from making debts. He chooses,
therefore, the same means by which he seeks to restrain his royal
brothers, and forbids all persons to lend gold to Pollnitz: as he
cannot well place this edict in the laws of the land, he is obliged
to make it known by the drummer. And now," said the speaker, who saw
plainly the favorable impression which his little oration had made--
"and now, best of friends, I pray you to make way and allow me to
pass through the crowd; I must go at once to the palace to thank his
majesty for the special grace and distinction which he has showered
upon me to-day. I, myself, am Baron Pollnitz!"

An outcry of amazement burst from the lips of hundreds, and all who
stood near Pollnitz stepped aside reverentially, in order to give
place to the distinguished gentleman who was treated by the king
exactly as if he were a prince of the blood. Pollnitz stepped with a
friendly smile through the narrow way thus opened for him, and
greeted, with his cool, impertinent manner those who respectfully
stood back.

"I think I have given the king a Roland for his Oliver," he said to
himself. "I have broken the point from the arrow which was aimed at
me, and it glanced from my bosom without wounding me. Public opinion
will be on my side from this time, and that which was intended for
my shame has crowned me with honor. It was, nevertheless, a harsh
and cruel act, for which I will one day hold a reckoning with
Frederick. Ah, King Frederick! King Frederick! I shall not forget,
and I will have my revenge; my cards are also well arranged, and I
hold important trumps. I will wait yet a little while upon our
lovelorn shepherd, this innocent and tender Trenck, who is in a
dangerous way about the little princess."

Pollnitz waited for Trenck, who had with difficulty forced his way
through the crowd and hastened after him.



CHAPTER VII.

THE FIRST INTERVIEW.


The ball at the palace was opened. The two queens and the princesses
had just entered the great saloon, in order to receive the
respectful greetings of the ladies of the court; while the king, in
an adjoining room, was surrounded by the gentlemen. A glittering
circle of lovely women, adorned with diamonds and other rich gems,
stood on each side of the room, each one patiently awaiting the
moment when the queens should pass before her, and she might have
the honor of bowing almost to the earth under the glance of the
royal eye.

According to etiquette, Queen Elizabeth Christine, who,
notwithstanding her modest and retired existence, was the reigning
sovereign, should have made the grand tour alone, and received the
first congratulations of the court; but this unhappy, shrinking
woman, had never found the courage to assume the rights or
privileges which belonged to her as wife of the king. She who was
denied the highest and holiest of all distinctions, the first place
in the heart of her husband, cared nothing for these pitiful and
outward advantages. Elizabeth had to-day, as usual, with a soft
smile, given precedence to the queen-mother, Sophia Dorothea, who
was ever thirsting to show that she held the first place at her
son's court, and who, delighted to surround herself with all the
accessories of pomp and power, was ever ready to use her
prerogative. With a proud and erect head, and an almost contemptuous
smile, she walked slowly around the circle of high-born dames, who
bowed humbly before this representative of royalty. Behind her came
the reigning queen, between the two princesses, who now and then
gave special and cordial greetings to their personal friends as they
passed, Elizabeth Christine saw this and sighed bitterly. She had no
personal friend to grace with a loving greeting. No man saw any
thing else in her than a sovereign by sufferance, a woman sans
consequence, a, powerless queen and unbeloved wife. She had never
had a friend into whose sympathetic and silent bosom she could pour
out her griefs. She was alone, so entirely alone and lonely, that
the heavy sighs and complaints dwelling in her heart were ever
reverberating in her cars because of the surrounding silence. And
now, as she made the grand tour with the two princesses, no one
seemed to see her; she was regarded as the statue of a queen, richly
dressed and decked with costly lace and jewels, but only a picture:
yet this picture had a soul and a heart of fire--it was a woman, a
wife, who loved and who endured.

Suddenly she trembled; a light, like the glory of sunshine, flashed
in her eyes, and a soft rosy blush spread over her fair cheek. The
king had entered the room; yes, he was there in all his beauty, his
majesty, his power; Elizabeth felt that the world was bright, her
blood was rushing madly through her veins, her heart was beating as
stormily as that of an impassioned young girl. Oh, it might be that
the eye of the king--that glowing, wondrous eye--might even by
accident rest upon her; it might be that Frederick would be touched
by her patient endurance, her silent resignation, and give her one
friendly word. She had been four years a queen, for four years this
title had been a crown of thorns; during all this weary time her
husband had not vouchsafed to her poor heart, sick unto death, one
single sympathetic word, one affectionate glance; he sat by her side
at the table during the court festivals; he had from time to time,
at the balls and masquerades, opened the dance with her; never,
however, since that day on which he had printed the first kiss upon
her lips, never had he spoken to her; since that moment she was to
him the picture of a queen, the empty form of a woman. [Footnote:
The king never spoke to his wife, but his manner toward her was
considerate and respectful; no one dared to fail in the slightest
mark of courtly observance toward Elizabeth--this the king sternly
exacted. Only once did the king address her. During the seventh year
of their marriage, the queen, by an unhappy accident, had seriously
injured her foot: this was a short time before her birthday, which
event was always celebrated with great pomp and ceremony, the king
honoring the fete with his presence. On this occasion he came as
usual, but in place of the distant and silent bow with which he
usually greeted her, he drew near, gave her his hand, and said with
kindly sympathy, "I sincerely hope that your majesty has recovered
from your accident." A general surprise was pictured in the faces of
all present--but the poor queen was so overcome by this unexpected
happiness, she had no power to reply, she bowed silently. The king
frowned and turned from her. Since that day, the happiness of which
she had bought with an injured foot, the king had not spoken to
her.] But Queen Elizabeth would not despair. Hope was her motto. A
day might come when he would speak to her, when he would forget that
she had been forced upon him as his wife, a day when his heart might
be touched by her grief, her silent and tearless love. Every meeting
with Frederick was to this poor queen a time of hope, of joyful
expectation; this alone sustained her, this gave her strength
silently, even smilingly, to draw her royal robe over her bleeding
heart.

And now the king drew near, surrounded by the princesses and the
queen-mother, to whom he gave his hand with an expression of
reverence and filial love. He then bowed silently and indifferently
to his wife, and gave a merry greeting to his two sisters.

"Ladies," said he, in a full, rich voice, "allow me to present to
you and my court my brother, the Prince Augustus William; he is now
placed before you in a new and more distinguished light." He took
the hand of his brother and led him to the queen-mother. "I
introduce your son to you; he will be from this day onward, if it so
please you, also your grandson."

"How is that, your majesty? I confess you have brought about many
seemingly impossible things; but I think it is beyond your power to
make Augustus at the same time both my son and my grandson."

"Ah, mother, if I make him my son, will he not be of necessity, your
grandson? I appoint him my successor; in so doing, I declare him my
son. Embrace him, therefore, your majesty, and be the first to greet
him by his new title. Embrace the Prince of Prussia, my successor."

"I obey," said the queen, "I obey," and she cast her arms
affectionately around her son. "I pray God that this title of
'Prince of Prussia,' which it has pleased your majesty to lend him,
may be long and honorably worn."

The prince bowed low before his mother, who tenderly kissed his
brow, then whispered, "Oh, mother, pray rather that God may soon
release me from this burden."

"How!" cried the queen threateningly, "you have then a strong desire
to be king? Has your vaulting ambition made you forget that to wish
to be king is, at the same time, to wish the death of your brother?"

The prince smiled sadly.

"Mother, I would lay aside this rank of Prince of Prussia, not
because I wish to mount the throne, but I would fain lie down in the
cold and quiet grave."

"Are you always so sad, so hopeless, my son--even now, upon this day
of proud distinction for you? To-day you take your place as Prince
of Prussia."

"Yes, your majesty, to-day I am crowned with honor," said he,
bitterly. "This is also the anniversary of my betrothal."

Augustus turned and drew near to the king, who seized his hand and
led him to his wife and the young princesses, saying with a loud
voice, "Congratulate the Prince of Prussia, ladies." He then
beckoned to some of his generals, and drew back with them to the
window. As he passed the queen, his eye rested upon her for a moment
with an expression of sympathy and curiosity; he observed her with
the searching glance of a physician, who sinks the probe into the
bleeding wound, in order to know its depth and danger.

The queen understood his purpose. That piercing glance was a
warning; it gave her courage, self-possession, and proud
resignation. Her husband had spoken to her with his eyes; that must
ever be a consolation, a painful but sweet joy. She controlled
herself so far as to give her hand to the prince with a cordial
smile.

"You are most welcome in your double character," she said, in a
voice loud enough to be heard by the king and all around her. "Until
to-day, you have been my beloved brother; and from this time will
you be to me, as also to my husband, a dear son. By the decrees of
Providence a son has been denied me; I accept you, therefore,
joyfully, and receive you as my son and brother."

A profound silence followed these words; here and there in the
crowd, slight and derisive smiles were seen, and a few whispered and
significant words were uttered. The queen had now received the last
and severest blow; in the fulness and maturity of her beauty she had
been placed before the court as unworthy or incapable of giving a
successor to the throne; but she still wished to save appearances:
she would, if possible, make the world believe that the decree of
Providence alone denied to her a mother's honors. She had the cruel
courage to conceal the truth by prevarication.

The watchful eyes of the court had long since discovered the mystery
of this royal marriage: they had long known that the queen was not
the wife of Frederick; her words, therefore, produced contemptuous
surprise.

Elizabeth cared for none of these things. She looked toward her
husband, whose eyes were fixed upon her; she would read in his
countenance if he were pleased with her words. A smile played upon
the lips of the king, and he bowed his head almost imperceptibly as
a greeting to his wife.

A golden ray of sunlight seemed to play upon her face; content was
written in her eyes; twice to-day her glance had met her husband's,
and both times his eyes had spoken. Elizabeth was happier than she
had been for many days; she laughed and jested with the ladies, and
conversed gayly over the great event of the evening--the first
appearance of the Signora Barbarina. The princesses, also, conversed
unceremoniously with the ladies near them. A cloud darkened the
usually clear brow of the Princess Amelia, and she seemed to be in a
nervous and highly excited state.

At this moment the master of ceremonies, Pollnitz, drew near, with
Count Tessin, the Swedish ambassador. The princess immediately
assumed so scornful an expression, that even Pollnitz scarcely found
courage to present Count Tessin.

"Ah! you come from Sweden," said Amelia, immediately after the
presentation. "Sweden is a dark and gloomy country, and you have
indeed done well to save yourself, by taking refuge in our gay and
sunny clime."

The count was evidently wounded.

"Your royal highness calls this a refuge," said he; "you must, then,
think those to be pitied who dwell in my fatherland?"

"I do not feel it necessary to confide my views on that subject to
Count Tessin," said Amelia, with a short, rude laugh.

"Yes, sister, it is necessary," said Ulrica, with a magical smile,
"you must justify yourself to the count, for you have cast contempt
upon his country."

"Ah! your highness is pleased to think better of my fatherland,"
said Tessin, bowing low to Ulrica. "It is true, Sweden is rich in
beauty, and nowhere is nature more romantic or more lovely. The
Swedes love their country passionately, and, like the Swiss, they
die of homesickness when banished from her borders. They languish
and pine away if one is cruel enough to think lightly of their
birth-place."

"Well, sir, I commit this cruelty," cried Amelia, "and yet I
scarcely think you will languish and pine away on that account."

"Dear sister, I think you are out of temper to-day," said Ulrica,
softly.

"And you are wise to remind me of it in this courtly style," said
Amelia; "have you taken the role of governess for my benefit to-
day?"

Ulrica shrugged her shoulders and turned again to the count, who was
watching the young Amelia with a mixture of astonishment and anger.
She had been represented at the Swedish court as a model of
gentleness, amiability, and grace; he found her rude and
contradictory, fitful and childish. The Princess Ulrica soon led the
thoughts of the count in another direction, and managed to retain
him at her side by her piquant and intellectual conversation; she
brought every power of her mind into action; she was gracious in the
extreme; she overcame her proud nature, and assumed a winning
gentleness; in short, she flattered the ambassador with such
delicate refinement, that he swallowed the magical food offered to
his vanity, without suspecting that he was victimized.

Neither the princess nor the count seemed any longer to remember
Amelia, who still stood near them with a lowering visage. Pollnitz
made use of this opportunity to draw near with his young protege,
Frederick von Trenck, and present him to the princess, who
immediately assumed a gay and laughing expression; she wished to
give the ambassador a new proof of her stormy and fitful nature: she
would humble him by proving that she was not harsh and rude to all
the world. She received the two gentlemen, therefore, with great
cordiality, and laughed heartily over the adventure of the morning;
she recounted to them, merrily and wittily, how and why she had
thrown the sweet roses away. Amelia was now so lovely and so
spirited to look upon, so radiant with youth, animation, and
innocence, that the eyes of the poor young officer were dazzled and
sought the floor; completely intoxicated and bewildered, he could
not join in the conversation, uttering here and there only a
trembling monosyllable.

This did not escape the cunning eye of the master of ceremonies. "I
must withdraw," thought he; "I will grant them a first tete-a-tete.
I will observe them from a distance, and be able to decide if my
plan will succeed." Excusing himself upon the plea of duty, Pollnitz
withdrew; he glided into a window and concealed himself behind the
curtains, in order to watch the countenances of his two victims.
Pollnitz had rightly judged. The necessity of taking part in the
conversation with the princess restored to the young officer his
intellect and his courage, and, in the effort to overcome his
timidity, he became too earnest, too impassioned.

But the princess did not remark this; she rejoiced in an opportunity
to show the Swedish ambassador how amiable and gracious she could be
to others, and thus make him more sensible of her rudeness to
himself; he should see and confess that she could be winning and
attractive when it suited her purpose. The count observed her
narrowly, even while conversing with Ulrica; he saw her ready smile,
her beaming eye, her perhaps rather demonstrative cordiality to the
young officer. "She is changeable and coquettish," he said to
himself, while still carrying on his conversation with the talented,
refined, and thoroughly maidenly Princess Ulrica.

The great and, as we have said, somewhat too strongly marked
kindliness of Amelia, added fuel to the passion of Trenck; he became
more daring.

"I have to implore your highness for a special grace," said he in a
suppressed voice.

"Speak on," said she, feeling at that moment an inexplicable emotion
which made her heart beat high, and banished the blood from her
cheeks.

"I have dared to preserve one of the roses which you threw into the
garden. It was a mad theft, I know it, but I was under the power of
enchantment; I could not resist, and would at that moment have paid
for the little blossom with my heart's blood. Oh, if your royal
highness could have seen, when I entered my room and closed the
door, with what rapture I regarded my treasure, how I knelt before
it and worshipped it, scarcely daring to touch it with my lips! it
recalled to me a lovely fairy tale of my childhood."

"How could a simple rose recall a fairy tale?" said Amelia.

"It is a legend of a poor shepherd-boy, who, lonely and neglected,
had fallen asleep under a tree near the highway. Before sleeping, he
had prayed to God to have pity upon him; to fill this great and
painful void in his heart, or to send His Minister, Death, to his
release. While sleeping he had a beautiful dream. He thought he saw
the heavens open, and an angel of enchanting grace and beauty
floated toward him. Her eyes glowed like two of the brightest stars.
'You shall be no longer lonely,' she whispered; 'my image shall
abide ever in your heart, and strengthen and stimulate you to all
things good and beautiful.' While saying this, she laid a wondrous
rose upon his eyes, and, floating off, soon disappeared in the
clouds. The poor shepherd-boy awoke, and was enraptured with what he
supposed had been a wild dream. But lo! there was the rose, and with
unspeakable joy he pressed it to his heart. He thanked God for this
sweet flower, which proved to him that the angel was no dream, but a
reality. The rose, the visible emblem of his good angel, was the joy
and comfort of his life, and he wore it ever in his heart.--I
thought of this fairy tale, princess, as I looked upon my rose, but
I felt immediately that I dared not call it mine without the consent
of your highness. Decide, therefore; dare I keep this rose?"

Amelia did not reply. She had listened with a strange embarrassment
to this impassioned tale. The world--all, was forgotten; she was no
longer a princess, she was but a simple young girl, who listened for
the first time to words of burning passion, and whose heart trembled
with sweet alarm.

"Princess, dare I guard this rose?" repeated Frederick, with a
trembling voice.

She looked at him; their eyes met; the young maiden trembled, but
the man stood erect. He felt strong, proud, and a conqueror; his
glance was like the eagle's, when about to seize a lamb and bear it
to his eyrie.

"He goes too far; truly, he goes too far," whispered Pollnitz, who
had seen all, and from their glances and movements had almost read
their thoughts and words. "I must bring this tete-a-tete to an end,
and I shall do so in a profitable manner."

"Dare I keep this rose?" said Frederick von Trenck, a third time.

Amelia turned her head aside and whispered, "Keep it."

Trenck would have answered, but in that moment a hand was laid upon
his arm, and Pollnitz stood near him.

"Prudence," whispered he, anxiously. "Do you not see that you are
observed? You will make of your insane and treasonable passion a
fairy tale for the whole court."

Amelia uttered a slight cry, and looked anxiously at Pollnitz. She
had heard his whispered words, and the sly baron intended that she
should.

"Will your royal highness dismiss this madman," whispered he, "and
allow me to awake his sleeping reason?"

"Go, Herr von Trenck," said she lightly.

Pollnitz took the arm of the young officer and led him off, saying
to himself, with a chuckle: "That was a good stroke, and I feel that
I shall succeed; I have betrayed his passion to her, and forced
myself into their confidence. I shall soon be employed as Love's
messenger, and that is ever with princesses a profitable service.
Ah, King Frederick, King Frederick, you have made it impossible for
me to borrow money! Well, I shall not find that necessary; my hands
shall be filled from the royal treasures. When the casket of the
princess is empty, the king must of course replenish it." And the
baron laughed too loudly for a master of ceremonies.



CHAPTER VIII.

SIGNORA BARBARINA.


The princess regarded their retreating figures with dreamy eyes.
Then, yielding to an unconquerable desire to be alone, to give
herself up to undisturbed thought, she was about to withdraw; but
the Princess Ulrica, who thought it necessary that the Swedish
ambassador should have another opportunity of observing the proud
and sullen temper of her sister, called her back.

"Remain a moment longer, Amelia," said the princess. "You shall
decide between Count Tessin and myself. Will you accept my sister as
umpire, count?"

"Without doubt," said the count. "I should be greatly honored if the
princess will be so gracious. Perhaps I may be more fortunate on
this occasion."

"It appears to me," said Amelia, rudely interrupting him, "that
'fortunate' and 'unfortunate' are not terms which can be properly
used in any connection between a princess of Prussia and yourself."
Amelia then turned toward her sister and gave her a glance which
plainly said: Well, do I not play my role in masterly style? Have I
not hastened to follow your counsels? "Speak, sister; name the point
which Count Tessin dares to contest with you."

"Oh, the count is a man and a scholar, and has full right to
differ," said Ulrica, graciously. "The question was a comparison of
Queen Elizabeth of England and Queen Christina of Sweden. I maintain
that Christina had a stronger and more powerful intellect; that she
knew better how to conquer her spirit, to master her womanly
weaknesses; that she was more thoroughly cultivated, and studied
philosophy and science, not as Elizabeth, for glitter and show, but
because she had an inward thirst for knowledge. The count asserts
that Elizabeth was better versed in statecraft, and a more amiable
woman. Now, Amelia, to which of these two queens do you give the
preference?"

"Oh, without doubt, to Queen Christina of Sweden. This great woman
was wise enough not to regard the crown of Sweden as a rare and
precious gem; she chose a simple life of obscurity and poverty in
beautiful Italy, rather than a throne in cold and unfruitful Sweden.
This act alone establishes her superiority. Yes, sister, you are
right. Christina was the greater woman, even because she scorned to
be Queen of Sweden."

So saying, Amelia bowed slightingly, and, turning aside, she
summoned Madame von Kleist, and commenced a merry chat with her.
Count Tessin regarded her with a dark and scornful glance, and
pressed his lips tightly together, as if to restrain his anger.

"I beseech you, count," said Ulrica, in a low, soft voice, "not to
be offended at the thoughtless words of my dear little sister. It is
true, she is a little rude and resentful to-day; but you will see--
to-morrow, perhaps, will be one of her glorious sunny days, and you
will find her irresistibly charming. Her moods are changeable, and
for that reason we call her our little 'April fee.'"

"Ah, the princess is, then, as uncertain as April?" said the count,
with a frosty smile.

"More uncertain than April," said Ulrica, sweetly. "But what would
you, sir? we all, brothers and sisters, are responsible for that.
You must know that she is our favorite, and is always indulged. I
counsel you not to find fault with our little sister, Count Tessin;
that would be to bring an accusation against us all. You have
suffered to-day from a shower of her April moods; to-morrow you may
rejoice in the sunshine of her favor."

"I shall, however, be doubtful and anxious," said the ambassador,
coolly; "the April sun is sometimes accompanied by rain and storm,
and these sudden changes bring sickness and death."

"Allow me to make one request," said Ulrica. "Let not the king guess
that you have suffered from these April changes."

"Certainly not; and if your royal highness will graciously allow me
to bask in the sunshine of your presence, I shall soon recover from
the chilling effect of these April showers."

"Well, I think we have played our parts admirably," said Ulrica to
herself, as she found time, during the course of the evening, to
meditate upon the events of the day. "Amelia will accomplish her
purpose, and will not be Queen of Sweden. She would have it so, and
I shall not reproach myself."

Princess Ulrica leaned comfortably back in her arm-chair, and gave
her attention to a play of Voltaire, which was now being performed.
This representation took place in the small theatre in the royal
palace. There was no public theatre in Berlin, and the king justly
pronounced the large opera-house unsuited to declamation. Frederick
generally gave his undivided attention to the play, but this evening
he was restless and impatient, and he accorded less applause to this
piquant and witty drama of his favorite author than he was wont to
do. The king was impatient, because the king was waiting. He had so
far restrained all outward expression of his impatient curiosity;
the French play had not commenced one moment earlier than usual.
Frederick had, according to custom, gone behind the scenes, to say a
few friendly and encouraging words to the performers, to call their
attention to his favorite passages, and exhort them to be truly
eloquent in their recitations. And now the king waited; he felt
feverishly impatient to see and judge for himself this capricious
beauty, this world-renowned artiste, this Signora Barbarina, whose
rare loveliness and grace enchanted and bewildered all who looked
upon her.

At length the curtain fell. In a few moments he would see the
Barbarina dance her celebrated solo. A breathless stillness reigned
throughout the assembly; every eye was fixed upon the curtain. The
bell sounded, the curtain flew up, and a lovely landscape met the
eye: in the background a village church, rose-bushes in rich bloom,
and shady trees on every side; the declining sun gilded the summit
of the mountain, against the base of which the little village
nestled. The distant sound of the evening bell was calling the
simple cottagers to "Ave Maria." It was an enchanting picture of
innocence and peace; in striking contrast to this courtly
assemblage, glittering with gems and starry orders--a startling
opposite to that sweet, pure idyl. And now this select circle seemed
agitated as by an electric shock. There, upon the stage, floated the
Signora Barbarina.

The king raised himself involuntarily a little higher in his arm-
chair, in order to examine the signora more closely; he leaned back,
however, ashamed of his impatience, and a light cloud was on his
brow; he felt himself oppressed and overcome by this magical beauty.
He who had looked death in the face without emotion, who had seen
the deadly cannon-balls falling thickly around him without a
trembling of the eyelids, now felt a presentiment of danger, and
shrank from it.

Barbarina was indeed lovely, irresistibly lovely, in her ravishing
costume of a shepherdess; her dress was of crimson satin, her black
velvet bodice was fastened over her voluptuous bosom by rich golden
cords, finished off by tassels glittering with diamonds. A wreath of
crimson roses adorned her hair, which fell in graceful ringlets
about her wondrous brow, and formed a rich frame around her pure,
oval face. The dark incarnate of her full, ripe lip contrasted
richly with the light, rosy blush of her fair, smooth cheek.
Barbarina's smile was a promise of love and bliss; and, when those
great fiery eyes looked at you earnestly, there was such an intense
glow, such a depth of power and passion in their rays, you could not
but feel that there was danger in her love as in her scorn.

To-day, she would neither threaten nor inspire; she was only a
smiling, joyous, simple peasant-girl, who had returned wild with joy
to her native village, and whose rapture found expression in the gay
and graceful mazes of the dance. She floated here and there, like a
wood-nymph, smiling, happy, careless, wonderful to look upon in her
loveliness and beauty, but more wonderful still in her art.
Simplicity and grace marked every movement; there seemed no
difficulties in her path--to dance was her happiness.

The dance was at an end. Barbarina, breathless, glowing, smiling,
bowed low. Then all was still; no hand was moved, no applause
greeted her. Her great burning eyes wandered threateningly and
questioningly over the saloon; then, raising her lovely head
proudly, she stepped back.

The curtain fell, and now all eyes were fixed upon the king, in
whose face the courtiers expected to read the impression which the
signora had made upon him; but the countenance of the king told
nothing; he was quiet and thoughtful, his brow was stern, and his
lips compressed. The courtiers concluded that he was disappointed,
and began at once to find fault, and make disparaging remarks.
Frederick did not regard them. At this moment he was not a king, he
was only a man--a man who, in silent rapture, had gazed upon this
wondrous combination of grace and beauty. The king was a hero, but
he trembled before this woman, and a sort of terror laid hold upon
him.

The curtain rose, and the second act of the drama began; no one
looked at the stage; after this living, breathing, impersonation of
a simple story, a spoken drama seemed oppressive. Every one rejoiced
when the second act was at an end. The curtain would soon rise for
Barbarina.

But this did not occur; there was a long delay; there was eager
expectation; the curtain did not rise; the bell did not ring. At
last, Baron Swartz crossed the stage and drew near to the king.

"Sire," said he, "the Signora Barbarina declares she will not dance
again; she is exhausted by grief and anxiety, and fatigued by her
journey."

"Go and say to her that I command her to dance," said Frederick, who
felt himself once more a king, and rejoiced in his power over this
enchantress, who almost held him in her toils.

Baron Swartz hastened behind the scenes, but soon returned, somewhat
cast down.

"Sire, the signora affirms that she will not dance, and that the
king has no power to compel her. She dances to please herself."

"Ah! that is a menace," said the king, threateningly; and without
further speech he stepped upon the stage, followed by Baron Swartz.
"Where is this person?" said the king.

"She is in her own room, your majesty; shall I call her?"

"No, I will go to her. Show me the way."

The baron stepped forward, and Frederick endeavored to collect
himself and assume a cool and grave bearing.

"Sire, this is the chamber of the Signora Barbarina."

"Open the door." But before the baron had time to obey the command,
the impatient hand of the king had opened the door, and he had
entered the room.



CHAPTER IX.

THE KING AND BARBARINA.


Barbarina was resting, half reclining, and wholly abstracted, upon a
small crimson divan; her rounded arms were crossed over her breast.
She fixed her blazing, glowing eyes upon the intruders, and seemed
petrified, in her stubborn immobility, her determined silence. She
had the glance of a panther who has prepared herself for death, or
to slay her enemy.

The king stood a moment quiet and waiting, but Barbarina did not
move. Baron Swartz, alarmed by her contemptuous and disrespectful
bearing, drew near, in order to say that the king had vouchsafed to
visit her, but Frederick motioned him to withdraw; and, in order
that Barbarina might not understand him, he told him in German to
leave the room and await him in the corridor.

"I do not wish the signora to know that I am the king," said he. As
the baron withdrew, Frederick said to him, "Leave the door open."

Barbarina was motionless, only her large black eyes wandered
questioningly from one to the other; she sought to read the meaning
of their words, not one of which she understood; but her features
expressed no anxiety, no disquiet; she did not look like a culprit
or a rebel; she had rather the air of a stern queen, withholding her
royal favor. The king drew near her. Her eyes were fixed upon him
with inexpressible, earnest calm; and this cool indifference, so
rarely seen by a king, embarrassed Frederick, and at the same time
intoxicated him.

"You are, then, determined not to dance again?" said the king.

"Fully determined," said she, in a rich and sonorous voice.

"Beware! beware!" said he; but he could not assume that threatening
tone which he wished. "The king may perhaps compel you."

"Compel me! me, the Barbarina!" said she, with a mocking laugh, aim
disclosing two row? of pearly teeth. "And how can the king compel me
to dance?"

"You must be convinced that he has some power over you, since he
brought you here against your will."

"Yes, that is true," said she, raising herself up proudly; "he
brought me here by force; he has acted like a barbarian, a cold-
blooded tyrant!"

"Signora," said Frederick, menacingly, "one does not speak so of
kings."

"And why not?" she said, passionately. "What is your king to me?
What claim has he upon my love, upon my consideration, or even my
obedience? What has he done for me, that I should regard him
otherwise than as a tyrant? What is he to me? I am myself a queen;
yes, and believe me, a proud and an obstinate one! Who and what is
this king, whom I do not know, whom I have never seen, who has
forgotten that I am a woman, yes, forgotten that he is a man, though
he bears the empty title of a king? A true king is always and only a
gallant cavalier in his conduct to women. If he fails in this, he is
contemptible and despised."

"How! you despise the king?" said Frederick, who really enjoyed this
unaccustomed scene.

"Yes, I despise him! yes, I hate him!" cried the Barbarina, with a
wild and stormy outbreak of her southern nature. "I no longer pray
to God for my own happiness; that this cruel king has destroyed. I
pray to God for revenge; yes, for vengeance upon this man, who has
no heart, and who tramples the hearts of others under his feet. And
God will help me. I shall revenge myself on this man. I have sworn
it--I will keep my word! Go, sir, and tell this to your king; tell
him to beware of Barbarina. Greater, bolder, more magnanimous than
he, I warn him! Cunningly; slyly, unwarned, by night I was fallen
upon by spies, and dragged like a culprit to Berlin."

The king had no wish to put an end to this piquant scene; he was
only accustomed to the voice of praise and of applause; it was a
novelty, and therefore agreeable to be so energetically railed at
and abused.

"Do you not fear that the king will be angry when I repeat your
words?"

"Fear! What more can your king do, that I should fear him? Yes, he
is a king; but am not I a queen? This paltry kingdom is but a small
portion of the world, which is mine, wholly mine; it belongs to me,
as it belongs to the eagle who spreads her proud wings and looks
down upon her vast domains; he has millions in his treasury, but
they are pressed from the pockets of his poor subjects; he requires
many agents to collect his gold, and his people give it grudgingly,
but my subjects bring their tribute joyfully and lay it at my feet
with loving words. Look you! look at these two little feet: they are
my assessors; they collect the taxes from my people, and all the
dwellers in Europe are mine. These are my agents, they bring me in
millions of gold; they are also my avengers, by their aid I shall
revenge myself on your barbaric king."

She leaned back upon the pillows and breathed audibly, exhausted by
her wild passion. The king looked at her with wonder. She was to him
a rare and precious work of art, something to be studied and
worshipped. Her alluring beauty, her impetuous, uncontrolled
passions, her bold sincerity, were all attractions, and he felt
himself under the spell of her enchantments. Let her rail and swear
to be revenged on the barbarian. The king heard her not; a simple
gentleman stood before her; a man who felt that Barbarina was right,
and who confessed to himself that the king had forgotten, in her
rude seizure, that this Barbarina was a woman--forgotten that he, in
all his relations with women, should be only a cavalier.

"Yes, yes," said Barbarina, and an expression of triumph was painted
on her lips--"yes, my little feet will be my avengers. The king will
never more see them dance--never more; they have cost him thousands
of gold; because of them he is at variance with the noble Republic
of Venice. Well, he has seen them for the last time. Ah! it is a
light thing to subdue a province, but impossible to conquer a woman
and an artiste who is resolved not to surrender."

Frederick smiled at these proud words.

"So you will not dance before the king, and yet you have danced for
him this evening?"

"Yes," said she, raising her head proudly. "I have proved to him
that I am an artiste; only when he feels that, will it pain him
never again to see me exercise my art."

"That is, indeed, refined reasoning," said the king. "You danced,
then, in order to make the king thirst anew for this intoxicating
draught, and then deny him? Truly, one must be an Italian to
conceive this plan."

"I am an Italian, and woe to me that I am!" A storm of tears gushed
from her eyes, but in a moment, as if scorning her own weakness, she
drove them back into her heart. "Poor Italian," she said, in a soft,
low tone--"poor child of the South, what are you doing in this cold
North, amongst these frosty hearts whose icy smiles petrify art and
beauty? Ah! to think that even the Barbarina could not melt the ice-
rind from their pitiful souls; to think that she displayed before
them all the power and grace of her art, and they looked on with
motionless hands and silent lips! Ah! this humiliation would have
killed me in Italy, because I love my people, and they understand
and appreciate all that is rare and beautiful. My heart burns with
scorn and contempt for these torpid Berliners."

"I understand you now," said the king; "you heard no bravos, you
were not applauded; therefore you are angry?"

"I laugh at it!" said she, looking fiercely at the king. "Do you not
know, sir, that this applause, these bravos, are to the artiste as
the sound of a trumpet to the gallant war-horse, they invigorate and
inspire, and swell the heart with strength and courage? When the
artiste stands upon the stage, the saloon before him is his heaven,
and there his judges sit, to bestow eternal happiness or eternal
condemnation; to crown him with immortal fame, or cover him with
shame and confusion. Now, sir, that I have explained to you that the
stage saloon is our heaven, and the spectators are our judges, you
will understand that these bravos are to us as the music of the
spheres."

"Yes, I comprehend," said the king, smiling; "but you must be
indulgent; in this theatre etiquette forbids applause. You have
danced to-day before an invited audience, who pay nothing, and
therefore have not the right to blame or praise; no one dare
applaud--no one but the king."

"Ha! and this rude man did not applaud!" cried she, showing her
small teeth, and raising her hand threateningly toward heaven.

"Perhaps he was motionless and drunk from rapture," said the king,
bowing gracefully; "when he sees you dance again, he will have more
control over himself, and will, perhaps, applaud you heartily."

"Perhaps?" cried she. "I shall not expose myself to this 'perhaps.'
I will dance no more. My foot is sore, and your king cannot force me
to dance."

"No, he cannot force you, but you will do it willingly; you will
dance for him again this evening, of your own free will."

Barbarina answered by one burst of wild, demoniac laughter,
expressive of her scorn and her resentment.

"You will dance again this evening," repeated Frederick, and his
keen eye gazed steadily into that of Barbarina, who, though weeping
bitterly, shook her lovely head, and gave him back bravely glance
for glance. "You will dance, Barbarina, because, if you do not, you
are lost. I do not mean by this that you are lost because the king
will punish you for your obstinacy. The king is no Bluebeard; he
neither murders women nor confines them in underground prisons; he
has no torture chambers ready for you; for the King of Prussia, whom
you hate so fiercely, has abolished the torture throughout his
kingdom--the torture, which still flourishes luxuriantly by the side
of oranges and myrtles in your beautiful Italy. No, signora, the
king will not punish you if you persist in your obstinacy; he will
only send you away, that is all."

"And that is my only wish, all that I ask of Fate."

"You do not know yourself. You, who are an artiste, who are a lovely
woman, who are ambitious, and look upon fame as worth striving for,
you would not lose your power, trample under foot your ambition, see
your rare beauty slighted, and your enchanting grace despised?"

"I cannot see why all these terrible things will come to pass if I
refuse to dance again before your king?"

"I will explain to you, signora--listen. The king (however
contemptuously you may think and speak of him) is still a man, upon
whom the eyes of all Europe are turned--that is to say," he added,
with a gay smile and a graceful bow, "when his bold eye is not
exactly fixed upon them, signora. The voice of this king has some
weight in your world, though, as yet, he has only stolen provinces
and women. It is well known that the king has so irresistible a
desire to see you and to admire you, that he forgot his knightly
gallantry, or set it aside, and, relying only upon his right, he
exacted the fulfilment of the contract signed by your own lovely
hand. That was, perhaps, not worthy of a cavalier, but it was not
unjust. You were forced to obey. You came to Berlin unwillingly,
that I confess; but you have this evening danced before the king of
your own free will. This, from your stand-point, was a great
mistake. You can no longer say, 'I will not dance before the king,
because I wish to revenge myself.' You have already danced, and no
matter with what refinement of reason you may explain this false
step, no one will believe you if the king raises his voice against
you; and he will do this, believe me. He will say: 'I brought this
Barbarina to Berlin. I wished to see if the world had gone mad or
become childish, or if Barbarina really deserved the enthusiasm and
adoration which followed her steps. Well, I have seen her dance, and
I find the world is mad in folly. I give them back their goddess--
she does not suit me. She is a wooden image in my eyes. I wished to
capture Terpsichore herself, and lo, I found I had stolen her
chambermaid! I have seen your goddess dance once, and I am weary of
her pirouettes and minauderies. Lo, there, thou hast that is
thine.'"

"Sir, sir!" cried Barbarina menacingly, and springing up with
flaming eyes and panting breath.

"That is what the king will say," said Frederick quietly. "You know
that the voice of the king is full and strong; it will resound
throughout Europe. No one will believe that you refused to dance. It
will be said that you did not please the king; this will be proved
by the fact that he did not applaud, did not utter a single bravo.
In a word, it will be said you have made a fiasco."

Barbarina sprang from her seat and laid her hand upon the arm of the
king with indescribable, inimitable grace and passion.

"Lead me upon the stage--I will dance now. Ah, this king shall not
conquer me, shall not cast me down. No, no! I will compel him to
applaud; he shall confess that I am indeed an artiste. Tell the
director to prepare--I will come immediately upon the stage."

Barbarina was right when she compared the artiste to a war-horse. At
this moment she did indeed resemble one: she seemed to hear the
sound of the trumpet calling to battle and to fame. Her cheeks
glowed, her nostrils dilated, a quick and violent breathing agitated
her breast, and a nervous and convulsive trembling for action was
seen in every movement. The king observed and comprehended her. He
understood her tremor and her haste; he appreciated this soul-
thirsting for fame, this fervor of ambition, excited by the
possibility of failure; her boldness enraptured him. The sincerity
and power with which she expressed her emotions, commanded his
respect; and while the king paid this tribute to her intellectual
qualities, the man at the same time confessed to himself that her
personal attractions merited the worship she received. She was
beautiful, endowed with the alluring, gentle, soft, luxurious, and
at the same time modest beauty of the Venus Anadyomene, the goddess
rising from the sea.

"Come," said Frederick, "give me your hand. I will conduct you, and
I promise you that this time the king will applaud."

Barbarina did not reply. In the fire of her impatience, she pressed
the king onward toward the door. Suddenly she paused, and giving him
an enchanting smile, she said, "I am, without doubt, much indebted
to you; you have warned me of a danger, and in fact guarded me from
an abyss. Truly I think this was not done for my sake, but because
your king had commanded that I should dance. Your reasons were well
grounded, and I thank you sincerely. I pray you, sir, give me your
name, that I may guard it in my memory as the only pleasant
association with Berlin."

"From this day, signora, you will confess that you owe me a small
service. You have told ine it was a light task to win provinces, but
to capture and subdue a woman was impossible, I hope now I shall be
a hero in your eyes: I have not only conquered provinces, I have
captured a woman and subdued her."

Barbarina was neither astonished nor alarmed at these words. She had
seen so many kings and princes at her feet to be blinded by the
glitter of royalty. She let go the arm of the king, and said calmly
and coolly: "Sire, I do not ask for pardon or grace. The possessor
of a crown must wear it, if he demands that it should be
acknowledged and respected, and the pomp and glare of royalty is, it
seems, easily veiled. Besides, I would not have acted otherwise, had
I known who it was that dared intrude upon me."

"I am convinced of that," said Frederick, smiling. "You are a queen
who has but small consideration for the little King of Prussia,
because he requires so many agents to impress the gold from the
pockets of his unwilling subjects. You are right--my agents cost me
much money, and bring small tribute, while yours cost nothing and
yield a rich harvest. Come, signora, your assessors must enter upon
their duties."

He nodded to Baron Swartz, who stood in the corridor, and said in
German, "The signora will dance; she must be received with respect
and treated with consideration." He gave a light greeting to
Barbarina and returned to the saloon, where he found the last act of
the drama just concluded.

Every eye was fixed upon the king as he entered. He had left the
room in anger, and the courtiers almost trembled at the thought of
his fierce displeasure; but Frederick's brow was clear, and an
expression of peace and quiet was written on his features. He took
his place between the two queens, muttered a few words of
explanation to his mother, and bowed smilingly to his wife. Poor
queen! poor Elizabeth Christine! she had the sharp eye of a loving
and jealous woman, and she saw in the king's face what no one, not
even Frederick himself, knew. While every eye was turned upon the
stage; while all with breathless rapture gazed upon the marvellous
beauty and grace of Barbarina, the queen alone fixed a stolen and
trembling glance upon the countenance of her husband. She saw not
that Barbarina, inspired by ambition and passion, was more lovely,
more enchanting than before. Her eyes were fixed upon the face of
her husband, now luminous with admiration and delight; she saw his
soft smile, and the iron entered her soul.

The dance was at an end. Barbarina came forward and bowed low; and
now something happened so unheard of, so contrary to court
etiquette, that the master of ceremonies was filled with surprise
and disapprobation. The king applauded, not as gracious kings
applaud generally, by laying his hands lightly together, but like a
wild enthusiast who wishes to confess to the world that he is
bewildered, enraptured. He then rose from his chair, and turning to
the princesses and generals behind him, he said, "Gentlemen, why do
you not applaud?" and as if these magical words had released the
hands from bondage and given life to the wild rapture of applause
which had before but trembled on the lip, the wide hall rang with
the plaudits and enthusiastic bravos of the spectators. Barbarina
bowed low and still lower, an expression of happy triumph playing
upon her glowing face.

"I have never seen a more beautiful woman," said the king, as he
sank back, seemingly exhausted, in his chair.

Queen Elizabeth pressed her lips together, to suppress a cry of
pain. She had heard the king's words; for her they had a deeper
meaning. "He will love her, I know it, I feel it!" she said to
herself as she returned after this eventful evening to Schonhausen.
"Oh, why has God laid upon me this new trial, this new humiliation?
Until now, no one thought the less of me because I was not loved by
the king. The world said, 'The king loves no woman, he has no heart
for love.' From this day I shall be despised and pitied. The king
has found a heart. He knows now that he has not outlived his youth;
he feels that he is young--that he is young in heart, young in love!
Oh, my God! and I too am young, and love; and I must shroud my heart
in resignation and gloom."

While the queen was pouring out her complaints and prayers to God,
the Swedish ambassador was confiding his wrath to his king. He wrote
to his sovereign, and repeated to him the angry and abusive words of
the little Princess Amelia, who was known at the court as the little
April Fee. She was more changeable than April, and more stormy and
imperious than Frederick himself. He painted skilfully the gentle
and attractive bearing of the Princess Ulrica, and asked for
permission to demand the hand of this gracious and noble princess
for Adolph Frederick. After the ambassador had written his
dispatches, and sent them by a courier to the Swedish ship lying in
the sound, he said to himself, with a triumphant smile: "Ah, my
little Princess Amelia, this is a royal punishment for royal
impertinence. You were pleased to treat me with contempt, but you
did not know that I could avenge myself by depriving you of a
kingdom. Ah, if you had guessed my mission, how smilingly you would
have greeted the Count Tessin!"

The gentlemen diplomatists are sometimes outwitted.



CHAPTER X.

ECKHOF.


The reader has learned, from the foregoing chapters, what a splendid
role the French theatre and ballet were now playing at the court of
Berlin. A superb house had been built for the Italian opera and the
ballet, a stage had been prepared in the king's palace for the
French comedies, and every representation was honored by the
presence of the king, the royal family, and the court circle. The
most celebrated singers of Italy, the most graceful Parisian dancers
were now to be heard and seen in Berlin. These things assumed such
vast importance, that the king himself appeared as a critic in the
daily journals, and his articles were published in the foreign
papers. While the king favored the strange actors with his presence
and his grace, the German theatre, like a despised step-child, was
given over to misery and contempt. Compelled to seek an asylum in
low dark saloons, its actors had to be thankful for even the
permission to exist, and to plead with Apollo and the Muses for aid
and applause. The king and the so-called good society despised them
altogether. But this step-child carried under her ashes and ragged
garments the golden robes of her future greatness; her cunning step-
sisters had cast her down into obscurity and want, but she was not
extinguished; she could not be robbed of her future! Only a few
propitious circumstances were necessary to enable her to shake the
dust from her head, and bring her kingly crown to light.

The king had given Schonemein permission to bring his company to
Berlin; and by a happy chance, Schonemein had engaged the young and
talented actor Eckhof for the season. Eckhof was destined to give
renown to the German theatre; he was justly called the first and
greatest actor in Germany. Alas, how much of misery, how much of
humiliation, how many choking tears, how much suffering and care,
how much hunger and thirst were then comprised in that one word, a
"German actor!" None but a lost or despairing man, or an enthusiast,
would enroll himself as a German actor; only when he had nothing
more to lose, and was willing to burn his ships behind him, could he
enter upon that thorny path. Religion and art have always had their
martyrs, and truly the German actors were martyrs in the time of
Frederick the Great. Blessings upon those who did not despair, and
took up their cross patiently!

The French comedy and the Italian opera flourished like the green
bay-tree. The German actors took refuge in the saloon of the
Council-house. The lighting up of the Royal Opera-house cost two
hundred and seventy-seven florins every night. The misty light of
sweltering oil lamps illuminated the poor saloon of the Council-
house.

The audience of the German theatre was composed of burghers,
philosophers, poets, bankers, and clerks--the people of the middle
classes, who wore no white plumes in their hats; they were indeed
allowed to enter the opera-house, but through a side passage, and
their boxes were entirely separated from those of the court circle.
These people of the middle classes seemed obscure and unimportant,
but they were educated and intelligent; even then they were a power;
proud and independent, they could not be bribed by flattery, nor
blinded by glitter and pomp. They judged the king as they judged the
beggar, the philosopher as they did the artist, and they judged
boldly and well.

This public voice had declared that Eckhof was a great tragedian,
who rivalled successfully the great French actor, Monsieur Dennis.
This public voice, though but the voice of the people, found
entrance everywhere, even in the saloons of the nobles and cabinets
of princes. Berlin resounded with the name of Eckhof, who dared to
rival the French actor, and with the name of Schonemein, who dared,
every time a drama of Corneille or Racine, of Moliere or Voltaire,
was given in the palace theatre, to represent the same in the
Council-house on the following evening. This was a good idea. Those
who had been so fortunate as to witness the performance at the
palace, wished to compare the glittering spectacle with the poor
caricature, as they were pleased to call it, in the Council-house.
Those whose obscure position prevented them from entering the French
theatre, wished at least to see the play which had enraptured the
king and court; they must be content with a copy, somewhat like the
hungry beggar who stands before the kitchen door, and refreshes
himself by smelling the roast beef he cannot hope to taste. But
there was still a third class who visited the German theatre, not in
derision, not from curiosity, not from a desire to imitate the
nobles in their amusements, but with the seemingly Utopian hope of
building up the German drama. Amongst these were the scholars, who
pronounced the dramas of Gottsched far superior to those of
Corneille and Racine; there were the German patriots, who would not
grant a smile to the best representation of "Le Malade Imaginaire,"
but declared "The Hypochondriac," by Guistorp, the wittiest drama in
the world. In short, this large class of men ranged themselves in
bold opposition to the favoritism shown to Frenchmen by Frederick
the Great. These were the elements which composed the audience in
the Council-house.

One afternoon, just before the opening of the theatre, two young men
were walking arm-in-arm in the castle court; with one of them we are
already acquainted, Joseph Fredersdorf, the merry student of Halle,
the brother of the private secretary--he who had been commissioned
to seek the black ram, for the propitiation of the devil. In
obedience to the command of the secretary, he, with ten other
members of this unholy alliance, had been searching in every quarter
for this sacrifice. Joseph Fredersdorf, indebted to fortune or his
own adroitness, was the first to return from his wanderings, and he
brought with him a black ram, on whose glossy coat the sharpest eye
could not detect one white hair.

Fredersdorf, and Baron Kleist, the husband of the lovely Louise von
Schwerin, were truly happy, and paid willingly some hundred thalers
for this coveted object. Indeed, they considered this a very small
interest to pay for the large capital which they would soon realize.
They were the principal leaders in the secret conspiracy for gold-
making, and many other most distinguished nobles, generals, and
officers belonged to the society. Fredersdorf was resolved to fathom
this mystery; he wished to buy himself free from his service to the
king, and wed the woman he had long so passionately loved. Kleist
was riotous and a spendthrift; he felt that gold alone would enable
him to buy smiles and rapture from this worn-out and wearisome
world. Kleist and his beautiful wife required money in large
measure; she had been a faithful companion and aid--had stood by
honestly and assisted in the waste of her own property; and now they
were compelled to confine themselves to the small income of captain
of the king's guard.

Joseph laughed, chatted, and jested with his young companion, who
walked by his side with modest and downcast eyes. Joseph sometimes
put his hand merrily under the dimpled chins of the rosy servant-
girls who passed them from time to time, or peeped rather
impertinently under the silk hoods of the burgher maidens; his
companion blushed and took no part in these bold pastimes.

"Truly," said Joseph, "if I did not have in my pocket a letter from
my former room-mate at Halle, introducing you as a manly, brave boy,
and a future light in the world of science, I should suspect you
were a disguised maiden; you blush like a girl, and are as timid as
a lamb which has never left its mother's side."

"I am a villager, a poor provincial," said the youth, in a somewhat
maidenly voice. "The manners of your great city embarrass me. I
admire but cannot imitate them. I have been always a recluse, a
dusty book-worm."

"A learned monster!" cried Joseph, mockingly, "who knows and
understands every thing except the art of enjoying life. I
acknowledge that you are greatly my superior, but I can instruct you
in that science. You have been so strongly commended to me that I
will at once commence to unfold to you the real, satisfying duties
and pleasures of life."

"I fear," said the youth. "your science is beyond my ability. I have
no organ for it. My father is a celebrated physician in Quedlinburg;
he would be greatly distressed if I should occupy myself with any
thing else than philosophy and the arts. I myself have so little
inclination and so little ability for the enjoyment of mirth and
pleasure, that I dare not exchange the world of books for the world
of men. I do not understand their speech, and their manners are
strange to me."

"But, without doubt, you have come to Berlin to learn something of
these things?"

"No, I have come to visit the medical college, and to speak with the
learned and renowned Euler."

"Folly and nonsense!" said Fredersdorf, laughing; "keep your dry
pursuits for Halle, and give your time and attention to that which
you cannot find there, gayety and amusement. I promise to be your
counsellor and comrade. Let us begin our studies at once. Do you see
that little theatre-bill fastened to the wall? Eckhof appears as
Cato to-night."

"Go to the theatre!" said Lupinus, shrinkingly. "How! I go to the
theatre?"

"And why not, friend?" said Joseph. "Perhaps you belong to the
pietists, who look upon the stage as the mother of blasphemy and
sin, and who rail at our noble king because he will not close these
houses?"

"No, I do not belong to the pietists," said the youth, with a sad
smile, "and I try to serve God, by understanding and admiring His
works: that is my religion."

"Well, it seems to me that this faith does not forbid you to enter
the theatre. If it pleases you to study God's master-work, I promise
to show you this night on the stage the noblest exemplar. Eckhof
plays this evening."

"Who, then, is Eckhof?"

Joseph looked at the young man with surprise, and shrugged his
shoulders contemptuously.

"You have, indeed, been greatly neglected, and it was high time you
should come to me. You do not know, then, that Eckhof is the first
tragedian who has dared to set aside the old and absurd dress and
manners of the stage, and introduce real, living, feeling men, of
like passions with ourselves, and who move and speak even as we do.
Now we must certainly enter the theatre; look there, at that great
crowd entering the dark and lowly entrance. Let us remove our hats
reverentially; we stand before the temple of art." So saying, he
drew the young man, who had no longer courage to resist, into the
house. "This is Eckhof's benefit. You see the great tragedian has
many admirers; it seems to me that half of Berlin has come to bring
him tribute this evening."

Lupinus sat silent and confused in the parterre, near Joseph. There
was a row of seats slightly elevated and made of common plank,
called loges; one of these nearest the stage was adorned by a golden
eagle, from which some pitiful drapery was suspended; this was
called the king's loge, but, I am constrained to say, it had never
been visited by the king or any member of the royal family. The
royal loge was indeed empty, but the great body of the house was
fearfully crowded, and many an expression of pain was heard from
those who were closely pressed and almost trampled upon.

"It is fortunate for you that Eckhof appears as Cato tonight: it is
his best role. Perhaps your learned soul may be somewhat reconciled
to such vanities when you see a drama of Gottsched, and a hero of
the old and classic time."

"Yes, but will not your Eckhof make a vile caricature of the noble
Roman?" sighed Lupinus.

"You are a pedant, and I trust the Muses will revenge themselves
upon you this night," said Joseph, angrily. "I prophesy that you
will become this evening a wild enthusiast for Eckhof: that is
always the punishment for those who come as despisers and doubters.
If you were a girl, I should know that you would be passionately in
love with Eckhof before you slept; you have taken the first step, by
hating him."

Joseph said this thoughtlessly, and did not remark the deep
impression his words made upon the stranger. His face flushed, and
his head sank upon his breast. Joseph saw nothing of this. At this
moment the curtain rose and the piece began.

A breathless silence reigned throughout the vast crowd; every eye
was fixed upon the stage; and now, with a stately step and a Roman
toga falling in artistic folds from his shoulders, Eckhof as Cato
stood before them. Every thing about him was antique; his noble and
proud bearing, his firm and measured step, his slow but easy
movements, even the form of his head and the expression of his
finely-cut features, were eminently classic. He was the complete and
perfect picture of an old Roman; nothing was forgotten. The sandals,
laced with red over the powerful and well-formed leg; the white
under-garment and leathern girdle, the blue toga, the cut of his
hair, every thing brought before you the noble Roman, the son of
Liberty, imposing in his majesty and power.

Eckhof was the first who had the courage to clothe his characters in
the costume of the time they represented, to make them move and
speak simply as men. Eckhof did that for the German stage which some
years later Talma introduced on the French boards. Talma was only a
copyist of Eckhof, but this fact was not acknowledged, because at
that time the German stage had not won for itself the sympathy and
consideration of other nations.

As I have said, silence reigned, and from time to time the rapture
of applause, which could not be altogether suppressed, was evidenced
by thundering bravos. Then again all was still; every eye and every
ear were open to the great actor, true to himself and true to
nature; who, glowing with enthusiasm, had cast his whole soul into
his part; who had forgotten the line separating imagination from
reality; who had, indeed, ceased to be Eckhof, and felt and thought
and spoke as Cato. At the close of an act, Eckhof was forced to come
forward and show himself by the wild the stormy applause and loud
cries of the audience.

"Do you not find him beyond all praise?" said Fredersdorf.

Lupinus gazed steadily at the stage; he had only soul, breath,
hearing, for Eckhof. His old world had passed away like a misty
dream--a new world surrounded him. The olden time, the olden time to
which he had consecrated years of study and of thought, to which he
had offered up his sleep and all the pleasures of youth, had now
become a reality for him. He who stood upon the stage was Cato; that
was the Roman forum; there were the proud temples, and the dwelling-
houses consecrated by their household gods. There was, then, outside
of the world of books and letters, another world of light and
gladness! What was it, which made his heart beat and tremble so
powerfully? why did his blood rush so madly through his veins? A
dark veil had fallen from his face; all around him were life, light,
gladness, and rapture. With trembling lips and silent tears he said
to himself: "I will live; I will be young; I will turn to Eckhof; he
shall counsel me, and I will follow his advice as I would a holy
gospel.--Did you not say that you knew Cato?" said he, suddenly
awaking from his dream and turning to his companion.

"Cato?" said Fredersdorf. "Do you mean the drama, or that wearisome
old fellow himself? or Eckhof, who plays the part of Cato?"

"So it is Eckhof," said Lupinus, to himself; "he is called Eckhof?"

The play was at an end; the curtain fell for the last time, and now
the long-suppressed enthusiasm burst forth in wild and deafening
applause. The young stranger was silent, his eyes were full of
tears; and yet he was perhaps the happiest of them all, and these
rapturous tears were a loftier tribute to the great actor than the
loudest bravos. The people had passed a happy evening, and common
cares and sorrows had been forgotten; but Lupinus felt as if his
heart had risen from the dead: he was changed from old age to sunny
youth; he had suddenly discovered in himself something new,
something never suspected--a glowing, loving heart.

"Well, now I am resolved, wholly resolved," said Joseph, as they
forced their way through the crowd. "I no longer hesitate; I give up
to you your dry learning and philosophy; you are welcome to your
dusty books and your imposing cues. I will be an actor."

"Ha! an actor?" said Lupinus, awaking from his dream and trembling
violently.

"Why are you shocked at my words? I suppose you despise me because
of this decision; but what do I care? I will be an artiste; I shall
not be disturbed by the turned-up noses and derisive shrugs of you
wise ones. I will be a scholar of Eckhof; so despise me, my learned
Lupinus--I give you permission."

"I am not laughing," said Lupinus. "Each one must walk in that path
at the end of which he hopes to find his ideal."

"Yes, truly, and so I will go to Eckhof," said Fredersdorf, waving
his hat triumphantly in the air.

"Do you know where he dwells?" said the youth.

"Certainly. We are standing now just before his door. See there in
the third story, those two lighted windows? That is Eckhof's home."

"What is the name of this street?"

"What is that to you? Has my prophecy really come true, and are you
in love with the great actor? Do not let go my arm; do not turn away
from me angrily. The Post Strasse is a long way off from where you
dwell; you will lose yourself. Let us go together. I will risk no
more unseemly jests with you. Come!"

"He lives in the Post Strasse; he is called Eckhof," said Lupinus to
himself, as he took Joseph's arm and walked through the dark
streets. "I must see Eckhof; he shall decide my fate."



CHAPTER XI.

A LIFE QUESTION.


It was the morning after Eckhof's benefit. The usually quiet
dwelling of the actor resounded with the ringing of glasses and
merry songs after the toils and fatigues of the evening. He wished
to afford to himself and his comrades a little distraction; to give
to the hungry sons of the Muses and Graces a few hours of simple
enjoyment. Eckhof's purse was full and he wished to divide its
contents with his friends.

"Drink and be merry," said he to his gay companions. "Let us forget
for a few hours that we are poor, despised German actors. We will
drink, and picture to ourselves that we belong to the cherished and
celebrated artistes of the French stage, on whom the Germans so
willingly shower gold, honor, and even love. Raise your glasses, and
drink with me to the success of German art!"

"We will drink also to Eckhof," cried one of the youthful company,
raising his glass. "Yes, to the father of the now school of German
acting."

"You are that, Eckhof, and you are also our benefactor," said
another. "We thank you, that for some months we have not suffered
from hunger and thirst; that the good people of Berlin take an
interest in the German stage, and treat us with some consideration.
Let us, then, drink to our preserver, to the great Eckhof!"

Every glass was raised, and their shouts rang out merrily. Eckhof
alone was sad and troubled, and his great dreamy eyes gazed
thoughtfully in the distance. His friends observed this, and
questioned him as to the cause of his melancholy.

"I am not melancholy, though a German actor has always good reason
to be so; but I have some new plans which I wish to disclose to you.
You greet me as your benefactor. Alas! how suffering, how pitiful
must your condition be, if such a man as I am can have been useful
to you! You are all artistes, and I say this to you from honest
conviction, and not from contemptible flattery. You are greater in
your art than I am, only you had not the courage to break through
the old and absurd customs of your predecessors. That I have done
this, that I have dared to leave the beaten paths, is the only
service I have rendered. I have tried to banish from the stage the
crazy fools who strutted from side to side, and waved their arms
from right to left; who tried to play the orator by uttering their
pathetic phrases in weird, solemn sounds from the throat, or
trumpeted them through the nose. I have placed living men upon the
boards, who by natural speech and action lend truth and reality to
the scenes they wish to portray. You, comrades, have assisted me
faithfully in this effort. We are in the right path, but we are far
from the goal. Let us go forward, then, bravely and hopefully. You
think yourselves happy now in Berlin; but I say to you that we dare
not remain in Berlin. This vegetation, this bare permission to live,
does not suffice, will not satisfy our honor. I think, with Caesar,
it is better to be the first in a village than the second or third
in a great city. We will leave Berlin; this cold, proud, imperious
Berlin, which cherishes the stranger, but has no kind, cheering word
for her own countrymen. Let us turn our backs upon these French
worshippers, and go as missionaries for the German drama throughout
our fatherland."

A long pause followed this speech of Eckhof; every eye was
thoughtful, every face was troubled.

"You do not answer? I have not, then, convinced you?"

"Shall we leave Berlin now," said the hero and lover of the little
company, "even now, when they begin to show a little interest, a
little enthusiasm for us?"

"Alas, friend! the enthusiasm of the Berliners for us is like a fire
of straw--it flashes and is extinguished; to-day, perhaps, they may
applaud us, to-morrow we will be forgotten, because a learned
sparrow or hound, a French dancer, or an Italian singer, occupies
their attention. There is neither endurance nor constancy in the
Berliners. Let us go hence."

"It seems to me that we should make use of the good time while it
lasts," said another. "At present, our daily bread is secured for
ourselves and our families."

"If you are not willing to endure suffering and want," said Eckhof,
sadly, "you will never be true artistes. Poverty and necessity will
be for a long time to come the only faithful companions of the
German actor; and he who has not courage to take them to his arms,
would do better to become an honest tailor or a shoemaker. If the
prosperity of your family is your first consideration, why have you
not contented yourselves with honest daily labor, with being
virtuous fathers of families? The pursuit of art does not accord
with these things; if you choose the one, you must, for a while at
least, be separated from the other."

"That will we do," cried Fredersdorf, who had just entered the room;
"I, for my part, have already set you all a good example. I have
separated from my family, in order to become the husband of Art,
whose sighing and ardent lover I have long been; and now, if the
noble Eckhof does not reject me as a scholar, I am wholly yours."

Eckhof seized his hand, and said, with a soft smile, "I receive you
joyfully; you have the true fire of inspiration. From my heart I say
you are welcome."

"I thank you for the word--and now let us be off. The German actor
is in Germany no better than the Jew was to the Romans. Let us do as
the Jews: we have also found our Moses, who will lead us to the
promised land, where we shall find liberty, honor, and gold."

"Yes," they cried, with one voice, "we will follow Eckhof, we will
obey our master, we will leave Berlin and seek a city where we shall
be truly honored."

"I have found the city," said Eckhof; "we will go to Halle. The wise
men who have consecrated their lives to knowledge are best fitted to
appreciate and treasure the true artiste; we will unite with them,
and our efforts will transform Halle into an Athens, where knowledge
and art shall walk hand-in-hand in noble emulation."

"Off, then, for Halle!" said Fredersdorf, waving his hat in the air,
but his voice was less firm, and his eye was troubled. "Will the
director, Schonemein, consent?"

"Schonemein has resolved to go with us, provided we make no claim
for salaries, but will share with him both gains and losses."

"If the undertaking fails in Halle, we must starve, then," said a
trembling voice.

Eckhof said nothing; he crossed the room to his writing-table, and
took out a well-filled purse. "I do not say that we shall succeed in
Halle, that is, succeed as the merchants and Jews do; we go as
missionaries, resolved to bear hunger and thirst, if need be, for
the cause we love and believe in. Look, this purse contains what
remains of my profits from the last two months and from my benefit
last night. It is all I have; take it and divide it amongst you. It
will, at least, suffice to support you all for one month."

"Will you accept this?" said Joseph, with glowing cheeks.

"No, we will not accept it; what we do we will do freely, and no man
shall fetter us by his generosity or magnanimity, not even Eckhof."

Eckhof was radiant with joy. "Hear, now--I have another proposition
to make. You have refused my offer for yourselves, but you dare not
refuse it for your children; take this money and divide it equally
amongst your wives and children. With this gold you shall buy
yourselves free for a while from your families."

After a long and eloquent persuasion, Eckhof's offer was accepted,
and divided fairly. He looked on with a kindly smile.

"I now stand exactly as I did when I resolved two years ago to be an
actor. Before that I was an honest clerk; from day to day I
vegetated, and thanked God, when, after eight hours' hard work, I
could enjoy a little fresh air and the evening sunshine, and declaim
to the fields and groves my favorite lines from the great authors.
It is probable I should still have been a poor clerk and a dreamer,
if my good genius had not stood by me and given me a powerful blow,
which awakened me from dreaming to active life. The justice of the
peace, whose clerk I was, commanded me to serve behind his carriage
as a footman; this aroused my anger and my self-respect, and I left
him, determined rather to die of hunger than to submit to such
humiliation. My good genius was again at hand, and gave me courage
to follow the promptings of my heart, and become an actor. He who
will be great has the strength to achieve greatness. Let us go
onward, then, with bold hearts." He gave his hand to his friends and
dismissed them, warning them to prepare for their journey.

"You are determined to go to Halle?" said Frederedorf, who had
remained behind for the last greeting.

"We will go to Halle; it is the seat of the Muses, and belongs,
therefore, to us."

Joseph shook his head sadly. "I know Halle," said he. "You call it
the seat of the Muses. I know it only as the seat of pedantry. You
will soon know and confess this. There is nothing more narrow-
minded, jealous, arrogant, and conceited than a Halle professor. He
sees no merit in any thing but himself and a few old dusty Greeks
and Romans, and even these are only great because the professor of
Halle has shown them the honor to explain and descant upon them.
But, you are resolved--I would go with you to prison and to death;
in short, I will follow you to Halle."

"And now I am at last alone," said Eckhof; "now I must study my new
role; now stand by me, ye gods, and inspire me with your strength;
give me the right tone, the right emphasis to personate this rare
and wonderful Hippolytus, with which I hope to win the stern
professors of Halle!"

Walking backward and forward, he began to declaim the proud and
eloquent verses of Corneille; he was so thoroughly absorbed that he
did not hear the oft-repeated knock upon the door; he did not even
see that the door was softly opened, and the young Lupinus stood
blushing upon the threshold. He stood still and listened with
rapture to the pathetic words of the great actor; and as Eckhof
recited the glowing and innocent confession of love made by
Hippolytus, a burning blush suffused the cheek of the young student,
and his eyes were filled with tears. He overcame his emotion, and
advanced to Eckhof, who was now standing before the glass, studying
the attitude which would best accord with this passionate
declaration.

"Sir," said he, with a low and trembling voice, "pardon me for
disturbing you. I was told that I should find Eckhof in this room,
and it is most important to me to see and consult with this great
man. I know this is his dwelling; be kind enough to tell me if he is
within."

"This is his home, truly, but he is neither a great nor a wise man;
only and simply Eckhof the actor."

"I did not ask your opinion of the distinguished man whom I honor,
but only where I can find him."

"Tell me first what you want of Eckhof."

"What I want of him, sir?" said the youth, thoughtfully; "I scarcely
know myself. There is a mystery in my soul which I cannot fathom.
Eckhof has age, wisdom, and experience--perhaps he can enlighten me.
I have faith in his eyes and in his silver beard, and I can say
freely to him what I dare not say to any other."

Eckhof laughed merrily. "As to his white beard, you will find that
in his wardrobe; his wisdom you will find in the books of the
authors, to whose great thoughts he has only given voice; he is
neither old, wise, nor experienced. In short--I, myself, am Eckhof."

"You are Eckhof!" said Lupinus, turning deadly pale, and, stepping
back a few paces, he stared with distended eyes at the actor, whose
noble and intellectual face, glowing with youthful fire, was turned
toward him.

"I am Eckhof, and I hope you will forgive me for being a little
younger, a little browner, and somewhat less wise than the great
Cato, in which character you no doubt saw me last night. I dare hope
that my confession will not shake your confidence in me; with my
whole heart I beg you will tell me how I can be useful to you and
what mystery you wish to have explained."

"No, no! I cannot explain," cried the youth; "forgive me for having
disturbed you. I have nothing more to say." Confused and ashamed,
Lupinus left the room. The actor gazed after him wonderingly,
convinced that he had been closeted with a madman.

With trembling heart, scarcely knowing what he thought or did, the
student reached his room and closed the door, and throwing himself
upon his knees, he cried out in tones of anguish: "Oh, my God! I
have seen Eckhof: he is young, he is glorious in beauty, unhappy
that I am!" With his hands folded and still upon his knees, he gazed
dreamily in the distance; then springing up suddenly, his eyes
glowing with energy and passion, he cried: "I must go, I must go! I
will return to Halle, to my books and my quiet room; it is lonely,
but there I am at peace; there the world and the voice of Eckhof
cannot enter. I must forget this wild awakening of my youth; my
heart must sleep again and dream, and be buried at last under the
dust of books. Unhappy that I am, I feel that the past is gone
forever. I stand trembling on the borders of a new existence. I will
go at once--perhaps there is yet time; perhaps I may yet escape the
wretchedness which threatens me. Oh! in my books and studies I may
forget all. I may no longer hear this voice, which is forever
sounding in my enraptured ears, no longer see those fearful but
wondrous eyes."

With feverish haste and trembling hands he made up his little
parcel. A few hours later the post-wagon rolled by Eckhof's
dwelling. A young man with pale, haggard face and tearful eyes gazed
up at his windows.

"Farewell, Eckhof," murmured he; "I flee from you, but may God bless
you! I go to Halle; there I shall never see you, my heart shall
never thrill at the sound of your eloquent voice."

Lupinus leaned sadly back in the carriage, comforting himself with
the conviction that he was safe; but fate was too strong for him,
and the danger from which he so bravely fled, followed him speedily.



CHAPTER XII.

SUPERSTITION AND PIETY.


The goal was at last reached. The black ram for the propitiatory
offering was found, and was now awaiting in Berlin the hour of
sacrifice.

With what eager impatience, with what throbbing pulses, did
Fredersdorf wait for the evening! At last this sublime mystery would
be explained, and rivers of gold would flow at his command. Happily,
the king was not in Berlin--he had gone to Charlottenburg.
Fredersdorf was free-lord of himself.

"And after to-morrow, it will be ever the same," said he to himself
joyfully. "To-morrow the world will belong to me! I will not envy
the king his crown, the scholar his learning, or youth and beauty
their bloom. I shall be more powerful, more honored, more beloved
than them all. I shall possess an inexhaustible fountain of gold.
Gold is the lord and king of the world. The king and the
philosopher, youth, beauty, and grace, bow down before its shrine.
Oh, what a life of gladness and rapture will be mine! I shall be at
liberty. I shall wed the woman I adore. The sun is sinking; the moon
will soon ride triumphantly in the heavens, and then--"

A light rustling on the tapestry door interrupted him; and he turned
anxiously toward this door, which led directly to the chamber of the
king, and through which he alone could enter. It was indeed
Frederick. He entered the room of his private secretary with a
bright, gay smile.

"I have come unexpectedly," said the king. His clear, piercing
glance instantly remarked the cloud which lowered upon the brow of
Fredersdorf. "But what will you have? The King and Fate, as Deus ex
machina, appear without warning and confuse the calculations of
insignificant mortals."

"I have made no calculations, sire," said Fredersdorf, confused;
"and the presence of my king can never disturb my peace."

"So much the better," said Frederick, smiling. "Well, I have made my
calculations, and you, Fredersdorf, have an important part to play.
We have a great work on hand, and if you have set your heart upon
being at liberty this evening, I regret it; the hope is a vain one.
This evening you are the prisoner of your king."

The king said this with so grave, so peculiar, and at the same time
so kindly an expression, that Fredersdorf was involuntarily touched
and softened, and he pressed his lips warmly upon the hand which
Frederick held out to him.

"We must work diligently," said the king. "The time of idleness is
past, and also the time consecrated to the Muses. Soon I will lay my
flute in its case, and draw my sword from its scabbard. It appears
that my godmother, Maria Theresa, thinks it unseemly for a King of
Prussia to pass his days elsewhere than in a tented field, or to
hear other music than the sound of trumpet or the thunder of cannon
calling loudly to battle. Well, if Austria will have war, she shall
have it promptly. Never will Prussia yield to her imperious
conditions, and never will the house of Hohenzollern subject herself
to the house of Hapsburg. My godmother, the empress, can never
forget that the Prince-Elector of Brandenburg once, at the table,
held a wash-basin for the emperor. For this reason she always
regards us as cavaliere servente to the house of Hapsburg. Now, by
the help of England, Saxony, and Russia, she hopes to bring us under
the old yoke. But she shall not succeed. She has made an alliance
with England, Russia, and Saxony. I have united with France and
Bavaria, for the protection of Charles the Seventh. This, you see,
Fredersdorf, is war. Our life of fantasy and dreaming is over. I
have given you a little dish of politics," said the king, after a
pause. "I wish to show you that I have need of you, and that we have
much to do. We must arrange my private accounts, we have many
letters to write; and then we must select and prepare the rich
presents to be given to the Princess Ulrica on her marriage.
Fredersdorf, we cannot afford to be idle."

"I shall be ready at all times to obey the commands of my king. I
will work the entire night; but I pray your majesty to grant me a
few hours this evening--I have most important business, which cannot
be postponed."

"Ah! without doubt, you wish to finish the epistle of Horace, of
which we spoke a few days since. If I remember correctly, this
epistle relates to the useless offering of a lamb or black ram.
Well, I give up this translation for the present; we have no time
for it; and I cannot possibly give you leave of absence this
evening."

"And yet I dare to repeat my request," said Fredersdorf, with
passionate excitement. "Sire, my business cannot be postponed, and I
beseech you to grant me a few hours."

"If you will not yield to the earnest wish of your friend, you will
be forced to submit to the command of your king," said Frederick,
sternly. "I forbid you to leave your room this evening."

"Have pity, sire, I entreat you! I wish but for two hours of
liberty. I tell you my business is most important; the happiness of
my life depends upon it."

The king shrugged his shoulders contemptuously. "The happiness of
your life! How can this poor, short-sighted, vain race of mortals
decide any question relating to 'the happiness of life'? You seek it
to-day, perhaps, in riches; to-morrow in the arms of your beloved;
and the next day you turn away from and despise both the one and the
other. I cannot fulfil your wish; I have important work for you, and
will not grant you one moment's absence."

"Sire, I must--"

"Not another word! you remain here; I command you not to leave this
room!"

"I will not obey this command," said Fredersdorf, completely beside
himself with rage and despair. "Will your majesty dismiss me from
your service, withdraw your favor, and banish me forever from your
presence? I must and will have some hours of liberty this evening."

The king's eyes flashed lightning, and his features assumed so
threatening an expression, that Fredersdorf, though completely
blinded by passion, trembled. Without a word in reply, the king
stepped hastily to the door which led into the corridor. Two
soldiers stood before the door.

"You will see that no one leaves this room," said Frederick--"you
will fire upon any one who opens the door." He turned and fixed his
eyes steadily upon the pale face of the secretary. "I said to you
that you were the prisoner of your king to-day. You would not
understand my jest. I will force you to see that I am in earnest.
The guards stand before this, door; the other door leads to my
apartment, and I will close it. You shall not work with me to-day;
you are not worthy of it. You are a bold rebel, deserving
punishment, and 'having eyes see not.'"

Fredersdorf had not the courage to reply. The king stepped hastily
through the room and opened the tapestry door; as he stood upon the
threshold, he turned once again. "Fredersdorf, the time will come
when you will thank me for having been a stern king." He closed the
door, placed the key in his pocket, and returned to his room, where
Jordan awaited him.

"And now, friend, the police may act promptly and rigorously;
Fredersdorf will not be there, and I shall not find it necessary to
punish him further. Alas! how difficult it is to turn a fool from
his folly! Fredersdorf would learn to make gold through the
sacrifice of a black ram; in order to do this, he joins himself to
my adversaries, to the hypocrites and pietists; he goes to the so-
called prayer-meetings of the godless, who call themselves,
forsooth, the children of God! Ah! Jordan, how selfish, how pitiful
is this small race of man! how little do they merit! I took
Fredersdorf from obscurity and poverty. I not only took him into my
service, I made him my confidant and my friend--I loved him
sincerely. And what is my reward? He is ungrateful, and he hates me
with a perfect hatred; he is now sitting in his room and cursing his
king, who has done nothing more than protect him from the withering
ridicule which his childish and mad pursuit was about to bring upon
him. Jordan, Jordan! kings are always repaid with ingratitude."

"Yes, sire; and God, our heavenly Father, meets with the same
reward," said Jordan, with a painful smile. "God and the king are
the two powers most misunderstood. In their bright radiance they
stand too high above the sons of men: they demand of the king that
he shall be all-wise, almighty, even as God is; they require of God
that He shall judge and act as weak, short-sighted men do, not
'knowing the end from the beginning.'"

The king did not reply; with his arms folded, he walked thoughtfully
through the room.

"Poor Fredersdorf," said he, softly, "I have slain his hobby-horse,
and that is always an unpardonable offence to any man. I might,
perhaps, have closed my eyes to the mad follies of these so-called
pietists, if they had not drawn my poor secretary into the toils.
For his sake I will give them a lesson. I will force him to see that
they are hypocrites and charlatans. Happen what will, I have saved
Fredersdorf from ridicule; if he curses me for this, I can bear it
cheerfully."

The king was right; Fredersdorf was insane with passion. He cursed
the king, not only in his heart, but with his trembling lips; he
called him a tyrant, a heartless egotist. He hated him, even as an
ignorant, unreasoning child hates the kind hand which corrects and
restrains.

"They will discover this mystery; they will learn how to make gold,
and I shall not be there," murmured Fredersdorf, gnashing his teeth;
"who knows? perhaps they will not divulge to me this costly receipt!
They will lie to me and deceive me. Ah! the moon is rising; she
casts her pure, silver rays into this hated room, now become my
prison. Now, even now, they are assembling; now the holy incantation
begins, and I--I am not there! "He tore his hair, and beat his
breast, and cried aloud.

Fredersdorf was right. As the moon rose, the conspirators, who had
been notified by Von Kleist, the husband of the beautiful Louise von
Schwerin, began to assemble. The great saloon in which the gay and
laughter-loving Louise had given her superb balls and soirees--in
which her dancing feet had trampled upon her fortune and her
happiness--was now changed into a solemn temple of worship, where
the pious believers assembled to pray to God and to adjure the
devil. The king had forbidden that the churches should be opened
except on Sunday and the regular fete days. Some over-pious and
fanatical preachers had dared to disobey this order. The assemblies
had been broken up by force of arms, the people driven to their
homes, and the churches closed. Both priests and people were
threatened with severe punishment if they should dare to open the
churches again during the week. [Footnote: Preuss's "Geschichte
Friedriotia des Grossen."]

The pietists, forgetting the Bible rule, to "give unto Caesar that
which is Caesar's," refused obedience to the spirit of the command,
and assembled together in the different houses of the faithful.
Their worship consisted principally in stern resolves to remain
obedient to the only true doctrine. To the proud fanatic this is, of
course, the faith which he professes, and there is salvation in no
other. With zealous speech they railed at the king as a heretic or
unbeliever, and strengthened themselves in their disobedience to his
commands by declaring it was well-pleasing in the sight of God.

The pietists, who had in vain endeavored to retain the power and
influence which they had enjoyed under Frederick William, whom they
now declared to have been the holiest and wisest of kings, had
become the bitterest enemies of Frederick the Great. The king called
their piety hypocrisy, laughed at their rage, replied to their
curses by witty words and biting sarcasm; and on one occasion, after
listening to an impertinent request, he replied laconically: "The
cursed priest don't know himself what he wants. Let him go to the
devil!" [Footnote: Busching's "Character of Frederick the Great."]

This so-called prayer-meeting was to take place to-day in the ball-
room of the beautiful Louise, after the regular hour of worship.
Only the elect and consecrated would remain behind to take part in
the deeper mysteries, and be witness to the incantation by which the
astrologist Pfannenschmidt would constrain his majesty the devil to
appear. No woman was allowed to be present at this holy ordinance,
and each one of the consecrated had sworn a solemn oath not to
betray an act of the assembly.

Von Kleist had taken the oath, and kept it faithfully. But there is
a wise Persian proverb which says: "If you would change an obedient
and submissive wife into a proud rebel, you have only to forbid
something! If you wish to keep a secret from the wife of your bosom,
slay yourself, or tear out your tongue; if you live, she will
discover your secret, even though hidden in the bottom of your
heart." Louise von Kleist had proved the truth of this proverb. She
had discovered the secret which her husband wished to conceal from
her. She had soon recovered from the fleeting love entertained at
first for the husband chosen for her by the king. She had returned
to the levity of her earlier days, and only waited for an
opportunity to revenge herself upon her husband. Louise hated him
because he had never been rich enough to gratify her extravagant
taste and caprices. He had even restrained her in the use of her own
means: they were always in want of money, and constantly railing
bitterly at each other.

For all this misery Louise wished to revenge herself upon her
husband, as beautiful and coquettish women always wish to revenge
themselves. She was more than ready to believe the words of that
poet who says that "a woman's heart is always girlish and youthful
enough for a new love." She wished to take special vengeance upon
her husband for daring to keep a secret from her. So soon as she
discovered the object of these secret meetings, she informed the
king, and implored him to come to her assistance and rescue her
husband from those crooked paths which had cost her her wedded
happiness and her fortune. Frederick agreed at once to her
proposition, not so much for her sake as because he rejoiced in the
opportunity to free Fredersdorf from the mystic suppositions which
had clouded his intellect, and convince him of the cunning and
hypocrisy of the alchemist Pfannenschmidt.

Every necessary preparation had been made by order of the king. The
pious assembly had scarcely met, when Louise called the four
policemen who were waiting in a neighboring house, and placed them
in a small closet adjoining the ball-room, where every thing which
took place could be both seen and heard.

The conspirators had no suspicion. The meeting was larger than ever
before. There were people of all classes, from the day laborer to
the comfortable burgher, from the honorable officer under government
to the highest noble. They prayed earnestly and fervently, and sang
hymns to the honor and glory of God. Then one of the popular priests
stepped into the pulpit and thundered forth one of those arrogant,
narrow-minded, and violent discourses which the believers of those
days indulged in. He declared all those lost, condemned to eternal
torture, who did not believe as he believed; and all those elected
and sanctified who adhered to his holy faith, and who, despising the
command of the heretical king, met together for these forbidden
services.

All this, however, was but the preparation for the great solemnity
prepared for the initiated, who were now waiting with loudly-beating
hearts and breathless expectation for the grand result.

And now another orator, the astrologer, the enlightened prophet of
God, ascended the pulpit. With what pious words he warned his
hearers to repentance! how eloquently he exhorted them to contemn
the hollow and vain world, which God had only made lovely and
attractive in order to tempt men to sin and try their powers of
resistance! "Resist! resist!" he howled through his nose, "and
persuade men to turn to you, and be saved even as we are saved--to
become angels of God, even as we are God's holy angels." In order,
however, to reach their exalted goal, they must make greater
efforts, use larger means. Power and wealth were necessary to make
the world happy and convert it to the true faith. The world must
become wholly theirs; they must buy from the devil the gold which he
has hid in the bowels of the earth, and with it allure men, and save
their souls from perdition. "We, by the grace of God, have been
empowered to subdue the devil, and to force him to give up his
secret. To those who, like ourselves, are enlightened by the holy
spirit of knowledge, the mysteries of the lower world must be made
clear. It is also a noble and great work which we have before us; we
must make gold, and with it we must purchase and convert the whole
race to holiness!"

When this pious rhapsody was concluded, he called the assembly to
earnest prayer. They fell upon their knees, and dared to pray to God
that He would give them strength to adjure the devil.

It was not, however, exactly the plan of the astrologer to crown the
efforts of the elect with success, and bring the devil virtually
before them. As long as his majesty did not appear, the pious must
believe and hope in their priest; must give him their love, their
confidence, and their gold; must look upon him as their benefactor,
who was to crown their future with glory and riches, and bring the
world to their feet. In short, he knew it was impossible for him to
introduce a devil who could disclose the great secret. The prayers
and offerings of the past had failed, and their future sacrifices
must also be in vain.

And now, in the midst of solemn hymns, the ram was led to the altar-
-this rare offering which had cost so much weary wandering and so
much precious gold. With pompous ceremony, and covered with a white
veil, the black ram was led to the sacrifice. The holy priest
Pfannenschmidt, clothed in gold-embroidered robes, stood with a
silver knife in his hand, and a silver bowl to receive the blood of
the victim. As he raised the knife, the faithful threw themselves
upon their knees and prayed aloud, prayed to God to be with them and
bless their efforts.

The astrologer, glowing with piety and enthusiasm, was about to sink
the knife into the throat of the poor trembling beast, when suddenly
something unheard of, incredible, took place. A figure fearful to
look upon sprang fiercely from behind the altar, and seized the arm
of the priest.

"Spare the offering, let the sacrifice go free!" he said, with a
thundering voice. "You have called me, and I am here! I am the
devil!"

"The devil! it is truly the devil!" and, with timid glances, they
looked up at the giant figure, clothed in crimson, his face
completely shaded by a wide-brimmed hat, from which three crimson
feathers waved majestically: these, with his terrible club-foot, all
gave unmistakable evidence of the presence of Satan. They believed
truly in him, these pious children of God; they remained upon their
knees and stammered their prayers, scarcely knowing themselves if
they were addressed to God or to the devil.

There in the little cabinet stood Louise von Kleist, trembling with
mirth, and with great effort suppressing an outburst of laughter.
She looked with wicked and mocking eyes upon her husband, who lay
shivering and deadly pale at the feet of the devil and the black
ram. He fixed his pleading glances upon the fiery monster who was to
him indeed the devil. Louise, however, fully understood this scene;
she it was who had induced young Fredersdorf to assume this part,
and had assisted him in his disguise.

"This moment repays me, avenges me for all I have suffered by the
side of this silly and extravagant fool," said Louise to herself.
"Oh, I will mock him, I will martyr him with this devil's work. The
whole world shall know of it, and, from this time forth, I shall be
justified and pitied. No one will be surprised that I am not
constant to my husband, that I cannot love him."

Whilst the pious-elect still rested upon their knees in trembling
adoration, the priest Pfannenschmidt had recovered from his surprise
and alarm. He, who did not believe in the devil, although he daily
addressed him, knew that the monster before him was an unseemly jest
or a malicious interruption. He must, therefore, tear off his mask
and expose him to the faithful.

With passionate energy he stretched out both his arms toward him.
"Away with you, you son of Baal! Fly, fly, before I unmask you! You
are not what you appear. You are no true devil!"

"How! you deny me, your lord and master?" cried the intruder,
raising his hand covered with a crimson glove, against the priest.
"You have long called for me. You have robbed these, my children, of
their gold in order to propitiate me, and now that I am come, you
will not confess me before men! Perhaps you fear that these pious
believers will no longer lavish their attentions and their gold upon
you, and suffer you to lead them by the nose. Go, go! you are not my
high priest. I listened to your entreaties, and I came, but only to
prove to my children that you are a deceiver, and to free them from
your yoke. Away, you blasphemer of God and of the devil! Neither God
nor the devil accepts your service; away with you!" Saying this, he
seized the astrologer with a powerful arm, and dragged him toward
the altar.

But Pfannenschmidt was not the man to submit to such indignities.
With a wild cry of rage, he rushed upon his adversary; and now began
a scene which neither words nor colors could portray. The pious
worshippers raised themselves from their knees and stared for a
moment at this curious spectacle; and then, according as they
believed in the devil or the priest, sprang forward to take part in
the contest.

In the midst of this wild tumult the policemen appeared, to arrest
those who were present, in the name of the king; to break up the
assembly, and put an end to the noise and tumult.

Louise, meanwhile, laughing boisterously, observed this whole scene
from the cabinet; she saw the police seize the raging astrologer,
who uttered curses, loud and deep, against the unbelieving king, who
dared to treat the pious and prayerful as culprits, and to arrest
the servant and priest of the Lord. Louise saw these counts and
barons, these officers and secretaries, who had been the brave
adherents of the astrologer, slipping away with shame and confusion
of face. She saw her own husband mocked and ridiculed by the police,
who handed him an order from the king, written by the royal hand,
commanding him to consider himself as under arrest in his own house.
As Louise heard this order read, her laughter was hushed and her
brow was clouded.

"Truly," said she, "that is a degree of consideration which looks
like malice in the king. To make my husband a prisoner in his own
house is to punish me fearfully, by condemning me steadily to his
hateful society. My God, how cruel, how wicked is the king! My
husband is a prisoner here! that is to banish my beautiful, my
beloved Salimberri from my presence. Oh, when shall we meet again,
my love, my adorer?"



BOOK II.


CHAPTER I.

THE TWO SISTERS.


"I have triumphed! I have reached the goal!" said Princess Ulrica,
with a proud smile, as she laid her hymn-book aside, and removed
from her head her long white veil. "This important step is taken;
yet one more grand ceremony, and I will be the Princess Royal of
Sweden--after that, a queen! They have not succeeded in setting me
aside. Amelia will not be married before me, thus bringing upon me
the contempt and ridicule of the mocking world. All my plans have
succeeded. In place of shrouding my head in the funereal veil of an
abbess, to which my brother had condemned me, I shall soon wear the
festive myrtle-wreath, and ere long a crown will adorn my brow."

Ulrica threw herself upon the divan, in order to indulge quietly in
these proud and happy dreams of the future, when the door was
hastily thrown open, and the Princess Amelia, with a pale and angry
face, entered the room. She cast one of those glances of flame, with
which she, in common with the king, was wont to crush her
adversaries, upon the splendid toilet of her sister, and a wild and
scornful laugh burst from her lips.

"I have not, then, been deceived." she cried; "it is not a fairy
tale to which I have listened. You come from the chapel?"

"I come from the chapel? yes," said Ulrica, meeting the angry glance
of her sister with a firm and steady look. Resolved to breast the
coming storm with proud composure, she folded her arms across her
bosom, as if she would protect herself from Amelia's flashing eyes.
"I come from the chapel--what further?"

"What further?" cried Amelia, stamping fiercely on the floor. "Ah,
you will play the harmless and the innocent! What took you to the
chapel?"

Ulrica looked up steadily and smilingly; then said, in a quiet and
indifferent tone: "I have taken the sacrament of the Lord's Supper,
according to the Lutheran form of worship."

Amelia shuddered as if she felt the sting of a poisonous serpent.
"That signifies that you are an apostate; that signifies that you
have shamefully outwitted and betrayed me; that means--"

"That signifies," said Ulrica, interrupting her, "that I am a less
pious Christian than you are; that you, my noble young sister, are a
more innocent and unselfish maiden than the Princess Ulrica."

"Words, words! base, hypocritical words!" cried Amelia. "You first
inspired me with the thought which led to my childish and
contradictory behavior, and which for some days made me the jest of
the court. You are a false friend, a faithless sister! I stood in
your path, and you put me aside. I understand now your perfidious
counsels, your smooth, deceitful encouragement to my opposition
against the proposition of the Swedish ambassador. I, forsooth, must
be childish, coarse, and rude, in order that your gentle and girlish
grace, your amiable courtesy, might shine with added lustre. I was
your foil, which made the jewel of your beauty resplendent. Oh! it
is shameful to be so misused, so outwitted by my sister!"

With streaming eyes, Amelia sank upon a chair, and hid her face with
her trembling little hands.

"Foolish child!" said Ulrica, "you accuse me fiercely, but you know
that you came to me and implored me to find a means whereby you
would be relieved from this hateful marriage with the Prince Royal
of Sweden."

"You should have reasoned with me, you should have encouraged me to
give up my foolish opposition. You should have reminded me that I
was a princess, and therefore condemned to have no heart."

"You said nothing to me of your heart; you spoke only of your
religion. Had you told me that your heart rebelled against this
marriage with the Crown Prince of Sweden, then, upon my knees, with
all the strength of a sister's love, I would have implored you to
accept his hand, to shroud your heart in your robe of purple, and
take refuge on your throne from the danger which threatens a young
princess if she allows her heart to speak."

Amelia let her hands fall from her face, and looked up at her
sister, whose great earnest eyes were fixed upon her with an
expression of triumph and derision.

"I did not say that my heart had spoken," she cried, sobbing and
trembling; "I only said that we poor princesses were not allowed to
have hearts."

"No heart for one; but a great large heart, great enough for all!"
cried Ulrica. "You accuse me, Amelia, but you forget that I did not
intrude upon your confidence. You came to me voluntarily, and
disclosed your abhorrence of this marriage; then only did I counsel
you, as I would wish to be advised under the same circumstances. In
a word, I counselled you to obey your conscience, your own
convictions of duty."

"Your advice was wonderfully in unison with your own plans; your
deceitful words were dictated by selfishness," cried Amelia,
bitterly.

"I would not have adopted the course which I advised you to pursue,
because my character and my feeling are wholly different from yours.
My conscience is less tender, less trembling than yours. To become a
Lutheran does not appear to me a crime, not even a fault, more
particularly as this change is not the result of fickleness or
inconstancy, but for an important political object."

"And your object was to become Queen of Sweden?"

"Why should I deny it? I accept this crown which you cast from you
with contempt. I am ambitious. You were too proud to offer up the
smallest part of your religious faith in order to mount the throne
of Sweden. I do not fear to be banished from heaven, because, in
order to become a queen, I changed the outward form of my religion;
my inward faith is unchanged: if you repent your conduct--if you
have modified your views--"

"No, no!" said Amelia, hastily, "I do not repent. My grief and my
despair are not because of this pitiful crown, but because of my
faithless and deceitful sister who gave me evil counsel to promote
her own interests, and while she seemed to love, betrayed me. Go,
go! place a crown upon your proud head; you take up that which I
despise and trample upon. I do not repent. I have no regrets. But,
hark! in becoming a queen, you cease to be my sister. Never will I
forget that through falsehood and treachery you won this crown. Go!
be Queen of Sweden. Let the whole world bow the knee before you. I
despise you. You have shrouded your pitiful heart in your royal
robes. Farewell!"

She sprang to the door with flashing eyes and throbbing breast, but
Ulrica followed and laid her hand upon her shoulder.

"Let us not part in anger, my sister," said she, softly--"let us--"

Amelia would not listen; with an angry movement she dashed the hand
from her shoulder and fled from the room. Alone in her boudoir, she
paced the room in stormy rage, wild passion throbbed in every pulse.
With the insane fury of the Hohenzollerns, she almost cursed her
sister, who had so bitterly deceived, so shamefully betrayed her.

In outward appearance, as well as in character, the Princess Amelia
greatly resembled her royal brother: like him, she was by nature
trusting and confiding; but, once deceived, despair and doubt took
possession of her. A deadly mildew destroyed the love which she had
cherished, not only for her betrayer, but her confidence and trust
in all around her. Great and magnanimous herself, she now felt that
the rich fountain of her love and her innocent, girlish credulity
were choked within her heart. With trembling lips, she said aloud
and firmly: "I will never more have a friend. I do not believe in
friendship. Women are all false, all cunning, all selfish. My heart
is closed to them, and their deceitful smiles and plausible words
can never more betray me. Oh, my God, my God! must I then be always
solitary, always alone? must I--"

Suddenly she paused, and a rich crimson blush overspread her face.
What was it which interrupted her sorrowful words? Why did she fix
her eyes upon the door so eagerly? Why did she listen so earnestly
to that voice calling her name from the corridor.

"Pollnitz, it is Pollnitz!" she whispered to herself, and she
trembled fearfully.

"I must speak with the Princess Amelia," cried the master of
ceremonies.

"But that is impossible," replied another voice; "her royal highness
has closed the door, and will receive no one."

"Her royal highness will open the door and allow me to enter as soon
as you announce me. I come upon a most important mission. The life-
happiness of more than one woman depends upon my errand."

"My God!" said Amelia, turning deadly pale, "Pollnitz may betray me
if I refuse to open the door." So saying, she sprang forward and
drew back the bolt.

"Look, now, Mademoiselle von Marwitz," cried Pollnitz, as he bowed
profoundly, "was I not right? Our dear princess was graciously
pleased to open the door so soon as she heard my voice. Remark that,
mademoiselle, and look upon me in future as a most important person,
who is not only accorded les grandes but les petites entrees."

The Princess Amelia was but little inclined to enter into the jests
of the master of ceremonies.

"I heard," said she, in a harsh tone, "that you demanded
importunately to see me, and you went so far as to declare that the
happiness of many men depended upon this interview."

"Pardon me, your highness, I only said that the happiness of more
than one woman depended upon it; and you will graciously admit that
I have spoken the truth when you learn the occasion which brings me
here."

"Well, let us hear," said Amelia, "and woe to you if it is not a
grave and important affair!"

"Grave indeed: it concerns the toilets for a ball, and you must
confess that the happiness of more than one woman hangs upon this
question."

"In truth, you are right, and if you came as milliner or dressmaker,
Mademoiselle von Marwitz did wrong not to announce you immediately."

"Now, ladies, there is nothing less important on hand than a masked
ball. The king has commanded that, besides the masked ball which is
to take place in the opera-house, and to which the public are
invited, another shall be arranged here in the castle on the day
before the betrothal of the Princess Ulrica."

"And when is that ceremony to take place?" said Amelia.

"Has not your royal highness been informed? Ah, I forgot--the king
has kept this a secret, and to no one but the queen-mother has it
been officially announced. Yes, yes, the Princess Ulrica is to marry
this little Prince of Holstein, who will, however, be King of
Sweden. This solemn ceremony takes place in four days; so we have
but three days before the masquerade, and we must work night and day
to prepare the necessary costumes--his majesty wishes it to be a
superb fete. Quadrilles are arranged, the king has selected the
partners, and I am here at his command, to say to your royal
highness that you will take part in these quadrilles. You will dance
a quadrille, in the costume of Francis the First, with the
Margravine of Baireuth and the Duchess of Brunswick."

"And who is to be my partner?" said Amelia, anxiously.

"The Margrave von Schwedt."

"Ah! my irresistible cousin. I see there the hand of my malicious
brother; he knows how dull and wearisome I consider the poor
margrave."

The princess turned away displeased, and walked up and down the
room.

"Did you not say that I, also, would take part in the quadrille?"
said Mademoiselle von Marwitz.

"Certainly, mademoiselle; you will dance in Russian costume."

"And who will be my partner?"

Pollnitz laughed heartily. "One would think that the most important
question was not as to the ball toilet, but as to the partner; that
he, in short, was as much a life-question as the color and cut of
your robe, or the fashion of your coiffure. So you demand the name
of your partner? Ah, mademoiselle, you will be more than content.
The partner whom the king has selected for you is one of our
youngest, handsomest, most amiable and talented cavaliers; a youth
whom Alcibiades would not have been indignant at being compared
with, and whom Diana would have preferred, perhaps, to the dreaming
and beautiful Endymion, had she found him sleeping. And mark you,
you will not only dance with this pearl of creation, but in the next
few days you must see and speak with him frequently. It is necessary
that you should consult together over the choice and color of your
costumes, and about the dances. If your royal highness will allow
it, he must come daily to arrange these important points. Alas! why
am I not a young maiden? Why can I not enjoy the felicity of loving
this Adonis? Why can I not exchange this poor, burnt-out heart for
one that glows and palpitates?"

"You are a fool, and know nothing about a maiden's heart! In your
ecstasy for this Ganymede, who is probably an old crippled monster,
you make rare confusion. You force the young girl to play the part
of the ardent lover, and give to your monster the character of a
cool, vain fop."

"Monster? My God! she said monster!" cried Pollnitz, pathetically.
"Fall upon your knees, mademoiselle, and pray fervently to your good
fortune to forgive you; you have sinned greatly against it, I assure
you. You will confess this when I have told you the name of your
partner."

"Name him, then, at last."

"Not before Princess Amelia is gracious enough to promise me that
she will watch over and shield you; that she will never allow you a
single tete-a-tete with your dangerous partner."

"Ah, you will make me the duenna of my maid of honor," said Amelia,
laughing. "I shall be the chaperon of my good Marwitz, and shield
her from the weakness of her own heart."

"If your royal highness declines to give this promise, Mademoiselle
Marwitz shall have another partner. I cannot answer to my conscience
if she is left alone, unobserved and unprotected, with the most
beautiful of the beautiful."

"Be merciful, princess, and say yes. For you see well that this
terrible Pollnitz will make me a martyr to curiosity. Consent,
gracious princess, and then I may perhaps hear the name of my
partner."

"Well, then," said Amelia, smiling, "I consent to play Mentor to my
maid of honor."

"Your royal highness promises then, solemnly, to be present at every
conference between Mademoiselle von Marwitz and her irresistible
partner?"

"I promise; be quick! Marwitz will die of curiosity, if you do not
tell the name of this wonder."

"Well, now, that I have, so far as it is in my power, guarded the
heart of this young girl from disaster, and placed it under the
protecting eye of our noble princess, I venture to name my paragon.
He is the young lieutenant-Baron von Trenck, the favorite of the
king and the court."

Very different was the impression made by this name upon the two
ladies. The eager countenance of Mademoiselle von Marwitz expressed
cool displeasure; while the princess, blushing and confused, turned
aside to conceal the happy smile which played upon her full, rosy
lips.

Pollnitz, who had seen all this, wished to give the princess time to
collect herself. He turned to Mademoiselle Marwitz and said: "I see,
to my amazement, that our lovely maid of honor is not so enraptured
as I had hoped. Mademoiselle, mademoiselle! you are a wonderful
actress, but you cannot deceive me. You wish to seem disappointed
and indifferent, in order to induce our gracious princess to
withdraw her promise to me, and to think it unnecessary to be
present at your interviews with Trenck. This acting is in vain. The
princess has given her word, and she will most surely keep it."

"Certainly," said Amelia, smiling, "I have no alternative. Queens
and princesses, kings and princes, are bound by their promises, even
as common men, and their honor demands that they fulfil their
contracts. I will keep my word. But enough of jesting for the
present. Let us speak now of the solemn realities of life, namely,
of our toilets. Baron, give me your model engraving, and make known
your views. Call my chambermaid, mademoiselle, and my dressmakers;
we will hold a solemn conference."



CHAPTER II.

THE TEMPTER.


As Mademoiselle von Marwitz left the room, Pollnitz took a sealed
note from his pocket and handed it hastily to the princess. She
concealed it in the pocket of her dress, and continued to gaze
indifferently upon a painting of Watteau, which hung upon the wall.

"Not one word! Still! Not one word!" whispered Pollnitz. "You are
resolved to drive my young friend to despair. You will not grant him
one gracious word?"

The princess turned away her blushing face, drew a note from her
bosom, and, without a glance or word in reply, she handed it to the
master of ceremonies, ashamed and confused, as a young girl always
is, when she enters upon her first love romance, or commits her
first imprudence.

Pollnitz kissed her hand with a lover's rapture. "He will be the
most blessed of mortals," said he, "and yet this is so small a
favor! It lies in the power of your royal highness to grant him
heavenly felicity. You can fulfil one wish which his trembling lips
have never dared to speak; which only God and the eyes of one
faithful friend have seen written in his heart."

"What is this wish?" said the princess, in so low and trembling a
whisper, that Pollnitz rather guessed than heard her words.

"I believe that he would pay with his life for the happiness of
sitting one hour at your feet and gazing upon you."

"Well, you have prepared for him this opportunity; you have so
adroitly arranged your plans, that I cannot avoid meeting him."

"Ah, princess, how despondent would he be, if he could hear these
cold and cruel words! I must comfort him by this appearance of favor
if I cannot obtain for him a real happiness. Your royal highness is
very cold, very stern toward my poor friend. My God! he asks only of
your grace, that which the humblest of your brother's subjects dare
demand of him--an audience--that is all."

Amelia fixed her burning eyes upon Pollnitz. "Apage, Satanas!" she
whispered, with a weary smile.

"You do me too much honor," said Pollnitz. "Unhappily I am not the
devil, who is, without doubt, next to God, the most powerful ruler
of this earth. I am convinced that three-fourths of our race belong
to him. I am, alas! but a poor, weak mortal, and my words have not
the power to move the heart of your highness to pity."

"My God! Pollnitz, why all this eloquence and intercession?" cried
Amelia. "Do I not allow him to write to me all that he thinks and
feels? Am I not traitress enough to read all his letters, and pardon
him for his love? What more can he dare hope for? Is it not enough
that he loves a princess, and tells her so? Not enough--"

She ceased suddenly; her eyes, which shrank from meeting the bold,
reproachful, and ironical glance of the baron, had wandered
restlessly about the room and fell now upon the picture of Watteau;
upon the loving, happy pair, who were tenderly embracing under the
oaks in the centre of that enchanting landscape. This group, upon
which the eye of the princess accidentally rested, was an eloquent
and decisive answer to her question--an answer made to the eyes, if
not the ears of Amelia--and her heart trembled.

Pollnitz had followed her glances, and understood her blushes and
her confusion. He stepped to the picture and pointed to the tender
lovers.

"Gracious princess, demand of these blessed ones, if a man who loves
passionately has nothing more to implore of his mistress than the
permission to write her letters?"

Amelia trembled. She fixed her eyes with an expression of absolute
terror upon Pollnitz, who with his fox smile and immovable composure
gazed steadily in her face. He had no pity for her girlish
confusion, for her modest and maidenly alarm. With gay, mocking, and
frivolous jests, he resolved to overcome her fears. He painted in
glowing colors the anguish and despair of her young lover; he
assured her that she could grant him a meeting in her rooms without
danger from curious eyes or ears. Did not the room of the princess
open upon this little dark corridor, in which no guard was ever
placed, and from which a small, neglected stairway led to the lower
stage of the castle? This stairway opened into an unoccupied room,
the low windows of which looked out upon the garden of Monbijou.
Nothing, then, was necessary but to withdraw the bar from these
windows during the day; they could then be noiselessly opened by
night, and the room of the princess safely reached.

The princess was silent. By no look or smile, no contraction of the
brow or expression of displeasure, did she show her emotion, but she
listened to these vile and dangerous words; she let the poison of
the tempter enter her heart; she had neither the strength nor will
to reject his counsel, or banish him from her presence; she had only
the power to be silent, and to conceal from Pollnitz that her better
self was overcome.

"I shall soon reach the goal," said Pollnitz, clapping his hands
merrily after leaving the princess. "Yes, yes! the heart of the
little Princess Amelia is subdued, and her love is like a ripe
fruit-ready to be plucked by the first eager hand. And this, my
proud and cruel King Frederick, will be my revenge. I will return
shame for shame. If the good people in the streets rejoice to hear
the humiliation and shame put upon the Baron von Pollnitz, cried
aloud at the corners, I think they will enjoy no less the scandal
about the little Princess Amelia. This will not, to be sure, be
trumpeted through the streets; but the voice of Slander is powerful,
and her lightest whispers are eagerly received."

Pollnitz gave himself up for a while to these wicked and cruel
thoughts, and he looked like a demon rejoicing in the anguish of his
victims. He soon smoothed his brow, however, and assumed his
accustomed gay and unembarrassed manner.

"But before I revenge myself, I must be paid," said he, with an
internal chuckle. "I shall be the chosen confidant in this
adventure, and my name is not Pollnitz if I do not realize a large
profit. Oh, King Frederick, King Frederick! I think the little
Amelia will pay but small attention to your command and your menace.
She will lend the poor Pollnitz gold; yes, gold, much gold! and I--I
will pay her by my silence."

Giving himself up to these happy thoughts, the master of ceremonies
sought the young lieutenant, in order to hand him the letter of the
princess.

"The fortress is ready to surrender," cried he; "advance and storm
it, and you will enter the open door of the heart as conqueror. I
have prepared the way for you to see the princess every day: make
use of your opportunities like a brave, handsome, young, and loving
cavalier. I predict you will soon be a general, or a prince, or
something great and envied."

"A general, a prince, or a high traitor, who must lay his head upon
the block and expiate his guilt with his life," said Trench
thoughtfully. "Let it be so. In order to become this high traitor, I
must first be the happiest, the most enviable of men. I shall not
think that too dearly paid for by my heart's blood. Oh, Amelia,
Amelia! I love thee boundlessly; thou art my happiness, my
salvation, my hope; thou--"

"Enough, enough!" said Pollnitz, laughing and placing his hands upon
his ears. "These are well-known, well-used, and much-abused phrases,
which have been repeated in all languages since the time of Adam,
and which after all are only lovely and fantastic lies. Act, my
young friend, but say nothing; you know that walls have ears. The
table upon which you write your letters, and the portfolio in which
you place the letters of the princess, to be guarded to all
eternity, both have prying eyes. Prudence, prudence! burn the
letters of the princess, and write your own with sympathetic ink or
in cipher, so that no man can read them, and none but God and the
devil may know your dangerous secret."

Trenck did not hear one word of this; he was too happy, too
impassioned, too young, to listen to the words of warning and
caution of the old roue. He read again and again, and with ever-
increasing rapture, the letter of the princess; he pressed it to his
throbbing heart and glowing lips, and fixed his loving eyes upon
those characters which her hand had written and her heart had
dictated.

Pollnitz looked at him with a subdued smile, and enjoyed his
raptures, even as the fox enjoys the graceful flappings of the
wings, the gentle movements of the dove, when he knows that she
cannot escape him, and grants her a few moments of happiness before
he springs upon and strangles her. "I wager that you know that
letter by heart," said he, as he slowly lighted a match in order to
kindle his cigar; "am I not right? do you not know it by heart?"

"Every word is written in letters of flame upon my heart."

With a sudden movement, the baron snatched the paper from the young
man and held it in the flames,

"Stop! stop!" cried Frederick von Trenck, and he tried to tear the
letter from him.

Pollnitz kept him off with one arm and waved the burning paper over
his head.

"My God! what have you done?" cried the young man.

"I have made a sacrifice to the god of silence," said he solemnly;
"I have burnt this paper lest it might be used to light the scaffold
upon which you may one day burn as a high traitor. Thank me, young
man. I have perhaps saved you from discovery and from death."



CHAPTER III.

THE WEDDING FESTIVAL OF THE PRINCESS ULRICA.


Truly this perfidious friend had, for one day, guarded the secret of
the young lovers from discovery; but, the poison, which Pollnitz in
his worldly cunning prepared for them, had entered into their
hearts. For some days they met under strong restraint; only by
stolen glances and sighs, by a momentary pressure of the hand, or a
few slightly murmured words, could they give expression to their
rapture and their passion. The presence of another held their hearts
and lips in bondage.

Pollnitz knew full well that there was no surer means to induce a
young girl to grant her lover an interview than to force them to
meet before strange witnesses, to bring every word and look into
captivity, to condemn them to silence and seeming indifference. The
glowing heart bounds against these iron bands; it longs to cast off
the yoke of silence, and to breathe unfettered as the wanton air.
Princess Amelia had borne two days of this martyrdom, and her
courage failed. She was resolved to grant him a private interview as
soon as he dared ask for it. She wished to see this handsome face,
now clouded by melancholy, illuminated by the sunshine of happiness;
those sad eyes "should look up clear, and the sorrowful lips should
smile; she would make her lover happy!" She thought only of this; it
was her only wish.

There were many sad hours of pain and anguish, sad hours in which
she saw her danger, and wished to escape. In her despair and agony
she was almost ready to cast herself at the feet of her mother, to
confess all, and seek this sure protection against her own girlish
weakness; but the voice of love in her heart held her back from this
step; she closed her eyes to the abyss which was before her and
pressed panting onward to the brink. If Amelia had had a friend, a
sister whom she could love and trust, she might have been saved; but
her rank made a true friend impossible; being a princess, she was
isolated. Her only friend and sister had alienated her heart,
through the intrigues by which she had won the crown of Sweden.

Perhaps these costly and magnificent wedding festivities which would
have been prepared for her, had she not refused a husband worthy of
her birth, aroused her anger, and in her rage and her despair she
entered upon dangerous paths, and fell into the cruel snares of
Pollnitz. She said to herself: "Yes, all this honor and glory was my
own, but my weak heart and my perfidious sister wrenched them from
my grasp. Fate offered me a way of escape, but my sister cast me
into the abyss in which I now stand; upon her rests the
responsibility. Upon her head be my tears, my despair, my misery,
and my shame. Ulrica prevented me from being a queen; well, then, I
will be simply a young girl, who loves and who offers up all to her
beloved, her pride, her rank, and the unstained greatness of her
ancestors. For Ulrica be honor, pomp, and power; for me the mystery
of love, and a girl's silent happiness. Who can say which of us is
most to be envied?"

These were indeed happy, sunny days, which were prepared for the
bride of Adolph Frederick of Holstein, the Crown Prince of Sweden.
Fete succeeded to fete. The whole land took part in the happiness of
the royal family. All the provinces and cities sent deputations to
congratulate the king, and bring rich gifts to the princess; she who
had been always cast into the shade by the more noble and
bewildering beauty of her younger sister, had now become the centre
of attraction in all these superb festivities which followed each
other in quick succession. It was in honor of the Princess Ulrica
that the king gave a masked ball in the opera-house, to which the
whole city was invited; for her, on the evening of her betrothal,
every street in Berlin was brilliantly illuminated with wax-lights,
not by command of the king, but as a free-will offering of the
people; for her the queen, at Schonhausen, gave a superb ball; for
her the Swedish ambassador arranged a fete, whose fabulous pomp and
extravagant luxury were supposed to indicate the splendor which
awaited her in her new home. Lastly, this ball at the royal palace,
to which not only the nobles, but many of the wealthy burghers were
invited, was intended as a special compliment to Ulrica.

More than three thousand persons moved gayly through these royal
saloons, odorous with the perfume of flowers, glittering with wax-
lights, the glimmer of diamonds, and rich gold and silver
embroideries--nothing was to be seen but ravishing toilets and happy
faces. All the beauty, youth, rank, fame, and worth of Berlin were
assembled at the palace; and behind these lovely ladies and
glittering cavaliers, the wondering, gaping crowd, of common men,
moved slowly onward, dumb with amazement and delight. The king had
commanded that no well-dressed person should be denied entrance to
the castle.

Those who had cards of invitation were the guests of the king, and
wandered freely through the saloons. Those who came without cards
had to content themselves behind the silken ropes stretched across
one side of the rooms; by means of this rope an almost invisible and
yet an insurmountable barrier was interposed between the people and
the court circle.

It was difficult to preserve the rules and customs of courtly
etiquette in such a vast assembly, and more difficult still to see
that every man was received and served as the guest of a king, and
suitable to his own personal merit. Crowds of lackeys flew through
the rooms bearing silver plateaux filled with the richest viands,
the most costly fruits, and the rarest wines. Tables were loaded
with the luxuries of every clime and season, and the clang of
glasses and the sweet sound of happy laughter were heard in every
direction. The king expressed a proud confidence in his good people
of Berlin, and declined the services of the police. He commissioned
some officers of his life-guard to act as his substitute and play
the host, attending to the wants and pleasures of all. Supper was
prepared in the picture-gallery for the court circle.

But what means this wild laughter which echoes suddenly through the
vast crowd and reaches the ear of the king, who looks up surprised
and questioning to his master of ceremonies, and orders him to
investigate the tumult? In a few moments Pollnitz returned,
accompanied by a young officer, whose tall and graceful figure, and
whose handsome face, glowing with youth, pride, and energy,
attracted the attention of the noblest ladies, and won a smile of
admiration from the queen-mother.

"Sire," said Pollnitz, "a mask in the guise of a thief, and in the
zealous pursuit of his calling, has robbed one of the officers who
were commanded by your majesty to guard the public peace and
property. Look, your majesty, at our young lieutenant, Von Trenck:
in the midst of the crowd, his rich, gold-embroidered scarf has been
adroitly removed; in his zeal for your service, he forgot himself,
and the merry gnome,--whom Trenck should have kept in order, has
made our officer the target for his sleight of hand. This jest,
sire, caused the loud laughter which you heard."

The eyes of the king rested with an expression of kindliness and
admiration upon the young man, and the Princess Amelia felt her
heart tremble with joy and hope. A rich crimson suffused her cheeks;
it made her almost happy to see that her lover was appreciated by
her exalted brother and king.

"I have watched and wondered at him during the whole evening," said
the king, merrily; "his glance, like the eye of Providence, pierces
the most distant and most obscure corner, and sees all that occurs.
That he who sees all else has forgotten himself, proves that he is
not vain, and that he forgets his own interests in the discharge of
his public duties. I will remember this and reward him, not in the
gay saloon, but on the battle-field, where, I am sure, his scarf
will not be taken from him."

Frederick gave his hand to the young officer, who pressed it warmly
to his lips; then turning to the queen-mother, he said: "Madame, I
know that this young man has been commended to you, allow me also to
bespeak your favor in his behalf; will your majesty have the grace
to instruct him in all the qualities which should adorn a noble
cavalier? I will make him a warrior, and then we shall possess a
nobleman beyond praise, if not beyond comparison."

The king, rising from the table, left his seat and laid his hand
kindly upon Trenck's shoulder. "He is tall enough," said Frederick
laughing; "for that he may thank Providence; let him not be
satisfied with that, but strive to be great, and for that he may
thank himself." He nodded graciously to Trenck, gave his arm to the
queen-mother, and led her into the ball-room.



CHAPTER IV.

BEHIND THE CURTAIN.


The crowd and heat of the dancing-saloon were intolerable. All
wished to see the quadrille in which the two princesses, the
loveliest women of the court, and the most gallant cavaliers were to
appear. The music also was a special object of interest, as it was
composed by the king. The first quadrille closed in the midst of
tumultuous applause, restrained by no courtly etiquette. The
partners for the second quadrille advanced to the gay and inspiring
sound of pipes and drums.

The Princess Amelia had withdrawn from the crowd into a window
recess. She was breathless and exhausted from the dance and the
excitement of the last few days. She required a few moments of rest,
of refreshment, and meditation. She drew the heavy silk curtains
carefully together, and seated herself upon the little tabouret
which stood in the recess. This quiet retreat, this isolation from
the thoughtless crowd, brought peace to her soul. It was happiness
to close her weary eyes, and indulge in sweet dreams to the sound of
this glorious music; to feel herself shut off from the laughing,
heartless crowd.

She leaned her lovely head upon the cushion, not to sleep but to
dream. She thought of her sister, who would soon place a crown upon
her head; who had sold herself for this crown to a man whom she had
never seen, and of whom she knew nothing, but that he was heir to a
throne. Amelia shuddered at the thought that Ulrica had sacrificed
her religion to this man, whom she knew not, and had promised at
God's altar to love and be faithful to him. In the purity and
innocence of her girlish heart she considered this a crime, a
sacrilege against love, truth, and faith. "I will never follow
Ulrica's example," she whispered to herself. "I will never sell
myself. I will obey the dictates of my heart and give myself to the
man I love." As she said this, a crimson glow overspread her cheeks,
and she opened her eyes wide, as if she hoped to see the man she
loved before her, and wished him to read in her steady glance the
sweet confirmation of the words she had so lightly whispered.

"No, no! I will never marry without love. I love, and as there can
be but one true love in a true life, I shall never marry--then--"
She ceased and bowed her head upon her bosom, her trembling lips
refused to speak the hope and dream of her heart, to give words to
the wild, passionate thoughts which burned like lava in her breast,
and, like the wild rush of many waters, drowned her reason. She
thought that in the eloquence of her great love she might touch the
heart of the king, and in the magnanimity of his soul he might allow
her to be happy, to place a simple myrtle-wreath upon her brow. She
repeated the friendly and admiring words which the king had spoken
to her lover. She saw again those wondrous eyes resting with
interest and admiration upon the splendid form of the young baron. A
happy, playful smile was on her lip. "The king himself finds him
handsome and attractive; he cannot then wonder that his sister
shares his opinion. He will think it natural that I love him--that--
"

A wild storm of applause in the saloon interrupted the current of
her thoughts. She drew the curtains slightly apart, and gazed into
the room. The second quadrille was ended, and the dancers were now
sinking upon the tabourets, almost breathless from fatigue.

The princess could not only see, but she could hear. Two ladies
stood just in front of the curtains behind which she was concealed,
engaged in earnest conversation; they spoke of Frederick von Trenck;
they were enraptured with his athletic form and glowing eyes.

"He has the face of a Ganymede and the figure of a Hercules," said
one. "I think him as beautiful as the Apollo Belvedere," said the
other; "and then his expression is so pure and innocent. I envy the
woman who will be his first love."

"You think, then, that he has never loved?"

"I am sure of it. The passion and fire of his heart are yet
concealed under the veil of youth. He is unmoved by a woman's tender
smiles and her speaking and promising glances. He does not
understand their meaning."

"Have you tried these powerful weapons?"

"I have, and I confess wholly in vain; but I have not given up the
contest, and I shall renew the attack until--"

The ladies now moved slowly away, and the princess heard no more,
but she knew their voices; they were Madame von Brandt and Louise
von Kleist, whom the king often called the "loveliest of the
lovely." Louise von Kleist, the irresistible coquette, who was
always surrounded by worshippers and adorers, confessed to her
friend that all her tender glances had been unavailing; that she had
in vain attempted to melt the ice-rind of his heart.

"But she will renew her efforts," cried Amelia, and her heart
trembled with its first throb of jealousy. "Oh, I know Louise von
Kleist! She will pursue him with her tenderness, her glances of
love, and bold encouragement, until he admires, falls at her feet a
willing victim. But no, no, I cannot suffer that. She shall not rob
me of my only happiness--the golden dream of my young life. He
belongs to me, he is mine by the mighty power of passion, he is
bound to me by a thousand holy oaths. I am his first love. I am that
happy woman whom he adores, and who is envied by the beauteous
Louise von Schwerin. He is mine and he shall be mine, in spite of
the whole world. I love him, and I give myself to him."

And now she once more looked through the curtains and shrank back in
sweet surprise. Right before her stood Trenck--the Apollo of Louise
von Kleist, the Hercules and the Ganymede of Madame von Brandt, the
beloved of the Princess Amelia--Trenck stood with folded arms
immovable, and gazed piercingly in the crowd of maskers. Perhaps he
sought for Amelia; perhaps he was sorrowful because she had
withdrawn herself.

Suddenly he heard a soft, low voice whispering: "Do not move, do not
turn--remain standing as you are; but if you hear and understand me,
bow your head."

Frederick von Trenck bowed his head. But the princess could not see
the rapturous expression which illuminated his face; she could not
know that his breath almost failed him; she could not hear the
stormy, tumultuous beating of his heart.

"Do you know who speaks? if you recognize me, incline your head."

The music sounded loud and clear, and the dancing feet, the gay
jest, and merry laughter of five hundred persona gave confidence and
security to the lovers, Frederick was not content with this silent
sign. He turned toward the recess and said in low tones: "I know the
voice of my angel, and I would fall upon my knees and worship her,
but it would bring danger and separation."

"Still! say no more," whispered the voice; and Trenck knew by its
trembling tones, that the maiden was inspired by the same ardent
passion which glowed in every fibre of his being. That still small
voice sounded in his ears like the notes of an organ: "Say no more,
but listen. To-morrow the Princess Ulrica departs for Sweden, and
the king goes to Potsdam; you will accompany him. Have you a swift
horse that knows the way from Potsdam to Berlin, and can find it by
night?"

"I have a swift horse, and for me and my horse there is no night."

"Four nights from this you will find the window which you know open,
and the door which leads to the small stair, only closed. Come at
the hour of eleven, and you will receive a compensation for the
scarf you have lost this evening. Hush--no word; look not around,
move onward indifferently; turn not your head. Farewell! in four
days--at eleven--go!"

"I had to prepare a coat of mail for him, in order that he might be
invulnerable," whispered Amelia tremblingly; exhausted and
remorseful, she sank back upon the tabouret. "The beautiful Kleist
shall not ravish my beloved from me. He loves me--me alone; and he
shall no longer complain of my cruelty. I dare not be cruel! I dare
not make him unhappy, for she might comfort him. He shall love
nothing but me, only me! If Louise von Kleist pursues him with her
arts, I will murder her--that is all!"



CHAPTER V.

A SHAME-FACED KING.


The king laid his flute aside, and walked restlessly and sullenly
about his room. His brow was clouded, and he had in vain sought
distraction in his faithful friend, the flute. Its soft, melodious
voice brought no relief; the cloud was in his heart, and made him
the slave of melancholy. Perhaps it was the pain of separation from
his sister which oppressed his spirit.

The evening before, the princess had taken leave of the Berliners at
the opera-house, that is, she had shown herself to them for the last
time. While the prima donna was singing her most enchanting
melodies, the travelling carriage of Ulrica drove to the door. The
king wished to spare himself the agony of a formal parting, and had
ordered that she should enter her carriage at the close of the
opera, and depart, without saying farewell.

The people knew this. They were utterly indifferent to the beautiful
opera of "Rodelinda," and fixed their eyes steadily upon the king's
loge. They thus took a silent and affectionate leave of their young
princess, who appeared before them for the last time, in all the
splendor of her youth and beauty, and the dignity of her proud and
royal bearing. An unwonted silence reigned throughout the house; all
eyes were turned to the box where the princess sat between the two
queens. Suddenly the door was thrown open, and the young Prince
Ferdinand rushed, with open arms, to his sister.

"My dear, dear Ulrica!" he cried, weeping and sobbing painfully,
"must it then be so? Do I indeed see you for the last time?" With
childish eagerness he embraced his sister, and leaned his head upon
her bosom. The princess could no longer control herself; she mingled
her tears with those of her brother, and drawing him softly out of
view, she whispered weeping and trembling words of tenderness; she
implored him not to forget her, and promised to love him always.

The queen-mother stood near. She had forgotten that she was a queen,
and remembered only that she was a mother about to lose her child
forever; the thought of royal dignity and courtly etiquette was for
some moments banished from her proud heart; she saw her children
heart-broken and weeping before her, and she wept with them.
[Footnote: Schneider's "History of the Opera and the Royal Opera-
House."]

The people saw this. Never had the most gracious smile, the most
condescending word of her majesty, won their hearts so completely as
these tears of the mother. Every mother felt for this woman, who,
though a queen, suffered a mother's anguish; and every maiden wept
with this young girl, who, although entering upon a splendid future,
shed hot tears over the happy past and the beloved home. When the
men saw their wives and children weeping, and the prince not ashamed
of his tears, they also wept, from sympathy and love to the royal
house. In place of the gay jest and merry laughter wont to prevail
between the acts, scarcely suppressed sobs were the only sounds to
be heard. The glorious singer Salimberri was unapplauded. The
Barbarina danced, but the accustomed bravos were hushed.

Was it the remembrance of this touching scene which moved the king
so profoundly? Did this eternal separation from his beloved sister
weigh upon his heart? The king himself knew not, or he would not
acknowledge to himself what emotion produced this wild unrest. After
laying his flute aside, he took up Livy, which lay always upon his
writing-table, and tried to read a chapter; but the letters danced
before his eyes, and his thoughts wandered far away from the old
Roman. He threw the book peevishly aside, and, folding his arms,
walked rapidly backward and forward.

"Ah me! ah me! I wish this were the day of battle!" he murmured.
"To-day I should be surely victorious! I am in a fierce and
desperate mood. The wild roar of conflict would be welcome as a
sweet home song in a strange land, and the shedding of blood would
be medicinal, and relieve my oppressed brain. What is it which has
drawn this veil over my spirit? What mighty and mysterious power has
stretched her hand over me? With what bounds am I held a helpless
captive? I feel, but I cannot see them, and cannot tear them apart.
No, no! I will be lord of myself. I will be no silent dreamer. I
will live a true life. I will work, and be a faithful ruler, if I
cannot be a free and happy man."

He rang the bell, and ordered the ministers to assemble for a
cabinet council.

"I will work, and forget every thing else," he said, with a sad
smile, and he entered his cabinet with this proud resolve.

This time the king deceived himself. The most earnest occupation did
not drive the cloud from his brow: in fact, it became more lowering.

"I cannot endure this," he said, after walking backward and forward
thoughtfully. "I will put a stop to it. As I am not a Ulysses, I do
not see why I should bind my eyes, and stop my ears with wax, in
order not to see this bewildering siren, and hear her intoxicating
song. In this sorrowful and pitiful world, is it not a happiness to
meet with an enchantress, to bow down to the magic of her charms,
and for a small half hour to dream of bliss? All other men are mad:
why should I alone be reasonable? Come, then, spirit of love and
bliss, heavenly insanity, take possession of my struggling soul. Let
old age be wise and cool, I am young and warm. For a little while I
will play the fool, and forget my miserable dignity."

Frederick called his servant, and sent for General Rothenberg, then
took his flute and began to play softly. When the general entered,
the king nodded to him, but quietly finished his adagio; then laid
the flute aside, and gave his hand to his friend.

"You must be Pylades, my friend, and banish the despondency which
oppresses the heart and head of thy poor Orestes."

"I will be all that your majesty allows or commands me to be," said
the general, laughing; "but I think the queen-mother would be little
pleased to hear your majesty compare yourself to Orestes."

"Ah, you allude to Clytemnestra's faithless love-story, with which,
truly, my exalted and virtuous mother cannot be associated. Well, my
comparison is a little lame, but my despondency is real--deeply
seated as my friendship for you."

"How! your majesty is melancholy? I understand this mood of my
king," said Rothenberg. "It only takes possession of you the day
before some great deed, and only then because the night before the
day of triumph seems too long. Your majesty confesses that you are
sad. I conclude, therefore, that we will soon have war, and soon
rejoice in the victories of our king."

"Perhaps you are right," said the king, smiling. "I do not love war,
but it is sometimes a necessary evil; and if I cannot relieve my
godmother, Maria Theresa, of this mortal malady of pride and
superciliousness without a general blood-letting, I must even play
the physician and open a vein. The alliance with France is
concluded; Charles the Seventh goes to Frankfort for coronation; the
French ambassador accompanies him, and my army stands ready for
battle, ready to protect the emperor against Austria. We will soon
have war, friend, and I hope we will soon have a victory to
celebrate. In a few weeks we will advance. Oh, Rothenberg! when I
speak of battle, I feel that I am young, that my heart is not of
stone--it bounds and beats as if it would break down its prison
walls, and found a new home of glory and fame."

"The heart of my king will be ever young; it is full of trust and
kindliness."

Frederick shook his head thoughtfully. "Do not believe that,
Rothenberg; the hands that labor become hard and callous, and so is
it with the heart. Mine has labored and suffered; it will turn at
last to stone. Then I shall be condemned. The world will forget that
it is responsible; they will speak only of my hard heart, and say
nothing of the anguish and the deceptions which have turned me to
stone. But what of that? Let these foolish two-legged creatures, who
proudly proclaim that they are made in the image of God, say what
they please of me; they cannot deprive me of my fame and my
immortality. He who possesses that has received his reward, and dare
utter no complaint. Truly Erostratus and Schinderhannes are
celebrated, and Eulenspiegle is better known and beloved by the
people than Socrates."

"This proves that Wisdom herself must take the trouble to make
herself popular," said Rothenberg. "True fame is only obtained by
popularity. Alexander the Great and Caesar were popular, and their
names were therefore in the mouths of the people. This was their
inheritance, handed down from generation to generation, from father
to son. So will it be with King Frederick the Second. He is not only
the king and the hero, but he is the man of the people. His fame
will not be written alone on the tablets of history by the Muses;
the people will write it on the pure, white, vacant leaves of their
Bibles; the children and grandchildren will read it; and, centuries
hence, the curious searchers into history will consider this as
fame, and exalt the name of Frederick the Great."

"God grant it may be so!" said the king solemnly. "You know that I
am ambitious. I believe that this passion is the most enduring, and
that its burning thirst is never quenched. As crown prince, I was
ever humiliated by the thought that the love, consideration, and
respect shown to me was no tribute to my worth, but was offered to a
prince, the son of a powerful king. With what admiration, with what
enthusiasm did I look at Voltaire! he needed no high birth, no
title, to be considered, honored, and envied by the whole world. I,
however, must have rank, title, princely revenues, and a royal
genealogical tree, in order to fix the eyes of men upon me. Ah, how
often did I remind myself of the history of that great prince, who,
surrounded by his enemies, and about to surrender, saw his servants
and friends despairing and weeping around him! He smiled upon them,
and uttered these few but expressive words: 'I feel by your tears
that I am still a king.' I swore then to be like that noble man, to
owe my fame, not to my royal mantle, but to myself. I have fulfilled
but a small portion of my oath. I hope that my godmother, Maria
Theresa, and the Russian empress, will soon afford me more enlarged
opportunities. Our enemies are indeed our best friends; they enrage
and inspire us."

"In so saying, sire, you condemn us all, we who are the most
faithful, submissive, and enthusiastic friends of your highness."

"You are also useful to me," said the king. "You, for example, your
cheerful, loving face does me good whenever I look upon it. You keep
my heart young and fresh, and teach me to laugh, which pleasant art
I am constantly forgetting in the midst of these wearisome and
hypocritical men. I never laugh so merrily as when I am with you at
your table, where I have the high privilege of laying aside my
royalty, and being a simple, happy man like yourself. I rejoice in
the prospect of this evening, and I am impatient as a young maiden
before her first ball. This evening, if I remember correctly, I am
invited by General von Rothenberg to a petit souper."

"Your majesty was kind enough to promise me that you would come."

"Do you know, Rothenberg, I really believe that the expectation of
this fete has made the hours of the day so long and wearisome. Now,
tell me, who are we to have? who takes part in our gayety?"

"Those who were selected by your majesty: Chazot and Algarotti,
Jordan and Bielfeld."

"Did I select the company?" said the king, thoughtfully; "then I
wonder that--" He stopped, and, looking down, turned away silently.

"What causes your majesty's wonder?" said the general.

"I am surprised that I did not ask you to give us Rhine wine this
evening," said the king, with a sly smile.

"Rhine wine! why, your majesty has often told me that it was a slow
poison, and produced death."

"Yes, that is true, but what will you have? There are many things in
this incomprehensible world which are poisonous, and which, for that
reason, are the more alluring. This is peculiarly so with women. He
does well who avoids them; they bewilder our reason and make our
hearts sick, but we do not flee from them. We pursue them, and the
poison which they infuse in our veins is sweet; we quaff it
rapturously, though death is in the cup."

"In this, however, your majesty is wiser than all other men: you
alone have the power to turn away from or withstand them."

"Who knows? perhaps that is sheer cowardice," said the king; he
turned away confused, and beat with his fingers upon the window-
glass. "I called the Rhine wine poison, because of its strength. I
think now that it alone deserves to be called wine--it is the only
wine which has bloom." Frederick was again silent, and beat a march
upon the window.

The general looked at him anxiously and thoughtfully; suddenly his
countenance cleared, and a half-suppressed smile played upon his
lips.

"I will allow myself to add a conclusive word to those of my king,
that is, a moral to his fable. Your majesty says Rhine wine is the
only wine which deserves the name, because it alone has bloom. So I
will call that society only society which is graced and adorned by
women. Women are the bloom of society. Do you not agree with me,
sire?"

"If I agree to that proposition, it amounts to a request that you
will invite women to our fete this evening--will it not?" said the
king, still thrumming on the window.

"And with what rapture would I fulfil your wish, but I fear it would
be difficult to induce the ladies to come to the house of a young
bachelor as I am!"

"Ah, bah! I have determined during the next winter to give these
little suppers very often. I will have a private table, and women
shall be present."

"Yes, but your majesty is married."

"They would come if I were a bachelor. The Countess Carnas, Frau von
Brandt, the Kleist, and the Morien, are too witty and too
intellectual to be restrained by narrow-minded prejudice."

"Does your majesty wish that I should invite these ladies?" said the
general; "they will come, without doubt, if your majesty commands
it. Shall I invite them?"

The king hesitated a moment to reply. "Perhaps they would not come
willingly," said he; "you are unmarried, and they might be afraid of
their husbands' anger."

"I must, then, invite ladies who are not married," said Rothenberg,
whose face was now radiant with delight; "but I do not know one
unmarried lady of the higher circles who carries her freedom from
prejudice so far as to dare attend a bachelor's supper."

"Must we always confine our invitations to the higher circles?" said
the king, beating his parade march still more violently upon the
window.

Rothenberg watched him with the eye of a sportsman, who sees the
wild deer brought to bay.

"If your majesty will condescend to set etiquette aside, I will make
a proposition."

"Etiquette is nonsense and folly, and shall not do the honors by our
petits soupers; pleasure only presides."

"Then I propose that we invite some of the ladies from the theatre--
is your majesty content?"

"Fully! but which of the ladies?" said the king.

"That is your majesty's affair," said Rothenberg, smiling. "You have
selected the gentlemen, will it please you to name the ladies?"

"Well, then," said the king, hesitating, "what say you to Cochois,
Astrea, and the little Petrea?"

"Sire, they will be all most welcome; but I pray you to allow me to
add one name to your list, the name of a woman who is more lovely,
more gracious, more intellectual, more alluring, than all the prima
donnas of the world; who has the power to intoxicate all men, not
excepting emperors and kings, and make them her willing slaves. Dare
I name her, sire?"

"Certainly."

"The Signora Barbarina."

The king turned his head hastily, and his burning eyes rested
questioningly upon the face of Rothenberg, who met his glance with a
merry look.

Frederick was silent; and the general, making a profound bow, said
solemnly: "I pray your majesty to allow me to invite Mesdames
Cochois, Astrea, and Petrea, also the Signora Barbarina, to our
petit souper."

"Four prima donnas at once!" said the king, laughing; "that would be
dangerous; we would, perhaps, have the interesting spectacle of
seeing them tear out each other's eyes. No, no! to enjoy the glories
of the sun, there must be no rival suns in the horizon; we will
invite but one enchantress, and as you are the host, you have the
undoubted right to select her. Let it be then the Signora
Barbarina." [Footnote: Rodenbeck: "Journal of Frederick the Great."]

"Your majesty graciously permits me to invite the Signora
Barbarina?" said Rothenberg, looking the king steadily in the face;
a rich blush suffused the cheeks of Frederick. Suddenly he laughed
aloud, and laying his arm around the neck of his friend, he looked
in his radiant face with an expression of confidence and love.

"You are a provoking scamp," said Frederick. "You understood me from
the beginning, and left me hanging, like Absalom, upon the tree.
That was cruel, Rothenberg."

"Cruel, but well deserved, sire. Why would you not make known your
wishes clearly? Why leave me to guess them?"

"Why? My God! it is sometimes so agreeable and convenient to have
your wishes guessed. The murder is out. You will invite the
beautiful Barbarina. You can also invite another gentleman, an
artist, in order that the lovely Italian may not feel so lonely
amongst us barbarians."

"What artist, sire?"

"The painter Pesne; go yourself to invite him. It might be well for
him to bring paper and pencil--he will assuredly have an
irresistible desire to make a sketch of this beautiful nymph."

"Command him to do so, sire, and then to make a life-size picture
from the sketch."

"Ah! so you wish a portrait of the Barbarina?"

"Yes, sire; but not for myself."

"For whom, then?"

"To have the pleasure of presenting it to my king."

"And why?"

"Because I am vain enough to believe that, as my present, the
picture would have some value in your eyes," said Rothenberg,
mockingly. "What cares my king for a portrait of the Barbarina?
Nothing, sans doute. But when this picture is not only painted by
the great Pesne, but is also the gift of a dear, faithful friend, I
wager it will be highly appreciated by your majesty, and you will
perhaps be gracious enough to hang it in your room."

"You! you!" said the king, pointing his finger threateningly at
Rothenberg, "I am afraid of you. I believe you listen to and
comprehend my most secret thoughts, and form your petition according
to my wishes. I will, like a good-natured, easy fool, grant this
request. Go and invite the Barbarina and the painter Pesne, and
commission him to paint a life-size picture of the fair one.
[Footnote: This splendid picture of Barbarina hung for a long time
in the king's cabinet, and is still to be seen in the Royal Palace
at Berlin.] Pesne must have several sketches, and I will choose from
amongst them."

"I thank your majesty," cried the general; "and now have the
goodness to dismiss me--I must make my preparations."

As Rothenberg stood upon the threshold, the king called him. "You
have guessed my thoughts, and now I will prove to you that I read
yours. You think I am in love."

"In love? What! I dare to think that?" said the general; and folding
his hands he raised his eyes as if in prayer. "Shall I dare to have
such an unholy thought in connection with my anointed king?"

The king laughed heartily. "As to my sanctity, I think the holy
Antonius will not proclaim me as his brother. But I am not exactly
in love." He stepped to the window, upon the sill of which a
Japanese rose stood in rich bloom; he plucked one of the lovely
flowers, and handing it to the general, he said: "Look, now! is it
not enchantingly beautiful? Think you, that because I am a king, I
have no heart, no thirst for beauty? Go! but remember that, though a
king, I have the eyes and the passions of other men. I, too, am
intoxicated by the perfume of flowers and the beauty of women."



CHAPTER VI.

THE FIRST RENDEZVOUS.


The night was dark and still; so dark in the garden of Monbijou,
that the keenest eye could not detect the forms of the two men who
slipped stealthily among the trees; so still, that the slightest
contact of their clothing with the motionless leaves, and the
slightest footstep in the sand could be heard. But, happily, there
was none to listen; unchallenged and unseen, the two muffled figures
entered the avenue, at the end of which stood the little palace, the
summer residence of the queen-mother. Here they rested for a moment,
and cast a searching glance at the building, which stood also dark
and silent before them.

"No light in the windows of the queen-mother," whispered one; "all
asleep."

"Yes, all asleep, we have nothing to fear; let us go onward." The
last speaker made a few hasty steps forward, but his companion
seized him hastily by the arm, and held him hack.

"You forget, my young Hotspur, that we must wait for the signal.
Still! still! do not stamp so impatiently with your feet; you need
not shake yourself like a young lion. He who goes upon such
adventures must, above all things, be self-possessed, cautious, and
cool. Believe me, I have had a long range of experience, and in this
species of love adventure I think I might possibly rival the famous
King Charles the Second, of England."

"But here there is no question of love adventure, Baron Pollnitz,"
said his companion impatiently, almost fiercely.

"Not of love adventure, Baron Trenck! well, may I dare to ask what
is the question?"

"A true--an eternal love!"

"Ah! a true, an eternal love," repeated Pollnitz, with a dry,
mocking laugh. "All honor to this true love, which, with all the
reasons for its justification, and all the pathos of its heavenly
source, glides stealthily to the royal palace, and hides itself
under the shadow of the silent night. My good young sentimentalist,
remember I am not a novice like yourself; I am an old fogy, and call
things by their right names. Every passion is a true and eternal
love, and every loved one is an angel of virtue, beauty, and purity,
until we weary of the adventure, and seek a new distraction."

"You are a hopeless infidel," said Trenck, angrily; "truly he who
has changed his faith as often as you have, has no religion--not
even the religion of love. But look! a light is shown, and the
window is opened; that is the signal."

"You are right, that is the signal. Let us go," whispered Pollnitz;
and he stepped hastily after the young officer.

And now they stood before the window on the ground floor, where the
light had been seen for a moment. The window was half open.

"We have arrived," said Trenck, breathing heavily; "now, dear
Pollnitz, farewell; it cannot certainly be your intention to go
farther. The princess commissioned you to accompany me to the
castle, but she did not intend you should enter with me. You must
understand this. You boast that you are rich in experience, and will
therefore readily comprehend that the presence of a third party is
abhorrent to lovers. I know that you are too amiable to make your
friends wretched. Farewell, Baron Pollnitz."

Trenck was in the act of springing into the window, but the strong
arm of the master of ceremonies held him back.

"Let me enter first," said he, "and give me a little assistance.
Your sophistical exposition of the words of our princess is entirely
thrown away. She said to me, 'At eleven o'clock I will expect you
and the Baron von Trenck in my room.' That is certainly explicit--as
it appears to me, and needs no explanation. Lend me your arm."

With a heavy sigh, Trenck gave the required assistance, and then
sprang lightly into the room.

"Give me your hand, and follow cautiously," said Pollnitz. "I know
every step of the way, and can guard you against all possible
accidents. I have tried this path often in former years,
particularly when Peter the Great and his wife, with twenty ladies
of her suite, occupied this wing of the castle."

"Hush!" said Trenck; "we have reached the top--onward, silently.

"Give me your hand, I will lead you."

Carefully, silently, and on tip-toe, they passed through the dark
corridor, and reached the door, through which a light shimmered.
They tapped lightly upon the door, which was immediately opened. The
confidential chambermaid of the princess came forward to meet them,
and nodded to them silently to follow her; they passed through
several rooms; at last she paused, and said, earnestly: "This is the
boudoir of the princess; enter--you are expected."

With a hasty movement, Trenck opened the door--this door which
separated him from his first love, his only hope of happiness. He
entered that dimly-lighted room, toward which his weary, longing
eyes had been often turned almost hopelessly. His heart beat
stormily, his breathing was irregular, he thought he might die of
rapture; he feared that in the wild agitation of the moment he might
utter a cry, indicative as much of suffering as of joy.

There, upon the divan, sat the Princess Amelia. The hanging lamp
lighted her face, which was fair and colorless. She tried to rise
and advance to meet him, but she had no power; she extended both her
hands, and murmured a few unintelligible words.

Frederick von Trenck's heart read her meaning; he rushed forward and
covered her hands with his kisses and his tears; he fell upon his
knees, and murmured words of rapture, of glowing thanks, of blessed
joy--words which filled the trembling heart of Amelia with delight.

All this fell upon the cold but listening ears of the master of
ceremonies, and seemed to him as sounding brass and the tinkling
cymbal. He hid discreetly and modestly withdrawn to the back part of
the room; but he looked on like a worldling, with a mocking smile at
the rapture of the two lovers. He soon found, however, that the role
which he was condemned to play had its ridiculous and humiliating
aspect, and he resolved to bear it no longer. He came forward, and
with his usual cool impertinence he approached the princess, who
greeted him with a crimson blush and a silent bow.

"Pardon me, your royal highness, if I dare to ask you to decide a
question which has arisen between my friend Trenck and myself. He
did not wish to allow me to accompany him farther than the castle
window. I declared that I was authorized by your royal highness to
enter with him this holiest of holies. Perhaps, however, I was in
error, and have carried my zeal in your service too far. I pray you,
therefore, to decide. Shall I go or stay?"

The princess had by this time entirely recovered her composure.
"Remain," said she, with a ravishing smile, and giving her hand to
the baron. "You were our confidant from the beginning, and I desire
you to be wholly so. I wish you to be fully convinced that our love,
though compelled for a while to seek darkness and obscurity, need
not shun the eye of a friend. And who knows if we may not one day
need your testimony? I do not deceive myself. I know that this night
my good and evil genius are struggling over my future--that
misfortune and shame have already perhaps stretched their wings over
my head; but I will not yield to them without a struggle. It may be
that one day I shall require your aid. Remain, therefore."

Pollnitz bowed silently. The princess fixed her glance upon her
lover, who, with a clouded brow and sad mien, stood near. She
understood him, and a smile played upon her full, red lip.

"Remain, Von Pollnitz, but allow us to step for a moment upon the
balcony. It is a wondrous night. What we two have to say to each
other, only heaven, with its shining stars, dare hear; I believe
they only can understand our speech."

"I thank you! oh, I thank you!" whispered Trenck, pressing the hand
of Amelia to his lips.

"Your royal highness, then, graciously allowed me to come here,"
said Pollnitz, with a complaining voice, "in order to give me up
entirely to my own thoughts, and force me to play the part of a
Trappist. I shall, if I understand rightly my privileges, like the
lion in the fairy tale, guard the door of that paradise in which my
young friend revels in his first sunny dream of bliss. Your royal
highness must confess that this is cruel work; but I am ready to
undertake it, and place myself, like the angel with the flaming
sword, before the door, ready to slay any serpent who dares
undertake to enter this elysium."

The princess pointed to a table upon which game, fruit, and Spanish
wine had been placed. "You will find there distraction and perhaps
consolation, and I hope you will avail yourself of it. Farewell,
baron; we place ourselves under your protection; guard us well." She
opened the door and stepped with her lover upon the balcony.

Pollnitz looked after them contemptuously. "Poor child! she is
afraid of herself; she requires a duenna, and that she should have
chosen exactly me for that purpose was a wonderful idea. Alas! my
case is indeed pitiful; I am selected to play the part of a duenna.
No one remembers that I have ears to hear and teeth to bite. I am
supposed to see, nothing more. But what shall I see, what can I see
in this dark night, which the god of love has so clouded over in
compassion to this innocent and tender pair of doves? This was a
rich, a truly romantic and girlish idea to grant her lover a
rendezvous, it is true, under God's free heaven, but upon a balcony
of three feet in length, with no seat to repose upon after the
powerful emotions of a burning declaration of love. Well, for my
part I find it more comfortable to rest upon this divan and enjoy my
evening meal, while these two dreamers commune with the night-birds
and the stars."

He threw himself upon the seat, seized his knife and fork, and
indulged himself in the grouse and truffles which had been prepared
for him.



CHAPTER VII.

ON THE BALCONY.


Without, upon the balcony, stood the two lovers. With their arms
clasped around each other, they gazed up at the dark heavens--too
deeply moved for utterance. They spoke to each other in the exalted
language of lovers (understood only by the angels), whose words are
blushes, sighs, glances, and tender pressures of the hand.

In the beginning this was their only language. Both shrank from
interrupting this sweet communion of souls by earthly material
speech. Suddenly their glances fell from heaven earthward. They
sought another heaven, and other and dearer stars. Their eyes,
accustomed to the darkness, met; their blushes and their happy
smiles, though not seen, were understood and felt, and at the same
moment they softly called each other's names.

This was their first language, soon succeeded by passionate and
glowing protestations on his part; by blushing, trembling
confessions on hers. They spoke and looked like all the millions of
lovers who have found themselves alone in this old world of ours.
The same old story, yet ever new.

The conduct, hopes, and fears of these young lovers could not be
judged by common rules. Theirs was a love which could not hope for
happiness or continuance; for which there was no perfumed oasis, no
blooming myrtle-wreath to crown its dark and stormy path. They might
be sure that the farther they advanced, the more trackless and arid
would be the desert opening before them. Tears and robes of mourning
would constitute their festal adorning.

"Why has Destiny placed you so high above me that I cannot hope to
reach you? can never climb the ladder which leads to heaven and to
happiness?" said Trenck, as he knelt before the princess.

She played thoughtfully with his long dark hair, and a burning tear
rolled slowly over her cheek and fell upon his brow. That was her
only answer.

Trenck shuddered. He dashed the tear from his face with trembling
horror. "Oh, Amelia! you weep; you have no word of consolation, of
encouragement, of hope for me?"

"No word, my friend; I have no hope, no consolation. I know that a
dark and stormy future awaits us. I know that this cloudy night,
under whose shadow we for the first time join our hands will endure
forever; that for us the sun will never shine. I know that the
moment our glances first met, my protecting angel veiled her face
and, weeping, left me. I know that it would have been wiser and
better to give your heart, with its treasures, to a poor beggar-girl
on the street, than to consecrate it to the sister of a king--to the
poor Princess Amelia."

"Stop, stop!" cried Trenck, still on his knees, and bowing his head
almost to the earth. "Your words pierce my heart like poisoned
daggers, and yet I feel that they are truth itself. Yes, I was
indeed a bold traitor, in that I dared to raise my eyes to you; I
was a blasphemer, in that I, the unconsecrated, forced myself into
the holy temple of your heart; upon its altar the vestal flame of
your pure and innocent thoughts burned clearly, until my hot and
stormy sighs brought unrest and wild disorder. But I repent. There
is yet time. You are bound to me by no vow, no solemn oath. Oh,
Amelia! lay this scarcely-opened flower of our first young love by
the withered violet-wreaths of your childhood, with which even now
you sometimes play and smile upon in quiet and peaceful hours; to
which you whisper: 'You were once beautiful and fragrant; you made
me happy--but that is past.' Oh, Amelia! yet is there time; give me
up; spurn me from you. Call your servants and point me out to them
as a madman, who has dared to glide into your room; whose passion
has made him blind and wild. Give me over to justice and to the
scaffold. Only save yourself from my love, which is so cowardly, so
egotistic, so hard-hearted; it has no strength in itself to choose
banishment or death. Oh, Amelia! cast me away from your presence;
trample me under your feet. I will die without one reproach, without
one complaint. I will think that my death was necessary to save you
from shame, from the torture of a long and dreary existence. All
this is still in your power. I have no claim upon you; you are not
mine; you have listened to my oaths, but you have not replied to
them; you are free. Spurn me, then, you are bound by no vow."

Amelia raised her arm slowly and solemnly toward heaven. "I love
you! May God hear me and accept my oath! I love you, and I swear to
be yours; to be true and faithful; never to wed any other man!"

"Oh, most unhappy woman! oh, greatly to be pitied!" cried Trenck.
Throwing his arms around her neck he laid his head upon her bosom.
"Amelia, Amelia! these are not tears of rapture, of bliss. I weep
from wretchedness, from anguish, for your dear sake. Ah, no! I will
not accept your oath. I have not heard your words--those heavenly
words which would have filled my heart with light and gladness, had
they not contained your fatal condemnation. Oh, my beloved! you
swear that you love me? That is, to sacrifice all the high
privileges of your rank; the power and splendor which would surround
a husband of equal birth--a throne, a royal crown. Beware! when I
once accept your love, then you are mine; then I will never release
you; not to the king--not even to God. You will be mine through all
time and all eternity; nothing shall tear you from my arms, not even
your own wish, your own prayers. Oh, Amelia! do you see that I am a
madman, insane from rapture and despair! Should you not flee from a
maniac? Perhaps his arm, imbued with giant strength, seeking to hold
you ever to his heart, might crush you. Fly, then; spurn me from
you; go to your room; go, and say to this mocking courtier, to whom
nothing is holy, not even our love, who is surprised, at nothing--go
and say to him: 'Trenck was a madman; I summoned him for pity; I
hoped by mildness and forbearance to heal him. I have succeeded; he
is gone. Go, now, and watch over your friend.' I will not contradict
your words; so soon as you cross the threshold of the door, I will
spring from the balcony. I will be careful; I will not stumble; I
will not dash my head against the stones; I will not be found dead
under your window; no trace of blood shall mark my desperate path.
My wounds are fatal, but they shall bleed inwardly; only upon the
battle-field will I lie down to die. Amid the roar of cannon I shall
not be heard; I dare call your name with the last sigh which bursts
from my icy lips; my last words of love will mingle with the
convulsive groans of the dying. Flee, then! flee from wretchedness
and despair. May God bless you and make you happy!"

Trenck drew aside reverentially, that she might pass him; but she
moved not--her eyes were misty with tears, tears of love, of
heavenly peace. Amelia laid her soft hand upon his shoulder. Her
eyes, which were fixed upon his face, had a wondrous glow. Love and
high resolve were written there. "Two of the brightest stars in
yonder heavens did wander in our sphere." Trenck looked upon her,
and saw and felt that we are indeed made in the image of God.

"I seek no safety in flight. I remain by your side; I love you, I
love you! This is no trembling, sighing, blushing, sentimental love
of a young maiden. I offer you the love of a bold, proud woman, who
looks shame and death in the face. In the fire of my anguish, my
love has become purified and hardened; in this flame it has
forgotten its girlish blushes, and is unbending and unconquerable. I
have baptized it with my tears; I have taken it to my heart, as a
mother takes her new-born child whose existence is her condemnation,
her dishonor, her shame; whom she loves boundlessly, and blesses
even while weeping over it! I also weep, and I feel that
condemnation and shame are my portion. I also bless my love; I think
myself happy and enviable. God has blessed me; He has sent one pure,
burning ray of His celestial existence into my heart, and taught me
how to love unchangeably, immortally."

"Oh, Amelia, why cannot I die now?" cried Trenck, falling powerless
at her feet.

She stooped and raised him up with a strong hand.

"Rise," she said; "we must stand erect, side by side, firm and cool.
When you kneel before me, I fear that you see in me a princess, the
sister of a king. I am simply your beloved, the woman who adores
you. Look you, Trenck, I do not say 'the young girl;' in my interior
life I am no longer that. This fearful battle with myself has made
me old and cautious. A young girl is trembling and cowardly. I am
firm and brave; a young girl blushes when she confesses her love; I
do not confess, I declare and glory in my passion. A young girl
shudders when she thinks of dishonor and misery, of the power and
rage and menaces of her family; when with prophetic eye she sees a
herald clad in mourning announcing her dark fate. I shudder not. I
am no weak maiden; I am a woman who loves without limit,
unchangeably, eternally."

She threw her arms around him, and a long and blessed pause ensued.
Lightly whispered the wind in the tops of the lofty poplars and oaks
of the garden; unnumbered stars came out in their soft splendor and
looked down upon this slumbering world. Many slept, forgetful alike
of their joys and their griefs; some, rejoicing in unhoped-for
happiness, looked up with grateful and loving hearts; others, with
convulsive wringings of the hands and wild cries of anguish, called
upon Heaven for aid. What know the stars of this? they flash and
glimmer alike upon the happy and the despairing. The earth and sky
have no tears, no sympathy for earthly passions. Amelia released
herself from the arms of her lover and fixed her eyes upon the
heavens. Suddenly a star fell, marking its downward and rapid flight
with a line of silver; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, it
was extinguished.

"An evil omen!" cried she, pointing upward. With a mysterious
sympathy, Trenck had looked up at the same moment.

"The heavens will not deceive us, Amelia; they warn us, but this
warning comes too late. You are mine, you have sworn that you love
me; I have accepted your vows. May God also have heard them, and may
He be gracious to us! Is it not written that Faith can remove
mountains? that she is more powerful than the mightiest kings of the
earth; stronger than death--that conquerors and heroes fall before
her? Let us, then, have faith in our love; let us be strong in hope,
in patience, in constancy."

"My brother says we shall soon have war. Will you not win a wreath
of laurel upon the battle-field? who can know but the king may value
it as highly, may consider it as glorious, as a princely crown? All
my sisters are married to princes; perhaps my royal brother may
pardon me for loving a hero whose brow is bound by a laurel-wreath
alone."

"Swear to me, Amelia, to wait--to be patient, to give me time to
reach this goal, which you paint in such heavenly colors."

"I swear!"

"You will never be the wife of another?"

"I will never be the wife of another."

"Be it prince or king; even if your brother commands it?"

"Be it prince or king; even if my brother commands it, I will never
obey him."

"God, my God! you have heard our vows." While speaking, he took
Amelia's head in his hands softly and bowed it down as if it were a
holy sacrifice which he offered up to Heaven. "You have heard her
oath: O God, punish her, crush her in your wrath, if she prove
false!"

"I will be faithful to the end. May God punish me if I fail!"

"And now, beloved, you are mine eternally. Let me press our
betrothal kiss upon your sweet lips; you are my bride, my wife.
Tremble not now, turn not away from my arms; you have no other
refuge, no other strong fortress than my heart, but it is a rock on
which you can safely build; its foundation is strong, it can hold
and sustain you. If the storm is too fierce, we can plunge together
into the wild, raging sea, and be buried in the deep. Oh, my bride,
let me kiss your lips; you are sanctified and holy in my eyes till
the glorious day in which life or death shall unite us."

"No, you shall not kiss me; I embrace you, my beloved," and she
pressed her soft full lips, which no untruthful, immodest word had
ever desecrated, to his. It was a kiss holy, innocent, and pure as a
maiden's prayer. "And now, my beloved, farewell," said Amelia, after
a long pause, in which their lips had been silent, but their hearts
had spoken to each other and to God. "Go," she said; "night melts
into morn, the day breaks!"

"My day declines, my night comes on apace," sighed Trenck. "When do
we meet again?"

Amelia looked up, smilingly, to the heavens. "Ask the stars and the
calendar when the heavens are dark, and the moon hides her fair
face; then I expect you--the window will be open and the door
unbarred."

"The moon has ever been thought to be the friend of lovers," said
Trenck, pressing the hand of the princess to his heart; "but I hate
her with a perfect hatred, she robs me of my happiness."

"And now, let us return to Baron Pollnitz, who is, without doubt,
impatient."

"Why must he always accompany me, Amelia? why will you not allow me
to come alone?"

"Why? I scarcely know myself. It seems to me we are safer when
watched over by the eye of a friend; perhaps I am unduly anxious; a
warning voice whispers me that it is better so. Pollnitz has become
the confidant of our love, let us trust him fully; let him know
that, though traitors and meriting punishment in the sight of men,
we are not guilty in the sight of God, and have no cause to blush or
look down. Pollnitz must always accompany you."

"Ah, Amelia!" sighed Trenck; "you have not forgotten that you are a
princess. Love has not wholly conquered you. You command. It is not
so with me. I submit, I obey, and I am silent. Be it as you will:
Pollnitz shall always accompany me--only promise me to come ever
upon the balcony."

"I promise! and now, beloved, let us say farewell to God, to the
heavens, to the soft stars, and the dark night, which has spread her
mantle over us and allowed us to be happy."

"Farewell, farewell, my happiness, my love, my pride, my hope, my
future! Oh, Amelia, why cannot I go this moment into battle, and
pluck high honors which will make me more worthy of you?"

They embraced for the last time, and then stepped into the room.
Pollnitz still sat on the divan before the table. Only a poor
remnant of the feast remained; his tongue had been forced to silence
in this lonely room, but he had been agreeably occupied with the
game, fruits, jellies, and wine which were placed before him; he had
stretched himself comfortably upon the sofa, and was quietly
enjoying the blessed feeling of a healthy and undisturbed digestion.
At last he had fallen asleep, or seemed so; it was some moments
before Trenck succeeded in forcing him to open his eyes.

"You are very cruel, young friend," said he, rising up; "you have
disturbed me in the midst of a wondrous and rapturous dream."

"Might I inquire into this dream?" said the princess.

"Ah, your royal highness, I dreamed of the only thing which would
ever surprise or enrapture me in this comical and good-for-nothing
world. I dreamed I had no creditors, and heaps of gold."

"And your dream differs widely from the reality?"

"Yes, my gracious princess, just the opposite is true. I have
unnumbered creditors, and no gold."

"Poor Pollnitz! how do you propose to free yourself from this
painful embarrassment?"

"Ah, your royal highness, I shall never attempt it! I am more than
content when I can find some soothing palliatives for this chronic
disease, and, at least, find as many louis d'ors in my pocket as I
have creditors to threaten me."

"And is that now your happy state?"

"No, princess, I have only twelve louis d'ors."

"And how many creditors?"

"Two-and-thirty."

"So twenty louis d'ors are wanting to satisfy your longing?"

"Yes, unhappily."

The princess walked to her table and took from it a little roll of
gold, which she handed to the master of ceremonies. "Take it," said
she, smiling; "yesterday I received my pin-money for the month, and
I rejoice that I am in a condition to balance your creditors and
your louis d'ors at this time."

Pollnitz took the gold without a blush, and kissed the hand of the
princess gallantly. "Ah! I have but one cause of repentance," sighed
he.

"Well, what is that?"

"That I did not greatly increase the number of my creditors. My God!
who could have guessed the magnanimous intentions of my royal
princess?"



CHAPTER VIII.

THE FIRST CLOUD.


Drunk with happiness, revelling in the recollection of this first
interview with his lovely and exalted mistress, Frederick von Trenck
rode slowly through the lonely highways toward Potsdam. It was not
necessary for him to pay any attention to the road, as his horse
knew every foot of the way. Trenck laid his bridle carelessly upon
the neck of the noble animal, and gave himself up entirely to
meditation. Suddenly night waned, the vapors melted, light appeared
in the east, and the first purple glow was succeeded by a clear,
soft blue. The larks sang out their joyous morning song in the
heavens, not yet disturbed by the noise and dust of the day.

Trenck heard not the song of the lark, he saw not the rising sun,
which, with his golden rays, illuminated the landscape, and changed
the dew-drops in the cups of the flowers into shimmering diamonds
and rubies; he was dreaming, dreaming. The sweet and wondrous
happiness of the last few hours intoxicated his soul; he recalled
every word, every smile, every pressure of the hand of his beloved,
and a crimson blush suffused his cheek, a sweet tremor oppressed his
heart, as he remembered that she had been clasped in his arms; that
he had kissed the pure, soft, girlish lips, whose breath was fresher
and more odorous than the glorious morning air which fanned his
cheeks and played with his long dark hair. With a radiant smile and
proudly erected head, he recalled the promise of the princess. She
had given him reason to hope; she believed in the possibility of
their union.

And why, indeed, might not this be possible? Had not his career in
the last few months been so brilliant as to excite the envy of his
comrades? was he not recognized as the special favorite of the king?
Scarcely six months had passed since he arrived in Berlin; a young,
poor, and unknown student, he was commended to the king by his
protector, the Count von Lottum, who earnestly petitioned his
majesty to receive him into his life-guard. The king, charmed by his
handsome and martial figure, by his cultivated intellect and
wonderful memory, had made him cornet in his cavalry guard, and a
few weeks later he was promoted to a lieutenancy. Though but
eighteen years of age, he had the distinguished honor to be chosen
by the king to exercise two regiments of Silesian cavalry, and
Frederick himself had expressed his content, not only in gracious
but affectionate words. [Footnote: "Memoires de Frederic Baron von
Trenck," traduits par Lui-meme su l'original allemande.] It is well
known that the smile of a prince is like the golden rays of the sun:
it lends light and glory to every object upon which it rests, and
attracts the curious gaze of men.

The handsome young lieutenant, basking in the rays of royal favor,
was naturally an object of remark and the most distinguished
attentions to the circle of the court. More than once the king had
been seen to lay his arm confidingly upon the shoulder of Trenck,
and converse with him long and smilingly; more than once had the
proud and almost unapproachable queen-mother accorded the young
officer a gracious salutation; more than once had the princesses at
the fetes of the last winter selected him as their partner, and all
those young and lovely girls of the court declared that there was no
better dancer, no more attentive cavalier, no more agreeable
companion than Frederick von Trenck--than this youthful, witty,
merry officer, who surpassed all his comrades, not, only in his
height and the splendor of his form, but in talent and amiability.
It was therefore to be expected that this proud aristocracy would
seek to draw the favorite of the king and of the ladies into their
circle.

Frederick von Trenck was of too sound and healthy a nature, he had
too much strength of character, to be made vain or supercilious by
these attentions. He soon, however, accustomed himself to them as
his right; and he was scarcely surprised when the king, after his
promotion, sent him two splendid horses from his own stable, and a
thousand thalers, [Footnote: Ibid.] at that time a considerable sum
of money.

This general adulation inspired naturally bold wishes and ambitious
dreams, and led him to look upon the impossible and unheard of as
possible and attainable. Frederick von Trenck was not vain or
imperious, but he was proud and ambitious; he had a great object in
view, and all his powers were consecrated to that end; in his
hopeful, sunny hours, he did not doubt of success; he was ever
diligent, ever watchful, ever ready to embrace an opportunity; ever
expecting some giant work, which would, in its fruition, bring him
riches and honor, fame and greatness. He felt that he had strength
to win a world and lay it bound at his feet; and if the king had
commanded him to undertake the twelve labors of Hercules, he would
not have shrunk from the ordeal. Convinced that a glorious future
awaited him, he prepared himself for it. No hour found him idle.
When his comrades, wearied by the fatiguing service and the oft-
repeated exercises and preparations for war, retired to rest, Trenck
was earnestly engaged in some grave study, some scientific work,
seated at his writing-table surrounded with books, maps, and
drawings.

The young lieutenant was preparing himself to be a general, or a
conquering hero, by his talents and his great deeds; to subdue the
world and its prejudices; to bridge over with laurels and trophies
the gulf which separated him from the princess. Was he not already
on the way? Did not the future beckon to him with glorious promise?
Must not he, who at eighteen years of age had attained that for
which many not less endowed had given their whole lives in vain--he,
the flattered cavalier, the scholar, and the officer of the king's
guard--be set apart, elected to some exalted fate?

These were the thoughts which occupied the young man, and which made
him forgetful of all other things, even the danger with which the
slow movements of his horse and the ever-rising sun threatened him.

It was the custom of the king to attend the early morning parade,
and the commander, Captain Jaschinsky, did not belong to Trenck's
friends; he envied him for his rapid promotion; it angered him that
Trenck had, at a bound, reached that position to which he had
wearily crept forward through long years of service. It would have
made him happy to see this young man, who advanced so proudly and
triumphantly upon the path of honor and distinction, cast down from
the giddy height of royal favor, and trampled in the lust of
forgetfulness. He watched his young lieutenant with the smiling
cunning of a base soul, resolved to punish harshly the smallest
neglect of duty.

And now he had found his opportunity. A sergeant, who was a spy for
the captain, informed him that Trenck's corporal had told him his
master had ridden forth late in the night and had not yet returned.
The sergeant had watched the door of the house in which Trenck
resided, and was convinced that he was still absent. This
intelligence filled the heart of Captain Jaschinsky with joy; he
concealed it, however, under the mask of indifference; he declared
that he did not believe this story of Trenck's absence. The young
man knew full well that no officer was allowed to leave Potsdam,
even for an hour, without permission, particularly during the night.

In order, as he said, to convince the sergeant of the untruth of
this statement, he sent him with some trifling commission to
Lieutenant von Trenck. The sergeant returned triumphantly; the baron
was not at home, and his servant was most anxious about him, The
captain shrugged his shoulders silently. The clock struck eight; he
seized his hat, and hastened to the parade.

The whole line was formed; every officer stood by his regiment,
except the lieutenant of the second company. The captain saw this at
a glance, and a wicked smile for one moment played upon his face. He
rode with zealous haste to the front of his regiment and saluted the
king, who descended the steps of the castle, accompanied by his
generals and adjutants.

At this moment, to the right wing of the regiment, there was a
slight disturbance, which did not escape the listening ear of the
captain. He turned his head, and saw that Trenck had joined his
company, and that his horse was panting and bathed in sweat. The
captain's brow was clouded; the young officer seemed to have escaped
the threatened danger. The king had seen nothing. Trenck was in his
place, and it would be useless to bring a charge against him.

The king, however, had seen all; his keen eye had observed Trenck's
rapid approach, and his glowing, heated countenance; and as he rode
to the front, he drew in his horse directly before Trenck.

"How comes it that your horse is fatigued and sweating? I must
suppose he is fresh from the stable, and his master just from his
bed. It appears, however, that he has been delayed there; I see that
he has just arrived upon the parade-ground."

The officer murmured a few incomprehensible words.

"Will you answer me?" said the king; "is your horse just from the
stable--are you directly from your bed?"

Frederick von Trenck's head had been bowed humbly upon his breast,
he now raised it boldly up; he was resolved; his fierce eyes met
those of the king. "No, your majesty," said he, with a cool,
composed mien, "my horse is not from the stable--I am not from my
bed."

There was a pause, an anxious, breathless pause. Every eye was fixed
observantly upon the king, whose severity in military discipline was
known and feared.

"Do you know," said the king at last, "that I command my officers to
be punctual at parade?"

"Yes, sire."

"Do you know that it is positively forbidden to leave Potsdam
without permission?"

"Yes, your majesty."

"Well, then, since this was known to you, where have you been? You
confess that you do not come from your dwelling?"

"Sire, I was on the chase, and loitered too long. I know I am guilty
of a great misdemeanor, and I expect my pardon only from the grace
of my king."

The king smiled, and his glance was mild and kindly. "You expect
also, as it appears, under any circumstances, a pardon? Well, this
time you shall not be disappointed. I am well pleased that you have
been bold enough to speak the truth. I love truthful people; they
are always brave. This time you shall go unpunished, but beware of
the second offence. I warn you."

Alas! what power had even a king's warning over the passionate love
of a youth of eighteen? Trenck soon forgot the danger from which he
had escaped; and even if remembered, it would not have restrained
him.

It was again a cloudy, dark night, and he knew that the princess
expected him. As he stood again upon the balcony, guarded by the
watchful master of ceremonies; as he listened to the sweet music of
Amelia's voice and comprehended the holy and precious character of
her girlish and tender nature; as he sat at her feet, pouring out
the rich treasures of his love and happiness, and felt her trembling
small white hand upon his brow; as he dreamed with her of a blessed
and radiant future, in which not only God and the night but the king
and the whole world might know and recognize their love--how could
he remember that the king had ordered the parade at seven in the
morning, and that it was even now impossible for him to reach
Potsdam at that hour?

The parade was over when he reached his quarters. A guard stood
before his door, and led him instantly before the king. Frederick
was alone in his cabinet. He silently dismissed his adjutant and the
guard, then walked for some time backward and forward through the
room, without seeming to observe Trenck, who stood with pale but
resolved countenance before the door.

Trenck followed every movement of the king with a steady glance. "If
he cashiers me, I will shoot myself," he said in a low tone. "If he
puts me to the torture, in order to learn the secret of my love, I
can bear it and be silent."

But there was another possibility upon which, in the desperation of
his soul, Trenck had not thought. What should he do if the king
approached him mildly and sorrowfully, and, with the gentle,
persuasive words of a kind friend, besought him to explain this
mystery?

This was exactly the course adopted by the king. He stepped forward
to the poor, pale, almost breathless youth, and looked him steadily
in the eyes. His glance was not threatening and scornful, as Trenck
had expected, but sad and reproachful.

"Why have you again secretly left Potsdam?" said the king. "Where do
you find the proud courage to disobey my commands? Captain
Jaschinsky has brought serious charges against you. He tells me that
you often leave Potsdam secretly. Do you know that, if punished
according to the law, you must be cashiered?"

"Yes, I know, sire. I also know that I will not outlive this shame."

A scornful glance shot from the king's eye. "Do you intend to make
me anxious? Is that a menace?"

"Pardon, sire. It is not in my power to make you anxious, and I do
not dare to menace. Of what importance to your majesty is this atom,
this unknown and insignificant youth, who is only seen when
irradiated by the sunshine of your eye? I am nothing, and less than
nothing, to your majesty; you are every thing to me. I will not, I
cannot live if your highness withdraws your favor from me, and robs
me of the possibility of winning a name and position for myself.
That was my meaning, sire."

"You are, then, ambitious, and thirst for fame?"

"Your majesty, I would gladly sell one-half of my life to the devil
if he would insure me rank and glory for the other half, and after
death an immortality of fame. Oh, how gladly would I make this
contract!"

"If such ambition fires your soul, how can you be so foolish, so
inconsiderate, as to bring degradation and shame upon yourself by
carelessness in duty? He who is not prompt and orderly in small
things, will neglect the most important duties. Where were you last
night?"

"Sire, I was on the chase."

The king looked at him with angry, piercing eyes. Trenck had not the
courage to bear this. He blushed and looked down.

"You have told me an untruth," said the king. "Think again. Where
were you last night?"

"Sire, I was on the chase."

"You repeat that?"

"Your majesty, I repeat that."

"Will you solemnly declare that this is true?"

Trenck was silent.

"Will you declare that this is true?" repeated the king.

The young officer looked up, and this time he had the courage to
meet the flaming eye of the king. "No, sire, I will not affirm it."

"You confess, then, that you have told me an untruth?"

"Yes, your majesty."

"Do you know that that is a new and grave offence?"

"Yes, your majesty, but I cannot act otherwise."

"You will not, then, tell me the truth?"

"I cannot."

"Not if your obstinacy will lead to your being immediately
cashiered, and to your imprisonment in the fortress?"

"Not then, your majesty. I cannot act differently."

"Trenck, Trenck, be on your guard! Remember that you speak to your
lord and king, who has a right to demand the truth."

"Your majesty may punish me, it is your right, and your duty, and I
must bear it," said Trenck, trembling and ghastly pale, but firm and
confident in himself.

The king moved off for a few moments, then stood again before his
lieutenant. "You will report to your captain, and ask for your
discharge."

Trenck replied not. Perhaps it was not in his power. Two great tears
ran slowly down his cheeks, and he did not restrain them. He wept
for his youth, his happiness, his honor, and his fame.

"Go!" repeated the king.

The young man bowed low. "I thank you for gracious punishment," he
said; then turned and opened the door.

The eyes of the king had followed him with marked interest.
"Trenck!" cried he; and, as he turned and waited silently upon the
threshold for the new command, the king stepped forward hastily and
held out his hand.

"I am content with you! You have gone astray, but the anguish of
soul you have just now endured is a sufficient punishment. I forgive
you."

A wild cry of joy burst from the pale lips of the youth. He bowed
low over the king's hand, and pressed it with passionate earnestness
to his lips.

"Your majesty gives me my life again! I thank you! oh, I thank you!"

The king smiled. "And yet your life must have but little worth for
you, if you would sign it away so readily. Once more I have forgiven
you, but I warn you for the future. Be on your guard, monsieur, or
the lightning will fall and consume you." [Footnote: The king's own
words. See Trenck's "Memoires."] And now the king's eye was
threatening, and his voice terrible in anger. "You have guarded your
secret," he said; "you did not betray it, even when threatened with
punishment worse than death. Your honor, as a cavalier, demanded
that; and I am not surprised that you hold it sacred. But there is
yet another kind of honor, which you have this day tarnished--I mean
obedience to your king and general. I forgive you for this; and now
I must speak to you as a friend, and not as a king. You are
wandering in dangerous paths, young man. Turn now, while there is
yet time; turn before the abyss opens which will swallow you up! No
man can serve two masters, or strive successfully after two objects.
He who wills something, must will it wholly; must give his undivided
heart and strength to its attainment; must sacrifice every thing
else to the one great aim! You are striving for love and fame at the
same time, and you will forfeit both. Love makes a man soft and
yielding. He who leaves a mistress behind him cannot go bravely and
defiantly into battle, though women despise men who are not gallant
and laurel-crowned. Strive then, Trenck, first to become a hero;
then it will be time to play the lover. Pluck your laurels first,
and then gather the myrtle-wreath. If this counsel does not suit
you, then give up your ambition, and the path to fame which you have
chosen. Lay aside your sword; though I can promise you that soon,
and with honor, you may hope to use it. But lay it aside, and take
up the pen or the hammer; build yourself a nest; take a wife, and
thank God for the gift of a child every twelve months; and pray that
the sound of battle may be heard only in the distance, and the steps
of soldiers may not disturb your fields and gardens. That is also a
future, and there are those who are content with it; whose ears are
closed to the beat of drums and the sound of alarm-bells which now
resound throughout Europe. Choose, then, young man. Will you be a
soldier, and with God's help a hero? or will you go again 'upon the
chase?'"

"I will be a soldier," cried Trenck, completely carried away. "I
will win fame, honor, and distinction upon the battle-field, and
above all I will gain the approbation and consideration of my king.
My name shall be known and honored by the world."

"That is a mighty aim," said the king, smiling, "and it requires the
dedication of a life. You must offer up many things, and above all
other things 'the chase.' I do not know what you have sought, and I
do not wish to know. I counsel you though, as a friend, to give up
the pursuit. I have placed the two alternatives before you, and you
have made your choice--you will be a brave soldier. Now, then, from
this time onward, I will be inexorable against even your smallest
neglect of duty. In this way only can I make of you what you resolve
to be--a gallant and stainless officer. I will tell your captain to
watch you and report every fault; I will myself observe and
scrutinize your conduct, and woe to you if I find you again walking
in crooked paths! I will be stern and immovable. Now, monsieur, you
are warned, and cannot complain if a wild tempest bursts over your
head; the guilt and responsibility will be yours. Not another word!
Adieu!"

Long after Trenck had left the room, the king stood thoughtfully
looking toward the door through which the tall, graceful figure of
the young officer had disappeared.

"A heart of steel, a head of iron," said the king to himself. "He
will be very happy, or very wretched. For such natures there is no
middle way. Alas! I fear it had been better for him if I had
dismissed him, and--" Frederick did not complete his sentence; he
sighed deeply, and his brow was clouded. He stepped to his writing-
table and took up a large sealed envelope, opened and read it
carefully. A sad smile played upon his lips. "Poor Amelia!" said he-
-"poor sister! They have chosen you to be assistant Abbess of
Quedlinburg. A miserable alternative for the Swedish throne, which
was in your power! Well, I will sign this paper." He took the pen
and hastily wrote his name upon the diploma. "If she is resolved
never to marry, she will be one day Abbess of Quedlinburg--that is
something. Aurora of Konigsmark was content with that, but only
after she had reached the height of earthly grandeur."

Frederick was completely unmanned by these painful thoughts. He
raised his eyes to heaven, and said in a low tone: "Poor human
heart! why has Fate made you so soft, when you must become stone in
order to support the disappointments and anguish of life?" He stood
bowed down for a long time, in deep thought; then suddenly rising
proudly erect, he exclaimed: "Away with such cares! I have no time
to play the considerate and amiable father to my family. My kingly
duty and service call me with trumpet tones."



CHAPTER IX.

THE COUNCIL OF WAR.


Frederick stepped from the room into the adjoining saloon, where his
ministers and generals were assembled for a council of war. His
expression was calm and clear, and an imposing fire and earnestness
lighted up his eyes. He was again the king, and the conqueror, and
his voice rang out martially:

"The days of comfort and repose are over; we have reasoned and
diplomatized too long; we must now move and strike. I am surfeited
with this contest of pen and ink. I am weary of Austrian cunning and
intrigue. In these weighty and important matters I will not act
alone upon my own convictions; I will listen to your opinions and
receive your counsel: I will not declare war until you say that an
honorable peace is no longer possible. I will unsheath the sword
only when the honor of my throne and of my people demands it, and
even then with a heavy heart; for I know what burdens and bitter
woes it will bring upon my poor land. Let us therefore carefully
read, weigh, and understand the paper which lies upon the table, and
fulfil the duties which it lays upon us."

Frederick stepped to the table and seated himself. The generals, the
old Dessauer, Ziethen, Winterfeld, and the king's favorite,
Rothenberg, with the ministers and councillor of state, placed
themselves silently around the table. The eyes of all these
experienced men, accustomed to battle and to victory, were steadily
fixed upon the king. His youthful countenance alone was clear and
bright; not a shadow was seen upon his brow.

There was a pause--a stillness like that which precedes a tempest.
Every one felt the importance of the moment. All these wise and
great men knew that the young man who stood in their midst, with
such proud and calm composure and assurance, held in his hands at
this moment the fate of Europe; that the scales would fall on that
side to which his sword was consecrated. The king raised his head,
and his eyes wandered searchingly from one to the other of the
earnest faces which surrounded him.

"You know, messieurs," said Frederick, "that Maria Theresa, who
calls herself Empress of Germany and of Rome, still makes war
against our ally Charles the Seventh. Her general, Karl von
Lothringen, has triumphed over the Bavarian and French army at
Semnach: and Bavaria, left, by the flight of the emperor, without a
leader, has been compelled to submit to Maria Theresa, Queen of
Hungary. She has allied herself with England, Hanover, and Saxony.
And these allied powers have been victorious over the army of our
ally, King Louis of France, commanded by Marshal Noailles. These
successes have made our enemies imperious. They have demanded much;
they have resolved to obtain all. Apparently they are the most
powerful. Holland has offered money and ships; Sardinia and Saxony
have just signed the treaty made at Worms by England, Austria, and
Holland. So they have troops, gold, and powerful allies. We have
nothing but our honor, our swords, and our good cause. We are the
allies of a land poor in itself, and, what is still worse, governed
by a weak and faint-hearted emperor; and of France, whose king is
the plaything of courtiers and mistresses. Our adversaries know
their strength, and are acquainted with our weakness. Look,
messieurs, at this letter of George of England to our godmother,
Maria Theresa of Hungary; an accident placed it in our hands, or, if
you will, a Providence, which, without doubt, watches over the
prosperity of Prussia. Read it, messieurs."

He handed General Rothenberg a paper, which he read with frowning
brow and scarcely suppressed scorn, and then passed it on to
Winterfeld. The king studied the face of every reader, and, the more
dark and stormy it appeared, the more gay and happy was the
expression of his countenance.

He received the letter again with a friendly smile from the hands of
his minister, and pointing to it with his finger, he said: "Have you
well considered these lines where the king says, 'Madame, what is
good to take, is also good to return'? What think you of these
words, Prince von Anhalt?"

"I think," said the silver-haired old warrior, "that we will prove
to the English king what Frederick of Prussia once holds cannot be
rescued from him."

"You think, then, that our hands are strong enough to hold our
possessions?"

"Yes, your majesty."

"And you, gentlemen?"

"We share the opinion of the prince."

"You have expressed precisely my own views," cried Frederick, with
delight. "If this is your conclusion, messieurs. I rejoice to lay
before you another document. It was above all other things the
desire of my heart, as long as it was possible, to preserve the
peace of Germany. I have sacrificed my personal inclination and my
ambition to this aim. I have united the German princes for the
protection of Charles the Seventh. The Frankfort union should be a
lever to restore freedom to Germany, dignity to the emperor, and
peace to Europe. But no success has crowned this union; discord
prevails amongst them. A part of our allies have left us, under the
pretext that France will not pay the promised gold. Charles the
Seventh is flying from place to place, and our poor land is groaning
under the burdens of a crippling and exhausting war. We must put an
end to this. In such dire need and necessity it is better to die an
honorable death than to bear disgrace, to live like beggars by the
grace of our enemies. I have not the insolence and courage of
cowardice so to live. I will die or conquer! I will wash out these
scornful words of the King of England with blood. Silesia, my
Silesia, which I have conquered, and which is mine by right, I will
hold against all the efforts of the Hungarian queen. Look, now, at
this document; it is a treaty which I have closed with France
against Austria, and for the protection of the Emperor Charles. And
now, here is another paper. It is a manifesto which Maria Theresa
has scattered throughout all Silesia, in which she declares that she
no longer considers herself bound by the treaty of Breslau, but
claims Silesia and Glatz as her own. Consequently she commands the
Silesians to withdraw from the protection of Prussia, and give their
allegiance to their rightful inheritor."

"That is an open breach of contract," said one of the generals.

"That is contrary to all justice and the rights of the people,"
cried another.

"That is Austrian politics," said the king, smiling. "They hold to a
solemn contract, which was detrimental to them, only so long as
necessity compels it; so soon as an opportunity offers to their
advantage, they prove faithless. They do not care to be considered
honorable, they only desire to be feared, and above all, they will
bear no equals and no rivals in Germany. Maria Theresa feels herself
strong enough to take back this Silesia I won from her, and a peace
contract is not sacred in her eyes. Austria was and is naturally the
enemy of Prussia, and will never forgive us because our father, by
the power of his genius, made himself a king. Austria would gladly
see the King of Prussia buried in the little Elector of Brandenburg,
and make herself rich with our possessions. Will we suffer that,
messieurs!"

"Never!" said the generals, and the fire of battle flashed in their
eyes.

"The Queen of Hungary has commanded her troops to enter Glatz. Shall
we wait till this offence is repeated?"

"If the Austrian troops have made us a visit, politeness requires
that we should return the call," said Ziethen, with a dry laugh.

"If the Queen of Hungary has sent a manifesto to Silesia, we must,
above all other things, answer this manifesto," said the councillor
of state.

"Maria Theresa is so bold and insolent because Bellona is a woman,
consequently her sister; but we will prove to her that Dame Bellona
will rather ally herself with gallant men than with sentimental
women," said General Rothenberg.

"Now, messieurs, what say you? shall we have peace or war?"

"War, war!" cried they all in one breath, and with one movement.

The king raised himself from his chair, and his eagle eye was
dazzling.

"The decisive word is spoken," said he, solemnly. "Let it be as you
say! We will have war! Prepare yourselves, then, generals, to return
the visit of Austria. Ziethen tells us that this is a courtly duty.
Our councillor will write the answer to Maria Theresa's manifesto.
The Austrians have visited us in Glatz, we will return their call in
Prague. Kothenberg thinks that Dame Bellona would incline to our
arms rather than to those of the queen, so we will seek to win her
by tender embraces. I think the goddess would favor our Prince of
Anhalt, they have often fought side by side. Up, then, prince, to
battle and to love's sweet courtesies with your old Mistress
Bellona! Up, my friends, one and all! the days of peace are over. We
will have war, and may God grant His blessing to our just cause!"



CHAPTER X.

THE CLOISTER OF CAMENS.


It was a still, lovely morning. The sun gilded the lofty, giant
mountain and irradiated its snow-crowned top with shifting and many-
colored light; it appeared like a giant lily, luminous and odorous.
The air was so clear and pure, that even in the far distance this
range of mountains looked grand and sublime. The spectator was
deluded by the hope of reaching their green and smiling summits in a
few moments. In their majestic and sunny beauty they seemed to
beckon and to lure you on. Even those who had been for a long time
accustomed to this enchanting region would have been impressed to-
day with its exalted beauty. Grand old Nature is a woman, and has
her feminine peculiarities; she rejoices in her beaux jours, even as
other women.

The landscape spread out at the feet of those two monks now walking
in silent contemplation on the platform before the Cloister of
Camens, had truly to-day her beau jour, and sparkled and glittered
in undisturbed repose.

"How beautiful is the world!" said one, folding his hands piously,
and gazing up into the valley; "created by wisdom and love, adapted
to our necessities and enjoyments, to a life well-pleasing to God.
Look now, brother, at the imposing majesty of that mountain, and at
the lovely, smiling valley which lies at its feet. There, in the
little village of Camens, this busy world is in motion, and from the
city of Frankenstein I distinguish the sound of the bells calling to
early morning prayer."

"That is, perhaps, the alarm-bell," said the second monk; "the wind
is against us; we could not hear the sound of the small bells. I
fear that is the alarm-bell."

"Why should the Frankensteiners sound the alarm-bell, Brother
Tobias?" said his companion, with a soft, incredulous smile.

"Why, Brother Anastasius, because the Austrians have possibly sent
their advance guard to Frankenstein. The Frankensteiners have sworn
allegiance to the King of Prussia, and probably desire to keep this
oath; they sound the alarm, therefore, to call the lusty burghers to
arms."

"And do you truly believe that the Austrians are so near us, Brother
Tobias?"

"I do not believe--I know it. Before three days General Count Wallis
will enter our cloister with his staff, and, in the name of Maria
Theresa, command us to take the oath."

"You can never forget that we were once Austrians, Brother Tobias.
Your eyes sparkle when you think that the Austrians are coming, and
you forget that his excellency the Abbot Stusche is, with his whole
heart, devoted to the King of Prussia, and that he will never again
subject himself to Austrian rule."

"He will be forced to it, Brother Anastasius. The star of the
Prussian king has declined; his war triumphs are at an end; God has
turned away His face from him, because he is not a true Christian;
he is, indeed, a heathen and an infidel."

"Still, still, Brother Tobias! if the abbot heard you, he would
punish you with twenty pater-nosters, and you know very well that
praying is not the business of your choice."

"It is true; I am fonder of war and politics. I can never forget
that in my youth I was a brave soldier, and have more than once shed
my blood for Austria. You will understand now why I am an Austrian.
I declare to you, I would cheerfully say thirty pater-nosters every
day, if we could be once more subject to Austria."

"Well, happily, there is no hope of that."

"Happily, there is great hope of it. You know nothing about it. You
read your holy prayers, you study your learned books, and take but
little interest in the outward world. I know all, hear all, take
part in all. I study politics and the world's history, as diligently
as you study the old Fathers."

"Well, Brother Tobias, instruct me a little in your studies. You are
right; I care but little for these things, and I am heartily glad of
it. It grieves me to hear of the wrath and contentions of men. God
sent us into the world to live in peace and love with one another."

"If that be so, why has God permitted us to discover gunpowder?"
said Brother Tobias, whistling merrily. "I say to you that by the
power of gunpowder and the naked sword Silesia will soon be in
possession of the faithful believer Maria Theresa. Is it not
manifest that God is with her? The devil in the beginning, with the
help of the Prussian king and his wild army, did seem more powerful
than God himself! Only think that the gates of Breslau were opened
by a box on the ear! that the year before, Prague was taken almost
without a blow! It seemed indeed like child's play. Frederick was in
possession of almost the whole of Bohemia, but like a besieged and
suffering garrison he was obliged to creep away. God sent an enemy
against him who is more powerful than all mortal foes, his army was
perishing with hunger. There is no difference between the bravest
soldier and the little maiden when they fall into the hands of this
adversary. Hunger drove the victorious King of Prussia out of
Bohemia; hunger made him abandon Silesia and seek refuge in Berlin.
[Footnote: Preuss's "History of Frederick the Great."] Oh, I assure
you, we will soon cease to be Prussians. While King Frederick is
refreshing and amusing himself in Berlin, the Austrians have entered
Glatz, and bring us greetings from our gracious queen, Maria
Theresa."

"If the King of Prussia hears of these greetings, he will answer
them by cannon-balls."

"Did I not tell you that Frederick of Prussia was idling away in
Berlin, and recovering from his disastrous campaign in Bohemia? The
Austrians will have taken possession of all Upper Silesia before the
king and his soldiers have satisfied their hunger, I tell you, in a
few days they will be with us."

"God forbid!" said Brother Anastasius; "then will the torch of war
burn anew, and misfortune and misery will reign again throughout
Silesia."

"Yes, that is true. I will tell you another piece of news, which I
heard yesterday in Frankenstein; it is said that the King of Prussia
has quietly left Berlin and gone himself into Silesia to look after
the Austrians. Would it not be charming if Frederick should make our
cloister a visit, just as General Count Wallis and his troops
entered Camens?"

"And you would call that charming?" said Brother Anastasius, with a
reproachful look.

"Yes, most assuredly; the king would be taken prisoner, and the war
would be at an end. You may rest assured the Austrians would not
give the king his liberty till he had yielded up Silesia for
ransom."

"May God be gracious, and guard us from war and pestilence!"
murmured Brother Anastasius, folding his hands piously in prayer.

The thrice-repeated stroke of the bell in the cloister interrupted
his devotions, and the full, round face of Brother Tobias glowed
with pleasing anticipations.

"They ring for breakfast, Brother Anastasius," said he; "let us
hasten before Brother Baptist, who is ever the first at the table,
appropriates the best morsels and lays them on his plate. Come,
come, brother; after breakfast we will go into the garden and water
our flowers. We have a lovely day and ample time--it will be three
hours before mass."

"Come, then, brother, and may your dangerous prophecies and
expectations not be fulfilled!"

The two monks stepped into the cloister, and a deep and unbroken
silence reigned around, interrupted only by the sweet songs of the
birds and the light movements of their wings. The building was in
the noble style of the middle ages, and stood out in grand and
harmonious proportions against the deep blue of the horizon.

It was, without doubt, to observe the beauty and grandeur of this
structure, that two travellers who had toiled slowly up the path
leading from the village of Camens, now paused and looked with
wondering glances at the cloister.

"There must be a splendid view from the tower," said the oldest and
smaller of the travellers to his tall and slender companion, who was
gazing with rapture at the enchanting landscape.

"It must indeed be a glorious prospect," he replied with a
respectful bow.

"It affords a splendid opportunity to look far and wide over the
land, and to see if the Austrian troops are really on the march,"
said the other, with a stern and somewhat hasty tone. "Let us enter
and ascend the tower."

The youth bowed silently, and followed, at some little distance, the
hasty steps of his companion. They reached the platform, and stood
for a moment to recover breath.

"We have reached the summit--if we were only safely down again."

"We can certainly descend; the question is, under what
circumstances?"

"You mean, whether free or as prisoners? Well, I see no danger; we
are completely disguised, and no one knows me here. The Abbot
Amandus is dead, and the new abbot is unknown to me. Let us make
haste; ring the bell."

The youth was in the act of obeying, when suddenly a voice cried
out: "Don't sound the bell--I will come myself and open the door."

A man had been standing at the upper story, by an open window, and
heard the conversation of the two travellers. He drew in his head
hastily and disappeared.

"It seems I am not so unknown as I supposed," said the smaller of
the two gentlemen, with a quiet smile.

"Who knows whether these monks are reliable and true?" whispered the
other.

"You certainly would not doubt these exalted servants of God? I, for
my part, shall believe in their sincerity till they convince me of
the contrary. Ah! the door is opened."

The small door was indeed open, and a monk came out, and hastily
drew near to the two travellers.

"I am the Abbot Tobias Stusche; I am also a man wholly devoted to
the King of Prussia, though he does not know me."

The abbot laid such a peculiar expression upon these last words,
that the strangers were forced to remark them.

"Do you not know the King of Prussia?" said the elder, fixing his
eagle eye upon the kindly and friendly face of the abbot.

"I know the king when he does not wish to be incognito," said the
abbot, with a smile.

"If the king were here, would you counsel him to remain incognito?"

"I would counsel that; some among my monks are Austrian in sympathy,
and I hear the Austrians are at hand."

"My object is to look out from your tower after the Austrians. Let
us enter; show us the way."

The abbot said nothing, but entered the cloister hastily, and cast a
searching glance in every direction.

"They are all yet in the refectory, and the windows open upon the
gardens. But no--there is Brother Anastasius."

It was truly Brother Anastasius, who stood at the window, and
regarded them with astonished and sympathetic glances. The abbot
nodded to him and laid his forefinger lightly upon his lips; he then
hastily crossed the threshold of the little door.

The stranger laid his hand upon the shoulder of the abbot, and said
sternly, "Did you not give a sign to this monk?"

"Yes, the sign of silence," answered the abbot; and turning back, he
looked calmly upon the strangers.

"Let us go onward." And with a firm step they entered the cloister.



CHAPTER XI.

THE KING AND THE ABBOT.


Silently they passed through the lofty halls and corridors, which
resounded with the steps of the strangers, and reached the rooms
appropriated to the abbot. As they entered and the door closed
behind them, shutting them off from the seeing and listening world,
the face of the abbot assumed an expression of the most profound
reverence and emotion. He crossed his hands over his breast, and
bowing profoundly, he said: "Will your majesty allow me from the
depths of my soul to welcome you? In the rooms of the Abbot Tobias
Stusche, King Frederick need not preserve his incognito. Blessed be
your entrance into my house, and may your departure also be
blessed!"

The king smiled. "This blessed conclusion, I suppose, depends
entirely upon your excellency. I really cannot say what danger
threatens us. It certainly was not my intention to wander here; to
stretch out my reconnoissance to such a distance. But what would
you, sir abbot? I am not only a king and soldier, but I am a man,
with eye and heart open to the beauties of nature, and I worship God
in His works of creation. Your cloister enticed me with its beauty.
In place of mounting my horse and riding back from Frankenstein, I
was lured hither to admire your building and enjoy the splendid
prospect from your tower. Allow me to rest awhile; give me a glass
of wine, and then we will mount the tower."

There was so much of calm, bold courage, so much of proud self-
consciousness in the bearing of the king, that the poor, anxious
abbot could not find courage to express his apprehensions. He turned
and looked imploringly at the companion of the king, who was no
other than the young officer of the life-guard, Frederick von
Trenck. The youth seemed to share fully the careless indifference of
his royal master; his face was smiling, and he did not seem to
understand the meaning looks of the abbot.

"Will your majesty allow me, and me alone, to have the honor of
serving you?" said his excellency. "I am jealous of the great
happiness which Providence has accorded me, and I will not divide it
with another, not even with my monks."

Frederick laughed heartily. "Confess, your excellency, that you dare
not trust your monks. You do not know that they are as good
Prussians as I have happily found you to be? Go, then, if it is
agreeable to you, and with your own pious hands bring me a glass of
wine, I need not say good wine--you cloistered men understand that."

Frederick leaned back comfortably in his arm-chair and conversed
cheerfully, even merrily, with his young adjutant and the worthy
abbot, who hastened here and there, and drew from closets and
hiding-places wine, fruit, and other rich viands. The cloistered
stillness, the unbroken quiet which surrounded him, were pleasing to
the king; his features were illuminated with that soft and at the
same time imposing smile which played but seldom upon his lips, but
which, like the sun, when it appeared, filled all hearts with light
and gladness. Several hours passed--hours which the king did not
seem to observe, but the heart of the poor abbot was trembling with
apprehension.

"And now," said the king, "I am rested, refreshed, and strengthened.
Will your excellency conduct me to the tower? then I will return to
Frankenstein."

"There is happily a way to the tower for my use alone," said the
abbot, "where we are certain to be met by no one. I demand pardon,
sire, the way is dark and winding, and we must mount many small
steps."

"Well, abbot, it resembles the way to eternal life; from the power
of darkness to light; from the path of sin and folly to that of
knowledge and true wisdom. I will seek after this knowledge from
your tower, worthy abbot. Have you my field-glass, Trenck?"

The adjutant bowed, silently; they passed through the corridor and
mounted the steps, reaching at last the platform at the top of the
tower.

A wondrous prospect burst upon their view; the horizon seemed
bounded by majestic mountains of porphyry--this third element or
place of deposit of the enchanting primeval earth, out of which
mighty but formless mass our living, breathing, and beautiful world
sprang into creation, and the stars sang together for joy. In the
midst of these mountains stood the "Giant," with his snow-crowned
point, like the great finger of God, reaching up into the heavens,
and contrasting strangely with the lofty but round green summits of
the range, now gilded by the morning sun, and sparkling in changing
rays of light.

The king looked upon this picture with rapture; an expression of
prayer and praise was written upon his face. But with the proud
reserve which ever belongs to those who, by exalted rank or genius,
are isolated from other men, with the shrinking of a great soul, the
king would allow no one to witness his emotion. He wished to be
alone, alone with Nature and Nature's God; he dismissed the abbot
and his adjutant, and commanded them to wait in the rooms below for
him. And now, convinced that no one saw or heard him, the king gave
himself up wholly to the exalted and pious feelings which agitated
his soul. With glistening eyes he gazed upon the enchanting
landscape, which glowed and shimmered in the dazzling sunshine.

"God, God!" said he, in low tones; "who can doubt that He is, and
that He is from everlasting to everlasting? Who, that looks upon the
beauty, the harmony, and order of creation, can doubt of His wisdom,
and that His goodness is over all His works? [Footnote: The king's
own words. "OEuvres posthumes," page 162.] O my God, I worship you
in your works of creation and providence, and I bow my head in
adoration at the footstool of your divine Majesty. Why cannot men be
content with this great, mysterious, exalted, and ever-enduring
church, with which God has surrounded them? Why can they not worship
in Nature's great cathedral? Why do they confine themselves to
churches of brick and mortar, the work of men's hands, and listen to
their hypocritical priests, rather than listen to and worship God in
His beautiful world? They cry out against me and call me an infidel,
but my heart is full of love and faith in my Creator, and I worship
Him, not in priestly words, but in the depths of my soul."

And now Frederick cast a smiling greeting to the lovely phenomena
which lay at his feet. His thoughts had been with God, and his
glance upward; but now his eyes wandered over the perfumed and
blooming valley which lay in the depths between the mountains; he
numbered the little cities and villages, with their red roofs and
graceful church-spires; he admired the straw-thatched huts upon
whose highest points the stork had built her nest, and stood by it
in observant and majestic composure.

"This is all mine; I won it with my spear and bow. It is mine, and I
will never yield it up. I will prove to Maria Theresa that what was
good to take was not good to restore. No, no! Silesia is mine; my
honor, my pride, and my fame demand it. I will never give it up. I
will defend it with rivers of blood, yes, with my own heart's
blood!"

He took his glass and looked again over the luxurious valley; he
started and fixed his glass steadily upon one point. In the midst of
the smiling meadows through which the highway wound like a graceful
stream, he saw a curious, glittering, moving mass. At the first
glance it looked like a crowd of creeping ants; it soon, however,
assumed larger proportions, and, at last, approaching ever nearer,
the forms of men could be distinctly seen, and now he recognized a
column of marching soldiers.

"Austrians," said the king, with calm composure. He turned his glass
in the other direction, where a road led into the valley; this path
was also filled with soldiers, who, by rapid marches, were
approaching the cloister. "Without doubt they know that I am here,"
said the king; "they have learned this in the village, and have come
to take me prisoner. Eh bien, nous verrons."

So saying, Frederick put his glass in his pocket, descended the
steps, and with cool indifference entered the room of the abbot.

"Messieurs," said he, laughing merrily, as he looked at the good-
natured and unsuspicious faces of the worthy abbot and the young
officer, "we must decide upon some plan of defence, for the
Austrians draw near on every side of the cloister."

"Oh, my prophetic soul!" murmured the abbot, folding his hands in
prayer.

Trenck rushed to the window and looked searchingly abroad. At this
moment a loud knock was heard upon the door, and an anxious voice
called to the abbot.

"All is lost, the Austrians are already here!" cried Tobias Stusche,
wringing his hands despairingly.

"No!" said the king, "they cannot yet have reached the cloister, and
that is not the voice of a soldier who commands, but that of a monk
who prays, and is almost dead with terror; let us open the door."

"O my God, your majesty! would you betray yourself?" cried Stusche,
and forgetting all etiquette, he rushed to the king, laid his hand
upon his arm and held him back.

"No," said the king, "I will not betray myself, neither will I
conceal myself. I will meet my fate with my face to the foe."

"Open, open, for God's sake!" cried the voice without.

"He prays in God's name," said the king. "I will open the door." He
crossed the room and drew back the bolt.

And now, the pale and anxious face of Brother Anastasius appeared.
He entered hastily, closed and fastened the door.

"Pardon," said he, trembling and breathless--"pardon that I have
dared to enter. The danger is great; the Austrians surround the
cloister."

"Are they already here?" said the king.

"No; but they have sent a courier, who commands us immediately to
open all the doors and give entrance to the soldiers of Maria
Theresa."

"Have they given a reason for this command?"

"Yes; they say they know assuredly that the King of Prussia is
concealed here, and they come to search the cloister."

"Have you not said to them, that we are not only the servants of
God, but the servants of the King of Prussia? Have you not said to
them that the doors of our cloister can only open to Prussian
troops?"

"Yes, your excellency. I told the soldier all this, but he laughed,
and said the pandours of Colonel von Trenck knew how to obtain an
entrance."

"Ah! it is Trenck, with his pandours," cried the king, casting a
searching glance at Frederick von Trenck, who stood opposite, with
pale and tightly-compressed lips; he met the eye of the king boldly,
however, and looked him steadily in the face.

"Is Colonel Trenck your relation?" said the king, hastily.

"Yes, your majesty; he is my father's brother's son," said the young
man, proudly.

"Ah! I see you have a clear conscience," said the king, laying his
hand smilingly upon the youth's shoulder. "But, tell me, worthy
abbot, do you know any way to rescue us from this mouse-trap?"

Tobias did not reply immediately; he stood thoughtfully with his
arms folded, then raised his head quickly, as if he had come to some
bold conclusion; energy and purpose were written in his face. "Will
your majesty make use of the means which I dare to offer you?"

"Yes, if they are not unworthy. I owe it to my people not to lay
upon them the burden of my ransom."

"Then I hope, with God's help, to serve your majesty." He turned to
the monk, and said, with a proud, commanding tone: "Brother
Anastasius, listen to my commands. Go immediately to Messner, order
him in my name to call all the brothers to high mass in the choir of
the church; threaten him with my wrath and the severest punishment,
if he dares to speak to one of the brethren. I will prove my monks,
and see if they recognize that obedience is the first duty in a
cloister."

"While Messner assembles the priests, shall the bell sound for
mass?"

"Hasten, Brother Anastasius; in ten minutes we must be all in the
church."

"And you expect to save me by celebrating high mass?" said
Frederick, shrugging his shoulders.

"Yes, sire, I expect it. Will your majesty graciously accompany me
to my dressing-room?"



CHAPTER XII

THE UNKNOWN ABBOT


The bell continued to sound, and its silver tones echoed in the
lofty halls and corridors, through which the priests, in their
superb vestments and holy orders, passed onward to the church.
Surprise and wonder were written upon every face; curious questions
were burning upon every lip, restrained, however, by the strong
habit of obedience. The abbot had commanded that not one word should
be exchanged between the brethren. The abbot must be obeyed, though
the monks might die of curiosity. Silently they entered the church.
And now the bell ceased to toll, and the grand old organ filled the
church with a rich stream of harmony. Suddenly the notes were soft
and touching, and the strong, full voices of men rose high above
them.

While the organ swelled, and the church resounded with songs of
prayer and praise, the Abbot Tobias Stusche entered the great door.
But this time he was not, as usual, alone. Another abbot, in the
richly-embroidered habiliments of a fete day, stood by his side. No
one had ever seen this abbot. He was wholly unknown.

Every eye was turned upon him; every one was struck with the
commanding and noble countenance, with the imposing brow and
luminous eye, which cast searching and threatening glances in every
direction. All felt that something strange, unheard of, was passing
in their midst. They knew this stranger, glowing with youth, beauty,
and majesty, was no common priest, no humble brother.

The command to strict silence had been given, and implicit obedience
is the first duty of the cloister. So they were silent, sang, and
prayed; while Tobias Stusche, with the strange abbot, swept slowly
and solemnly through the aisles up to the altar. They both fell upon
their knees and folded their hands in silent prayer.

Again the organ swelled, and the voices of the choristers rose up in
adoration and praise; but every eye and every thought were fixed
upon the strange abbot kneeling before the high altar, and wrestling
with God in prayer. And now the organ was silent, and the low
prayers began. The monks murmured mechanically the accustomed words;
nothing was heard but sighs of penitence and trembling petitions,
which seemed to fade and die away amongst the lofty pillars of the
cathedral.

Suddenly a loud noise was heard without, the sound of pistols and
threatening voices demanding admittance. No one regarded this. The
church doors were violently thrown open, and wild, rude forms,
sunbrowned and threatening faces appeared. For one moment noisy
tumult and outcry filled the church, but it was silenced by the holy
service, now celebrated by these kneeling, praying monks, who held
their beads in their hands, and gave no glance, in token of interest
or consciousness, toward the wild men who had so insolently
interrupted the worship of God. The soldiers bowed their heads
humbly upon their breasts, and prayed for pardon and grace. This
holy duty being fulfilled, they remembered their worldly calling,
and commenced to search the church for the King of Prussia, whom
they believed to be hidden there. The clang of spurs and heavy steps
resounded through the aisles, and completely drowned the prayers and
sighs of the monks, who, kneeling upon their stools, seemed to have
no eye or thought for any thing but the solemn service in which they
were engaged.

The pandours, in their dark, artistic costumes, with the red mantle
fastened to their shoulders, swarmed through the church, and with
flashing eyes and scarcely suppressed curses searched in every niche
and behind every pillar for Frederick of Prussia. How often did
these wild forms pass by the two abbots, who were still kneeling,
immovable in rapturous meditation, before the high altar! How often
did their swords strike upon the floor behind them, and even fasten
in the vestment of the strange abbot, who, with closed eyes and head
bowed down upon his breast, had no knowledge of their presence!

The prayers had continued much longer than usual, and yet the abbot
did not pronounce the benediction! And now he did indeed give a
sign, but not the one expected. He rose from his knees, but did not
leave the church; with his companion, he mounted the steps to the
altar, to draw near to the holy crucifix and bless the host. He
nodded to the choir, and again the organ and the choristers filled
the church with melody.

This was something so extraordinary that the monks turned pale, and
questioned their consciences anxiously. Had they not committed some
great crime, for which their stern abbot was resolved to punish them
with everlasting prayer and penitence? The pandours knew nothing of
this double mass. They had now searched the whole church, and as the
king was not to be found, they rushed out in order to search the
cells, and, indeed, every corner of the cloister. The service still
continued; the unknown abbot stood before the high altar, while
Abbot Stusche took the host and held it up before the kneeling
monks.

At this moment a wild cry of triumph was heard without; then curses
and loud laughter. The monks were bowed down before the host, and
did not seem to hear the tumult. They sang and prayed, and now the
outcry and noise of strife was hushed, and nothing was heard but the
faint and dying tones of the organ. The pandours had left the
cloister; they had found the adutant of the king and borne him off
as a rich spoil to their commander, Colonel von Trenck.

The soldiers were gone, it was therefore not necessary to continue
the worship of God. Tobias Stusche repeated a pater-noster, gave his
hand to the unknown abbot, and they turned to leave the church. As
they slowly and majestically swept through the aisles, the monks
bowed their heads in reverence; the organ breathed its last grand
accord, and the glorious sun threw a beckoning love-greeting through
the lofty windows of painted glass. It was a striking and solemn
scene, and the unknown abbot seemed strangely impressed. He paused
at the door and turned once more, and his glance wandered slowly
over the church.

One hour later the heavy state-coach of the Abbot of Clostenberg
rolled down from Camens. In the coach sat Tobias Stusche with the
unknown abbot. They took the road to Frankenstein. Not far from the
gate the carriage stopped, and to the amazement of the coachman, no
abbot, but a soldier clad in the well-known Prussian uniform,
descended. After leaving the coach, he turned again and bowed to the
worthy Abbot Stusche.

"I will never forget this bold and noble act of your excellency,"
said the king, giving his hand to the abbot. "You and your cloister
may at all times count upon my special favor. But for your aid, I
should this day have been betrayed into a most unworthy and shameful
imprisonment. The first rich abbey which is vacant I will give to
you, and then in all future time I will confirm the choice of abbot,
which the monks themselves shall make." [Footnote: In gratitude for
this service, the king gave the rich Abbey of Sentua to Stusche, and
kept up with him always the kindest intercourse. There are letters
still preserved written by the king himself to the abbot, filled
with expressions of heart-felt kindness and favor. Frederick sent
him from Meissen a beautiful set of porcelain, and splendid stuff
for pontifical robes, and rare champagne wine. While in Breslau, he
invited him twice to visit him. Soon after the close of the Seven
Years' War, Stusche died. The king sent a royal present to the
cloister with a request that on the birthday of the abbot a solemn
mass should be celebrated. Some years later, Frederick stopped at
Camens, and told the abbot to commission the first monk who died to
bear his loving greeting to the good Abbot Stusche in Paradise.--
(See Rodenbeck.)]

"O my God!" exclaimed the abbot, "how rarely must your majesty have
met with honest and faithful men, if you reward so richly a simple
and most natural act of love!"

"Faithful hearts are rare," said the king. "I have met this blue-
eyed daughter of Heaven but seldom upon my path, and it is perhaps
for this reason that her grandeur and her beauty are so enchanting
to me. Farewell, sir abbot, and greet the brother Anastasius for
me."

"Will not your majesty allow me to accompany you to the city?"

"No, it is better that I go on foot. In a quarter of an hour, I
shall be there; my carriage and my guard await me, and I wish no one
to be acquainted with the adventures of this day. It remains a
secret between us for the present."

Frederick greeted him once more, and then stepped lightly onward
toward the city. The coach of the abbot returned slowly to the
cloister.

The king had advanced but a short distance, when the sound of an
approaching horse met his car. He stood still and looked down the
highway. This time the Austrian uniform did not meet his eye; he
recognized in the distance the Prussian colors, and as the horse
approached nearer, he marked the uniform of a young officer of his
life-guard. Before Frederick found time for surprise, the rider had
reached him, checked his horse with a strong hand, sprang from the
saddle, bowed profoundly before the king, and reached him the reins.

"Will not your majesty do me the favor to mount my horse?" said
Trenck, calm and unembarrassed, and without alluding by word or
smile to the adventure of the day.

The king looked at him searchingly. "From whence come you?" said he
sternly.

"From Glatz, where the pandours carried me as a prisoner, and
delivered me to Colonel Trenck."

"You were then a prisoner, and were released without ransom?"

"Colonel Trenck laughed merrily when his pandours delivered me to
him, and declared I was the King of Prussia."

"Colonel Trenck knows you?"

"Sire, I saw him often in my father's house."

"Go on: he recognized you, then?"

"He knew me, and said laughingly, he had sent to take Frederick,
King of Prussia, and not Frederick von Trenck, prisoner. I was free,
I might go where I wished, and as I could not go on foot, he
presented me with one of his best horses; and now I am here, will
not your majesty do me the honor to mount this horse?"

"I mount no Austrian horse," said the king in a harsh tone.

The young officer fixed his glance for one moment, with an
expression of regret upon the proud and noble animal, who with
dilating nostrils, flashing eyes, and impatient stamping of the
fore-feet, stood by his side, arching gracefully his finely-formed
and muscular throat. But this expression of regret soon vanished. He
let go the bridle and bowing to the king he said, "I am at your
majesty's command."

The king glanced backward at the noble steed, who, slender and
graceful and swift as a gazelle, was in a moment so far distant as
to be no larger than a flying eagle. He then advanced toward
Frankenstein: both were silent; neither gave another thought to the
gallant horse, who, riderless and guided by instinct alone, was far
on the way to Glatz. Once before they reached the city, the king
turned and fixed his eyes upon the open, youthful, and handsome face
of Trenck.

"I believe it would be better for you if this colonel of pandours
were not your relation," said the king thoughtfully; "there can no
good come to you from this source, but only evil."

Frederick von Trenck turned pale. "Does your majesty command that I
shall change my name?"

"No," said the king after a moment's reflection. "The name is a holy
inheritance which is handed down from our fathers, and it should not
be lightly cast away. But be careful, be careful in every
particular. Understand my words, and think upon my warning, Baron
von Trenck."



CHAPTER XIII.

THE LEVEE OF A DANCER.


In Behren Street, which was at that time one of the most recherche
and beautiful streets of Berlin, order and quiet generally reigned.
To-day, however, an extraordinary activity prevailed in this
aristocratic locality; splendid equipages and gallant riders,
followed by their attendants, dashed by; all seemed to have the same
object; all drew up before the large and elegant mansion which had
for some time been the centre of attraction to all the courtly
cavaliers of the Prussian capital. Some of the royal princes, the
young Duke of Wurtemberg, counts, ambassadors, and generals, were
to-day entreating an audience.

Who dwelt in this house? What distinguished person was honored by
all these marks of consideration? Why was every face thoughtful and
earnest? Was this a funeral, and was this general gloom the
expression of the heart's despair at the thought of the loved and
lost? Perhaps the case was not quite so hopeless. It might be that a
prince or other eminent person was dangerously ill! "It must be a
man," as no woman was seen in this grand cavalcade. But how account
for those rare and perfumed flowers? Does a man visit his sick
friend with bouquets of roses and violets and orange-blossoms? with
rare and costly southern fruits in baskets of gold and silver? This
would indeed be a strange custom!

But no! In this house dwelt neither prince nor statesman, only a
woman. How strange that only men were there to manifest their
sympathy! In this pitiful and dreary world a woman who has made a
name for herself by her own beauty and talent is never acknowledged
by other women. Those who owe their rank to their fathers and
husbands, are proud of this accidental favor of fate; they consider
themselves as the chosen accomplices and judges of morals and
virtue, and cast out from their circles all those who dare to
elevate themselves above mediocrity. In this house dwelt an artiste-
-the worshipped prima donna, the Signora Barbarina!

Barbarina! ah! that was an adored and a hated name. The women spoke
of her with frowning brows and contemptuous laughter, the men with
flashing eyes and boundless enthusiasm; the one despised and
abhorred her, even as the other exalted and adored her. And truly
both had cause: the women hated her because she stole from them the
eyes and hearts of their lovers and husbands; the men worshipped her
as a blossom of beauty, a fairy wonder, a consecrated divinity.

These two parties were as zealous as the advocates of the white and
red rose. The women fought under the banner of the faded, withered
white rose; the men gathered around the flag of her glowing sister,
the enchanting Barbarina. This was no equal contest, no doubtful
result. The red rose must conquer. At the head of her army stood the
greatest of warriors. The king was at the same time Barbarina's
general and subject. The white rose must yield, she had no leader.

Possibly Elizabeth Christine desired to lead the army of martyrs;
possibly the same rage and scorn swelled in her heart which spoiled
the peace of other women. But her modest and trembling lips betrayed
nothing of the secret storms of her bosom; her soft and gentle smile
veiled her shrouded wishes and the hopes there buried in her heart.
One could scarcely believe that this timid, pious queen could
worship an earthly object, or yield herself one moment to the bare
passion of hate. Truly Elizabeth Christine hated no one, not even
Barbarina--this woman who had given the last blow to her tortured
heart, and added the passion of jealousy to her despised love.
Elizabeth Christine was indeed jealous, but not in the common way;
she felt no scorn, she uttered no reproach; silent tears and earnest
prayers for strength were her only speech.

The king had given her no occasion to complain of his love for
Barbarina; she did not know that he had ever approached her, even
spoken to her; she knew, however, with what looks and smiles of
rapture he gazed upon her, and she would joyfully have given her
life for one such glance or smile. That, however, which was not
known to Elizabeth, was fully understood by the whole court. It was
known that more than once the Barbarina had supped with the king at
the house of General Rothenberg; it was known that the king, every
time the Barbarina danced, was behind the curtain, and that, he had
commanded the court painter, Pesne, to paint her portrait, life
size, for him.

Was not this enough to exalt the signora in the eyes of every
courtier and every diplomatist to the first rank of beauty and
power? Would they not, indeed, have hastened to acknowledge her
claims, even had she not been the loveliest and most enchanting
creature? She was indeed a queen, a powerful enchantress. Men
struggled for one smile, one glance; they bowed down to all her
caprices and humors; worship, submission, and obedience were the
tribute brought by all. Her house was besieged with visits and
petitions as if it were the palace of a fairy queen. Barbarina had
her court circle, her levees, her retinue. [Footnote: Schneider,
"History of the Opera and Opera-Houses in Berlin."] All her subjects
rendered her a glad and voluntary service, and received no other
compensation than a gay smile or friendly word.

All this splendor, consideration, and worship, of which she was the
shining centre, seemed to make no impression upon the heart of the
proud and self-reliant artiste; she was accustomed to it, and moved
on in silent majesty; her whole life had been a triumphant march.
Like a summer morning glittering in the dew and sunshine, she had
had her little griefs and tears, but they resembled the dew-drops in
the flower-cups, shining for a moment like costly diamonds, then
kissed away by the sun. Barbarina wept when the king separated her
from her lover, Lord Stuart, and forced her to fulfil her contract
and come to Berlin. She wept no more. Was it because she was too
proud? or had the sun of royal favor kissed away her tears?

Barbarina's tears had ceased to flow, but she smiled rarely. She had
the grace and imposing beauty of the Roman, and never forgot that
she was a daughter of that proud nation who had ruled the world,
and, even though disenthroned, preserved her majesty and renown.
Barbarina was a glowing, passionate woman, and passion adorns itself
with flashing eyes, with a clear and touching pallor and crimson
lips, but never with the innocent smile and harmless jest. She was
never heard and rarely seen to laugh. Laughter was not in harmony
with her proud beauty, but smiles illuminated and glorified it. She
was imperial to look upon; but, filled with all sweet charity and
gentle grace, womanly and tender; with a full consciousness of her
power, she was humble and yielding. In the midst of her humility she
was proud, and sure of success and victory; one moment she was the
glowing, ardent, and yielding woman; the next the proud, genial,
imposing artiste. Such was Barbarina; an incomprehensible riddle,
unsearchable, unfathomable as the sea--ever changing, but great in
every aspect.

Barbarina had appeared the evening before, but her dance had been
interrupted by a sudden indisposition exactly at the moment when the
king appeared in the opera-house. No one knew that the king had
returned from his mysterious journey to Silesia; every one believed
him to be absent, and the ballet had been arranged without any
reference to him. Frederick arrived unexpectedly, and changing his
travelling-dress hastened to the opera, no doubt to greet the two
queens and his sisters. Barbarina was seized with indisposition at
the moment of the king's entrance. She floated smilingly and airily
over the stage; her small feet seemed borne by the Loves and Graces.
Suddenly she faltered, the smile vanished from her lips, and the
slight blush from her cheek, and with a cry of pain she sank
insensible upon the floor.

The curtain fell, and an intermission of a quarter of an hour was
announced. The king, who was conversing with the queen-mother,
appeared to take but little interest in this interruption, but Baron
Swartz approached and announced that Signora Barbarina was ill and
could not appear again during the evening. Frederick gave such an
angry exclamation, that the queen-mother looked up astonished and
questioning. Elizabeth Christine sighed and turned pale. She
comprehended the emotion of her husband; guided by the instinct of
jealousy, she read the king's alarm and disappointment, which he
tried in vain to hide under the mask of scorn.

"It appears to me," said the king, "that the signora is again
indulging in one of her proud and sullen moods, and refuses to dance
because I have returned. I will not submit to this caprice; I will
myself command her to dance."

He bowed to the two queens, stepped behind the curtain, and advanced
to the boudoir of the signora. The door was fastened within. The
king stood hesitating for a moment; he heard the sound of weeping
and sobbing--the signora was in bitter pain or sorrow.

"She is truly ill," said he.

"She has cramp," suggested Baron Swartz, who had followed the king.

Frederick turned hastily. "Is that dangerous" he asked, in a tone
which betrayed his alarm and agitation.

"Not dangerous, sire, but the physician who was with her has
declared that absolute quiet was necessary. Will your majesty
command that another dancer shall take her place?"

"No," said Frederick; "the pas which belongs to Barbarina shall be
danced by no other. Salimberri and Astrea shall sing an aria and the
house be dismissed. Go to their majesties and say to them I pray
they will excuse me; I only came to greet them, and, being much
fatigued by my journey, I will now retire."

Bowing to the baron, the king left the opera-house and entered the
palace. But in the silence of the night, when all others slept, the
soft tones of his flute melted on the air.

Barbarina was ill. For this reason her house was besieged; for this
reason every face was clouded. Her adorers were there begging to see
her, and thus find comfort and encouragement; each one wished to
prove his sympathy by some marked attention. They hoped that these
glorious and costly fruits might win for them a smile of gratitude.

The reception-room of Barbarina was like a royal conservatory, only
the life-giving and dazzling sun was hidden from view. Barbarina was
in her boudoir, and all these gallant cavaliers waited in vain for
her appearance. It was the hour of her levee, the hour when her door
was open to all who had enjoyed the honor of being presented to her.
The courtiers stood in groups and conversed in light whispers over
the on-dits of the day, and turning their eyes from time to time to
the portiere of purple velvet which separated them from the boudoir
of the signora; from that point must the sun rise to illuminate this
dusky room.

But Barbarina came not. She lay upon a white silk divan, dressed in
the most ravishing negligee of white muslin, covered with rare and
costly lace. She was dreaming with open eyes, and arms crossed upon
her breast. Those flashing eyes were soft and misty; a melancholy
expression trembled upon her lips. Barbarina was alone. Why should
she not dream, and lay aside for a while her gracious smiles and
fiery glance? Of what were those unfathomable eyes dreaming? what
signified those sighs which burst from her full crimson lips? Did
she know herself, or did she wish to know? Did she comprehend the
weakness of her own proud heart, or had she veiled it from herself,
ashamed to read what was written there?

At this moment the door opened, and a young girl entered--one of
those insignificant, gentle, yielding creatures, generally found
amongst the attendants of an artiste--a tete de souffrance, on whom
they exhaust their humor, their scorn, and their passion; the humble
companion, kept in the background when blessed with the society of
distinguished and wealthy adorers. The companion of Barbarina did
not suffer, however, from this hard fate. She was Barbarina's
sister, and had followed her from tender love to the cold north. The
signora loved her sister fondly; she was the companion of her joys
and sorrows; she had no secrets from her, and knew that an open ear
and judicious counsel were always to be found with her little sister
Marietta.

Barabrina lay, still dreaming, upon the divan. Possibly she did not
know that Marietta stood by her side, and laid her hand upon her
shoulder.

"Sorella," said she, "get up; many gentlemen are in the saloon,
waiting for you."

"Let them wait. I will see no one to-day."

"It is the hour when you are accustomed to receive, Sorella, and if
you do not come they will think you are still unwell."

"Well, let them think so."

"They will not only think so, Sorella; they will say so, and make
malicious comments."

"What comments?" said Barbarina, raising herself up; "what comments,
Marietta?"

"It was indeed unfortunate that your sickness came upon you just as
the king appeared," said Marietta.

Barbarina's eyes flashed. "Do you think they will put those things
together?" said she. "They will say, perhaps, that Barbarina fainted
at the unexpected appearance of the king; that the joy of seeing him
overcame her; is that your meaning, Marietta?"

"Yes, that is my meaning," said Marietta, in a low tone.

Barbarina sprang from the divan, trembling and pallid. "They will
mock at and scorn me," she cried, raising her arms to heaven as if
to call down the lightning to her aid; "they will say I love this
cold king!"

"They will say that, Sorella," replied Marietta.

Barbarina seized her hand. "But you, sister! you will not say this;
you know that I have sworn to hate him with an everlasting hatred.
You know that I have put an evil spell upon him with my tears; that
I never can forgive him for the suffering and agony he prepared for
me. Think, think, Marietta, how much I have wept, how much I have
endured! My life was like a lustrous May morning, a fairy tale of
starry splendor; roses and pearls were in my path: he has obscured
my stars, and changed my pearls to tears. Woe to him! woe to him! I
have sworn to hate him eternally, and Barbarina keeps her oath."

"Yes, you have sworn to hate him, sister, but the world is ignorant
of your oath and its cause; their eyes are blinded, and they
strangely mistake your hate for love. They see that your glance is
clearer, brighter, when the king is by, and they know not that it is
hate which flashes from your eyes; they hear that your voice lightly
trembles when you speak to him, they do not know that the hatred in
your heart deprives you of self-control; they see that you dance
with more enchanting grace in the king's presence, they do not
understand that these are instruments of revenge--that you wish to
crush him by the mighty power of genius, grace, and beauty."

"Yes, yes! just so," said Barbarina, breathing painfully; "you alone
know me, you alone read my heart! I hate, I abhor this cold, cruel
king, and he richly deserves my hate! He may be wise and great, but
his heart is ice. It is true, he is handsome and exalted; genius is
marked on his noble brow; his smile is magical, and irradiates his
face; his eyes, those great, inexplicable eyes, are blue as the
heavens and unfathomable as the sea. When I look into them, I seem
to read the mysteries of the great deep, and the raptures of heaven.
His voice, when he pleads, is like consecrated music; when he
commands, it is the voice of God in thunder. He is great above all
other men; he is a hero, a man, and a king!"

"And yet you hate him?" said Marietta, with a mocking smile.

Barbarina trembled. Marietta's question checked her glowing
enthusiasm; it rang in her ears like the name-call in the
"Somnambulist," and roused her to consciousness.

"Yes," said she, in a low tone, "I hate him, and I will ever hate
him! If I loved him, I should be the most wretched of women--I
should despise and curse myself. He has no heart; he cannot love;
and shame and dishonor rest upon the woman who loves and is not
beloved. Frederick loves nothing but his Prussia, his fame, and his
greatness. And the world says, that 'the Barbarina loves him.' You
see that is impossible, that can never be. I would rather die than
love this man without a heart."

"The world is incredulous," said Marietta; "they cannot look into
your heart, and you must be silent as to your hatred. You dare not
say that you fainted yesterday from scorn and rage at the sudden
appearance of the king."

"Think you they will believe that joy overcame me?" cried Barbarina,
in wild frenzy, "They shall not believe it; it shall not be!" She
sprang like an enraged lioness and grasped a little stiletto which
lay upon her toilet-table, and which she had brought as a relic from
her beautiful fatherland. "I will not be mocked at and despised,"
cried she, proudly, dashing off her gold-embroidered white satin
slipper, and raising her foot.

"Oh! Barbarina, what will you do?" cried Marietta, as she saw her
take up the stiletto.

"This," said she, significantly, sticking the point of the stiletto
in the sole of her foot; the blood gushed out and covered her
stocking with blood.

Marietta uttered a cry of terror, and rushed to her sister, but
Barbarina waved her away; the wound and the flow of blood had
brought relief to her wild nature; she was calm, and a ravishing
smile disclosed two rows of pearly teeth.

"Be still, Marietta," said she, in a commanding tone, "the wound is
not deep, not dangerous, but deep enough to confirm my statement
when I declare that, while dancing last evening, I wounded my foot
upon a piece of glass from a broken lamp."

"Ah! now I understand you, you proud sister," cried Marietta,
looking up gayly. "You would thus account for your swoon of
yesterday?"

"Yes, and now give me my slipper, and allow me to take your arm; we
will go into the saloon."

"With your bleeding foot, with this open wound?"

"Yes, with my bleeding foot; however, we had better check the flow
of blood a little."

The cavaliers who waited for the signora became ever sadder and more
thoughtful. Barbarina must be indeed ill, if she allowed her
admirers to wait so long, for she was above all the small coquetries
of women; they would not go, however, till they had news of her,
till they had seen her sister.

At last their patience was rewarded; the portiere was drawn back,
and Barbarina appeared, leaning upon the arm of her sister. She was
pale and evidently suffering. She walked slowly through the saloon,
speaking here and there to the cavaliers, and conversing in the gay,
gracious, and piquant manner in which she excelled. Suddenly, in the
midst of one of these merry interchanges of thought, in which one
speaks of every thing or nothing, Barbarina uttered a cry of pain
and sank upon the sofa.

"I believe, I fear that my foot is bleeding again," she cried. She
slightly raised her robe, and lifted up her foot, that small object
of wonder and rapture to all the lands of Europe. Truly her white
satin slipper was crimson, and blood was flowing freely from it.

A cry of horror sounded from every lip. The gentlemen surrounded
Barbarina, who lay pale as death upon the sofa, while Marietta knelt
before her, and wrapped her foot in her handkerchief. This was a
striking scene. A saloon furnished with princely splendor, and
odorous with the rarest flowers; a group of cavaliers in their gold-
embroidered coats and uniforms, glittering with crosses and odors;
the signora lying upon the divan in a charming negligee, with her
bleeding foot resting upon the lap of her sister.

"You are wounded, signora, you bleed!" cried the young Prince of
Wurtemberg, with such an expression of horror, you would have
thought he expected the instant death of the Barbarina.

The lovely Italian looked up in seeming surprise. "Did not your
highness know that I was wounded? I thought you were a witness to my
accident yesterday?"

"Certainly, I was at the opera-house, as were all these gentlemen;
but what has that to do with your bleeding foot?"

"A curious question, indeed! You did not, then, understand the cause
of my swooning yesterday? I will explain. I felt a severe pain in
the sole of my foot, which passed like an electric shock through my
frame, and I became insensible. While unconscious, my blood, of
course, ceased to flow, and the physician did not discover the cause
of my sudden illness. This morning, in attempting to walk, I found
the wound."

"My God, what a misfortune, what an irreparable blow!" cried the
cavaliers with one voice; "we can never again hope to see our
enchanting dancer."

"Compose yourselves, gentlemen," cried Barbarina, smiling, "my
confinement will be of short duration, and will have no evil
consequences. I stepped upon a piece of glass which had fallen upon
the boards, and piercing the slipper entered my foot; the wound is
not deep; it is a slight cut, and I shall be restored in a few
days."

"And now," said Barbarina, with a triumphant smile, as she was once
more alone with her sister, "no one will mock at me and make
malicious comments upon my fainting. In an hour the whole city will
hear this history, and I hope it may reach the ears of the king."

"He will not believe it," said Marietta, shrugging her shoulders;
"he sent immediately for your physician and questioned him closely
as to your sudden indisposition in the theatre. I had just left your
boudoir to get you a glass of water, and when I returned I found the
king standing before your door and listening to your groans."

A wondrous expression of light and peace shone in her great black
eyes. "The king was then behind the curtains, he stood before my
door, he wished to speak to me, and you tell me this now, only now,
when you might have known--" Barbarina paused, and turned away her
blushing face.

"Well, I might have known that the king, whom you hate so bitterly,
had waited in vain at your door, had been turned away by the proud
dancer as a common man; this was, indeed, a triumph of revenge,"
said Marietta, smiling.

"I did not turn him away," said Barbarina, with embarrassment.

"No! you drew your bolt on the inside, nothing more."



CHAPTER XIV.

THE STUDIO.


Barbarina was right; the wound in her foot was not dangerous. She
was ordered to be quiet for some days, and give up dancing. The
physician to whom she showed her foot, and declared that she had
only just discovered the cause of her sudden swoon, examined the
wound with an incredulous smile, and asked to see the shoe, the sole
of which must also be necessarily cut, he said; in this way only
could he tell if the wound had been inflicted by a piece of glass or
nail, and know the size and sharpness of the instrument. Barbarina
blushed, and ordered Marietta to bring the shoe; she returned
immediately with a slipper, showing a sharp cut in the sole. The
physician examined it silently, and then declared that it was a
piece of glass which had caused the fainting of the signora; he
ordered cooling applications and perfect quiet, and promised
restoration in a few days.

The king had commanded the physician to come to him immediately
after his visit to Barbarina. He was announced, and as he entered,
Frederick advanced to meet him.

"Well," said he, "is the wound dangerous? will the signora be
obliged to give up the stage?"

"Ah, surely your majesty cannot believe that the Barbarina has given
herself a wound which will destroy her fame and fortune!"

"I do not understand you," said Frederick, impatiently; "do not
speak in riddles."

"I repeat, your majesty, the signora would not intentionally have
wounded her foot seriously, and thereby destroyed her art."

"Do you believe that she wounded herself voluntarily?"

"I am convinced of it, sire. The signora declares that she stepped
upon a piece of glass. I desired to see the slipper; Marietta
brought me one, in the sole of which I discovered a cut, but it did
not correspond at all with the wound in the foot, and had been
evidently just made with a knife. Certainly Barbarina was not
wounded while she wore that shoe; moreover, I affirm that the wound
was not inflicted by a piece of glass or a nail, but by a stiletto;
the wound is three-sided; I am confident she wounded herself with a
stiletto I saw in her room."

The king's face grew dark while the physician spoke; he pressed his
lips together: this was ever a sign that a storm was raging in his
breast which he wished to control.

"Is that all you have to say?"

"That is all, sire."

"Good! You will visit the signora to-morrow, and bring me news of
her."

The king was alone, and pacing his room nervously. It was in vain
that Biche, his favorite hound, raised herself up and drew near to
him. The wise little animal seemed, indeed, to understand the
sadness of her master, and looked up at him with sorrowful and
sympathetic eyes. Once Frederick murmured half aloud: "She has sworn
to hate me, and she keeps her oath." After long thought, he seemed
to be resolved, and drew near to the door; he opened it and stood a
moment on the threshold, then closed it again, and said: "No! I dare
not do that. I dare not do what any other man might do in my place;
not I--I am a king. Alas! men think it is a light matter to be a
king; that the crown brings no care, no weight to the brow and the
heart. Our hearts' blood is often the lime with which our crowns are
secured." He sighed deeply, then stood up and shook himself like a
lion, when, after a long repose, he rouses himself to new life and
action. "Oh! I am sentimental," he said, with a sad smile. "I doubt
if a king has a right to dream. Away, then, with sentiments and
sighs! Truly, what would Maria Theresa say if she knew that the King
of Prussia was a sentimentalist, and sighed and loved like a young
maiden? Would she not think she had Silesia again in her dress-
pocket?"

While the king struggled with his passion, Barbarina had a far more
dangerous enemy to contend with. Sentimentality is veiled in
melancholy, in softened light and faded tints; but ennui has no eye,
nor mind, nor heart for any thing. It is a fearful enemy! Barbarina
was weary, oh, so weary! Was it perhaps impatience to appear again
upon the stage which made the hours so leaden, so long drawn out?
She lay the whole day stretched out upon her sofa, her eyes wide
open, silent, and sighing, not responding to Marietta's loving words
by a glance, or a movement of the eyelash. Marietta proposed to
assemble her friends, but she affirmed that society was more
wearisome than solitude.

At the end of three days, Barbarina sprang from her sofa and tried
to walk. "It gives me no pain," said she, walking through the room.

"Yes. I remember, Arias said the same as she handed the dagger to
her beloved," replied Marietta.

"But I have no beloved," said Barbarina; "no one loves me, no one
understands this poor, glowing, agonized heart." As she said this, a
flood of tears gushed from her eyes, and her form trembled with a
storm of passion.

"Ah, Sorella, how can you say that--you who are so much loved, so
highly prized?"

Barbarina smiled contemptuously, and shook her head. "Do you call
that love? these empty words, this everlasting, unmeaning praise;
this rapture about my beauty, my grace, and my skill, is this
worship? Go, go, Marietta, you know it is not love, it is not
worship. They amuse themselves with a rare and foreign flower, which
is only beautiful because it has been dearly paid for; which is only
wondered at while it is rare and strange. You know, not one of these
men loves me for myself; they think only of my outward appearance. I
am never more solitary than when they surround me, never feel so
little beloved as when they swear that they love me boundlessly. O
my God! must I shroud my heart, must I bury it under the snows of
this cold north? O God, give me a heart for my heart, that can love
as Barbarina loves!" She covered her face with her hands, and her
tears flowed freely; she trembled and bowed from side to side, like
a lily in a storm.

Marietta drew near, and laid her head upon her sister's shoulder;
she did not try to comfort her: she knew there were griefs to which
words of consolation were exasperation; she knew that passion must
exhaust itself before it could be soothed. She comprehended the
nobility and energy of Barbarina's nature; those bursts of tears
were like clouds in the tropics; the storm must break, and then the
sun would shine more gloriously. Marietta was right. In a short time
her sister withdrew her hands from her face; her tears were
quenched, and her eyes had their usual lustre.

"I am mad," she cried, "worse than mad! I ask of the north our
southern blossoms. I demand that their ice shall become fire. Has
not a landscape of snow and ice its grandeur and beauty--yes, its
terrible beauty when inhabited by bears and wolves?"

"But woe betide us, when we meet these monsters!" said Marietta,
entering readily into her sister's jest.

"Why woe betide us? Every danger and every monster can be overcome,
if looked firmly in the face, but not too long, Marietta, not till
your own eye trembles. Now, sister, enough of this; the rain is
over, the sun shall shine. I am no longer ill, and will not be laid
aside like a broken play-thing. I will be sound and healthy; I will
flap my wings and float once more over the gay world."

"Do you know, Sorella, that the higher you fly, the nearer you are
to heaven?"

"I will soar, but think not, that like Icarus I will fasten my wings
with wax. No, I am wiser, I will fly with my feet; the sun has no
power over them: they are indeed two suns. They warm the coldest
heart; they set the icy blood in motion, they almost bring the dead
to life. You see, sister, I have adopted the style of speech of my
adorers; none of them being present, I will worship and exalt
myself."

Barbarina said all this merrily, but Marietta felt this gayety was
not natural.

"Do you know what I have determined upon?" said Barbarina, turning
away, so that her face might not be seen; "as I cannot dance either
to-day or to-morrow, I will find some other mode of employing my
time. I will go to Pesne and sit for my portrait."

She had turned away, but Marietta saw that her throat was suffused
with a soft flush.

"Will you drive to the palace?" said Marietta.

"Not to the palace, but to Pesne."

"Pesne's studio is now in the palace; the king appointed him rooms
there."

"Well, then, I must sit to him in the palace."

"This, however, will be disagreeable to you; you abhor the king, and
it will be painful to be under the same roof. You perhaps suppose
the king to be in Potsdam: he is now in Berlin."  Barbarina turned
suddenly, and throwing her arms around Marietta's neck, she pressed
a kiss upon her lips, and whispered: "I know it, Marietta, but I
must go."

The sisters went therefore to the new studio of the painter Pesne,
which was in the royal palace. The king took great pleasure in the
growth and development of works of art. While Pesne was engaged on
his great picture of Diana and her Nymphs, the king often visited
his studio and watched him at his work. He had closely examined the
sketch of the portrait of Barbarina, and, on his return from
Silesia, commanded Pesne to arrange a studio in the castle, as he
wished to be near him.

Barbarina sprang like a gazelle up the steps; her foot was not
painful, or she was unconscious of it. She was impatient, and would
scarcely wait to be announced before entering the room. Pesne was
there, and welcomed the signora joyfully. Barbarina looked about in
vain for her portrait.

"Has misfortune overtaken the portrait as well as the original?" she
said, smiling.

"Not so, signora," said Pesne; "the portrait excites as great a
furor as the original--only, though, because it is a copy."

"I do not understand you."

"I mean, that his majesty is so enraptured with the copy, that since
yesterday it has been placed in his study, although I protested
against it, the picture not being finished. The king, however,
persisted; he said he wished to show the portrait to his friends,
and consult with them as to its defects."

Never, in her most brilliant role, was Barbarina so beautiful as at
this moment: her countenance glowed with rapture; her happy smile
and glance would have made the homeliest face handsome.

"Then I have come in vain," she said, breathing quickly; "you can
make no use of me to-day?"

"No, no, signora! your face is a star seldom seen in my heaven, and
I must grasp the opportunity--have the kindness to wait; I will
hasten to the king and return with the picture."

Without giving Barbarina time to answer, he left the room. Why did
her heart beat so quickly? Why were her cheeks suffused with
crimson? Why were her eyes fixed so nervously upon the door. Steps
were heard in the adjoining room. Barbarina pressed her hands upon
her heart: she was greatly agitated. The door opened, and Pesne
returned, alone and without the picture.

"Signora," said he, "the king wishes that the sitting should take
place in his rooms; his majesty will be kind enough to make
suggestions and call my attention to some faults. I will get my
palette and brush, and, if agreeable to you, we will go at once."

Barbarina gave no reply, and became deadly pale, as she walked
through the king's rooms; her steps were uncertain and faltering,
and she was forced to lean upon Pesne's arm; she declared that her
foot was painful, and he perhaps believed her.

They reached at last the room in which the portrait was placed.
There were two doors to this room: the one through which they had
entered, and another which led to the study of the king. This door
was closed, and Barbarina found herself alone with the painter.

"The king has yet some audiences to give; he commanded me to
commence my work. As soon as he is at liberty, he will join us."

"Let us begin, then," said Barbarina, seating herself. "You must
allow me to-day to be seated. I think it can make no difference to
you, as you are at present occupied with my face and not with my
figure."

Pesne declared, however, that this attitude gave an entirely
different expression and bearing to the countenance. Barbarina must,
therefore, in spite of the pain in her foot, endeavor to stand. She
appeared now to feel no pain; she smiled so happily, she spoke so
joyously, that Pesne, while gazing at her animated, enchanting,
lovely face, forgot that he was there to paint, and not to wonder.
Suddenly her smile vanished, and she interrupted herself in the
midst of a gay remark. She had heard the door behind her lightly
opened; she knew, by the stormy beating of her heart, that she was
no longer alone with the painter; she had not the courage or
strength to turn; she was silent, immovable, and stared straight at
Pesne, who painted on quietly. The king had motioned him not to
betray him.

Pesne painted on, from time to time asked Barbarina the most
innocent and simple questions, which she answered confusedly.
Perhaps she was mistaken; possibly she was still alone with the
painter. But no, that was impossible, it seemed to her that a stream
of heavenly light irradiated the room; she did not see the king, but
she felt his glance; she felt that he was behind her, that he was
watching her, although no movement, no word of his betrayed him.

"I will not move, I will not turn, but I cannot endure this, I shall
fall dead to the earth."

But now she was forced to turn; the king called her name, and
greeted her with a few friendly words. She bowed and looked up
timidly. How cold, indifferent, and devoid of interest was his
glance, and he had not seen her for weeks, and she had been ill and
suffering! And now, she felt again that she hated him bitterly, and
that it was the power of this passion which overcame her when she
saw the king so unexpectedly. She felt, however, that every tone of
his voice was like heavenly music to her ear, that every word he
uttered moved her heart as the soft wind ruffles the sea.

The king spoke of her portrait; he said he had made it his study and
sought for its faults and defects, as others sought for its
advantages and beauties.

"I tremble, then, before the judgment of your majesty," said Pesne.

"I must confess you have some cause to fear," said the king. "I have
not looked at the picture with the eye of a lover, but with that of
a critic; such eyes look sharply, and would see spots in the sun; no
criticism, however, can prevent the sun from shining and remaining
always a sun, and my fault-finding cannot prevent your portrait from
being a beautiful picture, surpassed only by the original."

"Perhaps, sire, I am myself one of the spots in the sun, and it may
be that I grow dark."

"You see, signora, how little I understand the art of flattery; even
my best intended compliments can be readily changed into their
opposites. Allow me, then, to speak the simple, unadorned truth. You
are more beautiful than your picture, and yet I wonder at the genius
of Pesne, which has enabled him to represent so much of your rare
loveliness, even as I wonder at the poet who has the power to
describe the calm beauty of a sunny spring morning."

"That would be less difficult than to paint the signora's portrait,"
said Pesne; "a spring morning is still, it does not escape from you,
it does not change position and expression every moment."

Frederick smiled. "It would be truly difficult to hold the butterfly
and force it to be still without brushing the down from its
beautiful wings. But, paint now, Pesne, I will seat myself behind
your chair and look on."

Pesne seized his palette and brush, and began to paint. Barbarina
assumed the light, gracious, and graceful attitude, which the artist
has preserved for us in her beautiful portrait. She was, indeed,
indescribably lovely; her rounded arms, her taper fingers, which
slightly raised the fleecy robe and exposed the fairy foot, the
small aristocratic head, slightly inclined to one side, the flashing
eyes, the sweet, attractive smile, were irresistible; every one
admired, and every glance betrayed admiration.

The face of the king only betrayed nothing; he was cold, quiet,
indifferent. Barbarina felt the blood mount to her cheek, and then
retreat to her heart; she felt that it was impossible for her to
preserve her self-control; she could not bear this cruel comparison
of the portrait and the original, but she swore to herself that the
king should not have the triumph of seeing her once more sink
insensible at his feet; his proud, cold heart should not witness the
outbreak of her scorn and wounded vanity. But her body was less
strong than her spirit--her foot gave way, she tottered, and turned
deadly pale.

The king sprang forward, and asked in a sympathetic and trembling
voice why she was so pale; he himself placed a chair for her, and
besought her to rest. She thanked him with a soft smile, and
declared she had better return home. Would the king allow her to
withdraw? A cloud passed over Frederick's face; a dark, stern glance
rested upon Barbarina.

"No!" said he, almost harshly; "you must remain here, we have
business with each other. Swartz has brought me your contract to
sign; it requires some changes, and I should have sent for you if
accident had not brought you here."

"Your majesty can command me," said Barbarina.

"We have business and contracts to consider," said the king roughly,
"and we will speak of them alone. Go, Pesne, and say to Swartz I
await him."

Frederick nodded to the painter, and, seizing Barbarina's hand, led
her into the adjoining room, his Tusculum, never before profaned by
a woman's foot; open only to the king's dearest, most trusted
friends.



CHAPTER XV.

THE CONFESSION.


Barbarina entered this room with peculiar feelings; her heart
trembled, her pulses beat quickly. She, whose glance was usually so
proud, so victorious, looked up now timidly, almost fearfully, to
the king. He had never appeared to her so handsome, so imposing as
in this moment. Silently she took her place upon the divan to which
he led her. Frederick seated himself directly in front of her.

"This is the second time," said the king, with a smile, a the second
time, signora, that I have had the honor to be alone with you. On
the first occasion you swore to me that you would hate the King of
Prussia with an everlasting hatred."

"I said that to your majesty when I did not recognize you," said
Barbarina.

"Had you known me, signora, you would surely not have spoken so
frankly. Unhappily, the world has silently resolved never to speak
the truth to kings. You avowed your resolution, therefore, at that
time, because you did not know you were speaking to the king. Oh,
signora, I have not forgotten your words. I know that you pray to
God every day; not for your own happiness, as all chance of that has
been destroyed by this cruel king; but for revenge on this man, who
has no heart, and treads the hearts of other men under his feet."

"Your majesty is cruel," whispered Barbarina.

"Cruel! why? I only repeat your words. Cruel, because I cannot
forget! The words of Barbarina cannot be forgotten. In that respect
at least I am like other men."

"And in that respect should your majesty the least resemble them.
The little windspiel may revenge its injuries, but the eagle
forgives, and soars aloft so high in the heavens that the poor
offender is no longer seen and soon forgotten. Your majesty is like
the eagle, why can you not also forget?"

"I cannot and I will not! I remind you of that hour, because I wish
to ask now for the same frankness of speech. I wish to hear the
truth once more from those proud lips. Barbarina, will you tell me
the truth?"

"Yes, on condition that your majesty promises to forget the past."

"I promise not to remind you of it."

"I thank your majesty; I will speak the truth."

"You swear it?"

"I swear it."

"Well, then, why did you wound your foot?"

Barbarina trembled and was silent; she had not the courage to raise
her eyes from the floor.

"The truth!" said the king, imperiously.

"The truth," repeated Barbarina, resolved, and she raised her
flashing eyes to the king; "I will speak the truth. I wounded my
foot, because--"

"Because," said the king, interrupting her fiercely, "because you
knew it was a happiness, a life's joy to the poor, lonely, wearied
king to see you dance; because you felt that your appearance was to
him as the first golden rays of the sun to one who has been buried
alive, and who bursts the bonds of the dark grave. You hate me so
unrelentingly, that even on the evening of my return from an
exhausting and dangerous journey, you cruelly resolved to disappoint
me. I hastened to the theatre to see you, Barbarina, you, you alone;
but your cruel and revengeful heart was without pity. You thought of
nothing but your pride, and rejoiced in the power to grieve a king,
at the sound of whose voice thousands tremble. Your smiles vanished,
your enchanting gayety was suppressed, and you seemed to become
insensible. With the art of a tragedian, you assumed a sudden
illness, resolved that the hated king should not see you dance. Ah!
Barbarina, that was a small, a pitiful role! leave such arts to the
chambermaids of the stage. You are refined in your wickedness; you
are inexorable in your hate. Not satisfied with this pretended
swoon, the next evening you wounded yourself; you were proud to
suffer, in order to revenge yourself upon me. You knew that a swoon
must pass away, but a wounded foot is a grave accident; its
consequences might be serious. The king had returned to Berlin, and
had only a few days to refresh himself, after the cares and
exhaustions of a dangerous journey; after his departure you would be
able to dance again. Ah! signora, you are a true daughter of Italy;
you understand how to hate, and your thirst for vengeance is
unquenchable! Well, I give you joy! I will fill your heart with
rapture. You have sworn to hate me; you pray to God to revenge you
upon the King of Prussia who has trampled your heart under his feet.
Now, then, Barbarina, triumph! you are revenged. The king has a
heart, and you have wounded it mortally!"

Completely unmanned, the king sprang to his feet, and stepped to the
window, wishing to conceal his emotion from Barbarina. Suddenly he
felt his shoulder lightly touched, and turning, he saw Barbarina
before him, more proud, more beautiful, more queenly than he had
ever seen her; energy and high resolve spoke in her face and in her
flashing eyes.

"Sire," she said, in a full, mellow voice, which slightly trembled
from strong emotion--"sire," she repeated, trying to veil her
agitation by outward calm, "I have sworn in this hour to speak the
truth; I will fulfil my vow. I will speak the truth, though you may
scorn and despise me. I will die of your contempt as one dies of a
quick and deadly poison; but it is better so to die than to live as
I am living. You shall know me better, sire. You have charged me
with falsehood and hypocrisy; thank God, I can cast off that
humiliating reproach! I will speak the truth, though it bows my head
with shame and casts me at your feet. If I could die there, I would
count myself most blessed. The truth, sire, the truth! listen to it.
It is true I hated you: you humbled my pride. You changed me, the
queen of grace and beauty, the queen of the world, into a poor,
hired dancer; with your rude soldiers and police you compelled me to
fulfil a contract against which my soul revolted. I cursed you. You
separated me violently, from the man I loved, who adored me, and
offered me a splendid and glorious future. It is true I prayed to
God for vengeance, but He would not hear my prayer; He punished me
for my mad folly, and turned the dagger I wildly aimed at you,
against my own breast. Sire, the hate to which I swore, to which I
clung as the ship-wrecked mariner clings to the plank which may save
him from destruction, failed me in the hour of need, and I sank,
sank down. A day came in which the prayer of rage and revenge upon
my lips was changed, in spite of myself, into blessings, and I
found, with consternation and horror, that there was indeed but one
step between wild hatred and passionate love, and this fatal step
lies over an abyss. I cannot tell you, sire, how much I have
suffered--how vainly I have struggled. I have hated, I have cursed
myself because I could no longer hate and curse you. The day you
left for Silesia, you said, 'I think ever of thee.' Oh! sire, you
know not what fatal poison you poured into my ears, with what
rapture and enchantment these words filled my heart. My life was a
dream; I stood under a golden canopy, drunk with joy and blessed
with heavenly peace. I saw these words, 'I think ever of thee,' not
only in my heart, but in every flower, on every leaf, and written by
the sun in the heavens, and in the stars. I dreamed of them as one
dreams of fairy palaces and heavenly melodies. In the songs of sweet
birds, in the plaudits and bravos with which the world greeted me, I
heard only these celestial words, 'I think ever of thee.' I lived
upon them during your absence, I wrote them with my glances upon
your empty chair in the theatre, I fixed my eyes upon it, and for
love of you I danced to it. One night I saw in this chair, not only
my golden starry words, I saw two stars from heaven; I was not
prepared--their glance was fatal. No, sire, that was no miserable
comedy, no actor's work. I sank unconscious, and from that hour I
know one does not die from rapture, but sinks insensible. I wept the
whole night, God knows whether from shame or bliss, I cannot tell.
The next day--yes--then I was false and deceitful. I stuck my
stiletto in my foot, to deceive the world; only God might know that
the Barbarina fainted at the sight of the king--fainted because she
felt that she no longer hated, but worshipped him."

She rushed to the door, but Frederick sprang after her; he drew her
back, madly but silently; his eyes were radiant with joy.

"Remain," said he; "I command you--I, not the king." He placed his
lips to her ear and whispered two words: her soft cheeks were
crimson.

At this moment there was a knock upon the door, the portiere was
thrown back, and the wan, suffering face of Fredersdorf was seen.

"Sire," said he, "your majesty commanded me to summon Baron Swartz;
he is here, and waits for your orders."

"Let him enter," said the king; then smiling upon Barbarina, he
said, "He comes just in time; we must sign our contract, Swartz
shall act as our priest."

He advanced to meet the intendant, and asked for the contract
between Barbarina and himself. He read it carefully, and said,
"There are only a few things to alter." He stepped to his desk and
added a few words to the contract.

"Signora," said he, turning backward, "will you come here for a
moment?"

Barbarina, embarrassed and blushing, drew near. In the back part of
the room stood Baron Swartz, watching the king and Barbarina with a
sly smile; near him stood Fredersdorf, whose pale and melancholy
face was brought out in strong relief by the dark velvet portiere.

"Read this," said the king to Barbarina, pointing to the words he
had just written. "Have you read?"

"Yes, sire."

Frederick raised his head, and slightly turning, his glowing glance
rested upon Barbarina, who, ashamed and confused, cast her eyes to
the ground.

"Will you sign this?"

"I will, sire," said she, almost inaudibly.

"You bind yourself to remain here for three years, and not to marry
during that time?" [Footnote: By this contract, Barbarina received
an income of seven thousand thalers and five months' liberty during
each year; but she was bound not to marry during this term of three
years.--SCHNEIDER.]

"I do, sire."

"Take the pen and sign our contract.--Come forward, Swartz, and
witness this document.--Fredersdorf, is your seal at hand?"

The contract was ready.

"You will say, 'This is a sad contract,'" said the king, turning to
Fredersdorf.

"Yes, sad indeed. The king deals as cruelly with the Barbarina as he
has done with his poor secretary. This cold king does not believe in
marriage."

"No, no! Fredersdorf, I will prove to you that you are mistaken. I
have been told that you are ill because I will not allow you to
marry. Now, then, Fredersdorf, I will not be hard-hearted. I have
to-day made an innocent sacrifice to my hatred of matrimony. The
signora has bound herself not to marry for three years. For her
sake, I will be gracious to you: go and marry the woman you love,
and when the priest has made you one, you shall take your wife to
Paris for the honeymoon, at my cost."

Fredersdorf seized the hand of the king, kissed it, and covered it
with his tears. Barbarina gazed at the handsome, glowing face of
Frederick with admiration. She understood him fully; she felt that
he was happy, and wished all around him to partake of his joy.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE TRAITOR.


Baron von Pollnitz was ill at ease; for three days he had sought
relief diligently, but had no alleviation. He found himself in the
antediluvian condition of our great forefather Adam, while he
loitered away his time in Paradise. Like Adam, Pollnitz had no gold.
Our good baron found this by no means a happy state, and his heart
was full of discontent and apprehension; he felt that he was,
indeed, unblessed. What would become of him if the king should not
be merciful, should not take pity upon his necessities, which he had
to-day made known to him in a most touching and eloquent letter. Up
to this time he had been waiting in vain for an answer. What should
he do if the king should be hard-hearted and cruel? But no, that was
impossible; he must consider it a sacred duty to take care of the
old and faithful servant of his house, who had been the favored
companion of two of Prussia's kings. Pollnitz considered that he
belonged to the royal family; he was an adopted member; they could
not think slightingly of him, or set him aside.

He had exhausted his means, he had borrowed from Jew and Christian;
he had, by his gay narratives and powers of persuasion, drawn large
sums of gold from the rich burghers; all his friends held his
dishonored drafts; even his own servant had allowed himself to be
made a fool of, and had loaned him the savings of many years; and
this sum scarcely sufficed to maintain the noble, dissipated, and
great-hearted cavalier a few weeks.

Alas! what sacrifices had he not already made to this insane passion
for spending money; what humiliation had he not suffered--and all in
vain! In vain had he changed his religion three times; he had
condescended so far as to pay court to a merchant's daughter; he had
even wished to wed the daughter of a tailor, and she had rejected
him.

"And yet," said he, as he thought over his past life, "every thing
might have gone well, but for this formidable stratagem of the king;
this harsh prohibition and penalty as to relieving my necessities
which has been trumpeted through the streets--that ruined me; that
gave me fearful trouble and torment. That was refined cruelty for
which I will one day revenge myself, unless Frederick makes amends.
Ha! there comes a royal messenger. He stops at my door. God be
thanked! The king answers my letter; that is to say, the king sends
me money."

Pollnitz could scarcely restrain himself from rushing out to receive
the messenger; his dignity, perhaps, would not have sufficed to hold
him back, but the thought of the considerable douceur he would be
expected to pay moderated his impatience. At last his servant came
and handed him a letter.

"I hope," said the baron, gravely, "I hope you rewarded the king's
messenger handsomely?"

"No, sir, I gave him nothing."

"Nothing!" cried he angrily. "And you dare to say this to my face!
you do not tremble lest I dismiss you instantly from my service?
you, and such as you are, cast shame upon our race! I, a baron of
the realm, and grand master of ceremonies, allow a royal messenger
who brings me a letter to go from my door unrewarded! Ass, if you
had no money, why did you not come to me? why did you not call upon
me for several ducats?"

"If your grace will give me the money, I will run after the
messenger. I know where to find him; he has gone to General
Rothenberg's."

"Leave the room, scoundrel, and spare me your folly!"

Pollnitz raised his arm to strike, but the lackey fled and left him
alone with his golden dreams of the future.

He hastily broke the seal and opened the letter. "Not from the king,
but from Fredersdorf," he murmured impatiently. As he read, his brow
grew darker, and his lips breathed words of cursing and scorn.

"Refused!" said he passionately, as he read to the end, and cast the
letter angrily to the floor. "Refused! The king has no money for me!
The king needs all his gold for war, which is now about to be
declared; and, if I wish to convince myself that this is true, I
must go to-night, at eleven o'clock, to the middle door of the
castle, and there I will see that the king has no money. A curious
proposition, indeed! I would rather go to discover that he had
money, than that he had it not. If he had it, I would find a means
to supply myself. At all events, I will go. A curious rendezvous
indeed--a midnight assignation between a bankrupt baron and an empty
purse! A tragedy might grow out of it. But if Frederick has really
no money, I must seek elsewhere. I will make a last attempt--I will
go to Trenck."

The trusty baron made his toilet and hastened to Trenck's
apartments. The young officer had lately taken a beautiful suite of
rooms. He had his reception-rooms adorned with costly furniture and
rare works of art. He had an antechamber, in which two richly-
liveried servants waited to receive his orders. He had a stable and
four splendid horses of the Arabian breed, and two orderlies to
attend to them! From what quarter did Trenck obtain the money for
all this livery? This was an open question with which the comrades
of the young lieutenant were exercised; it gave them much cause for
thought, and some of them were not satisfied with thinking; these
thoughts took form, some of their words reached the ears of Trenck,
and must have been considered by him very objectionable. He
challenged the speaker to fight with the sword, and disabled him
effectually from speaking afterward. [Footnote: Frederick von
Trenck's Memoires.] Trenck was at dinner, and, contrary to custom,
alone; he received Pollnitz most graciously, and the baron took a
seat willingly at the table.

"I did not come to dine with you, but to complain of you," said
Pollnitz, cutting up the grouse with great adroitness and putting
the best part upon his plate.

"You come to complain of me?" repeated Trenck, a little embarrassed.
"I have given you no cause for displeasure, dear friend."

"Yes, you have given me good cause, even while I am your best
friend! Why have you withdrawn your confidence from me? Why do I no
longer accompany you on that most romantic midnight moonlight path
to virtue? Why am I no longer watchman and duenna when you and your
lady call upon the moon and stars to witness your love? Why am I set
aside?"

"I can only say to all this that I go no more upon the balcony."

"That is to say--"

"That is to say that my stars are quenched and my sun has set in
clouds. I am, even as you are, set aside."

Pollnitz gazed at Trenck with so sharp and cunning an eye that the
young man was confused and looked down. The baron laughed merrily.

"Dear Trenck," said he, "a lie shows in your face like a spot on the
smooth skin of a rosy apple. You are too young to understand lying,
and I am too old to be deceived by it. Another point: will you make
me believe that this luxury which surrounds you is maintained with
your lieutenant's pay?"

"You forget that my father has left me his property of Sherlock, and
that I have rented it for eight hundred thalers!"

"I am too good an accountant not to know that this sum would
scarcely suffice for your horses and servants."

"Well, perhaps you are right; for the rest I may thank my gracious
king. During the course of this year he has presented me with three
hundred Fredericks d'or; and now you know the source of my revenue
and will not think so meanly of me as to suppose that--"

"That, your great love has any thing to do with earthly riches or
advancement. I do not believe that I brought in such a charge
against you, even as little do I believe that you have been given
up! Ah, dear friend, I alone have cause of complaint; I alone am set
aside, and why am I thus treated? Have I not been discreet, diligent
in your service, and ready at all times?"

"Certainly. I can only repeat to you that all is at an end. Our
beautiful dream has faded like the morning cloud and the early dew."

"You are in earnest?"

"In solemn earnest."

"Well, then, I will also speak earnestly. I will relate to you
something which you do not appear to know. A gardener boy who had
risen earlier than usual to protect some rare flowers in the garden
of Monbijou saw two figures upon the balcony, and heard their light
whispers. The boy made known his discovery to the principal
gardener, and he communicated the facts to the chamberlain of the
queen-mother. It was resolved to watch the balcony. The virtuous and
suspicious queen immediately concluded that Mademoiselle von Marwitz
had arranged a rendezvous upon the balcony, and she was sternly
resolved to dismiss the lady at once if any proof could be obtained
against her. Happily, the queen made known these facts to the
Princess Amelia, and I can readily conceive that the balcony remains
now unoccupied."

"Yes, I understand that."

"You can also understand that this event was regarded as a warning
of fate, and great caution and forethought were exercised. Not only
was the balcony given up, but the old friend and confidant who had
played the part of companion and carrier-pigeon was banished and
dismissed wholly from service."

"You may go further still," said Frederick von Trenck. "You have not
stated the whole case. This fortunate providence was a convincing
proof of the danger of an engagement which might never hope to be
crowned with success, never exist except under the shadows of
silence and gloom, with bleeding hearts and tearful eyes; this dream
of love was given up at once, fearing that at no distant day both
honor and liberty might be lost in its pursuit. They separated! An
eternal farewell was faltered!"

"That is to say, you would now deceive your confidant and former
aid, in order to place yourself more securely--and some day,
perhaps, when suspicion is aroused, you can call him as a witness to
prove that all intercourse was long ago given up; he must know it,
being the confidant from the beginning. This was a well-conceived
plot, but you only seem to forget that Pollnitz was not the man to
be deceived. He has had too much experience, and has studied the
hearts of men, and especially of women, too diligently. A woman who
is enjoying her first love and believes in its holy power, convinces
herself that it can achieve wonders and overcome all obstacles. She
does not sacrifice her love to other duties or to danger, not even
if she is a common woman, far less if she is a princess. Princess
Amelia has not given up her young and handsome lover; she clings to
him with a frenzied constancy, which I confess to you, if I had the
honor and glory of being her suitor, would fill me with apprehension
and regret. No, no, the princess is just now in a paroxysm of
youthful passion, and would rather die than resign her love, and she
is fantastic enough to believe in the possibility of a legitimate
marriage! Poor thing, she expects to mould the world to her wishes,
and arms herself, I suppose, with hair-pins! Princess Amelia was
forced to give up her interviews upon the balcony, but she sought
other means to gratify her passion. This was simple and easy to do.
The maid of honor was taken into her confidence. Marwitz swore to
guard the secret fearfully till death; a plan was then arranged with
her which was truly well conceived. Lieutenant von Trenck must be
spoken of as the suitor of Mademoiselle von Marwitz; he must act at
the court-balls and fetes as the tender, sighing, and eager lover of
the maid of honor; he must at last make a formal declaration, and
receive permission to visit her in her rooms. This is now his daily
habit, and the good city of Berlin and the short-sighted, silly
court are completely deceived, and look upon Frederick von Trenck as
the happy bridegroom of Marwitz, and no one guesses that when the
young officer is with the maid of honor, the Princess Amelia is also
present, and changes the role with Marwitz."

"I see it is in vain," said Trenck, sighing; "you know all: but if
you have any real friendship for me, you will tell me who betrayed
us."

Pollnitz laughed aloud, "You betrayed yourself, my friend; or, if
you prefer it, my worldly wisdom and cunning betrayed you. My young
and innocent friend, a man like Pollnitz is not easily deceived; his
eyes are sharp enough to pierce the veil of the most charming little
intrigue, and probe it to the bottom! I know the Princess Amelia; I
have known her too long, not to know that she would not so quickly,
and without a struggle, sacrifice her love; and further when I saw
at the last court-ball, with what a long and dreary face you stood
behind the chair of the poor Marwitz, and with what calm and smiling
content the princess watched the couple amoureuse, look you, Trenck,
then I knew and understood all."

"Well, then, as you understand all, I make no further attempt to
deceive you. Yes, God be praised! the princess loves me still. It is
indeed the princess whom I meet in the apartment of the maid of
honor; to Marwitz are the letters directed which my servant carries
every morning to the palace, and from the Princess Amelia do I
receive my answers. Yes, God be thanked! Amelia loves me, and one
day she will be mine in the eyes of the whole world, even as she is
now mine in the eyes of God and the angels; one day--"

"Stop, stop!" cried Pollnitz interrupting him; "that last sentence
must be explained before you rush on with your dithyrambics. You
have declared that the princess is yours in the sight of God: what
does that mean?"

"That means," said Trenck, "that God, who looks into our hearts,
knows the eternity and boundlessness of our love; that means that,
under God's heaven, and calling upon His holy name, we have sworn
never to forget our love and our faith, and never to form any other
alliance."

"So nothing more than that--no secret marriage? Are you never alone
with the princess?"

"No, never! I have given her my word of honor never even to ask it,
and I will keep my oath. And, after all, the good Marwitz disturbs
us not; she gets as far from us as possible: she seems to see us
not, and we speak in such low tones, that she does not hear a word
we utter."

"Ah! so the Marwitz does not disturb you?" cried Pollnitz, with a
cynical laugh. "O sancta simplicitas! and this is an officer of the
life-guard? The world is going to destruction; or it is becoming
innocent and pure as Paradise. It is time for me to die; I no longer
understand this pitiful world."

"I do not understand you, and I will not understand you," said
Trenck gravely. "You laugh at me, and call me a silly boy, and I
allow it. I know we cannot understand each other in such matters;
you cannot conceive what strength, what self-denial, what energy I
exert to make myself worthy of the pure, modest, and exalted love
which Amelia has consecrated to me. You cannot comprehend how often
my good and evil genius struggle for the mastery, how often I pray
God to keep me from temptation. No, I have sworn that this love
shall wave pure and unblemished, like a glorious banner over my
whole life; come death rather than dishonor! And now, friend,
explain your meaning: why all these plots and counterplots? What is
your object?"

"Nothing more than to warn you to prudence. I do not believe all the
world is deceived by your comedy with Marwitz. The king, who appears
to see nothing, sees all. He has his spies everywhere, and knows all
that happens in his family. Be careful, be ever on your guard."

"I thank you for your warning," said Trenck, pressing the hand of
the master of ceremonies. "We must soon separate; you know that in a
few weeks we go to Silesia. The king is silently preparing for war."

"I know it, and I pity you."

"Pity me! Ah, you do not understand me. I long for my first battle
as a lover does for his first sweet kiss. The battle-field is for me
a consecrated garden, where my laurels and myrtles grow. I shall
pluck them and weave wreaths for my bride-wedding wreaths. Pollnitz,
on the other side, beyond the bloody battle-ground, lies my title of
prince, and Amelia's bridle-wreath."

"Dreamer, fantastic, hopeless dreamer!" cried Pollnitz, laughing.
"Well, God grant that you do not embrace death on the battle-field,
or on the other side find a prison, to either of which you have a
better claim than to a prince's title. Make use, therefore, of your
time, and enjoy these charming interviews. Is one arranged for this
evening?"

"No, but to-morrow. The reigning queen gives a ball to-morrow.
Immediately before the ball I am to meet the princess. Oh, my
friend, to-morrow evening at five think of me! I shall be the
happiest and most amiable of mortals. I shall be with my beloved!"

"Alas! how strange is life, and how little do the fates of men
resemble! To-morrow, at the hour when you will be so unspeakably
happy, I shall be walking in a thorny, a cursed path; I shall be on
my way to the usurer."

"To the usurer? That is indeed a sad alternative for a cavalier like
the Baron von Pollnitz."

"But that is still better than imprisonment for debt, and I have
only the choice between these two, unless you, dearest friend, will
take pity upon me and lend me a hundred louis d'ors."

Frederick Trenck said nothing. He stepped to his desk. The eyes of
the baron glittered with joy as he saw Trenck take out a pocket-
book, in which he knew by pleasant experience that the young officer
sometimes kept gold. His joy was of short duration. No gold was
seen. Trenck took out a small, modest, unsealed paper and handed it
to him.

"Look at this draft," said he. "Had you come yesterday I could have
accommodated you joyfully. To-day it is impossible. I have this
morning lent my colonel two hundred ducats, and my purse is empty."

"Well, you must soon fill it," said Pollnitz, with a coarse laugh.
"To-morrow at five you will enjoy your rendezvous, and you will not
only speak of God, and love, and the stars, but also a little of
earthly things--of pomp and gold, and--Farewell!"

With a gay laugh Pollnitz took leave, but he no sooner found himself
alone upon the street than his face grew black arid his eye was full
of malice.

"He has no gold for me, but I have his secret, and I will know how
to squeeze some gold out of that," murmured Pollnitz. "Truly I think
this secret of Trenck's is worth some thousand thalers, and the king
must find the means to pay for it. But stop! The hour of my
interesting rendezvous draws near. I am curious to know how I am to
be convinced at eleven o'clock, and in the middle of the street,
that the king has no gold. I will be punctual, but I have still time
to visit a few friends, and seek if possible to win a few louis
d'ors at faro."



CHAPTER XVII.

THE SILVER-WARE.


It was a dark, still night. As the clock struck ten the night might
really be said to begin in Berlin. The streets were not lighted
except by accidental rays from the windows and the carriage-lamps,
and the glare of torches carried by the servants who accompanied
their masters to places of amusement. By eleven o'clock the streets
were deserted. Pollnitz was therefore sure to meet no one on his way
to the castle. He directed his steps to that door which opened upon
the River Spree, as Fredersdorf had advised him.

Silence reigned in the palace. The sentinel stepped slowly backward
and forward in the courtyard, and in the distance was heard the
baying of two hounds, entertaining each other with their melancholy
music. The master of ceremonies began to be impatient; he thought
that, the impertinent private secretary had been indulging in some
practical joke or mystification at his expense; but as he drew near
to the Spree, he heard the light stroke of oars in the water.
Pollnitz hastened forward, and his eyes, accustomed to the darkness,
discovered a skiff drawn up near the Elector's Bridge.

"This is the point! here we must wait," whispered a manly voice.

"I think we will not have to wait long," said another. "I see lights
in the windows."

The side of the castle next the Spree was now suddenly lighted;
first the upper story, then the lower, and a pale light was now seen
in the vestibule.

"Truly, I have not been deceived; something is going on," said
Pollnitz, hastening forward.

As he entered the court, a curious train was seen descending the
steps. In front were two servants with torches; they were followed
by twelve heyducks, their shoulders weighed down with dishes, cans,
cups, plates, whose silver surface, illumined by the golden glare of
the torches, seemed to dance and glimmer along the wall and steps
like "will o' the wisps." Two servants with towels brought up the
rear, and behind these the pale, sad face of Fredersdorf was seen.

"You are punctual," said he to Pollnitz; "you wish to convince
yourself that the king has no gold?"

"Certainly! though this conviction will deprive me of my last hope,
and one does not adopt such a course eagerly."

"I think you will be fully convinced. Come, let us follow the
heyducks."

He took the arm of the baron, and they soon reached the border of
the Spree. The large skiff, which had been lying so dark and still,
was now lighted by the torches of the servants, who ranged
themselves on each side; it was brilliantly lighted, and great
activity prevailed. The twelve heyducks, bending under their heavy
burden, entered the skiff, and piled up the silver-ware, then sprang
again ashore.

"We are going to the treasure-room, will you follow us?" said
Fredersdorf.

"Certainly; if not, you may perhaps expect to leave me here as
sentinel."

"That is not at all necessary; there are some soldiers with loaded
muskets in the skiff. Come."

Silently and hastily they all mounted the steps and reached at last
the large room where the royal silver had been kept; the door was
open, but guarded by sentinels, and Melchoir, who had had the silver
in charge, now walked before the door with a disturbed and sad
visage.

"May I enter, Melchoir?" said Pollnitz to his old acquaintance,
greeting him with a friendly smile.

"There is no necessity to ask," said Melchoir, sadly. "My kingdom is
at an end, as you see, when the silver is gone; there is no
necessity for a steward, and the old Melchoir will be set aside,
with all those who yet remain of the good old times of the ever-
blessed Frederick William!"

Pollnitz entered the room with Fredersdorf, and his eye wandered
over the rich treasures spread out before him, and which the
heyducks were now packing in large sacks.

"Oh, if these plates and dishes could speak and converse with me,
what curious things we would have to confide with each other!" said
Pollnitz, twirling one of the plates between his fingers. "How often
have I dined from your rich abundance! Under the first pomp-and-
splendor-loving Frederick, you furnished me with gala dinners; under
the parsimonious Frederick William, with solid family dinners! How
often have I seen my smiling face reflected in your polished
surface! how often has this silver fork conveyed the rarest morsels
to my lips! I declare to you, Fredersdorf, I think a dinner plate
fulfils a noble mission; within its narrow bound lie the bone and
sinew, as also the best enjoyments of life. But tell me, for God's
sake, how can you bear that these rascals should handle the king's
silver so roughly? Only look, now, at that heyduck, he has
completely doubled up one of those beautiful salad-bowls, in order
to force it into the mouth of the sack."

"What signifies, dear baron? That said salad-bowl will never again
he used for salad, henceforth it is only silver."

"You speak in riddles, and I do not understand you. Well, well,
those fellows have already filled their twelve sacks, and this room
is now as empty and forlorn as the heart of an old bachelor. Now
tell me what you are going to do with all these treasures?"

"Can you not guess?"

"I think the king, who now lives in Potsdam, needs his silver
service, and as he does not wish to make a new purchase, he sends to
Berlin for this. Am I right?"

"You shall soon know. Let us follow the heyducks, the room is empty.
Adieu, Melchoir, your duties will be light hereafter; you need not
fear the robbers. Come, baron."

They soon reached the skiff, and found that the twelve sacks had
been placed beside the huge pile of dishes, plates, etc.

"Alas!" said Fredersdorf, gloomily, "all this might have been
avoided if I had already reached the goal I am aiming at; if I had
fathomed the great mystery which God has suspended over mankind,
upon whose sharp angles and edges thousands of learned and wise men
have dashed their brains and destroyed their life's happiness! My
God! I have accomplished so much, so little remains to be done! let
me only find a sufficiently hardened substance, and the work is
done. I shall have laid bare God's great mystery--I shall make
gold!"

"Do you think ever of this, Fredersdorf?"

"I think ever of this, and shall think only of this as long as I
live. This thought swallows up all other thoughts; it has destroyed
my love, my rest, my sleep, my earthly happiness! But wait,
Pollnitz, only wait; one day I shall lift the philosopher's stone,
and make gold. On that day you will love me dearly, Baron Pollnitz.
On that day I will not be obliged to prove to you, as I have just
done, that the king has no money."

"I have seen no proof yet," said Pollnitz.

"You shall have it now, baron," said Fredersdorf, springing into the
skiff. "Will you not go with us? Forward, forward at once!"

"But--what is your destination?"

"Come nearer, that I may whisper in your ear."

Pollnitz bowed his head.

"We are going to the mint," whispered Fredersdorf. "All this
beautiful silver will be melted. The king will give no more dinners,
he will give battle. The king changes his dishes and plates into
good thalers to feed his brave army. And now, are you not convinced
that the king has no money to pay your debts?"

"I am convinced."

"Then farewell. Take the rudder, boys, and go forward; enter the arm
of the Spree which flows by the mint, and there anchor. The mint is
our goal."

"The mint is the goal," murmured Pollnitz, with a grim look, gazing
after the skiff, which moved slowly over the water, and which,
lighted by the torches, shone brilliantly in the midst of the
surrounding darkness. The golden light, playing upon the rich
liveries of the heyducks and the tower of silver in their midst,
formed a scene of wonder and enchantment.

Pollnitz watched them until the torches seemed like little stars in
the distance. "There go all the pomp and glory of the world, the
joys of peace and luxurious rest. The silver will be melted, iron
and steel will take its place. Yes, the iron age begins. Alas! it
begins also for me--why cannot I go into the mint and be melted down
with these plates and dishes?"



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE FIRST FLASH OF LIGHTNING.


During this night Pollnitz slept but little; when, however, he rose
from his couch the next morning, his brow was clear and his
countenance gayer than it had been for a long time; he had made his
plans, and was convinced that he would succeed.

"I will earn a hundred ducats," said he, smiling to himself, as in a
superb toilet he left his dwelling, "yes, a hundred ducats, and I
will revenge myself upon the king for that trumpeting and outcry.
This shall be a blessed and beautiful morning."

He walked first to the apartment of Colonel Jaschinsky, and
announced himself as coming upon most important business. The
colonel hastened to meet him, ready to be of service, and full of
curiosity.

"Lead me to a room where we are absolutely certain not to be
observed or listened to," said Pollnitz.

They entered the colonel's cabinet.

"Here, baron, we are secure."

"Without circumlocution, then, count, you know the law which forbids
officers to make debts?"

"I know it," said Jaschinsky, turning pale, "and I believe that
Baron Pollnitz is well content not to belong to the officers."

"Perhaps you, sir count, may also cease to belong to them?"

"What do you mean by that?" said Jaschinsky, anxiously.

"I mean simply that Colonel Jaschinsky belongs to those officers who
are forbidden to make debts, but that he disregards the law."

"You came here, as it appears, to threaten me?"

"No, principally to warn you; you know that the king is particularly
severe against his body-guard. You are the colonel of this splendid
regiment, and should, without doubt, set the other officers a good
example. I doubt if the king would consider that you did your duty,
if he knew that you not only made debts, but borrowed money from the
officers of your own regiment."

"Take care, Baron von Pollnitz!" said Jaschinsky, threateningly.

Pollnitz said, smilingly: "It appears that you are menacing ME, that
is wholly unnecessary. Listen quietly to what I have to say. I have
come to arrange a little matter of business with you. Day before
yesterday you borrowed two hundred ducats from Baron Trenck. Give me
one hundred of them, and I give you my word of honor not to expose
you--deny me, and I give you my word of honor I will go instantly to
the king, and relate the whole history. You know, count, you would
be instantly cashiered."

"I do not know that his majesty would grant a ready belief to the
statement of Baron Pollnitz, and you have no proof to confirm it."

"I have proof. You gave your note for the money. I think that would
be convincing testimony."

The count was pale and agitated. "If I give you a hundred ducats,
you promise on your word of honor not to expose me to the king?"

"I give you my word of honor; more than that, I promise you to
defend you, if any one shall accuse you to the king."

Jaschinsky did not reply; he stepped to his desk and took out two
rolls of ducats. "Baron," said he, "here is half of the money I
borrowed from Trenck; before I hand it to you I have one request to
make."

"Well, speak."

"How did you learn that I borrowed this money?"

"I saw your note which you gave to Trenck."

"Ah! he showed it to you," cried Jaschinsky, with such an expression
of hate, scorn, and revenge, that even Pollnitz was moved by it.

He took the gold and let it slide slowly into his pocket. "I owe you
a hundred ducats; I cannot promise you to return them; but I can
promise you that Trenck will never produce your draft, and I will
show you how to revenge yourself upon the handsome officer."

"If you assist me in that, I will present you with my best horse."

"You shall be revenged," said Pollnitz, solemnly. "You can send the
horse to my stable; Frederick von Trenck will soon cease to be
dangerous to any one; he is a lost man!--And now to the king," said
Pollnitz, as he left the colonel's quarters. "Yes, to the king; I
must thank him for the confidence he showed me last night."

The king was making his preparations for war with the most profound
secrecy; he worked only at night, and gave up his entire time
seemingly to pleasures and amusements. He was daily occupied with
concerts, balls, operas, and ballets; he had just returned from
seeing the rehearsal of a new opera, in which Barbarina danced; he
was gay and gracious.

He received his master of ceremonies jestingly, and asked him if he
came to announce that he had become a Jew. "You have tried every
other religion at least twice; I know that you have had of late much
to do with the 'chosen people;' I suppose you are now full of
religious zeal, and wish to turn Israelite. It would, perhaps, be a
wise operation. The Jews have plenty of gold, and they would surely
aid with all their strength their new and distinguished brother.
Speak, then, make known your purpose."

"I come to thank your majesty for the supper you graciously accorded
me last night."

"A supper! what do you mean?"

"Your majesty, through your private secretary, invited me to table,
with all your splendid silver-ware. Truly the meal was indigestible
and lies like a stone upon my stomach; but, I say with the good
soldiers, after the lash, 'I thank your majesty for gracious
punishment.'"

"You are an intolerable fool; but mark me, no word of what you have
seen. I wished to prove to you that I had no money, and to be freed
from your everlasting complaints and petitions. I have therefore
allowed you to see that my silver has gone to the mint. It is to be
hoped that you will now compose yourself, and seek no more gold from
me. Do not ask gold of kings, but of Jews! Kings are poor, the
poorest people of the state, for they have no personal property."
[Footnote: The king's own words.]

"Oh, that the whole world could hear the exalted and high-hearted
words of my king!" cried Pollnitz, with well-acted enthusiasm.
"Thrice blessed is that nation which has such a ruler!"

The king looked at him searchingly. "You flatter me; you want
something, of course."

"No, sire, I swear I come with the purest intentions."

"Intentions? You have, then, intentions?"

"Yes, sire, but now that I stand here face to face with you, I feel
that my courage fails, and I cannot speak what I intended."

"Now truly," said the king, laughing, "the circumstances must indeed
be dangerous which deprive Baron Pollnitz of the power of speech."

"Words, your majesty, are important things. Once a few words saved
me from death; it may be that a few words, spoken this day to your
majesty, may bring me into disfavor, and that would be worse than
death."

"What were the words which saved you from death?"

"These, sire: 'Va-t-en, noble guerrier!'"

"This took place in France?"

"In Paris, sire. I was dining in a small hotel in the village of
Etampes, near Paris. A very elegant cavalier sat next me and from
time to time, as if accidentally, addressed me in a refined and
winning way; he informed himself as to my intentions and
circumstances. I was an inexperienced youth, and the cavalier was
adroit in questioning. This was at the time of the Mississippi
speculation of the great financier Law. I had gained that day, in
the Rue Quinquempois, the sum of four hundred thousand francs. I had
this money with me, and after dinner I proposed to go to Versailles.
I was not without apprehension, the streets were unsafe, and
Cartouche with his whole band of robbers had for some time taken
possession of the environs of Paris, and made them the theatre of
his daring deeds."

"So you received your new friend trustingly?" said the king,
laughing heartily.

"Yes, sire, and we had just agreed as to the hour of our departure,
when a little maiden appeared under the window of our dining-room
and sang in a loud, clear voice, 'Va-t-en, noble guerrier!' The
strange cavalier rose and stepped to the window to give her a few
sous, then went out--and I saw him no more."

"And you conclude from this that the words of the song saved your
life? you think that the man with whom you were eating was a
poisoner?"

"I thought nothing, sire, and forgot the adventure. A year after, I
was standing in the street as Cartouche was being led to execution.
All Paris was abroad to see the famous brigand. I had a good place,
the procession passed immediately by me, and look you, I recognized
in the poor sinner now being led to execution, the elegant gentleman
of the cabaret at Etampes! He knew me also and stood still for a
moment. 'Sir,' said he, 'I dined with you a year ago. The words of
an old song gave me notice to leave the cabaret immediately. They
announced to me that the pursuers were on my heels; your star was in
the ascendant, stranger; had I accompanied you to Versailles, you
would have lost your gold and your life.' Your majesty will now
understand that these words, 'Va-t-en, noble guerrier,' saved my
life."

"I confess it, and I am now most curious to hear the words which you
fear will bring my displeasure upon you."

"Sire, I have been for more than forty years a faithful servant of
your exalted house. Will you not admit this?"

"Faithful?" repeated Frederick; "you were faithful to us when it was
to your advantage: you deserted us when you thought it to your
interest to do so. I reproached you with this in former times, but
now that I know the world better, I forgive you. Go on, then, with
your pathetic appeal."

"Your majesty has often commanded me to make known to you every
thing which the good people say of your royal family, and when any
one dared to whisper a slander against you or yours, to inform you
of it at once."

"Does any one dare to do that?" said the king, with an expression of
anguish upon his noble face.

"Yes, sire."

The king breathed a heavy sigh, and walked hastily up and down; then
placing himself before the window, and turning his back on Pollnitz,
he said, "Go on."

"Sire, it is lightly whispered that the young Lieutenant Trenck has
dared to love a lady who is so far above him in her bright radiance
and royal birth, that he should not dare to lift his eyes to her
face except in holy reverence."

"I have been told that he was the lover of Mademoiselle von
Marwitz," said the king.

"The world and the good Berliners believe that, but the initiated
know that this pretended love is only a veil thrown by the bold
youth over a highly traitorous passion."

Pollnitz was silent; he waited for the king to speak, and watched
him with a malicious smile. Frederick still stood with his face to
the window, and saw nothing of this.

"Shall I go on?" said Pollnitz at last.

"I command you to do so," said the king.

Pollnitz drew nearer. "Sire," said he, half aloud, "allow me to say
what no one knows but myself. Baron Trenck visits Mademoiselle von
Marwitz every day, but a third person is ever present at these
interviews."

"And this third person is--"

"The Princess Amelia!"

The king turned hastily, and the glance which he fixed upon Pollnitz
was so flashing, so threatening, that even the bold and insolent
master of ceremonies trembled. "Are you convinced of the truth of
what you have stated?" said he harshly.

"Sire," said he, "if you wish to convince yourself, it is only
necessary to go this evening between five and six o'clock,
unannounced, into the rooms of the Princess Amelia. You will then
see that I have spoken truth."

Frederick did not reply; he stepped again to the window. and looked
silently into the street. Once more he turned to Pollnitz, and his
face was clear and smiling.

"Pollnitz, you are an old fox; but you have laid your foundation
badly, and your whole plot is poorly conceived. Look you! I
understand this intrigue perfectly. You hate poor Trenck; I have
long seen that. You hate him because I honor and promote him, and
you courtiers always regard those as your enemies who stand higher
in favor than yourselves. Trenck deserves his good fortune, in spite
of his youth; he is a learned and accomplished officer, and a most
amiable and elegant gentleman. You cannot forgive him for this, and
therefore you accuse him. This time you shall not succeed. I tell
you I don't believe one word of this silly scandal. I will forget
what you have dared to say; but look to it, that you also forget.
Woe to you if you do not forget; woe to you if your lips ever again
utter this folly to me or to any other person! I hold you wholly
responsible. In your own mad, malicious brain is this fairy tale
conceived; it will be your fault if it goes farther, and is ever
spoken of. Conform yourself to this, sir, and retreat in time. I
repeat to you, I hold you responsible. Now go, without a word, and
send me my adjutant--it is high time for parade."

"Flashed in the pan, completely flashed," said Pollnitz to himself,
as with a courtly bow and a smiling lip he took leave of the king.
"I had hoped at least for a small reward, if it was only to see that
I had made him angry. Alas! this man is invulnerable; all my files
wear away on him."

Could he have seen what an expression of care and anguish
overshadowed the king's face when he was alone--could he have heard
the king's sighs and the broken words of sorrow and despair which he
uttered, the wicked heart of the master of ceremonies would have
been filled with gladness. But Frederick indulged himself in this
weakness but a short time; he drew his royal mantle over his aching
heart, he cast the veil of sadness from his eyes, and armed them
with the might of majesty.

"This rendezvous shall not take place; this romantic adventure shall
come to an end. I will it!" said he, with an energy which only those
can feel whose will is law, and from whose words there is no appeal.

Frederick took his hat and entered the vestibule, where his staff
awaited to accompany him to the parade. The king greeted them all
sternly, and, passing by them rapidly, he descended the steps.

"The king is very ungracious," whispered the officers amongst each
other. "Woe to him upon whom his anger falls to-day!"

A storm-cloud did indeed rest upon the brow of the king; his eye
looked fierce and dangerous. The regiment stood in line, the king
drew up in front; suddenly he paused, his face grew black--his eye
had found an object for destruction.

"Lieutenant Trenck," said he, in a loud and threatening tone, "you
have this moment arrived, you are again too late. I demand of my
officers that they shall be punctual in my service. More than once I
have shown you consideration, and you seem to be incurable. I will
now try the power of severity. Colonel Jaschinsky, Lieutenant Trenck
is in arrest, till you hear further from me; take his sword from
him, and transport him to Potsdam."

The king passed on; the cloud had discharged itself; his brow was
clear, and he conversed cordially with his generals. He did not give
one glance to the poor young officer, who, pale and speechless,
handed his sword to his malicious colonel, looked with anguish
inexpressible toward the castle of Monbijou, and followed the two
officers whose duty it was to conduct him to Potsdam.

That afternoon Mademoiselle von Marwitz waited in vain for her
lover; that afternoon the Princess Amelia shed her first tears; and,
for the first time, entered the ballroom by the side of her royal
mother, with dejected mien and weary eyes. The glare of light, the
sound of music, the laugh and jest of the gay crowd, filled her
oppressed heart with indescribable woe. She longed to utter one mad
cry and rush away, far away from all this pomp and splendor; to take
refuge in her dark and lonely room; to weep, to pray, and thus
exhaust her sorrow and her fears.

Perhaps the king read something of this fierce emotion in the face
of the princess. He drew near to her, and taking her hand kindly, he
led her away from her mother. "My sister," he said, in a low voice,
but in a tone which made the heart of the princess tremble, "my
sister, banish the cloud from your brow, and call the smiles to your
young, fresh lips. It ill becomes a princess to be seen at a fete
with a sad visage; melancholy, this evening, will be particularly
unseemly. Be on your guard; you must not decline a single dance; I
wish this as your brother, I command it as your king. Conform
yourself to this. Do you understand fully all that I have said to
you, and all that I have not said?"

"I understand all, your majesty," whispered Amelia, with the
greatest difficulty keeping back the tears, which, "like a proud
river, peering o'er its bounds," filled her eyes to overflowing.

Princess Amelia danced the whole evening, she appeared gay and
happy; but it did not escape the watchful eye of the Baron Pollnitz,
that her smile was forced and her gayety assumed; that her eye
wandered with an expression of terror toward the king, who was ever
observing her. Suddenly all was changed, and she became radiant with
the fire of youth and happiness. Mademoiselle von Marwitz, while the
princess stood near her in the Francaise, had whispered: "Compose
yourself, your royal highness, there is no danger. He has been
arrested for some small military offence, that is all!" Here were
indeed peace and comfort. Amelia had been tortured by the most
agonizing fears, and this news was like a messenger of peace and
love. A military offence--that was a small affair. A few days of
light confinement, and he would return; she would see him again; and
those blessed interviews, those glorious hours of rapture, would be
renewed.

The princess had deceived herself. Several days elapsed, and Trenck
did not return, and she knew nothing more than that he was in
Potsdam, under arrest. Eight days had passed on leaden wings, and
still he came not. This severe punishment for a small offence began
to be resented by Trenck's comrades; they did not dare to murmur,
but their countenances were clouded.

"Colonel Jaschinsky," said the king, on the ninth morning, "go to
Trenck and counsel him to ask for my forgiveness; say to him, that
you believe I will forgive him, if he asks for pardon. You shall not
say this officially, only as a friend. Remark well what he shall
answer, and report it to me strictly."

The colonel returned in an hour, with a well-pleased smile.

"Well, will he ask for forgiveness?" said the king.

"No, your majesty; he asserts that for a small fault he has been
too harshly punished, and he will not bow so low as to plead against
an injustice."

"Let him remain in arrest," said Frederick, dismissing Jaschinsky.

The king was alone; he walked up and down with his arms folded, as
was his custom, when engaged in deep thought. "A head of iron, a
heart of fire!" murmured he; "both so young, so proud, so fond, and
all this I must destroy. I must pluck every leaf from this fair
blossom. Sad mission! Why must I cease to be a man, because I am a
king?"

Eight days again went by--eight days of fetes, concerts, balls. The
princess dared not absent herself; she appeared nightly in costly
toilet, with glowing cheeks, and her lovely hair adorned with
flowers, but her cheeks were rouged, and her sad smile accorded but
little with her flowers.

The king had carried on diligently but secretly his preparations for
war, under the shadow of these luxurious festivities. Now all was
ready; he could lay aside his mask and his embroidered dress, and
assume his uniform. The ballroom was closed, the music silenced, the
silver melted into thalers. The king left Berlin and joined his
generals at Potsdam. On the day of his arrival he commissioned his
adjutant, General von Borck, to release Trenck from arrest, and send
him to Berlin with a letter to the queen-mother; he was to have
leave of absence till the next day.

"I will see, now, if they understood me," said Frederick to himself.
"I have given them a hard lesson; if they do not profit by it, they
are incurable, and force me to extremity."

Alas! they had not understood this hard lesson; they were not wise,
not prudent; they would not see the sharp sword suspended over their
heads: their arms were madly thrown around each other, and they did
not grasp this only anchor of safety which the fond brother, and not
the stern king, had extended to them. They were lost! they must go
down to destruction!

The next morning, during the parade, Trenck drew near the king. He
had just returned from Berlin; his cheeks were glowing from his
rapid ride, and in his eyes there was still a shimmer of that
happiness with which the presence of his beloved had inspired him.

"Your majesty, I announce myself," said he, in a fresh and gay
voice.

The king said nothing. He looked at the handsome, healthy, and
radiant youth with a glance of profound sympathy and regret.

Frederick von Trenck saw nothing of this. "Does your majesty command
me to join my regiment at Berlin?" said he, in the most
unembarrassed manner.

And now the king's eyes flashed with rage. "From whence come you?"
said he, sternly.

"From Berlin, sire."

"Where were you before you were sent to Berlin?"

"In arrest, sire."

"Go, then, to your old place--that is to say, in arrest!"

Frederick von Trenck remained in arrest till every preparation was
completed. The army was ready to march. The king assembled his
officers, and announced to them that they were bound once more to
Silesia to bloody battle, and, with God's help, to glorious victory.
On that day Frederick von Trenck was released from arrest. The king
received him with a gracious smile, and commanded him to remain near
him. Trenck's comrades envied him because of the royal favor;
because of the friendly smiles and gracious words which, more than
once during the day, the king directed to him. No one understood how
Trenck could remain sad and silent under all these evidences of
royal favor; no one understood how this gallant young officer could
enter upon this campaign with bowed head and heavy brow; he should
have sat upon his horse proud and erect--not dreaming, not lost in
melancholy musing.

No one but the king could comprehend this; his sympathetic soul was
touched by every emotion of his young officer, and he had pity for
every pang he inflicted. All this vast crowd of men had taken leave
of those they loved and cherished. Trenck alone had been denied this
solace. They had all received a love-greeting, a blessing, and a
last fond kiss--a last tear to encourage them in battle, perhaps in
death. Trenck had no kiss, no blessing, no farewell. He had said
farewell to fortune, to love and hope; and even now, though marching
to battle, perhaps to victory, he had no future. Tears were flowing
for him, and tears would be his only inheritance.



BOOK III.


CHAPTER I.

THE ACTORS IN HALLE.


His excellency, Gotshilf Augustus Franke, president of the
university at Halle, bore unmistakable marks of anger and excitement
upon his usually calm countenance, as, seated at his study-table, he
glanced from time to time at a paper spread out before him.

The entrance of two of his friends and colleagues seemed scarcely to
interrupt his disagreeable train of thought, as he bade them good
morning and thanked them for coming to him so promptly.

"I have requested your presence, my friends," he continued, "to
inform you of the receipt of the answer to the petition which we
presented to the General Directory."

"Ah, then," cried Professor Bierman, "our troubles are at an end!"

"Not so," said Professor Franke, gloomily; "the wishes of the
servants of the Lord do not always meet with the approbation of
kings. King Frederick the Second has refused our petition which was
presented to him by the General Directory."

"Refused it?" exclaimed the two professors.

"Yes, refused it; he declares that he will not allow the actors to
be expelled from Halle, until it can be satisfactorily proved that
they have occasioned public disturbances in our midst."

"This is unheard-of injustice," exclaimed Professor Bierman.

"It is a new proof of the king's utter godliness," said Professor
Heinrich. "He has already gone so far as to declare that these
actors shall receive Christian burial."

"Astounding!" cried the president. "This is a sacrilege, which will
assuredly meet a just punishment. But," he continued after a pause,
glancing anxiously around, "let us not forget that we are speaking
of our king."

"He seems to forget that even kings are but the servants of the
Lord. His acts show a determination to destroy the church and its
supporters."

"Your remark is, I fear, too true," answered Professor Franke; "but
the object of our meeting was not to discuss the king, but to
discover, if possible, some means of extricating ourselves from the
disagreeable position in which we have been placed by the unexpected
refusal of our petition. We were so confident of a different answer
to our just demand, and have expressed this confidence so publicly,
that, when the result is known, we shall be ridiculed by both
citizens and students."

While the worthy professors were still deep in their discussion,
they were interrupted by the entrance of a servant, who announced
that there was a gentleman at the door, who called himself Eckhof,
and who desired to be admitted to President Franke.

"Eckhof!" exclaimed all three, and the two friends looked
mistrustfully at Franke.

"Eckhof! Do you receive Eckhof?"

"Does this actor dare to cross your threshold?"

"It appears so," cried Franke, angrily. "He has the boldness to
force himself into my presence.--Let him enter; we will then hear
how he justifies this intrusion."

As Eckhof entered the room, the three professors remained seated, as
if awaiting the approach of a criminal.

Apparently unmoved by this want of courtesy, Eckhof advanced to the
president, and, after making a respectful bow, offered him his hand.

Franke, ignoring this movement, asked, without changing his
position, to what singular accident he might attribute the honor of
this visit.

Eckhof appeared grieved and astonished at the reception, but
replied, "I came, your excellency, to ask a favor. My friends have
determined to give me a benefit to-night, and we have selected
Voltaire's wonderful tragedy, 'Britannicus,' for our performance.
The tickets are all sold, two hundred of them to the students. There
is, however, one thing wanting to make the evening all I would wish,
and that is the presence of your excellency and some of the
professors at the representation. Therefore I am here, and have
taken the liberty of bringing these tickets, which I beg you will
accept for the use of yourself and your brother professors," and,
bowing once more, he placed the tickets upon the table before which
he was standing.

"Are you so lost, sir, to all sense of propriety," cried Franke, "as
to believe that I, the president of the university, a professor of
theology, and a doctor of philosophy, would enter your unholy, God-
forsaken theatre? No, sir, even in this degenerate age. we have not
fallen so low that the men of God are to be found in such places."

"These are very hard and unchristian words, your excellency,
Professor and Doctor Franke, words which no Christian, no man of
learning, no gentleman should employ. But I, although a poor actor,
bearing no distinguished title, will only remember what is becoming
for a Christian, and will say, in the words of our Lord, 'Father,
forgive them, they know not what they do.'"

"Those holy words become a blasphemy on your lips," said Professor
Heinrich, solemnly.

"And still I repeat them. 'Father, forgive them, they know not what
they do.' Do you not know that in judging me, you condemn
yourselves? I came into your presence, hoping to reconcile the
difficulties and misunderstanding which I heard had been occasioned
by the theatre between the professors and the students; but you have
treated me with scorn and declined my assistance, and nothing
remains for me but to bid you farewell, most learned and worthy
men."

He bowed ceremoniously, and passed out, without again glancing at
the indignant professors, and joined Joseph Fredersdorf, who awaited
him below.

"Well, did they accept your invitation?"

"No, my friend, all happened as you predicted; they refused it with
scorn and indignation."

"Now you will agree with me that we can hope to do nothing in
Halle."

"Yes, you were right, I fear, Joseph; but let us dismiss so painful
a subject. We will now go to our rehearsal, and we must perform our
tragedy with such care and in such a manner that the thunders of
applause which we receive will reach the ears of our enemies."

The three professors were still in the room of the president, in
earnest consultation.

"So this miserable Eckhof is to have what he calls a benefit to-
night?" said the president.

"Two hundred students will be present," groaned Professor Heinrich.

"And our lecture halls will be empty."

"We must exert our energies and put a stop to these proceedings; it
is scandalous that our students have forsaken their studies to run
after these actors."

"Truly something must be done, for not only our fame but our purses
are at stake."

"This evil cannot continue; we must take prompt measures to root it
out," said the president. "The General Directory decided that the
actors should not be expelled from Halle, unless it could be proved
that they had been the occasion of some public difficulty. It is
therefore necessary that such a difficulty should arise. According
to Eckhof's account, there will be two hundred students at the
theatre to-night. There are still, however, nearly one hundred who
will not be present at his performance. Among these there must be
some brave, determined, devout young men, who, in the name of God,
of science, and of their teachers, would willingly enter the lists
against these actors, and create a disturbance. We must employ some
of these young men to visit the theatre to-night, and to groan and
hiss when the other students applaud. This will be all-sufficient to
raise a riot amongst these hot-blooded young men. After that, our
course is plain; we have but to send in our account of the affair to
the General Directory, and there will be no danger of a second
refusal to our petition."

"An excellent idea!"

"I am afraid, however, it will be difficult to find any students who
will put their lives in such jeopardy."

"We must seek them among those to whose advantage it is to stand
well with the president."

"There are some who receive a yearly stipend through me, and others
who live only for science, and never visit the theatre. I name, for
example, the industrious young student Lupinus. I shall speak to
him, and I am sure he will not refuse to assist us; he is small and
not very strong, it is true, but he stands well with the students,
and will carry others with him. I know five others upon whom I can
count, and that is enough for our purpose. I will give them these
tickets which Eckhof left here. He desired that we should make use
of them, and we will do so, but to serve our own purpose, and not
his."

Having arrived at this happy conclusion, the three professors
separated.



CHAPTER II.

THE STUDENT LUPINUS.


Young Lupinus sat quiet and alone, as was usual with him, in his
room, before his writing-table, which was covered with books and
folios. He was thinner and paler than when we first met him in
Berlin. His deeply-sunken eyes were encircled with those dark rings
which are usually the outward sign of mental suffering. His
bloodless lips were firmly pressed together, and the small hand,
upon which his pale brow rested, was transparently thin and white.

Lupinus was working, or appeared to be so. Before him lay one of
those venerable folios which excite the reverence of the learned.
The eyes of the young man rested, it is true, upon the open page,
but so long, and so uninterruptedly, that it was evident his
thoughts were elsewhere.

The professors would, no doubt, have been rejoiced had they seen him
bent thus earnestly and attentively over this volume. If, however,
they had seen what really claimed his attention, they would have
been seized with horror. Upon his open book lay a playbill, the bill
for that evening, and upon this "thing of horror" rested the eyes of
the young student.

"No, no," he said, after a long pause, "I will not go. I will not be
overcome by my heart, after the fierce struggle of these two long,
fearful months. I will not, I dare not see Eckhof again; I should be
lost--undone. Am I not lost even now? Do I not see ever before me
those great, burning eyes; do I ever cease to hear his soft,
melodious voice, which seems to sing a requiem over my dead
happiness? I have striven uselessly against my fate--my life is
blighted. I will strive no longer, but I will die honorably, as I
have lived. I only pray to God that in my last hour I may not curse
my father with my dying lips. He has sinned heavily against me; he
has sacrificed my life to his will. May God forgive him! Now,"
continued Lupinus, "enough of complaints. My resolution is taken; I
will not go to the theatre, for I dare not see Eckhof again."

He suddenly seized the playbill, and pressed the spot where Eckhof's
name stood again and again to his lips, then tore the paper into
many pieces, and threw them behind him.

"So long as I live, I must struggle--I will battle bravely. My heart
shall die, my soul awake and comfort me."

Again he bent his head over the great tome, but this time a light
knock at his door interrupted him, and the immediate entrance of
Professor Franke filled him with amazement.

"My visit seems to astonish you," said the professor, in the most
friendly tone. "You think it singular that the president of the
university should seek out one of the students. Perhaps it would be
so in an ordinary case; but for you, Lupinus, who are the most
learned and honorable young man in our midst, we cannot do too much
to show our respect and esteem."

"This is an honor which almost shames me," said Lupinus, blushing;
"an honor of which, I fear, I am unworthy."

"I desire to give you a still greater proof of my esteem," continued
the professor. "I wish to make you my confidant, and inform you of
an intrigue which, insignificant as it appears, will be followed by
important results."

With ready words, Franke proceeded to explain to Lupinus his own
views with regard to the actors; what he considered their wretched
influence over the students, and also the ill-advised decision of
the General Directory. He then informed Lupinus of his plan for
creating a disturbance in the theatre, and requested his assistance
in carrying it out.

Lupinus listened with horror to this explanation and request, but he
controlled himself, and quietly received the ticket which the
president handed him. He listened silently to the further details,
and Franke understood his silence as a respectful assent.

When the president had at length taken leave, and Lupinus was again
alone, he seized the ticket, threw it on the ground, and trampled it
under foot, thus visiting upon the inoffensive ticket the scorn he
had not dared exhibit to the president.

"I--I am to be the instrument of this miserable plot!" he cried
passionately. "Because I lead a lonely, joyless life. I am selected
to execute this infamy. Ah, how little do they know me! how slight a
knowledge of the human heart have these learned professors! Eckhof
in danger, and I remain silent? Eckhof threatened, and I not warn
him? That were a treachery against myself, a crime against art and
my own poor heart. If I remain silent, I become an accomplice in
this vile conspiracy." At this thought, he took his hat, and hurried
from the room.

When he reached the door of Eckhof's lodging, he hesitated. A
profound pallor succeeded a burning glow upon his countenance, and
he murmured to himself: "No, no; I have not the strength to see him
to-day. I should die if his eyes rested upon me. I will go to
Fredersdorf."

Joseph Fredersdorf was at home, and received Lupinus with astonished
delight.

"The holy one trusts himself in the den of the wicked," he said,
with a bright smile. "This is an unheard-of event, which doubtless
indicates something important."

"You are laughing at me, but you are right. I am here for a purpose;
nothing unimportant would have induced me to come to you after the
ungrateful manner in which I declined your friendly advances. But I
am sure you will forgive the intrusion when you become aware of the
motive which has led me to you."

With hurried words and frequent interruptions from Fredersdorf,
Lupinus informed his friend of the president's visit, and its
object.

"This is a regular conspiracy," said Joseph, as Lupinus finished.
"If it succeed, the punishment of the actors will be the result."

"It must not succeed--we must prevent that. The first thing to be
done is to gain over the other students to whom the president has
intrusted this plot. We must either do that or prevent them from
entering the theatre."

"But if we can do neither?"

"Then we must allow what we cannot prevent, but we must seek to
avert the evil consequences. We will address ourselves to the king,
and inform him who has occasioned this disturbance, and why it was
done."

"The king is just, and happily it is not difficult to see him,
especially for me, as my brother is his private secretary. We must
be active, and the victory will be ours. And now, my dear friend,
for you must allow me to call you so from this day, let us go to my
master, Eckhof. He must thank you himself for this kind warning.
Come to Eckhof."

"No!" said Lupinus, "it is a matter of no importance to Eckhof, who
has given the information. There is much to be done to-day. I will
seek to gain over the students; you must hasten to Eckhof."

"And will you not accompany me?"

"No, my friend, not to-day. Let us await the events of this evening.
Perhaps I shall ask you to present me to him to-morrow."

"Ah, that would be a real triumph for me!"

"Let us first take care that this plot fails, and the actors are not
driven from Halle."

"When we have accomplished this, will you promise to walk arm-in-arm
with me three times through the market-place?"

"Not only three times, but as often as you will."

"Now I feel the strength of Samson, and the craft of Delilah. With
this reward before me, I will vanquish all enemies."



CHAPTER III.

THE DISTURBANCE IN THE THEATRE.


So dense was the crowd which filled the streets in the neighborhood
of the theatre on the evening of Eckhof's benefit, that it appeared
as if the entire population of the city of Halle must be unanimous
in wishing to do honor to this wonderful artiste.

Eckhof owed this triumph to the students; he had been their darling
from the time of his first appearance among them, and now he had
become the favorite of the entire city, with the exception of the
professors.

Had the theatre been three times its actual size, it could scarcely
have accommodated all who had made applications for tickets. The
parterre was given up almost entirely to the students, upon whose
countenances was plainly seen their deep interest in the evening's
entertainment.

Here and there among them a few earnest faces and darkly flashing
eyes might be seen, but they seemed to arrest no eye but that of
Lupinus. He had passed every countenance in review, and had
instantly recognized by their expression those students who had
entered into the plot of the president. He had failed in his effort
to discover them before the opening of the theatre, and was,
therefore, unable to prevent their attendance.

Professor Franke had informed these students that they might count
upon the assistance of Lupinus, and one of them had just whispered
to him: "There will be a fierce struggle, and I fear we shall be
worsted, as our number is so small. Did you bring your rapier?"

Before Lupinus could answer, he was separated from his questioner by
a crowd of students pushing their way forward. It seemed as if these
new arrivals had not come to the theatre for mere amusement. They
glanced threateningly around them, as if seeking a concealed enemy.
In passing Lupinus they greeted him with a few low-spoken words, or
a warm pressure of the hand.

These students were the special friends of Joseph Fredersdorf. To
them he had confided the danger which threatened the actors this
evening, and had demanded their aid in maintaining peace and quiet.
They scattered about amongst the crowd of students, and whispered to
their friends and acquaintances: "No disturbance this evening. We
must be quiet, whatever occurs."

At length this fluttering, whispering crowd were silenced by the
ringing of the bell which announced the rising of the curtain.

The piece began, and never had Eckhof displayed such fire, such
enthusiasm; the students had never exhibited such rapt and earnest
attention. Their excitement was shown by their flashing eyes and
glowing cheeks, and the low murmurs of delight which arose
occasionally from this dark mass. But at length a moment arrived
when it became impossible to suppress the expression of their
delight, and forgetting all resolve to the contrary, they called
aloud, amid thunders of applause, for their favorite Eckhof, who had
just left the stage.

"A disturbance is now unavoidable," said Lupinus to himself, "but
Eckhof deserves that we should forget all such miserable
considerations. To die for him were to be indeed blessed."

As Eckhof appeared upon the stage, in answer to the repeated calls
upon his name, Lupinus gazed upon him with a beaming countenance,
and joined the others in their cries of delight.

The unalloyed triumph of Eckhof endured but for one moment, for
suddenly, high above the shouts of applause, arose a piercing,
derisive whistle, succeeded by hisses and groans.

As if by magic, the aspect of the parterre was changed. Every
student looked wrathfully at his neighbor, as if determined to
discover and punish the rash offender who dared run counter to the
general approbation. A few students were endeavoring to calm the
rising storm; but renewed hisses and groans made this impossible,
and one voice was heard high above the others: "You hissed, sir; I
forbid it!"

"And I forbid you to applaud," was the answer. "So long as you
applaud, I will hiss. Accommodate yourself to that."

A universal cry of wrath arose as if from one voice. The struggle
was inevitable, as Lupinus had foreseen; the parterre of the theatre
was converted into a battle-ground, and a fierce combat began among
these young, hot-blooded students. The manager ordered the lights to
be extinguished, and the police to be called in, but for a long time
their efforts were ineffectual in subduing the contest.

We will leave the theatre with Lupinus, who, as soon as he could
extricate himself from the battling crowd, hurried through the
streets, toward the lodging of Fredersdorf.

He found a post-carriage before the door, and Fredersdorf, dressed
for a journey, was just leaving the house. As he was stepping into
the carriage, Lupinus placed his hand upon his shoulder, and said,
"Where are you going, Fredersdorf?"

"To Berlin, to the king."

"The king is not in Berlin; he is in Silesia, with the army."

"I received letters from my brother to-day. The king has gone to
Berlin for a few days, and my brother is with him. I will have no
difficulty in obtaining an audience. I shall give the king a correct
version of this affair. He will perceive that this disturbance was
occasioned by the professors, and he will not allow us to be driven
from Halle. Farewell, my friend; in four days I return, and you
shall hear the result of my journey."

"I intend to accompany you."

"You intend to accompany me?"

"Yes; perhaps you will need a witness; I must be with you. I thought
you would have counted on me."

"How could I suppose that Lupinus, the learned student, who will
receive his diploma at the end of a few weeks, would tear himself
from the arms of his beloved Science, to go with a comedian before
the king, and bear witness for the hated and despised actors?"

"Ah, Fredersdorf," said Lupinus; "if you consider Science my
beloved, I fear you will soon have occasion to call me a faithless
lover."

"What can you mean? How! you also--"

"Let us be off, my friend. We will discuss that in the carriage."



CHAPTER IV.

THE FRIENDS.


Four days after the unfortunate occurrences in the theatre,
Fredersdorf and his friend Lupinus returned from their secret
journey, the object of which was unknown even to Eckhof. No sooner
had they alighted from their travelling carriage, than they
proceeded arm-in-arm to Eckhof's lodging. They found him at home and
alone, and Fredersdorf saw from his pale countenance and lustreless
eyes that his sensitive, easily excited nature had been deeply
wounded by the late events.

"I bring you a new pupil, my master," said Fredersdorf, drawing
Lupinus forward, who stood deeply blushing before Eckhof.

Eckhof smiled sadly. "A pupil who desires that I should lead him
through all the classes and degrees of the school of suffering and
humiliation?"

"A young student, Eckhof, who up to this time has been the pride and
delight of the university; who, however, now wishes to relinquish
this honor, and become one of your followers. In one word, this is
Lupinus, who desires to waive his right to the prospective dignity
of the title of doctor of medicine, and to become your pupil, and
eventually an actor."

"You are kind and tender-hearted as ever, Joseph," said Eckhof,
gently. "You know that I bear a wound in my heart, and you seek to
heal it with the balm of your friendship, and this kind jest."

"This is no jest, but a reality. Truly, you resemble a pair of
lovers, who have not the courage to believe in their own happiness.
Eckhof will not believe that the learned student Lupinus wishes to
become his follower and pupil, and Lupinus stands there like a young
girl who has received a declaration and does not dare say yes.
Speak, Lupinus, and tell this doubter that you have come
voluntarily; that I have not pressed you into the service as
Frederick William impressed soldiers. Truly, I had trouble enough in
divining from your broken words and repressed sighs, your blushes,
and your deep admiration for Eckhof, this secret which lay in your
bosom. But now that it has been discovered, take courage, my friend,
and raise the veil which conceals your desires."

Lupinus remained speechless, only the heaving of his breast betrayed
his excitement. Eckhof had compassion on the evident embarrassment
of the young student, and approaching him laid his hand gently on
his shoulder. Lupinus trembled and grew pale under Eckhof's gentle,
sympathetic glance.

"Do you wish really to become an actor?" questioned Eckhof.

"Yes," he replied in a low voice, "I have long wished it, I have
struggled with this wish, and thought I had overcome it; but the
struggle has been in vain; in vain have I buried myself in books and
studies. I will keep up this internal strife no longer, but will
follow the inclinations of my heart, which lead me to you. In this
new life I shall be happy and contented; and this I can only hope to
be, in giving my life to poetry and art."

"Ah, he speaks and thinks as I did," said Eckhof to him self; then
turning to Lupinus, he said: "You wish to be an actor; that means,
you desire a life of shame and humiliation. No one shall become an
actor if I can prevent it. Do you know, young man, that, to become
an actor, means to have the whole world, and perhaps even God,
arrayed against you?"

"You are unjust, Eckhof," cried Fredersdorf--"unjust to yourself and
to the world. You scorn your own triumph, and those who prepared
that triumph for you."

"You are right so far, my friend," replied Eckhof sadly. "But is it
not also true that we are persecuted and driven forth? Has it not
been proved that for an actor there is no law, no justice?"

"Who knows," said Fredersdorf, smiling, "that we may not still
triumph over these miserable conspirators?"

"Are you aware that the theatre has been closed, and our
representations forbidden until the decision of the General
Assembly, with regard to the late disturbance in the theatre, shall
be known?"

"The General Assembly will order the theatre to be opened, and our
representations to recommence."

Eckhof heard this with a cutting, derisive laugh. "Dear friend, such
an order would render justice to the scorned and oppressed on
earth!"

"And they will receive justice; but it must be sought in the right
place."

"Where is that place?"

"Where the king is."

"Ah! the king! That may be true in your case, because your brother
is his private secretary, but it is not true for me--not true for
the German actor."

"Eckhof, you are again unjust. The king is too noble, too free from
prejudice, to be deceived by the dust with which these learned
professors have sought to blind him. The king knows that they
occasioned the late disturbance in the theatre."

"Who has told you that?"

"The king himself."

"You have seen the king?"

"I have. I hope you will allow now, that it is not a good thing for
me only that my brother is private secretary to the king. I have
seen his majesty, and I informed him of this wretched intrigue of
the professors. He might not have put entire faith in the accounts
of the actor, Joseph Fredersdorf, but I was accompanied by a
responsible witness, who confirmed my words."

"Who was this witness?"

"This is he," said Joseph, drawing Lupinus forward.

"Ah!" said Eckhof, "and I was murmuring and complaining against
fate--I, whose friends have shown their love by deeds as well as by
words--friends who worked for me whilst I sat with folded hands
bewailing my bad fortune. Forgive me, Joseph; forgive me, my young
friend; come to my arms, my comrades, my brothers, and say that you
will forget my anger and injustice."

He opened his arms, and Joseph threw himself upon his breast.

"And you, my friend," said Eckhof, turning to Lupinus, who stood
pale and motionless before him.

Joseph drew them together and exclaimed: "Was I not right? You are
like two lovers; Lupinus acts the part of the coy maiden to the
life. I do not believe, Eckhof, that you will ever have a wife who
will love you more entirely, more tenderly, than our young doctor
does."

Lupinus, now folded in the arms of Eckhof, trembled and grew pale at
these words from Joseph.

"Love me, love me, my dear young friend," said Eckhof, softly.
"Friendship is the purest, the holiest gift of God. It is the love
of the souls. Be faithful to me, Lupinus, as I shall be to you."

"I will be faithful so long as I live, faithful beyond the grave,"
whispered Lupinus.

"You whispering, dreaming lovers, are forgetting me," said Joseph,
laughing. "You must not forget, Eckhof, that the future of our
friend is awaiting your decision. Shall he give up his studies as I
did, and become an actor? It is only proper to tell you that the
cases are not quite parallel, for I was a very lazy student, and he
is most industrious. I was considered a good-for-nothing, and
Lupinus is a miracle of knowledge and learning. Shall he abandon
this position and follow you?"

"He must not, indeed," said Eckhof.

"You will not receive me?" said Lupinus, sadly.

"Not at present, dear friend; I wish to be reasonable and careful,
and perhaps a little egotistical. If you should leave the university
at present, you give the professors a new weapon against me, and it
would be said that I had employed arts to seduce you from the paths
of science. And, further, we do not know if you have a talent for
our profession; that must first be proved. Remain for the present
true to your studies; at the end of a year, during which time you
shall pass your novitiate, we will decide this question."

"It shall be as you say," said Lupinus, earnestly. "I will first
gain my diploma, and then you shall decide my future, you and no
other."

"So be it," said Joseph, "and now let us drink to your future
success, Lupinus, in a glass of champagne, and to the confusion of
the professors, who are awaiting with such proud confidence the
decision of the General Assembly."



CHAPTER V.

THE ORDER OF THE KING.


Joseph Fredersdorf was quite right in saying that the professors
awaited the decision of the General Assembly with proud confidence.
It did not occur to them that it might be unfavorable to their
wishes. A public disturbance had arisen between the students,
occasioned by a performance in the theatre; this was a sufficient
cause for the banishment of the actors. An account of the riot had
been already forwarded by the Senate of the University to the
General Assembly, and the worthy gentlemen who composed this body
did not doubt the fulfilment of their request, that the actors
should be removed from Halle.

President Franke received with the utmost composure the official
dispatch, containing the decision of the General Assembly, and
called an immediate meeting of the Senate for its perusal. Whilst
awaiting the opening of the meeting, Professor Heinrich was
expressing to his friend, Professor Bierman, his impatience to know
the contents of this dispatch.

"I am not at all impatient," replied Bierman. "I am convinced the
decision will be perfectly satisfactory to us; in fact, that it
commands the departure of these actors from our city."

"Have you no doubts? Do you not fear that the king, in his hatred
for the theologians, and his admiration for these comedians, may
decide in their favor rather than in ours?"

"Dear friend, such a doubt would be unworthy the dignity of our
position. The king, seeing that the matter has gone so far, must
decide in our favor. And here is our worthy president; look at his
proud and cheerful aspect, and judge whether the document he holds
in his hand can be unfavorable."

"He does, indeed, seem contented," answered Professor Heinrich, as
he and his friend moved forward to meet the president.

With great solemnity the senators proceeded to take their seats in
the arm-chairs which encircled a high table standing in the centre
of the room.

After a moment's silence the president addressed them: "Worthy
friends and colleagues, I have to announce to you that the hour has
at length arrived which is to end all the doubts and cares that have
oppressed our hearts for many months. We have had a bitter struggle;
we have striven to preserve the honor of our university and the
well-being of the youth committed to our care. The men who work with
such noble motives must eventually triumph."

"The decision is, then, in our favor?" asked Professor Heinrich, no
longer able to subdue his impatient curiosity. "Your excellency has
already read the dispatch of the General Assembly, and are
acquainted with its contents."

"I have not read it, and I do not know its contents. But I rely upon
our worthy cause, and the king's sense of justice. These comedians
were the occasion of a public disturbance--it is, therefore, proper
that they should be punished. As justice is on our side, I cannot
doubt the result. I have not read this dispatch, for I considered it
more in accordance with the dignity of this body that the seal
should be broken in your presence, and I now beg that you, Professor
Bierman, as the secretary of the Senate, will read to us this
dispatch from the General Assembly."

As Bierman broke the seal, all eyes were turned on him, and in this
moment of expectation the professors were aware that their hearts
beat louder and more rapidly. Suddenly Professor Bierman uttered a
cry, a cry of horror, which awakened an echo in every breast.

"Proceed," commanded the president, with stony composure.

"I cannot," murmured Bierman, as he sank back powerless in his
chair.

"Then I will read it myself," cried Professor Heinrich, forgetting
all other considerations in his determination to satisfy his
curiosity. "I will read it," he repeated, as he took the paper from
the trembling hands of his friend.

"Read," said the president, in a low voice.

Professor Heinrich then proceeded to read aloud the following
dispatch sent by the General Assembly to the Senate of the
University at Halle.

"We find it most unworthy that you, in your complaint against the
comedians now in Halle, should endeavor to cast on them the blame of
the late disturbance in the theatre. We are well aware of the cause
of this disturbance, and now declare that the actors shall not be
banished from Halle."

A fearful pause followed this reading. The president perceived that
Heinrich was still looking at the paper he held.

"Is that all? Have you finished the dispatch?"

"No, your excellency; there is a note on the margin, in the writing
of the king."

"Read it aloud."

"Your excellency, the king has made use of some expressions that I
cannot bring my lips to utter."

"The king is our master; we must hear what he has to say in all
humility."

"You command me, then, to proceed?"

"I command it."

"'This pack of theologians have caused the whole difficulty. The
actors shall continue to play, and Mr. Franke, or whatever else the
scamp calls himself, shall make public reparation, by visiting the
theatre; and I must receive information from the actors themselves
that he has done so.'"

A murmur of horror succeeded the reading of this order. Only
President Franke maintained his erect position, and continued
looking straight before him at Professor Heinrich, who had just
dropped the fatal paper.

"Is that all?" asked the president.

"It is, your excellency."

He bowed gravely, and, rising from his chair, glanced slowly from
one face to another. The senators cast down their eyes before this
glance, not from fear or shame, but from terror at the fearful
expression of the president's countenance.

"If that is all, it is time for me to go," he said solemnly, as he
pushed his chair back, and slowly and stiffly walked forward, like
an automaton which has been set in motion by machinery.

"This has affected his brain. He will have a paralytic stroke,"
murmured the senators to one another.

The president did not hear them, nor did he seem to know what he
wished. He was now standing motionless a few steps from the table.

The professors were terrified at this spectacle, and only Heinrich
had the courage to advance to his side and ask--"Where do you wish
to go, my dear friend?"

"I wish to obey the command of the king--I am going to the theatre,"
he replied, with a cry of despair, and then fell fainting into the
arms of his friend.

Professor Bierman instantly summoned assistance, and the insensible
form of the president was borne from the room, and a messenger sent
for a physician.

When the professors had become somewhat composed, Bierman announced
to them that he had a proposition to make which he hoped would meet
with their approval.

"You doubtless agree with me, my friends, in saying that this cruel
sentence of the king must not be carried out. Our friend the
president would not suffer alone in its fulfilment--the honor of the
university would receive an irreparable wound. We must employ every
effort to alter this decision. It is, in my opinion, fortunate that
our worthy friend has sunk for the time beneath this blow. His
illness relieves him from the necessity of an immediate appearance
in the theatre; and, whether ill or not, he must remain in his bed
until the king can be induced to alter his sentence. We will prepare
a petition and send it immediately to the king."

The proposal of Bierman met with entire approval; and the petition
was prepared, signed by all the professors, and sent to Berlin by
one of their number. The king, however, declined to receive him, and
his only answer was that in eight days the Senate would be made
acquainted with his final decision.

The professors convinced themselves that there was comfort in this
answer. The king evidently did not intend to insist on the execution
of the first sentence, or he would simply have ordered its
fulfilment.

The professors were hopeful, and no longer opposed the nightly
visits of the students to the theatre. A few of them determined to
visit the theatre themselves, and see this Eckhof who had caused
them so much sorrow and trouble. The students were delighted at this
concession, and considered the professors the most enlightened and
unprejudiced of the whole body. To show their apreciation of this,
they attended their lectures on the following day.

This unexpected result made the other professors falter in their
determination. Their temporal good depended very much on the
attendance of the students upon their lectures. They found that they
must consent to listen to Eckhof and his companions, if they would
be heard themselves; and, at length, they determined to make peace
with the students and actors, and to visit the theatre.

Peace was now proclaimed, and Eckhof, whose noble and tender heart
was filled with joy and gratitude, played "Britannicus" with such
power and feeling that he even won applause from the professors.

President Franke was still confined to his room. The terror of a
forced visit to the theatre, which would be known as an expiation
for his fault, made his nights sleepless and his days most wretched.

At length, however, the answer to the petition arrived, and, to his
great relief, he found himself condemned to pay a fine of twenty
thalers to the almshouse of Halle; and no further mention was made
of his visit to the theatre.



CHAPTER VI

THE BATTLE OF SOHR.


Deep silence reigned in the encampment which the Prussians had
established near the village of Sohr. The brave soldiers, wearied
with their long march, were sleeping quietly, although they knew
that the Austrian army, which far outnumbered their own, was
hastening toward them, and would attack them within a few hours.
This knowledge did not alarm them, they had not so soon forgotten
their signal victory over Karl von Lothringen, with his Austrians,
Bavarians, and Saxons, at Hohenfriedberg. They did not fear a defeat
at Sohr, although the grand duke was now the leader of forty
thousand men, and Frederick's army had been so diminished by the
forces he had sent to Saxony and Silesia, that it consisted of
scarcely twenty thousand men. The Prussian soldiers relied
confidently upon the good fortune and the strategic talent of their
king; they could sleep quietly, for Frederick watched beside them.

The watch-fires had died out, the lights in the tents of the
officers were extinguished. Now and then might be heard the measured
tread of a sentinel, or the loud breathing of some soldier dreaming
perhaps of his distant home or forsaken bride. No other sounds broke
upon the night air. The Prussian army slept. Alas! how many of them
were now dreaming their last earthly dream; how many on the morrow
would lie with gaping wounds upon a bloody battle ground, with
staring glassy eyes turned upward, and no one near to wipe the
death-drops from their brows! They know not, they care not, they are
lost in sleep. There can be no pressing danger, for the king is in
their midst--the light has been extinguished in his tent also. He
sleeps with his army.

It is midnight, the hour of wandering spirits. Is that a spirit
which has just left so noiselessly the tent of the king, and has so
quickly vanished in the tent of the adjutant, which adjoins that of
the king? No, not vanished, for it has already reappeared; but there
are now three of these shadowy beings quietly approaching the white
tents of the officers, disappearing for an instant into each tent,
then reappearing, and continuing their course.

Where they have been may now be heard a low whispering and moving.
Soon another dark figure is visible; it moves cautiously forward
toward the soldiers' tents in which it disappears, and from these
may be heard the same low whispering, and like a murmuring brook
this babbling glides through the entire camp, always following the
first three shadows who have gone noiselessly and with the rapidity
of the wind through the camp.

Why have these three shadows driven sleep from the encampment? why
have they ordered the horses to be prepared? No one has been told to
mount, no "Forward!" has been thundered through the camp; and but
for the dark figures which may now be seen on all sides, the silence
is so profound that one might almost think the camp still buried in
sleep.

The Austrians. who can only view the camp from a distance, think, no
doubt, their enemy still sleeps.

The silence of the camp is at last broken by a sound like the heavy
roll of thunder; and if the moon were now to break through the
clouds, it would gleam upon eight field pieces which are being
carefully drawn behind a little elevation in the ground, which lies
opposite the defile occupied by the Austrians.

Once again all is silent, and the horizon begins to clear; a few
rosy clouds fly across the heavens, the veil of night is raised, the
stars pale as the morning arrays herself with hues of purple and
gold.

It is morning. Let us look again at the camp of the Prussian
soldiers. Are they sleeping? No, no; all are awake; all prepared for
action, but all silent and motionless as if bound by a charm.

And here is the enchanter who has awakened all these thousands to
life, and still binds them to silence. His countenance is bright and
clear, his glance seems to pierce the hill which divides him from
the enemy, and to divine the moment of their attack. There is the
ruler, whose will is law to all these thousands of men, whose word
is now to lead them to death, to a shameful defeat, or to a glorious
victory. There is the king. He knows that within a few moments the
Austrians will attack his army, but he does not tremble.

The Austrians expect to surprise a sleeping foe; but the king, who
is the father of his people, has himself, with his two adjutants,
Trenck and Standnitz, awakened them from their slumbers; it was he
who directed the placing of cannon at the point upon which the
Austrian cavalry is certain to make their descent upon the sleeping
camp.

The king was right. Do you not hear the heavy tramp of cavalry, the
thunder of those cannon?

The Austrians are pressing through the narrow defile; this is the
thunder of their cannon, with which they thought to awaken the
Prussians.  Now the king raises his sword; the sign is given. The
Austrian cavalry may advance, for the Prussians are now in motion;
now rushing forward, pressing toward the defile, before which their
enemy are quietly forming their line of battle, although scarcely
fearing a conflict, for are the Prussians not sleeping? They
expected a bloodless victory.

But the Prussians are awake; it is they who attack the, surprised
Austrians. They have already driven the cavalry back into the narrow
defile. The thunders of their cannon are now heard, and they bear
the appalling news to the Austrians that the Prussians are not
sleeping.

Karl von Lothringen, you should have known the Prussians better. Did
not they out-manoeuvre you two short months since? Did not Frederick
make a pretence of retreating, in order to draw you on out of your
favorable position, and then attack you, and win, in a few short
morning hours, a glorious victory? Karl von Lothringen, you should
have remembered Hohenfriedberg. You should not have imagined that
the Prussians slept while the Austrians stood before them in battle
array. The Prussians are indeed awake. Listen to their joyous
shouts, look at their flashing swords!

Karl von Lothringen, where are your troops which were intended to
attack the enemy in the rear? Where is Trenck with his pandours?
where General Nadasti, with his well-disciplined regiments? If your
hope is in these, then despair, and thrust your sword in its sheath.

The Prussians have deserted their camp; the enemy is before them; in
their pursuit they have left all behind them; they thought not of
earthly possessions, but of honor and victory. Every thing was left
in the camp. The king's entire camp-furniture, and even the army
treasure.

Karl von Lothringen, hope nothing from Trenck and his pandours;
nothing from Nadasti and his regiments. They have obeyed your
commands; they have pressed into the enemy's camp; they are taking
prizes, plundering greedily. What care they for the battle which
thunders and roars before them? the cannon-balls do not reach them;
they can enrich themselves in the camp of the Prussians whilst these
are gaining a glorious victory.

The battle is not yet decided. "If Trenck and Nadasti attack our
rear," said the king, "we are lost."

At, this moment an adjutant announced to him that Trenck and Nadasti
were plundering the Prussian camp.

The king's countenance beamed with delight. "Let them plunder." he
said, joyfully, "whilst they are so occupied they will not interfere
with our important work. Whilst they plunder, we will conquer."

Yes, the battle is decided; while the Austrians plundered, the
Prussians conquered. Karl von Lothringen, overcome with grief and
shame, is retreating with his disorganized troops.

The Prussians have gained the day, but it was a fearful victory, a
murderous battle between brothers, German against German, brother
against brother.

The Duke Albrecht, of Brunswick, has fallen by the side of the king;
his brother Ludwig lies covered with wounds in the Austrian camp.

Poor Queen Elizabeth Christine, your husband has conquered, but you
have both paid dearly for the victory. The king has lost his tent,
his camp-furniture, and eighty thousand ducats, and the baggage of
the entire army. You have lost one brother, and the other lies
covered with bloody wounds. The king has gained the battle. His is
the fame and honor. You, poor queen, you have only a new grief.
Yours are the tears and the pain.



CHAPTER VII.

AFTER THE BATTLE.


The Prussians were resting from their labors, not in comfortable
tents or on soft cushions, but on the hard ground, with no
protection against sun and wind, and not too distant from the
battle-field to hear the heart-rending cries and groans of their
dying comrades. But even these cries and groans were to the
triumphant Prussians the sign of their glorious victory, and awoke
in those who had escaped unscathed through this terrible fire a
feeling of deep gratitude.

After these fearful hours of excitement followed a general
lassitude, a positive physical necessity for rest. But, alas! there
was something which drove sleep from their eyelids, and increased
the weariness of their bodies. This was hunger. The pandours had
thoroughly plundered the Prussian camp; they had taken not only the
baggage of the poor soldiers, but all their provisions.

The Prussians, who had obtained so glorious a triumph in the
morning, were now looking forward to a day of fasting, while the
Austrians, in spite of their defeat, were consoling themselves with
the provisions which they had taken from the Prussians. Happy was he
who had a piece of bread in his knapsack, or whose tent had been
overlooked or forgotten by the plunderers; but few had been so
fortunate, and these in the egotism of hunger refused to share their
precious treasure, even with their dearest friend.

King Frederick was not among the fortunate. The victory was his, but
his laurel-wreath could not be transformed into bread. He had said
in vain to his generals and adjutants, "We will dine." There was
nothing to set before the king.

When General Rothenberg brought this disagreeable news to the king,
he said, laughing gayly: "Let us imagine ourselves to be Catholics,
my friends, for the present, and it will be quite in order that we
should fast on the day of a glorious victory. I will be quite
contented with a piece of bread, and I suppose that can be found
somewhere for the King of Prussia."

But General Rothenberg's order to the royal cook to satisfy the
simple demand of his master was in vain. The cook had nothing,
neither meat, fruit, nor bread.

"I will not return empty-handed to the king," said Rothenberg, with
tears in his eyes. "I would sooner part with my last ducat to the
first soldier I meet who has a piece of bread."

The general then passed, with inquisitive glances, through the group
of soldiers who were talking over the events of the last few hours.
At last he perceived a soldier who was not talking, but was ogling a
piece of bread which he seemed preparing to devour. With a hasty
spring the general was at his side, his hand upon the bread.

"I will give you two ducats for this piece of bread, my friend."

"Two ducats! what should I do with two ducats?" he asked, with a
scornful laugh. "I cannot eat your ducats, general, and my bread is
more precious to me than a handful of ducats."

"If you will not give it for gold, then give it for love," cried the
general. "For love of your king who is hungry, and has nothing to
satisfy his craving."

The countenance of the soldier, which had been so smiling, became
earnest, and he murmured thoughtfully to himself, "The king has no
bread!"

"The king is hungry," repeated Rothenberg, almost imploringly.

"The king is hungry," murmured the soldier, sadly, as he glanced at
the bread in his hand. Then, with quiet determination, he cut the
loaf in two pieces, and handing one to the general, he said, "I will
give you half of my bread, that is really all I can do for the king.
Take it, general, the matter is settled. I will give no more."

"I desire no more," said Rothenberg, as he hurried off with the
bread to the newly-erected tent of the king.

The soldier looked smilingly after him, but suddenly his countenance
became overcast, he was seized with a fearful idea--suppose the
general had deceived him, and the bread was not for the king? He
must know, he must convince himself that the statement was true. He
followed the general rapidly, and soon overtook him. Rothenberg
perceived him, and understood instantly why he had followed him.
Smilingly he entered the presence of the king.

"My king, I am here, and bring what you demanded, a piece of bread."

"Ah, that means renewed strength," said the king, as he received the
bread and commenced eating it with evident satisfaction. "How did
you procure this bread for me, my friend?"

"Sire, I obtained it of a soldier, who refused to sell it, but who
gladly gave it to me when he heard it was for the king. Afterward he
conceived a doubt that I had deceived him, and that I had obtained
his treasure for my own gratification. He followed me, and I wager
he is standing without longing to know if the king is really eating
his bread."

"I will gratify his desire," said Frederick, smiling, as he raised
the curtain of the tent, and stood in the opening.

There stood the soldier, staring at the tent, but he trembled when
he perceived the king. Frederick nodded to him most kindly, and
proceeded to cut the bread which he held in his hand.

"I thank you for your bread," he said; "my friend, you must ask some
favor of me. Think what you would wish."

"Oh! I need not think," the soldier cried joyfully. "If I may wish
for something, it shall be the position of magistrate in my native
land in Prussia."

"When peace is declared, your wish shall be gratified," said the
king to the delighted soldier, and then bowing graciously, Frederick
reentered the tent.

"Now my friend, my Pylades, we will allow ourselves an hour of rest,
of recreation; I think we have earned it. Come and read aloud to
me."

"What shall I read to your majesty?" asked Rothenberg, evidently
embarrassed.

"You may read from Horace."

"Your majesty does not know--" said Rothenberg, hesitatingly.

"What do I not know?"

"That the pandours have carried off your camp library."

"What! my books too?" demanded the king, and a cloud darkened his
brow. "What can the pandours and Croats do with my poor books? Could
they not content themselves with my treasure and my silver-ware?
Must they take what is so worthless to them, and so precious to me?"

Then, with bent brows, his hands crossed behind him, he paced back
and forth in the narrow tent. Suddenly arresting his steps, he
glanced around the tent, as if in search of something. "Biche is not
here," he said quietly; "bring Biche to me, my friend."

But General Rothenberg did not move.

"Well!" exclaimed the king.

"Sire, they have taken Biche with them also."

"Biche also, my faithful friend, my pet!" cried the king, with much
emotion, as he again began his walk. At length, approaching the
general, he placed both hands upon his shoulder and looked tenderly
into his eyes. "I have my friend," he said gently, "why should I be
troubled about my books or my dog? I will send to Berlin and have
the books replaced, and I will ransom Biche. They cannot refuse to
restore the faithful animal to me."

There was an expression of such anxiety on the king's features, that
Rothenberg was much moved.

"I do not doubt, sire," he said, "that your favorite will be
returned to you. Your majesty may well trust to that Providence
which has vouchsafed you so glorious a victory."

The king replied, smiling: "I will tell you a secret, my friend. I
deserved to be overcome in this battle, for I had weakened my army
too much by detachments. Nothing but the skill of my generals and
the bravery of my troops saved me from a defeat. Something is also
due to the avarice of the pandours and Croats; a branch of our
laurel-wreath belongs justly to Nadasti and Trenck. It is most
fortunate that the courier who brought those last dispatches from
Berlin, did not arrive during the battle. He would certainly have
been captured by the pandours, and my dispatches lost. My friend, do
you not see how Providence marks out for me the path of duty? A king
dare not waste a moment in dreams or idle pleasures. I wished to
live an hour for myself, when I should have been reading these
dispatches. We will go to work; here is the key of the dispatch bag;
open it and take out the letters."

The king then seated himself before the common deal table which
stood in the centre of the tent, and assorted the papers which
Rothenberg handed to him.

"We will first read the letters from our friends," said the king,
placing the dispatches and papers on one side. "Here are letters
from D'Argens, and from Knobelsdorf, but none from Duhan, or Jordan,
or Kaiserling. What does that mean? I fear that all is not right.
Ah! here is a letter for you, my friend, in the handwriting of
Duhan. He writes to you, and not to me. Read, Rothenberg, and tell
me its contents."

The king then opened one of his own letters, but it was evident that
it did not occupy his attention. He raised his eyes every few
seconds to look at the general, who had become very pale on first
opening his letter, and whose countenance now bore an expression of
pain. Frederick could no longer endure this silence. He arose
hastily, and approached Rothenberg.

"My friend," he said, "Duhan has written something to you that he
would not write to me--something most painful. I see by your
countenance."

"Your majesty is right; my letters contain most distressing
intelligence."

"Ah!" murmured the king, as he turned from Rothenberg, "I fear I
have not the strength to support this coming trial." After a pause,
he continued: "Now, my friend, tell me, are my mother and sisters
well?"

"Sire, the entire royal family are well."

"Your intelligence, then, relates to my friends. Two of them are
ill--yes, two. How is Jordan? You do not answer--you weep. How is
Jordan?"

"Sire, Jordan is dead."

"Dead!" cried the king, as he sank powerless upon his chair, and
covered his face with his hands. "Dead! my best, my dearest friend
is dead?"

"His death was as bright and peaceful as his life," said Rothenberg.
"His last word was a farewell to your majesty, his last act was to
write to his king. Here is the letter, sire."

The king silently received the letter from Rothenberg. Two great
tears ran slowly down his checks, and, falling on the letter,
obliterated some words of the address. "Jordan's hand wrote these
words for the last time; this idle title 'his majesty'--and my tears
have washed it away. Jordan! Jordan I am no longer a king, but a
poor, weak man who mourns for his lost friend."

He pressed the paper passionately to his lips; then placed it in his
bosom, and turned once more to Rothenberg.

"Tell me the rest, my friend; I am resigned to all things now."

"Did you not say, sire, that you had left two friends ill in
Berlin?"

"Jordan and Kaiserling. You do not mean that Kaiserling also--oh,
no, no! that is impossible! Jordan is dead, and I knew that he must
die; but Kaiserling will recover--I feel, I know it."

"Your majesty," said Rothenberg, "if I were a pious priest, I would
say Kaiserling has recovered, for his soul has returned to God."

"Kaiserling dead also! Rothenberg, how could you find the courage to
tell me this? Two friends lost in a moment of time." The king said
nothing more. His head sank upon his breast, and he wept bitterly.
After a time he raised his head, and said, as if to himself: "My two
friends! They were my family--now I am orphaned. Sorrow will make a
desert of my heart, and men will call me cold and heartless. They
will not know that my heart is a graveyard, wherein my friends lie
buried."

The tears ran slowly down his cheeks as he uttered this death-wail.
So deep was the grief depicted on the countenance of the king, that
Rothenberg could no longer restrain himself. He rushed to the king,
and, sinking on his knees beside him, seized his hands and covered
them with tears and kisses.

"Oh, my king, my hero! cease to mourn, if you do not wish to see me
die of grief."

The king smiled mournfully, as he replied: "If one could die of
grief, I would not have survived this hour."

"What would the world think could they see this great conqueror
forgetting his triumphs and indulging such grief?"

"Ah, my friend, you desire to console me with the remembrance of
this victory! I rejoice that I have preserved my land from a cruel
misfortune, and that my troops are crowned with glory. But my
personal vanity finds no food in this victory. The welfare and the
happiness of my people alone lie on my heart--I think not of my own
fleeting fame."

"The fame of my king is not fleeting. It will live in future years,"
cried the general.

The king shrugged his shoulders almost contemptuously. "Only death
stamps fame upon kings' lives. For the present, I am content to
fulfil my duties to the best of my ability. To be a true king, a
monarch must be willing to resign all personal happiness. As for me,
Rothenberg, on this day, when I, as a king, am peculiarly fortunate,
my heart is wrung by the loss of two dear friends. The man must pay
for the happiness of the king. But," said the king, after a pause,
"this is the dealing of the Almighty; I must submit silently. Would
that my heart were silent! I will tell you something, my friend. I
fear that I was unjust to Machiavelli. He was right--only a man with
a heart of iron can be a king, for he alone could think entirely of
his people."

"How suffering and full of grief must my king be to speak thus! You
have lost two dear friends, sire. I also mourn their loss, but am
suffering from a still deeper grief. I have lost the love of my
king. I have lost faith in the friendship of my Frederick," said
Rothenberg, sighing deeply.

"My Rothenberg," said the king, with his deep, tender voice, "look
at me, and tell me what men call you, when they speak of you and
me?"

"I hope they call me your majesty's most faithful servant."

"No, they call you my favorite, and what they say is true. Vox
populi vox Dei. Come to my heart, my favorite."

"Ah! my king, my prince, my friend," cried Rothenberg,
enthusiastically, as he threw himself into the arms of the king.

They stood long thus, heart pressed to heart; and who that had seen
them, the king and the hero, the conquerors of the day, would have
imagined that their tears were not the tears of happiness and
triumph, but of suffering and love?

"And now," said Frederick, after a pause, "let me again be king. I
must return to my duties."

He seated himself at the table, and Rothenberg, after taking from
the dispatch-bag a number of documents bearing the state seal,
handed the king a daintily perfumed, rose-colored note. The king
would not receive it, although a light flush mounted to his brow and
his eyes beamed more brightly.

"Lay that on one side," he said, "I cannot read it; the notes of the
Miserere are still sounding in my heart, and this operatic air would
but create a discord. We will proceed to read the dispatches."



CHAPTER VIII.

A LETTER PREGNANT WITH FATE.


The king was not the only person, in the encampment at Sohr, to whom
the courier brought letters from Berlin; the colonel of every
regiment had received a securely-locked post-bag containing the
letters for the officers and soldiers of his regiment, which it was
his duty to deliver. To avoid errors in the distribution, every
post-bag was accompanied by a list, sent from the war department, on
which each person to whom a letter was addressed must write a
receipt.

Colonel von Jaschinsky was therefore compelled to deliver to
Lieutenant von Trenck both the letters which were addressed to him.
The colonel looked at one of these letters with a most malicious
expression; he was not at all curious concerning its contents, for
he was well acquainted with them, and knew that as soon as Trenck
received it, it would become a sword, whose deadly point would be
directed to the breast of the young man.

He knew the letter, for he had seen it before, but he had not
delivered it; he had fraudulently withheld it from Trenck, in order
to send it to Berlin, to his friend Pollnitz, and to ask him if he
did not think it well suited to accomplish their purpose of making
Lieutenant von Trenck harmless, by bringing about his utter
destruction. Pollnitz had not answered up to this time, but to-day
Colonel von Jaschinsky had received a letter from him, in which he
said: "It is now time to allow the letter of the pandour to work. I
carried the letter to the post, and I imagine that I played the part
of a Job's messenger to his impertinent young officer, who allows
himself to believe that his colonel owes him two hundred ducats. If
you have ever really been his debtor, he will certainly be yours
from to-day, for to you he will owe free quarters in one of the
Prussian forts, and I hope for no short time. When you inform the
king of this letter from the pandour, you can also say that
Lieutenant von Trenck received a second letter from Berlin, and that
you believe it to be from a lady. Perhaps the king will demand this
letter, which I am positive Trenck will receive, for I mailed it
myself, and it is equally certain that he will not destroy it, for
lovers do not destroy the letters of the beloved."

No, lovers never destroy the letters of the beloved. What would have
induced Frederick von Trenck to destroy this paper, on which HER
HAND had rested, her eyes had looked upon, her breath touched, and
on which her love, her vows, her longing, and her faith, were
depicted? No, he would not have exchanged it for all the treasures
of the world--this holy, this precious paper, which said to him that
the Princess Amelia had not forgotten him, that she was determined
to wait with patience, and love, and faith, until her hero returned,
covered with glory, with a laurel-wreath on his brow, which would be
brighter and more beautiful than the crown of a king.

As Trenck read these lines he wept with shame and humiliation. Two
battles had been already won, and his name had remained dark and
unknown; two battles, and none of those heroic deeds which his
beloved expected from him with such certainty, had come in his path.
He had performed his duty as a brave soldier, but he had not
accomplished such an heroic act as that of Krauel, in the past year,
which had raised the common soldier to the title of Baron Krauel von
Ziskaberg, and had given to the unknown peasant a name whose fame
would extend over centuries. He had not astonished the whole world
with a daring, unheard-of undertaking, such as that of Ziethen, who
had passed with his hussars, unknown, through the Austrian camp. He
had been nothing but a brave soldier--he had done nothing more than
many thousands. He felt the strength and the courage to tear the
very stars from heaven, that he might bind them as a diadem upon the
brow of his beloved; to battle with the Titans, and plunge them into
the abyss; to bear upon his shoulders the whole world, as Atlas did;
he felt in himself the power, the daring, the will, and the ability
of a hero. But the opportunity failed him.

The deeds which he longed to accomplish did not lie in his path. And
thus, in spite of two victorious battles in which he had fought; in
spite of the evident good-will of the king, he had remained what he
was, the unknown, undistinguished Lieutenant von Trenck. With a
trembling heart he demanded of himself that the Princess Amelia
would continue to love him if he returned to her as he had departed;
if her proud, pure heart could stand that severest of all tests, the
discovery that she had bestowed her love upon an ordinary,
undistinguished man.

"No, no!" he cried, "I have not the courage to return thus to her.
If I cannot distinguish myself, I can die. In the next battle I will
conquer fame or death. And if I fall, she will weep for me. That
would be a far happier fate than living to be forgotten or despised
by her."

He pressed Amelia's letter to his lips, then placed it in his bosom,
and opened the second letter. Whilst he read, an expression of
astonishment appeared on his features, and a smile, half gay, half
scornful, played upon his full, fresh lips. Soon, however, his
features grew earnest, and a dark shadow clouded his youthful brow.

"If I had enemies they could destroy me with this letter," he said,
in a low voice. "It could, wild and silly as it is, be made to
represent me as a traitor. Perhaps it is a pitfall which has been
prepared for me. Is it possible that the authorities should have
allowed this letter, coming evidently from inimical Austria, to pass
unread through their hands? I will go immediately to my colonel, and
show him this letter," said Trenck. "He can then inform the king of
it if he think it necessary. Concealment might be more dangerous for
me than an open acknowledgment."

And placing this second letter also in his bosom, Trenck proceeded
to the tent of Colonel von Jaschinsky, who welcomed him with unusual
warmth.

"Colonel," said Trenck, "do you remember the singular letter which I
received six months since from my cousin, Baron von Trenck, colonel
of the pandours?"

"Ah, you mean that letter in which he invites you to come to
Austria, and promised, should you do so, to make you his sole heir?"

"Yes, that is the letter I mean. I informed you of it at the time
and asked your advice."

"What advice did I give you?"

"That I should reply kindly and gratefully to my cousin; that I
should not appear indifferent or ungrateful for a proposal by which
I might become a millionnaire. You advised me to decline going to
Austria, but only to decline so long as there was war between
Prussia and Austria."

"Well, I think the advice was good, and that you may still follow
it."

"You advised me also to write to my cousin to send me some of those
beautiful Hungarian horses, and promised to forward my letter
through Baron von Bossart, the Saxon ambassador; but on the
condition that when I received the Hungarian horses, I should
present one of them to you."

"That was only a jest--a jest which binds you to nothing, and of
which you have no proofs."

"I!" asked Trenck, astonished; "what proof do I need that I promised
you a Hungarian horse? What do I want with proofs?"

Count Jaschinsky looked embarrassed before the open, trusting
expression of the young officer. His singular remark would have
betrayed him to a more suspicious, a more worldly-wise man, who
would have perceived from it the possibility of some danger, from
which Jaschinsky was seeking to extricate himself.

"I did not mean," said the count, laughing, "that you needed a
proof; I only wished to say that I had no proof that you had
promised me a Hungarian horse, and that you need not feel obliged to
give me one."

"Yes, colonel, your request and my promise occurred before
witnesses. Lieutenant von Stadnitz and Ensign von Wagnitz were
present; and if that had not been the case, I should consider my
word binding. But at present I have no Hungarian horses, only an
answer from my singular cousin, the contents of which I wish to
impart to you."

"Ah, the colonel of the pandours has answered you?" asked
Jaschinsky, with well-dissembled astonishment.

"Yes, he has answered me, and has written me the most singular
letter that one can imagine. Only listen to it."

And Frederick von Trenck hastily pulled out the letter which he had
put in his bosom. Entirely occupied with this subject, and thinking
of nothing else, he opened the letter and read:

"From yours, dated Berlin, February 12th, I ascertain that you
desire some Hungarian horses on which to meet my hussars and
pandours. I learned with much pleasure, in the last campaign, that
the Prussian Trenck was a brave soldier; as a proof of my
consideration, I returned to you at that time the horses which my
men had captured from you. If you desire to ride Hungarian horses,
you must take mine from me on the field, or come to your cousin, who
will receive you with open arms as his son and friend, and accord
you every wish of your heart."

Had Trenck looked less attentively at his letter, while reading, he
would have perceived that Jaschinsky was paying but slight attention
(he was looking attentively on the floor); he quietly approached
Trenck, and placed his foot upon something which he evidently wished
to conceal. He then stood still, and as Trenck finished reading he
broke into a loud laugh, in which the young officer joined him.

"Your cousin is a droll man," said the count, "and under the
conditions which he offers you, I will still accept your Hungarian
horse. Perhaps you will soon find an opportunity to give it to me,
for I believe we are about to attack Hungary, and you can yourself
procure the horses. But now, my young friend, excuse me; I must go
to the king to give my report. You know he will endure no neglect of
duty. After the war council I will see you again."

Trenck took leave, a little surprised at the sudden dismissal. The
colonel did not accompany him, as usual. He remained standing in the
middle of the tent until he was alone; then stooping down, he drew
from under his foot the daintily folded letter that he had concealed
while Trenck was present.

Count Jaschinsky had seen what had escaped Trenck. He saw that
Trenck, in taking out the letter from his cousin, had let fall
another paper, and while Trenck was, reading, he had managed to
conceal it with his foot. Now he hastily seized this paper, and
opened it. A most wicked expression of joy overspread his
countenance whilst he read, and then he said, triumphantly: "Now he
is lost. It is not necessary to tell the king that Trenck has
received a letter from a lady; I will take him the letter itself,
and that will condemn Trenck more surely than any conspiracy with
his cousin. Away to the king!"

But, as he had already withdrawn the curtain of his tent, he
remained motionless, and appeared deep in thought. Then he allowed
the curtain to fall, and returned within.

"I think I was on the point of committing a great folly. This letter
would of course accomplish the destruction of my hated creditor, but
I doubt exceedingly if I would escape unharmed if I handed this
ominous writing to the king. He would never forgive me for having
discovered this affair, which he, of course, wishes to conceal from
the whole world. The knowledge of such a secret would be most
dangerous, and I prefer to have nothing to do with it. How can I
manage to let this letter reach the king, without allowing him to
know that I am acquainted with the contents? Ah, I have it!" he
cried, after a long pause, "the means are sure, and not at all
dangerous for me."

With rapid steps he left his tent, and proceeded to that of the king
from whom he prayed an audience.

"Ah! I wager that you come to complain of some one," said the king,
as Jaschinsky entered. "There is a wicked light in your eye. Am I
not right? one of your officers has committed some folly."

"I leave the decision entirely to your majesty," said Jaschinsky,
humbly. "Your majesty commanded me to watch carefully over my
officers, especially the Lieutenant von Trenck."

"Your complaint is again of Trenck, then?" asked the king,
frowningly. "I will tell you before we begin, unless it is something
important I do not wish to hear it; gossip is disagreeable to me. I
am well pleased with Trenck; he is a brave and zealous officer, and
I think he does not neglect his duties. Consider, therefore,
colonel, unless it is a grave fault of which you have to complain, I
advise you to remain silent."

"I hope your majesty will allow me to proceed."

"Speak," said the king, as he turned his back on the colonel, and
appeared to occupy himself with the books on his table.

"Lieutenant von Trenck received a letter by the post to-day which
points, in my opinion, to an utterly unlawful proceeding."

The king turned hastily, and looked so angrily at the colonel that
he involuntarily withdrew a step. "It is fortunate that I did not
hand him that letter," thought Jaschinsky; "in his anger the king
would have destroyed me."

"From whom is this letter?" demanded the king.

"Sire, it is from Baron von Trenck, the colonel of the pandours."

The king appeared relieved, as he replied, with a smile: "This
pandour is a cousin of our lieutenant."

"But he is in the enemy's camp; and I do not think it proper for a
Prussian officer to request one in the Austrian service to send him
a present of horses, or for the Austrian to invite the Prussian to
join him."

"Is this in the letter?" asked the king in a threatening tone; and
when Jaschinsky answered in the affirmative, he said: "Give me the
letter; I must convince myself with my own eyes that this is so."

"I have not the letter, but if your majesty desire, I will demand it
from Lieutenant von Trenck."

"And if he has burnt the letter?"

"Then I am willing to take an oath that what I have related was in
the letter. I read it myself, for the lieutenant showed it to me."

"Bring me the letter."

Jaschinsky went, and the king remained alone and thoughtful in his
tent. "If he were a traitor, he would surely not have shown the
letter to Jaschinsky," said the king, softly; "no, his brow is as
clear, his glance as open as formerly. Trenck is no traitor--no
traitor to his country--I fear only a traitor to his own happiness.
Well, perhaps he has come to his reason, I have warned him
repeatedly, and perhaps he has at length understood me.--Where is
the letter?" he asked, as Colonel Jaschinsky reentered.

"Sire, here it is. At least I think that is it. I did not take time
to glance at the paper, in my haste to return to your majesty."

"Was he willing to give the letter?"

"He said nothing, but drew it instantly from his bosom, and I
brought it to your majesty without glancing at it."

The king looked searchingly into the countenance of the colonel.
Jaschinsky's repeated assurances that he had not looked at the
letter surprised the king, and led him to suspect some hidden
motive. He received the letter, and opened it slowly and carefully.
He again turned his piercing glance upon the countenance of
Jaschinsky; he now perceived the rose-colored letter, which lay in
the folds of that one from Colonel Trenck, and he immediately
understood the words of the count. This little letter was really the
kernel of the whole matter, and Jaschinsky preferred to know nothing
of it.

"Wait outside until I call you. I wish to read this letter
carefully," said the king, with perfect composure; but when
Jaschinsky had disappeared, he hastily unfolded the paper, and,
throwing Trenck's letter on the table, he took the other, and
looking carefully at it, he said softly, "It is her writing--yes, it
is her writing, and all my trouble has been in vain. They WOULD not
understand me. They are lost."

And sighing deeply, the king turned again to the letter. "Poor,
miserable children, why should I not make them happy? is it
impossible to forget prejudice for once, and to allow these two
beings to be happy in their own way? So strange a thing is the heart
of a woman, that she prefers an orange-wreath to a crown! Why should
I force this young girl to be a princess, when she only desires to
be a woman? Shall I allow them to fly away into some wilderness, and
there create a paradise? But how soon would the serpent creep into
this paradise! how soon would satiety, and ennui, and repentance
destroy their elysium! No, the daughters of the Hohenzollerns must
not stoop for happiness; I cannot change it. Fate condemns them, not
I. They are condemned, but the sword which is suspended above them
must fall only upon his head. His is the guilt, for he is the man.
His stake was immense, and he has lost all."

The king then took the letter of Colonel Trenck, and read it
attentively. "This letter bears all-sufficient testimony against
him; it is the iron mask which I will raise before his crime, that
the world may not discover it. I would laugh at this letter were it
not for the other, which condemns him. This will answer as an excuse
for his punishment."

The king arose from his seat, and placing the letter of the princess
in his bosom, and folding the other, he walked hastily to the
opening of the tent and called Jaschinsky.

"Colonel," he said, and his countenance was troubled but determined,
"you are right. Lieutenant von Trenck is a great criminal, for this
letter contains undeniable proof of his traitorous connection with
the enemy. If I ordered him before a court-martial, he would be
condemned to death. As his crime may have grown out of carelessness
and thoughtlessness, I will be merciful, and try if a few years'
imprisonment will not work a cure. You can inform him of his
punishment, when you return his cousin's letter to him. You did not
open this letter when you brought it to me?"

The eye of the king rested with a threatening expression upon the
colonel as he asked this question.

"No, your majesty,--I did not open it," replied the colonel.

"You did well," said the king, "for a wasp had crept within it,
which might have given you a deadly wound. Go now, and take this
letter to Trenck, and take his sword from him. He is under arrest,
and must be sent at once to the fortress at Glatz."

"Must it be quietly done?" asked Jaschinsky, scarcely able to
conceal his delight.

"No, on the contrary, I wish the whole army, the whole world to know
why I have punished Trenck. You can say to every one that Trenck is
a traitor, who has carried on an unlawful correspondence with his
cousin in Austria, and has conspired with the enemy. His arrest must
be public, and he must be sent to Glatz, guarded by fifty hussars.
Go now and attend to this business.--He is lost," said the king,
solemnly, when he was once more alone. "Trenck is condemned, and
Amelia must struggle with her grief. Poor Amelia!"

The generals were waiting outside, among them the favorite of the
king, General Rothenberg. They had been summoned to a council by the
king, and were awaiting his orders to enter the tent.

But the king did not call them, perhaps he had forgotten them. He
walked slowly up and down in his tent, apparently lost in thought.
Suddenly he stood motionless and listened. He heard the tramp of
many horses, and he knew what it meant. He approached the opening of
the tent, and drew back the curtain sufficiently to see without
being seen.

The noise of the horses' hoofs came nearer and nearer. The first
hussars have passed the king's tent, and two more, and again two,
and again, and again; and there in their midst, a pale young man,
with a distracted countenance, with staring eyes, and colorless
lips, which appear never to have known how to laugh, a young
officer, without sword or epaulettes. Is this Trenck, the beautiful,
the young, the light-hearted Trenck, the beloved of a princess, the
darling of all the ladies, the envied favorite of the king? He has
passed the tent of the king; behind him are his servants with his
horses and his baggage; and then again hussars, who close the
procession, the burial-procession of Trenck's happiness and freedom.

The king seemed deeply moved as he stepped back from the curtain.
"Now," he said solemnly, "I have committed my first act of
injustice; for I judged this man in my own conscience, without
bringing him before a court-martial. Should the world condemn me for
this, I can at least say that it is my only fault of the kind."



CHAPTER IX.

THE RETURN TO BERLIN.


Peace was proclaimed. This poor land, bleeding from a thousand
wounds, might now rest, in order to gather strength for new
victories. The husband of Maria Theresa had been crowned as emperor,
and the conditions of peace had been signed at Dresden, by both
Austrians and Prussians. The king and his army returned victorious
to their native land. Berlin had assumed her most joyous appearance,
to welcome her king; even Nature had done her utmost to enliven the
scene. The freshly fallen snow, which covered the streets and roofs
of the houses, glittered in the December sunshine as if strewn with
diamonds. But none felt to-day that the air was cold or the wind
piercing; happiness created summer in their hearts, and they felt
not that it was winter. On every side the windows were open, and
beautiful women were awaiting the appearance of their adored
sovereign with as much curiosity and impatience as the common people
in the streets, who were longing to greet their hero-king.

At length the happy hour came. At length the roar of cannon, the
ringing of bells, the shouts of the crowd, which filled every avenue
leading to the palace, announced that the king had returned to his
capital, which, in the last few days, he had saved by a happy
manoeuvre from being attacked by the Austrians and Saxons. The
people greeted their king with shouts; the ladies in the windows
waved their handkerchiefs, and threw fragrant flowers into the open
carriage in which Frederick and his brothers sat.

As they passed before the gymnasium, the scholars commenced a solemn
song, which was at the same time a hymn, and a prayer for their
king, their hero, and their father. "Vivat, vivat Fredericus! Rex
vivat, Augustus, Magnus, Felix Pater Patriae!" sang the scholars.
But suddenly rising above the voices of the singers, and the shouts
of the people, a voice was heard, crying aloud, "Vivat Frederick the
Great!"

The people who had listened silently to the Latin because they did
not understand it, joined as with one impulse in this cry, the shout
arose as from one throat, "Vivat Frederick the Great!" And this cry
spread like wildfire through all the streets, over all the public
squares; it resounded from every window, and even from the tops of
the houses. To-day Berlin had rebaptized her king. She gave him now
a new name, the name which he will bear through all ages, the name
of Frederick the Great.

The king flushed deeply as he heard this cry. His heart, which had
been sad and gloomy, seemed warmed as by a ray of sunlight. Ambition
throbbed within his breast, and awakened him from his melancholy
thoughts. No, Frederick had now no time to think of the dead; no
time to mourn secretly over the loved, the faithful friends whom he
would no longer find in Berlin. The king must overcome the feelings
of the friend. His people are here to greet him, to welcome his
return, to bestow upon him an immortal name. The king has no right
to withdraw himself from their love; he must meet it with his whole
soul, his whole heart.

Convincing himself that this was necessary, Frederick lifted his
head, a bright color mounted to his chocks, and his eyes flashed as
he bowed graciously to his people. Now he is truly Frederick the
Great, for he has conquered his own heart, and he has poured upon
the open wound of his private sorrows the balm of his people's love.

Now the carriage of the king has reached the palace gate. Frederick
raises his hat once more, and bows smilingly to the people, whose
cries of "Vivat Frederick the Great" still fill the air. When for a
moment there is silence, a single, clear, commanding voice is heard,
"Long live Frederick the Great!"

The king turns hastily; he has recognized the voice of his mother.
She is standing on the threshold of the palace, surrounded by the
princesses of the royal family. Her eyes are more brilliant than the
diamonds which glitter in her hair, and more precious than the
costly pearls upon her bosom are the drops which fall from her eyes,
tears of pride and happiness, shed in this moment of triumph. Again
she repeats the cry taught her by the people, "Long live Frederick
the Great!"

The king knew the first tone of that dear voice, and, springing from
the carriage, hurried forward and threw himself into his mother's
extended arms, and laid his head upon her breast, as he had done
when a child, and wept hot tears, which no one saw, which his mother
alone felt upon her bosom.

Near them stood Elizabeth Christine, the consort of the king, and in
the depths of her heart she repeated the cry of the people, and she
gazed prayerfully toward heaven, as she petitioned for the long and
happy life of her adored husband. But Frederick did not see her; he
gave his arm to his mother, and they entered the palace, followed by
his wife and his sisters and brothers.

"Frederick the Great!" This cry still resounds through the streets,
and the windows of the palace tremble with the ringing of this proud
name. The sound enters the saloons before him; it opens wide the
doors of the White Saloon, and when the king enters, the pictures
and statues of the Hohenzollerns appear to become animate, the dead
eyes flash, the stiffened lips smile, and the motionless heads seem
to bow, for Frederick's new name has called his ancestors from their
graves--this name, which only one other Hohenzollern had borne
before him--this name, which is as rare a blossom on the
genealogical trees of the proudest royal families as the blossoms of
the aloe. The king greets his ancestors with a happy smile, for he
feels that he is no unworthy successor. He has forgotten his grief
and his pain; he has overcome them. In this hour he is only the king
and hero.

But as the shadows of night approach, and Berlin is brilliant with
illuminations, Frederick lays aside his majesty, and becomes once
more the loving man, the friend. He is sitting by the death-bed of
his friend and preceptor, Duhan. The joyous shouts of the people are
still heard without, but the king heeds them not; he hears only the
heavy breathing of his friend, and speaks to him gentle words of
love and consolation.

At length ho leaves his friend, and now a new light springs into his
eyes. He is no longer a king, no longer a mourning friend, he is
only a young man. He is going to spend an hour with his friend
General Rothenberg, and forget his royalty for a while.

Rothenberg seems to have forgotten it also, for he does not come to
welcome his kingly guest. He does not receive him on the threshold.
No one receives him, but the hall and stairway are brilliantly
lighted; and, as he ascends, a door opens, and a woman appears,
beautiful as an angel, with eyes beaming like stars, with lips
glowing as crimson roses. Is it an angel or a woman? Her voice is as
the music of the spheres to the king, when she whispers her welcome
to him, and he, at last, thinks he beholds an angel when he sees
Barbarina.



CHAPTER X.

JOB'S POST.


Berlin shouted, huzzaed, sang, danced, declaimed, illuminated for
three entire days in honor of the conquered peace, and the return of
her great king. Every one but the young Princess Amelia seemed
contented, happy, joyous. She took no part in the glad triumph of
her family, and the loud hosarmas of the people found no echo in her
breast. With heavy heart and misty eyes she walked slowly backward
and forward in her boudoir. For three days she had borne this
terrible torture, this anguish of uncertainty. Her soul was moved
with fearful anticipations, but she was forced to appear gay.

For three days, with trembling heart and lips, she had been
compelled to appear at the theatre, the masquerades, the balls, and
ceremonious dinners of the court. She felt that the stern eye of the
king was ever searchingly and angrily fixed upon her. Several times,
completely overcome and exhausted by her efforts to seem gay and
careless, she sought to withdraw unobserved to her room, but her
ever-watchful brother intercepted her, and led her back to her place
by her royal mother. He chatted and jested merrily, but his
expression was dark and threatening. Once she had not the power to
respond with smiles. She fixed her pleading, tearful eyes upon the
king. He bowed down to her, and said harshly: "I command you to
appear gay. A princess has not the right to weep when her people are
happy."

To-day the court festivities closed. At last Amelia dared hope for
some hours of solitude and undisturbed thought. To-day she could
weep and allow her pale lips to express the wild grief of her heart.
In her loneliness she dared give utterance to the cry of anguish
rending her bosom.

Where was he? where was Trenck? Why had he not returned? Why had she
no news, no love-token, no message from him? She had carefully
examined the list of killed and wounded. He had not fallen in
battle. He was not fatally wounded. He had not returned with the
army, or she would have seen him. Where was he, then? Was he ill, or
had he forgotten her, or did he blush to return without his laurels?
Had he been taken by the Austrians? Was her beloved suffering in a
loathsome prison, while she was laughing, jesting, and adorning
herself in costly array? While she thus thought and spoke, burning
tears blinded her eyes, and sighs and sobs choked her utterance.

"If he is dead," said she, firmly, "then I will also die. If he is
in prison, I will set him at liberty. If he does not come because he
has not been promoted and fears I no longer love him, I will seek
him out, I will swear that I love him, that I desire only his love,
that I will fly with him to some lonely, quiet valley. I will lay
aside my rank, my royalty, forget my birth, abandon all joyously,
that I may belong to him, be his fond and dear-loved wife."

And now a light sound was heard at the door, and she recognized the
voice of her maid asking admittance.

"Ah!" said Amelia, "if the good Marwitz were here, I should not have
to endure this torture, but my brother has unconsciously robbed me
of this consolation. He has sent my friend and confidante home, and
forced upon me a strange and stupid woman whom I hate."

And now a gentle voice plead more earnestly for admittance.

"I must indeed open the door," said the princess, unwillingly
drawing back the bolt. "Enter, Mademoiselle von Haak," said Amelia,
turning her back in order to conceal her red and swollen eyes.

Mademoiselle von Haak gave a soft, sad glance at the young princess,
and in a low voice asked for pardon for her unwelcome appearance.

"Without doubt your reason for coming will justify you," said the
princess. "I pray you, therefore, to make it known quickly. I wish
to be alone."

"Alas! your royal highness is harsh with me," whispered the young
girl. "I was forced upon you. I know it; you hate me because I have
taken the place of Mademoiselle von Marwitz. I assure you I was not
to blame in this. It was only after the written and peremptory
command of his majesty the king that my mother consented to my
appearance at court."

"Have you come, mademoiselle, simply to tell me this?"

"No, your royal highness; I come to say that I love you. Even since
I had the honor of knowing you, I have loved you. In the loneliness
which surrounds me here, my heart gives itself up wholly to you. Oh,
do not spurn me from you! Tell me why you are sad; let me bear a
part of your sorrow. Princess, I offer you the heart of a true
friend, of a sister--will you cast me off?"

The young girl threw herself upon her knees before the princess, and
her cheeks were bathed in tears. Amelia raised and embraced her.

"Oh!" said she, "I see that God has not utterly forsaken me. He
sends me aid and comfort in my necessity. Will you be, indeed, my
friend?"

"Yes, a friend in whom you can trust fully, to whom you can speak
freely," said Mademoiselle von Haak.

"Who knows but that may be more dangerous for you than for me?"
sighed Amelia. "There are fearful secrets, the mere knowledge of
which brings destruction."

"But if I already know the secret of your royal highness?--if I
understand the reason of your grief during these last few days?"

"Well, then, tell me what you know."

The maiden bowed down low to the ear of her mistress. "Your eyes
seek in vain for him whom you love. You suffer, for you know not
where he is."

"Yes, you are right," cried Amelia. "I suffer the anguish of
uncertainty. If I do not soon learn where he is, I shall die in
despair."

"Shall I tell you, princess?"

Amelia turned pale and trembled. "You will not say that he is in his
grave?" said she, breathlessly.

"No, your highness, he lives and is well."

"He lives, is well, and comes not?"

"He cannot come--he is a prisoner."

"A prisoner! God be thanked it is no worse! The king will obtain his
liberation. My brother cares for his young officers--he will not
leave him in the hands of the Austrians. Oh! I thank you--I thank
you. You are indeed a messenger of glad tidings. And now the king
will be pleased with me. I can be merry and laugh, and jest with
him."

Mademoiselle von Haak bowed her head sadly, and sighed. "He is not
in an Austrian prison," she said, in low tones.

"Not in an Austrian prison?" repeated Amelia, astonished, "where is
he, then? My God! why do you not speak? Where is Trenck? Who has
captured him? Speak! I die with impatience and anxiety."

"In God's name, princess, listen to me calmly, and above all things,
speak softly. I am sure you are surrounded by spies. If we are
heard, we are lost!"

"Do you wish me to die?" murmured the princess, sinking exhausted
upon the divan. "Where is Trenck?"

"He is in the fortress of Glatz," whispered Von Haak.

"Ah! in a Prussian fortress; sent there by the king? He has
committed some small fault in discipline, as once before, and as
this is the second offence, the king punishes him more severely.
That is all! I thank you; you have restored my peace of mind."

"I fear, princess, that you are mistaken. It is said that Baron von
Trenck has been arrested for high treason."

The princess became deadly pale, and almost fainted. She overcame
this weakness, however, quickly, and said smilingly: "He will then
soon be free, for all must know that he is innocent."

"God grant that it may be proved!" said Mademoiselle von Haak. "This
is no time to shrink or be silent. You have a great, strong heart,
and you love him. You must know all! Listen, therefore, princess. I
also love; I also look to the future with hope! My love is calm, for
it is without danger; it has my mother's consent and blessing. Our
only hope is, that my lover may be promoted, and that the king will
give his consent to our marriage. We are both poor, and rely only
upon the favor of the king. He is now lieutenant, and is on duty in
the garrison of Glatz."

"In Glatz! and you say that Trenck is a prisoner in Glatz?"

"Yes, I received letters yesterday from Schnell. He belongs to the
officers who have guard over Trenck. He writes that he feels the
profoundest pity for this young man, and that he will joyfully aid
him in every way. He asks me if I know no one who has the courage to
plead with the king in behalf of this unhappy youth."

"My God! my God! give me strength to hear all, and yet control
myself!" murmured Amelia. "Do you know the nature of his
punishment?" said she, quietly.

"No one knows positively the duration of his punishment; but the
commandant of the fort told the officers that Trenck would be a
prisoner for many years."

The princess uttered one wild cry, then pressed both hands upon her
lips and forced herself to silence.

"What is the charge against him?" she said, after a long pause.

"High treason. A treasonable correspondence has been discovered
between him and his cousin the pandour."

The princess shrugged her shoulders contemptuously. "He will soon
justify himself, in view of this pitiful charge! His judges will
acknowledge his innocence, and set him at liberty. But why is he not
already free? Why has he been condemned? Who were his judges? Did
you not say to me that he was condemned?"

"My lover wrote me that Baron Trenck had written to the king and
asked for a court-martial and trial."

"This proves his innocence; he does not fear a trial! What was the
king's answer?"

"He ordered the commandant to place Trenck in closer confinement,
and to forward no more letters from him. And now, princess, you must
act promptly; use all your power and influence, if you would save
him!"

"I have no influence, I have no power!" cried Amelia, with streaming
eyes. "Oh! you do not know my brother; his heart is of stone. No one
can move him--neither his, mother, his sisters, nor his wife; his
purpose is unchangeable, and what he says is fixed. But I will show
him that I am his sister; that the hot blood of the Hohenzollerns
flows also in my veins. I will seek him boldly; I will avow that I
love Trenck; I will demand that he give Trenck liberty, or give me
death! I will demand--"

The door was hastily opened, and a servant said, breathlessly, "The
king is coming!"

"No, he is already here," said the king, who now stood upon the
threshold of the door. "He comes to beg his little sister to
accompany him to the court-yard and see the reindeer and the
Laplanders, sent to us by the crown princess of Sweden."

The king advanced to his sister, and held out both his hands. But
Amelia did not appear to see this. She made a profound and
ceremonious bow, and murmured a few cold words of greeting. The king
frowned, and looked at her angrily. He saw that she had been
weeping, and his expression was harsh and stern.

"Come, princess!" said he imperiously.

But Amelia had now overcome her terror and her confusion. She was
resolved to act, and know the worst.

"Will your majesty grant me an audience? I have something important,
most important to myself, to say. I would speak more to the heart of
my brother than to the ear of my king. I pray your majesty to allow
me to speak with you alone."

The king's eyes were fixed upon her with a dark and threatening
expression, but she did not look down or tremble; she met his glance
firmly, even daringly, and Frederick hesitated. "She will speak the
whole truth to me," thought the king, "and I shall be forced to act
with severity against her. I cannot do this; I am not brave enough
to battle with a maiden's heart."

"Sister," said he aloud, "if you have indeed something to say to
your brother, and not to the king, I counsel you not to speak now. I
have so much to do and hear as a king, I have no time to act another
part. Is what yon have to say to me truly important? Does it relate
to a rare jewel, or a costly robe?--to some debt, which your pin-
money does not suffice to meet?--in short, to any one of those great
matters which completely fill the heart of a young maiden? If so, I
advise you to confide in our mother. If she makes your wishes known
to me, you are sure to receive no denial. It is decidedly better for
a young girl to turn to her mother with her little wishes and
mysteries. If they are innocent, her mother will ever promote them;
if they are guilty, a mother's anger will be more restrained and
milder than a brother's ever can be."

"You will not even listen to me, my brother?" said the princess,
sobbing violently.

The king threw a quick glance backward toward the door opening into
the corridor, where the cavaliers and maids of honor were assembled,
and looking curiously into the room of the princess.

"No! I will not listen to you," said he, in a low tone; "but you
shall listen to me! You shall not act a drama at my court; you shall
not give the world a cause for scandal; you shall not exhibit
yourself with red and swollen eyes; that might be misinterpreted. It
might be said that the sister of the king did not rejoice at the
return of her brother; that she was not patriot enough to feel happy
at Prussia's release from the burdens of war, not patriot enough to
despise and forget the enemies of her country! I command you to be
gay, to conceal your childish grief. A princess dare not weep, or,
if she does, it must be under the shadow of night, when God only is
with her. This is my counsel and reproof, and I beg you to lay it to
heart. I will not command you to accompany me, your eyes are red
with weeping. Remain, then, in your room, and that the time may not
pass heavily, I hand you this letter, which I have received for
you."

He drew a sealed letter from his bosom, handed it to Amelia, and
left the room.

"Let us go," said he, nodding to his courtiers; "the princess is
unwell, and cannot accompany us."

Mademoiselle von Haak hastened again to the boudoir. "Has your royal
highness spoken to the king?"

She shook her head silently, and with trembling hands tore open the
letter given her by the king. Breathlessly she fixed her eyes upon
the writing, uttered one wild shriek, and fell insensible upon the
floor. This was the last letter she had written to Trenck, and upon
the margin the king had written this one word, "Read." The king then
knew all; he had read the letter; he knew of her engagement to
Trenck, knew how she loved him, and he had no mercy. For this was he
condemned. He had given her this letter to prove to her that she had
nothing to hope; that Trenck was punished, not for high treason
against the state, but because he was the lover of the princess.

Amelia understood all. With flashing eyes, with glowing cheeks, she
exclaimed: "I will set him at liberty; he suffers because he loves
me; for my sake he languishes in a lonely prison. I will free him if
it costs me my heart's blood, drop by drop! Now, King Frederick, you
shall see that I am indeed your sister; that I have a will even like
your own. My life belongs to my beloved; if I cannot share it with
him, I will offer it up to him--I swear this; may God condemn me if
I break my oath! Trenck shall be free! that is the mission of my
life. Now, friend, come to my help; all that I am and have I offer
up. I have gold, I have diamonds, I gave an estate given me by my
father. I will sell all to liberate him; we will, if necessary,
bribe the whole garrison. But now, before all other things, I must
write to him."

"I promise he shall receive your letter," said Mademoiselle von
Haak; "I will send it to Lieutenant Schnell. I will enclose it to my
mother; no one here must know that I correspond with an officer at
the fortress of Glatz."

"No one dare know that, till the day of Trenck's liberation," said
Amelia, with a radiant smile.



CHAPTER XI.

THE UNDECEIVED.


Since the day Joseph Fredersdorf introduced Lupinus to Eckhof, an
affectionate intercourse had grown up between them. They were very
happy in each other, and Fredersdorf asserted that there was more of
love than friendship in their hearts, that Lupinus was not the
friend but the bride of Eckhof! In fact, Lupinus had but little of
the unembarrassed, frank, free manner of a young man. He was modest
and reserved, never sought Eckhof; but when the latter came to him,
his pale face colored with a soft red, and his great eyes flashed
with a wondrous glow. Eckhof could not but see how much his silent
young friend rejoiced in his presence.

He came daily to Lupinus. It strengthened and consoled him in the
midst of his nervous, restless artist-life, to look upon the calm,
peaceful face of his friend; this alone, without a word spoken,
soothed his heart--agitated by storms and passions, and made him
mild and peaceable. The quiet room, the books and papers, the
weighty folios, the shining, polished medical instruments, these
stern realities, formed a strange and strong contrast to the
dazzling, shimmering, frivolous, false life of the stage; and all
this exercised a wondrous influence upon the artiste. Eckhof came
often, weighed down with care and exhaustion, or in feverish
excitement over some new role he was studying, not to speak of his
anxieties and perplexities, but to sit silently near Lupinus and
looked calmly upon him.

"Be silent, my Lupinus," said Eckhof to him. "Let me lay my storm-
tossed, wild heart in the moonlight of thy glance; it will be warmed
and cooled at the same time. Let thy mild countenance beam upon me,
soften and heal my aching heart. Look you, when I lay my head thus
upon your shoulder, it seems to me I have escaped all trouble; that
only far away in the distance do I hear the noise and tumult of the
restless, busy world; and I hear the voice of my mother, even as I
heard it in my childish days, whispering of God, of paradise, and
the angels. Still, still, friend, let me dream thus upon your
shoulder."

He closed his eyes in silence, and did not see the fond and tender
expression with which Lupinus looked down upon him. He did not feel
how violently the young heart beat, how quick the hot breath came.

At other times it was a consolation to Eckhof to relate, in
passionate and eloquent words, all his sorrows and disappointments;
all the strifes and contests; all his scorn over the intrigues and
cabals which then, as now, were the necessary attendants of a stage-
life. Lupinus listened till this wild cataract of rage had ceased to
foam, and he might hope that his soft and loving words of
consolation could find an entrance into Eckhof's heart.

Months went by, and Lupinus, faithful to the promise given to
Eckhof, was still the thoughtful, diligent student; he sat ever in
quiet meditation upon the bench of the auditory, and listened to the
learned dissertations of the professors, and studied the secrets of
science in his lonely room.

But this time of trial was soon to be at an end. Eckhof agreed, that
after Lupinus had passed his examination, he should decide for
himself if he would abandon the glittering career of science for the
rough and stormy path of artist-life. In the next few days this
important event was to take place, and Lupinus would publicly and
solemnly receive his diploma.

Lupinus thought but little of this. He knew that the events of that
day must exercise an important influence upon his future, upon the
happiness or unhappiness of his whole life.

The day before the examination Lupinus was alone in his room. He
said to himself, "If the faculty give me my diploma, I will show
myself in my true form to Eckhof. I will step suddenly before him,
and in his surprise I will see if his friend Lupinus is more welcome
as--"

He did not complete the sentence, but blushing crimson at his own
thoughts, he turned away and took refuge in his books; but the
excitement and agitation of his soul were stronger than his will;
the letters danced and glimmered before his eyes; his heart beat
joyfully and stormily; and his soul, borne aloft on bold wings,
could no longer be held down to the dusty and dreary writing-desk;
he sprang up, threw the book aside, and hastened to the adjoining
room. No other foot had ever crossed the threshold of this still,
small room; it was always closed against the most faithful of his
friends.

Besides, this little bedroom concealed a mystery--a mystery which
would have excited the merriment of Fredersdorf and the wild
amazement of Eckhof. On the bed lay a vestment which seemed utterly
unsuited to the toilet of a young man; it was indeed a woman's
dress, a glistening white satin, such as young, fair brides wear on
their wedding-day. There, upon the table lay small white, satin
shoes, perfumed, embroidered pocket-handkerchiefs, ribbons, and
flowers. What did this signify? what meant this feminine boudoir,
next to the study of a young man? Was the beloved whom he wished to
adorn with this bridal attire concealed there? or, was this only a
costume in which he would play his first role as an actor?

Lupinus gazed upon all these costly things with a glad and happy
heart, and as he raised the satin robe and danced smilingly to the
great mirror, nothing of the grave, earnest, dignified scholar was
to be seen in his mien; suddenly he paused, and stood breathlessly
listening. It seemed to him some one knocked lightly on the outer
door, then again louder.

"That is Eckhof," whispered Lupinus. He left the mysterious little
room, hastily closed the door, and placed the key in his bosom, then
opened the outer door.

Yes, it was Eckhof. He entered with a beaming face, with a gay and
happy smile. Lupinus had never seen him so joyous. He clasped his
young friend so ardently in his arms, that he could scarcely
breathe; he pressed so glowing a kiss upon his cheek, that Lupinus
trembled, and was overcome by his own emotion.

"See, Lupinus, how much I love you!" said Eckhof. "I come first to
you, that you may sympathize with me in my great joy. Almost
oppressed by the sense of heavenly bliss, which seemed in starry
splendor to overshadow me, I thought, 'I must go to Lupinus; he
alone will understand me.' I am here to say to you, 'Rejoice with
me, for I am happy.' I ran like a madman through the streets. Oh!
friend, you have not seen my sorrow; I have concealed the anguish of
my soul. I loved you boundlessly, and I would not fill your young,
pure soul with sadness. But you dared look upon my rapture; you, my
most faithful, best-beloved friend, shall share my joy."

"Tell me, then, at once, what makes you happy?" said Lupinus, with
trembling lips, and with the pallor of death from excitement and
apprehension.

"And you ask, my innocent and modest child," said Eckhof, laughing.
"You do not yet know that love alone makes a man wretched or
infinitely happy. I was despairing because I did not know if I was
beloved, and this uncertainty made a madman of me."

"And now?" said Lupinus.

"And now I am supremely happy--she loves me; she has confessed it
this day. Oh! my friend, I almost tore this sweet, this heavenly
secret from her heart. I threatened her, I almost cursed her. I lay
at her feet, uttering wild words of rebuke and bitter reproach. I
was mad with passion; resolved to slay myself, if she did not then
and there disclose to me either her love or her contempt. I dared
all, to win all. She stood pallid and trembling before me, and, as I
railed at her, she extended her arms humbly and pleadingly toward
me. Oh! she was fair and beautiful as a pardoning angel, with these
glistening tears in her wondrous, dreamy eyes, fair and beautiful as
a houri of Paradise; when at last, carried away by her own heart,
she bowed down and confessed that she loved me; that she would be
mine--mine, in spite of her distinguished birth, in spite of all the
thousand obstacles which interposed. One wild day I exclaimed, 'Oh!
my God, my God! I am set apart to be an artiste; thou hast
consecrated me by misfortune.' To-day, I feel that only when I am
truly happy can I truly create. From this day alone will I truly be
an artiste. I have now received the heavenly consecration of
happiness."

Eckhof looked down upon his young friend. When he gazed upon the
fair and ashy countenance, the glassy eyes staring without
expression in the distance, the blue lips convulsively pressed
together, he became suddenly silent.

"Lupinus, you are ill! you suffer!" he said, opening his arms and
trying to clasp his friend once more to his breast. But the touch of
his hand made Lupinus tremble, and awakened him from his trance. One
wild shriek rang from his bosom, a stream of tears gushed from his
eyes, and he sank almost insensible to the floor.

"My friend, my beloved friend!" cried Eckhof, "you suffer, and are
silent. What is it that overpowers you? What is this great grief?
Why do you weep? Let me share and alleviate your sorrow."

"No, no!" cried Lupinus, rising, "I do not suffer; I have no pain,
no cause of sorrow. Do not touch me; your lightest touch wounds! Go,
go! leave me alone!""

"You love me not, then?" said Eckhof. "You suffer, and will not
confide in me? you weep bitterly, and command me to leave you?"

"And he thinks that I do not love him," murmured Lupinus, with a
weary smile. "My God! whom, then, do I love?"

"If your friendship for me were true and genuine, you would trust
me," said Eckhof. "I have made you share in my happiness, and I
demand the holy right of sharing your grief."

Lupinus did not reply. Eckhof lifted him gently in his arms, and
laying him upon the sofa, took a seat near him.

He laid his arms around him, placed his head upon his bosom, and in
a soft, melodious voice, whispered words of comfort, encouragement,
and love. The young man trembled convulsively, and wept without
restraint.

Suddenly he raised himself; the agony was over; his lips slightly
trembled, but he pressed them together; his eyes were full of tears,
but he shook his head proudly, and dashed them from him.

"It is past, all past! my dream has dispersed. I am awake once
more!"

"And now, Lupinus, you will tell me all?"

"No, not now, but to-morrow. To-morrow you shall know all.
Therefore, go, my friend, and leave me alone. Go to her you love,
gaze in her eyes, and see in them a starry heaven; then think of me,
whose star is quenched, who is bowed down under a heavy load of
affliction. Go! go! if you love me, go at once!"

"I love you, therefore I obey you, but my heart is heavy for you,
and my own happiness is clouded. But I go; to-morrow you will tell
me all?"

"To-morrow."

"But when, when do we meet again?"

"To-morrow, at ten, we will see each other. At that time I am to
receive my diploma. I pray you, bring Fredersdorf with you."

"So be it; to-morrow, at ten, in the university. Till then,
farewell."

"Farewell."

They clasped hands, looked deep into each other's eyes, and took a
silent leave. Lupinus stood in the middle of the room and gazed
after Eckhof till he had reached the threshold, then rushed forward,
threw himself upon his neck, clasped him in his arms, and murmured,
in a voice choked with tears: "Farewell, farewell! Think of me,
Eckhof! think that no woman has ever loved you as I have loved you!
God bless you! God bless you, my beloved!"

One last glowing kiss, one last earnest look, and he pushed him
forward and closed the door; then with a wild cry sank upon the
floor.

How long he lay there, how long he wept, prayed, and despaired, he
knew not himself. The hours of anguish drag slowly and drearily; the
moments given to weeping seem to stretch out to eternity. Suddenly
he heard heavy steps upon the stairs; he recognized them, and knew
what they signified. The door opened, and two men entered: the first
with a proud, imposing form, with gray hair, and stern, strongly-
marked features; the other, a young man, pale and delicate, with a
mild and soft countenance.

The old man looked at Lupinus with a frowning brow and angry glance;
the other greeted him with a sweet smile, and his clear blue eye
rested upon him with an expression of undying love.

"My father!" said Lupinus, hastening forward to throw himself into
his arms; but he waved him back, and his look was darker, sterner.

"We have received your letter, and therefore are we here to-day. We
hope and believe it was written in fever or in madness. If we are
mistaken in this, you shall repeat to us what was written in that
letter, which I tore and trampled under my feet. Speak, then! we
came to listen."

"Not so," said the young man, "recover yourself first; consider your
words; reflect that they will decide the question of your own
happiness, of your father's, and of mine. Be firm and sure in your
determination. Let no thought of others, no secondary consideration
influence you. Think only of your own happiness, and endeavor to
build it upon a sure foundation."

Lupinus shook his head sadly. "I have no happiness, I expect none."

"What was written in that letter?" said the old Lupinus sternly.

"That I had been faithful to my oath, and betrayed the secret I
promised you to guard, to no one; that to-morrow I would receive my
diploma; that you had promised, when I had accomplished this I
should be free to choose my own future, and to confess my secret."

"Was that all the letter contained?"

"No--that I had resolved to choose a new career, resolved to leave
the old paths, to break away from the past, and begin a new life at
Eckhof's side."  "My child at the side of a comedian!" cried the old
doctor contemptuously. "Yes, I remember that was written, but I
believed it not, and therefore have I come. Was your letter true?
Did you write the truth to Ervelman?"

Lupinus cast his eyes down, and gave his hand to his father. "No,"
said he, "it was not true; it was a fantasy of fever. It is past,
and I have recovered. To-morrow, after I receive my diploma, I will
accompany you home, and you, friend, will go with us."

The next day the students rushed in crowds to the university to
listen to the discourse of the learned and worthy Herr Lupinus. Not
only the students and the professors, but many other persons, were
assembled in the hall to honor the young man, of whom the professors
said that he was not only a model of scholarship, but of modesty and
virtue. Even actors were seen to grace the holy halls of science on
this occasion, and the students laughed with delight and cried
"Bravo!" as they recognized near Fredersdorf the noble and sharp
profile of Eckhof. They had often rushed madly to thee theatre; why
should he not sometimes honor the university?

But Eckhof was indifferent to the joyful greeting of the students;
he gazed steadily toward the door, through which his young friend
must enter the hall; and now, as the hour struck, he stooped over
Fredersdorf and seized his hand.

"Friend," said he, "a wondrous anxiety oppresses me. It seems to me
I am in the presence of a sphinx, who is in the act of solving a
great mystery! I am a coward, and would take refuge in flight, but
curiosity binds me to my seat."

"You promised poor Lupinus to be here," said Fredersdorf, earnestly.
"It is, perhaps, the last friendly service you can ever show him--
Ah! there he is."

A cry of surprise burst from the lips of all. There, in the open
door, stood, not the student Lupinus, but a young maiden, in a white
satin robe-a young maiden with the pale, thoughtful, gentle face of
Lupinus. A man stood on each side of her, and she leaned upon the
arm of one of them, as if for support, as they walked slowly through
the room. Her large eyes wandered questioningly and anxiously over
the audience; and now, her glance met Eckhof's, and a deadly pallor
covered her face. She tried to smile, and bowed her head in
greeting.

"This is the secret from which I wished to fly," murmured Eckhof. "I
guessed it yesterday."

"I knew it long since," said Fredersdorf, sadly; "it was my most
beautiful and cherished dream that your hearts should find and love
each other. Have I not often told you that Lupinus was not your
friend, but your bride; that no woman would ever love you as he did?
You would not understand me. Your heart was of stone, and her
happiness has been crushed by it."

"Poor, unhappy girl!" sighed Eckhof, and tears ran slowly down his
cheeks. "I have acted the part of a barbarian toward you! Yesterday
with smiling lips I pressed a dagger in her heart; she did not
curse, but blessed me!"

"Listen! she speaks!"

It was the maiden's father who spoke. In simple phrase he asked
forgiveness of the Faculty, for having dared to send them a
daughter, in place of a son. But it had been his cherished wish to
prove that only the arrogance and prejudice of men had banished
women from the universities. Heaven had denied him a son. He had
soon discovered that his daughter was rarely endowed; he determined
to educate her as a son, and thus repair the loss fate had prepared
for him. His daughter entered readily into his plans, and solemnly
swore to guard her secret until she had completed her studies. She
had fulfilled this promise, and now stood here to ask the Faculty if
they would grant a woman a diploma.

The professors spoke awhile with each other, and then announced to
the audience that Lupinus had been the most industrious and
promising of all their students; the pride and favorite of all the
professors. The announcement that she was a woman would make no
change in her merit or their intentions; that the maiden LUPINA
would be received by them with as much joy and satisfaction as the
youth LUPINUS would have been. The disputation might now begin.

A murmur of applause was heard from the benches, and now the clear,
soft, but slightly trembling voice of the young girl commenced to
read. How strangely did the heavy, pompous Latin words contrast with
the slight, fairy form of the youthful girl! She stood adorned like
a bride, in satin array; not like a bride of earth, inspired by
love, but a bride of heaven, in the act of laying down before God's
altar all her earthly hopes and passions! She felt thus. She
dedicated herself to a joyless and unselfish existence at the altar
of science; she would not lead an idle, useless, musing, cloister-
life. With a holy oath she swore to serve her race; to soothe the
pain of those who suffered; to stand by the sick-beds of women and
children; to give that love to suffering, weeping humanity which she
had once consecrated to one alone, and which had come home, like a
bleeding dove, with broken wings, powerless and hopeless!

The disputation was at an end. The deacon declared the maiden,
Dorothea Christine Lupinus, a doctor. The students uttered wild
applause, and the professors drew near the old Lupinus, to
congratulate him, and to renew the acquaintance of former days.

The fair young Bride of Arts thought not of this. She looked toward
Eckhof; their glances were rooted in each other firmly but
tearlessly. She waved to him with her hand, and obedient to her wish
he advanced to the door, then turned once more; their eyes met, and
she had the courage to look softly upon the friend of her youth,
Ervelman, who had accompanied her father, and say:

"I will fulfil my father's vow--I will be a faithful wife. Look,
you, Ervelman, the star has gone out which blinded my eyes, and now
I see again clearly." She pointed, with a trembling hand, to Eckhof,
who was disappearing.

"Friend," said Eckhof, to Fredersdorf, "if the gods truly demand a
great sacrifice as a propitiation, I think I have offered one this
day. I have cast my Polycrates' ring into the sea, and a part of my
heart's blood was cleaving to it. May fate be reconciled, and grant
me the happiness this pale and lovely maiden has consecrated with
her tears. Farewell, Christine, farewell! Our paths in life are
widely separated. Who knows, perhaps we will meet again in heaven?
You belong to the saints, and I am a poor comedian, who makes a
false show throughout a wild, tumultuous life, with some pompous
shreds and tatters of art and beauty, to whom, perhaps, the angels
in heaven will deny a place, even as the priests on earth deny him a
grave." [Footnote: Eckhof lived to awake respect and love for the
national theatre throughout all Germany. He had his own theatre in
Gotha, where he was born, and where he died in 1778. He performed
the double service of exalting the German stage, and obtaining for
the actors consideration and respect.]



CHAPTER XII.

TRENCK'S FIRST FLIGHT.


"This is, then, the day of his liberation?" said Princess Amelia to
her confidante, Mademoiselle von Haak. "To-day, after five months of
torture, he will again be free, will again enjoy life and liberty.
And to me, happy princess, will he owe all these blessings; to me,
whom God has permitted to survive all these torments, that I might
be the means of effecting his deliverance, for, without doubt, our
work will succeed, will it not?"

"Undoubtedly," said Ernestine von Haak; "we shall and must succeed."

"Let us reconsider the whole plan, if only to enliven the tedious
hours with pleasant thought. When the commandant of the prison,
Major von Doo, pays the customary Sunday-morning visit to Trenck's
cell, and while he is carefully examining every nook to assure
himself that the captive nobleman has not been endeavoring to make a
pathway to liberty, Trenck will suddenly overpower him, deprive him
of his sword, and rush past him out of the cell. At the door he will
be met by the soldier Nicolai, who is in our confidence, and will
not seem to notice his escape. Once over the palisades, he will find
a horse, which we have placed in readiness. Concealed by the
military cloak thrown over him, and armed with the pistols with
which his saddle-holsters have been furnished, he will fly on the
wings of the wind toward Bohemia. Near the border, at the village of
Lonnschutz, a second horse will await him. He will mount and hurry
on until the boundary and liberty are obtained. All seems so safe,
Ernestine, so easy of execution, that I can scarcely believe in the
possibility of a failure."

"It will not fail," said Ernestine von Haak. "Our scheme is good,
and will be ably assisted--it must succeed."

"Provided he find the places where the horses stand concealed."

"These he cannot fail to find. They are accurately designated in a
little note which my lover, when he has charge of the prison-yard,
will contrive to convey to him. Schnell's known fidelity vouches for
the horses being in readiness. As your royal highness was not
willing that we should enlist accomplices among the soldiers, the
only question that need give us uneasiness is this: Will Trenck be
able to overcome unaided all obstacles within the fortifications?"

"No," said Amelia, proudly; "Trenck shall be liberated, but I will
not corrupt my brother's soldiers. To do the first, is my right and
my duty, for I love Trenck. Should I do the second, I would be
guilty of high treason to my king, and this even love could not
excuse. Only to himself and to me shall Trenck owe his freedom. Our
only allies shall be my means and his own strength. He has the
courage of a hero and the strength of a giant. He will force his way
through his enemies like Briareus; they will fall before him like
grain before the reaper. If he cannot kill them all with his sword,
he will annihilate them with the lightning of his glances, for a
heavenly power dwells in his eyes. Moreover, your lover writes that
he is beloved by the officers of the garrison, that all the soldiers
sympathize with him. It is well that it is not necessary to bribe
them with miserable dross; Trenck has already bribed them with his
youth and manly beauty, his misfortunes and his amiability. He will
find no opposition; no one will dispute his passage to liberty."

"God grant that it may be as your highness predicts!" said
Ernestine, with a sigh.

"Four days of uncertainty are still before us--would that they had
passed!" exclaimed Princess Amelia. "I have no doubts of his safety,
but I fear I shall not survive these four days of anxiety.
Impatience will destroy me. I had the courage to endure misery, but
I feel already that the expectation of happiness tortures me. God
grant, at least, that his freedom is secured!"

"Never speak of dying with the rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes your
highness has to-day," said Mademoiselle von Haak, with a smile.
"Your increasing pallor, caused no doubt by your grief, has given me
much pain. I am no longer uneasy, however, for you have recovered
health and strength, now that you are again hopeful. As for the four
days of expectancy, we will kill them with merry laughter, gayety,
and dancing. Does not the queen give a ball to-day? is there not a
masquerade at the opera to-morrow? For the last five months your
highness has taken part in these festivities because you were
compelled; you will now do so of your own accord. You will no longer
dance because the king commands, but because you are young, happy,
and full of hope for the future. On the first and second day you
will dance and fatigue yourself so much, that you will have the
happiness of sleeping a great deal on the third. The fourth day will
dawn upon your weary eyes, and whisper in your ear that Trenck is
free, and that it is you who have given him his freedom."

"Yes, let us be gay, let us laugh, dance, and be merry," exclaimed
Princess Amelia. "My brother shall be satisfied with me; he need no
longer regard me in so gloomy and threatening a manner; I will laugh
and jest, I will adorn myself, and surpass all the ladies with the
magnificence of my attire and my sparkling eyes. Come, Ernestine,
come. We will arrange my toilet for this evening. It shall be
magnificent. I will wear flowers in my hair and flowers on my
breast, but no pearls. Pearls signify tears, and I will weep no
more."

Joyously she danced through the room, drawing her friend to the
boudoir; joyously she passed the three following days of
expectation; joyously she closed her eyes on the evening of the
third day, to see, in her dreams, her lover kneeling at her feet,
thanking her for his liberty, and vowing eternal fidelity and
gratitude.

Amelia greeted the fourth day with a happy smile, never doubting but
that it would bring her glad tidings. But hours passed away, and
still Mademoiselle von Haak did not appear. Amelia had said to her:
"I do not wish to see you to-morrow until you can bring me good
news. This will, however, be in your power at an early hour, and you
shall flutter into my chamber with these tidings, like the dove with
the olive-branch."

Mademoiselle von Haak has still not yet arrived. But now the door
opens--she is there, but her face is pale, her eyes tearful; and
this pale lady in black, whose noble and beautiful features recall
to Amelia such charming and delightful remembrances--who is she?
What brings her here? Why does she hurry forward to the princess
with streaming eyes? Why does she kneel, raise her hands
imploringly, and whisper, "Mercy, Princess Amelia, mercy!"

Amelia rises from her seat, pale and trembling, gazes with widely
extended eyes at the kneeling figure, and, almost speechless with
terror, asks in low tones, "Who are you, madame? What do you desire
of me?"

The pale woman at her feet cries in heart-rending accents, "I am the
mother of the unfortunate Frederick von Trenck, and I come to
implore mercy at the hands of your royal highness. My son attempted
to escape, but God did not favor his undertaking. He was overtaken
by misfortune, after having overcome almost all obstacles, when
nothing but the palisades separated him from liberty and safety; he
was attacked by his pursuers, disarmed, and carried back to prison,
wounded and bleeding." [Footnote: Trenck's Biography, i., 80.]

Amelia uttered a cry of horror, and fell back on her seat pale and
breathless, almost senseless. Mademoiselle von Haak took her gently
in her arms, and, amid her tears, whispered words of consolation, of
sympathy, and of hope. But Amelia scarcely heeded her; she looked
down vacantly upon the pallid, weeping woman who still knelt at her
feet.

"Have mercy, princess, have mercy! You alone can assist me;
therefore have I come to you; therefore have I entreated
Mademoiselle von Haak with tears until she could no longer refuse to
conduct me to your presence. Regardless, at last, of etiquette and
ceremony, she permitted me to fall at your feet, and to cry to you
for help. You are an angel of goodness and mercy; pity an
unfortunate mother, who wishes to save her son!"

"And you believe that I can do this?" said Amelia, breathlessly.

"You alone, royal highness, have the power to save my son's life!"

"Tell me by what means, countess, and I will save him, if it costs
my heart's blood."

"Conduct me to the king. That is all that I require of you. He has
not yet been informed of my son's unfortunate attempt. I must be the
first to bring him this intelligence. I will confess that it was I
who assisted my son in this attempt, who bribed the non-commissioned
officer, Nicolai, with flattery and tears, with gold and promises;
that it was I who placed the horses and loaded pistols in readiness
beyond the outer palisade; that I sent my son the thousand ducats
which were found on his person; that I wrote him the letter
containing vows of eternal love and fidelity. The king will pardon a
mother who, in endeavoring to liberate her son, left no means of
success untried."

"You are a noble, a generous woman!" exclaimed the princess, with
enthusiasm. "You are worthy to be Trenck's mother! You say that I
must save him, and you have come to save me! But I will not accept
this sacrifice; I will not be cowardly and timidly silent, when you
have the courage to speak. Let the king know all; let him know that
Trenck was not the son, but the lover of her who endeavored to give
him his freedom, and that--"

"If you would save him, be silent! The king can be merciful when it
was the mother who attempted to liberate the son; he will be
inexorable if another has made this mad attempt; and, above all, if
he cannot punish the transgressor, my son's punishment will be
doubled."

"Listen to her words, princess, adopt her counsel," whispered the
weeping Ernestine. "Preserve yourself for the unfortunate Trenck;
protect his friends by your silence, and we may still hope to form a
better and happier plan of escape."

"Be it so," said the princess with a sigh. "I will bring him this
additional sacrifice. I will be silent. God knows that I would
willingly lay down my life for him. I would find this easier than to
veil my love in cowardly silence. Come, I will conduct you to the
king."

"But I have not yet told your royal highness that the king is in his
library, and has ordered that no one should be admitted to his
presence."

"I will be admitted. I will conduct you through the private corridor
and the king's apartments, and not by the way of the grand
antechamber. Come."

She seized the countess's hand and led her away.

The king was alone in his library, sitting at a table covered with
books and papers, busily engaged in writing. From time to time he
paused, and thoughtfully regarded what he had written. "I have
commenced a new work, which it is to be hoped will be as great a
success in the field of science as several that I have achieved with
the sword on another field. I know my wish and my aim; I have
undertaken a truly noble task. I will write the history of my times,
not in the form of memoirs, nor as a commentary, but as a free,
independent, and impartial history. I will describe the decline of
Europe, and will endeavor to portray the follies and weaknesses of
her rulers. [Footnote: The king's own words. "OEuvres posthumes:
Correspondance avec Voltaire."] My respected colleagues, the kings
and princes, have provided me with rich materials for a ludicrous
picture. To do this work justice, the pencil of a Hollenbreughel and
the pen of a Thucydides were desirable. Ah! glory is so piquant a
dish, that the more we indulge, the more we thirst after its
enjoyment. Why am I not satisfied with being called a good general?
why do I long for the honor of being crowned in the capitol? Well,
it certainly will not be his holiness the pope who crowns me or
elevates me to the rank of a saint--truly, I am not envious of such
titles. I shall be contented if posterity shall call me a good
prince, a brave soldier, and a good lawgiver, and forgives me for
having sometimes mounted the Pegasus instead of the war horse."

With a merry smile, the king now resumed his writing. The door which
communicated with his apartments was opened softly, and Princess
Amelia, her countenance pale and sorrowful, looked searchingly into
the room. Seeing that the king was still writing, she knocked
gently. The king turned hastily and angrily.

"Did I not say that I desired to be alone?" said he, indignantly.
Perceiving his sister, he now arose, an expression of anxiety
pervading his countenance. "Ah, my sister! your sad face proclaims
you the bearer of bad news," said he; "and very important it must
have been to bring you unannounced to my presence."

"My brother, misfortune has always the privilege of coming
unannounced to the presence of princes, to implore pity and mercy at
their hands. I claim this holy privilege for the unfortunate lady
who has prayed for my intercession in her behalf. Sire, will you
graciously accord her an audience?"

"Who is she?" asked the king, discontentedly,

"Sire, it is the Countess Lostange," said Amelia, in a scarcely
audible voice.

"The mother of the rebellious Lieutenant von Trenck!" exclaimed the
king, in an almost threatening tone, his eyes flashing angrily.

"Yes, it is the mother of the unfortunate Von Trenck who implores
mercy of your majesty!" exclaimed the countess, falling on her knees
at the threshold of the door.

The king recoiled a step, and his eye grew darker. "Really, you
obtain your audiences in a daring manner--you conquer them, and make
the princess your herald."

"Sire, I was refused admission. In the anguish of my heart, I turned
to the princess, who was generous enough to incur the displeasure of
her royal brother for my sake."

"And was that which you had to say really so urgent?"

"Sire, for five months has my son been languishing in prison, and
you ask if there is an urgent necessity for his mother's appeal. My
son has incurred your majesty's displeasure; why, I know not. He is
a prisoner, and stands accused of I know not what. Be merciful--let
me know his crime, that I may endeavor to atone for it."

"Madame, a mother is not responsible for her son; a woman cannot
atone for a man's crimes. Leave your son to his destiny; it may be a
brighter one at some future day, if he is wise and prudent, and
heeds the warning which is now knocking at his benighted heart." At
these words, the king's glance rested for a moment on the
countenance of the princess, as if this warning had also been
intended for her.

"It is, then, your majesty's intention to cheer a mother's heart
with hope? My son will not be long a captive. You will pardon him
for this crime of which I have no knowledge, and which you do not
feel inclined to mention."

"Shall I make it known to you, madame?" said the king, with
severity. "He carried on an imprudent and treasonable
correspondence, and if tried by court-martial, would be found guilty
of high treason. But, in consideration of his youth, and several
extenuating circumstances with which I alone am acquainted, I will
be lenient with him. Be satisfied with this assurance: in a year
your son will be free; and when solitude has brought him to
reflection, and the consciousness of his crime, when he is more
humble and wiser, I will again be a gracious king to him. [Footnote:
Trenck's Memoirs, i., 82.] Write this to your son, madame, and
receive my best wishes for yourself."

"Oh, sire, you do not yet know all. I have another confession to
make, and--"

A light knock at the door communicating with the antechamber
interrupted her, and a voice from the outside exclaimed: "Sire, a
courier with important dispatches from Silesia."

"Retire to the adjoining apartment, and wait there," said the king,
turning to his sister.

Both ladies left the room.

"Dispatches from Silesia," whispered the countess. "The king will
now learn all, I fear."

"Well, if he does," said the princess, almost defiantly, "we are
here to save him, and we will save him."

A short time elapsed; then the door was violently thrown open, and
the king appeared on the threshold, his eyes flashing with anger.

"Madame," said he, pointing to the papers which he held in his hand,
"from these papers I have undoubtedly learned what it was your
intention to have communicated to me. Your son has attempted to
escape from prison like a cowardly criminal, a malefactor weighed
down with guilt. In this attempt he has killed and wounded soldiers,
disarmed the governor of the fortress, and, in his insolent frenzy,
has endeavored to scale the palisades in broad daylight. Madame,
nothing but the consciousness of his own guilt could have induced
him to attempt so daring a flight, and he must have had criminal
accomplices who advised him to this step--accomplices who bribed the
sentinel on duty before his door; who secretly conveyed money to
him, and held horses in readiness for his flight. Woe to them if I
should ever discover the criminals who treasonably induced my
soldiers and officers to break their oath of fidelity!"

"I, your majesty, I was this criminal," said the countess. "A mother
may well dare to achieve the freedom of her son at any price. It is
her privilege to defend him with any weapon. I bribed the soldiers,
placed the horses in readiness, and conveyed money to my son. It was
Trenck's mother who endeavored to liberate him."

"And you have only brought him to greater, to more hopeless misery!
For now, madame, there can be no mercy. The fugitive, the deserter,
has forfeited the favor of his king. Shame, misery, and perpetual
captivity will henceforth be his portion. This is my determination.
Hope for no mercy. The articles of war condemn the deserter to
death. I will give him his life, but freedom I cannot give him, for
I now know that he would abuse it. Farewell."

"Mercy! mercy for my son!" sobbed the countess. "He is so young! he
has a long life before him."

"A life of remorse and repentance," said the king with severity. "I
will accord him no other. Go!"

He was on the point of reentering the library. A hand was laid on
his shoulder; he turned and saw the pale countenance of his sister.

"My brother," said the princess, in a firm voice, "permit me to
speak with you alone for a moment. Proceed, I will follow you."

Her bearing was proud, almost dictatorial. Her sternly tranquil
manner, her clear and earnest brow, showed plainly that she had
formed an heroic determination. She was no longer the young girl,
timidly praying for her lover; she was the fearless woman,
determined to defend him, or die for him. The king read this in her
countenance, it was plainly indicated in her royal bearing; and with
the reverence and consideration which great spirits ever accord to
misfortune, he did homage to this woman toward whom he was so
strongly drawn by sympathy and pity.

"Come, my sister, come," said he, offering his hand.

Amelia did not take his hand; by his side she walked into the
library, and softly locked the door behind her. One moment she
rested against the wall, as if to gather strength. The king hastily
crossed the room, and looked out at the window. Hearing the rustle
of her dress behind him, he turned and advanced toward the princess.
She regarded him fixedly with cold and tearless eyes.

"Is it sufficient if I promise never to see him again?" said she.

"The promise is superfluous, for I will make a future meeting
impossible."

She inclined her head slightly, as if this answer had been expected.

"Is it enough if I swear never to write to him again, nevermore to
give him a token of my love?"

"I would not believe this oath. If I set him at liberty he would
compromise you and your family, by boasting of a love which yielded
to circumstances and necessity only, and not to reason and
indifference. I will make you no reproaches at present, for I think
your conscience is doing that for me. But this much I will say: I
will not set him at liberty until he no longer believes in your
love."

"Will you liberate him if I rob him of this belief? If I hurl the
broken bond of my promised faith in his face? If I tell him that
fear and cowardice have extinguished my love, and that I bid him
farewell forever?"

"Write him this, and I promise you that he shall be free in a few
months; but, understand me well, free to go where he will, but
banished from my kingdom."

"Shall I write at once?" said she with an expression of utter
indifference, and with icy tranquillity.

"Write; you will find all that is necessary on my escritoire."

She walked composedly to the table and seated herself. When she
commenced writing, a deathly pallor came over her face; her breath
came and went hurriedly and painfully. The king stood near,
regarding her with an expression of deep solicitude.

"Have you finished?" said he, as she pushed the paper aside on which
she had been writing.

"No," said she calmly, "it was only a tear that had fallen on the
paper. I must begin again." And with perfect composure she took
another sheet of paper, and began writing anew.

The king turned away with a sigh. He felt that if he longer regarded
this pale, resigned face, he would lose sight of reason and duty,
and restore to her her lover. He again advanced to the window, and
looked thoughtfully out at the sky. "Is it possible? can it be?" he
asked himself. "May I forget my duties as head of my family, and
only remember that she is my sister, and that she is suffering and
weeping? Must we then all pay for this empty grandeur, this frippery
of earthly magnificence, with our heart's blood and our best hopes?
And if I now deprive her of her dreams of happiness, what
compensation can I offer? With what can I replace her hopes, her
love, the happiness of her youth? At the best, with a little earthly
splendor, with the purple and the crown, and eventually, perhaps,
with my love. Yes, I will love her truly and cordially; she shall
forgive the brother for the king's harshness; she shall--"

"I have finished," said the sad voice of his sister.

The king turned from the window; Amelia stood at the escritoire,
holding the paper on which she had been writing in one hand, and
sustaining herself by the table with the other.

"Read what you have written," said the king, approaching her.

The princess bowed her head and read:

"I pity you, but your misfortune is irremediable; and I cannot and
will not attempt to alleviate it, for fear of compromising myself.
This is, therefore, my last letter--I can risk nothing more for you.
Do not attempt to write to me, for I should return your letter
unopened. Our separation must be forever, but I will always remain
your friend; and if I can ever serve you hereafter, I will do so
gladly. Farewell, unhappy friend, you deserve a better fate."
[Footnote: Trenck's Memoirs, i., 86.]

"That is all?" said the king, as his sister ceased reading.

"That is all, sire."

"And you imagine that he will no longer believe in your love, when
he receives this letter?" said the king, with a sad smile.

"I am sure he will not, for I tell him in this letter that I will
risk nothing more for him; that I will not even attempt to alleviate
his misery. Only when one is cowardly enough to sacrifice love to
selfish fears, could one do this. I shall have purchased his liberty
with his contempt."

"What would you have written if you had been permitted to follow the
promptings of your heart?"

A rosy hue flitted over her countenance, and love beamed in her
eyes. "I would have written, 'Believe in me, trust in me! For
henceforth the one aim of my life will be to liberate you. Let me
die when I have attained this aim, but die in the consciousness of
having saved you, and of having been true to my love.'"

"You would have written that?"

"I would have written that," said she, proudly and joyfully. "And
the truth of that letter he would not have doubted."

"Oh, woman's heart! inexhaustible source of love and devotion!"
murmured the king, turning away to conceal his emotion from his
sister.

"Is this letter sufficient?" demanded the princess. "Shall Trenck be
free?"

"I have promised it, and will keep my word. Fold the letter and
direct it. It shall be forwarded at once."

"And when will he be free?"

"I cannot set him at liberty immediately. It would be setting my
officers a bad example. But in three months he shall be free."

"In three months, then. Here is the letter, sire."

The king took the letter and placed it in his bosom.

"And now, my sister, come to my heart," said he, holding out his
arms. "The king was angry with you, the brother will weep with you.
Come, Amelia, come to your brother's heart."

Amelia did not throw herself in his arms; she stood still, and
seemed not to have heard, not to have understood his words.

"I pray that your majesty will allow me to retire," said she. "I
think we have finished--we have to other business to transact."

"Oh! my sister," said Frederick, mournfully, "think of what you are
doing; do not harden your heart against me. Believe me, I suffer
with you; and if the only question were the sacrifice of my personal
wishes, I would gladly yield. But I must consider my ancestors, the
history of my house, and the prejudices of the world. Amelia, I
cannot, I dare not do otherwise. Forgive me, my sister. And now,
once more, let us hold firmly to each other in love and trust. Let
me fold you to my heart."

He advanced and extended his hand, but his sister slowly recoiled.

"Allow me to remind your majesty that a poor unhappy woman is
awaiting a word of consolation in the next room, and that this woman
is Trenck's mother. She, at least, will be happy when I inform her
that her son will soon be free. Permit me, therefore, sire, to take
my leave, and bear her this good news."

She bowed formally and profoundly, and walked slowly across the
room. The king no longer endeavored to hold her back. He followed
her with a mournful, questioning glance, still hoping that she would
turn and seek a reconciliation. She reached the door, now she
turned. The king stepped forward rapidly, hut Princess Amelia bowed
ceremoniously and disappeared.

"Lost! I have lost her," sighed the king. "Oh, my God! must I then
part from all that I love? Was it not enough to lose my friends by
death? will cruel fate also rob me of a loved and living sister? Ah!
I am a poor, a wretched man, and yet they call me a king."

Frederick slowly seated himself, and covered his face with his
hands. He remained in this position for a long time, his sighs being
the only interruption to the silence which reigned in the apartment.

"Work! I will work," said he proudly. "This is at least a
consolation, and teaches forgetfulness."

He walked hurriedly to his escritoire, seated himself, and regarded
the manuscripts and papers which lay before him. He took up one of
the manuscripts and began to read, but with an impatient gesture he
soon laid it aside.

"The letters swim before my eyes in inextricable confusion. My God,
how hard it is to do one's duty!"

He rested his head on his hand, and was lost in thought for a long
time. Gradually his expression brightened, and a wondrous light
beamed in his eyes.

"Yes," said he, with a smile, "yes, so it shall be. I have just lost
a much-loved sister. Well, it is customary to erect a monument in
memory of those we love. Poor, lost sister, I will erect a monument
to your memory. The king has been compelled to make his sister
unhappy, and for this he will endeavor to make his people happy. And
if there is no law to which a princess can appeal against the king,
there shall at least be laws for all my subjects, which protect
them, and are in strict accordance with reason, with justice, and
the godly principle of equality. Yes, I will give my people a new
code of laws. [Footnote: Rodenbeck, Diary, p. 137.] This, Amelia,
shall be the monument which I will erect to you in my heart. In this
very hour I will write to Cocceji, and request him to sketch the
outlines of this new code of laws."

The king seized his pen and commenced writing. "The judges," said
he, hastily penning his words, "the judges must administer equal and
impartial justice to all without respect to rank or wealth, as they
expect to answer for the same before the righteous judgment-seat of
God, and in order that the sighs of the widows and orphans, and of
all that are oppressed, may not be visited upon themselves and their
children. No rescripts, although issued from this cabinet, shall be
deemed worthy of the slightest consideration, if they contain aught
manifestly incompatible with equity, or if the strict course of
justice is thereby hindered or interrupted; but the judges shall
proceed according to the dictates of duty and conscience."

The king continued writing, his countenance becoming more and more
radiant with pleasure, while his pen flew over the paper. He was so
completely occupied with his thoughts that he did not hear the door
open behind him, and did not perceive the merry and intelligent face
of his favorite, General Rothenberg, looking in.

The king wrote on. Rothenberg stooped and placed something which he
held in his arms on the floor. He looked over toward the king, and
then at the graceful little greyhound which stood quietly before
him. This was no other than the favorite dog of the king, which had
been lost and a captive. [Footnote: The greyhound had fallen into
the hands of the Austrians at the battle of Sohr, and had been
presented by General Nadasti to his wife as a trophy. When this lady
learned that Biche had been a pet of the king, she at first refused
to give it up: and only after several demands, and with much
difficulty, could she be induced to return it. Rodenbeck, Diary, p.
126.]

The little Biche stood still for a moment, looking around
intelligently, and then ran lightly across the apartment, sprang
upon the table and laid its forepaw on the king's neck.

"Biche, my faithful little friend, is it you?" said Frederick,
throwing his pen aside and taking the little animal in his arms.
Biche began to bark with delight, nestle closely to her master, and
look lovingly at him with her bright little eyes. And the king--he
inclined his face on the head of his faithful little friend, and
tears ran slowly down his cheeks. [Footnote: Muchler, "Frederick the
Great," p. 350. Rodenbeck, Diary, p. 137.]

"You have not forgotten me, my little Biche? Ah, if men were true,
and loved me as you do, my faithful little dog, I should be a rich,
a happy king!"

General Rothenberg still stood at the half-opened door. "Sire, said
he, "is it only Biche who has the grandes and petites entrees, or
have I also?"

"Ah, it was then you who brought Biche?" said Frederick, beckoning
to the general to approach.

"Yes, sire, it was I, but I almost regret having done so, for I
perceive that Biche is a dangerous rival, and I am jealous of her."

"You are my best gentleman-friend, and Biche is my best lady-
friend," said the king, laughing. "I shall never forget that Biche
on one occasion might have discovered me to the Austrians, and did
not betray me, as thousands of men would have done in her place. Had
she barked at the time when I had concealed myself under the bridge,
while the regiment of pandours was passing over, I should have been
lost. But she conquered herself. From love to me she renounced her
instincts, and was silent. She nestled close to my side, regarding
me with her discreet little eyes, and licking my hand lovingly. Ah,
my friend, dogs are better and truer than mankind, and the so-called
images of God could learn a great deal from them!"



CHAPTER XIII.

THE FLIGHT.


Two months had passed since Trenck's last attempted escape; two
months of anguish, of despair. But he was not depressed, not
hopeless; he had one great aim before his eyes--to be free, to
escape from this prison. The commandant had just assured him he
would never leave it alive.

This frightful picture of a life-long imprisonment did not terrify
him, did not agitate a nerve or relax a muscle. He felt his blood
bounding in fiery streams through his veins. With a merry laugh and
sparkling eye he declared that no man could be imprisoned during his
whole life who felt himself strong enough to achieve his freedom.

"I have strength and endurance like Atlas. I can bear the world on
my shoulders, and shall I never be able to burst these doors and
gates, to surmount these miserable fortress walls which separate me
from liberty, the world of action, the golden sunshine? No, no,
before the close of this year I shall be free. Yes, free! free to
fly to her and give her back this letter, and ask her if she did
truly write it? if these cold words came from her heart? No, some
one has dared to imitate her writing, and thus deprive me of the
only ray of sunshine which enters my dark prison. I must be free in
order to know this. I will believe in nothing which I do not see
written in her beautiful face; only when her lips speak these
fearful words, will I believe them. I must be free, and until then I
must forget all other things, even this terrible letter. My
thoughts, my eyes, my heart, my soul, must have but one aim--my
liberty!"

Alas! the year drew near its close, and the goal was not reached;
indeed, the difficulties were greatly increased. The commandant, Von
Fouquet, had just received stern orders from Berlin; the watch had
been doubled, and the officers in the citadel had been peremptorily
forbidden to enter the cell of the prisoner, or in any way to show
him kindness or attention.

The officers loved the young and cheerful prisoner; by his fresh and
hopeful spirit, his gay laugh and merry jest, he had broken up the
everlasting monotony of their garrison-life; by his powerful
intellect and rich fancy he had, in some degree, dissipated their
weariness and stupidity. They felt pity for his youth, his beauty,
his geniality, his energetic self-confidence; his bold courage
imposed upon them, and they were watching curiously and anxiously to
see the finale of this contest between the poor, powerless,
imprisoned youth, and the haughty, stern commander, who had sworn to
Trenck that he should not succeed in making even an attempt to
escape, to which Trenck had laughingly replied:

"I will not only make an attempt to escape, I will fly in defiance
of all guards, and all fortress walls, and all commandants. I inhale
already the breath of liberty which is wafted through my prison. Do
you not see how the Goddess of Liberty, with her enchanting smile,
stands at the head of my wretched bed, sings her sweet evening songs
to the poor prisoner, and wakes him in the early morning with the
sound of trumpets? Oh, sir commandant, Liberty loves me, and soon
will she take me like a bride in her fair arms, and bear me off to
freedom!"

The commandant had doubled the guard, and forbidden the officers,
under heavy penalty, to have any intercourse with Trenck. Formerly,
the officers who had kept watch over Trenck, had been allowed to
enter, to remain and eat with him; now the door was closed against
them, the major kept the key, and Trenck's food was handed him
through the window. [Footnote: Trenck's Memoirs.] But this window
was large, and the officer on guard could put his head in and chat
awhile with the prisoner. The major had the principal key, but the
officer had a night-key, and, by this means, entered often in the
evenings and passed a few hours with the prisoner, listening with
astonishment to his plans of escape, and his dreams of a happy
future.

But they did not all come to speak of indifferent things, and to be
cheered and brightened by his gay humor. There were some who truly
loved him, and wished to give him counsel and aid. One came because
he had promised his beloved mistress, his bride, to liberate Trenck,
cost what it would. This was Lieutenant Schnell, the bridegroom of
Amelia's maid of honor. One day, thanks to the night-key, he entered
Trenck's cell.

"I will stand by you, and assist you to escape. More than that, I
will fly with you. The commandant, Fouquet, hates me--he says I know
too much for an officer; that I do not confine myself to my military
duties, but love books, and art, and science. He has often railed at
me, and I have twice demanded my dismissal, which he refused, and
threatened me with arrest if I should again demand it. Like
yourself, I am not free, and, like you, I wish to fly from bondage.
And now let us consult together, and arrange our plan of escape."

"Yes," said Trenck, with a glowing countenance, and embracing his
new-found friend, "we will be unconquerable. Like Briareus, we will
have a hundred arms and a hundred heads. When two young and powerful
men unite their wills, nothing can restrain them--nothing withstand
them. Let us make our arrangements."

The plan of escape was marked out, and was, indeed, ripe for action.
On the last day of the year, Lieutenant Schnell was to be Trenck's
night-guard, and then they would escape. The dark shadows of night
would assist them. Horses were already engaged. There was gold to
bribe the guard, and there were loaded pistols for those who could
not be tempted. These had been already smuggled into Trenck's cell,
and concealed in the ashes of the fireplace.

And now it was Christmas eve. This was a grand festal day even for
all the officers of the citadel. With the exception of the night-
watch, they were all invited to dine with the commandant. A day of
joy and rejoicing to all but the poor prisoner, who sat solitary in
his cell, and recalled, with a sad heart, the happy days of his
childhood. "The holy evening" had been to him a golden book of
promise, and a munificent cornucopia of happiness and peace.

The door of his cell was hastily opened, and Schnell rushed in.

"Comrade, we are betrayed!" said he breathlessly. "Our plan of
flight has been discovered. The adjutant of the commander has just
secretly informed me that when the guard is changed I am to be
arrested. You see, then, we are lost, unless we adopt some rash and
energetic resolution."

"We will fly before the hour of your arrest," said Trenck, gayly.

"If you think that possible, so be it!" said Schnell. He drew a
sword from under his mantle, and handed it to Trenck. "Swear to me
upon this sword, that come what may, you will never allow me to fall
alive into the hands of my enemies."

"I swear it, so truly as God will help me! And now, Schnell, take
the same oath."

"I swear it! And now friend, one last grasp of the hand, and then
forward. May God be with us! Hide your sword under your coat. Let us
assume an indifferent and careless expression--come!"

Arm in arm, the two young men left the prison door. They appeared
calm and cheerful; each one kept a hand in his bosom, and this hand
held a loaded pistol.

The guard saluted the officer of the night-watch, who passed by him
in full uniform. In passing, he said: "I am conducting the prisoner
to the officers' room. Remain here--I will return quickly."

Slowly, quietly, they passed down the whole length of the corridor;
they reached the officer's room, and opened the door. The guard
walked with measured step slowly before the open door of Trenck's
cell, suspecting nothing. The door closed behind the fugitives--the
first step toward liberty was taken.

"And now, quickly onward to the side door. When we have passed the
sentry-box, we will be at the outer works. We must spring over the
palisades, and woe to the obstacle that lies in our path!--advance!
forward!"

They reached the wall, they greeted fair Freedom with golden smiles,
but turning a corner, they stood suddenly before the major and his
adjutant!

A cry of horror burst from Schnell's lips. With one bold leap, he
sprang upon the breastworks, and jumped below. With a wild shout of
joy Trenck followed him. His soul bounded with rapture and gladness.
He has mounted the wall, and what he finds below will be liberty in
death, or liberty in life.

He lives! He stretches himself after his wondrous leap, and he is
not injured--he recovers strength and presence of mind quickly.

But where is his friend? where is Schnell? There--there; he lies
upon the ground, with a dislocated ankle, impossible to stand--
impossible to move.

"Remember your oath, friend--kill me! I can go no farther. Here is
my sword--thrust it into my bosom, and fly for your life!"

Trenck laughed gayly, took him in his arms as lovingly and tenderly
as a mother. "Swing yourself on my back, friend, and clasp your arms
about my neck, and hold fast. We will run a race with the reindeer."

"Trenck! Trenck! kill me Leave me here, and hasten on. Escape is
impossible with such a burden."

"You are as light as a feather, and I will die with you rather than
leave you."

Onward! onward! the sun sets and a heavy fog rises suddenly from out
of the earth.

"Trenck, Trenck, do you not hear the alarm--guns thundering from the
citadel? Our pursuers are after us."

"I hear the cannon," said Trenck, hastening on. "We have a half
hour's start."

"A half hour will not suffice. No one has ever escaped from Glatz
who did not have two hours' advance of pursuit. Leave me, Trenck,
and save yourself."

"I will not leave you. I would rather die with you. Let us rest a
moment, and gather breath."

Gently, carefully, he laid his friend upon the ground. Schnell
suppressed his cries of pain, and Trenck restrained his panting
breath--they rested and listened. The white, soft mist settled more
thickly around them. The citadel and the town was entirely hidden
from view.

"God is with us," said Trenck. "He covers us with an impenetrable
veil, and conceals us from our enemies."

"God is against us--our flight was too soon discovered. Already the
whole border is alarmed. Listen to the signals in every village. The
three shots from the citadel have announced that a prisoner has
escaped. The commanding officers are now flying from point to point,
to see if the peasants are doing duty, and if every post is strictly
guarded. The cordon is alarmed; the whole Bohemian boundary has been
signalled. It is too late--we cannot reach the border."

"We will not go then, friend, in the direction our enemies expect
us," said Trenck, merrily. "They saw us running toward the Bohemian
boundary, and they will follow in that direction through night and
fog. We will fly where they are not seeking us--we will cross the
Reise. Do you see there a line of silver shimmering through the fog,
and advancing to meet us? Spring upon my back, Schnell. We must
cross the Reise!"

"I cannot, Trenck, I suffer agony with my foot. It is impossible for
me to swim."

"I can swim for both."

He knelt down, took his friend upon his back, and ran with him to
the river. And now they stood upon the shore. Solemnly, drearily,
the waves dashed over their feet, sweeping onward large blocks of
ice which obstructed the current.

"Is the river deep, comrade?"

"In the middle of the stream, deep enough to cover a giant like
yourself."

"Onward, then! When I can no longer walk, I can swim. Hold fast,
Schnell!"

Onward, in the dark, ice-cold water, bravely onward, with his friend
upon his back! Higher and higher rose the waves! Now they reached
his shoulder!

"Hold fast to my hair, Schnell, we must swim!"

With herculean strength he swam through the dark, wild waters, and
dashed the ice-blocks which rushed against him from his path.

Now they have reached the other shore. Not yet safe--but safe from
immediate danger. The blessed night conceals their course, and their
pursuers seek them on the other shore.

Suddenly the fog is dispersed; a rough bleak wind freezes the
moisture in the atmosphere, and the moon rose in cloudless majesty
in the heavens. It was a cold, clear December night, and the wet
clothes of the fugitives were frozen stiff, like a harness, upon
them. Trenck felt neither cold nor stiff; he carried his friend upon
his shoulders, and that kept him warm; he walked so rapidly, his
limbs could not stiffen.

Onward, ever onward to the mountains! They reached the first hill,
under whose protecting shadows they sank down to rest, and take
counsel together.

"Trenck, I suffer great agony; I implore you to leave me here and
save yourself. In a few hours you can pass the border. Leave me,
then, and save yourself!"

"I will never desert a friend in necessity. Come, I am refreshed."

He took up his comrade and pressed on. The moon had concealed
herself behind the clouds; the cold, cutting winds howled through
the mountains. Stooping, Trenck waded on through the snow. He was
scarcely able now to hold himself erect. Hope inspired him with
strength and courage--they had wandered far, they must soon reach
the border.

Day broke! the pale rays of the December sun melted the mountain
vapors into morning. The two comrades were encamped upon the snow,
exhausted with their long march, hopefully peering here and there
after the Bohemian boundary.

"Great God! what is that? Are not those the towers of Glatz? and
that dark spectre which raises itself so threateningly against the
horizon, is not that the citadel?"

And so it was. The poor fugitives have wandered round and round the
whole night through, and they are now, alas! exactly where they
started.

"We are lost," murmured Schnell; "there is no hope!" "No, we are not
lost!" shouted Trenck; "we have young, healthy limbs, and weapons.
They shall never take us alive."

"But we cannot escape them. Our appearance will instantly betray us;
I am in full uniform, and you in your red coat of the body-guard,
both of us without hats. Any man would know we were deserters."

"Woe to him who calls us so! we will slay him, and walk over his
dead body. And now for some desperate resolve. We cannot go
backward, we must advance, and pass right through the midst of our
enemies in order to reach the border. You know the way, and the
whole region round about. Come. Schnell, let us hold a council of
war."

"We must pass through that village in front of us. How shall we
attempt to do so unchallenged?"

Half an hour later a singular couple drew near to the last house of
the village. One was a severely wounded, bleeding officer of the
king's body-guard; his face was covered with blood, a bloody
handkerchief was bound about his brow, and his hands tied behind his
back. Following him, limped an officer in full parade dress, but
bareheaded. With rude, coarse words he drove the poor prisoner
before him, and cried for help. Immediately two peasants rushed from
the house.

"Run to the village," said the officer, "and tell the judge to have
a carriage got ready immediately, that I may take this deserter to
the fortress. I succeeded in capturing him, but he shot my horse,
and I fear I broke a bone in falling; you see, though, how I have
cut him to pieces. I think he is mortally wounded. Bring a carriage
instantly, that I may take him, while yet alive, to the citadel."

One of the men started at once, the other nodded to them to enter
his hut.

Stumbling and stammering out words of pain, the wounded man followed
him; cursing and railing, the officer limped behind him. On entering
the room, the wounded man sank upon the floor, groaning aloud. A
young girl advanced hastily, and took his wounded head in her arms;
while an old woman, who stood upon the hearth, brought a vessel of
warm milk to comfort him.

The old peasant stood at the window, and looked, with a peculiar
smile, at the officer, who seated himself upon a bench near the
fire, and drank the milk greedily which the old woman handed him.
Suddenly the old man advanced in front of the officer and laid his
hand on his shoulder.

"Your disguise is not necessary, Lieutenant Schnell, I know you; my
son served in your company. There was an officer from the citadel
here last night, and informed us of the two deserters. You are one,
Lieutenant Schnell, and that is the other. That is Baron Trenck."

And now, the wounded man, as if cured by magic, sprang to his feet.
The sound of his name had given him health and strength, and healed
the wound in his forehead. He threw the handkerchief off, and rushed
out, while Schnell with prayers and threats held back the old man,
and entreated him to show them the nearest way to the border.

Trenck hastened to the stable--two horses were in the stalls. The
young girl, who had held his head so tenderly, came up behind him.

"What are you doing, sir?" she said anxiously, as Trenck released
the horses. "You will not surely take my father's horses?--if you
do, I will cry aloud for help."

"If you dare to cry aloud, I will murder you," said Trenck, with
flaming eyes, "and then I will kill myself! I have sworn that I will
not be taken alive into the fortress. Have pity, beautiful child--
your eyes are soft and kindly, and betray a tender heart. Help me--
think how beautiful, how glorious is the world and life and liberty
to the young! My enemies will deprive me of all this, and chain me
in a cell, like a wild beast. Oh, help me to escape!"

"How can I help you?" said Mariandel, greatly touched.

"Give me saddles and bridles for these horses, in order that I may
flee. I swear to you, by God and by my beloved, that they shall be
returned to you!"

"You have then a sweetheart, sir?"

"I have--and she weeps day and night for me."

"I will give you the saddles in remembrance of my own beloved, who
is far away from me. Come, saddle your horse quickly--I will saddle
the other."

"Now, farewell, Mariandel--one kiss at parting--farewell,
compassionate child! Schnell, Schnell, quick, quick to horse, to
horse!"

Schnell rushed out of the hut, the peasant after him. He saw with
horror that his horses were saddled; that Schnell, in spite of his
foot, had mounted one, and Trenck was seated upon the other.

"My God! will you steal my horses? Help! help!"

Mariandel laid her hand upon her father's lips, and suppressed his
cries for help. "Father, he has a bride, and she weeps for him!--
think upon Joseph, and let them go."

The fugitives dashed away. Their long hair fluttered in the wind,
their cheeks glowed with excitement and expectation. Already the
village lay far behind them. Onward, over the plains, over the
meadows, over the stubble-fields!

"Schnell. Schnell, I see houses--I see towns. Schnell, there lies a
city!"

"That is Wunschelburg, and we must ride directly through it, for
this is the nearest way to Bohemia."

"There is a garrison there, but we must ride through them. Aha! this
is royal sport! We will dash right through the circle of our
enemies. They will be so amazed at our insolence, that they will
allow us to escape. Hei! here are the gates--the bells are ringing
for church. Onward, onward, my gallant steed, you must fly as if you
had wings!"

Huzza! how the flint strikes fire! how the horses' hoofs resound on
the pavement! how the gayly-dressed church-goers, who were advancing
so worthily up the street, fly screaming to every side! how the lazy
hussars thinking no harm, stand at the house doors, and fix their
eyes with horror upon these two bold riders, who dash past them like
a storm-wind!

And now they have reached the outer gate--the city lies behind them.
Forward, forward, in mad haste! The horses bow, their knees give
way, but the bold riders rein them up with powerful arms, and they
spring onward.

Onward, still onward! "But what is that? who is this advancing
directly in front of us? Schnell, do you not know him? That is
Captain Zerbtz!"

Yes, that is Captain Zerbtz, who has been sent with his hussars to
arrest the fugitives; but he is alone, and his men are not in sight.
He rode on just in front of them. When near enough to be heard, he
said, "Brothers, hasten! Go to the left, pass that solitary house.
That is the boundary-line. [Footnote: Trenck's Memoirs.] My hussars
have gone to the right."

He turned his horse quickly, and dashed away. The fugitives flew to
the left, passed the lonely house, passed the white stone which
marked the border, and now just a little farther on.

"Oh, comrade, let our horses breathe! Let us rest and thank God, for
we are saved--we have passed the border!"

"We are free, free!" cried Trenck, with so loud a shout of joy that
the mountains echoed with the happy sound, and reechoed back, "Free,
free!"



CHAPTER XIV.

I WILL.


Swiftly, noiselessly, and unheeded the days of prosperity and peace
passed away. King Frederick has been happy; he does not even
remember that more than two years of calm content and enjoyment have
been granted him--two years in which he dared lay aside his sword,
and rest quietly upon his laurels. This happy season had been rich
in blessings; bringing its laughing tribute of perfumed roses and
blooming myrtles. Two years of such happiness seems almost
miraculous in the life of a king.

Our happy days are ever uneventful. True love is silent and
retiring; it does not speak its rapture to the profane world, but
hides itself in the shadows of holy solitude and starry night. Let
us not, then, lift the veil with which King Frederick had concealed
his love. These two years of bloom and fragrance shall pass by
unquestioned.

When the sun is most lustrous, we turn away our eyes, lest they be
blinded by his rays; but when clouds and darkness are around about
us, we look up curiously and questioningly. King Frederick's sun is
no longer clear and dazzling, dark clouds are passing over it; a
shadow from these clouds has fallen upon the young and handsome face
of the king, quenched the flashing glance of his eye, and checked
the rapid beating of his heart.

What was it which made King Frederick so restless and unhappy? He
did not know himself, or, rather, he would not know. An Alp seemed
resting upon his heart, repressing every joyful emotion, and making
exertion impossible. He sought distraction in work, and in the early
morning he called his ministers to council, but his thoughts were
far away; he listened without hearing, and the most important
statements seemed to him trivial. He mistrusted himself, and
dismissed his ministers. It was Frederick's custom to read every
letter and petition himself, and write his answer upon the margin.
This being done, he turned to his ordinary studies and occupations,
and commenced writing in his "Histoire de Man Temps." Soon, however,
he found himself gazing upon the paper, lost in wandering thoughts
and wild, fantastic dreams. He threw his pen aside, and tried to
lose himself in the beautiful creations of his favorite poet, all
things in nature and fiction seemed alike vain.

Frederick threw his book aside in despair. "What is the matter with
me?" he exclaimed angrily. "I am not myself; some wicked fairy has
cast a spell about me, and bound my soul in magic fetters. I cannot
work, I cannot think; content and quiet peace are banished from my
breast! What does this signify? and why--" He did not complete his
sentence, but gazed with breathless attention to the door. He had
heard one tone of a voice without which made his heart tremble and
his eyes glow with their wonted fire.

"Announce to his majesty that I am here, and plead importunately for
an audience," said a soft, sweet voice.

"The king has commanded that no one shall be admitted."

"Announce me, nevertheless," said the petitioner imperiously.

"That is impossible!"

Frederick had heard enough. He stepped to the door and threw it
open. "Signora, I am ready to receive you; have the goodness to
enter." He stepped abruptly forward, and, giving his hand to
Barbarina, led her into his cabinet.

Barbarina greeted him with a sweet smile, and gave a glance of
triumph to the guard, who had dared to refuse her entrance.

The king conducted her silently to his boudoir, and nodded to her to
seat herself upon the divan. But Barbarina remained standing, and
fixed her great burning eyes upon his face.

"I see a cloud upon your brow, sire," said she, in a fond and
flattering tone. "What poor insect has dared to vex my royal lion?
Was it an insect? Was it--"

"No, no," said Frederick, interrupting her, "an angel or a devil has
tortured me, and banished joy and peace from my heart. Now tell me,
Barbarina, what are you? Are you a demon, come to martyr me, or an
angel of light, who will transform my wild dreams of love and bliss
into reality? There are hours of rapture in which I believe the
latter, in which your glance of light and glory wafts my soul on
golden, wings into the heaven of heavens, and I say to myself, 'I am
not only a king, but a god, for I have an angel by my side to
minister to me.' But then, alas! come weary times in which you seem
to me an evil demon, and I see in your flashing eyes that eternal
hatred which you swore to cherish in the first hour of our meeting."

"Alas! does your majesty still remember that?" said Barbarina, in a
tone of tender reproof.

"You have taken care that I shall not forget it. You once told me
that from hatred to love was but a small step. If you have truly
advanced so far, how can I be assured but you will one day step
backward?"

"How can you be assured?" said she, pointing a rosy finger with
indescribable grace at the king. "Ah. sire! your divine beauty, your
eyes, which have borrowed lightning from Jove and glory from the
sun--your brow, where majesty and wisdom sit enthroned, and that
youthful and enchanting smile which illuminates the whole--all these
make assurance doubly sure! I will not allude to your throne, and
its pomp and power! What is it to me that you are a king? For me you
are a man, a hero, a god. Had I met you as a shepherd in the fields,
I should have said, 'There is a god in disguise!' The fable is
verified, and 'Apollo is before me!' Apollo, I adore, I worship you!
let one ray from your heavenly eyes fall upon my face!" She knelt
before him, folding her hands, extended them pleadingly toward the
king, and looked upon him with a ravishing smile.

The king raised her, and pressed her--in his arms, then took her
small head in his hands, and turning it backward, gazed searchingly
in her face.

"Oh! Barbarina," said he, sadly, "to-day you are an angel, why were
you a demon yesterday? Why did you martyr and torture me with your
childish moods and passionate temper? Why is your heart, which can
be so soft and warm, sometimes cold as an iceberg and wholly
pitiless? Child! child! do you not know I have been wounded by many
griefs, and that every rough word and every angry glance is like a
poisoned dagger to my soul? I had looked forward with such delight
to our meeting yesterday at Rothenberg's! I expected so much
happiness, and I had earned it by a diligent and weary day's work.
Alas! you spoiled all by your frowning brow and sullen silence. It
was your fault that T returned home sad and heartless. I could not
sleep, but passed the night in trying to find out the cause of your
melancholy. This morning I could not work, and have robbed my
kingdom and my people of the hours which properly belong to them;
weak and powerless, I have been swayed wholly by gloom and
discontent. What was it, Barbarina, which veiled your clear brow
with frowns, and made your sweet voice so harsh and stern?"

"What was it?" said Barbarina, sadly; and resting on the arm of the
king, she leaned her head back and looked up at him with half-closed
eyes. "It was ambition which tortured me. But I did wrong to conceal
any thing from you. I should, without sullen or angry looks, have
made known the cause of my despair. I should have felt that I had
only to breathe my request, and that the noble and magnanimous heart
of my king would understand me. I should have known that the man who
had won laurels in the broad fields of science and on the bloody
battle-field, would appreciate this thirst for renown; this glowing,
burning hate toward those who cross our paths and wish to share our
fame!"

"Jealous? you are jealous, then, of some other artiste," said the
king, releasing Barbarina from his arms.

"Yes, sire, I am jealous!--jealous of your smiles, of your applause;
of the public voice, of the bravos, which like a golden shower have
fallen upon me alone, and which I must now divide with another!"

"Of whom, then, are you jealous?" said the king.

She threw her head back proudly, a crimson blush blazed upon her
cheeks, and her eyes sparkled angrily.

"Why has this Marianna Cochois been engaged? Why has Baron von
Swartz put this contempt upon me?" said she fiercely. "To engage
another artiste is to say to the world, that Barbarina no longer
pleases, that she no longer has the power to enrapture the public,
that her triumphs are over, and her day is past! Oh! this thought
has made me wild! Is not Barbarina the first dancer of the world?
Can it be that another prima donna, and not the Barbarina, is
engaged for the principal role in a new and splendid ballet? Does
Barbarina live, and has she not murdered the one who dared to do
this, to bring this humiliation upon her?"

Tears gushed from her eyes, and sobbing loudly, she hid her face in
her hands. The king gazed sadly upon her, and a weary smile played
upon his lip.

"You are all alike--all," said he, bitterly, "and the great artiste
is even as narrow-minded and pitiful as the unknown and humble; you
are all weak, vain, envious, and swayed by small passions; and to
think that you, Barbarina, are not an exception; that the Barbarina
weeps because Marianna Cochois is to play the principal role in the
new ballet, 'Toste Galanti.'"

"She shall not, she dare not," cried Barbarina; "I will not suffer
this humiliation; I will not be disgraced, dishonored in Berlin; I
will not sit unnoticed in a loge, and listen to the bravos and
plaudits awarded to another artiste which belong to me alone! Oh,
sire, do not allow this shame to be put upon me! Command that this
part, which is mine, which belongs to me by right of the world-wide
fame which I have achieved, be given to me! I implore your majesty
to take this role from the Cochois, and restore it to me."

"That is impossible, Barbarina. The Cochois, like every other
artiste, must have her debut. Baron Swartz has given her the
principal part in 'Toste Galanti,' and I cannot blame him."

"Oh! your majesty, I beseech you to listen. Is it not true--will you
not bear witness to the fact that Barbarina has never put your
liberality and magnanimity to the test; that she has never shown
herself to be egotistical or mercenary? I ask nothing from my king
but his heart, the happiness to sit at his feet, and in the sunshine
of his eyes to bathe my being in light and gladness. Sire, you have
often complained that I desired and would accept nothing from you;
that diamonds and pearls had no attraction for me. You know that not
the slightest shadow of selfishness has fallen upon my love! Now,
then, I have a request to-day: I ask something from my king which is
more precious in my eyes than all the diamonds of the world. Give me
this role; that is, allow me to remain in the undisturbed possession
of my fame." She bowed her knee once more before the king, but this
time he did not raise her in his arms.

"Barbarina," said he, sadly and thoughtfully, "put away from you
this unworthy and pitiful envy. Cast it off as you do the tinsel
robes and rouge of the stage with which you conceal your beauty. Be
yourself again. The noble, proud, and great-hearted woman who shines
without the aid of garish ornament, who is ever the queen of grace
and beauty, and needs not the borrowed and false purple and ermine
of the stage. Grant graciously to the Cochois this small glory, you
who are everywhere and always a queen in your own right!"

Barbarina sprang from her knees with flashing eyes. "Sire," said
she, "you refuse my request--my first request--you will not order
that this part shall be given to me?"

"I cannot; it would be unjust."

"And so I must suffer this deadly shame; must see another play the
part which belongs to me; another made glad by the proud triumphs
which are mine and should remain mine. I will not suffer this! I
swear it! So true as my name is Barbarina I will have no rival near
me! I will not be condemned to this daily renewed struggle after the
first rank as an artiste. I will not bear the possibility of a
comparison between myself and any other woman. I am and I will
remain the first; yes, I will!"

She raised herself up defiantly, and her burning glance fell upon
the face of the king, but he met it firmly, and if the bearing of
Barbarina was proud and commanding, that of King Frederick was more
imposing.

"How!" said he, in a tone so harsh and threatening that Barbarina,
in spite of her scorn and passion, felt her heart tremble with fear.
"How! Is there another in Prussia who dares say, 'I will?' Is it
possible that a voice is raised in contradiction to the expressed
will of the king?"

Barbarina turned pale and trembled. The countenance of Frederick
expressed what she had never seen before. It was harsh and cold, and
a cutting irony spoke in his glance and a contemptuous smile played
upon his lip.

"Mercy, mercy!" cried she, pleadingly; "have pity with my passion.
Forget this inconsiderate word which scorn and despair drew from me.
Oh! sire, do not look upon me so coldly, unless you wish that I
should sink down and die at your feet; crush me not in your anger,
but pardon and forget."

With her lovely face bathed in tears and her arms stretched out
imploringly; she drew near the king, but he stood up erect and
stepped backward.

"Signora Barbarina, I have nothing to forgive, but I cannot grant
your request. The Cochois keeps her role, and if you have any
complaint to make, apply to your chief, Baron Swartz; and now,
signora, farewell; the audience is ended."

He bowed his head lightly and turned away; but Barbarina uttered one
wild cry, sprang after him, and with mad frenzy she clung to his
arm.

"Sire, sire! do not go," she said, breathlessly; "do not forsake me
in your rage. My God, do you not see that I suffer; that I shall be
a maniac if you desert me!" and, gliding to his feet, she clasped
his knees with her beautiful arms, and looked up at him imploringly.
"Oh, my king and my lord, let me be as a slave at your feet; do not
spurn me from you!"

King Frederick did not reply; he leaned forward and looked down upon
the lovely and enchanting woman lying at his feet, and never,
perhaps, had her charms appeared so intoxicating as at this moment,
but his face was sad, and his eyes, usually so clear and bright,
were veiled in tears. There was a pause. Barbarina still clung to
his knees, and looked up beseechingly, and the king regarded her
with an expression of unspeakable melancholy; his great soul seemed
to speak in the glance which fixed upon her. It was eloquent with
love, rapture, and grief. Now their eyes met and seemed immovably
fixed. In the midst of the profound silence nothing was heard but
Barbarina's sighs. She knew full well the significance of this
moment. She felt that fate, with its menacing and unholy shadow, was
hovering over her. Suddenly the king roused himself, and the voice
which broke the solemn silence sounded strange and harsh to
Barbarina.

"Farewell, Signora Barbarina," said the king.

Barbarina's arms sank down powerless, and a sob burst from her lips.
The king did not regard it; he did not look back. With a firm hand
he opened the door which led into his chamber; entered and closed
it. He sank upon a chair, and gave one long and weary sigh. A
profound despair was written on his countenance, and had Barbarina
seen him, she would have appreciated the anguish of his heart.

She lay bathed in tears before his door, and cried aloud: "He has
forsaken me! Oh, my God, he has forsaken me!" This fearful and
terrible thought maddened her; she sprang up and shook the door
fiercely, and with a loud and piteous voice she prayed for entrance.
She knew not herself what words of love, of anguish, of despair, and
insulted pride burst from her pallid lips. One moment she threatened
fiercely, then pleaded touchingly for pardon; sometimes her voice
seemed full of tears--then cold and commanding. The king stood with
folded arms, leaning against the other side of the door. He heard
these paroxysms of grief and rage, and every word fell upon his
heart as the song of the siren upon the ear of Ulysses. But
Frederick was mighty and powerful; he needed no ropes or wax to hold
him back. He had the strength to control his will, and the voice of
wisdom, the warning voice of duty, spoke louder than the siren's
song.

"No," said he, "I will not, I dare not allow myself to be again
seduced. All this must come to an end! I have long known this, but I
had no strength to resist temptation. Have I not solemnly sworn to
have but one aim in life--to place the good of my people far above
my own personal happiness? If the man and the king strive within me
for mastery, the king must triumph above all other things. I must
consider the holy duties which my crown lays upon me; my time, my
thoughts, my strength, belong to my people, my land. I have already
robbed them, for I have withdrawn myself. I have suffered an
enchantress to step between me and my duty--another will than mine
finds utterance, influences, and indeed controls my thoughts and
actions. Alas! a king should be old and be born with the heart of a
graybeard--he dare never have a heart of youth and fire if he would
serve his people faithfully and honestly! With a heart of flesh I
might have been a happier, a more amiable man, but a weak, unworthy
king. I should have been intoxicated by a woman's love, and her
light wish would have been more powerful than my will. Never, never
shall that be! I will have the courage to trample my own heart under
foot, and the sorrows of the man shall bo soothed and healed by the
pomp and glory of the king."

In the next room Barbarina leaned over against the door, exhausted
by her prayers and tears. "Listen to me, my king," said she, softly.
"In one hour you have broken my will and humbled my pride forever!
From this time onward Barbarina has no will but yours. Command me,
then, wholly. Say to me that I am never to dance again, and I swear
to you that my foot shall never more step upon the stage; command
that all my roles shall be given to the Cochois, I will myself hand
them to her and pray her to accept them. You see, my king, that I am
no longer proud--no longer ambitious. Have mercy upon me then, sire;
open this fearful door; let me look upon your face; let me lie at
your feet. Oh, my king, be merciful, be gracious; cast me not away
from you!"

The king leaned, agitated and trembling, against the door. Once he
raised his arm and laid his hand upon the bolt. Barbarina uttered a
joyful cry, for she had heard this movement. But the king withdrew
his hand again. All was still; from time to time the king heard a
low sigh, a suppressed sob, then silence followed.

Barbarina pleaded no more. She knew and felt it was in vain. Scorn
and wounded pride dried the tears which love and despair had caused
to flow. She wept no more--her eyes were flaming--she cast wild,
angry glances toward the door before which she had lain so long in
humble entreaty. Threateningly she raised her arms toward heaven,
and her lips murmured unintelligible words of cursing or oaths of
vengeance.

"Farewell, King Frederick," she said, at last, in mellow, joyous
tones--"farewell! Barbarina leaves you."

She felt that, in uttering these words, the tears had again rushed
to her eyes. She shook her head wildly, and closed her eyelids, and
pressed her hands firmly upon them, thus forcing back the bitter
tears to their source. Then with one wild spring, like an enraged
lioness, she sprang to the other door, opened it and rushed out.

Frederick waited some time, then entered the room, which seemed to
him to resound with the sighs and prayers of Barbarina. It brought
back the memory of joys that were past, and it appeared to him even
as the death-chamber of his hopes and happiness. He stepped hastily
through the room and bolted the door through which Barbarina had
gone out. He wished to be alone. No one should share his solitude--
no one should breathe this air, still perfumed by the sighs of
Barbarina. King Frederick looked slowly and sadly around him, then
hastened to the door before which Barbarina had knelt. An
embroidered handkerchief lay upon the floor. The king raised it; it
was wet with tears, and warm and fragrant from contact with her
soft, fine hand. He pressed it to his lips and to his burning eyes;
then murmured, lightly, "Farewell! a last, long farewell to
happiness!"



CHAPTER XV.

THE LAST STRUGGLE FOR POWER.


Restless and anxious the two cavaliers of the king paced the
anteroom, turning their eyes constantly toward the door which led
into the king's study, and which had not been opened since yesterday
morning. For twenty-four hours the king had not left his room. In
vain had General Rothenberg and Duke Algarotti prayed for
admittance.

The king had not even replied to them; he had, however, called
Fredersdorf, and commanded him sternly to admit no one, and not to
return himself unless summoned. The king would take no refreshment,
would undress himself, required no assistance, and must not be
disturbed in the important work which now occupied him.

This strict seclusion and unaccustomed silence made the king's
friends and servants very anxious. With oppressed hearts they stood
before the door and listened to every sound from the room. During
many hours they heard the regular step of the king as he walked
backward and forward; sometimes he uttered a hasty word, then sighed
wearily, and nothing more.

Night came upon them. Pale with alarm, Rothenberg asked Algarotti if
it was not their duty to force the door and ascertain the condition
of his majesty.

"Beware how you take that rash step!" said Fredersdorf, shaking his
head. "The king's commands were imperative; he will be alone and
undisturbed."

"Have you no suspicion of the cause of his majesty's distress?"
asked Algarotti.

"For some days past the king has been grave and out of humor,"
replied Fredersdorf. "I am inclined to the opinion that his majesty
has been angered and wounded by some dear friend."

General Rothenberg bent over and whispered to Algarotti: "Barbarina
has wounded him; for some time past she has been sullen and
imperious. These haughty and powerful natures have been carrying on
an invisible war with each other; they both contend for
sovereignty."

"If this is so, I predict confidently that the beautiful Barbarina
will be conquered," said Algarotti. "Mankind will always be
conquered by Frederick the king, and must submit to him. So soon as
Frederick the Great recognizes the fact that the man in him is
subjected by the enchanting Barbarina, like Alexander the Great, he
will cut the gordian knot, and release himself from even the soft
bondage of love."

"I fear that he is strongly bound, and that the gordian knot of love
can withstand even the king's sword. Frederick, ordinarily so
unapproachable, so inexorable in his authority and self-control,
endures with a rare patience the proud, commanding bearing of
Barbarina. Even yesterday evening when the king did me the honor to
sup with me in the society of the Barbarina, in spite of her
peevishness and ever-changing mood, he was the most gallant and
attentive of cavaliers."

"And you think the king has not seen the signora since that time?"

"I do not know; let us ask the guard."

The gentlemen ascertained from the guard that Barbarina had left the
king's room in the morning, deadly pale, and with her eyes inflamed
by weeping.

"You see that I was right," said Algarotti; "this love-affair has
reached a crisis."

"In which I fear the king will come to grief," said Rothenberg.
"Believe me, his majesty loves Barbarina most tenderly."

"Not the king! the man loves Barbarina. But listen! did you not hear
a noise?"

"Yes, the low tone of a flute," said Fredersdorf. "Let us approach
the door."

Lightly and cautiously they stepped to the door, behind which the
king had carried on this fierce battle with himself, a battle in
which he had shed his heart's best blood. Again they heard the sound
of the flute: it trembled on the air like the last sigh of love and
happiness; sometimes it seemed like the stormy utterance of a strong
soul in extremest anguish, then melted softly away in sighs and
tears. Never in the king's gayest and brightest days had he played
with such masterly skill as now in this hour of anguish. The pain,
the love, the doubt, the longing which swelled his heart, found
utterance in this mournful adagio. Greatly moved, the three friends
listened breathlessly to this wondrous development of genius. The
king completed the music with a note of profound suffering.

Algarotti bowed to Rothenberg. "Friend," said he, "that was the last
song of the dying swan."

"God grant that it was the last song of love, not the death-song of
the king's heart! When a man tears love forcibly from his heart, I
am sure he tears away also a piece of the heart in which it was
rooted."

"Can we not think of something to console him? Let us go in the
morning to Barbarina; perhaps we may learn from her what has
happened."

"Think you we can do nothing more to-day to withdraw the king from
his painful solitude?"

"I think the king is a warrior and a hero, and will be able to
conquer himself."

While the king, in solitude, strengthened only by his genius,
struggled with his love, Barbarina, with all the passion of her
stormy nature, endured inexpressible torture. She was not alone--her
sister was with her, mingled her tears with hers, and whispered
sweet words of hope.

"The king will return to you; your beauty holds him captive with
invisible but magic bonds. Your grace and fascinations will live in
his memory, will smile upon him, and lure him back humble and
conquered to your feet."

Barbarina shook her head sadly. "I have lost him. The eagle has
burst the weak bonds with which I had bound his wings; now he is
free, he will again unfold them, and rise up conquering and to
conquer in the blue vaults of heaven. In the rapturous enjoyment of
liberty he will forget how happy he was in captivity. No, no; I have
lost him forever!"

She clasped her hands over her face, and wept bitterly. Then, as if
roused to extremity by some agonizing thought, she sprang from her
seat; her eyes were flashing, her cheeks crimson.

"Oh, to think that he abandoned me; that I was true to him; that a
man lives who deserted Barbarina! That is a shame, a humiliation, of
which I will die--yes, surely die!"

"But this man was, at least, a king," said her sister, in hesitating
tones.

Barbarina shook her head fiercely, and her rich black hair fell
about her face in wild disorder.

"What is it to me that he is a king? His sceptre is not so powerful
as that of Barbarina. My realm extends over the universe, wherever
men have eyes to see and hearts to feel emotion. That this man is a
king does not lessen my shame, or make my degradation less bitter.
Barbarina is deserted, forsaken, spurned, and yet lives. She is not
crushed and ground to death by this dishonor. But, as I live, I will
take vengeance, vengeance for this monstrous wrong--this murder of
my heart!"

So, in the midst of wild prayers, and tears, and oaths of vengeance,
the day declined; long after, Barbarina yielded to the tender
entreaties of Marietta, and stretched herself upon her couch. She
buried her head in the pillows, and during the weary hours of the
night she wept bitterly.

With pale cheeks and weary eyes she rose on the following morning.
She was still profoundly sad, but no longer hopeless. Her vanity,
her rare beauty, in whose magic power she still believed, whispered
golden words of comfort, of encouragement; she was now convinced
that the king could not give her up. "He spurned me yesterday, to-
day he will implore me to forgive him." She was not surprised when
her servant announced Duke Algarotti and General Rothenberg.

"Look you," said she, turning to her sister, "you see my heart
judged rightly. The king sends his two most confidential friends to
conduct me to him. Oh, my God, grant that this poor heart, which has
borne such agony, may not now break from excess of happiness! I
shall see him again, and his beautiful, loving eyes will melt out of
my heart even the remembrance of the terrible glance with which he
looked upon me yesterday. Farewell, sister; farewell--I go to the
king."

"But not so; not in this negligee; not with this hair in wild
disorder," said Marietta, holding her back.

"Yes, even as I am," said Barbarina. "For his sake I have torn my
hair; for his sake my eyes are red; my sad, pale face speaks
eloquently of my despair, and will awaken his repentance."

Proudly, triumphantly she entered the saloon, and returned the
profound salutation of the two gentlemen with a slight bow.

"You bring me a message from his majesty?" said she, hastily.

"The king commissioned us to inquire after your health, signora,"
said Algarotti.

Barbarina smiled significantly. "He sent you to watch me closely,"
thought she; "he would ascertain if I am ready to pardon, ready to
return to him. I will meet them frankly, honestly, and make their
duty light.--Say to his majesty that I have passed the night in
sighs and tears, that my heart is full of repentance. I grieve for
my conduct."

The gentlemen exchanged a meaning glance; they already knew what
they came to learn. Barbarina had had a contest with the king, and
he had separated from her in scorn. Therefore was the proud
Barbarina so humble, so repentant.

Barbarina looked at them expectantly; she was convinced they would
now ask, in the name of the king, to be allowed to conduct her to
the castle. But they said nothing to that effect.

"Repentance must be a very poisonous worm," said General Rothenberg,
looking steadily upon the face of Barbarina; "it has changed the
blooming rose of yesterday into a fair, white blossom."

"That is perhaps fortunate," said Algarotti. "It is well known that
the white rose has fewer thorns than the red, and from this time
onward, signora, there will be less danger of mortal wounds when
approaching you."

Barbarina trembled, and her eyes flashed angrily. "Do you mean to
intimate that my strength and power are broken, and that I can never
recover my realm? Do you mean that the Barbarina, whom the king so
shamefully deserted, so cruelly humiliated, is a frail butterfly?
That the purple hue of beauty has been brushed from my wings? that I
can no longer charm and ravish the beholder because a rough hand has
touched me?"

"I mean to say, signora, that it will be a happiness to the king, if
the sad experience of the last few days should make you milder and
gentler of mood," said Algarotti.

Rothenberg and himself had gone to Barbarina to find out, if
possible, the whole truth. They wished to deceive her--to lead her
to believe that the king had fully confided in them.

"The king was suffering severely yesterday from the wounds which the
sharp thorns of the red rose had inflicted," said Rothenberg.

"And did he not cruelly revenge himself?" cried Barbarina. "He left
me for long hours kneeling at his door, wringing my hands, and
pleading for pity and pardon, and he showed no mercy. But that is
past, forgotten, forgiven. My wounds have bled and they have healed,
and now health and happiness will return to my poor martyred heart.
Say to my king that I am humble. I pray for happiness, not as my
right, but as a royal gift which, kneeling and with uplifted hands,
I will receive, oh, how gratefully! But no, no, you shall not tell
this to the king--I will confess all myself to his majesty. Come,
come, the king awaits us--let us hasten to him!"

"We were only commanded to inquire after the health of the signora,"
said Algarotti, coolly.

"And as you have assured us that you have passed the night in tears
and repentance, this confession may perhaps ameliorate his majesty's
sufferings," said Rothenberg.

Barbarina looked amazed from one to the other. Suddenly her cheeks
became crimson, and her eyes flashed with passion. "You did not come
to conduct me to the king?" said she, breathlessly.

"No, signora, the king did not give us this commission."

"Ah! he demands, then, that I shall come voluntarily? Well, then, I
will go uncalled. Lead me to his majesty!"

"That is a request which I regret I cannot fulfil. The king has
sternly commanded us to admit no one."

"No one?"

"No one, without exception, signora," said Algarotti, bowing
profoundly.

Barbarina pressed her lips together to restrain a cry of anguish.
She pressed her hands upon the table to sustain her sinking form.
"You have only come to say that the king will not receive me; that
to-day, as yesterday, his doors are closed against me. Well, then,
gentlemen, you have fulfilled your duty. Go and say to his majesty I
shall respect his wishes--go, sirs!"

Barbarina remained proudly erect, and replied to their greeting with
a derisive smile. With her hands pressed nervously on the table, she
looked after the two cavaliers as they left her saloon, with wide-
extended, tearless eyes. But when the door closed upon them, when
sure she could not be heard by them, she uttered so wild, so
piercing a cry of anguish, that Marietta rushed into the room.
Barbarina had sunk, as if struck by lightning, to the floor.

"I am dishonored, betrayed, spurned," cried she, madly. "O God! let
me not outlive this shame--send death to my relief!"

Soon, however, her cries of despair were changed to words of scorn
and bitterness. She no longer wished to die--she wished to revenge
herself. She rose from her knees, and paced the room hastily,
raging, flashing, filled with a burning thirst for vengeance,
resolved to cast a veil over her shame, and hide it, at least, from
the eyes of the world.

"Marietta, O Marietta!" cried she, breathlessly, "help me to find
the means quickly, by one blow to satisfy my vengeance!--a means
which will prove to the king that I am not, as be supposes, dying
from grief and despair; that I am still the Barbarina--the adored,
triumphant, all-conquering artiste--a means which will convince the
whole world that I am not deserted, scorned, but that I myself am
the inconstant one. Oh, where shall I find the means to rise
triumphantly from this humiliation? where--"

"Silence, silence, sister! some one is coming. Let no one witness
your agitation."

The servant entered and announced that Baron von Swartz, director of
the theatre, wished to know if the signora would appear in the
ballet of the evening.

"Say to him that I will dance with pleasure," said Barbarina.

When once more alone, Marietta entreated her to be quiet, and not
increase her agitation by appearing in public.

Barbarina interrupted her impatiently. "Do you not see that already
the rumor of my disgrace has reached the theatre? Do you not see the
malice of this question of Baron Swartz? They think the Barbarina is
so completely broken, crushed by the displeasure of the king, that
she can no longer dance. They have deceived themselves--I will dance
tonight. Perhaps I shall go mad; but I will first refute the
slander, and bring to naught the report of my disgrace with the
king."

And now the servant entered and announced Monsieur Cocceji.

"You cannot possibly receive him," whispered Marietta. "Say that you
are studying your role, for the evening; say that you are occupied
with your toilet. Say what you will, only decline to receive him."

Barbarina looked thoughtful for a moment. "No," said she, musingly,
"I will not dismiss him. Conduct Cocceji to my boudoir, and say he
may expect me."

The moment the servant left them, Barbarina seized her sister's
hand. "I have prayed to God for means to revenge myself, and He has
heard my prayer. You know Cocceji loves me, and has long wooed me in
vain. Well, then, today he shall not plead in vain; to-day I will
promise him my love, but I will make my own conditions. Come,
Marietta!"

Glowing and lovely from excitement, Barbarina entered the boudoir
where the young Councillor Cocceji, son of the minister, awaited
her. With an enchanting smile, she advanced to meet him, and fixing
her great burning eyes upon him, she said softly, "Are you not yet
cured of your love for me?"

The young man stepped back a moment pale and wounded, but Barbarina
stood before him in her wondrous beauty; a significant, enchanting
smile was on her lip, and in her eyes lay something so sweetly
encouraging, so bewildering, that he was reassured, he felt that it
was not her intention to mock at his passion.

"This love is a fatal malady of which I shall never be healed," he
said warmly; "a malady which resists all remedies."

"What if I return your love?" said she in soft, sweet tones.

Cocceji's countenance beamed with ecstasy; he was completely
overcome by this unlooked-for happiness.

"Barbarina, if I dream, if I am a somnambulist, do not awaken me!
If, in midsummer madness only, I have heard these blissful words, do
not undeceive me! Let me dream on, give my mad fancy full play; or
slay me if you will, but do not say that I mistake your meaning!"

"I shall not say that," she whispered, almost tenderly. "For a long
year you have sworn that you loved me."

"And you have had the cruelty to jest always at my passion."

"From this day I believe in your love, but you must give me a proof
of it. Will you do that?"

"I will, Barbarina!"

"Well, then, I demand no giant task, no herculean labor; there is no
rival whom you must murder! I demand only that you shall make your
love for me known to the whole world. Give eclat to this passion! I
demand that with head erect, and clear untroubled eye, you shall
give the world a proof of this love! I will not that this love you
declare to me so passionately shall be hidden under a veil of
mystery and silence. I demand that you have the courage to let the
sun in the heavens and the eyes of men look down into your heart and
read your secret, and that no quiver of the eyelids, no feeling of
confusion shall shadow your countenance. I will that to-morrow all
Berlin shall know and believe that the young Councillor Cocceji, the
son of the minister, the favorite of the king, loves the Barbarina
ardently, and that she returns his passion. Berlin must know that
this is no cold, northern, German, phlegmatic LIKING, which chills
the blood in the veins and freezes the heart, but a full, ardent,
glowing passion, animating every fibre of our being--an Italian
love, a love of sunshine, and of storm, and of tempest."

Barbarina was wholly irresistible; her bearing was proud, her eyes
sparkled, her face beamed with energy and enthusiasm. A less
passionate nature than that of Cocceji would have been kindled by
her ardor, would have been carried away by her energy.

The fiery young Cocceji threw himself at her feet. "Command me! my
name, my life, my hand, are yours; only love me, Barbarina, and I
will be proud to declare how much I love you; to say to the whole
world this is my bride, and I am honored and happy that she has
deigned to accept my hand!"

"Of this another time," said Barbarina, smiling; "first prove to the
world that you love me. This evening in the theatre give some public
evidence, give the Berliners something to talk about: then--then--"
said she, softly, "the rest will come in time."



CHAPTER XVI.

THE DISTURBANCE IN THE THEATRE.


Duke Algarotti and General Rothenberg returned to the castle much
comforted by their interview with Barbarina.

"The Barbarina repents, and is ready to take the first step toward
reconciliation," said Rothenberg; "I see the end; I will go at once
and order my cook to prepare a splendid supper for the evening."

"Do not be hasty," said Algarotti, shaking his head; "you may give
your cook unnecessary trouble, and the rich feast might be cold
before the arrival of the king."

"Do you believe that?"

"I believe that for a summer cloud or an April shower the king would
not withdraw himself to solitude and silence. It is no passing mood,
but a life question which agitates him."

"The door has not been opened to-day; Fredersdorf has repeatedly
begged for admittance."

The two friends stood sad and irresolute in the anteroom, alarmed at
the seclusion and silence of the king. Suddenly the door leading
into the corridor was hastily opened, and a man of commanding and
elegant appearance stood upon the threshold; you saw at a glance
that he was a cavalier and a courtier, while his glowing cheek, his
clear, bright eyes, and jovial smile betrayed the man of pleasure
and the epicure. This remarkable man, in whom every one who looked
upon him felt confidence; whose face, in spite of the thousand
wrinkles which fifty years of an active, useful life had laid upon
it, still retained an innocent, amiable, and childlike expression--
this man was the Marquis d'Argens, the true, unchangeable, never-
faltering friend of the king. He had consecrated to him his heart,
his soul, his whole being; so great was his reverence for his royal
master, that the letters received from him were always read
standing. The marquis had just returned from Paris; he entered the
anteroom of the king with a gay and happy smile, impatient and eager
to see his beloved master. Without looking around, he hastened to
the door which led into the cabinet of the king. Rothenberg and
Algarotti drew near to him, and greeted him joyously, then told him
of the strange seclusion of the king. The countenance of the marquis
was troubled, and his eyes filled with tears.

"We must not allow this," he said decidedly; "I will kneel before
the door, and pray and plead till the noble heart of the king is
reached, and he will have pity with our anxiety. Go, Fredersdorf,
and announce me to his majesty."

"Sire," said Fredersdorf, knocking on the door, "sire, the Marquis
d'Argens is here and begs for admittance."

No answer was given.

"Oh, sire," said the marquis, "be merciful; have consideration for
my eagerness to see you after so long an absence; I have travelled
day and night in order to enjoy that happiness a few hours sooner. I
wish to warm and solace myself in the sunshine of your glance; be
gracious, and allow me to enter."

A breathless silence followed this earnest entreaty. At last the
door was shaken, a bolt was drawn back, and the king appeared on the
threshold. He was pale, but of that clear and transparent pallor
which has nothing in common with the sallow hue of physical
weakness; there was no trace of nervous excitement. Smiling, and
with calm dignity, he approached his friends.

"Welcome, marquis, most welcome! may joy and happiness crown your
return! No doubt you have much to relate to us of your wild and
impudent countrymen, and I see that Rothenberg and Algarotti are
burning with curiosity to hear an account of your love adventures
and rendezvous with your new-baked and glowing duchesses and
princesses."

"Ah, your majesty, he approached me with the proud mien of a
conqueror," said Rothenberg, gladly entering into the jesting humor
of the king. "We are more than ready to believe in the triumphs of
the marquis at the court of Louis the Fifteenth."

"The marquis has done wisely if he has left his heart in Paris,"
said Algarotti. "Your majesty knows that he suffers greatly with
heart disease, and every girl whom he does not exactly know to be a
rogue, he believes to be an angel of innocence."

"You know," said Rothenberg, "that shortly before his journey, his
house-keeper stole his service of silver. The marquis promised to
give her the worth of the silver if she would discover the thief and
restore it. She brought it back immediately, and the marquis not
only paid her the promised sum, but gave her a handsome reward for
her adroitness in discovering the robber. As D'Argens triumphantly
related this affair to me, I dared to make the remark that the
housekeeper was herself the rogue, the good marquis was as much
exasperated with me as if I had dared to charge HIM with theft!
'Have more reverence for women,' said he to me, gravely; 'to
complain of, or accuse a woman, is a crime against God and Nature.
Women are virtuous and noble when not misled, and I cannot see who
could have tempted my good house-keeper; she is, therefore,
innocent.'"

All laughed heartily, but D'Argens, who cast his eyes to the ground,
looking somewhat ashamed. But the king advanced, and laying both
hands upon the shoulders of the marquis, he looked into the kindly,
genial face with an expression of indescribable love and confidence.

"He has the heart of a child, the intellect of a sage, and the
imagination of a poet, by the grace of God," said the king. "If all
men were like him, this earth would be no vale of tears, but a
glorious paradise! It is a real happiness to me to have you here, my
dear D'Argens. You shall take the place of the Holy Father, and
bless and consecrate a small spot of earth for me. With your pure
lips you shall pray to the house gods for their blessing and
protection on my hearth, and beseech them to pour a little joy and
mirth into the cup of wormwood and gall which this poor life presses
to our lips. My palace of Weinberg, near Potsdam, is finished. I
will drive you there today--you alone, marquis! As for the others,
they are light-minded, audacious, suspicious children of men, and
they shall not so soon poison the air in my little paradise with
their levities. You alone, D'Argens, are worthy. You are pure as
those who lived before the fall. You have never tasted of the
ominous and death-giving apple. You will go with me, then, to
Weinberg, and when you have consecrated it, you shall relate to me
the chronique scandaleuse of the French court. Now, however, I must
work!--Fredersdorf, are my ministers here?"

"Sire, they have been an hour in the bureau."

"Who is in the anteroom?"

"Baron Swartz, with the repertoire of the week."

"Ah! Swartz," said the king, thoughtfully, "let him enter."

Fredersdorf hastened to summon the director, and the king
recommenced his careless conversation with his friends. As the baron
entered, the king stepped forward to meet him, and took a paper from
his hand. He read it with seeming indifference, but his lips were
compressed and his brow clouded.

"Who will dance the solo this evening in Re Pastore?" he said, at
last.

"Signora Barbarina, your majesty."

"Ah! the Signora Barbarina," said the king, carelessly, "I thought I
heard that she was indisposed?"

Frederick's eyes were fixed searchingly upon his friends. He perhaps
suspected the truth, and thought it natural that, in the disquiet of
their hearts, they had sought an explanation of Barbarina.

"Sire," said Rothenberg, "Signora Barbarina has entirely recovered.
Algarotti and myself made her a visit this morning, and she
commissioned us, if your majesty should be gracious enough to ask
for her, to say that she was well and happy."

The king made no reply. He walked thoughtfully backward and forward,
then stood before D'Argens, and said, in a kindly tone: "You are so
great an enthusiast for the stage that it would he cruel to take you
to Weinberg this evening. We will go to the theatre and see
Barbarina dance, and to-morrow you shall consecrate my house; and
now, adieu, gentlemen I must work! You will be my guests at dinner,
and will accompany me to the theatre."

The king entered his study. "She defies me," said he lightly to
himself. "She will prove to me that she is indifferent. Well, so be
it; I will also show that I have recovered!"

The theatre was at last opened. A brilliant assembly filled the
first range of boxes, and the parquet. The second tier and the
parterre were occupied by the burghers, merchants, and their wives
and daughters, who were waiting with joyful impatience for the
commencement of the performance. The brilliant court circle,
however, was absorbed by other interests. A murmur had spread abroad
that "the Barbarina had fallen into disgrace and lost forever the
favor of the king." The wild despair of the beautiful dancer was
spoken of, and there were some who declared that she had made an
attempt to take her life. Others asserted that she had sworn never
again to appear on the Berlin stage, and that she would assuredly
feign illness in order not to dance. All were looking anxiously for
the rising of the curtain, and toward the side door through which
the king and his suite were accustomed to enter.

At last the door opened; the drums and trumpets sounded merrily; the
king entered, and walked with calm composure to his chair. The bell
rang, the curtain rolled up, and the ballet began.

There was at first a dance of shepherds, and shepherdesses, then an
interruption by fauns and satyrs, who intermingled in groups with
the first dancers and ranged themselves on the side of the stage,
waiting for the appearance of the shepherd queen. There was a
breathless pause--every eye but the king's was fixed upon the stage.

And now there was an outburst of admiration and enthusiasm. Yes,
there she was; rosy, glowing, perfumed, tender, enchanting, and
intoxicating, she floated onward in her robe of silver. Her magical
smile disclosed her small, pearly teeth and laughing dimples; her
great, mysterious black eyes understood the art of flattery and of
menace; in both they were irresistible. Noiselessly she floated
onward to the front of the stage. Now, with indescribable grace, she
bowed her body backward, and standing on tiptoe she raised her
rounded arms high over her head, and looked upward, with a sweet
smile, to a wreath of roses which she held.

"Wondrous, most wondrous!" cried suddenly a full, clear voice. It
was the young state councillor, Von Cocceji, who sat in the
proscenium box near the stage, and gazed with beaming eyes on
Barbarina.

Barbarina turned toward him, and smiled sweetly. The king frowned,
and played rather fiercely with his snuff-box.

"Wondrous!" repeated Cocceji, and threw a threatening, scornful
glance upon a thin, wan young man who sat near him, and who dared,
in a small, weak voice to repeat the "wondrous" of the young
athlete. "I pray you, sir, to refrain from the expression of your
applause, or, if that is impossible, choose your own words, and not
mine to convey your approbation," said the six-footed giant,
Cocceji, to his pallid neighbor.

The latter looked with a sort of horror at the broad-shouldered,
muscular figure before him, and scarcely daring to breathe loudly,
he looked with wide-open, staring eyes at Barbarina, who was now
floating with enchanting grace upon the stage. The audience had
entirely forgotten the vague rumors of the day--thought no more of
the king. Their attention was wholly given to Barbarina and Cocceji,
whose eyes were ever fixed threateningly upon his shrinking
neighbor. Suddenly, just as Barbarina had completed one of her most
difficult tours and knelt before the lamps to receive the bravos of
the spectators, something flew from the loge of Cocceji, and fell
exactly at Barbarina's feet.

This offering was no wreath or bouquet of flowers, no costly gem,
but a man, a poor, panting, terrified man, who did not yet
comprehend how he came to make this rapid journey through the air,
nor why Cocceji with his giant hand had seized him and dashed him
upon the stage.

Confused and terrified, the poor bruised youth lay for some moments
motionless at the feet of Barbarina; then gathering himself up and
bowing profoundly to the king, who regarded him in fierce silence,
he said aloud: "Sire, I pray for pardon; I am not to blame; Cocceji
forbade me, in a proud, commanding tone, to look upon the Signora
Barbarina. As I did not choose to obey this arbitrary order, he
seized me without warning, and dashed me at the feet of the
signora." [Footnote: Machler's "History of Frederick the Great."]
The public, recovering from their astonishment, began to whisper,
laugh merrily, and gaze ironically at the young man, who stood
humble and wan near Barbarina; while Cocceji, turning his bold,
daring face to the audience, seemed to threaten every man who looked
upon him questioningly. The orchestra was silent. Barbarina stood
radiant in grace and beauty, and smiled bewitchingly upon Cocceji.

"Go on," said suddenly the clear, commanding voice of the king, as
he nodded to the poor youth, who disappeared behind the curtain. "Go
on," said the king again. The music commenced, and Barbarina,
raising her garland of roses, swam like an elf over the boards. The
audience thought not of her grace and beauty. They were wholly
occupied with this curious adventure; they had forgotten her
disgrace. They thought only of Cocceji's passionate love, and
declared he was jealous as a Turk. So Barbarina had gained her
purpose.



CHAPTER XVII.

SANS-SOUCI.


Early the next morning a plain, simple equipage stood at the gate of
the new park in Potsdam. The king and the Marquis D'Argens entered
the carriage alone. Frederick refused all other attendance; even his
servants were forbidden to accompany him.

When the carriage stopped he opened the door himself, and springing
lightly out, offered his arm to his older and less agile friend. The
marquis blushed like a young girl, and wished to decline this
offered service of the king.

Frederick, however, insisted upon giving his assistance, and said,
smiling: "Forget, D'Argens, for this day, that I am a king; grant me
the pleasure of passing the time with you without ceremony, as
friend with friend. Come, marquis, enter my paradise, and I pray you
to encourage a solemn and prayerful mood."

"Do you know, sire, I have a feeling of oppression and exaltation
combined, such as the Grecians may have felt when they entered the
Delphian valley?" said D'Argens, as arm in arm with the king they
sauntered through the little shady side allee which the king had
expressly chosen in order to surprise the marquis with the
unexpected view of the beautiful height upon which the castle was
erected.

"Well, I believe that many oracles will go out from this height to
the world," said Frederick; "but they shall be less obscure, shall
bear no double meaning; shall not be partly false, shall contain
great shining truths. I also, dear D'Argens, feel inspired. I seem
to see floating before me through the trees a majestic, gigantic
form of air, with uplifted arm beckoning me to follow her. That is
the spirit of the world's history, marquis; she carries her golden
book on her arm; in her right hand, with which she beckons me, she
holds the diamond point with which she will engrave my name and this
consecrated spot upon her tables. Therefore, my holy father and
priest. I have brought you here to baptize my Weinberg. Come,
friend, that form of air beckons once more; she awaits the baptism
with impatience."

And now they passed from the little allee and entered the great
avenue; an expression of admiration burst from the lips of the
marquis; with flashing eyes he gazed around upon the magnificent and
enchanting scene. Here, just before them, was the grand basin of
marble, surrounded with groups of marble statues; farther off the
lofty terraces, adorned with enormous orange-trees, rustling their
glossy leaves and pearly blossoms in the morning breeze, greeting
their king with their intoxicating fragrance. Upon the top of these
superb terraces, between groups of marble forms and laughing
cascades, stood the little castle of Weinberg, beautiful in its
simplicity; upon its central cupola stood a golden crown, which
sparkled and glittered in the sunshine.

The king pointed to the crown. "Look," said he, "how it flashes in
the sun, and throws its shadow upon all beneath it: so is it, or may
it be, with my whole life! May my crown and my reign be glorious!"

The marquis pressed his hand tenderly. "They will be great and
glorious through all time," said he. "Your grand-children and your
great-grandchildren will speak of the lustre which played upon that
crown, and when they speak of Prussia's greatness they will say:
'When Frederick the Second lived, the earth was glad with light and
sunshine.'"

Arm in arm, and silently, they mounted the marble steps of the
terrace. Deep, holy silence surrounded them, the cascades prattled
softly. The tops of the tall trees which bordered the terrace bowed
and whispered lowly with the winds; here and there was heard the
melodious note of a bird. No noise of the mad world, no discord
interrupted this holy peace of nature. They seemed to have left the
world behind them, and with solemn awe to enter upon a new
existence.

Now they had reached the height; they turned and looked back upon
the beautiful panorama which lay at their feet. The luxurious
freshness, the artistic forms, the blue and graceful river winding
through the wooded heights and green valleys, formed an enchanting
spectacle.

"Is not this heavenly?" said Frederick, and his face glowed with
enjoyment. "Can we not rest here in peace, away from all the sorrows
and sufferings of this world?"

"This is, indeed, a paradise," cried the marquis. He spread out his
arms in ecstasy as if he would clasp the whole lovely picture to his
breast; then, turning his eyes to heaven, he exclaimed, "O God!
grant that my king may be happy in this consecrated spot!"

"HAPPY?" repeated Frederick, with a slight shrug. "Say CONTENT,
marquis. I believe that is the highest point any man attains upon
this earth. And now let us enter the house."

He took the arm of the marquis, and then stepped over the golden
sand to the large glass door which led to the round saloon. As
Frederick opened the door he fixed his great blue eyes steadily upon
D'Argens.

"Pray! marquis, pray! we stand upon the threshold of a new
existence, which now opens her mysterious portals to us."

"Sire, my every thought is a prayer for you at this moment."

They entered the oblong saloon.

"This is the room which separates me from my friends," said the
king. "This side of the house I will dwell; that side is for the use
of my friends, above all others, dear marquis, for you. In this
saloon we will meet together, and here will be my symposium. Now I
will show you my own room, then the others."

In the reception-room, which was adorned with taste and splendor,
Frederick remained but a few moments; he scarcely allowed his
artistic friend a fleeting glance at the superb pictures which hung
upon the walls, and for the selection of which he had sent the
merchant, Gotzkowsky, several times to Italy; he gave him no time to
look upon the statues and vases of the Poniatowsken Gallery, for
which four hundred thousand thalers had been paid, but hurried him
along.

"You must first see my work-room," said Frederick; "afterward we
will examine the rest."

He opened the door and conducted the marquis into the round library
which had no other adorning than that of books; they stood arrayed
in lofty cases around this temple of intellect, of art, and science,
and even the door through which they had entered, and which the king
had lightly pressed back, had now entirely disappeared behind the
books, with which it was cunningly covered on the inside.

"You see," said Frederick, "he who enters into this magic circle is
confined for life. He cannot get out, and I will have it so. With
this day begins a new existence for me, D'Argens. When I crossed the
threshold, the past fell from me like an over-ripe fruit."

Frederick's face was sad, his eye clouded; with a light sigh he laid
his hand upon the shoulder of the marquis and looked at him long and
silently.

"I wish to tell you a secret," said he at last. "I believe my heart
died yesterday, and I confess to you the death-struggle was hard.
Now it is past, but the place where my heart once beat is sore, and
bleeds yet from a thousand wounds. They will heal at last, and then
I shall be a hard and hardened man. We will speak no more of it."

"No, sire, we shall not say that you will ever be hardened," cried
D'Argens, deeply moved. "You dare not slander your heart and say
that it is dead. It beats, and will ever beat for your friends, for
the whole world, for all that is great, and glorious, and exalted."

"Only no longer for love," said the king; "that is a withered rose
which I have cast from me. The roses of love are not in harmony with
thrones or crowns; they grow too high and climb over, or their soft
rosy leaves are crushed. I owe it to my people to keep myself free
from all chains and make my reign glorious. I will never give them
occasion to say that I have been an idle and self-indulgent savant.
I dedicate to Prussia my strength and my life. But here, friend,
here in my cloister, which, like the Convent of the Carmelites,
shall never be desecrated by a woman's foot; here we will, from time
to time, forget all the pomps and glories of the world, and all its
vanities. Here, upon my Weinberg, I will not be a king, but a friend
and a philosopher."

"And a poet," said D'Argens, in loving tones. "I will now recall a
couplet to the poet-king, which he once repeated to me, when I was
melancholy-almost hopeless:

     "'Nous avons deux moments a vivre;
      Qu'il en soit un pour le plaisir.'"

"Can you believe that we have not already exhausted this moment?"
said Frederick, with a sad smile. Then, after a short pause, his
face lightened and his eye glowed with its wonted fire; a gay
resolve was written in his countenance. "Well, let us try, marquis,
if you are right; let us seek to extend this moment as long as
possible, and when death comes--"

     "Finissons sans trouble, et mourons sans regrets,
     En laissant l'univers, comble de nos bienfaits.
     Ainsi l'astre du jour au bout de sa carriere,
     Repand sur l'horizon une douce lumiere,
     Et les derniers rayons qu'il darde dans lea airs,
     Sont ses derniers soupirs qu'il donne a l'univers."

The marquis listened with rapture to this improvised poem of the
king. When it was concluded, the fiery Provencal called out, in an
ecstasy of enthusiasm: "You are not a mere mortal, sire; you are a
king--a hero--yes, a demi-god!"

"I will show you something to disprove your flattering words," said
Frederick, smiling. "Look out, dear D'Argens; what do you see,
there, directly opposite to the window?"

"Does your majesty mean that beautiful statue in marble?"

"Yes, marquis. What do you suppose that to be?"

"That, sire? It is a reclining statue of Flora."

"No, D'Argens; THAT is my grave!"

"Your grave, sire?" said the marquis, shuddering; "and you have had
it placed exactly before the window of your favorite study?"

"Exactly there; that I may keep death always in REMEMBRANCE! Come,
marquis, we will draw nearer."

They left the house, and advanced to the Rondel, where the superb
statue of Flora was reclining.

"There, under this marble form, is the vault in which I shall lie
down to sleep," said Frederick. "I began my building at Weinberg
with this vault. But it is a profound secret; guard it well, also,
dear friend! The living have a holy horror of death; it is not well
to speak of graves or death lightly!"

D'Argen's eyes were filled with tears. "Oh, sire! may this marble
lie immovable, and the grave beneath it be a mystery for many long
years!"

The king shook his head lightly, and a heavenly peace was written on
his features. "Why do you wish that?" said he. Then pointing to the
grave, he said: "When I lie there--Je serais sans souci!" [Footnote:
Nicolai, "Anecdotes of King Frederick."]

"Sans souci!" repeated D'Argens, in low tones, deeply moved, and
staring at the vault.

The king took his hand smilingly. "Let us seek, even while we live,
to be sans souci, and as evidence that I will strive for this, this
house shall be called 'Sans-Souci!'"



BOOK IV.


CHAPTER I.

THE PROMISE.


It was a lovely summer day. The whole earth seemed to look up with a
smile of faith, love, and happiness into the clear, blue heavens,
whose mysterious depths give promise of a brighter and better
future. Sunshine and clouds were mirrored in the rapid river and
murmuring brook; the stately trees and odorous flowers bowed with
the gentle west wind, and gave a love-greeting to the glorious vault
above.

Upon the terrace of Sans-Souci stood the king, and looked admiringly
upon the lovely panorama spread out at his feet. Nature and art
combined to make this spot a paradise. The king was alone at the
palace of Sans-Souci; for a few happy hours he had laid aside the
burden and pomp of royalty. He was now the scholar, the philosopher,
the sage, and the friend; in one word, he was what he loved to call
himself, the genial abbot of Sans-Souci.

At the foot of the romantic hill upon which his palace was built
Frederick laid aside the vain pomp and glory of the world, and with
them all its petty cares and griefs. With every step upon the
terrace his countenance lightened and his breath came more freely.
He had left the valley of tears and ascended the holy mountain.
Repose and purity were around him, and he felt nearer the God of
creation.

Sans-Souci, now glittering in the sunshine, seemed to greet and
cheer him. These two laconic but expressive words, sans souci,
smoothed the lines which the crown and its duties had laid upon his
brow, and made his heart, which was so cold and weary, beat with the
hopes and strength of youth.

He was himself again, the warrior, the sage, the loving ruler, the
just king, the philanthropist, the faithful, fond friend; the gay,
witty, sarcastic companion, who felt himself most at home, most
happy, in the society of scholars, artists, and writers.

Genius was for Frederick an all-sufficient diploma, and those who
possessed it were joyfully received at his court. If, from time to
time, he granted a coat-of-arms or a duke's diadem to those nobles,
"by the Grace of God," it was not so much to do them honor as to
exalt his courtiers by placing among them the great and intellectual
spirits of his time. He had made Algarotti and Chazot dukes, and
Bielfield a baron; he had sent to Voltaire the keys of the wardrobe,
in order that the chosen friend of the philosopher of Sans-Souci
might without a shock to etiquette be also the companion of the King
of Prussia in his more princely castles, and belong to the circle of
prince, and princess, and noble.

When Frederick entered Sans-Souci he laid aside all prejudices and
all considerations of rank. He wished to forget that he was king,
and desired his friends also to forget it, and to show him only that
consideration which is due to the man of genius and of letters. Some
of his friends had abused this privilege, and Frederick had been
forced to humiliate them. There were others who never forgot at
Sans-Souci the respect and reverence due to the royal house. Amongst
these was his ever-devoted, ever-uniform friend, the Marquis
d'Argens. He loved him, not because he was king, hut because he
believed him to be the greatest, best, most exalted of men. In the
midst of his brilliant court circle and all his earthly pomp,
D'Argens did not forget that Frederick was a man of letters, and his
dear friend; even so, while enjoying the hospitalities of Sans-
Souci, he remembered always that the genial scholar and gentleman
was a great and powerful king.

Frederick had the greatest confidence in D'Argens, and granted him
more privileges than any other of his friends. Frederick invited
many friends to visit him during the day, but the marquis was the
only guest whose bedchamber was arranged for him at Sans-Souci.

Four years have elapsed since D'Argens consecrated Weinberg--since
the day in which we closed our last chapter. We take advantage of
the liberty allowed to authors, and pass over these four years and
recommence our story in 1750, the year which historians are
accustomed to consider the most glorious and happy in the life of
Frederick the Second. We all know, alas! that earthly happiness
resembles the purple rose, which, even while rejoicing the heart
with her beauty and fragrance, wounds us with her thorns. We know
that the sunshine makes the flowers bloom in the gardens, on the
breezy mountains, and also on the graves; when we pluck and wear
these roses, who can decide if we are influenced by joy in the
present or sad remembrances of the past?

Frederick the Great appeared to be gay and happy, but these four
years had not passed away without leaving a mark upon his brow and a
shadow on his heart; his youthful smile had vanished, and the
expression of his lip was stern and resolved. He was now thirty-
eight years of age, and was still a handsome man, but the sunshine
of life had left him; his eyes could flash and threaten like Jove's,
but the soft and loving glance was quenched. Like Polycrates, King
Frederick, in order to propitiate fate, had sacrificed his idol. He
had thus lost his rarest jewel, had become poor in love. Perhaps his
crown rested more firmly upon his head, but his heart had received
an almost mortal wound; it had healed, but he was hardened!

Frederick thought not of the past four years, and their griefs and
losses, as he stood now upon the terrace of Sans-Souci, illuminated
by the evening sun, and gazed with ravished eyes upon the panorama
spread out before him.

"Beautiful, wondrous beautiful!" he said to himself. "I think
Voltaire will find that the sun is even as warm and cheering at
Sans-Souci as at Cirey, and that we can be gay and happy without the
presence of the divine Emilie, who enters one moment with her
children, and the next with her learned and abstruse books.
[Footnote: Voltaire lived for ten years in Cirey with his friend the
Marquise Emilie de Chatelet Samont, a very learned lady, to whom he
was much devoted. He had refused all Frederick's invitations because
he was unwilling to be separated from this lady. After twenty years
of marriage, in the year 1749, the countess gave birth to her first
child; two hours after the birth of her son, she seated herself at
her writing-table to write an essay on the Newtonian system; in
consequence of this she sickened and died in two days. After her
death, Voltaire accepted Frederick's invitation to Sans-Souci.] Ah!
I wish he were here; so long as I do not see him, I doubt if he will
come."

At this moment the king saw the shadow of a manly figure thrown upon
the terrace, which the evening sun lengthened into a giant's
stature. He turned and greeted the Marquis d'Argens, who had just
entered, with a gracious smile.

"You are indeed kind, marquis," said Frederick; "you have returned
from Berlin so quickly, I think Love must have lent you a pair of
wings."

"Certainly, Love lent me his wings; the little god knew that your
majesty was the object of my greatest admiration, and that I wished
to fly to your feet and shake out from my horn of plenty the
novelties and news of the day."

"There is something new, then?" said the king. "I have done well in
sending you as an ambassador to the Goddess of Rumor; she has
graciously sent you back full-handed: let us see, now, in what your
budget consists."

"The first, and I am sorry to say the most welcome to your majesty,
is this--Voltaire has arrived in Berlin, and will be here to-morrow
morning."

The king's countenance was radiant with delight, but he was
considerate, and did not express his rapture.

"Dear marquis, you say that Voltaire has arrived. Do you indeed
regret it?"

D'Argens was silent and thoughtful for a moment; he raised his head,
and his eyes were obscured by tears.

"Yes," said he, "I am sorry! We greet the close of a lovely day, no
matter how glorious the declining sun may be, with something of fear
and regret; who can tell but that clouds and darkness may be round
about the morning? To-morrow a new day dawns and a new sun rises in
Sans-Souci. Sire, I grieve that this happy day is ended."

"Jealous!" said the king, folding his arms and walking backward and
forward upon the terrace. Suddenly he stood before D'Argens and laid
his hands upon his shoulders. "You are right," said he; "a new day
dawns, a new sun rises upon Sans-Souci, but I fear the sun's bright
face will be clouded and the day will end in storm. Voltaire is the
last ideal of my youth; God grant that I may not have to cast it
aside with my other vain illusions! God grant that the man Voltaire
may not cast down the genius Voltaire from the altar which, with
willing hands, I have erected for him in my heart of hearts. I fear
the cynic and the miser. I have a presentiment of evil! My altar
will fall to pieces, and its ruins will crush my own heart. Say what
you will, D'Argens, I have still a heart, though the world has
gnawed at and undermined it fearfully."

"Yes, sire, a great, noble, warm heart," cried D'Argens, deeply
moved, "full of love and poetry, of magnanimity and mercy!"

"You must not betray these weaknesses to Voltaire," said the king,
laughing; "he would mock at me, and I should suffer from his
poisonous satire, as I have done more than once. Voltaire is
miserly; that displeases me. Covetousness is a rust which will
obscure and at last destroy the finest metal! The miser loves
nothing but himself. I fear that Voltaire comes to me simply for the
salary I have promised him, and the four thousand thalers I have
sent him for his journey!"

"In this, sire, you do both yourself and Voltaire injustice.
Voltaire is genial enough to look, not upon your crown, but upon the
clear brow which it shades. He admires and seeks you, not because
you are a king, but because you are a great spirit, a hero, an
author, a scholar, and a philosopher, and, best of all, a good and
noble man."

"What a simple-minded child yon are, marquis!" said Frederick, with
a sad smile; "you believe even yet in the unselfish attachments of
men. Truly, you have a right to this rare faith; you, at least, are
capable of such an affection. I am vain enough to believe that you
are unselfishly devoted to me."

"God be thanked for this word!" said D'Argens, with a glowing
countenance. "And now let Voltaire and the seven wise men, and
Father Abraham himself come; your Isaac fears none of them; my king
has faith in me!"

"Yes," said Frederick, "I believe in you; an evil and bitter thing
will it be, if the day shall ever come when I shall doubt you; from
that time onward I will trust no man. I tell you, D'Argens, your
kindly face and your love are necessary to me; I will use them as a
shield to protect myself against the darts and wiles of the false
world. You must never leave me; I need your calm, kind eye, your
happy smile, your childish simplicity, and your wise experience; I
need a Pylades, I well believe that something of Orestes is hidden
in my nature. And now, my Pylades, swear to me, swear to me that you
will never leave me; that from this hour you will have no other
fatherland than Prussia, no other home than Potsdam and Sans-Souci."

"Ah, your majesty asks too much. I cannot adjure my fatherland, I
cannot relinquish my Provence. I am the Switzer, with his song of
home; when he hears it in his own land, his heart bounds with joy;
when he hears it in a strange land, his eyes fill with sorrowful
tears. So it is with the 'beau soleil de ma Provence,' the
remembrance of it warms my heart; I think that if I were a weak old
man, the sight of my beautiful sunny home would make me young and
strong. Your majesty will not ask me to abandon my land forever?"

"You love the sun of Provence, then, more than you do me," said
Frederick, with a slight frown.

"Your majesty cannot justly say that, when I have turned my back
upon it, and shouted for joy when the sun of the north has cast its
rays upon me. Sire, let me pass my life under the glorious northern
sun, but grant that I may die in my own land."

"You are incomprehensible, D'Argens; how can you know when you are
about to die, and when it will be time to return to your beautiful
Provence?"

"It has been prophesied that I shall live to be very old, and I
believe in prophecy."

"What do you call old, marquis? Zacharias was eighty years of ago
when his youthful wife of seventy gave birth to her first child."

"God guard me from such an over-ripe youth and such a youthful wife,
sire! I shall be content if my heart remains young till my
seventieth year, and has strength to love my king and rejoice in his
fame; then, sire, I shall be aged and cold, and then it will be time
for the sun of Provence to shine upon me and iny grave. When I am
seventy years of age, your majesty must allow your faithful servant
to remember that France is his home, and to seek his grave even
where his cradle stood."

"Seventy, marquis! and how old are you now?"

"Sire, I am still young--forty-six years of age. You see I have only
sought a plea to remain half an eternity at the feet of your
majesty."

"You are forty-six, and you are willing to remain twenty-four years
at my side. I will then be sixty-six; that is to say, I will be hard
of heart and cold of purpose. I will despise mankind, and have no
illusions. Marquis, I believe when that time comes, I can give you
up. Let it be so!--you remain with me till you are seventy. Give
your word of honor to this, marquis."

"Rather will your majesty be gracious enough to promise not to
dismiss me before that time?"

"I promise you, and I must have your oath in return."

"Sire, I swear! On that day in which I enter my seventieth year, I
will send you my certificate of baptism, which you will also look
upon as my funeral notice. You will say sadly, 'The Marquis d'Argens
is dead,' and I--I will go to ma belle Provence, and seek my grave."
[Footnote: Thiebault, vol. i., p. 360.]

"But before this time you will become very religious, a devotee,
will you not?"

"Yes, sire; that is, I shall devoutly acknowledge all your goodness
to me. I shall be the most religious worshipper of all that your
majesty has done for the good of mankind, for the advancement of
true knowledge, and the glory of your great name."

"So far, so good; but there is in this world another kind of
religion, in the exercise of which you have as yet shown but little
zeal. Will you at last assume this mask, and contradict the
principles which you have striven to maintain during your whole
life? Will you, at the approach of death, go through with those
ceremonies and observances which religion commands?"

The marquis did not reply immediately. His eye turned to the
beautiful prospect lying at his feet, upon which the last purple
rays of the evening sun were now lingering.

"This is God, sire!" said he, enthusiastically; "this is truly God!
Why are men not content to worship Him in nature, to find Him where
He most assuredly is? Why do they seek Him in houses made with
hands, and--"

"And in wafers made of meal and water?" said Frederick, interrupting
him; "and now tell me, marquis, will you also one day seek Him
thus?"

"Yes, sire," said D'Argens, after a short pause, "I will do thus
from friendship to my brothers, and interest for my family."

"That is to say, you will be unfaithful to the interests of
philosophy and truth?"

"It will appear so, sire; but no man of intellect and thought will
be duped by this seeming inconsistency. If the part which I play
seem unworthy, I may be excused in view of my motive--at all events,
I do not think it wrong. The folly of mankind has left me but one
alternative--to be a hypocrite, or to prepare bitter grief for my
relations, who love me tenderly. 'Out of love,' then, for my family,
I will die a hypocrite. [Footnote: The marquis returned to Provence,
in his seventieth year, and died there. The journals hastened to
make known that he died a Christian, recanting his atheistical
philosophy. The king wrote to the widow of the marquis for
intelligence on this subject. She replied that her husband had
received the last sacraments, but only after he was in the arms of
death, and could neither see nor hear, and she herself had left the
room. The marquise added: "Ah, sire, what a land is this! I have
been assured that the greatest service I could render to my husband
would be to burn all his writings, to give all his pictures to the
flames; that the more we burn on earth of that which is sinful or
leads to sin, the less we shall burn in hell!"--Oeuvres Posthumes,
vol. xii., p. 316.] But, sire, why should we speak of death? why
disquiet the laughing spirits of the Greeks and Romans, who now
inhabit this their newest temple by discoursing of graves and
skeletons?"

"You are right, marquis--away with the ghastly spectre! This present
life belongs to us, and a happy life it shall be. We will sit at the
feet of Voltaire, and learn how to banish the sorrows of life by wit
and mocking laughter. With the imagination and enthusiasm of poets,
we will conceive this world to be a paradise. And now tell me what
other news you have brought back with you from Berlin."

"Well, sire, Voltaire is not the only star who has risen in Berlin.
There are other comets which from time to time lighten the heavens,
and then disappear for a season to reappear and bring strife and war
upon the earth."

Frederick looked searchingly upon the marquis. "You speak in
riddles--what comet has returned?"

"Sire, I know not what to call it. She herself claims a name, her
right to which is disputed by the whole world, though she swears by
it."

"She? it is, then, a woman of whom you speak?"

"Yes, sire; a woman whom for years we worshipped as a goddess, or at
least as an enchanting fairy--Barbarina has returned to Berlin."

"Returned?" said the king, indifferently; but he walked away
thoughtfully to the end of the terrace, and gazed upon the lovely
landscape which, in its quiet beauty, brought peace to his heart,
and gave him the power of self-control.

The marquis stood apart, and looked with kindly interest upon his
noble face, now lighted by the glad golden rays of the sinking sun.
Among the trees arose one of those fierce, sighing winds, which
often accompany the declining sun, and seem the last struggling
groans of the dying day. This melancholy sound broke the peaceful
stillness around the castle, and drowned the babbling of the brooks
and cascades. As the wild wind rustled madly through the trees, it
tore from their green boughs the first faded, yellow leaves which
had lain concealed, like the first white hairs on the temples of a
beautiful woman, and drove them here and there in wanton sport. One
o these withered leaves fell at the feet of the king. He took it up
and gazed at it. Pensively he drew near the marquis.

"Look you, friend," said he, holding up the fallen leaf toward the
marquis; "look you, this is to me the Barbarina--a faded remembrance
of the happy past, and nothing more. Homer was right when he likened
the hearts of men to the yellow leaves tossed and driven by the
winds. Even such a leaf is Barbarina; I raise it and lay it in my
herbarium with other mementoes, and rejoice that the dust and ashes
of life have fallen upon it, and taken from it form and color. And
now that you know this, D'Argens, tell me frankly why the signora
has returned. Does she come alone, or with her husband, Lord Stuart
McKenzie?"

"She has returned with her sister, and Lord Stuart is not her
husband. It is said that when Barbarina arrived in England, she
found him just married to a rich Scotch lady."

The king laughed heartily. "And yet men expect us to listen gravely
when they rave of the eternity of their love," said he. "This little
sentimental lord called heaven and earth to witness the might of his
love for Barbarina. Was he not almost a madman when I seized his
jewel, and tore her away from Venice? Did he not declare that he
would consider me answerable for his life and reason, if I did not
release my prima donna? He wished her to enter, with an artistic
pirouette, his lofty castle, and place herself, as Lady Stuart
McKenzie, amongst his ever-worthy, ever-virtuous, ever-renowned
ancestors. And now, Barbarina can stand as godmother by his first
born."

"Or he perform that holy office for Barbarina. It is said that she
is also married."

"To whom?"

"To the state councillor, Cocceji."

"Folly! how can that be? She has been in England, and he has not
left Berlin. But her return will bring us vexation and strife, and I
see already the whole dead race of the Coccejis raising up their
skeleton arms from their graves to threaten the bold dancer, who
dares to call herself their daughter. I prophesy that young Cocceji
will become even as cool and as reasonable as Lord Stuart McKenzie
has become. Give a man time to let the fire burn out--all depends
upon that. This favor his family may well demand of me, and I must
grant it. But now let us enter the house, marquis, the sun has
disappeared, and I am chilled. I know not whether the news you
bring, or the evening air, has affected me. Let us walk backward and
forward once or twice, and then we will go to the library, and you
will assist me in the last verse of a poem I am composing to greet
Voltaire. Do not frown, marquis, let me sing his welcome; who knows
but I may also rejoice in his departure? My heart is glad at his
coming, and yet I fear it. We must not scrutinize the sun too
closely, or we will find spots upon his glorious face. Perhaps
Voltaire and myself resemble each other too much to live in peace
and harmony together. I think wo are only drawn permanently to our
opposites. Believe me, D'Argens, I shall not be able to live twenty-
four years happily with Voltaire, as I shall surely do with you.
Twenty-four years! do not forget that you are mine for twenty-four
years."

"Sire, as long as I live I am yours. You have not bought me with
gold, but by the power of a noble soul. So long as I live, my heart
belongs to you, even when, at seventy, I fly to seek my grave in
belle Provence. But, my king, I have yet another favor to ask of
you."

"Speak, marquis, but do not be so cruel as to ask that which I
cannot grant."

"If it shall please Providence to call me away before I have
attained my seventieth year, if I die in Berlin, will your majesty
grant me the grace not to be buried in one of those dark, damp,
dreary churchyards, where skull lies close by skull, and at the
resurrection every one will be in danger of seizing upon the bones
which do not belong to him, and appearing as a thief at the last
judgment? I pray you, let me remain even in death an individual, and
not be utterly lost in the great crowd. If I die here, grant that I
may be buried where, when living, I have been most happy. Allow me,
after a long and active day, to pass the night of immortality in the
garden of Sans-Souci."

"It shall be so," said the king, much moved. "There, under the
statue of Flora, is my grave--where shall be yours? Choose for
yourself."

"If I dare choose, sire, let it be there under that beautiful vase
of ebony."

Frederick gave a smiling assent, and taking the arm of the marquis,
he said, "Come, we will go to the vase, and I will lay my hand upon
it and consecrate it to you."

Silently they passed the statue of Flora, which Frederick greeted
gayly, and the marquis with profound reverence then mounted two
small steps and stood upon the green circle. The king paused and
looked down thoughtfully upon a gravestone which his feet almost
touched.

"Be pious and prayerful on this spot," said he; "we stand by the
grave of my most faithful friend, who is enjoying before us the
happiness of everlasting sleep. Here lies Biche! Hat off, marquis!
She loved me, and was faithful unto death. Who knows if I, under my
statue of Flora, and you, under your vase, will merit the praise
which I, with my whole soul, award to my Biche! She was good and
faithful to the end." [Footnote: Nicolai, "Anecdoten."--Heft, p.
202.]



CHAPTER II.

VOLTAIRE AND HIS ROYAL FRIEND.


The king had withdrawn to his library earlier than usual; he had
attended a cabinet council, worked for an hour with his minister of
state, and, after fulfilling these public duties, withdrawn gladly
to his books, hoping to consume the time which crept along with
leaden feet.

The king expected Voltaire; he knew he had arrived at Potsdam, where
he would rest and refresh himself for a few hours, and then proceed
at once to Sans-Souci.

Frederick regarded this first meeting with Voltaire, after long
years of separation, with more of anxiety than of joyful impatience.
Voltaire's arrival and residence at Sans-Souci had been the warm
desire of Frederick's heart for many years, and yet, as the time for
its fulfilment drew near, the king almost trembled. What did this
mean? How was it that this friendship, which for sixteen years had
been so publicly avowed, and so zealously confirmed by private oaths
and protestations, seemed now wavering and uncertain?

About now to reach the goal so ardently striven for, the king felt
that he was not pleased. A cold blast seemed to sweep over him, and
fill him with sad presentiments.

Frederick was filled with wonder and admiration for the genius of
the great French writer, but he knew that, as a man, Voltaire was
unworthy of his friendship. He justly feared that the realities of
life and daily intercourse would fall like a cold dew upon this rare
blossom of friendship between a king and a poet; this tender plant
which, during so many years of separation, they had nourished and
kept warm by glowing assurances and fiery declarations, must now be
removed from the hot-house of imagination, where it had been excited
to false growth by the eloquence of letters, and transplanted into a
world of truth and soberness.

This friendship had no real foundation; it floated like a variegated
phantom in the air, a fata morgana, whose glittering temple halls
and pillars would soon melt away like the early cloud and the
morning dew. In these "cloud-capped towers and gorgeous palaces,"
the two great freethinkers and genial philosophers of their century
intended to cultivate and enjoy their friendship. In these temples
of air they wished to embrace each other, but the two-edged sword of
mistrust and suspicion already flashed between them, and both felt
inclined to draw back.

Both doubted the sincerity of this friendship, and the less they
believed in it the more eloquently they declaimed as to its ardor
and eternity. Each one thought to himself, "I will enjoy and profit
by the fruit of this friendship, I will yield up the blossoms only."
The blossoms, alas! were artificial, without odor and already
fading, though at the first glance they looked fresh and promising.

Once, in the youthful ardor of his enthusiasm for genius, Frederick
had forgotten himself so far as to kiss the hand of Voltaire.
[Footnote: Thiebault.] The proud and ambitious poet had boasted
loudly of this act of devotion; for this Frederick had never
forgiven him; he should have guarded it as a holy and dangerous
secret in the innermost shrine of his heart. Voltaire was angry with
the king because he had lately addressed some verses to the young
poet D'Arnaud, in which he was represented as the rising and
Voltaire as the setting sun. [Footnote: Oeuvres posthumes.] And yet
they believed they loved each other, and were about to put their
love to the severe test of uninterrupted intercourse.

The king awaited Voltaire with impatience, and now he heard the
rolling of carriage-wheels, then the opening of doors, then the
sound of voices. In the first impulse of joy he sprang from his seat
and advanced eagerly to meet Voltaire, but reaching the threshold of
the door ho stood still and considered. "No," said he, "I will not
go to meet him--he would mock at me, perhaps boast of it." He turned
back to Iris chair, and took up the book he had been reading. And
now some one tapped gently upon the door, a servant appeared and
announced "Monsieur Voltaire," and now a figure stood upon the door-
sill.

This man, with a small, contracted chest, with a back bowed down by
old age or infirmities; this man, with the wonderous countenance, of
which no one could decide if it was the face of a satyr or a demi-
god; whose eyes flashed with heavenly inspiration at one moment, and
in the next glowed with demoniac fire; whose lips were distorted by
the most frightful grimaces or relaxed into the most enchanting
smiles--this man is Voltaire.

As Frederick's glance met those burning eyes, he forgot all else,
his royalty, his dignity, even Voltaire's baseness and vanity; he
was to him the spirit of the age, the genius of the world, and he
hastened to meet him, opened his arms wide, and pressed him tenderly
to his heart. "Welcome, welcome, my lord and master," said the king;
"I receive you, as becomes a pupil, in my school-room, surrounded by
my books, whose mysterious lessons of wisdom, you, my teacher, will
make clear."

"On the contrary, sire," said Voltaire, with a soft voice and a most
enchanting smile--"on the contrary, you receive me with all the pomp
of royalty seated upon a throne, which is not yours by inheritance,
but which you have conquered; upon the throne of knowledge and
learning, crowned with the laurels which the gods consecrate to
heroes and poets. Alas! my eyes are dazzled by the lustre which
surrounds me. I bow in humility before this lordly head adorned by
two royal crowns and reigning over two mighty kingdoms. Receive me,
sire, as an ambassador from the realm of poets, whose crown you wear
with so much grace and dignity."

Frederick smiled kindly. "Let me be only a burgher and your comrade
in arms in the republic of letters," said he. "I hold republics
generally as impossibilities, but I believe in a republic of
letters, and I have a right republican heart, striving after
liberty, equality, and brotherly love. Remember this, friend, and
let us forget at Sans-Souci that your comrade is sometimes the first
servant of a kingdom. And now, tell me how you have borne the
fatigues of the journey, and if you have been received at every
station with the marked attention I had commanded."

"Yes, sire, everywhere in Prussia I have felt myself almost
oppressed, humbled, by your greatness. How great, how mighty, how
powerful, must your majesty be, when I am so distinguished, so
honored, simply because I enjoy your favor! This honor and this
pleasure alone have given me strength for my journey. My friends in
Paris thought it absurd and ridiculous for me, in my miserable
condition, to attempt so fatiguing a journey. But, sire, I was not
willing to die before I had once more sat at the feet of this great
and yet simple man, this exalted yet genial philosopher. I wished to
revive and quicken my sick heart at this fountain of wit and wisdom.
I come, therefore, not as Voltaire, but as the tragic Scarron of
your century, and throughout my whole journey I have called myself
the 'Invalid of the King of Prussia.'" [Footnote: Oeuvres Completes
de Voltaire. Oeuvres Posthumes.]

Frederick laughed heartily. "The Marshal of Saxony and yourself are
in the same condition with your maladies; in the extremity of
illness you have more energy and power than all other men in the
most robust health. Voltaire, if you had not come now I should have
considered you a bad penny: in place of the true metal of friendship
I should have suspected you of palming off plated lead upon me. It
is well for you that you are here. You are like the white elephant
for whom the Shah of Persia and the Great Mogul are continually at
war. The one who is so fortunate as to possess the white elephant
makes it always the occasion of an added title. I will follow their
example, and from this time my title shall run thus: 'Frederick, by
the grace of God, King of Prussia, Prince-Elector of Brandenburg,
Possessor of Voltaire, etc. etc.'"

"Your majesty may say, 'of inalienable Voltaire.' I am wiser than
the white elephant; no war shall be necessary to conquer or to hold
me. I declare myself your majesty's most willing subject joyfully.
Let me then be your white elephant, sire, and if the Great Mogul
covets and demands me, I pray you to conceal me."

While Voltaire was speaking, he cast a sly glance upon the
countenance of the king, his smile disappeared, and his face lost
its kindly expression.

Frederick did not, or would not see it. "Not so," said he, gayly; "I
will not conceal you, but boldly declare that you are mine."

"I am, nevertheless, the subject of the King of France," said
Voltaire, shrugging his shoulders. "When I resolved to leave Paris,
they did not deprive me of my title of 'Historian of the King of
France,' they only took from me my pension. They knew I must travel
by post, and that a title was less weighty for the horses than a
pension of six thousand livres; so they lightened me of that, and I
come unpensioned to your majesty."

This little comedy was too clear to escape the king, but he seemed
not to understand it. A shadow fell upon his brow, and the
expression of his face was troubled. He wished to worship Voltaire
as a noble, exalted genius, and he was pained to find him a pitiful,
calculating, common man.

"You have, then, fallen under the displeasure of my brother Louis,
of France?" said he.

"On the contrary, I am assured that I stand in the highest favor. I
am, indeed, honored with a most agreeable and nattering commission;
and if your majesty allows, I will immediately discharge it."

"Do so," said Frederick, smiling. "Lay aside every weight, that your
wings may waft you into the heaven of heavens while at Sans-Souci.
You have been relieved of your pension, cast all your ballast into
the scale also."

"Sire, the Marquise de Pompadour directed me to present your majesty
with her most obedient and submissive greetings, and to assure you
of her reverence and heart-felt devotion."

Frederick quietly drew his tabatiere from his vest-pocket, and
slowly taking a pinch of snuff, he fixed his burning eyes upon
Voltaire's smiling and expectant face; then said, with the most
complete indifference, "The Marquise de Pompadour. Who is she? I do
not know her!"

Voltaire looked at the king astonished and questioning.

Frederick did not remark this, but went on quietly: "Have you no
other greetings for me? Have none of the great spirits, in which
Paris is so rich, remembered me?"

"I shall be careful not to mention any other greetings. All the so-
called great spirits appear so small in the presence of your exalted
majesty, I fear you will not acknowledge them."

"Not so," said Frederick; "I gladly recognize all that is really
great and worthy of renown. Voltaire will never find a more
enthusiastic admirer than I am."

"Ah, sire, these words are a balsam which I will lay upon my breast,
lacerated by the wild outcries of my critics."

"So the critics have been giving you trouble?" said Frederick.

"Yes, sire," said Voltaire, with the passionate scorn so peculiar to
him; "they have bored their insatiable and poisonous teeth into my
flesh. They are so miserable and so pitiful, that I seem to myself
miserable and pitiful as their victim, and in all humility I will
ask your majesty, if such hounds are allowed to howl unpunished,
would it not be better for Voltaire to creep into some den, and
acknowledge the wild beasts of the forests as his brothers--perhaps
they might regard his verses as melodious barkings and howlings?"

"Still the same boisterous hot-head, the Orlando Furioso," cried the
king, laughing heartily. "Is your skin so tender still that the
needles of the little critics disturb you, and to gratify their
malice will you become a mule? If you are driven to abandon the
Muses, friend, who will have the hardihood to stand by them? No, no!
do not follow in the footsteps of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob; do not 'visit the sins of the fathers upon the children unto
the third and fourth generation;' do not make the public of our day,
and of the next century, suffer for the crimes of a few pitiful
critics. The persecutions and slanders of the envious are the
tribute great merit must always pay to the world at large. Let them
rail on, but do not believe that the nations and the future will be
duped by them. Utterly disregarding the criticisms of the so-called
masters of art, we of this century admire and wonder at the chefs-
d'oeuvre of Greece and Rome. The mad cry of Aeschines docs not
obscure the fame of Demosthenes; and in spite of Lucian, Caesar is,
and will ever remain, the greatest man the world has ever produced.
I guarantee that after your death you will be canonized, worshipped.
I humbly entreat you not to hasten the time, but be content to have
the apotheosis in your pocket, and to be honored by all those who
are too exalted to be envious or prejudiced. I, Frederick, stand
foremost in the ranks." [Footnote: The king's own words.--Oeuvres
Posthumes.]

"Why cannot the whole world be present to hear the words of a king
whom I am proud, from this day onward, to call MY king?" cried
Voltaire, passionately. "Sire, I love you ardently! I believe the
gods made us for each other. I have long loved you tenderly! I have
been angry with you, but I have forgiven you all, and I love you to
madness! There was never a weaker, frailer body than mine, but my
soul is strong! I dare to say I love you as much as I admire you!
[Footnote: Voltaire's own words.] Verily, I hold this to be as great
a conquest as the five other victories your majesty has achieved,
and for which the world worships you. From this day I will be like
your faithful hound; I will lie at your feet, even though you should
spurn me, and declare that you will not be my master and lord. I
will still return. Your threshold shall be my home, and I will be
content with the crumbs which fall from your table. My fortune and
my happiness shall consist in loving you!"

"I will not put your love to so hard a proof," said the king,
smiling. "I dare hope to provide you with a more durable dwelling. I
promise you shall not be like Lazarus, feeding upon crumbs. You
shall be the rich man dispensing them."

Here was a sort of promise and assurance which banished in some
degree the nervous anxiety and distrust of Voltaire, and his
countenance once more beamed with joy. He suppressed his
satisfaction, however, instantly. He did not wish to betray to the
observant eye of Frederick his selfish and miserly nature, and
assumed at once a melancholy look.

"Sire," said he, "I do not resemble Lazarus; and if your majesty
does not possess the miraculous power of the young rabbi, Jesus
Christus, I fear you will soon have to bury me. But I am as true a
believer as any Jew. I trust fully to the magic power of your hand.
Was not your marvellous touch sufficient to place beautiful Silesia,
a gem of the first water, in the crown of Prussia?--to awaken
spirits, sleeping almost the sleep of death, and to call into life
on these barbarous northern steppes the blossoms of education and
refinement? I believe in the miracles of the Solomon of the North,
and I am willing to give my testimony to the whole world."

"Nevertheless, if the French cock crows, you will betray me three
times," said the king. "I know you, Voltaire, and I know when you
are enraged, nothing is sacred. I fear that here, as elsewhere, you
will find provocations. But now, before all other things, what have
you brought me? What gift has your muse produced for the poor
philosopher of Sans-Souci? I will not believe that you come with
empty hands, and that the Homer of France has broken his lyre."

"No, sire, I am not empty-handed! I have brought you a present. I
believe it to be the best and most beautiful production of my muse.
For twenty years I have swelled with indignation at the tragedy
which my good friend, Master Crebillon, made of the most exalted
subject of antiquity. With the adroit hands of a tailor he stitched
up a monkey-jacket out of the purple toga, and adorned it with the
miserable tawdry trifles of a pitiful lore and pompous Gothic verse!
Crebillon has written a French Catiline. I, sire, have written a
Roman Catiline! You shall see, sire, and you shall admire! In one of
my most wretched, sleepless nights, the devil overcame me, and said:
'Revenge Cicero and France! Crebillon has disgraced both. Wash out
this stain from France.' This was a good devil; and even you, sire,
could not have driven me to work more eagerly than he did. Day and
night he chained me to my writing-desk! I feared I should die of
excitement, but the devil held on to me, and the spirits of the
great Romans stood by my table and tore off the absurd and
ridiculous masks which Crebillon had laid upon them. They showed me
their true, exalted, glowing faces, and commanded me to portray
them, 'that the world at last might feel their majestic beauty, and
be no longer deceived by the caricatures of Crebillon!' I was
obliged to obey, sire! I worked unceasingly, and in eight days I had
finished! Catiline was born, and I was as much exhausted as ever a
woman was at the birth of her first-born!" [Footnote: This whole
speech is from Voltaire.]

"You do not mean that in eight days you completed the tragedy?" said
the king. "You mean only that you have arranged the plot, and will
finish the work here."

"No, sire, I bring you the tragedy complete, and I wrote it in eight
days. Ah, sire, this is a tragedy you will enjoy! You will see no
lovelorn Tullia, no infirm and toothless Cicero; you will see a
fearful picture of Rome, a picture at which I myself shuddered. But,
sire, when you read it, you must swear to me to read it in the same
spirit in which it is written. I have left to my collegian Crebillon
all his dramatic plunder; his Catiline is a pure fiction. I have
written mine, remembering my province as an historian. Rome is my
heroine; she is the mistress for whom I would interest all Europe. I
have no other intrigue than Rome's danger; no other material than
the mad craft of Catiline, the vehemence and heroic virtue of
Cicero, the jealousy of the Roman Senate, the development of the
character of Caesar; no other women than that unfortunate who was
seduced by Catiline because of her gentleness and amiability. I know
not, sire, if you will shudder at the fourth act, but I, the writer,
trembled and shuddered. My tragedy is not formed upon any model, it
is new in nova fert animus. Truly I know the world will rail at me
for this, and the small souls gnash their teeth and howl, but my
work is written with a great soul, and kindred spirits will
comprehend me. The envious and the pitiful I will at last trample
under my feet. Jupiter strove with the Titans and overcame them. I
am no Jupiter, neither are my adversaries Titans."

While these words, in an irrepressible and powerful stream of
eloquence, burst from his lips, Voltaire became another man. His
countenance was imposing in its beauty, his eyes glowed with the
fire of inspiration, an enchanting smile played upon his lips, and
his bowed and contracted form was proudly erect and commanding. The
king gazed upon him with admiration. At length, Voltaire, panting
for breath, was silent. Frederick laid his two hands upon his
shoulders, and looked into the glowing face with an indescribable
expression of love and tenderness.

"Now," said he, "I have again and at last found my Voltaire, my
proud, inspired king of poets, my Homer, crowned with immortality!
The might of genius has torn away the mantle of the courtier, and in
place of pitiful, pliant, humble words, I hear again the melodious,
flashing, eloquent speech of my royal poet! Welcome, Voltaire,
welcome to Sans-Souci, whose poor philosopher is but king of men,
while the spirits are subject unto you! Ah, my all-powerful king and
master, be gracious! You possess a wondrous realm, give me at least
a small province in your kingdom."

"Sire, you mock at me," cried Voltaire. "I have written Caesar and
Cicero for the theatre. You, however, exhibit on the stage of the
world the two greatest men of the greatest century, combined in your
own person. I have come to gaze upon this wonder; it is a far
loftier drama than mine, and will be surely more nobly represented.
[Footnote: Voltaire's own words.] Your majesty represents what you
truly are, but where shall I find actors to fill the role of Caesar,
Cicero, and Catiline; how shall I change the pitiful souls of the
coulisse into great men; make noble Romans out of these small
pasteboard heroes of the mode? I could find no actors for my tragedy
in Paris, and it shall never be unworthily represented!"

"We will bring it upon the stage here," said Frederick. "Yes, truly,
this new and great work shall announce, like a flaming comet,
Voltaire's arrival in Berlin. At the same moment in which the
Berlinese see that you are at last amongst them, shall they
acknowledge that you are worthy to be honored and worshipped. In
four weeks, Voltaire, shall your new tragedy be given in my palace."

"Has your majesty, then, a French company, and such a one as may
dare to represent my Catiline?"

"For the love of Voltaire will all my courtiers, and even my sister,
become actors; and though a Cicero failed you in Paris, in Berlin we
will surely find you one. Have we not Voltaire who can take that
role. If no reliable director could be found in Paris, I give you
permission to select from my court circle those you consider most
talented and most capable as actors, and you can study their parts
with them--I myself alone excepted. Ten years ago I wished to have
your 'Death of Caesar' given at Rheinsberg, and I had selected a
role; just then the Emperor of Germany died, and fate called me out
upon the great theatre of the world, where I have since then tried
to play my part worthily, and I must consecrate to this all my
strength and ability. I can play no other part! The two roles might
make a rare confusion, and strange results might follow should the
King of Prussia of this morning be changed to the Cicero of the
evening, utter a fulminating speech against tyrants, and call upon
the noble Romans to defend their rights; while this same King of
Prussia is a small tyrant, and his subjects are more like pitiful
slaves than heroic Romans. I must, therefore, confine myself to the
narrow boundaries of a spectator, and applaud you as heartily in
your character of Cicero as I applaud you in that of the great
Voltaire."

"And is this indeed your intention, sire? My poor tragedy lies in my
writing-desk, seemingly dead; will you awaken it to life and light?"

"It shall be given in two months, and you shall conduct it."

Voltaire's countenance darkened; his gay smile disappeared, and
lines of selfishness and covetousness clouded the brow of the great
poet.

"In two months, sire!" said he, shaking his head. "I fear I shall
not be here. I have only come to sun myself for a few happy days in
your presence."

"And then?" said Frederick, interrupting him.

"Then I must fulfil one of the darling dreams of my whole life. I
must go to Italy, to the holy city of Rome, and kneel upon the
graves of Cicero and Caesar. I must see St. Peter's, the Venus de
Medici, and the pope."

"You will never go to Rome," said Frederick. "The Holy Father will
not have the happiness of converting the blasphemous Saul into the
pious and believing Paul. You will remain in Berlin; if you do not
yield willingly, I must compel you to yield. I will make you my
subject; I will bind you with orders and titles; I will compel you
to accept a salary from me; and then, should they seek to ravish you
from me, I will have a right to withhold you from all the potentates
of the world."

Voltaire's face was again radiant. "Ah! sire, no power or chains
will be necessary to bind me here; your majesty's command alone
would suffice."

"And your duty! My gentleman of the bedchamber dare not withdraw
himself for a single day without my permission. I make you gentleman
of the bedchamber. I lay the ribbon of my order, 'pour le merite,'
around your neck, and that I may always have a rope around you, and
make you completely my prisoner, I give you an apartment in my
palace at Potsdam; and that you may not feel yourself a hermit, you
will have every day six covers laid for your friends; and to mock
you with the appearance of liberty, you shall have your own equipage
and servants, who will obey you in all things with one exception--if
you order your valet to pack up your effects, and your coachman to
take the road to Paris, they will disobey."

Voltaire heard the words of the king with breathless attention.
Sullen suspicion and discontent were written on his face. This did
not, escape the king; he understood the cause, but he said nothing.
Voltaire exhausted himself in words of joy and gratitude, but they
had not the ring of truth, and the joy which his lips expressed
found no echo in his face.

"I have but one other thing to add," said Frederick, at last. "Can
your greatness pardon a poor earthworm, if he dare speak in your
presence of so common and villanous a thing as money?"

Voltaire's eyes sparkled; the subject of conversation did not seem
disagreeable to him.

"You have relinquished a pension of six thousand livres in France,
It is but just that you receive full compensation. Your great spirit
is certainly above all earthly considerations, but our fleshy
existence has its rights. So long as you are with me, you shall not
be troubled by even a shadow of privation. You will therefore
receive a salary of five thousand thalers from me. Your lodging and
your table cost you nothing, and I think you can be very
comfortable."

Voltaire's heart bounded for joy, but he forced himself to seem calm
and indifferent.

"Your majesty has forgotten an important matter," said he. "You have
named lodging and food, but you say nothing of light and fire. I am
an old man, and cannot produce them myself."

"Truly said--I find it quite in order that the great free-thinker
and poet of this century is troubled for the light which should
illuminate him. You shall have twelve pounds of wax-lights every
month; I think this will be sufficient for your purposes. As for the
other little necessities of life, have the goodness to apply to the
castellan of the castle. On the first day of every month he will
supply them regularly. The contract is made; you will remain with
me?"

"I remain, sire!--not for the title, or the pension, or the order--I
remain with you, because I love you. My heart offers up to you the
dream of my life, my journey to Italy. Oh, I wish I could make
greater, more dangerous sacrifices! I wish I could find a means to
prove my love, my adoration, my worship!"

The king laid his hand softly on Voltaire's shoulder, and looked
earnestly in his eyes.

"Be as good a man as you are a great poet. That is the most
beautiful offering you can bring me."

"Ah! I see," said Voltaire, enraged; "some one has slandered me.
Your majesty has opened your cars to my enemies, and already their
hellish poison has reached your heart. As they cannot destroy
Voltaire the poet, they seize upon Voltaire the man, and slander his
character because they cannot obscure his fame. I will advance to
meet them with an open visor and without a shield. From their place
of ambush, with their poisoned arrows, let them slay me. It is
better to die than to be suspected and contemned by my great and
worshipped king."

"See, now, what curious creatures you poets are!" said Frederick;
"always in wild tumult and agitation; either storming heaven or
hell; contending with demons, or revelling with angels! You have no
daily quiet, patience, and perseverance. If you see a man who tells
you he is planting potatoes, you do not believe him--you convince
yourself he is sowing dragons' teeth to raise an army to contend
against you. If you meet one of your fellows with a particularly
quiet aspect, you are sure you can read curses against you upon his
lip. When one begs you to be good, you look upon it as an
accusation. No, no, my poet! no one has poured the poison of slander
into my ears--no one has accused you to me. I am, moreover,
accustomed to form my own conclusions, and the opinions of others
have but little weight with me."

"But your majesty is pleased to lend your ears to my enemies," said
Voltaire, sullenly; "exactly those who attack me most virulently
receive the highest honors at the hands of your majesty. You are as
cruel with me as a beautiful and ravishing coquette. So soon as by a
love-glance you have made me the happiest of men, you turn away with
cold contempt, and smile alluringly upon my rivals. I have yet two
dagger-strokes in my heart, which cause me death-agony. If your
majesty would make me truly happy, you must cure the wounds with
your own hands."

"I will, if it is possible," said the king, gravely. "Let us hear of
what you complain."

"Sire, your majesty has made Freron your correspondent in Paris--
Freron, my most bitter enemy, my irreconcilable adversary. But it is
not because he is my foe that I entreat you to dismiss him; you will
not think so pitifully of me as to suppose that this is the reason I
entreat you to dismiss him from your service. My personal dislike
will not make me blind to the worth of Freron as a writer. No, sire,
Freron is not worthy of your favor; he is an openly dishonored
scoundrel, who has committed more than one common fraud. You may
imagine what an excitement it produced in Paris when it was known
that you had honored this scamp with a position which should be
filled by a man of wisdom and integrity. Freron is only my enemy
because, in spite of all entreaties, I have closed my house upon
him. I took this step for reasons which should have closed the doors
of every respectable house against him. [Footnote: Voltaire's own
words.] Sire, I implore you, do not let the world believe for a
single day longer that Freron is your correspondent. Dismiss him at
once from your service."

The king did not reply for a few moments; he walked backward and
forward several times, then stood quietly before Voltaire. The
expression of his eye was stern.

"I sacrifice Freron to you," said he, "because I will deny you
nothing on this, the day of your arrival; but I repeat to you what I
said before, 'be not only a great poet, be also a good man.'"

Voltaire shook his head, sadly. "Sire," said he, "in your eyes I am
not a great poet, only un soleil couchant. Remember Arnaud, my
pupil, whom I sent to you!"

"Aha!" cried the king, laughing, "you have, then, read my little
poem to Arnaud?"

"Sire, I have read it, and that was the second dagger-stroke which I
received on this journey, to which my loving heart forced my weak
and shrinking body; I felt that I must see you once more before I
died. Yes, I have read this terrible poem, and the lines have burned
into my heart these cruel words:"

    'Deja sans etre temeraire,
     Prenant votre vol jusqu'aux cieux,
     Vous pouvez egaler Voltaire,
     Et pres de Virgile et d'Homere.
     Jouir de vos succes heureux,
     Deja l'Apollon de la France,
     S'achemine a sa decadence,
     Venez briller a votre tour,
     Elevez vous s'il brille encore;
     Ainsi le couchant d'un beau jour,
     Promet une plus belle aurore.'
 [Footnote: Supplement des Oeuvres Posthumes.]

"Yes," said the king, as Voltaire ceased declaiming, and stood in
rather a tragic attitude before him--"yes, I confess that a
sensitive nature like yours might find a thorn in these innocent
rhymes. My only intention was to give to the little Arnaud a few
roses which he might weave into a wreath of fame. It seems I
fulfilled my purpose poorly; it was high time that Voltaire should
come to teach me to make better verses. See, I confess my injustice,
and I allow you to punish me by writing a poem against me, which
shall be published as extensively as my little verse to Arnaud."

"Does your majesty promise me this little revenge in earnest?"

"I promise it; give me your poem as soon as it is ready; it shall be
published in 'Formey's Journal.'"

"Sire, it is ready: hear it now. [Footnote: Oeuvres Completes de
Voltaire.]

    "'Quel diable de Marc Antoine!
       Et quelle malice est le votre,
      Vous egratinez d'une main
       Lorsque vous caressez de l'autre.'"

"Ah," said Frederick, "what a beautiful quatrain Monsieur Arouet has
made."

"Arouet!" said Voltaire, astonished,

"Well, now, you would not surely wish me to believe that this little
stinging, pitiful rhyme, was written by the great Voltaire. No, no!
this is the work of the young Arouet, and we will have it published
with his signature."

Voltaire fixed his great eyes for a moment angrily upon the handsome
face of the king, then bowed his head and looked down thoughtfully.
There was a pause, and his face assumed a noble expression--he was
again the great poet.

"Sire," said he, softly, "I will not have this poem published. You
are right, Voltaire does not acknowledge it. This poor verse was
written by Arouet, or the 'old Adam,' who often strikes the poet
Voltaire slyly in the back. But you, sire, who have already won five
battles, and who find a few morning hours sufficient to govern a
great kingdom with wisdom, consideration, and love; you, by one
kindly glance of your eye, will be able to banish the old Adam, and
call heavenly hymns of love and praise from the lips of Voltaire."

"I shall be content with hymns of love. I will spare you all
eulogy," cried Frederick, giving his hand warmly to Voltaire.

At the close of the first day at Sans-Souci, the new gentleman of
the bedchamber returned to Potsdam, adorned with the order "Pour le
merite," and a written assurance from the king of a pension of five
thousand thalers in his pocket.

Two richly-liveried servants received him at the gate of the palace;
one of them held a silver candelabrum, in which five wax-lights were
burning. Voltaire leaned, exhausted and groaning, upon the arm of
the other, who almost carried him into his apartment. Voltaire
ordered the servant to place the lights on the table, and to wait in
the anteroom for further orders.

Scarcely had the servant left the room when Voltaire, who had thrown
himself, as if perfectly exhausted, in the arm-chair, sprang up
actively and hastened to the table upon which the candelabrum stood;
raising himself on tiptoe, he blew out three of the lights.

"Two are enough," said he, with a grimace. "I am to receive twelve
pounds of wax-lights a month. I will be very economical, and out of
the proceeds of this self-denial I can realize a little pin-money
for my niece, Denis." He took the candelabrum and entered his study.

It was curious to look upon this lonely, wrinkled, decrepit old man,
in the richly-furnished but half-obscure room; the dull light
illuminated his malicious but smiling face; here and there as he
advanced it flashed upon the gilding, or was reflected in a mirror,
while behind him the gloom of night seemed to have thrown an
impenetrable veil.

Voltaire seated himself at his desk and wrote to his niece, Madame
Denis: "I have bound myself with all legal form to the King of
Prussia. My marriage with him is determined upon. Will it be happy?
I do not know. I could no longer postpone the decisive yes. After
coquetting for so many years, a wedding was the necessary
consequence. How my heart beat at the altar! How could I have
supposed, seven months ago, when we arranged our little house in
Paris, that I should be to-day three hundred leagues from home in
another man's house, and this other a ruler!" [Footnote: Oeuvres
Completes, 301.]

At the same moment wrote Frederick, King of Prussia, to Algarotti:
"Voltaire is here; he has of late, as you know, been guilty of an
act unworthy of him. He deserves to be branded upon Parnassus. It is
a shame that so base a soul should be united to so exalted a genius.
Of all this, however, I shall take no notice; he is necessary to me
in my study of the French language. One can learn beautiful things
from an evil-doer. I must learn his French. I have nothing to do
with his morals. He unites in himself the strangest opposites. The
world worships his genius and despises his character." [Footnote:
Oeuvres de Frederic le Grand.]



CHAPTER III.

THE CONFIDENCE-TABLE.


"And now, friends, let us be joyful, and forget all the cares and
sorrows of the world," cried the king, with a ringing laugh; "raise
your glasses and strike them merrily. Long life to mirth, to jest,
to joy!"

The glasses were raised, and as they met they rang out cheerily;
they were pressed to the lips and emptied at a draught; the guests
then seated themselves silently at the table. Frederick glanced at
the circle of his friends who sat with him at the round table; his
eyes dwelt searchingly upon every laughing face, then turned to the
garden of Sans-Souci, which sent its perfumed breath, its song of
birds, its evening breeze, through the open doors and windows, while
the moon, rising in cloudless majesty, shone down upon them and
rivalled with her silver rays the myriads of wax-lights which
glittered in the crystal chandeliers.

"This is a glorious evening," said the king, "and we will enjoy it
gloriously."

He ordered the servants to close the doors, place the dessert and
champagne upon the table, and leave the room. Noiselessly and
silently this command was fulfilled. Frederick then greeted each one
of his guests with a kindly nod.

"Welcome, thrice welcome are you all!" said he. "I have longed to
have you all together, and now, at last, you are here. There sits
Voltaire, whose divine Emile was delivered first of a book, then of
a child, and then released from life before he was free to come to
Berlin. There is Algarotti, the swan of Italy, who spreads his wings
and would gladly fly to the land of oranges and myrtles. There is La
Mettrie, who only remains here because he is convinced that my Cape
wine is pure, and my pates de foie gras truly from Strasbourg. There
is D'Argens, who sought safety in Prussia because in every other
land in Europe there are sweethearts waiting and sighing for him, to
whom he has sworn a thousand oaths of constancy. There is Bastiani,
who only remains with us while the Silesian dames, who have frankly
confessed their sins to him and been absolved, find time and
opportunity to commit other peccadilloes, which they will do
zealously, in order to confess them once more to the handsome Abbe
Bastiani. And lastly, there is my Lord Marshal, the noblest and best
of all, whose presence we owe to the firmness of his political
principles and the misfortunes of the house of Stuart."

"And there is the Solomon of the North," cried Voltaire--"there is
Frederick, the youngest of us all, and the wisest--the philosopher
of Sans-Souci. There sits Apollo, son of the gods, who has descended
from Olympus to be our king."

"Let us not speak of kings," said Frederick. "When the sun goes down
there is no king at Sans-Souci; he leaves the house and retires into
another castle, God only knows where. We are all equal and wholly
sans gene. At this table, there are no distinctions; we are seven
friends, who laugh and chat freely with each other; or, if you
prefer it, seven wise men."

"This is then the Confidence-Table," said Voltaire, "of which
D'Argens has so often spoken to me, and which has seemed to me like
the Round-Table of King Arthur. Long live the Confidence-Table!"

"It shall live," cried the king, "and we will each one honor this,
our first sitting, by showing our confidence in each other. Every
one shall relate something piquant and strange of his past life,
some lively anecdote, or some sweet little mystery which we dare
trust to our friends, but not to our wives. The oldest begins
first."

"I am afraid I am that," said Voltaire, "but your majesty must
confess that my heart has neither white hair nor wrinkles. Old age
is a terrible old woman who slides quietly, grinning and
threatening, behind every man, and watches the moment when she dares
lay upon him the mask of weary years through which he has lived and
suffered. She has, alas! fastened her wrinkled mask upon my face,
but my heart is young and green, and if the women were not so short-
sighted as to look only upon my outward visage, if they would
condescend to look within, they would no longer call me the old
Voltaire, but would love and adore me, even as they did in my
youth."

"Listen well, friends, he will no doubt tell us of some duchess who
placed him upon an altar and bowed down and worshipped him."

"No, sire, I will tell you of an injury, the bitterest I ever
experienced, and which I can never forget."

"As if he had ever forgotten an injury, unless he had revenged it
threefold!" cried D'Argens.

"And chopped up his enemy for pastry and eaten him," said La
Mettrie.

"Truly, if I should eat all my enemies, I should suffer from an
everlasting indigestion, and, in my despair, I might fly to La
Mettrie for help. It is well known that when you suffer from
incurable diseases, you seek, at last, counsel of the quack."

"You forget that La Mettrie is a regular physician," said the king,
with seeming earnestness.

"On the contrary, he remembered it well," said La Mettrie, smiling.
"The best physician is the greatest quack, or the most active grave-
digger, if you prefer it."

"Silence!" said the king. "Voltaire has the floor; he will tell us
of the greatest offence he ever received. Give attention."

"Alas! my heart is sad, sire; of all other pain, the pain of looking
back into the past is the most bitter. I see myself again a young
man, the Arouet to whom Ninon de l'Enclos gave her library and a
pension, and who was confined for twenty years to the Bastile
because he loved God and the king too little, and the charming
Marquise de Villiers and some other ladies of the court too much.
Besides these exalted ladies, there was a beautiful young maiden
whom I loved--perhaps because she had one quality which I had never
remarked in the possession of my more noble mistresses--she was
innocent! Ah, friends, you should have seen Phillis, and you would
have confessed that no rose-bud was lovelier, no lily purer, than
she. Phillis was the daughter of a gypsy and a mouse-catcher, and
danced on the tight-rope in the city-gardens."

"Ah, it appears to me the goddess of innocence dances always upon
the tight-rope in this world," said the king. "I should not be
surprised to hear that even your little Phillis had a fall."

"Sire, she fell, but in my arms; and we swore eternal love and
constancy. You all know from experience the quality and fate of such
oaths; they are the kindling-wood upon which the fire of love is
sustained; but, alas, kindling and fire soon burnt out! Who is
responsible? Our fire burned long; but, think you my Phillis, whom I
had removed from the tight-rope, and exalted to a dancer upon the
stage, was so innocent and naive, as to believe that our love must
at last be crowned with marriage! I, however, was a republican, and
feared all crowns. I declared that Ninon de l'Enclos had made me
swear never to marry, lest my grandchildren should fall in love with
me, as hers had done with her."

"Precaution is praiseworthy," said La Mettrie. "The devil's
grandmother had also a husband, and her grandsons might have fallen
in love with her."

"Phillis did not take me for the devil's grandfather, but for the
devil himself. She cried, and shrieked, and cast my oaths of
constancy in my teeth. I did not die of remorse, nor she of love,
and to prove her constancy, she married a rich Duke de Ventadour."

"And you, no doubt, gave away the bride, and swore you had never
known a purer woman!"

"No, sire, I was at that time again in the Bastile, and left it only
as an exile from France. When at last I was allowed to return to
Paris, I sought out my Duchess de Ventadour, my Phillis of former
times. I found her a distinguished lady; she had forgotten the
follies of her youth; had forgotten her father, the rope-dancer; her
mother, the mouse-catcher. She had no remembrance of the young
Arouet, to whom she had sworn to say only 'tu' and 'toi.' Now she
was grave and dignified, and 'Vous, monsieur,' was on her fair lip.
Thanks to the heraldry office, she had become the daughter of a
distinguished Spaniard, blessed with at least seven ancestors.
Phillis gave good dinners, had good wine, and the world overlooked
her somewhat obscure lineage. She was the acknowledged and respected
Duchess Ventadour. She was still beautiful, but quite deaf;
consequently her voice was loud and coarse, when she believed
herself to be whispering. She invited me to read some selections
from my new work in her saloon, and I was weak enough to accept the
invitation. I had just completed my 'Brutus,' and burned with
ambition to receive the applause of the Parisiennes. I commenced to
read aloud my tragedy of 'Brutus' in the saloon of the duchess,
surrounded by a circle of distinguished nobles, eminent in knowledge
and art. I was listened to in breathless attention. In the deep
silence which surrounded me, in the glowing eyes of my audience, in
the murmurs of applause which greeted me, I saw that I was still
Voltaire, and that the hangman's hands, which had burned my 'Lettres
Philosophiques,' had not destroyed my fame or extinguished my
genius. While I read, a servant entered upon tiptoe, to rekindle the
fire. The Duchess Ventadour sat near the chimney. She whispered, or
thought she whispered, to her servant. I read a little louder to
drown her words. I was in the midst of one of the grandest scenes of
my tragedy. My own heart trembled with emotion. Here and there I saw
eyes, which were not wont to weep, filled with tears, and heard
sighs from trembling lips, accustomed only to laughter and smiles.
And now I came to the soliloquy of Brutus. He was resolving whether
he would sacrifice his son's life to his fatherland. There was a
solemn pause, and now, in the midst of the profound silence, the
Duchess Ventadour in a shrill voice, which she believed to be
inaudible, said to her servant: 'Do not fail to serve mustard with
the pig's head!'"

A peal of laughter interrupted Voltaire, in which he reluctantly
joined, being completely carried away by the general mirth.

"That was indeed very piquant, and I think you must have been
greatly encouraged."

"Did you eat of the pig's head, or were your teeth on edge?"

"No, they were sharp enough to bite, and I bit! In my first rage I
closed my book, and cried out: 'Madame--! Well! as you have a pig's
head, you do not require that Brutus should offer up the head of his
son!' I was on the point of leaving the room, but the poor duchess,
who was just beginning to comprehend her unfortunate interruption,
hastened after me, and entreated me so earnestly to remain and read
further, that I consented. I remained and read, but not from
'Brutus.' My rage made me, for the moment, an improvisator. Seated
near to the duchess, surrounded by the proud and hypocritical
nobles, who acknowledged Phillis only because she had a fine house
and gave good dinners, I improvised a poem which recalled to the
grand duchess and her satellites the early days of the fair Phillis,
and brought the laugh on my side. My poem was called 'Le tu et le
vous.' Now, gentlemen, this is the story of my 'Brutus' and the
pig's head,"

"I acknowledge that it is a good story. It will be difficult for
you, D'Argens, to relate so good a one," said the king.

"I dare not make the attempt, sire. Voltaire was ever the child of
good fortune, and his life and adventures have been extraordinary,
while I was near sharing the common fate of younger sons. I was
destined for the priesthood."

"That's a droll idea, indeed!" said Frederick. "D'Argens, who
believes in nothing, intended for a priest! How did you escape this
danger?"

"Through the example of my dear brother, who was of a passionate
piety, and became in the school of the Jesuits so complete a fanatic
and bigot that he thundered out his fierce tirades against all
earthly joys and pastimes, no matter how innocent they were. To
resemble the holy Xavier and the sanctified and childlike Alois
Gonzago, was his highest ideal. In the extremity of his piety and
prudery he slipped into the art-gallery of our eldest brother and
destroyed Titian's most splendid paintings and the glorious statues
of the olden time. He gloried in this act, and called it a holy
offering to virtue. He could not understand that it was vandalism.
Our family had serious fears for the intellect of this poor young
saint, maddened by the fanaticism of the Jesuits. They sought
counsel of the oldest and wisest of our house, the Bishop of Bannes.
After thinking awhile, the bishop said: 'I will soon cure the young
man of this folly; I will make him a priest.'"

"Truly, your uncle, the bishop, was a wise man; he drove out folly
with folly. He knew well that no one had less reverence for the
churches than those who have built them, and are their priests."

"That was the opinion of my very worthy uncle. He said, with a sly
laugh: 'When he has heard a few confessions, he will understand the
ways of the world better!' The bishop was right. My brother was
consecrated. In a short time he became very tolerant and
considerate, as a man and as a father confessor."

"But you have not told us, marquis, how the fanaticism of your
brother liberated you from the tonsure?" said the king.

"My father found I would commence my priestly life with as much
intolerance as my brother had done. He therefore proposed to me to
consecrate myself to the world, and, instead of praying in the
church, to fight for the cross. The thought pleased me, and I became
a Knight of Malta."

"Your first deed of arms was, without doubt, to seat yourself and
write your 'Lettres Juives,'" said the king; "those inspiring
letters in which the knight of the cross mocks at Christianity and
casts his glove as a challenge to revealed religion."

"No, sire, I began my knightly course by entering the land of
heathen and idolaters, to see if a man could be truly happy and
contented in a land where there was neither Messiah nor crucifix--I
went to Turkey."

"But you carried your talisman with you?" said the Abbe Bastiani--
"you wore the cross upon your mantle?"

"A remark worthy of our pious abbe," said Frederick; "no one knows
better the protecting power of the cross than the priest who founded
it. Tell us, marquis, did your talisman protect you? Did you become
an apostate to the true faith?"

"Sire, I wished first to see their temples and their mode of
worship, before I decided whether I would be an unbelieving believer
or a believing unbeliever."

"I think," said Voltaire, "you have never been a believer, or made a
convert; you have made nothing but debts."

"That is, perhaps, because I am not a great writer, and do not
understand usury and speculation," said D'Argens, quietly. "Besides,
no courtesan made me her heir, and no mistress obtained me a
pension!"

"Look now," said the king, "our good marquis is learning from you,
Voltaire; he is learning to scratch and bite."

"Yes," said Voltaire; "there are creatures whom all men imitate,
even in their vile passions and habits; perhaps they take them for
virtues."

The face of the marquis was suffused; he rose angrily, and was about
to answer, but the king laid his hand upon his arm. "Do not reply to
him; you know that our great poet changes himself sometimes into a
wicked tiger, and does not understand the courtly language of men.
Do not regard him, but go on with your story."

The king--drew back his hand suddenly, and, seemingly by accident,
touched the silver salt-cellar; it fell and scattered the salt upon
the table. The marquis uttered a light cry, and turned pale.

"Alas!" cried the king, with well-affected horror, "what a
misfortune! Quick, quick, my friends! let us use an antidote against
the wiles of the demons, which our good marquis maintains springs
always from an overturned salt-cellar. Quick, quick! take each of
you a pinch of salt, and throw it upon the burners of the
chandeliers; listen how it crackles and splutters! These are the
evil spirits in hell-fire, are they not, marquis? Now let each one
take another pinch, and throw it, laughing merrily, over the left
shoulder. You, Voltaire, take the largest portion, and cast it from
you; I think you have always too much salt, and your most beautiful
poems are thereby made unpalatable."

"Ah, sire, you speak of the salt of my wit. No one remembers that
the tears which have bathed my face have fallen upon my lips, and
become crystallized into biting sarcasms. Only the wretched and
sorely tried are sharp of wit and bitter of speech."

"Not so," said La Mettrie; "these things are the consequence of bad
digestion. This machine is not acted upon by what you poets call
spirit, and I call brain; it reacts upon itself. When a man is
melancholy, it comes from his stomach. To be gay and cheery, to have
your spirits clear and fresh, you have nothing more to do than to
eat heartily and have a good digestion. Moliere could not have
written such glorious comedies if he had fed upon sour krout and old
peas, instead of the woodcock, grouse, and truffles which fell to
him from King Louis's table. Man is only a machine, nothing more."

"La Mettrie, I will give you to-morrow nothing but grouse and
truffles to eat: woe to you, then, if the day after you do not write
me just such a comedy as Moliere's! But we entirely forget that the
marquis owes us the conclusion of his story; we left him a Knight of
Malta, and we cannot abandon him in this position; that would be to
condemn him to piety and virtue. Go on, dear marquis, we have thrown
the salt and banished the demons--go on, then, with your history."

"Well," said the marquis, "to relate it is less dangerous than to
live through it. I must confess, however, that the perils of life
have also their charms. I wished, as I had the honor to say to you,
to witness a religious service in the great mosque at
Constantinople, and by my prayers, supported by a handful of gold
pieces, I succeeded in convincing the Turk, who had the care of the
key to the superb Sophia, that it was not an unpardonable sin to
allow an unbelieving Christian to witness the holy worship of an
unbelieving Mussulman. Indeed, he risked nothing but the bastinado;
while I, if discovered, would be given over to the hangman, and
could only escape my fate by becoming a Mussulman."

"What an earnest and profitable Christian Holy Mother Church would
thus have lost in the author of Les Lettres Juives!" said Frederick,
laughing.

"But what an exquisite harem the city of Constantinople would have
won!" cried Voltaire.

"What a happiness for you, my Lord Marshal, that your beautiful
Mohammedan was not then born; the marquis would without doubt have
bought her from you!"

"If Zuleima will allow herself to be bought, there will be nothing
to pay," said Lord Marshal, with a soft smile.

"You are right, my lord," said the marquis, with a meaning side
glance at Voltaire, "you are right; nothing is more despicable than
the friendship which can be purchased."

"You succeeded, however, in bribing the good Mussulman," said
Algarotti, "and enjoyed the unheard-of happiness of witnessing their
worship."

"Yes, the night before a grand fete, my Turk led me to the mosque,
and hid me behind a great picture which was placed before one of the
doors of the tribune. This was seemingly a safe hiding-place. The
tribune was not used, and years had passed since the door had been
opened. It lay, too, upon the southern side of the mosque, and you
know that the worshippers of Mohammed must ever turn their faces
toward Mecca, that is, to the morning sun; I was sure, therefore,
that none of these pious unbelievers would ever look toward me. From
my concealment I could with entire comfort observe all that passed;
but I made my Turk most unhappy in the eagerness of my curiosity. I
sometimes stepped from behind my picture, and leaned a little over
the railing. My poor Mussulman entreated me with such a piteous
mien, and pointed to the soles of his feet with such anguish, that I
was forced to take pity on him and withdraw into my concealment. But
at last, in spite of the solemnities, and my own ardent piety, the
animal was roused within and overcame me. I was hungry! and as I had
expected this result, I had placed a good bottle of wine and some
ham and fresh bread in my pocket. I now took them out, spread my
treasures upon the floor, and began to breakfast. The Turk looked at
me with horror, and he would not have been surprised if the roof of
the holy mosque had fallen upon the Christian hound who dared to
desecrate it by drinking wine and eating ham within its precincts,
both of which were strictly forbidden by the prophet. But the roof
did not fall, not even when I forced my Mussulman to eat ham and
drink wine with me, by threatening to show myself openly if he
refused. He commenced his unholy meal with dark frowns and
threatening glances, ever looking up, as if he feared the sword of
the prophet would cleave him asunder. Soon, however, he familiarized
himself with his sin, and forgot the holy ceremonies which were
being solemnized. When the service was over, and all others had left
the mosque, he prayed me to wait yet a little longer, and as the
best of friends, we finished the rest of my bacon and drank the last
drop of my wine to the health of the prophet, laughing merrily over
the dangers we had escaped. As at last we were about to separate, my
good Turk was sad and thoughtful, and he confessed to me that he had
the most glowing desire to become a Christian. The bacon and wine
had refreshed him marvellously, and he was enthusiastic for a
religion which offered such glorious food, not only for the soul,
but for the body. I was too good a Christian not to encourage his
holy desires. I took him into my service, and when we had left
Turkey, and found ourselves on Christian soil, my Mussulman
gratified the thirst of his soul, and became a son of Holy Mother
Church, and felt no remorse of conscience in eating ham and drinking
wine. So my visit to the holy mosque was rich in blessed
consequences; it saved a soul, and my wine and my ham plucked a man
from the hell-fire of unbelief. That is, I believe, the only time I
ever succeeded in making a proselyte."

"The salvation of that soul will free you from condemnation and
insure your own eternal happiness. When you come to die, marquis,
you dare say, 'I have not lived in vain, I have won a soul to
heaven.'"

"Provided," said Voltaire, "that the bacon with which you converted
the Turk was not part of one of the beasts into which the devils
were cast, as is written in the Holy Scriptures. If this was so,
then the newly-baked Christian has certainly eaten of everlasting
damnation."

"Let us hope that this is not so," said Frederick; "and now, my Lord
Marshal, it is your turn to give us a piquant anecdote; or, if you
prefer it, an heroic deed from your life, so rich in virtue,
magnanimity, truth, and constancy. Ah, messieurs, let us now be
thoughtful, cast down our eyes, and exalt our hearts. A virtuous man
is about to speak: truly virtue is a holy goddess loved by few, to
whom few altars are erected, and who has few priests in her service.
My Lord Marshal is consecrated to her altar; you may well believe
this when I assure you of it--I, who have been so often deceived,
and often tempted to believe no longer in the existence of virtue.
My noble Keith has forced me to be credulous. This faith comforts
me, and I thank him."

With a glance of inexpressible love he gave his hand to his friend,
who pressed it to his breast. The faces of all present were grave,
almost stern. The words of the king were a reproach, and they felt
wounded. Frederick thought not of them; he looked alone upon the
noble, handsome face of Lord Marshal, not remembering that the love
and consideration manifested for him might excite the envy and
jealousy of his other friends.

"Now, my lord, will you commence your history, or are we too impure
and sinful to listen to any of the holy mysteries of your pure
life?"

"Ah, sire, there are no mysteries in my simple life; it lies like an
open book before the eyes of my king, and, indeed, to all the
world."

"In that pure book I am sure that all can learn wisdom and
experience," said Frederick. "It is a book of rarest value, in which
every nobleman can learn how to be faithful to his king in dire
misfortune and to the gates of death. Ah, my lord, there are few men
like yourself, who can count it as imperishable fame to have been
condemned to the scaffold. The Pretender must, indeed, be a most
noble prince, as you were willing to give your life for him."

"He was my rightful king and lord, and I owed him allegiance. That I
was condemned for him, and pardoned, and banished from England, I
cannot now consider a misfortune, as I have thereby enjoyed the
great happiness of being near your majesty. But you must not think
too highly of my constancy to 'the Pretender;' it was not pure
loyalty, and if I carelessly and rashly cast my life upon a wild
chance, it was because the world had but little value for me. In the
despair and anguish of my heart I should have called Death a welcome
friend. Had I been happier I should have been less brave."

"And will you tell us, my lord, why you were unhappy?"

"Sire, mine is a simple little history, such as is daily acted out
in this weary world. We are all, however, proud to think that none
have suffered as we have done. There are many living hearts covered
as with a gravestone, under which every earthly happiness is
shrouded, but the world is ignorant, and goes laughing by. My heart
has bled in secret, and my happiness is a remembrance; my life once
promised to be bright and clear as the golden morning sun. The
future beckoned to me with a thousand glorious promises and greeted
me with winning, magic smiles. I saw a young, lovely, innocent,
modest maiden, like a spring rose, with heaven's dew still hanging
untouched upon its soft leaves. I saw and loved; it seemed to me God
had sent me in her His most wondrous revelation. I loved, I
worshipped her. She was the daughter of a distinguished French
noble. I went to Paris, a young and modest man, highly commended to
many influential and powerful families of the court. We met daily;
at first with wonder and surprise; then, with deep emotion, we heard
each other's voices without daring to speak together; and then, at
last, I no longer dared to utter a word in her presence, because my
voice trembled and I could not control it. One day, as we sat
silently next each other in a large assembly, I murmured in low,
broken tones: 'If I dared to love you, would you forgive me?' She
did not look up, but she said, 'I should be happy.' We then sank
again into our accustomed silence, only looking from time to time
into each other's happy eyes. This lasted six weeks, six weeks of
silent but inexpressible happiness. At last I overcame my timidity
and made known the sweet mystery of my love. I demanded the hand of
my Victoire from her father; he gave a cheerful consent, and led me
to my beloved. I pressed her to my heart, drunk with excess of joy.
At this moment her grandmother entered with a stern face and
scornful glance. She asked if I was a Protestant. This fearful
question waked me from my dream of bliss. In the rapture of the last
few months I had thought of nothing but my love. Love had become my
religion, and I needed no other influence to lead me to worship God.
But this, alas, was not sufficient! I declared myself a Protestant.
Victoire uttered a cry of anguish, and sank insensible into her
father's arms. Two days afterward I left France. Victoire would not
see me, and refused my hand. I returned to England, broken-hearted,
desperate, almost insane. In this delirium of grief I joined 'the
Pretender,' and undertook for him and his cause the wildest and most
dangerous adventures, which ended, at last, in my being captured and
condemned to the block. This, your majesty, was the only love of my
life. You see I had, indeed, but little to relate."

Frederick said nothing, and no one dared to break the silence. Even
Voltaire repressed the malicious jest which played upon his lip, and
was forced to content himself with a mocking smile.

"What were the words that your father spoke when he sent you forth
as a man into the world? I think you once repeated them to me," said
Frederick.

    "Quand vos yeux, en naissant, s'ouvraient a la lumiere,
     Chacun vous souriait, mon fils, et vous pleuriez.
     Vivez si bien, qu'un jour, a votre derniere heure,
     Chacun verse des pleurs, et qu'on vous voie sourire."


"You have fulfilled your father's wish," said the king. "You have so
lived, that you can smile when all others are weeping for you, and
no man who has loved can forget you. I am sure your Victoire will
never forget you. Have you not seen her since that first parting?"

"Yes, sire, I have seen her once again, as I came to Prussia, after
being banished forever from England. Ah, sire, that was a happy
meeting after twenty years of separation. The pain and grief of love
were over, but the love remained. We confessed this to each other.
In the beginning there was suffering and sorrow, then a sweet, soft
remembrance of our love, for we had never ceased to think upon each
other. It seems that to love faithfully and eternally it is only
necessary to love truly and honorably, and then to separate. Custom
and daily meeting cannot then brush the bloom from love's light
wings; its source is in heaven, and it returns to the skies and
shines forever and inextinguishable a star over our heads. When I
looked again. upon Victoire she had been a long time married, and to
the world she had, perhaps, ceased to be beautiful. To me she will
be ever lovely; and as she looked upon me it seemed to me that the
clouds and shadows had been lifted from my life, and my sun was
shining clear. But, sire, all this has no interest for you. How
tenderly I loved Victoire you will know, when I tell you that the
only poem my unpoetical brain has ever produced was written for
her."

"Let us hear it, my lord," said the king.

"If your majesty commands it, and Voltaire will forgive it," said
Lord Marshal.

"I forgive it, my lord," cried Voltaire. "Since I listened to you I
live in a land of wonders and soft enchantments, whose existence I
have never even guessed, and upon whose blooming, perfumed beauty I
scarcely dare open my unholy eyes. The fairy tales of my dreamy
youth seem now to be true, and I hear a language which we, poor sons
of France, living under the regency of the Duke of Orleans, have no
knowledge of. I entreat you, my lord, let us hear your poem."

Lord Marshal bowed, and, leaning back in his chair, in a full rich
voice, he recited the following verses:

    "'Un trait lance par caprice
     M'atteignit dans mon printemps;
     J'en porte la cicatrice
     Encore, sous mes cheveux blancs.
     Craignez les maux qu'amour cause,
     Et plaignez un insense
     Qui n'a point cueilli la rose,
     Et qui l'epine a blesse.'
 [Footnote: Memoires de la Marquise de Crequi.]

"And now," said Lord Marshal rapidly, wishing to interrupt all
praise and all remark as to his poem; "I have yet a confession to
make, and if you have not laughed over my verses, you will surely
laugh at what I now state. Out of love for my lost mistress, I
became a Catholic. I thought that the faith, to which my Victoire
offered up her love, must be the true religion in which all love was
grounded. I wished to be hers in spirit, in life, and in death. In
spirit, in truth, I am a Catholic; and now, gentlemen, you may
laugh."

"Sublime!" whispered Voltaire.

"No one will smile," said the king, sternly. "Joy and peace to him
who is a believer, and can lay his heart upon the cross, and feel
strengthened and supported by it. He will not wander in strange and
forbidden paths, as we poor, short-sighted mortals often do. Will
you tell us the name of your beloved mistress, or is that a secret?"

"Sire, our love was pure and innocent; we dare avow it to the whole
world. My beloved's name was Victoire de Froulay; she is now
Marquise de Crequi."

"Ah, the Marquise de Crequi!" said Voltaire, with animation: "one of
the wittiest and most celebrated women of Paris."

"She is still living?" said the king, thoughtfully. "would you like
to meet her again, my lord?"

"Yes, your majesty, for one hour, to say to her that I am a
Catholic, and that we shall meet in heaven!"

"I will send you as ambassador to Paris, my lord, and you shall bear
the marquise my greetings." [Footnote: Lord Marshal went to Paris,
as an ambassador from Prussia, in 1751.]

"Your majesty will thus be acting an epigram for George of England,"
said Voltaire, laughing. "Two of his noblest rebels will be
cementing the friendship of France and Prussia. Lord Tyrconnel, the
Irishman, is ambassador from France to Prussia, and my Lord Marshal
Keith is to be ambassador from Prussia to France. All, my lord! how
will the noble marquise rejoice when her faithful knight shall
introduce to her his most beautiful possession--the young and lovely
Mohammedan Zuleima! How happy will Zuleima be when you point out to
her the woman who loved you so fondly! She will then know, my lord,
that you also once had a heart, and have been beloved by a woman."

"I will present my little Zuleima to the marquise," said Lord
Marshal; "and, when I tell her that she was a bequest of my dear
brother, who, at the storming of Oschakow, where he commanded as
field-marshal, rescued her from the flames, she will find it just
and kind that I gave the poor orphan a home and a father. I wish
first, however, to give Zuleima a husband, if your majesty will
allow it. The Tartar Ivan, my chamberlain, loves Zuleima, and she
shall be his wife if your majesty consents."

"By all means," said Frederick; "but I fear it will be difficult to
have this marriage solemnized in Berlin. Your Tartar, I believe, has
the honor to be heathen."

"Sire, he is, in faith, a Persian."

"A fire-worshipper, then," said Frederick. "Well, I propose that
Voltaire shall bless this marriage; where fire is worshipped as a
god, Voltaire, the man of fire and flame, may well be priest."

"Ah, sire, I believe we are all Persians; surely we all worship the
light, and turn aside from darkness. You are to us the god Ormuzd,
from whom all light proceeds; and every priest is for us as Ahriman,
the god of darkness. Be gracious to me, then, your majesty, and do
not call upon me to play the role of priest even in jest. But why
does this happy son of the heathen require a priest? Is not the
sungod Ormuzd himself present? With your majesty's permission, we
will place the loving pair upon the upper terrace of Sans-Souci,
where they will be baptized in holy fire by the clear rays of the
mid-day sun. Then the divine Marianna, Cochois, and Denys will
perform some mystical dance, and so the marriage will be solemnized
according to Persian rites and ceremonies."

"And then, I dare hope your majesty will give a splendid wedding-
feast, where costly wines and rich and rare viands will not fail
us," said La Mettrie.

"Look, now, how his eyes sparkle with anticipated delights!" cried
the king. "La Mettrie would consent to wed every woman in the world
if he could thereby spend his whole life in one continuous wedding-
feast; but listen, sir, before you eat again, you have a story to
relate. Discharge this duty at once, and give us a piquant anecdote
from your gay life."



CHAPTER IV.

THE CONFIDENTIAL DINNER.


"Your majesty desires a piquant anecdote out of my own life," said
La Mettrie. "Is there any thing on earth more piquant than a
truffle-pie? Can any thing deserve more ardent praise, and fonder,
sweeter remembrance, than this beautiful revelation of man's genius?
Yes, sire, a successful truffle-pie is a sort of revealed religion,
and I am its devout, consecrated priest! One day I relinquished, for
the love of it, a considerable fortune, a handsome house, and a very
pretty bride, and I confess that even now a truffle-pie has more
irresistible charms for me than any bride, even though richly
endowed."

"And was there ever a father mad enough to give his daughter to the
'homme machine?'" said the king

"Sire, I had just then written my 'Penelope.' Monsieur van Swiet, of
Leyden, a poor invalid, who had been for weeks confined to his bed
by a cold, read it, and laughed so heartily over the mockery and
derision at the gentlemen doctors, that he fell into a profuse
perspiration--a result which neither the art of the physicians nor
the prayers of the priests had been able to accomplish. The
stiffness in his limbs was healed; in fact, he was restored to
health! His first excursion was to see me, and he implored me to
suggest a mode by which he could manifest his gratitude. 'Send me
every day a truffle-pie and a bottle of Hungarian wine,' I replied.
Swiet was greatly amused. 'I have something better than a truffle-
pie,' said he. 'I have a daughter who will inherit all my fortune.
You are not rich in ducats, but largely endowed with wit. I wish
that my grandchildren, who will be immensely wealthy, may have a
father who will endow them richly with intellect. Wed my daughter,
and present me with a grandson exactly like yourself.' I accepted
this proposition, and promised the good Van Swiet to become his son-
in-law in eight days; to dwell with him in his house, and to cheer
and enliven him daily for a few hours after dinner, with merry,
witty conversation, that his liver might be kept in motion, and his
digestion improved."

"Just think of this tender Hollander, this disinterested father, who
selects a husband for his daughter in order to improve his
digestion!"

"Did you not see your bride before the wedding? Perhaps she was a
changeling, whom the father wished to get rid of in some respectable
manner, and therefore gave her to you."

"I saw my bride, sire, and indeed Esther was a lovely girl, who had
but one fault--she did not love me. She had the naivete to tell me
so, and indeed to confess that she ardently loved another, a poor
clerk of her father's, who, when their love was discovered, a short
time before, had been turned out of the house. They loved each other
none the less glowingly for all this. I shrugged my shoulders, and
recalled the wish of her father, and my promise to him. But when the
little Esther implored me to refuse her hand, and plead with her
father for her beloved, I laughed and jested no longer, but began to
look at the thing gravely. I did go to her father, and informed him
of all that had passed. He listened to me quietly, and then asked
me, with a fearful grimace, if I preferred prison fare to truffle-
pie, every day, at my own table. You can imagine that I did not
hesitate in my choice.

"'Well, then,' said my good Swiet, 'if you do not wed my daughter, I
will withdraw my protecting hand from you, and your enemies will
find a means to cast you into prison. A new book, "L'Homme Machine,"
has just appeared, and every man swears it is your production,
though your name is not affixed to the title-page. The whole city,
not only the priests, but the worldlings, are enraged over this
book. They declare it is a monster of unbelief and materialism. If,
in spite of all this, I accept you as my son-in-law, it is because I
wish to show the world that I despise it, and am not in the
slightest degree influenced by its prejudices and opinions, but am a
bold, independent, freethinker. Decide, then! Will you marry my
daughter and eat truffle-pie daily, or will you be cast into
prison?'

"'I will marry your daughter! I swear that in eight days she shall
be my wife!'

"Herr van Swiet embraced me warmly, and commenced his preparations
for the wedding immediately. Esther, however, my bride, never spoke
to me; never seemed to see me. Her eyes were swollen, and she was
half-blind from weeping. Once we met alone in the saloon. She
hastened to leave it; but, as she passed by me, she raised her arms
to heaven, then extended them threateningly toward me. 'You are a
cruel and bad man. You will sacrifice a human soul to your greed and
your irresistible and inordinate desires! If God is just, you will
die of a truffle-pie! I say not that you will yield up your spirit,
for you have none! You will, you must die like a beast--from beastly
gluttony!'"

"The maiden possessed the wisdom of a sibyl," said the king, "and I
fear she has prophesied correctly as to your sad future. HATE has
sometimes the gift of prophecy, and sees the future clearly, while
Love is blind. It appears to me your Esther did not suffer from the
passion of love."

"No, sire, she hated me. But her lover, the young Mieritz, did not
share this dislike. He seemed warmly attached to me; was my
inseparable companion; embraced me with tears, and forgave me for
robbing him of his beloved, declaring that I was more worthy of her
than himself. He went so far in his manifestations of friendship as
to invite me to breakfast on the morning of my wedding-day, at which
time he wished to present me with something sumptuous he had brought
from Amsterdam. I accepted the invitation, and as the wedding-
ceremony was to take place at twelve o'clock, in the cathedral, we
were compelled to breakfast at eleven. I was content. I thought I
could better support the wearisome ceremony if sustained by the fond
remembrance of the luxurious meal I had just enjoyed. Our breakfast
began punctually at eleven, and I assure your majesty it was a rare
and costly feast. My young friend Mieritz declared, however, that
the dish which crowned the feast was yet to come. At last he stepped
to the kitchen himself to bring this jewel of his breakfast. With a
mysterious smile he quickly returned, bringing upon a silver dish a
smoking pie. A delicious fragrance immediately pervaded the whole
room--a fragrance which then recalled the hour most rich in blessing
of my whole life. Beside myself--filled with prophetic expectation--
I rushed forward and raised the top crust of the pie. Yes, it was
there!--it met my ravished gaze!--the pie which I had only eaten
once, at the table of the Duke de Grammont! Alas! I lost the good
duke at the battle of Fontenoy, and the great mystery of this pasty
went down with him into the hero's grave. And now that it was
exhumed, it surrounded me with its costly aroma; it smiled upon me
with glistening lips and voluptuous eyes. I snatched the dish from
the hands of my friend, and placed it before me on the table. At
this moment the clock struck twelve.

"'Miserable wretch!' I cried, 'you bring me this pie, and this is
the hour of my marriage!'

"'Well,' said Mieritz, with the cool phlegm of a Hollander, 'let us
go first to the wedding, and then this pasty can be warmed up.'

"'Warmed up!' roared I; 'warm up this pie, whose delicious odor has
already brought my nose into its magic circle! Can you believe I
would outlive such a vandalism, that I would consent to such
sacrilege? To warm a pie!--it is to rob the blossom of its
fragrance, the butterfly of the purple and azure of its wings,
beauty of its innocence, the golden day of its glory. No, I will
never be guilty of such deadly crime! This pie THIRSTS to be eaten!
I will, therefore, eat it!'

"I ate it, sire, and it overpowered me with heavenly rapture. I was
like the opium-eater, wrapped in elysium, carried into the heaven of
heavens. All the wonders of creation were combined in this heavenly
food, which I thrust into my mouth devoutly, and trembling with
gladness. It was not necessary for Mieritz to tell me that this pie
was made of Indian birds'-nests, and truffles from Perigord. I knew
it--I felt it! This wonder of India had unveiled my enraptured eyes!
A new world was opened before me! I ate, and I was blessed!

"What was it to me that messenger after messenger came to summon me,
to inform me that the priest stood before the altar; that my young
bride and her father and a crowd of relations awaited me with
impatience? I cried back to them: 'Go! be off with you! Let them
wait till the judgment-day! I will not rise from this seat till this
dish is empty!' I ate on, and while eating my intellect was clearer,
sharper, more profound than ever before! I rejoiced over this
conviction. Was it not a conclusive proof that my theory was
correct, that this 'homme machine' received its intellectual fluid,
its power of thought through itself, and not through this fabulous,
bodiless something which metaphysicians call soul? Was not this a
proof that, to possess a noble soul, it was only necessary to give
to the body noble nourishment? And where lies this boasted soul?
where else but in the stomach? The stomach is the soul; I allow it
is the brain that thinks, but the brain dares only think as his
exalted majesty the stomach allows; and if his royal highness feels
unwell, farewell to thought." [Footnote: La Mettrie's own words.]

The whole company burst out in loud and hearty laughter.

"Am I not right to call you a fou fieffe?" said the king. "There is
an old proverb, which says of a coward, that his heart lies in his
stomach; never before have I heard the soul banished there. But your
hymns of praise over the stomach and the pie have made you forget to
finish your story; let us hear the conclusion! Did the marriage take
place?"

"Sire, I had not quite finished my breakfast when the door was
violently opened, and a servant rushed in and announced that the
good Van Swiet had had a stroke of apoplexy in the cathedral. The
foolish man declared that rage and indignation over my conduct had
produced this fearful result; I am, myself, however, convinced that
it was the consequence of a good rich breakfast and a bottle of
Madeira wine; this disturbed the circulation of the blood, and he
was chilled by standing upon the cold stone floor of the church. Be
that as it may, poor Swiet was carried unconscious from the church
to his dwelling, and in a few hours he was dead! Esther, his
daughter and heir, was unfilial enough to leave the wish of her
father unfulfilled. She would not acknowledge our contract to be
binding, declared herself the bride of the little Mieritz, and
married him in a few months. I had, indeed, a legal claim upon her,
but Swiet was right when he assured me that so soon as he withdrew
his protection from me, the whole pack of fanatical priests and
weak-minded scholars would fall upon and tear me to pieces, unless I
saved myself by flight. So I obeyed your majesty's summons, took my
pilgrim-staff, and wandered on, like Ahasuerus."

"What! without taking vengeance on the crafty Mieritz, who, it is
evident, had carried out successfuly a well-considered strategy with
his pie?" said the king. "You must know that was all arranged: he
caught you with his pie, as men catch mice with cheese."

"Even if I knew that to be so, your majesty, I should not quarrel
with him on that account. I should have only said to my pie, as
Holofernes said to Judith: 'Thy sin was a great enjoyment, I forgive
you for slaying me!' For such a pie I would again sacrifice another
bride and another fortune!"

"And is there no possible means to obtain it?" said the king. "Can
you not obtain the receipt for this wonderful dish, which possesses
the magic power to liberate young women from intolerable men, and
change a miser into a spendthrift who thrusts his whole fortune down
his throat?"

"There is a prospect, sire, of securing it, but you cannot be the
first to profit by it. Lord Tyrconnel, who knows my history, opened
a diplomatic correspondence with Holland, some weeks ago, on this
subject, and the success of an important loan which France wishes to
effect with the house of Mieritz and Swiet, through the mediation of
Lord Tyrconnel, hangs upon the obtaining of this receipt. If Mieritz
refuses it, France will not make the loan. In that case the war,
which now seems probable with England, will not take place."

"And yet it is said that great events can only arise from great
causes," cried the king. "The peace of the world now hangs upon the
receipt of a truffle-pie, which La Mettrie wishes to obtain."

"What is the peace of the world in comparison with the peace of our
souls?" cried Voltaire. "La Mettrie may say what he will, and the
worthy Abbe Bastiani may be wholly silent, but I believe I have a
soul, which does not lie in my stomach, and this soul of mine will
never be satisfied till your majesty keeps your promise, and relates
one of those intellectual, piquant histories, glowing with wisdom
and poesy, which so often flows from the lips of our Solomon!"

"It is true it is now my turn to speak," said Frederick, smiling. "I
will be brief. Not only the lights, but also the eyes of Algarotti,
are burning dimly; and look how the good marquis is, in thought,
making love-winks toward his night-cap, which lies waiting for him
upon his bed! But be comforted, gentlemen, my story is short. Like
La Mettrie, I will relate a miracle, in which, however the eyes were
profited, the stomach had no interest. This miracle took place in
Breslau, in the year 1747.

"Cardinal Zinzendorf was just dead, and the Duke Schafgotch, who
some years before I had appointed his coadjutor, was to be his
successor. But the Silesians were not content. They declared that
Duke Schafgotch was too fond of the joys and pleasures of the world
to be a good priest; that he thought too much of the beautiful women
of this world to be able to offer to the holy Madonna, the mother of
God, the sanctified, ardent, but pure and modest love of a true son
of the church. The pious Silesians refused to believe that the duke
was sufficiently holy to be their bishop. The sage fathers of the
city of Breslau assured me that nothing less than a miracle could
secure for him the love and consideration of the Silesiaus. I had
myself gone to Silesia to see if the statement of the authorities
was well-founded, and if the people were really so discontented with
the new bishop. I found their statement fully confirmed. Only a
great miracle could incline the pious hearts of the Silesians to the
duke.

"And now remark, messieurs, how Providence is always with the pious
and the just--this desired miracle took place! On a lovely morning a
rumor was spread abroad, in the city of Breslau, that in the chapel
of the Holy Mother of God a miracle might be seen. All Breslau--the
loveliest ladies of the haute volee, and the poorest beggars of the
street--rushed to the church to look upon this miracle. Yes, it was
undeniable! The hair of the Madonna, which stood in enticing but
wooden beauty upon the altar, whose clothing was furnished by the
first modistes, and whose hair by the first perruquier--this hair,
wonderful to relate, had grown! It was natural that she should
exercise supernatural power. The blind, the lame, the crippled were
cured by her touch. I myself--for you may well think that I hastened
to see the miracle--saw a lame man throw away his crutch and dance a
minuet in honor of the Madonna. There was a blind man who approached
with a broad band bound over his eyes. He was led forward to this
wonderful hair. Scarcely had the lovely locks touched his face, than
he tore the band from his eyes, and shouted with ecstasy--his sight
was restored! Thousands, who were upon their knees praying in wrapt
devotion, shouted in concert with him, and here and there inspired
voices called out: 'The holy Madonna is content with her new servant
the bishop! if she were not, she would not perform these miracles.'
These voices fell like a match in this magazine of excitement. Men
wept and embraced each other, and thanked God for the new bishop,
whom yesterday they had refused.

"In the meantime, however, there were still some suspicious,
distrustful souls who would not admit that the growth of the
Madonna's hair was a testimony in favor of the bishop. But these
stiff-necked unbelievers, these heartless skeptics, were at last
convinced. Two days later this lovely hair had grown perceptibly;
and still two days later, it hung in luxurious length and fulness
over her shoulders. No one could longer doubt that the Holy Virgin
was pleased with her priest. It had often happened that hair had
turned gray, or been torn out by the roots in rage and scorn. No
one, however, can maintain that the hair grows unless we are in a
happy and contented mood. The Madonna, therefore, was pleased. The
wondrous growth of her hair enraptured the faithful, and all mankind
declared that this holy image cut from a pear-tree, was the Virgin
Mary, who with open eyes watched over Breslau, and whose hair grew
in honor of the new Bishop Schafgotch--he was now almost adored.
Thousands of the believers surrounded his palace and besought his
blessing. It was a beautiful picture of a shepherd and his flock.
The Madonna no longer found it necessary to make her hair grow; one
miracle had sufficed, and with the full growth of her hair the
archbishop had also grown into importance."

"But your majesty has not yet named the holy saint at whose
intercession this miracle was performed," said the Marquis D'Argens.
"Graciously disclose the name, that we may pray for pardon and
blessing."

"This holy saint was my friseur" said the king, laughing. "I made
him swear that he would never betray my secret. Every third day, in
the twilight, he stole secretly to the church, and placed a new wig
upon the Madonna, and withdrew the old one. [Footnote: Authentic
addition to the "History of Frederick the Second."] You see,
messieurs, that not only happiness but piety may hang on a hair, and
those holy saints to whom the faithful pray were, without doubt,
adroit perruquiers who understand their cue."

"And who use it as a scourge upon the backs of the pious penitents,"
said Voltaire. "Ah, sire! your story is as wise as it is piquant--it
is another proof that you are a warrior. You have won a spiritual
battle with your miraculous wig, a battle against Holy Mother
Church."

"By which, happily, no soldiers and only a few wigs were left
behind. But see how grave and mute our very worthy abbe appears--I
believe he is envious of the miracle I performed! And now it is your
turn, Bastiani: give us your story--a history of some of the lovely
Magdalens you have encountered."

"Ah, sire! will not your majesty excuse me?" said the abbe, bowing
low. "My life has been the still, quiet, lonely, unostentatious life
of a priest, and only the ever-blessed King Frederick William
introduced storm and tempest into its even course. That was, without
doubt, God's will; otherwise this robust and giant form which He
gave me would have been in vain. My height and strength so
enraptured the emissaries of the king, that in the middle of the
service before the altar, as I was reading mass, they tore me away
without regarding the prayers and outcries of my flock. I was
violently borne off, and immediately enrolled as a soldier."
[Footnote: Thiebault.]

"A wonderful idea!" cried Voltaire, "to carry off a priest in his
vestments and make a soldier of him; but say, now, abbe, could you
not, at least, have taken your housekeeper with you? I dare say she
was young and pretty."

"I do not know," said Bastiani; "I am, as you know, very short-
sighted, and I never looked upon her face; but it was a great
misfortune for a priest to be torn from the Tyrolese mountains and
changed into a soldier. But now, I look upon this as my greatest
good fortune; by this means were the eyes of my exalted king fixed
upon me; he was gracious, and honored me with his condescending
friendship."

"You forget there is no king here, and that here no man must be
flattered," said Frederick, frowning.

"Sire, I know there is no king present, and that proves I am no
flatterer. I speak of my love and admiration to my king, but not to
his face. I praise and exalt him behind his back; that shows that I
love him dearly, not for honor or favor, but out of a pure heart
fervently."

"What happiness for your pure and unselfish heart, that your place
of canonary of Breslau brings in three thousand thalers! otherwise
your love, which does not understand flattery, might leave you in
the lurch; you might be hungry."

"He that eats of the bread of the Lord shall never hunger," said
Bastiani, in a low and solemn voice;" he that will serve two masters
will be faithful to neither, and may fear to be hungry."

"Oh, oh! look at our pious abbe, who throws off his sheep's skin and
turns the rough side out," cried Voltaire, "It is written, 'The
sheep shall be turned into wolves,' and you, dear abbe, in your
piety fulfil this prophecy."

"Your witty illusions are meant for me because I am the historian of
the King of France, and gentleman of the bed-chamber to the King of
Prussia. Compose yourself. As historian to the King of France, I
have no pension, and his majesty of Prussia will tell you that I am
the most useless of servants that the sun of royal favor ever shone
upon. Yes, truly, I am a poor, modest, trifling, good-for-nothing
creature; and if his majesty did not allow me, from time to time, to
read his verses and rejoice in their beauty, and here and there to
add a comma, I should be as useless a being as that Catholic priest
stationed at Dresden, at the court of King Augustus, who has nothing
to do--no man or woman to confess--there, as here, every man being a
Lutheran. Algarotti told me he asked him once how he occupied
himself. The worthy abbe answered: 'Io sono il cattolica di sua
maesta.' So I will call myself, 'Il pedagogue di sua, maesta.'
[Footnote: "Oeuvres Completes de Voltaire," p. 376.] Like yourself,
I serve but one master."

"Alas! I fear my cattolica will not linger long by me," said the
king. "A man of his talent and worth cannot content himself with
being canon of Breslau. No, Bastiani, you will, without doubt, rise
higher. You will become a prelate, an eminence; yes, you will,
perhaps, wear the tiara. But what shall I be when you have mounted
this glittering pinnacle--when you have become pope? I wager you
will deny me your apostolic blessing; that you will not even allow
me to kneel and kiss your slipper. If any man should dare to name me
to you, you would no longer remember this unselfish love, which,
without doubt, you feel passionately for me at this moment. Ah! I
see you now rising from St. Peter's chair with apostolic sublimity,
and exclaiming with praiseworthy indignation: 'How! this heretic,
this unclean, this savage from hell! I curse him, I condemn him. Let
no man dare even to name him.'"

"Grace, grace, sire!" cried the abbe, holding his hands humbly, and
looking up at the king.

The other gentlemen laughed heartily. The king was inexorable. The
specious holiness and hypocrisy which the abbe had brought upon the
stage incensed him, and he was resolved to punish it.

"Now, if you were pope, and I am convinced you will be, I should,
without doubt, go to Rome. It is very important for me to ascertain,
while I have you here, what sort of a reception you would accord me?
So, let us hear. When I appear before your holiness, what will you
say to me?"

The abbe, who had been sitting with downcast eyes, and murmuring
from time to time in pleading tones: "Ah, sire! ah, sire!" now
looked up, and a flashing glance fell upon the handsome face of the
king, now glowing with mirth.

"Well?" repeated the king, "what would you say to me?"

"Sire," said Bastiani, bowing reverently, "I would say, 'Almighty
eagle, cover me with your wings, and protect me from your own
beak.'" [Footnote: Bastiani's own words.--See Thiebault, p. 43.]

"That is an answer worthy of your intellect," said the king,
smiling, "and in consideration of it I will excuse you from relating
some little history of your life.--Now, Duke Algarotti, your time
has come. You are the last, and no doubt you will conclude the
evening worthily."

"Sire, my case is similar to Bastiani's. There has been no mystery
in my life; only that which seemed miraculous for a priest was
entirely natural and simple in my case. I have travelled a great
deal, have seen the world, known men; and all my experience and the
feelings and convictions of my heart have at last laid me at the
feet of your majesty. I am like the faithful, who, having been
healed by a miracle, hang a copy of the deceased member upon the
miraculous image which cured them. My heart was sick of the world
and of men; your majesty healed it, and I lay it thankfully and
humbly at your feet. This is my whole history, and truly it is a
wonderful one. I have found a manly king and a kingly man."
[Footnote: Algarotti's own words.]

"Truly, such a king is the wonder of the world," said Voltaire. "A
king, who being a king, is still a man, and being a man is still a
noble king. I believe the history of the world gives few such
examples. If we search the records of all people, we will find that
all their kings have committed many crimes and follies, and but few
great, magnanimous deeds. No, no! let us never hope to civilize
kings. In vain have men sought to soften them by the help of art; in
vain taught them to love it and to cultivate it. They are always
lions, who seemed to be tamed when perpetually nattered. They
remain, in truth, always wild, bloodthirsty, and fantastic. In the
moment when you least expect it, the instinct awakens, and we fall a
sacrifice to their claws or their teeth." [Footnote: Thiebault.]

The king, who, up to this time, had listened, with a smiling face,
to the passionate and bitter speech of Voltaire, now rose from his
seat, and pointing his finger threateningly at him, said, good-
humoredly: "Still, still, monsieur! Beware! I believe the king
comes! Lower your voice, Voltaire, that he may not hear you. If he
heard you, he might consider it his duty to be even worse than
yourself. [Footnote: The king's own words.] Besides, it is late. Let
us not await the coming of the king, but withdraw very quietly.
Good-night, messieurs."

With a gracious but proud nod of his head, he greeted the company
and withdrew.



CHAPTER V.

ROME SAUVEE.


The whole court was in a state of wild excitement, A rare spectacle
was preparing for them--something unheard of in the annals of the
Berliners. Voltaire's new drama of "Catiline," to which he had now
given the name of "Rome Saved," was to be given in the royal palace,
in a private theatre gotten up for the occasion, and the actors and
actresses were to be no common artistes, but selected from the
highest court circles. Princess Amelia had the role of Aurelia,
Prince Henry of Julius Caesar, and Voltaire of Cicero.

The last rehearsal was to take place that morning. Voltaire had
shown himself in his former unbridled license, his biting irony, his
cutting sarcasm. Not an actor or actress escaped his censure or his
scorn. The poor poet D'Arnaud had been the special subject of his
mocking wit. D'Arnaud had once been Voltaire's favorite scholar, and
he had commended him highly to the king. He had the misfortune to
please Frederick, who had addressed to him a flattering poem. For
this reason Voltaire hated him, and sought continually to deprive
him of Frederick's favor and get him banished from court.

This morning, for the first time, there was open strife between
them, and the part which D'Arnaud had to play in "Rome Sauvee" gave
occasion for the difficulty. D'Arnaud, it is true, had but two words
to say, but his enunciation did not please Voltaire. He declared
that D'Arnaud uttered them intentionally and maliciously with
coldness and indifference.

D'Arnaud shrugged his shoulders and said a speech of two words did
not admit of power or action. He asked what declamation could
possibly do for two insignificant words, but make them ridiculous.

This roused Voltaire's rage to the highest pitch. "And this
utterance of two words is then beyond your ability? It appears you
cannot speak two words with proper emphasis!" [Footnote: In a letter
to Madarae Denis, Voltaire wrote: "Tout le monde me reproche que le
roi a fait dos vers pour d'Arnaud, des vers qui ne sont pas ce qu'il
a fait de micux; mais songez qu'a quatre cent lieues de Paris il est
bien difficile de savoir si un homme qu'on lui recommende a du
merite ou non; de plus c'est toujours des vers, et bien ou mal
appliques ils prouvent que le vainqueur de l'Autriche aime les
belles-lettres que j'aime de tout mon coeur. D'ailleurs D'Arnaud est
un bon diable, qui par-oi par-la ne laisoe pas de rencontrer de bons
tirades. Il a du gout, il se forme, et s'il aime qu'il se deforme,
il n'y a pas grand mal. En un mot, la petite meprise du Roi de
Prusse n'empeche pas qu'il ne soit le plus singulier de tous les
homines."--Voyez "Oeuvres Completes."]

And now, with fiery eloquence, he began to show that upon these
words hung the merit of the drama; that this speech was the most
important of all! With jeers and sarcasm he drove poor D'Arnaud to
the wall, who, breathless, raging, choking, could find no words nor
strength to reply. He was dumb, cast down, humiliated.

The merry laughter of the king, who greatly enjoyed the scene, and
the general amusement, increased the pain of his defeat, and made
the triumph of Voltaire more complete.

At last, however, the parts were well learned, and even Voltaire was
content with his company. This evening the entire court was to
witness the performance of the drama, which Voltaire called his
master-work.

Princess Amelia had the role of Aurelia. She had withdrawn to her
rooms, and had asked permission of the queen-mother to absent
herself from dinner. Her part was difficult, and she needed
preparation and rest.

But the princess was not occupied with her role, or with the
arrangement of her toilet. She lay stretched upon the divan, and
gazed with tearful eyes upon the letter which she held in her
trembling hands. Mademoiselle von Haak was kneeling near her, and
looking up with tender sympathy upon the princess.

"What torture, what martyrdom I suffer!" said Amelia. "I must laugh
while my heart is filled with despair; I must take part in the pomps
and fetes of this riotous court, while thick darkness is round about
me. No gleam of light, no star of hope, do I see. Oh, Ernestine, do
not ask me to be calm and silent! Grant me at least the relief of
giving expression to my sorrow."

"Dear princess, why do you nourish your grief? Why will you tear
open the wounds of your heart once more?"

"Those wounds have never healed," cried Amelia, passionately. "No!
they have been always bleeding--always painful. Do you think so
pitifully of me, Ernestine, as to believe that a few years have been
sufficient to teach me to forget?"

"Am I not also called upon to learn to forget?" cried Ernestine,
bitterly. "Is not my life's happiness destroyed? Am I not eternally
separated from my beloved? Alas! princess, you are much happier than
I! You know where, at least in thought, you can find your unhappy
friend. Not the faintest sound in the distance gives answer to my
wild questionings. My thoughts are wandering listlessly, wearily.
They know not where to seek my lover--whether he lies in the dark
fortress, or in the prison-house of the grave."

"It is true," said Amelia, thoughtfully; "our fates are indeed
pitiable! Oh, Ernestine, what have I not suffered in the last five
years, during which I have not seen Trenck?--five years of self-
restraint, of silence, of desolation! How often have I believed that
I could not support my secret griefs--that death must come to my
relief! How often, with rouged cheeks and laughing lips, conversing
gayly with the glittering court circle whose centre my cruel brother
forced me to be, have my troubled thoughts wandered far, far away to
my darling; from whom the winds brought me no message, the stars no
greeting; and yet I knew that he lived, and loved me still! If
Trenck were dead, he would appear to me in spirit. Had he forgotten
me, I should know it; the knowledge would pierce my heart, and I
should die that instant. I know that he has written to me, and that
all his dear letters have fallen into the hands of the base spies
with which my brother has surrounded me. But I am not mad! I will be
calm; a day may come in which Trenck may require my help. I will not
slay myself; some day I may be necessary to him I love. I have long
lived, as the condemned in hell, who, in the midst of burning
torture, open both eyes and ears waiting for the moment when the
blessed Saviour will come for their release. God has at last been
merciful; He has blinded the eyes of my persecutors, and this letter
came safely to my hands. Oh, Ernestine, look! look! a letter from
Trenck! He loves me--he has not forgotten me--he calls for me! Oh,
my God! my God! why has fate bound me so inexorably? Why was I born
to a throne, whose splendor has not lighted my path, but cast me in
the shadow of death? Why am I not poor and obscure? Then I might
hasten to my beloved when he calls me. I might stand by his side in
his misfortunes, and share his sorrows and his tears."

"Dear princess, you can alleviate his fate. Look at me! I am poor,
obscure, and dependent, and yet I cannot hasten to my beloved; he is
in distress, and yet he does not call upon me for relief. He knows
that I cannot help him. You, princess, thanks to your rank, have
power and influence. Trenck calls you, and you are here to aid and
comfort."

"God grant that I may. Trenck implores me to turn to my brother, and
ask him to interest the Prussian embassy in Vienna in his favor;
thereby hoping to put an end to the process by which he is about to
be deprived of his only inheritance--the estate left him by his
cousin, the captain of the pandours. Alas! can I speak with my
brother of Trenck? He knows not that for five years his name has
never passed my lips; he knows not that I have never been alone with
my brother the king for one moment since that eventful day in which
I promised to give him up forever. We have both avoided an
interview; he, because he shrank from my prayers and tears, and I,
because a crust of ice had formed over my love for him, and I would
not allow it to melt beneath his smiles and kindly words. I loved
Trenck with my whole heart, I was resolved to be faithful to him,
and I was resentful toward my brother. Now, Ernestine, I must
overcome myself, I must speak with the king; Trenck needs my
services, and I will have courage to plead for him."

"What will your highness ask? think well, princess, before you act.
Who knows but that the king has entirely forgotten Trenck? Perhaps
it were best so. You should not point out to the angry lion the
insect which has awakened him, he will crush it in his passion.
Trenck is in want; send him gold--gold to bribe the men of law. It
is well-known that the counsellors-at-law are dull-eyed enough to
mistake sometimes the glitter of gold for the glitter of the sun of
justice. Send him gold, much gold, and he will tame the tigers who
lie round about the courts of justice, and he will win his suit."

Princess Amelia shrugged her shoulders contemptuously. "He calls
upon me for help; and I send him nothing but empty gold; he asks for
my assistance, and I play the coward and hold my peace. No, no! I
will act, and I will act to-day! You know that only after the most
urgent entreaty of the king, I consented to appear in this drama.
While my brother pleaded with me, he said, with his most winning
smile, 'Grant me this favor, my sister, and be assured that the
first petition you make of me, I will accord cheerfully.' Now, then,
I will remind him of this promise; I will plead for Trenck, and he
dare not refuse. Oh, Ernestine! I know not surely, but it appears to
me that for some little time past the king loves me more tenderly
than heretofore; his eye rests upon me with pleasure, and often it
seems to me his soft glance is imploring my love in return. You may
call me childish, foolish; but I think, sometimes, that my silent
submission has touched his heart, and he is at last disposed to be
merciful, and allow me to be happy--happy, in allowing me to flee
from the vain glory of a court; in forgetting that I am a princess,
and remembering only that I am a woman, to whom God has given a
heart capable of love." Amelia did not see the melancholy gaze with
which her friend regarded her; she was full of ardor and enthusiasm,
and with sparkling eyes and throbbing breast she sprang from the
divan and cried out, "Yes, it is so; my brother will make me happy!"

"Alas, princess, do not dare to rely upon so false a hope! Never
will the king consent that you shall be happy beneath your royal
rank!"

"Tell me now, Ernestine," said Amelia, with a smile, "is not the
reigning Margravine of Baireuth as high in rank as I am?"

"Yes, your highness," said Ernestine, with surprise, "for the
reigning Margravine of Baireuth is your exalted sister."

"I do not speak of her, but of the widow of the former margrave. She
has also reigned. Well, she has just married the young Duke Hobitz.
The king told me this yesterday, with a merry laugh. The little
Duchess of Hobitz is his aunt, and I am his sister!"

"If the king had had power to control his aunt, as he has to control
his sister, he would not have allowed this marriage."

Amelia heard, but she did not believe. With hasty steps and
sparkling eyes she walked backward and forward in her room; then,
after a long pause, she drew near her friend, and laying her hands
upon her shoulders, she said: "You are a good soul and a faithful
friend; you have ever had a patient and willing ear for all my
complaints. Only think now how charming it will be when I come to
tell you of my great happiness. And now, Ernestine, come, you must
go over my part with me once more, and then arrange my toilet. I
will be lovely this evening, in order to please the king. I will
play like an artiste in order to touch his cold heart. If I act my
part with such truth and burning eloquence that he is forced to weep
over the sorrows of the wretched and loving woman whom I represent,
will not his heart be softened, will he not take pity upon my
blasted life? The tragic part I play will lend me words of fire to
depict my own agony. Come, then, Ernestine, come! I must act well my
tragedy--I must win the heart of my king!"

The princess kept her word; she played with power and genius. Words
of passion and of pain flowed like a stream of lava from her lips;
her oaths of faith and eternal constancy, her wild entreaties, her
resignation, her despair, were not the high-flown, pompous phrases
of the tragedian, but truth in its omnipotence. It was living
passion, it was breathing agony; and, with fast-flowing tears, with
the pallor of death, she told her tale of love; and in that vast
saloon, glittering with jewels, filled with the high-born, the
brave, the beautiful, nothing was heard but long-drawn sighs and
choking sobs.

Queen Elizabeth Christine forgot all etiquette in the remembrance of
her own sad fate so powerfully recalled. She covered her face with
her hands, and bitter tears fell over her slender fingers. The
queen-mother, surprised at her own emotion, whispered lightly that
it was very warm, and while fanning herself she sought to dry her
secret tears unnoticed.

Even the king was moved; his eyes were misty, and indescribable
melancholy played upon his lips. Voltaire was wild with rapture; he
hung upon every movement, every glance of Amelia. Words of glowing
praise, thanks, admiration flowed from his lips. He met the princess
behind the scenes, and forgetting all else he cried out, with
enthusiasm: "You are worthy to be an actress, and to play in
Voltaire's tragedies!"

The princess smiled and passed on silently--what cared she for
Voltaire's praise? She knew that she had gained her object, and that
the king's heart was softened. This knowledge made her bright and
brave; and when at the close of the drama the king came forward,
embraced her with warmth, and thanked her in fond arid tender words
for the rich enjoyment of the evening, due not only to the great
poet Voltaire, but also to the genius of his sister, she reminded
him smilingly that she had a favor to ask.

"I pray you, my sister," said Frederick, gayly, "ask something right
royal from me this evening--I am in the mood to grant all your
wishes."

Amelia looked at him pleadingly. "Sire," said she, "appoint an hour
to-morrow morning in which I may come to you and make known my
request. Remember, your majesty has promised to grant it in
advance."

The king's face was slightly clouded. "This is, indeed, a happy
coincidence," said he. "It was my intention to ask an interview with
you to-morrow, and now you come forward voluntarily to meet my
wishes. At ten in the morning I shall be with you, and I also have
something to ask."

"I will then await you at ten o'clock, and make known my request."

"And when I have granted it, my sister, it will be your part to
fulfil my wishes also."



CHAPTER VI.

A WOMAN'S HEART.


The Princess Amelia lay the whole of the following night, with wide-
open eyes and loudly-heating heart, pale and breathless upon her
couch. No soft slumber soothed her feverish-glowing brow; no sweet
dream of hope dissipated the frightful pictures drawn by her
tortured fantasy.

"What is it?" said she, again and again--"what is it that the king
will ask of me? what new mysterious horror rises up threateningly
before me, and casts a shadow upon my future?"

She brought every word, every act of the previous day in review
before her mind. Suddenly she recalled the sad and sympathetic
glance of her maid of honor; the light insinuations, the half-
uttered words which seemed to convey a hidden meaning.

"Ernestine knows something that she will not tell me," cried Amelia.
At this thought her brow was covered with cold perspiration, and her
limbs shivered as if with ague. She reached out her hand to ring for
Fraulein von Haak; then suddenly withdrew it, ashamed of her own
impatience. "Why should I wish to know that which I cannot change? I
know that a misfortune threatens me. I will meet it with a clear
brow and a bold heart."

Amelia lay motionless till the morning. When she rose from her bed,
her features wore an expression of inexorable resolve. Her eyes
flashed as boldly, as daringly as her royal brother Frederick's when
upon the battle-field. She dressed herself carefully and
tastefully, advanced to meet her ladies with a gracious greeting,
and chattered calmly and cheerfully with them on indifferent
subjects. At last she was left alone with Fraulein von Haak. She
stepped in front of her, and looked in her eyes long and
searchingly.

"I read it in your face, Ernestine, but I entreat you do not make it
known in words unless my knowledge of the facts would diminish my
danger."

Ernestine shook her head sadly. "No," said she, "your royal highness
has no power over the misfortune that threatens you. You are a
princess, and must be obedient to the will of the king."

"Good!" said Amelia, "we will see if my brother has power to subdue
my will. Now, Ernestine, leave me; I am expecting the king."

Scarcely had her maid withdrawn, when the door of the anteroom was
opened, and the king was announced. The princess advanced to meet
him smilingly, but, as the king embraced her and pressed a kiss upon
her brow, she shuddered and looked up at him searchingly. She read
nothing in his face but the most heart-felt kindliness and love.

"If he makes me miserable, it is at least not his intention to do
so," thought she.--"Now, my brother, we are alone," said the
princess, taking a place near the king upon the divan. "And now
allow me to make known my request at once--remember you have
promised to grant it."

The king looked with a piercing glance at the sweet face now
trembling with excitement and impatience. "Amelia," said he, "have
you no tender word of greeting, of warm home-love to say to me? Do
you not know that five years have passed since we have seen each
other alone, and enjoyed that loving and confidential intercourse
which becomes brothers and sisters?"

"I know," said Amelia sadly, "these five years are written on my
countenance, and if they have not left wrinkles on my brow, they
have pierced my heart with many sorrows, and left their shadows
there! Look at me, my brother--am I the same sister Amelia?"

"No," said the king, "no! You are pallid--your cheeks are hollow.
But it is strange--I see this now for the first time. You have been
an image of youth, beauty, and grace up to this hour. The fatigue of
yesterday has exhausted you--that is all."

"No, my brother, you find me pallid and hollow-eyed today, because
you see me without rouge. I have to-day for the first time laid
aside the mask of rosy youth, and the smiling indifference of manner
with which I conceal my face and my heart from the world. You shall
see me to-day as I really am; you shall know what I have suffered.
Perhaps then you will be more willing to fulfil my request? Listen,
my brother, I--"

The king laid his hand softly upon her shoulder. "Stop, Amelia;
since I look upon you, I fear you will ask me something not in my
power to grant."

"You have given me your promise, sire."

"I will not withdraw it; but I ask you to hear my prayer before you
speak. Perhaps it may exert an influence--may modify your request. I
allow myself, therefore, in consideration of your own interest,
solely to beg that I may speak first."

"You are king, sire, and have only to command," said Amelia, coldly.

The king fixed a clear and piercing glance for one moment upon his
sister, then stood up, and, assuming an earnest and thoughtful mien,
he said: "I stand now before you, princess, not as a king, but as
the ambassador of a king. Princess Amelia, through me the King of
Denmark asks your hand; he wishes to wed you, and I have given my
consent. Your approval alone is wanting, and I think you will not
refuse it."

The princess listened with silent and intrepid composure; not a
muscle of her face trembled; her features did not lose for one
moment their expression of quiet resolve.

"Have you finished, sire?" said she, indifferently.

"I have finished, and I await your reply."

"Before I answer, allow me to make known my own request. Perhaps
what I may say may modify your wishes. You will, at least, know if
it is proper for me to accept the hand of the King of Denmark. Does
your majesty allow me to speak?"

"Speak," said the king, seating himself near her.

After a short pause, Amelia said, in an earnest, solemn voice:
"Sire, I pray for pardon for the Baron Frederick von Trenck."
Yielding to an involuntary agitation, she glided from the divan upon
her knees, and raising her clasped hands entreatingly toward her
brother, she repeated: "Sire, I pray for pardon for Baron Frederick
von Trenck!"

The king sprang up, dashed back the hands of his sister violently,
and rushed hastily backward and forward in the room.

Amelia, ashamed of her own humility, rose quickly from her knees,
and, as if to convince herself of her own daring and resolution, she
stepped immediately in front of the king, and said, in a loud, firm
voice for the third time: "Sire, I pray for pardon for Baron
Frederick von Trenck. He is wretched because he is banished from his
home; he is in despair because he receives no justice from the
courts of law, it being well known that he has no protector to
demand his rights. He is poor and almost hopeless because the courts
have refused him the inheritance of his cousin, the captain of the
pandours whose enemies have accused him since his death, only while
they lusted for his millions. His vast estate has been confiscated,
under the pretence that it was unlawfully acquired. But these
accusations have not been established; and yet, now that he is dead,
they refuse to give up this fortune to the rightful heir, Frederick
von Trenck. Sire, I pray that you will regard the interests of your
subject. Be graciously pleased to grant him the favor of your
intercession. Help him, by one powerful word, to obtain possession
of his rights. Ah, sire, you see well how modest, how faint-hearted
I have become. I ask no longer for happiness! I beg for gold, and I
think, sire, we owe him this pitiful reparation for a life's
happiness trodden under foot."

Frederick by a mighty effort succeeded in overcoming his rage. He
was outwardly as calm as his sister; but both concealed under this
cool, indifferent exterior a strong energy, an unfaltering purpose.
They were quiet because they were inflexible.

"And this is the favor you demand of me?" said the king.

"The favor you have promised to grant," said Amelia.

"And if I do this, will you fulfil my wish? Will you become the wife
of the King of Denmark? Ah, you are silent. Now, then, listen.
Consent to become Queen of Denmark, and on the day in which you pass
the boundary of Prussia and enter your own realm as queen, on that
day I will recall Trenck to Berlin, and all shall be forgotten.
Trenck shall again enter my guard, and my ambassador at Vienna shall
appear for him in court. Decide, now, Amelia--will you be Queen of
Denmark?"

"Ah, sire, you offer me a cruel alternative. You wish me to purchase
a favor which you had already freely and unconditionally granted."

"You forget, my sister, that I entreat where I have the right to
command. It will be easy to obey when through your obedience you can
make another happy. Once more, then, will you accept my
proposition?"

Amelia did not answer immediately. She fixed her eyes steadily upon
the king's face; their glances met firmly, quietly. Each read in the
eyes of the other inexorable resolve.

"Sire, I cannot accept your proposition; I cannot become the wife of
the King of Denmark."

The king shrank back, and a dark cloud settled upon his brow. He
pressed his hand nervously upon the arm-chair near which he stood,
and forced himself to appear calm. "And why can you not become the
wife of the King of Denmark?"

"Because I have sworn solemnly, calling upon God to witness, that I
will never become the wife of any other man than him whom I love--
because I consider myself bound to God and to my conscience to
fulfil this oath. As I cannot be the wife of Trenck, I will remain
unmarried."

And now the king was crimson with rage, and his eyes flashed
fiercely. "The wife of Trenck!" cried he; "the wife of a traitor!
Ah, you think still of him, and in spite of your vow--in spite of
your solemn oath--you still entertain the hope of this unworthy
alliance!"

"Sire, remember on what conditions my oath was given. You promised
me Trenck should be free, and I swore to give him up--never even to
write to him. Fate did not accept my oath. Trenck fled before you
had time to fulfil your word, and I was thus released from my vow;
and yet I have never written to him--have heard nothing from him. No
one knows better than yourself that I have not heard from him."

"So five years have gone by without his writing to you, and yet you
have the hardihood to-day to call his name!"

"I have the courage, sire, because I know well Trenck has never
ceased to love me. That I have received no letters from him does not
prove that he has not written; it only proves that I am surrounded
by watchful spies, who do not allow his letters to reach me."

"Ah," said the king, with a contemptuous shrug of the shoulders,
"you are of the opinion that I have suppressed these letters?"

"Yes, I am of that opinion."

"You deceive yourself, then, Amelia. I have not surrounded you with
spies; I have intercepted no letters. You look at me incredulously.
I declare to you that I speak the truth. Now you can comprehend, my
sister, that your heart has deceived you--you have squandered your
love upon a wretched object who has forgotten you."

"Sire!" cried Amelia, with flaming eyes, "no abuse of the man I
love!"

"You love him still!" said the king, white with passion, and no
longer able to control his rage--"you love him still! You have wept
and bewailed him, while he has shamefully betrayed and mocked at
you. Yes, look on me, if you will, with those scornful, rebellious
glances--it is as I say! You must and shall know all! I have spared
you until now; I trusted in your own noble heart! I thought that,
driven by a storm of passion, it had, like a proud river, for one
moment overstepped its bounds; then quietly, calmly resumed that
course which nature and fate had marked out for it. I see now that I
have been deceived in you, as you have been deceived in Trenck! I
tell you he has betrayed you! He, formerly a Prussian officer, at
the luxurious and debauched court of Petersburg, has not only
betrayed you, but his king. At the table of his mistress, the wife
of Bestuchef, he has shown your picture and boasted that you gave it
to him. The Duke of Goltz, my ambassador at the Russian court,
informed me of this; and look you, I did not slay him! I did not
demand of the Empress Anne that the Prussian deserter should be
delivered up. I remembered that you had once loved him, and that I
had promised you to be lenient. But I have had him closely watched.
I know all his deeds; I am acquainted with all his intrigues and
artifices. I know he has had a love-affair with the young Countess
Narischkin--that he continued his attentions long after her marriage
with General Bondurow. Can you believe, my sister, that he
remembered the modest, innocent oaths of love and constancy he had
exchanged with you while enjoying himself in the presence of this
handsome and voluptuous young woman? Do you believe that he recalled
them when he arranged a plan of flight with his beloved, and sought
a safe asylum beyond the borders of Russia? Do you believe that he
thought of you when he received from this ill-regulated woman her
diamonds and all the gold she possessed, in order to smooth the way
to their escape?"

"Mercy, mercy!" stammered Amelia, pale and trembling, and sinking
upon a seat. "Cease, my brother; do you not see that your words are
killing me? Have pity upon me!"

"No! no mercy!" said the king; "you must and you shall know all, in
order that you may be cured of this unholy malady, this shameful
love. You shall know that Trenck not only sells the secrets of
politics, but the secrets of love. Every thing is merchandise with
him, even his own heart. He not only loved the beautiful Bondurow
but he loved her diamonds. This young woman died of the small-pox, a
few days before the plan of flight could be fully arranged. Trenck,
however, became her heir; he refused to give back the brilliants and
the eight thousand rubles which she had placed in his hands."

"Oh my God, my God! grant that I die!" cried the Princess Amelia.

"But the death of his beloved," said the king (without regarding the
wild exclamations of the princess)--"this death was so greatly to
his advantage, that he soon consoled himself with the love of the
attractive Bestuchef--this proud and intriguing woman who now,
through the weakness of her husband, rules over Russia, and
threatens by her plots and intrigues to complicate the history and
peace of Europe. She is neither young nor beautiful; she is forty
years of age, and you cannot believe that Trenck at four-and-twenty
burns with love for her. But she adores him; she loves him with that
mad, bacchantic ardor which the Roman empress Julia felt for the
gladiators, whose magnificent proportions she admired at the circus.
She loved him and confessed it; and his heart, unsubdued by the
ancient charms, yielded to the magic power of her jewels and her
gold. He became the adorer of Bestuchef; he worked diligently in the
cabinet of the chancellor, and appeared to be the best of Russian
patriots, and seemed ready to kiss the knout with the same devotion
with which he kissed the slipper of the chancellor's wife. At this
time I resolved to try his patriotism, and commissioned my
ambassador to see if his patriotic ardor could not be cooled by
gold. Well, my sister, for two thousand ducats, Trenck copied the
design of the fortress of Cronstadt, which the chancellor had just
received from his engineer."

"That is impossible!" said Amelia, whose tears had now ceased to
flow, and who listened to her brother with distended but quiet eyes.

"Impossible!" said Frederick. "Oh my sister, gold has a magic power
to which nothing is impossible! I wished to unmask the traitor
Trenck, and expose him in his true colors to the chancellor. I
ordered Goltz to hand him the copy of the fortress, drawn by Trenck
and signed with his name, and to tell him how he obtained it. The
chancellor was beside himself with rage, and swore to take a right
Russian revenge upon the traitor--he declared he should die under
the knout."

Amelia uttered a wild cry, and clasped her hands over her convulsed
face.

The king laughed, bitterly. "Compose yourself--we triumphed too
early; we had forgotten the woman! In his rage the chancellor
disclosed every thing to her, and uttered the most furious curses
and resolves against Trenck. She found means to warn him, and, when
the police came in the night to arrest him, he was not at home--he
had taken refuge in the house of his friend the English ambassador,
Lord Hyndforth." [Footnote: Trenck's Memoirs.]

"Ah! he was saved, then?" whispered Amelia.

The king looked at her in amazement. "Yes, he was saved. The next
day, Madame Bestuchef found means to convince her credulous husband
that Trenck was the victim of an intrigue, and entirely innocent of
the charge brought against him. Trenck remained, therefore, the
friend of the house, and Madame Bestuchef had the audacity to
publicly insult my ambassador. Trenck now announced himself as a
raging adversary of Prussia. He inflamed the heart of his powerful
mistress with hate, and they swore the destruction of Prussia. Both
were zealously engaged in changing the chancellor, my private and
confidential friend, into an enemy; and Trenck, the Russian patriot,
entered the service of the house of Austria, to intrigue against me
and my realm. [Footnote: Trenck himself writes on this subject: "I
would at that time have changed my fatherland into a howling
wilderness, if the opportunity had offered. I do not deny that from
this moment I did everything that was possible, in Russia, to
promote the views of the imperial ambassador, Duke Vernis, who knew
how to nourish the fire already kindled, and to make use of my
services."] Bestuchef, however, withstood these intrigues, and in
his distrust he watched over and threatened his faithless wife and
faithless friend. Trenck would have been lost, without doubt, if a
lucky accident had not again rescued him. His cousin the pandour
died in Vienna, and, as Trenck believed that he had left him a
fortune of some millions, he tore his tender ties asunder, and
hastened to Vienna to receive this rich inheritance, which, to his
astonishment, he found to consist not in millions, but in law
processes. This, Amelia, is the history of Trenck during these five
years in which you have received no news from him. Can you still say
that he has never forgotten you? that you are bound to be faithful
to him? You see I do not speak to you as a king, but as a friend,
and that I look at all these unhappy circumstances from your
standpoint. Treat me, then, as a friend, and answer me sincerely. Do
you still feel bound by your oath? Do you not know that he is a
faithless traitor, and that he has forgotten you?"

The princess had listened to the king with a bowed head and downcast
eyes. Now she looked up; the fire of inspiration beamed in her eye,
a melancholy smile played upon her lips.

"Sire," said she, "I took my vow without conditions, and I will keep
it faithfully till my death. Suppose, even, that a part of what you
have said is true, Trenck is young; you cannot expect that his
ardent and passionate heart should be buried under the ashes of the
vase of tears in which our love, in its beauty and bloom, crumbled
to dust. But his heart, however unstable it may appear, turns ever
back faithfully to that fountain, and he seeks to purify and
sanctify the wild and stormy present by the remembrance of the
beautiful and innocent past. You say that Trenck forgot me in his
prosperity: well, then, sire, in his misfortune he has remembered
me. In his misfortune he has forgotten the faithless, cold, and
treacherous letter which I wrote to him, and which he received in
the prison of Glatz. In his wretchedness, he has written to me, and
called upon me for aid. It shall not, be said that I did not hear
his voice--that I was not joyfully ready to serve him!"

"And he has dared to write to you!" said the king, with trembling
lips and scornful eye. "Who was bold enough to hand you this
letter?"

"Oh, sire, you will not surely demand that I shall betray my
friends! Moreover, if I named the messenger who brought me this
letter, it would answer no purpose; you would arrest and punish him,
and to-morrow I should find another to serve me as well. Unhappy
love finds pity, protection, and friends everywhere. Sire, I repeat
my request--pardon for Baron Trenck!"

"And I," cried the king, in a loud, stern voice, "I ask if you
accept my proposition--if you will become the wife of the King of
Denmark--and, mark well, princess, this is the answer to your
prayer."

"Sire, may God take pity on me! Punish me with your utmost scorn--I
cannot break my oath! You can force me to leave my vows unfulfilled-
-not to become the wife of the man I love--but you cannot force me
to perjure myself. I should indeed be foresworn if I stepped before
the altar with another man, and promised a love and faith which my
heart knows not, and can never know."

The king uttered a shrill cry of rage; maledictions hung upon his
lips, but he held them back, and forcing himself to appear composed,
he folded his arms, and walked hastily backward and forward through
the room.

The princess gazed at him in breathless silence, and with loudly-
beating heart she prayed to God for mercy and help; she felt that
this hour would decide the fate of her whole life. Suddenly the king
stood before her. His countenance was now perfectly composed.

"Princess Amelia," said he, "I give you four weeks' respite.
Consider well what I have said to you. Take counsel with your
conscience, your understanding, and your honor. In four weeks I will
come again to you, and ask if you are resolved to fulfil my request,
and become the wife of the King of Denmark. Until that time, I will
know how to restrain the Danish ambassador. If you dare still to
oppose my will, I will yet fulfil my promise, and grant you the
favor you ask of me. I will make proposals to Trenck to return to
Prussia, and the inducements I offer shall be so splendid that he
will not resist them. Let me once have him here, and it shall be my
affair to hold fast to him."

He bowed to the princess and left the room. Amelia watched him
silently, breathlessly, till he disappeared, then heaved a deep sigh
and called loudly for her maid.

"Ernestine! Ernestine!" said she, with trembling lips, "find me a
faithful messenger whom I can send immediately to Vienna. I must
warn Trenck! Danger threatens him! No matter what my brother's
ambassador may offer him, with what glittering promises he may
allure him, Trenck dare not listen to them, dare not accept them! He
must never return to Prussia--he is lost if he does so!"

Frederick returned slowly and silently to his apartment. As he
thought over the agitating scene he had just passed through, he
murmured lightly, "Oh, woman's heart! thou art like the restless,
raging sea, and pearls and monsters lie in thy depths!"



CHAPTER VII.

MADAME VON COCCEJI.


The Marquis d'Argens was right. Barbarina and her sister had left
England and returned to Berlin. They occupied the same expensive and
beautiful hotel in Behren Street; but it was no longer surrounded by
costly equipages, and besieged by gallant cavaliers. The elite of
the court no longer came to wonder and to worship.

Barbarina's house was lonely and deserted, and she herself was
changed. She was no longer the graceful, enchanting prima donna, the
floating sylph; she was a calm, proud woman, almost imposing in her
grave, pale beauty; her melancholy smile touched the heart, while it
contrasted strangely with her flashing eye.

Barbarina was in the same saloon where we last saw her, surrounded
with dukes and princes--worshippers at her shrine! To-day she was
alone; no one was by her side but her faithful sister Marietta. She
lay stretched upon the divan, with her arms folded across her bosom;
her head was thrown back upon the white, gold-embroidered cushion,
and her long, black curls fell in rich profusion around her; with
wide-open eyes she stared upon the ceiling, completely lost in sad
and painful thoughts. At a small table by her side sat her sister
Marietta, busily occupied in opening and reading the letters with
which the table was covered.

And now she uttered a cry of joy, and a happy smile played upon her
face. "A letter from Milan, from the impressario, Bintelli," said
she.

Barbarina remained immovable, and still stared at the ceiling.

"Binatelli offers you a magnificent engagement; he declares that all
Italy languishes with impatience to see you. that every city
implores your presence, and he is ambitious to be the first to
allure you back to your fatherland."

"Did you write to him that I desired an engagement?" said Barbarina.

"No, sister," said Marietta, slightly blushing; "I wrote to him as
to an old and valued friend; I described the restless, weary,
nomadic life we were leading, and told him you had left the London
stage forever."

"And does it follow that I will therefore appear in Milan? Write at
once that I am grateful for his offer, but neither in Milan nor any
other Italian city will I appear upon the stage."

"Ah, Barbarina, will we never again return to our beautiful Italy?"
said Marietta, tearfully.

"Did I say that, sister? I said only, I would not appear in public."

"But, Barbarina, he entreats so earnestly, and he offers you an
enormous salary!"

"I am rich enough, Marietta."

"No! no one is rich enough! Money is power, and the more millions
one has to spend, the more is one beloved."

"What care I for the love of men? I despise them all--all!" cried
Barbarina, passionately.

"What! all?" said Marietta, with a meaning smile; "all--even
Cocceji?"

Babarina raised herself hastily, and leaning upon her elbow, she
gazed with surprise upon her sister. "You think, then, that I love
Cocceji?"

"Did you not tell me so yourself?"

"Ah! I said so myself, did I?" said Barbarina, contemptuously, and
sinking back into her former quiet position.

"Yes, sister, do you not remember," said Marietta, eagerly; "can you
not recall how sad you were when we left Berlin a year ago? You
sobbed and wept, and looked ever backward from the carriage, then
lightly whispered, 'My happiness, my life, my love remain in
Berlin!' I asked you in what your happiness, your love, your life
consisted. Your answer was, 'Do you not know, then, that I love
Cocceji?' In truth, good sister I did not believe you! I thought you
left Berlin because the mother of Cocceji implored you to do so. I
know you to be magnanimous enough to sacrifice yourself to the
prayers and happiness of another, and for this reason alone you went
to London, where Lord Stuart McKenzie awaited us."

"Poor lord!" said Barbarina, thoughtfully. "I sinned greatly against
him! He loved me fondly; he waited for me with constancy; he was so
truly happy when I came at last, as he hoped, to fulfil my promise,
and become his wife! God knows I meant to be true, and I swore to
myself to make him a faithful wife; but my will was weaker than my
heart. I could not marry him, and on my wedding-day I fled from
London. Poor Lord Stuart!"

"And on that day, when, bathed in tears, you told me to prepare to
leave London with you secretly; on that day you said to me, 'I
cannot, no, I cannot wed a man I do not love. The air chokes me,
Marietta; I must return to Berlin; he is there whom I love, whom I
will love eternally!' I said again, 'Whom do you love, my sister?'
and you replied, 'I love Cocceji!' And now you are amazed that I
believe you! In it possible that I can doubt your word? Is it
possible that Barbarina tells an untruth to her fond and faithful
sister? that she shrouds her heart, and will not allow Marietta to
read what is written there?"

"If I did that," said Barbarina, uneasily, "it was because I shrank
from reading my own heart. Be pitiful, Marietta, do not lift the
veil; allow my poor heart to heal its wounds in peace and quiet."

"It cannot heal, sister, if we remain here," said Marietta,
trembling with suppressed tears. "Let us fly far, far away; accept
the offer of Binatelli; it is the call of God. Come, come,
Barbarina, we will return to our own Italy, to beautiful Rome.
Remain no longer in this cold north, by these icy hearts!"

"I cannot, I cannot!" cried Barbarina, with anguish. "I have no
fatherland--no home. I am no longer a Roman, no longer an Italian. I
am a wretched, homeless wanderer. Why will not my heart bleed and
die? Why am I condemned to live, and be conscious of this torture?"

"Stop, stop, my sister!" cried Marietta, wildly; "not another word!
You are right; we will not lift this fearful veil. Cover up your
heart in darkness--it will heal!"

"It will heal!" repeated Barbarina, pressing Marietta to her bosom
and weeping bitterly.

The entrance of a servant aroused them both; Barbarina turned away
to hide her weeping eyes. The servant announced a lady, who desired
anxiously to speak with the signora.

"Say to her that Barbarina is unwell, and can receive no one."

In a few moments the servant returned with a card, which he handed
to Marietta. "The lady declared she knew the signora would receive
her when she saw the card."

"Madame Cocceji," said Marietta.

Barbarina rose up hastily.

"Will you receive her?" asked Marietta.

"I will receive her."

And now a great change passed over Barbarina: all melancholy; all
languor had disappeared; her eyes sparkled, her cheeks glowed with
an engaging smile, as she advanced to greet the proud lady who stood
upon the threshold.

"Ah, generous lady, how good you are!" said Barbarina, in a slightly
mocking tone. "I have but just returned to Berlin, and you gladden
my heart again by your visit, and grant me the distinction and
privilege of receiving in my house one of the most eminent and
virtuous ladies of Berlin."

Madame Cocceji threw a contemptuous glance upon the beautiful young
woman who dared to look in her face with such smiling composure.

"I have not come, madame, to visit you, but to speak to you!"

"I do not see the distinction; we visit those with whom we wish to
speak."

"We visit those with whom we wish to speak, and who are trying to
evade an interview! I have sent to you twice, signora, and commanded
you to come to me, but you have not obeyed!"

"I am accustomed to receive those who wish to see me at my own
house," said Barbarina, quietly. "Indeed, madame, I understand your
language perhaps but poorly. Is it according to the forms of
etiquette to say, 'I have commanded you to come to me?' In my own
fair land we give a finer turn to our speech, and we beg for the
honor of a visit." As Barbarina said this, she bowed with laughing
grace to the proud woman, who gazed at her with suppressed rage.

"This is the second time I have been forced to seek an interview
with you."

"The first time, madame, you came with a petition, and I was so
happy as to be able to grant your request. May I be equally
fortunate to-day! Without doubt you come again as a petitioner,"
said Barbarina, with the cunning manner of a cat, who purrs while
she scratches.

The proud Cocceji was wounded; she frowned sternly, but suppressed
her anger. Barbarina was right--she came with a request.

"I called upon you a year ago," said she, "and implored you to cure
my son of that wild love which had fallen upon him like the fever of
madness--which made him forget his duty, his rank, his parents. I
besought you to leave Berlin, and withdraw from his sight that
magical beauty which had seduced him."

"And I declared myself ready to grant your petition," interrupted
Barbarina. "Yes, I conformed myself to your wishes, and left Berlin,
not, however, I confess, to do you a service, but because I did not
love your son; and there is nothing more dull and wearisome than to
listen to protestations of love that you cannot return. But look
you, gracious lady, that is a misfortune that pursues me at every
step. I left Berlin to escape this evil, and fled to London, to find
there the same old story of a love I could not return. I fled then
from London, to escape the danger of becoming the wife of Lord
Stuart McKenzie."

"Why did you return to Berlin?" said Madame Cocceji, in an imperious
tone.

Barbarina looked up surprised. "Madame," said she, "for that step I
am accountable to no one."

"Yes, you are accountable to me!" cried Madame Cocceji, enraged to
the utmost by Barbarina's proud composure. "You are accountable to
me--me, the mother of Cocceji! You have seduced him by your charms,
and driven him to madness. He defies his parents and the anger of
his king, and yields himself up to this shameful passion, which
covers his family with disgrace."

Barbarina uttered a cry of rage, and advanced a few steps. "Madame,"
said she, laying her hand upon the arm of Madame Cocceji, "you have
called this love shameful. You have said that an alliance with me
would disgrace your family. Take back your words, I pray you!"

"I retract nothing. I said but the truth," cried Madame Cocceji,
freeing herself from Barbarina.

"Take back your words, madame, for your own sake!" said Barbarina,
threateningly.

"I cannot, and will not!" she replied, imperiously, "and if your
pride and arrogance has not completely blinded you, in your heart
you will confess that I am right. The dancer Barbarina can never be
the daughter of the Coccejis. That would be a mockery of all
honorable customs, would cast contempt upon the graves of our
ancestors, and bring shame upon our nobility. And yet my unhappy son
dares think of this dishonor. In his insane folly, he rushed madly
from my presence, uttering words of rage and bitter reproach,
because I tried to show him that this marriage was impossible."

"Ah, I love him for this!" cried Barbarina, with a genial smile.

Without regarding her, Madame Cocceji went on: "Even against his
father, he has dared to oppose himself. He defies the anger of his
king. Oh, signora, in the anguish of my soul I turn to you; have
pity with me and with my most unhappy son! He is lost; he will go
down to the grave dishonored, if you do not come to my help! If,
indeed, you love him, your love will teach you to make the offering
of self-sacrifice, and I will bless you, and forgive you all the
anguish you have caused me. If you love him not, you will not be so
cruel as to bury the happiness and honor of a whole family because
of your lofty ambition and your relentless will. Hear my prayer--
leave this city, and go so far away that my son can never follow,
never reach you!"

"Then I must go into my grave," said Barbarina; "there is no other
refuge to which, if he truly loves, he cannot follow me. I, dear
madame, cannot, like yourself, move unknown and unregarded through
the world. My fame is the herald which announces my presence in
every land, and every city offers me, with bended knee, the keys of
her gates and the keys of her heart. I cannot hide myself. Nothing
is known of the proud and noble family of Cocceji outside of
Prussia; but the wide, wide world knows of the Barbarina, and the
laurel-wreaths with which I have been crowned in every land have
never been desecrated by an unworthy act or an impure thought. There
is nothing in my life of which I repent, nothing for which I blush
or am ashamed! And yet you have dared to reproach me--you have had
the audacity to seek to humiliate me in my own house."

"You forget with whom you have the honor to speak."

"You, madame, were the first to forget yourself; I follow your
example. I suppose Madame Cocceji knows and does ever that which is
great and right. I said you had vilified me in my own house, and yet
you ask of me an act of magnanimity! Why should I relinquish your
son's love?"

"Why? Because there remains even yet, perhaps, a spark of honorable
feeling in your bosom. Because you know that my family will never
receive you, but will curse and abhor you, if you dare to entice my
son into a marriage. Because you know that the Prussian nobles, the
king himself, are on my side. The king, signora, no longer favors
you; the king has promised us his assistance. The king will use
every means of grace and power to prevent a marriage, which he
himself has written to me will cover my son with dishonor!"
[Footnote: Schneider, "History of the Opera in Berlin."]

"That is false!" cried Barbarina.

"It is true! and it is true that the king, in order to protect the
house of Cocceji from this shame, has given my husband authority to
arrest my son and cast him into prison, provided my prayers and
tears and menaces should be of no avail! If we fail, we will make
use of this authority, and give him over to General Hake. [Footnote:
Ibid.] Think well what you do--do not drive us to this extremity. I
say there is a point at which even a mother's love will fail, and
the head of our house will act with all the sternness which the law
and the king permit. Go, then, Signora Barbarina--bow your proud
head--leave Berlin. Return to your own land. I repeat to you, do not
drive us to extremity!"

Barbarina listened to this with cool and mocking composure. Not a
muscle of her face moved--she was indeed striking in her majesty and
her beauty. Her imposing bearing, her pallid but clear complexion,
her crimson, tightly-compressed lips, her great, fiery eyes, which
spoke the scorn and contempt her proud lips disdained to utter, made
a picture never to be forgotten.

"Madame," said she, slowly, emphasizing every word, "you have,
indeed, driven ME to extremity. It was not my intention to marry
your son. But your conduct has now made that a point of honor. Now,
madame, I will graciously yield to the passionate entreaties of your
son, and I will wed him."

"That is to say, you will force my husband to make use of the power
the king has given him?"

Barbarina shrugged her shoulders contemptuously. "Arrest your son,
and cast him into prison, you will thereby add a new celebrity to
your name, and quench the last spark of piety and obedience in his
heart. Love has wings, and will follow him everywhere, and will waft
him to the altar, where he will wed Barbarina. Neither your curse,
nor your arrest, nor the will of the king, will now protect him.
Before six months are over, will Barbarina the dancer be the wife of
Cocceji."

"Never, never shall that be!" cried Madame Cocceji, trembling with
rage.

"That will be!" said Barbarina, smiling sadly, and bending low. "And
now, madame, I think you have attained the object of your visit, and
we have nothing more to say to each other. It only remains for me to
commend myself to your grace and courtesy, and to thank you for the
honor of your visit. Allow me to call my servant, to conduct you to
your carriage."

She rang and commanded the servant to open the folding doors, and
carry the large muff of the countess to the carriage. Madame Cocceji
was pale with rage. She wished to remain incognito, and now her name
had been called before the servant. All Berlin would know before
night that she had visited Barbarina!

"Give me my muff," she said impatiently to the servant; "it is not
necessary you should carry it. I came on foot."

"On foot?" said Barbarina, laughing merrily. "Truly, you wished to
remain incognito, and you would not leave your equipage with its
coat of arms, standing before my door! I thank you once more for the
honor of your visit, and commend myself to you with the glad wish
that we may meet again."

"Never more!" said Madame Cocceji, casting a withering look upon the
gay dancer, and hastening from the room.



CHAPTER VIII.

VOLTAIRE.


Voltaire was now a continuous guest of King Frederick. The latter
had written a letter to Louis the Fifteenth, and begged him to
relinquish his subject and historian, and this request was supposed
to be acceded to. Besides this, the king, who was ever thoughtful of
the happiness and comfort of his friends, had proposed to Madame
Denis, Voltaire's beloved niece, to follow her uncle to Berlin,
dwell in the royal castle at Potsdam, and accept from him an annuity
of four thousand francs.

Voltaire himself besought her to come. He wrote to her that, as she
had lived contentedly with her husband in Landau, she could surely
be happy in Berlin and Potsdam. Berlin was certainly a much more
beautiful city than Landau, and at Potsdam they could lead an
agreeable and unceremonious life. "In Potsdam there are no
tumultuous feasts. My soul rests, dreams, and works. I am content to
find myself with a king who has neither a court nor a ministry.
Truly, Potsdam is infested by many whiskered grenadiers, but, thank
Heaven, I see little of them. I work peacefully in my room, while
the drums beat without. I have withdrawn from the dinners of the
king; there were too many princes and generals there. I could not
accustom myself to be always vis-a-vis with a king and en ceremonie.
But I sup with him--the suppers are shorter, gayer, and healthier. I
would die with indigestion in three months if I dined every day in
public with a king." [Footnote: OEuvres Completes, p. 360]

Madame Denis, however, seemed to doubt the happy life of Berlin and
Potsdam. She wrote, declining the proposition, and expressing her
fears that Voltaire would himself soon repent that he had left
beautiful, glittering Paris, the capital of luxury and good taste,
and taken refuge in a barbaric land, to be the slave of a king,
while, in Paris, he had been the king of poetry.

Voltaire had the audacity to bring this letter to the king--perhaps
to wound him, perhaps to draw from him further promises and
assurances.

Frederick read the letter; his brow did not become clouded, and the
friendly smile did not vanish from his lips. When he had read it to
the end, he returned it, and his eyes met the distrustful, lowering
glance of Voltaire with an expression of such goodness and candor
that the latter cast his eyes ashamed to the ground.

"If I were Madame Denis," said Frederick, "I would think as she
does; but, being myself, I view these things differently. I would be
in despair if I had occasioned the unhappiness of a friend; and it
will not be possible for me to allow trouble or sorrow to fall upon
a man whom I esteem, whom I love, and who has sacrificed for me his
fatherland and all that men hold most dear. If I could believe that
your residence here could be to your disadvantage, I would be the
first to counsel you to give it up. I know I would think more of
your happiness than I would of the joy of having you with me. We are
philosophers. What is more natural, more simple, than that two
philosophers, who seem made for each other--who have the same
studies, the same tastes, the same mode of thinking--should grant
themselves the satisfaction of living together? I honor you as my
teacher of eloquence and poetry; I love you as a virtuous and
sympathetic friend. What sort of bondage, what misfortunes, what
changes have you to fear in a realm where you are as highly honored
as in your fatherland--where you have a powerful friend who advances
to meet you with a thankful heart? I am not so prejudiced and
foolish as to consider Berlin as handsome as Paris. If good taste
has found a home in the world, I confess it is in Paris. But you,
Voltaire, will you not inaugurate good taste wherever you are? We
have organs sufficiently developed to applaud you; and, as to love,
we will not allow any other land superiority in that respect. I
yielded to the friendship which bound you to the Marquise du
Chatelet, but I was, next to her, your oldest friend. How, when you
have sought an asylum in my house, can it ever be THOUGHT it will
become your prison? How, being your friend, can I ever become your
tyrant? I do not understand this. I am convinced that, as long as I
live, you will be happy here. You will be honored as the father of
literature, and you will ever find in me that assistance and
sympathy which a man of your worth has a right to demand of all who
honor and appreciate him." [Footnote: The king's own words.--Oeuvres
Posthumes.]

"Alas! your majesty says that you honor me, but you no longer say
that you love me," cried Voltaire, who had listened to this eloquent
and heart-felt speech of the king with eager impatience and lowering
frowns. "Yes, yes, I feel it; I know it too well! Your majesty has
already limited me to your consideration, your regard; but your
love, your friendship, these are costly treasures from which I have
been disinherited. But I know these hypocritical legacy-hunters, who
have robbed me of that most beautiful portion of my inheritance. I
know these poor, beggarly cousins, these D'Argens, these Algarottis,
these La Mettries, this vainglorious peacock Maupertius. I--"

"Voltaire," said the king, interrupting him, "you forget that you
speak of my friends, and I do not allow any one to speak evil of
them. I will never be partial, never unjust! My heart is capable of
valuing and treasuring all my friends, but my friends must aim to
deserve it; and if I give them my heart, I expect one in return."

"Friendship is a bill of exchange, by which you give just so much as
you are entitled to demand in return."

"Give me, then, your whole heart, Voltaire, and I will restore mine
to you! But I fear you have no longer a heart; Nature gave you but a
small dose of this fleeting essence called love. She had much to do
with your brain, and worked at that so long that no time remained to
make the heart perfect; just as she was about to pour a few drops of
this wonderful love-essence into your heart, the cock crew three
times for your birth, and betrayed you into the world. You have long
since used up the poor pair of drops which fell into your heart.
Your brain was armed for centuries, with power to work, to be
useful, to rejoice the souls of others. but I fear your heart was
exhausted in your youthful years."

"Ah, I wish your majesty were right!" cried Voltaire; "I should not
then feel the anguish which now martyrs me, the torture of being
misunderstood by the most amiable, the most intellectual, the most
exalted of monarchs. Oh, sire, sire! I have a heart, and it bleeds
because you doubt of its existence!"

"I would believe you if you were a little less pathetic," said the
king. "You not only assert, but you declaim. There is too little of
nature and truth in your tone; you remind me a little of the stilted
French tragedies, in which design and premeditation obscure all true
passion; in which love is only a phrase, that no one believes in,
dressed up with the tawdry gilding of sentiment and pathos."

"Your majesty will crush me with your scorn and mockery!" cried
Voltaire, whose eyes now flamed with anger. "You wish to make me
feel how powerless, how pitiful I am. Where shall I find the
strength to strive with you? I have won no battles. I have no
hundred thousand men to oppose to you and no courts-martial to
condemn those who sin against me!"

"It is true you have not a hundred thousand soldiers," said the
king, "but you have four-and-twenty, and with these four-and-twenty
soldiers you have conquered the whole realm of spirits; with this
little army you have brought the whole of educated Europe to your
feet. You are, therefore, a much more powerful king than I am. I
have, it is true, a hundred thousand men, but I dare not say that
they will not run when it comes to the first battle. You, Voltaire,
have your four-and-twenty soldiers of the alphabet, and so well have
you exercised them, that you must win every battle, even if all the
kings of the earth were allied against you. Let us make peace, then,
my 'invincible!' do not turn this terrible army of the four-and-
twenty, with their deadly weapons, against me, but graciously allow
me to seize upon the hem of your purple robe, to sun myself in your
dazzling rays, to be your humble scholar, and from you and your army
of heroes to learn the secret art of winning battles with invisible
troops!"

"Your majesty makes me feel more and more how poor I am; even my
four-and-twenty, of whom you speak, have gone over to you, and you
understand, as well as I do, how to exercise them."

"No, no!" said Frederick, changing suddenly his jesting tone for one
of grave earnestness. "No, I will learn of you. I am not satisfied
to be a poor-souled dilettante in poetry, though assured I can.
never be a Virgil or a Voltaire. I know that the study of poetry
demands the life, the undivided heart and mind. I am but a poor
galley-slave, chained to the ship of state; or, if you will, a
pilot, who does not dare to leave the rudder, or even to sleep, lest
the fate of the unhappy Palinurus might overtake him. The Muses
demand solitude and rest for the soul, and that I can never
consecrate to them. Often, when I have written three verses, I am
interrupted, my muse is chilled, and my spirit cannot rise again
into the heights of inspiration. I know there are privileged souls,
who can make verses everywhere--in the tumult of court life, in the
loneliness of Cirey, in the prisons of the Bastile, and in the
stage-coach. My poor soul does not enjoy this freedom. It resembles
an anana, which bears fruit only in the green-house, but fades and
withers in the fresh air." [Footnote: The king's own words.--Oeuvres
Posthumes.]

"Ah! this is the first time I have caught the Solomon of the North
in an untruth," cried Voltaire, eagerly. "Your soul is not like the
anana, but like the wondrous southern tree which generously bears at
the same time fruits and flowers; which inspires and sweetly
intoxicates us with its fragrance, and at the same time strengthens
and refreshes us by its celestial fruits. You, sire, are not the
pupil of Apollo, you are Apollo himself!"

The king smiled, and, raising his arms to heaven, he exclaimed, with
the mock pathos of a French tragedian:

     "O Dieu! qui douez les poetes
       De tant de sublime faveure;
      Ah, rendez vos graces parfaites,
       Et qu'ils soient un peu moins menteurs."

"In trying to punish me for what you are pleased to call my
falsehood, your majesty proves that I have spoken the truth," cried
Voltaire, eagerly. "You wish to show me that the fruit of your muse
ripens slowly, and you improvise a charming quatrain that Moliere
himself would be proud to have composed."

    "Rendez vos graces parfaites,
       Et qu'ils Boient un peu moins menteurs!"

repeated Frederick, nodding merrily to Voltaire. "Look you, friend,
I am perhaps that mortal who incommodes the gods least with prayers
and petitions. My first prayer to-day was for you; show, therefore,
a little gratitude, and prove to me that the gods hear the earnest
prayers of the faithful. Be less of a flatterer, and speak the
simple truth. I desire now to look over with you my compositions of
the last few days. I wish you, however, always to remember that when
you write, you do so to add to the fame of your nation and to the
honor of your fatherland. For myself, I scribble for my amusement;
and I could easily be pardoned, if I were wise enough to burn my
work as soon as it was finished. [Footnote: The king's own words.--
Oeuvres Posthumes.] When a man approaches his fortieth year and
makes bad verses as I do, one might say, with Moliere's
'Misanthrope'--

     "'Si j'en faissis d'aussi mechants,
      Je me garderais bien de les montrer aux gens.'"

"Your majesty considers yourself already too old to make verses, and
you are scarcely thirty-eight: am I not then a fool, worthy of
condemnation, for daring to do homage to the Muses and striving to
make verses--I, the gray-haired old man who already counts fifty-
six?"

"You have the privilege of the gods! you will never grow old; and
the Muses and Graces, though women, must ever remain faithful to
you--you understand how to lay new chains upon them."

"No, no, sire! I am too old," sighed Voltaire; "an old poet, an old
lover, an old singer, and an old horse are alike useless things--
good for nothing. [Footnote: Voltaire's own words.--Oeuvres
Posthumes, p. 364.] Well, your majesty can make me a little younger
by reading me some of your verses."

Frederick stepped to his writing-desk, and, seating himself, nodded
to Voltaire to be seated also.

"You must know," said the king, handing Voltaire a sheet of paper
covered with verses--"you must know that I have come with six twin
brothers, who desire in the name of Apollo to be baptized in the
waters of Hippocrene, and the 'Henriade' is entreated to be
godfather."

Voltaire took the paper and read the verses aloud. The king listened
attentively, and nodded approvingly over Voltaire's glowing and
passionate declamation.

"This is grand! this is sublime!" cried Voltaire. "Your majesty is a
French writer, who lives by accident in Germany. You have our
language wholly in your power."

Frederick raised his finger threateningly. "Friend, friend, shall I
weary the gods again with my prayer?"

"Your majesty, then, wishes to hear the whole truth?"

"The whole truth!"

"Then you must allow me, sire, to read the verses once more. I read
them the first time as an amateur, now I will read them as a
critic."

As Voltaire now repeated the verses, he laid a sharp accent upon
every word and every imperfect rhyme; scanned every line with stern
precision. Sometimes when he came to a false Alexandrine, he gave
himself the appearance of being absolutely unable to force his lips
to utter such barbarisms; and then his eyes glowed with malicious
fire, and a contemptuous smile played about his mouth.

The king's brow clouded. "I understand," said he, "the poem is
utterly unworthy--good for nothing. Let us destroy it."

"Not so, sire--the poem is excellent, and it requires but a few
day's study to make it perfect. On the Venus di Medici no finger
must be too long, no nail badly formed; and what are such statues,
with which we deck our gardens, to the monuments of the library? We
must, therefore, make your work perfect. There is infinite grace and
intellect in this little poem. Where have you found such treasures,
sire? How can your sandy soil yield such blossoms? How can such
charming grace and profound learning be combined? [Footnote:
Voltaire's own words.--Oeuvres Posthumes, p. 329.] But even the
Graces must stand upon a sure footing, and here, sire, are a few
feet which are too long. Truly, that is sometimes unimportant, but
the work of a distinguished genius should be PERFECT. You work too
rashly, sire--it is sometimes more easy to win a battle than to make
a good poem. Your majesty loves the truth so well, that by speaking
the truth in all sincerity I shall best prove to you my most
profound reverence. All that you do must be perfectly done; you are
fully endowed with the ability necessary. No one must say 'Caesar
est supra grammaticum.' Caesar wrote as he fought, and was in both
victorious. Frederick the Great plays the flute like Blavet, why
should he not also write like the greatest of poets? [Footnote:
Ibid., p. 823.] But your majesty must not disdain to give to the
beautiful sentiment, the great thought, a lovely and attractive
form."

"Yes, you are right!" said Frederick; "I fail in that, but you must
not think that it is from carelessness. Those of my verses which you
have least criticised are exactly those which have cost me the least
effort. When the sentiment and the rhyme come in competition, I make
bad verses, and am not happy in my corrections. You cannot
comprehend the difficulties I have to overcome in making a few
tolerable verses. A happy combination by nature, an irrepressible
and fruitful intellect, made you a great poet without any effort of
your own. I feel and acknowledge the inferiority of my talent. I
swim about in the ocean of poetry with my life-preserver under my
arm. I do not write as well as I think. My ideas are stronger than
my expressions; and in this embarrassment, I am often content if my
verses are as little indifferent as possible, and do not expect them
to be good." [Footnote: The king's own words, p. 346.]

"It is entirely in your majesty's power to make them perfect. With
you, sire, it is as with the gods--'I will!' and it is done. If your
majesty will condescend to adorn the Graces and sylphs, the sages
and scholars, who stumble about in this sublime poem with somewhat
rugged feet, with artistic limbs, they will flutter about like
graceful genii, and step with majesty like the three kings of the
East. Now let us try--we will write this poem again."

He made a long mark with a pen over the manuscript of the king, took
a new sheet of paper, and commenced to write the first lines. He
criticised every word with bitter humor, with flashing wit, with
mocking irony. Inexorable in his censure, indifferent in his praise,
his tongue seemed to be armed with arrows, every one of which was
intended to strike and wound.

The face of Frederick remained calm and clear. He did not feel that
he was a mighty king and ruler, injured by the fault-finding of a
common man. He was the pupil, with his accomplished teacher; and as
he really wished to learn, he was indifferent as to the mode by
which his stern master would instruct him.

After this they read together a chapter from the king's "Higtoire de
Mon Temps." A second edition was about to appear, and Voltaire had
undertaken to correct it. He brought his copy with him, in order to
give Frederick an account of his corrections.

"This book will be a masterwork, if your majesty will only take the
pains to correct it properly? But has a king the time and patience?-
-a king who governs his whole kingdom alone? Yes, it is this thought
which confounds me! I cannot recover from my astonishment; it is
this which makes me so stern in my judgment of your writings. I
consider it a holy duty."

"And I am glad you are harsh and independent," said the king. "I
learn more from ten stern and critical words, than from a lengthy
speech full of praise and acknowledgment! But tell me, now, what
means this red mark, with which you have covered one whole side of
my manuscript?"

"Sire, this red mark asks for consideration for your grandfather,
King Frederick the First; you have been harsh and cruel with him!"

"I dared not be otherwise, unless I would earn for myself the charge
of partiality," said the king. "It shall not be said that I closed
my eyes to his foolishness and absurdity because he was my
grandfather. Frederick the First was a vain and pompous fool; this
is the truth!"

"And yet I entreat your grace for him, sire. I love this king
because of his royal pomp, and the beautiful monument which he left
behind him."

"Well, that was vanity, that posterity might speak of him. From
vanity he protected the arts; from vanity and foolish pride he
placed the crown upon his head. His wife, the great Sophia
Charlotte, was right when she said of him on her death-bed: 'The
king will not have time to mourn for me; the interest he will take
in solemnizing my funeral with pomp and regal splendor will
dissipate his grief; and if nothing is wanting, nothing fails in the
august and beautiful ceremony, he will be entirely comforted.'
[Footnote: Thiebault.] He was only great in little things, and
therefore when Sophia Charlotte received from her friend Leibnitz
his memoir 'On the Power of Small Things,' she said, smiling:
'Leibnitz will teach me to know small things; has he forgotten that
I am the wife of Frederick the First, or does he think that I do not
know my husband?'" [Footnote: Ibid.]

"Well, I pray for grace for the husband on his wife's account.
Sophia Charlotte was an exalted and genial woman; you should forgive
her husband all other things, because he was wise enough to make her
his wife and your grand-mother! And if your majesty reproaches him
for the vanity of making himself king, that is a vanity from which
his descendants have obtained some right solid advantages."

"The title appears to me not in the least disagreeable! The title is
beautiful, when given by a free people, or earned by a prince.
Frederick the First had done nothing to stamp him a king, and that
condemns him."

"So let it be," said Voltaire, shrugging his shoulders, "he is your
grandfather, not mine. Do with him as you think best, sire; I have
nothing more to say, and will content myself with softening a few
phrases." [Footnote: This conversation of the king and Voltaire is
historic. Voltaire tells it in a letter to Madame Denis.]

When he saw that Frederick's brow clouded at these words, he said,
with a sly laugh: "Look you, how the office of a teacher, which your
majesty forced upon me, makes me insolent and haughty! I, who would
do well to correct my own works, undertake to improve the writings
of a king. I remind myself of the Abbot von Milliers, who has
written a book called 'Reflections on the Faults of Others.' On one
occasion he went to hear a sermon of a Capuchin. The monk addressed
his audience, in a nasal voice, in the following manner: 'My dear
brothers in the Lord, I had intended to-day to discourse upon hell,
but at the door of the church I have read a bill posted up,
"Reflections on the Faults of Others." "Ha! my friend," thought I,
"why have you not rather made reflections over your own faults?" I
will therefore speak to you of the pride and arrogance of men!'"

"Well, make such reflections always when occupied with the History
of Louis the Fifteenth," said the king, laughing; "only, I beseech
you, when you are with me, not to be converted by the pious
Capuchin, but make your reflections on the faults of others only."



CHAPTER IX.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF VOLTAIRE.


Voltaire enjoyed the rare privilege of speaking the truth to the
king, and he made a cruel and bitter use of his opportunities in
this respect. He was jealous and envious of the king's fame and
greatness, and sought to revenge him-self by continual fault-finding
and criticism. He sought to mortify the great Frederick, who was
admired and wondered at by all the world; to make him feel and
confess that he could never equal the renowned writer Voltaire.

Frederick felt and acknowledged this frankly and without shame, but
with that smiling composure and great self-consciousness which is
ever ready to do justice to others, and demands at the same time a
just recognition of its own claims. Voltaire might exalt himself to
the clouds, he could not depreciate the king. He often made him
angry, however, and this gratified the malice of the great French
author.

The other friends of Frederick looked upon this conduct of Voltaire
with regret; and the Marquis d'Argens, who was of a fine and gentle
nature, soon saw the daily discontent of the king, and the wicked
joy of Voltaire.

"My friend," said he, "the king wrote a poem yesterday, which he
read aloud to me this morning. He declares that there is one bad
rhyme in his poem, and that it tortures him. I tried in vain to
reassure him. I know that the rhyme is incorrect, but you will
provoke him beyond measure if you tell him so. He has tried in vain
to correct it, without impairing the sense of the passage. I have,
therefore, withheld all criticism, and read to him some verses from
La Fontaine, where the same fault is to be found. I have wished to
convince him that the poem is worthy of praise, although not exactly
conformed to rule. I beg of you, Voltaire, to follow my example."

"And why should I do that?" said Voltaire, in his most snarling
tone.

"Because, with your severe and continual criticisms you will disgust
the king, and turn him aside from his favorite pursuit. I think it
important to poetry and the fine arts that the great and powerful
sovereign of Prussia should love and cherish them; should exalt
those who cultivate them, and, indeed, rank himself amongst them.
What difference does it make, Voltaire, if a bad rhyme is to be
found in the poetry of the philosopher of Sans-Souci?" [Footnote:
Thiebault, vol. v., p. 337.]

"The king wishes to learn of me how to make good poetry, and my love
to him is not of that treasonable, womanly, and cowardly sort which
shrinks from blaming him because it fears to wound his self-love.
The king has read his poem to you, and it is your province to wonder
at and praise your friend. He will read it to me as 'Pedagogo de sua
Maesta.' I will be true and just, where you have dared to flatter
him."

Never was Voltaire more severe in his criticism, more cutting in his
satire, than to-day. His eyes sparkled with malicious joy, and a
wicked smile played still upon his lip as he left the king and
returned to his own apartment.

"Ah," said he, seating himself at his writing-table, with a loud
laugh, "I shall write well to-day, for I have had a lesson.
Frederick does not know how far he is my benefactor. In correcting
him, I correct myself; and in directing his studies, I gain strength
and judgment for my own works. [Footnote: Voltaire's own words.--
Oeuvres, p. 363.] I will now write a chapter in my History of Louis
XIV. My style will be good. The chapter which I have read this
morning, in Frederick's 'Histoire de Mon Temps' has taught me what
faults to avoid. Yes, I will write of Louis XIV. Truly I owe him
some compensation. King Frederick has had the naivete to compare his
great grandfather, the so-called great Prince-Elector, to the great
Louis. I was amiable enough to pardon him for this little compliment
to his ancestors, and not to strike it from his 'Histoire.' And,
indeed, why should I have done that? The world will not be so
foolish as to charge this amusing weakness to me! After all, the
king writes but for himself, and a few false, flattering friends; he
can, therefore, say what he will. I, however, I write for France--
for the world! But I fear, alas, that fools will condemn me, because
I have sought to write as a wise man." [Footnote: CEuvres, p. 341.]

Voltaire commenced to write, but, he was soon interrupted by his
servant, Tripot, who announced that the Jew Hirsch, for whom
Voltaire had sent, was at the door. Voltaire rose hastily, and
called him to enter.

"I have business with you, my friend," said he to the Jew. "Close
the door, Tripot, and see that we are not disturbed."

Voltaire hastened with youthful agility through the saloon, and
beckoned to the Jew to follow him into his bedroom.

"First of all, friend, we will make a small mercantile operation."
So saying, he opened the door of a large commode. "See, here are
twelve pounds of the purest wax-lights. I am a poor man, with weak
eyes. I have no use for these lights; I can never hope to profit by
them. Here, also, are several pounds of sugar and coffee, the
savings of the last two months. You will buy all this of me; we will
agree upon a fixed price, and the last day of every month you will
come for the same purpose. Name your price, sir."

Hirsch named his price; but it seemed that the great poet understood
how to bargain better than the Jew. He knew exactly the worth of the
sugar and the coffee, he spoke so eloquently of the beauty and
purity of the thick white wax-lights, that the Hebrew increased his
offer,

"And now to more important business," said Voltaire. "You are going
to Dresden--you will there execute a commission for me. I wish to
invest eighteen thousand thalers in Saxon bonds. They can now be
purchased at thirty-five, and will be redeemed at a hundred."

"But your excellency knows that the king has forbidden his subjects
to buy these bonds. He demanded and obtained for his subjects a
pledge that they should be paid at par for the bonds they now hold,
while the subjects of the King of Saxony receive only their present
value. The king promised, however, that the Prussians should make no
further investments in these bonds. You see, then, that it is
impossible for me to fulfil this commission."

"I see that you are a fool!" cried Voltaire, angrily. "If you were
not a fool, you would know that Voltaire, the chamberlain of the
king, would not undertake a business transaction which would stain
his reputation or cast a shadow on his name. When Voltaire makes
this investment, you can understand that he is authorized to do so."

"That being the case," said Hirsch, humbly, "I am entirely
satisfied, and will gladly serve your excellency."

"If you fill this commission handsomely and promptly, you may feel
assured of a reward. Are you ambitious? Would you not like a title?"

"Certainly I am ambitious. I should be truly happy if I could obtain
the title of 'royal court agent.'"

"Well, buy these bonds for me in Dresden cheap, and you shall have
this coveted title," said the noble author of the "Henriade," and
other world-renowned works.

"I will buy them at thirty-five thalers."

"And you will invest eighteen thousand thalers at this rate. Our
contract is made; now we will count the gold. I have not the ready
money--I will give you drafts--come into my study.--There are three
drafts," said he, "one on Paris, one on your father, and one on the
Jew Ephraim. Get them cashed, good Hirsch, and bring me my Saxon
bonds."

"In eight days, your excellency, I will return with them, and you
will have a clear profit of eleven thousand thalers."

Voltaire's eyes sparkled with joy. "Eleven thousand thalers!" said
he; "for a poor poet, who lives by his wits and his pen, that is a
considerable sum."

"You will realize that sum," said Hirsch, with the solemn
earnestness of a Jew when he has made a good trade.

Hirsch was about to withdraw, but Voltaire hastened after him, and
seizing his arm, he cried out threateningly: "You are not going
without giving me your note? You do not think that I am such a fool
as to give you eighteen thousand thalers, and have nothing to prove
it?"

"You excellency has my word of honor," said the Jew, earnestly.

Voltaire laughed aloud. "Your word! the honorable word of a man for
eighteen thousand thalers! My dear friend, we do not live in
paradise, but in a so-called Christian city--your worthy forefathers
obtained for us this privilege. Do you believe that I will trust one
of their descendants? Who will go my security that you will not,
nail my innocence and my confiding heart upon the cross, and slay
them if I should be unsuspicious enough to trust my money with you
in this simple way?"

"I will give you ample security," said Hirsch, taking a morocco case
from his pocket. "I did not know why your excellency sent for me. I
thought perhaps you wished to buy diamonds, and brought some along
with me. Look, sir! here are diamonds worth twenty-two thousand
thalers! I will leave them with you--I, the poor Jew, do not fear
that the great poet Voltaire will deceive and betray me."

"These diamonds are beautiful," said Voltaire--"very beautiful, and
perhaps if my speculation succeeds, I may buy some from you. Until
then, I will take care of them."

Voltaire was about to lock them up, but he paused suddenly, and
fixed his eyes upon the calm countenance of the Jew.

"How do I know that these are real diamonds?" he cried; and as
Hirsch, exasperated by this base suspicion, frowned and turned pale,
he exclaimed fiercely: "The diamonds are false! I know it by your
terror. Oh, oh, you thought that a poet was a good, credulous
creature who could be easily deceived. Ah! you thought I had heard
nothing of those famous lapidaries in St. Germain, who cut diamonds
from glass, and cook up in their laboratories the rarest jewels!
Yes, yes, I know all these arts, and all the brewing of St. Germain
will not suffice to deceive me."

"These diamonds are pure!" cried Hirsch.

"We will have them tested by a Christian jeweller," said Voltaire.--
"Tripot! Tripot! run quickly to the jeweller Reclam--beg him to come
to me for a few moments."

Tripot soon returned with Reclam. The diamonds were pronounced pure
and of the first water; and the jeweller declared they were fully
worth twenty-two thousand thalers. Voltaire was now fully satisfied,
and, when once more alone, he looked long and rapturously upon these
glittering stones.

"What woman can boast of such dazzling fire in her eyes?" said he,
laughing; "what woman can say that their color is worth twenty-two
thousand thalers? It is true they glisten and shimmer in all lights
and shades--that is their weakness and their folly. With you,
beautiful gems! these changing hues are a virtue. Oh, to think that
with this handful of flashing stones I could buy a bag of ducats!
How dull and stupid are mankind--how wise is God! Sinking those
diamonds in the bowels of the earth was a good speculation. They are
truffles to tempt the snouts of men; and they root after them as
zealously as the swine in Perigord root after the true truffles.
Gold! gold! that is the magic word with which the world is ruled. I
will have gold--I will rule the world. I will not give place to
dukes or princes. I will have my seigneuries and my castles; my
servants in rich livery, and my obedient subjects. I will be a grand
seigneur. Kings and princes shall visit me in my castle, and wait in
my antechamber, as I have been compelled to wait in theirs. I will
be rich that I may be every man's master, even master of the fools.
I will enslave the wise by my intellect--I will reduce the foolish
to bondage with gold. I must be rich! rich! rich! therefore am I
here; therefore do I correct the poor rhymes of the king; therefore
do I live now as a modest poet, and add copper to copper, and save
my pension of five thousand thalers, and sell my wax-lights and my
coffee to the Jew. Let the world call me a miser. When I become
rich, I will be a spendthrift: and men who are now envious and angry
at my fame shall burst with rage at my fortune. Ah, ah, it is not
worth the cost to be a celebrated writer! There are too many
humiliations connected with this doubtful social position. It gives
no rank--it is a pitiful thing in the eyes of those who have actual
standing, and is only envied by those who are unnoticed and unknown.
For my own part, I am so exhausted by the discomforts of my
position, I would gladly cast it from me, and make for myself what
the canaille call a good thing--an enormous fortune. I will scrape
together all the gold that is possible. I will give for gold all the
honor and freedom and fame which come to me. I am a rich gainer in
all these things by my residence with King Frederick. He has this
virtue: he is unprejudiced, and cares nothing even for his own royal
rank. I will therefore remain in this haven, whither the storms,
which have so long driven me from shore to shore, have now safely
moored me. My happiness will last just as long as God pleases."
[Footnote: Voltaire's own words.--Oeuvres, p. 110.]

He laughed heartily, and took his cash-book, in which he entered
receipts and expenditures. It was Voltaire's greatest pleasure to
add up his accounts from time to time, and gloat over the growth of
his fortune; to compare, day by day, his receipts and expenses, and
to find that a handsome sum was almost daily placed to his credit.
The smallest necessary expenditure angered him. With a dark frown he
said to himself: "It is unjust and mean to require of me to buy
provender for my horse, and to have my carriage repaired; if the
king furnishes me with an equipage, he should not allow it to be any
expense to me. The major-domo is an old miser, who cheats me every
month out of some pounds of sugar and coffee, and the wax-lights are
becoming thinner and poorer. I will complain to King Frederick of
all this; he must see that order prevails in his palace."

Voltaire closed his account-book, and murmured: "When I have an
income of a hundred and fifty thousand francs, I will cease to
economize. God be praised, I have almost reached the goal! But,"
said he, impatiently, "in order to effect this, I must remain here a
few years, and add my pension to my income. Nothing must prevent
this--I must overcome every obstacle. What! who can hinder me? my
so-called friends, who naturally are my most bitter enemies? Ha, ha!
what a romantic idea of this genial king to assemble six friends
around him at Sans-Souci, the most of them being authors--that is to
say, natural enemies! I believe if two authors, two women, or two
pietists, were placed alone upon a desert isle, they would forget
their dependence upon each other, and commence intriguing at once.
This, alas! is humanity, and being so, one must withdraw from the
poor affair advantageously and cunningly. [Footnote: Voltaire,
Oeuvres, p. 375.] No one can live peacefully in this world; least of
all, in the neighborhood of a king. It is with kings as with
coquettes, their glances kindle jealousy--and Frederick is a great
coquette. I must, therefore, drive my rivals from the field, and
enjoy in peace the favor of the king. Now which of my rivals are
dangerous to me? All! all! I must banish them all! I will sow such
discontent and rage and malice and strife amongst them, that they
will fly in hot haste, and thank God if I do not bite off their
noses before they escape. I will turn this, their laughing paradise,
into a hell, and I will be the devil to chase them with glowing
pitchforks. Yes, even to Siberia will I drive this long-legged
peacock, Maupertius--him, first of all; then D'Argens, then
Algarotti, then this over-wise and good Lord Marshal, and all others
like him! When Voltaire's sun is in the ascendant, not even stars
shall glitter; It shall not be! I will prove to them that Voltaire's
fiery rays have burned them to ashes!" [Footnote: Voltaire, OEuvres,
p. 378.]

He laughed aloud, and seated himself to write a poem. He was invited
that evening to a soiree by the queen-mother, where he wished to
shine as an improvisator. Above all other things, he wished to win
the heart of the Princess Amelia. Since she had played the part of
Aurelia, in "Rome Sauvee," he had felt a passion for the princess,
who had betrayed to the life the ardor and the pains of love, and
whose great flaming eyes seemed, from their mysterious depths, to
rouse the soul of the poet. Voltaire had promised the Princess
Amelia to improvise upon any subject she should select, and he
relied upon his cunning to incline her choice in such a direction as
to make the poem he was now writing appropriate and seem impromptu.

While thus occupied, his servant entered and announced a number of
distinguished gentlemen, who were in the parlor, and wished to make
the great author a morning visit. "Let them all wait!" said
Voltaire, angrily; declaring that this disturbance had cost him a
piquant rhyme.

"But, gracious sir," stammered the servant, "some of the most
distinguished men of the court and the oldest generals, are there!"

"What do I care for their epaulets or their excellencies? Let them
wait, or go to the devil--if they prefer it."

Well, the eminent gentlemen waited; indeed, they waited patiently,
until the great Voltaire, the favorite of the king, the universal
French author, in his pride and arrogance was graciously pleased to
show himself amongst the Dutch barbarians, and allow some rays of
his intellect to fall upon and inspire them!

The saloon was indeed crowded with princes, generals, and nobles.
Voltaire had just returned to Berlin from Potsdam, and all hastened
to pay their respects and commend themselves to his grace and favor.
[Footnote: Forney writes thus in his "Memoirs": "During the winter
months which Voltaire spent in the palace of Berlin, he was the
favorite of the court. Princes, ambassadors, ministers, generals,
nobles of the highest rank went to his morning receptions, and were
often received by him with contemptuous scorn. A great prince was
pleased to play chess with him, and allowed him every time to win
the stake of two louis d'or. It was declared, however, that
sometimes the gold disappeared before the end of the game, and could
not be found."--"Souvenirs d'un Citoyen."]

Voltaire was very gracious this morning. As he was to play the part
of improvisator that night, he thought it politic to make favor with
all those who would be present. He hoped that all the world would
thunder out their enraptured applause, and that Maupertius,
D'Argens, Algarotti, La Mettrie, and all other friends of the king,
would be filled with envy and rage. He smiled, therefore,
benignantly, and had kind and flattering words for all. His bon-mots
and piquant witticisms seemed inexhaustible.

Suddenly his servant drew near, and said it was necessary to speak
to him on a matter of great importance. Voltaire turned with a
winning smile to his guests, and, praying them to wait for his
return, entered his private room.

"Well, Tripot, what have you to say that is important?"

"Gracious sir, the court is in mourning."

Voltaire looked at him enraged. "Fool! what is that to me?"

"It is of the utmost importance to you, sir, if you are going this
evening to the soiree of the queen-mother."

"Will you run me mad, Tripot? What has the court mourning to do with
the queen's soiree?"

"Gracious sir, the explanation is very simple. When the court is in
mourning, no one can appear there in embroidered clothes; you must
wear a plain black coat."

"I have no plain black coat," said Voltaire, with a frowning brow.

"It is necessary, then, for you to order one, and I have sent
Monsieur Pilleneure to come and take your measure."

"Are you insane, Tripot?" cried Voltaire. "Do you regard me as so
vile a spendthrift, so brainless a fool, as to order a new coat for
the sake of one evening's amusement--a coat which will cost an
immense sum of money, and must then hang in the wardrobe to be
destroyed by moths? In eight days this mourning will be over, and I
would be several hundred francs poorer, and possess a black coat I
could never wear! I will not go this evening to the soiree of the
queen-mother; this is decided. I will announce myself sick. Go and
countermand the tailor."

He turned to leave the room, but paused suddenly. "I cannot decline
this invitation," murmured he. "It is widely known that I have
promised to improvise. The world is looking on eagerly. If I do not
go, or if I announce myself sick, they will say I shrink from this
ordeal. My enemies will triumph!--Tripot, I am obliged to go to the
soiree of the queen."

"Then the tailor must come to take your measure?"

"Fool!" cried Voltaire, stamping furiously. "I have told you I have
no gold for such follies. Gather up your small amount of
understanding, and think of some other expedient."

"Well, your excellency. I know a mode of escape from this
embarrassment, but I scarcely dare propose it."

"Speak out--any means are good which attain their object."

"Below, in the court, dwells the merchant Fromery. His servant is my
very good friend. I have learned from him that his master has just
purchased a beautiful black coat. I think he has about the figure of
your excellency."

"Ah, I understand," said Voltaire, whose countenance became clearer,
"You will borrow for me, from your friend, the coat of his master?"

"Yes, if your excellency is not offended at my proposal?"

"On the contrary, I find the idea capital. Go, Tripot, and borrow
the coat of Fromery."

Voltaire returned once more to his distinguished guests, and
enraptured them again by his witty slanders and brilliant
conversation. As the last visitor departed, he rang for his servant.

"Well, Tripot, have you the coat?"

"I have, your excellency."

Voltaire rubbed his hands with delight. "It seems this is a happy
day for me--I make the most advantageous business arrangements."

"But it will be necessary for your grace to try on this coat. I fear
it is too large; since I saw Fromery, he has grown fat."

"The ass!" cried Voltaire. "How does he dare to fatten, when all the
people of intellect and celebrity, like myself, grow thinner every
day?" So saying, he put on the coat of the merchant Fromery. "Yes,
truly, it is far too large for me. Oh, oh! to think that the coat of
a pitiful Dutch tradesman is too large for the great French poet!
Well, that is because these Dutch barbarians think of nothing but
gormandizing. They puff up their gross bodies with common food, and
they daily become fatter; but the spirit suffers. Miserable slaves
of their appetites, they are of no use themselves, and their coats
are also useless!"

"Does your excellency believe that it is impossible to wear the
coat?"

"Do I believe it is impossible? Look at me! Do I not look like a
hungry heir in the testamentary coat of his rich cousin the brewer?
Would it not be thought that I was a scarecrow, to drive the birds
from the cornfields?"

At this moment Monsieur Pilleneure was announced.

"Good Heaven! I forgot to countermand the tailor!" cried Tripot.

"That is fortunate!" said Voltaire, calming himself. "God sends this
tailor here to put an end to my vexations. This coat is good and
handsome, only a little too large--the tailor will alter it
immediately."

"That will be splendid!" said Tripot. "He will take in the seams,
and to-morrow enlarge it again."

"Not so!" cried Voltaire. "The coat could not possibly look well; he
must cut away the seams."

"But then," said Tripot, hesitatingly, "Fromery could never wear his
coat again."

"Fromery will learn that Voltaire has done him the honor to borrow
his coat, and I think that will be a sufficient compensation. Tell
the tailor to enter."

Thanks to the adroitness of Pilleneure, Voltaire appeared at the
soiree of the queen-mother in a handsome, well-fitting black coat.
No one guessed that the mourning dress of the celebrated French
writer belonged to the merchant Fromery, and that the glittering
diamond agraffes in his bosom, and the costly rings on his fingers,
were the property of the Jew Hirsch. Voltaire's eyes were more
sparkling than diamonds, and the glances which he fixed upon the
Princess Amelia more glowing; her pale and earnest beauty inspired
him to finer wit and richer hymns of praise.

No one dared to say that this passionate adoration offered to the
princess was unbecoming and offensive to etiquette. Voltaire was the
man of his age, and therefore justified in offering his worship even
to a princess. He was also the favorite of the king, who allowed him
privileges granted to no other man. There was one present, however,
who found these words of passion and of rapture too bold, and that
one was King Frederick. He had entered noiselessly and unannounced,
as was his custom, and he saw, with a derisive smile, how every one
surrounded Voltaire, and all were zealous in expressing their
rapture over his improvised poem, and entreating him to repeat it.

"How can I repeat what I no longer know?" said he. "An angel floated
by me in the air, and, by a glance alone, she whispered words which
my enraptured lips uttered as in a wild hallucination."

"The centuries to come are to be pitied if they are to be deprived
of this enchanting poem," said the Princess Amelia. She had remarked
the entrance of the king, knew that his eye was fixed upon her, and
wished to please him by flattering his beloved favorite.

"If your royal highness thinks thus, I will now write out a poem
which I had designed only to recite," said Voltaire, seating himself
at the card-table; and, taking a card and pencil, he wrote with a
swift hand and handed the card, bowing profoundly.

The king, who was a silent spectator of this scene, looked at the
Princess Amelia, and saw that she blushed as she read, and her brow
was clouded.

"Allow me, also, to read the poem of the great Voltaire, my sister,"
said the king, drawing near.

The princess handed him the card, and while Frederick read, all
stood around him in respectful silence.

"This poem is sublime," said the king, smiling. He saw that the
princess was no longer grave, and that Voltaire breathed freely, as
if relieved from a great apprehension. "This little poem is so
enchanting, that you must allow me to copy it, my sister. Go on with
your conversation, messieurs, it does not disturb me."

A request from the lips of a king is a command; all exerted
themselves therefore to keep up a gay and animated conversation, and
to seem thoughtless and unoccupied. Frederick seated himself at the
table, and read once more the poem of Voltaire, which was as
follows:

     "Souvent un pen de verite
      Se mele au plus grossier mensonge.
      Cette nuit dans l'erreur d'un songe,
      Au rang des rois j'etais monte,
      Je vous aimais alors, et j'osais vous le dire,
      Les dieux a mon reveil ne m'ont pas tout ote,
      Je n'ai perdu que mon empire."

"Insolent!" cried the king, and his scornful glance wandered away to
Voltaire, who was seated near the queen engaged in lively
conversation. "We will damp his ardor," said he, smiling; and,
taking a card, he commenced writing hastily.

Truly at this moment the stem master Voltaire might have been
content with his royal pupil; the rhymes were good and flowed
freely. When Frederick had finished his poem, he put Voltaire's card
in his bosom and drew near to the princess.

"The poem is piquant," said he; "read it yourself, and then ask
Voltaire to read it aloud."

Amelia looked strangely at the king, but as she read, a soft smile
lighted up her lovely, melancholy face. Bowing to her brother, she
said in low tones, "I thank your highness."

"Now give the card to Voltaire, and ask him to read it," said the
king.

Voltaire took the card, but as he read he did not smile as the
princess had done--he turned pale and pressed his lips tightly
together.

"Read it," said the king.

"I beg your pardon," said Voltaire, who had immediately recovered
his self-possession; "this little poem, so hastily composed, was not
worthy of the exalted princess to whom I dared address it. Your
majesty will be graciously pleased to remember that it was born in a
moment, and the next instant lost its value. As I now read it, I
find it dull and trivial. You will not be so cruel as to force me to
read aloud to your majesty that which I condemn utterly."

"Oh, le coquin!" murmured Frederick, while Voltaire, with a profound
bow, placed the card in his pocket.

When the soiree was over, and Voltaire returned to his rooms, the
gay and genial expression which he had so carefully maintained
during the evening disappeared; and his lips, which had smiled so
kindly, muttered words of cursing and bitterness. He ordered Tripot
to arrange his writing-table and leave the room. Being now alone, he
drew the card from his bosom, and, as if to convince himself that
what he saw was truth and no cruel dream, he read aloud, but with a
trembling voice:

     "On remarque, pour l'ordinaire,
      Qu'un songe eat analoque a notre caractere,
      On heros peut rever, qu'il a passe le Rhin,
      Un chien qu'il aboie a la lune;
      Un joueur, qu'il a fait fortune,
      Un voleur, qu'il a fait butin.
      Mais que Voltaire, a l'aide d'un mensonge,
      Ose se croire roi lui que n'est qu'un faquin,
      Ma fois! c'est abuser du souge."

"So I am already a scoundrel?" said Voltaire, grinning. "My enemies
triumph, and he who a short time since was called the wise man of
the age, the Virgil of France, is nothing but a scoundrel! This
time, I confess, I merited my humiliation, and the consciousness of
this increases my rage. I am a good-humored, credulous fool. Why was
I so silly as to credit the solemn protestations of the king that I
should never feel his superior rank; that he would never show
himself the master? If I dare to claim an equality with him for an
instant, he swings his rod of correction, and I am bowed in the
dust! Voltaire is not the man to bow patiently. The day shall come
in which I will revenge with rich interest the degradation of this
evening. But enough of anger and excitement. I will sleep; perhaps
in happy dreams I shall wander from the chilly borders of the Spree
to my own beautiful Paris."

He called Tripot, and commanded him to announce to Fredersdorf that
he was ill, and could not accompany the king to Potsdam in the
morning.

He then retired, and the gods, perhaps, heard his prayer, and
allowed him in dreams to look upon Paris, where the Marquis de
Pompadour reigned supreme, and the pious priests preached against
the Atheist Voltaire, to whom the great-hearted King of Prussia had
given an asylum. Perhaps he saw in his dreams the seigneurie of his
glittering future, and his beautiful house at Ferney, where he built
a temple, with the proud inscription, "Voltaire Deo erexit!"

At all events, his dreams must have been pleasant and refreshing. He
laughed in his sleep; and his countenance, which was so often
clouded by base and wicked passions, was bright and clear; it was
the face of a poet, who, with closed eyes, looked up into the heaven
of heavens.

The morning came, and Voltaire still slept--even the rolling of the
carriages aroused him but for a moment; he wrapped himself up in his
warm bed. the soft eider down of his pillow closed over his head and
made him invisible. Tripot came lightly upon tiptoe and removed the
black coat of the merchant Fromery. Voltaire heard nothing; he slept
on. And now the door was noisily opened, and a young woman, with
fresh, rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes, entered the room; she was
dressed as a chambermaid, a little white coquettish cap covered her
hair, and a white apron with a little bodice was laced over her
striped woollen robe. Upon her white, naked arm she carried linen
which she threw carelessly upon the floor, and drew with rash steps
near the bed. Voltaire still slept, and was still invisible.

The young chambermaid, believing that he had gone with the king to
Potsdam, had come to arrange the room; with a quick movement she
seized the bed with her sinewy hands and threw it off. A wild cry
was heard! a white skeleton figure rose from the bed, now lying in
the middle of the chamber, and danced about the floor with doubled
fists and wild curses. The girl uttered a shriek of terror and
rushed from the room; and if the form and the nightcap had not been
purely white, she would have sworn she had seen the devil in person,
and that she had cast him out from the bed of the great French poet.
[Footnote: Thiebault, v., 281.]



CHAPTER X.

THE LOVERS.


The day of grace was at an end. The four weeks which the king had
granted to his sister, in order that she might take counsel with
herself, were passed, and the heart of the princess was unmoved--
only her face was changed. Amelia hid her pallor with rouge, and the
convulsive trembling of her lips with forced smiles; but it was
evident that her cheeks became daily more hollow, and her eyes more
inflamed. Even the king remarked this, and sent his physician to
examine her eyes. The princess received this messenger of the king
with a bitter, icy smile.

"The king is very good; but I am not ill--I do not suffer."

"But, your royal highness, your eyes suffer. They are weak and
inflamed: allow me to examine them."

"Yes, as my brother has commanded it; but I warn you, you cannot
heal them."

Meckel, the physician, examined her eyes with the closest attention,
then shook his head thoughtfully.

"Princess," said he at last, in low, respectful tones, "if you grant
your eyes no rest; if, instead of sleeping quietly, you pass the
night pacing your room; if you continue to exhaust your eyes by
constant weeping, the most fatal consequences may result."

"Do you mean I will become blind?" said Amelia, quietly.

"I mean your eyes are suffering; that, however, is no acute disease;
but your whole nervous system is in a dangerous condition, and all
this must be rectified before your eyes can be healed."

"Prescribe something, then, as his majesty has commanded it," said
Amelia, coldly.

"I will give your royal highness a remedy; but it is of so strong
and dangerous a nature, that it must be used only with the utmost
caution. It is a liquid; it must be heated, and you must allow the
steam to pass into your eyes. Your highness must be very, very
careful. The substances in this mixture are so strong, so corrosive,
that if you approach too near the steam, it will not only endanger
your eyes, but your face and your voice. You must keep your mouth
firmly closed, and your eyes at least ten inches above the vessel
from which the steam is rising. Will your highness remember all
this, and act as I have directed?"

"I will remember it," said Amelia, replying only to the first part
of his question.

Meckel did not remark this. He wrote his prescription and withdrew,
once more reminding Amelia of the caution necessary.

As has been said, this was the last day of grace. The princess
seemed calm and resigned. Even to her confidential maid she uttered
no complaints. The steaming mixture was prepared, and, while Amelia
held herself some distance above it, as the physician had commanded,
she said laughingly to Ernestine: "I must strive to make my eyes
bright, that my brother may be pleased, or at least that he may not
be excited against me."

The prescription seemed to work wonders. The eyes of the princess
were clear and bright, and upon her cheeks burned that dark, glowing
carnation, which an energetic will and a strong and bold resolve
sometimes call into life.

"Now, Ernestine, come! make me a careful and tasteful toilet. It
seems to me that this is my wedding-day; that I am about to
consecrate myself forever to a beloved friend."

"Oh, princess, let it be thus!" cried Fraulein von Haak.
imploringly. "Constrain your noble heart to follow the wishes of the
king, and wed the King of Denmark."

Amelia looked at her, amazed and angry. "You know that Trenck has
received my warning, and has replied to me. He will listen to no
suggestions; under no pretext, will he be influenced to cross the
borders of Prussia, not even if full pardon and royal grace are
offered him. I need not, therefore, be anxious on his account."

"That being the case, your royal highness should now think a little
of your own happiness. You should seek to be reconciled to your
fate--to yield to that which is unalterable. The king, the royal
family, yes, the whole land will rejoice if this marriage with the
King of Denmark takes place. Oh, princess, be wise! do willingly,
peacefully, What you will otherwise be forced to do! Consent to be
Queen of Denmark."

"You have never loved, Ernestine, and you do not know that it is a
crime to break a holy oath sworn unto God. But let us be silent. I
know what is before me--I am prepared!"

With calm indifference, Amelia completed her toilet; then stepped to
the large Psyche, which stood in her boudoir, and examined herself
with a searching eye.

"I think there is nothing in my appearance to enrage the king. I
have laid rouge heavily upon my cheeks, and, thanks to Meckel's
prescription, my eyes are as brilliant as if they had shed no tears.
If I meet my brother with this friendly, happy smile, he will not
remark that my cheeks are sunken. He will be content with me, and
perhaps listen to my prayers."

Ernestine regarded her with a sad and troubled glance. "You look
pale, princess, in spite of your rouge, and your laugh lacerates the
heart. There is a tone, a ring in it, like a broken harp-string."

"Still," said Amelia, "still, Ernestine! my hour has come! I go to
the king. Look, the hand of the clock points to twelve, and I ask an
audience of the king at this hour. Farewell, Ernestine! Ernestine,
pray for me."

She wrapped herself in her mantle, and stepped slowly and proudly
through the corridors to the wing of the castle occupied by the
king. Frederick received her in his library. He advanced to the door
to meet her, and with a kindly smile extended both his hands.

"Welcome, Amelia, a thousand times welcome! Your coming proves to me
that your heart has found the strength which I expected; that my
sweet sister has recovered herself, her maidenly pride, fully.

"The proud daughter of the Hohenzollerns is here to say to the king-
-'The King of Denmark demands my hand. I will bestow it upon him. My
father's daughter dare not wed beneath her. She must look onward and
upward. There is no myrtle-wreath for me, but a crown is glittering,
and I accept it. God has made both heart and brain strong enough to
bear its weight. I shall be no happy shepherdess, but I shall be a
great and good queen; I will make others happy.'"

"You have come, Amelia, to say this to the king; but you have also
come to say to your brother--'I am ready to fulfil your wishes. I
know that no selfish views, no ambitious plans influence you. I know
that you think only of my prosperity and my happiness; that you
would save me from misfortune, humiliation, and shame; that you
would guard me from the mistakes and weaknesses of my own heart, I
accede to your wish, my brother--I will be queen of Denmark?' Now,
Amelia," said Frederick, with an agitated voice, "have I not rightly
divined? Have you not sought me for this purpose?"

"No, my brother, no, no!" cried Amelia, with wild, gushing tears.
"No; I have come to implore your pity, your mercy." Completely
beside herself, mad with passion and pain, she fell upon her knees
and raised her arms entreatingly to the king. "Mercy, my brother,
mercy! Oh, spare my poor, martyred heart! Leave me at least the
liberty to complain and to be wretched! Do not condemn me to marry
Denmark!"

Frederick stepped backward, and his brow darkened; but he controlled
his impatience, and drew near his sister with a kindly smile, and
gently raising her from her knees, he led her to the divan.

"Come, Amelia, it does not become you to kneel to a man--to God only
should a princess kneel. Let us be seated, and speak to each other
as brother and sister should speak who love and wish to understand
each other."

"I am ready for all else, I will accommodate myself to all else--
only be merciful! Do not compel me to wed Denmark!"

"Ah, see, my sister, although you are struggling against me, how
justly you comprehend your position!" said the king, mildly. "You
speak of wedding Denmark. Your exalted and great destiny sleeps in
these words. A princess when she marries does not wed a man, but a
whole people; she does not only make a man but a nation happy. There
are the weeping, whose tears she will dry; the poor, whose hunger
she will assuage; the unhappy, to whom she will bring consolation;
the sick and dying, with whom she will pray. There is a whole people
advancing to meet her with shouts of gladness, stretching out their
hands, and asking for love. God has blessed the hearts of queens
with the power to love their subjects, because they are women. Oh,
my sister, this is a great, a noble destiny which Providence offers
you--to be the beneficent, mediating, smiling angel, standing ever
by the side of a king--a bond of love between a king and his
subjects! Truly one might well offer up their poor, pitiful wishes,
their own personal happiness, for such a noble destiny."

"I have no more happiness to offer up," sighed Amelia. "I have no
happiness; I do not ask so much. I plead for the poor right of
living for my great sorrow--of being faithful to myself."

"He only is faithful to himself who lives to discharge his duties,"
said the king. "He only is true to himself who governs himself, and
if he cannot be happy, at least endeavors to make others so, and
this vocation of making others happy is the noblest calling for a
woman; by this shall she overcome her selfishness and find comfort,
strength, and peace. And who, my sister, can say that he is happy?
Our life consists in unfulfilled wishes, vain hopes destroyed,
ideals, and lost illusions. Look at me, Amelia. Have I ever been
happy? Do you believe that there is a day of my life I would live
over? Have I not, from my earliest youth, been acquainted with
grief, self-denial, and pain? Are not all the blossoms of my life
broken? Am I not, have I not ever been, the slave of my rank?--a
man, 'cabined, cribbed, confined,' though I appear to be a great
king? Oh, I will not relate what I have suffered--how my heart has
been lacerated and trampled upon! I will only say to you, that,
notwithstanding this, I have never wished to be other than I am,
that I have been always thankful for my fate; glad to be born to a
throne, and not in a miserable hut. Believe me, Amelia, a sublime
misfortune is better, more glorious, than a petty happiness. To have
the brow wounded, because the crown presses too heavily upon the
temples, is more desirable than to breathe out your sorrows in the
midst of poverty and vulgarity, then sink into a dark and unknown
grave. God, who has, perhaps, denied us the blessing of love, gives
fame as a compensation. If we are not happy, we are powerful!"

"Ah, my brother, these are the views of a man and a king," said
Amelia. "I am a poor, weak woman. For me there is no fame, no
power!"

"Isabella of Spain and Elizabeth of England were also women, and
their fame has extended through centuries."

"They, however, were independent queens. I can be nothing more than
the wife of a king. Oh, my brother, let me remain only the sister of
a king! Let there be no change in my fate--let all remain as it is!
This is my only hope--my only prayer! My heart is dead, and every
wish is buried--let it suffice, my brother! Do not ask the
impossible!"

The king sprang from his seat, and his eyes glowed with scorn. "It
is, then, all in vain!" said he, fiercely. "You will listen neither
to reason nor entreaty!"

"Oh, sire, have mercy--I cannot wed the King of Denmark!"

"You cannot!" cried the king: "what does that mean?"

"That means that I have sworn never to become the wife of another
than of him whom I love; that means that I have sworn to die
unmarried, unless I go to the altar with my beloved!"

"This wild, mad wish can never be fulfilled!" said the king,
threateningly. "You will marry--I, the king, command it!"

"Command me not, my brother!" cried Amelia, proudly, "command me
not! You stand now upon the extremest boundary of your power; it
will be easy now to teach you that a king is powerless against a
firm, bold will!"

"Ah! you threaten me!"

"No, I pray to you--I pray wildly to your hard heart for pity! I
clasp your knees--I pray to you, as the wretched, the hopeless pray
to God--have mercy upon my torment, pity my unspeakable anguish! I
am a poor, weak woman--oh, have mercy! My heart bleeds from a
thousand wounds--comfort, heal it! I am alone, and oh, how lonely!--
be with me, my brother, and protect and shield me! Oh, my brother!
my brother! it is my life, my youth, my future which cries out to
you! Mercy! grace! Drive me not to extremity! Be merciful, as God is
merciful! Force me not into rebellion against God, against Nature,
against myself! Make me not an unnatural daughter, an unthankful
sister, a disobedient subject! My God! My God! Oh, let your heart be
touched! I cannot wed the King of Denmark--say not that I shall!"

"And if I still say it? If, by the power of my authority, as your
brother and your king, I command you to obey?"

"I may perhaps die, but your command will have no other result,"
said she, rising slowly, and meeting the enraged glance of the king
with a proud and calm aspect. "You have not listened to my prayers;
well, then, I pray no more. But I swear to you, and God in heaven
hears my oath, I will never marry! Now, my king, try how far your
power reaches; what you may do and dare; how far you may prevail
with a woman who struggles against the tyranny of her destiny. You
can lead an army into desperate battle; you can conquer provinces,
and make thrones totter to their base, but you cannot force a woman
to do what she is resolved against! You cannot break my will! I
repeat my oath--I swear I will never marry!"

A cry of rage burst from the lips of the king; with a hasty movement
he advanced and seized the arm of the princess; then, however, as if
ashamed of his impetuosity, he released her and stepped backward.

"Madame," said he, "you will wed the King of Denmark. This is my
unchangeable purpose, my inexorable command! The time of mourning
for his dead wife is passed; and he has, through a special
ambassador, renewed his suit for your hand. I will receive the
ambassador to-morrow morning in solemn audience. I will say to him
that I am ready to bestow the hand of my sister upon the King of
Denmark. To-morrow you will be the bride and in four weeks you will
be the wife of the King of Denmark!"

"And if I repeat to you, that I will never be his wife?"

"Madame, when the king commands, no one in his realm dare say 'I
will not!' Farewell--to-morrow morning, then!" He bowed, left the
room, and closed the door behind him.

Amelia sighed heavily, then slowly and quietly, even as she had
come, she walked through the corridors, and as she passed by her
maids she greeted them with a soft smile. Ernestine wished to follow
her to her boudoir, but she nodded to her to remain outside; she
entered and closed the door. She was alone; a wild shriek burst from
her lips; with a despairing movement she raised her arms to heaven,
then sank powerless, motionless to the floor.

How long she lay there; what martyrdom, what tortures her heart
endured in those hours of solitude, who can know? It was twilight
when Princess Amelia opened the door and bade her friend, Fraulein
von Haak, enter.

"Oh, princess, dearly-beloved princess," she said, weeping bitterly,
pressing Amelia's hand to her lips, "God be thanked that I see you
again!"

"Poor child!" said Amelia, gently, "poor child! You thought I would
destroy myself! is it not so, Ernestine? No, no, I must live! A dark
and sad foreboding tells me that a day will come when Trenck will
need me; when my life, my strength, my assistance will be necessary
to him. I will be strong! I will live, and await that day!"

With calm indifference she now began to speak of trifling things,
and listened kindly to all Ernestine related. There was, however, a
certain solemnity in her movements, in her smile, in every word she
uttered; her eyes turned from time to time with an indescribable
expression to heaven, and anxious, alarmed sighs fell trembling from
her lips.

At last the long and dreary hours of the evening were over. It was
night. Amelia could dismiss her maids and be once more alone. They
brought the spirit-lamp, upon which stood the vessel containing the
steaming mixture for her eyes; she directed them to place it near,
and go quietly to sleep. She would undress herself and read a while
before she went to bed. She embraced Fraulein von Haak, and charged
her to sleep peacefully.

"You have promised," whispered Ernestine, lightly, "you will live!"

"I will live, for Trenck will one day need me. Goodnight!"

She kissed Ernestine upon the brow and smiled upon her till the door
closed--then pressed the bolt forward hastily, and rushed forward to
the large mirror, which reflected her image clearly and distinctly.
With a curious expression she contemplated her still lovely,
youthful, and charming image, and her lips lightly whispered,
"Farewell, thou whom Trenck loved! Farewell, farewell!" she greeted
her image with a weary smile, then stepped firmly to the table,
where the mixture hissed and bubbled, and the dangerous steam
ascended.

The next morning loud shrieks and groans were heard in the bedroom
of the princess. Amelia's maids had come to arrange her toilet, and
found her stretched upon her couch, with disfigured face, with
bloody eyes, which, swollen and rigid, appeared almost torn from
their sockets! They ran for the physician, for the queen, for the
king; all was confusion, excitement, anguish.

Ernestine knelt weeping by the bed of the princess, and implored her
to say what frightful accident had so disfigured her. Princess
Amelia was incapable of reply! Her lips were convulsively pressed
together; she could only stammer out a few inarticulate sounds.

At last Heckel arrived, and when he saw the inflamed, swollen face,
the eyeballs starting from their sockets, and then the vessel
containing the powerful mixture upon the table, he was filled with
horror.

"Ah, the unhappy!" murmured he; "she did not regard my warning. She
drew too near the noxious vapor, and it has entered not only her
eyes but her windpipe; she will suffer much, and never be wholly
restored!"

Amelia understood these words, which were addressed to Fraulein von
Haak, and a horrible wild laugh burst from her bloody, skinless
lips.

"Will she recover?" asked Fraulein von Haak.

"She will recover, but her eyes will be always deformed and her
voice is destroyed. I will hasten to the apothecary's and prepare
soothing ointments."

He withdrew, and now another door opened, and the king entered. With
hasty steps, and greatly excited, he drew near the bed of the
princess. As he looked upon her deformed countenance, her bleeding,
rigid eyes, he uttered a cry of horror, and bowed down over his
sister.

She gazed up at him steadily; tried to open her lips; tried to
speak, but only a dull, hollow sound was heard. Now she slightly
raised herself up with a powerful effort of strength, and moved her
hand slowly over the white wall near her bed.

"She wishes to write," said the king; "perhaps she will tell the
cause of her sufferings. Give her something quickly! there--a coal
from the chimney!"

Fraulein von Haak brought the coal, and Amelia wrote, with trembling
hand, in great, irregular letters, these words upon the wall:

"Now I will not wed the King of Denmark!--now I shall never marry!"
then fell back on her pillow with a hollow laugh, which deformed her
swollen and convulsed features in a frightful manner.

The king sank on a chair near the bed, and, clasping his hands over
his face, he abandoned himself to despair. He saw, he comprehended
all! He knew that she had intentionally disfigured herself; that she
had offered up her beauty to her love! For this reason she had so
piteously pleaded with him!--for this reason had she clamored for
pity!--pity for her youth, her future, her life's happiness! Love
and faith she had offered up! Greater, braver than Juliet, she had
not given herself up to death, but to deformity! She had destroyed
her body, in order to treasure love and constancy in her heart for
her beloved! All this the king knew, and a profound and boundless
sorrow for this young woman, so strong in her love, came over him.
He bowed his head and wept bitterly. [Footnote: La partie de
l'histoire de la Princesse Amelie qui a ete la moins connue. et sur
laquelle le public a flotte entre des opinions plus diverses et
moins admissibles, c'est la cause de sea infirmites. Heureusement
constituee sans etre grande, elle n'aurait pas du savoir a les
craindre, meme dans un age tres-avance; et elle en a ete atteinte
bien avant lage, qui pout les faire craindre. Encore, ne les a-t-
elle pas eucs partiellement, elle en a ete spoutanement accablee. Il
n'est pas douteux qu'elle ne les ait cherchees. J'en donnerai pour
preuve un fait qui est certain. A une epoque ou elle avait les yeux
inflammes en tenant ce liquide aux moins a sept ou huit pouces de
distance; et lui recommenda bien de ne pas l'approeher davantage;
et, cependant des qu'elle eut cette composition, elle s'empressa de
s'en frotter les yeux, ce qui produisit un si funeste effet, qu'elle
courut le plus grand danger de devenir aveugle; et que depuis elle a
toujours do les yeux a moitic sortis de leurs orbites, et aussi
hideux qu'ils avaient ete beaux jusque la. Frederic, a qui on n'osa
pas dire combien la princesse avait de part a cette accident, n'a
jamais eu depuis qu'une aversion tres-marquee et un vrai mepris pour
M. Meckel, que la princesse fut obligee de quitter, et qui n'en
etait pas moins un des meilleurs medecina de Berlin, et un des plus
celebres anatomistes de l'Europe.

Une autre infirmite plus ctonnante, encore, o'est que cette
princesse perdit presque totalementc la voix; aussi de sa fautc a ce
qui l'on a pretendu il lui etait difficile de parlor, et tres-
penible aux autres de l'entendre. Sa voix n'etait plus qu'un son
vague, sourd et sepulcral, semblable a celui que forme une personne
qui fait effort pour dire comme a voix basse qu'elle etrangle.

Je ne parlerai pas de sa tete chaneelante et se soutenant a peine de
ses jambes, pour lesquelles son corps appauvri etait un poids si
lourd de ses bras; et de ses mains plus d'a moitie paralyse; mais
quels puissants motifs out pu amener cette belle et aimable
princesse a se faire elle-meme un sort si triste? Quelle philosophie
a pu lui donner assez de force pour le supporter, et ne pas s'en
plaindre? quelle energie tous cea faits ne prouvent-ils pas?--
Thiebault, ii., 287-289.]



CHAPTER XI.

BARBARINA.


The visit which the proud wife of the High-Chancellor Cocceji had
made to the still prouder dancer, had brought the trembling and
irresolute heart of Barbarina to a conclusion. This heart, which had
not been influenced by her own wishes or the eloquent prayers of her
young lover, was wounded by the insane pride of Madame Cocceji, and
forced to a final resolve. The visit was unfortunate, and its
results exactly the opposite of her hopes.

She had come to prove to Barbarina that she should not even dare to
think of becoming the wife of her son. By her wild passion and
abusive words she had so exasperated her, that she determined to do
that for revenge which she had firmly refused to love. In flashing
scorn she had sworn this to the proud wife of the high chancellor;
and her honor and her pride demanded the fulfilment of her oath.

And now a fierce contest commenced between them--carried on by both
parties with bitterness and energy. The high chancellor threatened
his son with his curse. He solemnly declared he would disinherit
him. Cocceji only loved the Barbarina the more glowingly; and, as
his mother spoke to him of the dancer, and uttered passionate and
abusive words, he replied respectfully but decisively that he would
not listen to such accusations against the woman who was to be his
wife, and must forbid them positively. Madame Cocceji was beside
herself with rage; by her prayers and persuasions, she induced her
husband to take refuge in the last and most violent resource that
remained--in the power of arrest which the king had granted him. He
resolved to confine his son in the castle of Mt. Landsberg, and thus
break the magical bands of Ariadne.

One day, the Councillor Cocceji did not appear in the halls of
justice, and no one knew what had become of him. The servants stated
that a carriage stopped at his dwelling in the middle of the night;
that General Haak with two soldiers entered Cocceji's room, and
remained with him some time. They had then all entered the general's
carriage, and driven away.

Cocceji had, however, found a secret opportunity to slip a piece of
paper into the servant's hand, and to whisper, "Quick, to the
signora!"

The faithful servant obeyed this order. The paper contained only
these words: "I am arrested; make all necessary preparations; expect
me daily. As soon as I am free, our marriage will take place."

Barbarina made her preparations. She undertook frequently little
journeys, and sometimes remained away from Berlin several days. She
bought a costly and beautiful house, to prove to the wife of the
chancellor that she had no thought of leaving Berlin and returning
to Italy.

Some months went by. The king, who had yielded to the prayers of the
Coccejis, and allowed them to arrest their son, would not consent to
his longer confinement. He had no trial; had committed no offence
against the laws or the king; was guilty of no other crime than
wishing to marry the woman he loved.

So the young councillor was released from the castle of Landsberg.
He returned to Berlin; and his first visit was not to his parents,
but to Barbarina, who received him in her new house in Behren
Street.

A few hours later, a carriage stood before the door, which
Barbarina, accompanied by her sister and Cocceji, entered, and drove
rapidly away. No one knew where they went. Even the spies of the
Coccejis, who continually watched the house of the dancer, could
learn nothing from the servants who were left behind. A few days
after, they brought the intelligence that Barbarina had returned;
and the councillor dwelt with her in her new house; and the servants
were commanded to call the signora Madame Cocceji. as she was his
well-beloved and trusted wife.

The wife of the high chancellor laughed contemptuously at this
narrative, and declared it to be only a coup de theatre. Suddenly an
equipage drove to the door. Somewhat curious, Madame Cocceji stepped
to the window; she saw that the coachman and footmen were dressed in
liveries glittering with gold, and that the panels of the carriage
were ornamented with the Cocceji coat-of-arms.

The Signora Barbarina was to be seen at the window. Horrified, the
wife of the chancellor stepped back; a servant entered with a card,
which he handed her respectfully.

"I am not at home; I receive no visits!" cried she, after looking at
the card. The servant retired, and the carriage rolled away.

"Yes, it is true. She has triumphed!" groaned the countess, still
gazing at the card, which had these words: "Monsieur de Cocceji and
Madame de Cocceji, nee Barbarina."--"But she shall not succeed; the
Barbarina shall never be called my daughter; this marriage shall be
set aside, the ceremony was not lawful, it is contrary to the laws
of the land. Barbarina is a bourgeoise, and cannot wed a noble
without the express consent of the king. I will throw myself at the
feet of his majesty and implore him to annul this marriage!"

Frederick was much exasperated, and inclined to yield to the
entreaties of his high chancellor. A short time before, he had
commanded the Catholic clergy not to perform any marriage ceremony
without special permission and legitimation; and his anger was
aroused at their daring to disobey him, and in secrecy and silence
to marry Barbarina and Cocceji.

He commanded his cabinet minister Uhden to ascertain by what right
the dancer Barbarina dared to call herself Madame Cocceji, and, if
she could establish her claim, he wished to be informed what priest
had dared to bless the holy banns. He was resolved to punish him
severely.

The minister Uhden was a warm personal friend of the high
chancellor, and more than willing, therefore, to carry out sternly
the king's commands. The next day he ordered Barbarina to appear
before him, stating that he had the king's permission to pronounce
judgment upon her.

When Barbarina read this order, she was lost in painful silence, and
a profound melancholy was written upon her pale face.

"What will you do, sister?" said Marietta.

"I will go to the king!" replied Barbarina. rousing herself.

"But the king is at Potsdam."

"Well, then, I will go to Potsdam. Order my carriage; I must go in a
quarter of an hour."

"What shall I say to your husband when he returns home?"

Barbarina looked at her steadily. "Tell him that Madame Cocceji has
gone to Potsdam, to announce her marriage to the king, and ask him
to acknowledge it."

"Barbarina," whispered her sister, "hear me! Your husband is
troubled and sorrowful; he has confided in me. He says he fears you
did not marry him from love, but for revenge, and that you love him
not."

"I am resolved to love him! I will learn how," said she, sadly. "I
have a strong will, and my heart shall obey me!"

She smiled, but her lovely face was overcast with grief, and
Marietta's eyes were filled with tears.

Frederick was alone in his study in the castle of Potsdam; he was
busily engaged in writing. The door was lightly opened, and the
Marquis d'Argens looked in. When he saw that the king had heard
nothing, he beckoned to a lady who stood behind him to draw near.
She entered the room silently and noiselessly; the marquis bowed to
her, and, smiling kindly, he stepped back and closed the door.

The lady, who up to this time had closely concealed her features,
now threw back her veil, and exposed the pale but lovely countenance
and flashing eyes of Barbarina. She gazed at the king with a mingled
expression of happiness and pain.

The king still heard nothing. Suddenly he was aroused by a low sigh;
it seemed to him that a soft, sweet, long-silent voice whispered his
name. He rose hastily and turned; Barbarina was kneeling at the
door; it was that door before which, five years ago, she had kneeled
bathed in tears and wild with despair. She was now, as then, upon
her knees, weeping bitterly, and raising her hands importunately to
the king, pleading for grace and pity.

Frederick was at first pallid from surprise, and a frown was on his
brow; but, as he looked upon her, and saw once more those great,
dark, unfathomable eyes, a painful but sweet emotion overcame him;
the cloud was lifted up, his countenance was illuminated and his
eyes were soft and misty.

With a kindly smile he drew near to Barbarina. "Rise," said he, and
the tones of his voice made her heart beat wildly, and brought fresh
tears to her eyes. "You come strangely and unexpectedly, Barbarina,
but you come with a beautiful retinue, with a crowd of sweet, fond
remembrances--and I--of whom men say, 'He has no religion'--have at
least the religion of memory. I cannot be angry with you, Barbarina;
rise, and tell me why you are here."

He bowed, and took her by the hands and raised her; and now, as she
stood near him, lovely as ever, her great eyes glowing with warmth
and passion, intoxicating the senses with her odorous beauty, the
king felt anguish in his heart which he had no words to express.

They stood silently, side by side, their eyes fixed upon each other,
Frederick holding Barbarina's hand in his; they seemed to be
whispering mysterious fairy tales to each other's hearts.

"I see you, surrounded by smiling, sacred genii," at last, said
Frederick. "These are the genii of the rosy hours which have been.
Ah, Barbarina, thus attended, your face seems to me as the face of
an angel. Why were you not an angel, Barbarina? Why were you only a
woman--a passionate woman, who, not satisfied with loving and being
loved, wished also to govern; who was not content to be worshipped
by the man, but wished to subject the king, whom you thus forced to
forget his humanity, to trample upon and torture his own heart in
order to remain king? Oh, Barbarina, why were you this proud,
exacting woman, rather than the angel which you now truly are?"

She raised her hands, as if imploring him to be silent. "I
understand all that now, I have thought of it, night and day; I know
and I confess that you acted right, sire. And now I am no longer an
imperious woman, but a humiliated one! In my helplessness, with my
pride subdued, I come to you! I come to you, sire, as one goes to
God, weary and heavy laden. I come to you, as a poor sinner goes
into God's holy temple, to confess his sins; to have his burden
lightened; to pray for help that he may subdue his own heart! Oh,
sire, this is a sacred, consecrated hour for me, and what I now say
to you, only God and yourself may hear!"

"Speak, Barbarina, and may God hear and answer!"

"Sire, I come for help!"

"Ah, for help!" exclaimed the king, and a mocking expression played
upon his lips. "I had forgotten. You wish to be called Madame
Cocceji?"

"I am called thus, sire," said she, softly; "but they are about to
declare my marriage illegal, and by the power of the law to set it
aside."

"And for this reason you come to me?" said the king. "You fear for
your beautiful title?"

"Ah, sire, you do not, think so pitifully of me as to suppose I care
for a title?"

"You married the Councillor Cocceji, then, from love?" said the
king.

Barbarina looked at the king steadily. "No, sire, I did not marry
him for love."

"Why, then, did you marry him?"

"To save myself, sire--to save myself, and because I could not learn
to forget. Your majesty has just said that you have the religion of
memory. Sire, I am the anguish-stricken, tortured, fanatical
priestess of the same faith. I have lain daily before her altar, I
have scourged my heart with remembrances, and blinded my eyes with
weeping. At last a day came in which I roused myself. I resolved to
abandon my altar, to flee from the past, and teach my heart to
forget. I went to England, accepted Lord Stuart's proposals, and
resolved to be his wife. It was in vain, wholly in vain. Whatsoever
my trembling lips might say, my heart lay ever bleeding before the
altar of my memory. The past followed me over the wide seas, she
beckoned and greeted me with mysterious sighs and pleadings; she
called out to me, with two great, wondrous eyes, clear and blue as
the heavens, unfathomable as the sea! These eyes, sire, called me
back, and I could not resist them. I felt that I would rather die by
them than relinquish them forever. So, on my wedding-day, I fled
from England, and returned to Berlin. The old magic came over me;
also, alas! the old grief. I felt that I must do something to save
myself, if I would not go mad. I resolved to bind my wayward heart
in chains, to make my love a prisoner to duty, and silence the
outcries of my soul! But I still wavered. Then came Madame Cocceji.
By her insolent bearing she roused my pride, until it overshadowed
even my despair, and I heard no other voice. So, sire, I married
Cocceji! I have taken refuge in this marriage, as in a safe haven,
where I shall rest peacefully and fear no storm.

"But, my king, struggle as I may to begin a new life, the religion
of memory will not relinquish her priestess; she extends her
mystical hands over me, and my poor heart shouts back to her against
my will. Sire, save me! I have fled to this marriage as one flies to
a cloister-cell, to escape the sweet love of this world. Oh, sire,
do not allow them to drive me from this refuge; leave me in peace to
God and my duty! Alas! my soul has repented, she lies wearied and
ill at your feet. Help her, heal her, I implore you!"

She was silent. She extended her bands toward the king. He looked at
her sadly, kindly took her hands in his, and pressed his lips upon
them.

"Barbarina," said he, in a rich, mellow voice--"Barbarina, I thank
you. God and the king have heard you. You say that you are the
priestess of the religion of remembrance; well, then, I am her
priest, and I confess to you that I, also, have passed many nights
in anguish before her altar. Life demands heavy sacrifices, and more
from kings than from other men. Once in my life I made so rich an
offering to my, royalty that it seemed life could have no more of
bitterness in store. The thoughtless and fools consider life a
pleasure. But I, Barbarina, I say, that life is a duty. Let us
fulfil our duties."

"Yes, we will go and fulfil them," said she, with flashing eyes.
"Sire, I will go to fulfil mine; but I am weak, and have yet one
more favor to ask. There is no cup of Lethe from which men drink
forgetfulness, and yet I must forget. I must cast a veil over the
past. Help me, sire--I must leave Berlin! Banish my husband to
another city. It will be an open grave for me; but I will struggle
to plant that grave with flowers, whose beauty and perfume shall
rejoice and make glad the heart of my husband!"

"I grant your request," said the king, sadly.

"I thank you, sire; and now, farewell!"

"Farewell, Barbarina!"

He took again her hands in his, and looked long into her fair,
enchanting face, now glowing with enthusiasm. Neither spoke one
word; they took leave of each other with soft glances and melancholy
sighs.

"Farewell, sire!" said Barbarina, after a long pause, withdrawing
her hands from the king's and stepping toward the door. The king
followed her.

"Give me your hand," said he, "I will go with you!"

Frederick led her into the adjoining room, in which there were two
doors. One led to a small stairway, which opened upon a side-door of
the castle; the other to the great saloon, in which the cavaliers
and followers of the king were wont to assemble.

Barbarina had entered by the small stairway, and now turned her
steps in that direction. "No, not that way," said Frederick. "My
staff await me in the saloon. It is the hour for parade. I will show
you my court."

Barbarina thanked him, and followed silently to the other door. The
generals, in their glittering uniforms, and the cavaliers, with
their embroidered vests and brilliant orders, bowed profoundly, and
no one dared to manifest the surprise he felt as the king and
Barbarina entered.

Frederick led Barbarina into the middle of the saloon, and letting
go her hand, he said aloud: "Madame, I have the honor to commend
myself to you. Your wish shall be fulfilled. Your husband shall be
President of Glogau! it shall be arranged to-day." The king cast a
proud and searching glance around the circle of his cavaliers, until
they rested upon the master of ceremonies. "Baron Pollnitz, conduct
Madame Presidentess Coceeji to her carriage."

Pollnitz stumbled forward and placed himself with a profound
salutation at Barbarina's side.

Frederick bowed once more to Barbarina; she took the arm of Baron
Pollnitz. Silence reigned in the saloon as Barbarina withdrew.

The king gazed after her till she had entirely disappeared; then,
breathing heavily, he turned to his generals and said: "Messieurs,
it is time for parade."



CHAPTER XII.

INTRIGUES.


Voltaire was faithful to his purpose: he made use of his residence
in Prussia and the favor of the king to increase his fortune, and to
injure and degrade, as far as possible, all those for whom the king
manifested the slightest partiality. He not only added to his riches
by the most abject niggardliness in his mode of life, thereby adding
his pension to his capital, but by speculation in Saxon bonds, for
which, in the beginning, he employed the aid of the Jew Hirsch. We
have seen that he sent him to Dresden to purchase eighteen thousand
thalers' worth of bonds, and gave him three drafts for that purpose.

One of these was drawn upon the banker Ephraim. He thus learned of
Voltaire's speculation, and, as a cunning trafficker, he resolved to
turn this knowledge to his own advantage. He went to Voltaire, and
proposed to give him twenty thousand thalers' worth of Saxon bonds,
and demand no payment for them till Voltaire should receive their
full value from Dresden. The only profit he desired was Voltaire's
good word and influence for him with the king.

This was a most profitable investment, and the great French writer
could not resist it. He took the bonds; promised his protection and
favor, and immediately sent to Paris to protest the draft he had
given the Jew Hirsch.

Poor Hirsch had already bought the bonds in Dresden, and he was now
placed in the most extreme embarrassment, not only by the protested
draft, but by Voltaire's refusing to receive the bonds and to pay
for them.

Voltaire tried to appease him; promised to repair his loss, and yet
further to indemnify him. He declared he would purchase some of the
diamonds left in his care by Hirsch, and he really did this; he
bought three thousand thalers' worth of diamonds and returned the
rest to Hirsch. A few days after he sent to him for a diamond cross
and a few rings which he proposed to buy. Hirsch sent them, and not
hearing from either the diamonds or the money, he went to Voltaire
to get either the one or the other.

Voltaire received him furiously; declared that the diamonds which he
had purchased were false, and in order to reimburse himself he had
retained the others and would never return them! In wild rage he
continued to raise his doubled fist to heaven in condemnation, or
held it under the nose of the poor terrified Jew; and to crown all,
he tore from his finger another diamond ring, and pushed him from
the door.

And now the Jew indeed was to be pitied. He demanded of the courts
the restoration of his diamonds, and payment for the Saxon bonds.

A wearisome and vexatious process was the result. Voltaire's plots
and intrigues involved the case more and more, and he brought the
judges themselves almost to despair. Voltaire declared that the Jew
had sold him false diamonds. The Jew asserted that the false
diamonds exhibited by Voltaire were not those Voltaire had purchased
of him, and which the jeweller Reclam had valued. No one was present
at this trade, so there were no witnesses. The judges were,
therefore, obliged to confine themselves to administering the oath
to Voltaire, as he would not consent to any compromise. But he
resisted the taking of the oath also.

"What!" said he, "I must swear upon the Bible; upon this book
written in such wretched Latin! If it were Homer or Virgil, I would
have nothing against it."

When the judge assured him, that if he refused the oath, they would
administer it to the Jew, he exclaimed: "What! you will allow the
oath of this miserable creature, who crucified the Saviour, to
decide this question?"

He took the oath at last, and as the Jew Ephraim swore at the same
time that Voltaire had shown him the diamonds, and he had at once
declared them to be false, the Jew Hirsch lost his case, and
Voltaire triumphed. He wrote the following letter to Algarotti:

"If one had listened to my envious enemies, they would have heard
that I was about to lose a great process, and that I had defrauded
an honest Jewish banker. The king, who naturally takes the part of
the Old Testament, would have looked upon me with disfavor. I should
have been lost, and Freron would have derisively declared that I
sickened and died of rage. Instead of this, I still live; and during
my last illness the king manifested such warm and affectionate
interest in me, that I should be the most ungrateful of men if I do
not remain a few months longer with him! I am the only animal of my
race whom he has ever lodged in his castle in Berlin; and when he
left for Potsdam, and I could not follow him, his equipage, cooks,
etc., remained for my use. He had my furniture and other effects
removed to a beautiful country-seat near Sans-Souci, which was, for
the time being, mine. Besides this, a lodging was reserved for me at
Potsdam, where I slept a part of every week. In short, if I were not
three hundred leagues away from you, whom I love so tenderly, and if
I were in good health, I would be the happiest of men! I ask pardon,
therefore, of my enemies; these men of small wit; these sly foxes,
who cry out because I have a pension of twenty thousand francs, and
they have nothing! I wear a golden cross on my breast, while they
have not even a handkerchief in their pockets. I wear a great blue
cross, set round with diamonds, around my neck; for this they would
strangle me. These miserable creatures ought to know that I would
cheerfully give up the cross, the key, the pension; these things
would cost me no regret, but I am bound and attached to this great
man, who in all things strives to promote my welfare." [Footnote:
Voltaire, Oeuvres, p. 442.]

But this paradise of bliss, so extravagantly praised by Voltaire,
was not entirely without clouds, and some fierce storms had been
necessary to clear the atmosphere.

The king was very angry with Voltaire, and wrote the following
letter to him from Potsdam:

"I knew how to maintain peace in my house till your arrival; and I
must confess to you, that if you continue to intrigue and cabal, you
will be no longer welcome. I prefer kind and gentle people, who are
not passionate and tragic in their daily life. In case you should
resolve to live as a philosopher, I will rejoice to see you! But if
you give full sway to your passion and are hot-brained with
everybody, you will do better to remain in Berlin. Your arrival in
Potsdam will give me no pleasure." [Footnote: Oeuvres Posthumes, p.
338.]

Only after Voltaire had solemnly sworn to preserve the peace, was he
allowed to return to Potsdam. Keeping the peace was not, however, in
harmony with Voltaire's character; plotting was a necessity with
him; he could not resist it.

After he had succeeded in setting Arnaud aside and compelling him to
leave Berlin, he turned his rage and sarcasm against the other
friends of the king. One of them was removed by death. This was La
Mettrie; he partook immoderately of a truffle-pie at the house of
the French ambassador, Lord Tyrconnel, and died in consequence of a
blood-letting, which he ordered himself, in opposition to the
opinion of his physician. He laughingly said, "I will accustom my
indigestion to blood-letting." He died at the first experiment. His
death was in harmony with his life and his principles. He dismissed
the priest rudely who came to him uncalled, and entreated him to be
reconciled to God. Convulsed by his last agonies, he called out, "O
my God! O Jesus Maria!"

"He repents!" cried the delighted priest; "he calls upon God and His
blessed Son."

"No, no, no, father!" stammered La Mettrie, with dying lips; "that
was only a form of speech." [Footnote: Nicolai, p. 20.]

Voltaire's envy and jealousy were now turned against the Marquis
d'Argens, who was indeed the dearest friend of the king. At first he
tried to prejudice the king against him; he betrayed to him that the
marquis had privately married the actress Barbe Cochois.

The king was at the moment very angry, but the prayers of Algarotti,
and the regret of the poor marquis, reconciled him at last; he not
only forgave, but he allowed the marquise to dwell at Sans-Souci
with her husband.

When Voltaire found that he could not deprive the marquis of the
king's favor, he resolved to occasion him some trouble, and to wound
his vanity and sensibility. He knew that the marquis was an ardent
admirer of the French writer Jean Baptiste Rousseau. One day
Voltaire entered the room of the marquis, and said, in a sad,
sympathetic tone, that he felt it his duty to undeceive him as to
Jean Baptiste Rousseau, to prove to him that his love and respect
for the great writer were returned with the blackest ingratitude. He
had just received from his correspondent at Paris an epigram which
Rousseau had made upon the marquis. It was true the epigram was only
handed about in manuscript, and Rousseau swore every one who read it
not to betray him; he was showing it, however, and it was thought it
would be published. He, Voltaire, had commissioned his correspondent
to do every thing in his power to prevent the publication of this
epigram; or, if this took place, to use every means to excite the
public, as well as the friends of the marquis, against Rousseau,
because of his shameful treachery.

At all events, this epigram, which Voltaire now read aloud. to the
marquis, and which described him as the Wandering Jew, was as
malicious as it was mischievous and slanderous. The good marquis was
deeply wounded, and swore to take a great revenge on Rousseau.
Voltaire triumphed.

But, after a few days, he suspected that the whole was an artifice
of Voltaire. In accordance with his open, noble character, he wrote
immediately to Rousseau, made his complaint, and asked if he had
written the epigram.

Rousseau swore that he was not the author, but he was persuaded that
Voltaire had written it; he had sent some copies to Paris, and his
friends were seeking to spread it abroad. [Footnote: Thiebault.]

The marquis was on his guard, and did not communicate this news to
Voltaire. He resolved to escape from these assaults and intrigues
quietly; with his young wife he made a journey to Paris, and did not
return till Voltaire had left Berlin forever.

The most powerful and therefore the most abhorred of the enemies
against whom Voltaire now turned in his rage, was the president of
the Berlin Academy, Maupertius. Voltaire could never forgive him for
daring to shine in his presence; for being the president of an
academy of which he, Voltaire, was only a simple member. Above all
this, the king loved him, and praised his extraordinary talent and
scholarship. Voltaire only watched for an opportunity to clutch this
dangerous enemy, and the occasion soon presented itself.

Maupertius had just published his "Lettres Philosophiques," in which
it must be confessed there were passages which justified Voltaire's
assertion that Maupertius was at one time insane, and was confined
for some years in a madhouse at Montpellier. Maupertius proposed in
these letters that a Latin city should be built, and this majestic
and beautiful tongue brought to life again. He proposed, also, that
a hole should be dug to the centre of the earth, in order to
discover its condition and quality; also that the brain of
Pythagoras should be searched for and opened, in order to ascertain
the nature of the soul.

These ridiculous and fabulous propositions Voltaire replied to under
the name of Dr. Akakia; he asserted that he was only anxious to heal
the unhappy Maupertius. This publication was written in Voltaire's
sharpest wit and his most biting, glittering irony, and was
calculated to make Maupertius absurd in the eyes of the whole world.

The king, to whom Voltaire had shown his manuscript, felt this; and
although he had listened to the "Akakia" with the most lively
pleasure, and often interrupted the reading by loud laughter and
applause, he asked Voltaire to destroy the manuscript. He was not
willing that the man who stood at the head of his academy, and whom
he had once called "the light of science," should be held up to the
laughter and mockery of the world.

"I ask this sacrifice from you as a proof of your friendship for me,
and your self-control," said the king, earnestly. "I am tired of
this everlasting disputing and wrangling; I will have peace in my
house; I do not know how long we will have peace in the world. It
seems to me that on the horizon of politics heavy clouds are
beginning to tower up; let us therefore take care that our literary
horizon is clear and peaceable."

"Ah, sire!" cried Voltaire, "when you look at me with your great,
luminous eyes, I feel capable of plucking my heart from my breast
and casting it into the fire for you. How gladly, then, will I offer
up these stinging lines to a wish of my Solomon!"

"Will you indeed sacrifice 'Akakia?'" said the king, joyfully.

"Look here! this is my manuscript, you know my hand-writing, you see
that the ink is scarcely dry, the work just completed. Well, then,
see now, sire, what I make of the 'Akakia.'" He took the manuscript
and cast it into the fire before which they were both sitting.

"What are you doing?" cried the king, hastily; and, without
regarding the flames, ho stretched out his hand to seize the
manuscript.

Voltaire laughed heartily, seized the tongs, and pushed it farther
into the flames. "Sire, sire, I am the devil, and I will not allow
my victim to be torn from me. My 'Akakia' was only worthy of the
lower regions; you condemned it, and therefore it must suffer. I,
the devil, command it to burn."

"But I, the angel of mercy, will redeem the poor 'Akakia,'" cried
the king, trying to obtain possession of the tongs. "Truly this
'Akakia' is too lusty and witty a boy to be laid, like the Emperor
Guatimozin, upon the gridiron. It was enough to deny him a public
exhibition--it was not necessary to destroy him."

"Sire, I am a poor, weak man! If I kept the living 'Akakia' by my
side, it would be a poisonous weapon, which I would hurl one day
surely at the head of Maupertius. It is therefore better it should
live only in my remembrance, and be only an imaginary dagger, with
which I will sometimes tickle the haughty lord-president."

"And you have really no copy?" said the king, whose distrust was
awakened by Voltaire's too ready compliance. "Was this the only
manuscript of the 'Akakia?'"

"Sire, if you do not believe my word, send your servants and let
them search my room. Here are my keys; they shall bring you every
scrap of written paper; your majesty will then be convinced. I
entreat you to do this, as you will not believe my simple word."

The king fixed his eyes steadfastly upon Voltaire. "I believe you.
It would be unworthy of you to deceive me, and unworthy of me to
mistrust you. I believe you; but I will make assurance doubly sure.
The 'Akakia' is no longer upon paper, but it is in your head, and I
fear your head more than I do all the paper in the world. Promise
me, Voltaire, that as long as you live with me you will engage in no
written strifes or controversies--that you will not employ your
bitter irony against the government, or against the authors."

"I promise that cheerfully!"

"Will you do so in writing?"

Voltaire stepped to the table and took the pen. "Will your majesty
dictate?"

The king dictated, and Voltaire wrote with a rapid but firm hand: "I
promise your majesty that so long as you allow me to lodge in your
castle, I will write against no one, neither against the French
government nor any of the foreign ambassadors, nor the celebrated
authors. I will constantly manifest a proper respect and regard to
them. I will make no improper use of the letters of the king. I will
in all things bear myself as becomes an historian and a scholar, who
has the honor to be gentleman in waiting to the King of Prussia, and
to associate with distinguished persons." [Footnote: Preus,
"Friedrich der Grosse."]

"Will you sign this?" said the king.

"I will not only sign it," said Voltaire, "but I will add something
to its force. Listen, your majesty.--I will strictly obey all your
majesty's commands, and to do so gives me no trouble. I entreat your
majesty to believe that I never have written any thing against any
government--least of all against that under which I was born, and
which I only left because I wished to close my life at the feet of
your majesty. I am historian of France. In the discharge of this
duty, I have written the history of Louis the Fourteenth, and the
campaigns of Louis the Fifteenth. My voice and my pen were ever
consecrated to my fatherland, as they are now subject to your
command. I entreat you to look into my literary contest with
Maupertius, and to believe that I give it up cheerfully to please
you, sire; and because I will in all things submit to your will. I
will also be obedient to your majesty in this. I will enter into no
literary contest, and I beg you, sire, to believe that, in the hour
of death, I will feel the same reverence and attachment for you
which filled my heart the day I first appeared at your court.
VOLTAIRE."

The king took the paper, and read it over, then fixed his eyes
steadily upon Voltaire's lowering face. "It is well! I thank you,"
said Frederick, nodding a friendly dismissal to Voltaire. He left
the room, and the king looked after him long and thoughtfully.

"I do not trust him; he was too ready to burn the manuscript. And
yet, he gave me his word of honor."

Voltaire returned to his room, and, now alone and unobserved, a
malicious, demoniac exultation was written on his face. "I judged
rightly," said he, with a grimace; "the king wished to sacrifice me
to Maupertius. I think this was a master-stroke. I have truly burned
the original manuscript, but a copy of it was sent to Leyden eight
days since. While the king thinks I am such a good-humored fool as
to yield the contest to the proud beggar Maupertius, my 'Akakia'
will be published in Leyden. Soon it will resound through the world,
and show how genius binds puffed-up folly, which calls itself
geniality, to the pillory."



CHAPTER XIII.

THE LAST STRUGGLE.


It was Christmas eve! The streets were white with snow; crowds of
people were rushing through the castle square, seeking for
Christmas-trees, and little presents for their children. There were,
however, fewer purchasers than usual. The small traders stood idle
at the doors of the booths, and looked discontentedly at the swarms
of laughing men, who passed by them, and rushed onward to the Gens
d'Armen Market.

A rare spectacle, exhibited for the first time during the reign of
Frederick, was to be seen at the market to-day. A funeral pyre was
erected, and the executioner stood near in his red livery. What!--
shall the holy evening be solemnized by an execution? Was it for
this that thousands of curious men were rushing onward to the
scaffold? that groups of elegant ladies and cavaliers were crowded
to the open windows?

Yes, there was to be an execution--a bloodless one, which would
occasion no bodily suffering to the delinquent. The eyes of this
great mass of people were not directed to the scaffold, but to the
window of a large house on Tauben Street.

At this open window stood a pale old man, with hollow cheeks and
bent, infirm form; but you saw by the proud bearing of his head, and
his ironical, contemptuous smile, that his spirit was unconquered.
His whole face glowed with flaming scorn; and his great, fiery eyes
flashed amongst the crowd, greeting here and there an acquaintance.

This man was Voltaire--Voltaire, who had come to witness the
execution of his "Akakia," which had been published in Leyden, and
scattered abroad throughout Berlin. Voltaire had broken his written
and verbal promise, his word of honor; and the king, exasperated to
the utmost by this dishonorable conduct, had determined to punish
him openly. And now, amidst the breathless silence of the crowd, a
functionary of the king read the sentence--that sentence which
condemned the "Akakia," that malicious and slanderous publication
holding up the noble, virtuous, and renowned scholar Maupertius to
the general mockery of Paris.

Voltaire stood calm and smiling at the open window. He saw the
executioner throw great piles of his "Akakia" into the fire. He saw
the mad flames whirling up into the heavens, and his countenance was
clear, and his eyes did not lose their lustre. Higher and higher
flashed the flames! broader and blacker the pillars of smoke! but
Voltaire smiled peacefully. Conversation and laughter were silenced
--the crowd looked on breathlessly.

Suddenly a loud and derisive laugh was heard, and a powerful voice
cried out: "Look at the spirit of Maupertius, which is dissolving
into smoke! Oh, the thick, black smoke! How much wood consumed in
vain! The 'Akakia' is immortal--you burn him here, but he still
lives, and the whole world will know and appreciate him. That which
is born for immortality can never be burned." [Footnote: Thiebault,
p. 265.]

So said Voltaire, as he dashed the window down, and stepped back in
the room.

"Farewell, Herr von Francheville," said he, quietly. "I thank you
for having allowed me to be present at my execution. You see I have
borne it well; all do not die who are burnt. Farewell, I must go to
the castle. I have important business there."

With youthful agility he entered his carriage. The people, who
recognized him, shouted after him joyfully. He passed through the
crowd with an air of triumph, and they greeted him with kindly
interest.

The smile disappeared from his face when he entered his room at the
castle, and the scorn and tumult of his heart were plainly written
on his countenance. He seized his portfolio, and drew from it the
pension patent signed by the king; tore from his neck the blue
ribbon, with the great badge surrounded with brilliants, and cut the
little key from his court dress, which his valet had laid out ready
for his toilet. Of these things he made a little packet, which he
sealed up, and wrote upon it these lines:

     "Je les requs avec tendresse,
      Je vous les rends avec douleur;
      C'est ainsi qu'un amant, dans sou extreme fureur,
      Rend le portrait de sa maitresse."

He called his servant, and commanded him to take this packet to the
king.

Voltaire did not hesitate a moment. He felt not the least regret for
the great pension which he was relinquishing. He felt that there was
no other course open to him; that his honor and his pride demanded
it. At this moment, his expression was noble. He was the proud,
independent, free man. The might of genius reigned supreme, and
subdued the calculating and the pitiful for a brief space. This
exalted moment soon passed away, and the cunning, miserly,
calculating old man again asserted his rights. Voltaire remembered
that he had not only given up orders and titles, but gold, and
measureless anguish and raging pain took possession of him. He
hastened to his writing-desk, and with a trembling hand he wrote a
pleading letter to the king, in which he begged for pardon and
grace--for pity in his unhappy circumstances and his great sorrow.

The king was merciful. He took pity on the old friendship which lay
in ruins at his feet. He felt for it that sort of reverence which a
man entertains for the grave of a lost friend. He returned the
"bagatelles" with a few friendly lines to Voltaire, and invited him
to accompany him to Potsdam. Voltaire accepted the invitation, and
the journals announced that the celebrated French writer had again
received his orders, titles, and pension, and gone to Potsdam with
the king.

But this seeming peace was of short duration. Friendship was dead,
and anger and bitterness had taken the place of consideration and
love. Voltaire felt the impossibility of remaining longer. Impelled
by the cold glance, the ironical and contemptuous laughter of the
king, he begged at last for his dismissal, which the king did not
refuse him.

One day, when Frederick was upon the parade-ground, surrounded by
his generals, he was told that Voltaire asked permission to be
allowed to take leave.

The king turned quietly towards him. "Ah, Monsieur Voltaire, you are
resolved, then, to leave us?"

"Sire, indispensable business and my state of health compel me to do
so," said Voltaire.

The king bowed slightly. "Monsieur, I wish you a happy journey."
[Footnote: Thiebault, p. 271.] Then turning to the old Field-Marshal
Ziethen, he recommenced his conversation with him. Voltaire made a
profound bow, and entered the post-chaise which was waiting for him.

So they parted, and their friendship was in ashes; and no after-
protestations could bring it to life. The great king and the great
poet parted, never to meet again.

THE END





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