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Title: The Youth of the Great Elector - Life Stories for Young People
Author: Schmidt, Ferdinand
Language: English
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         [Illustration: _The Great Elector in his tenth year_]

                    _Life Stories for Young People_

                            THE YOUTH OF THE
                             GREAT ELECTOR

                     _Translated from the German of
                           Ferdinand Schmidt_

                            GEORGE P. UPTON
              _Translator of “Memories,” “Immensee,” etc._

                        WITH THREE ILLUSTRATIONS

                    [Illustration: A · C · M^cCLURG]

                          A. C. McCLURG & CO.

                          A. C. McClurg & Co.
                       Published August 21, 1909


                          Translator’s Preface

The story of Frederick William, “The Great Elector,” as he is known in
history, begins with his birth and closes with his accession to power
upon the death of his father. It is the story of his youth only, but in
the youth we find all the attributes which made him so great as an
Elector and as a man. Its scenes are laid in the period of the terrible
and devastating Thirty Years’ War, which had not yet come to a close
when Frederick William became Elector of Brandenburg. Its characters,
Ferdinand the Second, Frederick the Fifth, Christian of Denmark,
Gustavus Adolphus, Wallenstein, Tilly, Maximilian of Bavaria, the
Swedish Chancellor Oxenstjern, Count von Mansfeld, the Empress
Elizabeth, the Elector of Brandenburg, his high-minded wife, and his
great son, are world-famous. Its progress throws a strong light upon
that memorable war of faiths, which lasted more than a generation, and
which was characterized by bitter enmity and cruel atrocities on both
sides, as has usually been the case in every religious struggle. It is a
terrible picture of those days when Catholics and Protestants were
struggling for the supremacy, but its dark and repellent details are
rendered more endurable by the knowledge in this twentieth century that
such wars and such cruelties in the name of religion are not likely to
occur again. The world has advanced; freedom of thought and of
conscience is everywhere recognized and conceded. Sects may still
disagree in doctrine, but the old deadly hatreds are extinguished. The
central figure in this stirring drama is Frederick William, who, as the
curtain falls, enters upon his career as the Great Elector.

                                                                G. P. U.

Chicago, July 1, 1909.


  Chapter                                                           Page
  I In the Elector’s Castle                                           11
  II An Unquiet Night                                                 20
  III In November of the Same Year                                    29
  IV Two Princesses                                                   31
  V The Battle                                                        38
  VI Baron and Chancellor                                             44
  VII The Departure                                                   51
  VIII The Sixteenth of February                                      55
  IX The Runaway                                                      58
  X The Hunting-Castle                                                63
  XI The Stag Hunt                                                    67
  XII A Retrospect                                                    75
  XIII The Imperial Soldiers                                          84
  XIV The Restitutions Edict                                          87
  XV Colonel von Burgsdorf                                            91
  XVI Gustavus Adolphus                                               98
  XVII In a Garden House at Berlin                                   102
  XVIII At Walgast                                                   108
  XIX In Holland                                                     111
  XX In the Park                                                     116
  XXI Sweden’s Revenge                                               124
  XXII The Prince’s Flight                                           126
  XXIII The Message                                                  131
  XXIV Mother and Son                                                135
  XXV The Great Elector                                              137
    Appendix                                                         144


  The Great Elector in his tenth year                     _Frontispiece_
  In the dark days                                                    78
  Soldiers at the time of the Thirty Years’ War                       84

                     The Youth of the Great Elector

                               Chapter I
                        In the Elector’s Castle

All golden flashes the princely crown, symbol of the highest earthly
power, yet terrible, often crushing, is its burden. This was the
experience of George William, Elector of Brandenburg, who ascended the
throne of his father in 1619. The political sky was thick with gathering
clouds, which now and then threatened to let loose the Thirty Years’
War. Hardly a ray of sunlight shone upon this sovereign during his
twenty-one years’ reign.

It was the year 1619. All were rejoicing in the Elector’s castle at
Cologne, and the Electoress was the most joyous of all. Good news had
come. The Protestant Bohemians had renounced allegiance to Catholic
Ferdinand the Second and chosen the Elector Frederick the Fifth of the
Palatinate as their King. Frederick was the brother of the Electoress.
She already saw the crown gleaming upon Frederick’s head, its rays being
reflected upon hers also. She had received a letter from her brother, in
which he wrote: “Thankfully and with joyful tears the Bohemians have
elected me their King. How can I disappoint them? At first I hesitated.
But my high-minded consort said to me: ‘Will you refuse the outstretched
hand of a King’s daughter?[1] Do you fear to mount a throne voluntarily
offered you? I would rather eat bread at a King’s table than carouse at
an Elector’s table.’ This decided me, and I communicated to the
deputation my decision to accept the crown of Bohemia.”

The reader is already acquainted with the effect of this news upon the
Electoress. Before replying to her brother’s letter, however, she
decided to consult her two chief advisers. She could not speak with the
Elector, as he was absent on a visit to Prussia, whither he had been
called by important affairs of State. These two distinguished statesmen,
Count Adam Schwarzenberg and Chancellor Pruckmann, were summoned at once
to the castle.

Before they arrive, let us glance at the audience chamber where the
interview is to take place. The walls are hung with damask tapestries
and topped with broad, gilded cornices. The doors and windows are of
white and gold, and gilded figures gleam on the ceiling. By the marble
fireplace stand an antique vase of green porphyry and the candelabra,
shaped like antique incense-burners, of gold bronze. The tables are of
gray Silesian marble and rest upon feet of ebony, richly bronzed. The
chairs have luxuriously cushioned seats and elegantly upholstered backs
and their woodwork is elaborately carved.

The Electoress entered this room about four o’clock, accompanied by her
brother-in-law, Margrave Sigismund. She wore a flowered silk dress with
Brussels lace at the neck and upon the sleeves, and a diamond ornament
flashed upon her breast. Margrave Sigismund, a young man of mild and
genial appearance, was Governor of Brandenburg, but only so in name; the
real representative of the Elector was the Minister, Count
Schwarzenberg. The Electoress seated herself and the Margrave stood by
her side, leaning against a marble table. At a signal to the
halberdiers, standing by the door, Chancellor Pruckmann, a small, spare,
elderly man, entered, bowed deferentially and approached the Electoress.
The latter, holding her brother’s letter in her hand, acquainted him
with what had occurred. As she continued speaking his countenance beamed
with satisfaction. At last, he raised his hand, looked up and exclaimed:
“Praise God for the victory our Protestant Church has won.”

“But can it hold what it has secured without a struggle?” said the

“God, who has helped us now, will help us again,” he answered.

“Certainly, if those who are attached to our side do all in their power
also,” replied the Electoress. “But how do matters stand in our country?
You know we can do nothing without its approval. My brother asks in this
letter whether he can surely depend upon us for money or for troops if
necessary. You certainly understand the importance of the question.”

The Chancellor looked thoughtful. “It must be acknowledged,” he said,
“we cannot return an absolutely definite answer. Alas! the unfortunate
divisions in our own church! On the one hand, Lutherans! On the other,
Reformers! But we may yet accomplish in State affairs much that seems
impossible if only we begin aright. Much depends upon him out there
[pointing to the antechamber]. He enjoys the confidence of our gracious
Elector—if he—”

“He is a Catholic,” suddenly interposed the Margrave. “You know that
well enough. He has betrayed the confidence of my brother.”

Pruckmann signified assent.

The Electoress replied: “Dear brother-in-law, perhaps you are going too
far. Schwarzenberg has administered the affairs of the country for years
with great wisdom.”

“Only the more completely to deceive,” said the Margrave.

“Again, you are going too far,” said the Electoress, “but we will hear
what he himself has to say.”

Schwarzenberg entered. He was a man of tall, commanding figure. The
pallor of his sunken cheeks and high forehead spoke of physical
weakness, the fire in his large black eyes of abundant mental strength.
Upon his dark cloak he wore the insignia of the Grand Master of the
Knights of St. John. His sword also indicated that he belonged to the
order. It was long and broad, while that worn by the Chancellor was
short and narrow.

The Electoress communicated to him the contents of her brother’s letter.
He listened to her with a gravity which showed he was deeply interested.
At last he said: “Bohemia is a volcano which has been emitting fire and
flame these two hundred years, thereby causing widespread devastation.
One of its eruptions once swept across the frontier of Brandenburg. The
gallant Bernese quenched it with their blood.”

Thereupon Margrave Sigismund answered: “But who aroused the Bohemians’
wrath at that time? Who took from them their noblest man, the pious
Huss? While he lived peace prevailed in the land. It was his shameful
death and the attacks upon his followers that kindled Bohemian fury.”

Schwarzenberg doubtless thought to himself that his death was the
outcome of his heresy, but he made no allusion to Huss and his times. He
replied: “They are behaving now in Bohemia as they did then. The
twenty-third of May of last year, when at Prague they insolently
rejected the counsels of the Emperor, was a ruinous day for that
country. They have severed not only the ties which bound them to their
lawful Prince, but those which bound them to the Mother Church. How can
such things happen without producing bitter strife?”

“Other consequences than you expect may happen,” replied the Margrave.
“You are an able man, Schwarzenberg; and yet it will be difficult even
for you to prove that the Bohemians are in the wrong. Was not the right
of public service and open confession of faith granted to the
Protestants in 1555? Has that agreement been kept? You well know where
the fire against Protestantism was kindled and where the sign was given
that faith need not be kept with heretics. The madness began in foreign
countries, in Spain, in France, in the Netherlands. In the space of
thirty years over 900,000 Protestant Christians of every condition and
age were persecuted.”

“My dear brother-in-law,” said the Electoress, “you are certainly going
far away from the subject.”

“I think not,” answered the Margrave. “It is the same condition of
things now. Herr Minister, I ask you this. Did not Protestant doctrine
spread all over Bohemia under the mild and benignant rule of Maximilian
the Second?”

“That it spread under the rule of the Emperor? Yes! That Maximilian was
mild and benignant? No! I call him weak and indifferent as to the
Catholic religion, otherwise he would not have left his successor so
difficult a task.”

“Why this discussion?” interrupted the Electoress. “Let us take up the
matter in hand.”

“Gracious sister-in-law, grant me a few minutes and you will understand
how deeply I have this matter at heart,” replied the Margrave. He
resumed: “Herr Minister, I would recall to you the son of Maximilian the
Second, the Emperor Rudolph the Second. In a letter to the Bohemians he
promised them the right of free worship. That promise is well known
under the name of ‘His Majesty’s Letter.’ Can you deny this?”

“No,” replied Schwarzenberg, “but the fact must be taken into account
that this letter was extorted from the Emperor by force.”

“Then, you mean that it has no value?”

“Not any,” replied Schwarzenberg, calmly. Surprise was manifest upon the
countenances of the Electoress, the Margrave, and the Chancellor.

“Truly,” said the Margrave, “that is a convenient arrangement! Promise
anything and whenever the most solemn promises are made then break them.
You mean to say that if the promiser is weak, physically or mentally,
and force is applied, his promise is of no account. This infernal method
was also followed by the Emperor Matthias and the late Emperor
Ferdinand. Whom can the Bohemians trust? Tell me, Herr Minister, is it
not notorious that the Emperor has declared he will get the Bohemians
back into the Catholic faith, if not by kindness, then by force?”

“I have heard so, and I think he is sufficiently strong and determined
to carry out his purpose,” replied Schwarzenberg.

“Let this discussion be ended,” said the Electoress. “Herr Minister,
what would you advise my brother to do if he were standing here before
you and asked, ‘Shall I accept the crown of Bohemia?’”

Schwarzenberg replied: “I would implore him to decline it. A terrible
struggle confronts your princely brother if he places Bohemia’s crown
upon his head. He is a mild, peace-loving man and not capable of
bringing that struggle to a favorable close. Once it breaks out, it will
spread devastation far and wide, the end of which who can foresee?”

The Electoress had heard enough. “I thank you, Schwarzenberg,” she said,
at the same time giving him permission to retire. But when the door
closed, she said: “Now I know where I am. Schwarzenberg has greatly
weakened my confidence.”

The Margrave and the Chancellor plucked up courage to address the
Electoress once more. “Has the Protestant Union then been established
for naught? Shall the princes who established it abandon it?”

“God forbid,” replied the Electoress; “but look you. There stands
opposed to the Protestant Union a union of Catholic princes.
Schwarzenberg spoke of a bitter struggle which must ensue if my brother
accepts the crown of Bohemia. Schwarzenberg’s religious convictions may
be opposed to ours but you will not deny that he has very clear eyes.”

Yes, clear eyes had Schwarzenberg. He saw in the events occurring in
Bohemia the beginning of a mighty struggle. That it would last thirty
years neither he nor any other could know, but he had the presentiment
that he should not live to see its close.

                               Chapter II
                            An Unquiet Night

The sixteenth of February, 1620, was an important day for Prussia, for
between three and four o’clock on the afternoon of that day, a son was
born to the Electoress, Frederick William, the future “Great Elector.”
It is remarkable that the heir who fought so many battles should have
been disturbed even in his cradle by warlike tumult. Upon the evening of
the twentieth of May the nurse and chambermaid were together in the
Prince’s apartment which the Electoress had left to get some rest. The
child was sleeping quietly in his handsomely decorated cradle. The two
watched him a little while with pleasure, then seated themselves at a
table upon which a wax light burned behind a screen, and began to spin.
When they were fairly at work, the nurse said: “Our Princess little
recks of the evil doings which are endangering our peace.”

“The Princess was anxious enough,” replied the chambermaid, “when she
saw the people collecting in crowds in the streets, but the castellan
has reassured her.”

“What were the people excited about?”

“They were alarmed because two thousand Englishmen, sent by King James,
arrived yesterday at Potsdam.”

“Will they enter Berlin?”

“God forbid! They are going in a few days still farther, to Bohemia.
They are auxiliaries sent to the Elector of the Palatinate who has been
crowned at Prague. But our people were apprehensive that they had come
here because of the uprising six years ago. They have a guilty

“Uprising? here in Berlin?”

“Nurse, how little you know about things. I will explain. The blessed
Elector about that time went over from the Lutheran to the Reformed
Church. The people of Cöln[2] and Berlin were greatly incensed. They are
nearly all Lutherans, and there was a great uproar. The governor,
Margrave Johann George, had to clear the streets to silence the tumult,
and was severely injured by a stone thrown at him. The crowd then
attacked and demolished the house of Füssell, the Reformed preacher.”

Extreme surprise was visible upon the nurse’s countenance. “Have such
things happened here?” said she.

“Yes. They have happened here,” replied the maid; “and worse yet, they
happened without investigation or punishment. The Lutherans are in the
ascendant and they are making the lives of Reformers wretched to-day in
the city and country. Perhaps now you understand what I meant when I
said ‘the people have a guilty conscience.’”

“Yes; now I understand. The people are afraid that these two thousand
Englishmen are going to occupy the city.”

“Yes, and would that it were true. It would serve the people right. They
would quickly settle matters. But I know it will not happen. Our Elector
is much too gentle to adopt harsh measures.”

Hardly were these words uttered, when they heard a great noise in the
vicinity of St. George’s, now King street.

“What is that!” exclaimed the frightened nurse, rushing to the door.

The maid stopped her, saying, “You must not go there. Open the window in
the room on the riverside and look out. But no, you had better not. It
will cool off the room and may make the child ill. No; you stay here and
I will look myself.”

Thereupon she went to the room, closing the door behind her, opened the
tall shutters, and looked out. A great crowd of people was crossing the
long bridge, led by several torch-bearers and drummers.

When she returned the nurse asked her what was going on.

“You need have no fear,” she replied, though the expression on her face
showed that she was alarmed herself. “It is just as I told you. It is
only the panic which the English have caused among the people.”

“But if they should really come, and the people should resist them, and
there should be cutting and stabbing and bullets were flying, we might
be hurt ourselves.”

The maid sought to calm the nurse although the increasing din around the
castle and in the neighboring streets made her own alarm more and more
perceptible. To allay their fears, they talked about casual things. One
said to the other: “Our young master in the cradle is three months old
and has not yet been christened. Alas! how times have changed since the
christening of the Margrave Sigismund in the nineties! That was a
festival indeed! I remember it as distinctly as if it were but

“Oh! tell me something about it.”

“Since you desire it, nurse, I will. Now pay attention. There were so
many princes, counts, and nobles assembled that the castle could not
accommodate them all. The people of both cities took part in it. It was
December and the snow-covered houses were decorated with fir and pine
branches, which gave them a welcoming appearance. In front of the castle
were five arches similarly decorated with wreaths and pictures. On one
arch hung a ring and over it a crown. It also was surmounted by a figure
of Fortune, poised upon a sphere, holding a red banner upon which was
inscribed in gold letters the word ‘Victory.’ On the third day there
were fireworks. Have you ever seen them? No? How well I remember them!
But how could you ever know of such things in Ukermark? They were
displayed on the evenings of the festival. About eight o’clock an
attendant entered and said: ‘Just now the Elector called from the
balcony, “Master Hans, when I give the signal, by word or whistle, set
them off!”’ We put kerchiefs on our heads and went to the open windows.
We had not to wait long when a cannon sounded. Then we saw fiery devices
of every kind, serpentine balls, set pieces, bombs, showers of stars,
and many hundred rockets, until at last it seemed as if all the stars in
the sky were dancing around us. When they were all discharged, fifteen
mortars thundered. The ground shook; several hundred panes were broken
in the castle, the cathedral, and other buildings near by. So much snow
fell from the castle roof that the kettledrummers and trumpeters,
stationed on an upper balcony, had to stop playing for a long time. You
would have imagined that great alarm might have ensued, but it all went
off well and not a person was injured. Oh, but it was not much like the
times nowadays. Where can we get the money for such a celebration now?”

The nurse suddenly sprang from her seat. A shot was heard. “Oh dear!”
cried she. “The English are entering the city, and it means fighting.”

The maid assumed an air of confidence but wished in her heart that the
night were well over. The cathedral bell struck one. After a little she
rose from her seat and paced the room to and fro. As she was thus
engaged she noticed a book, bound in red morocco, lying upon a table
near the door. As she picked it up, she saw the nurse looking at it
curiously, and said to her: “Why, nurse, is this your book? Can you

“I wish I could,” answered the nurse. “Surely our gracious Electoress
must have forgotten the book when she came in to see and kiss her little
son before he went to sleep. Yes, now I remember, she had such a book in
her hand.”

“Let us take a look at it,” said the maid, seating herself at a table
and opening the volume. “It was printed last year,” she said. “It reads,
‘at Frankfort-on-the-Oder, by Michael Kochen, 1619.’” After she had
examined the title-page, which was ornamented with red and black
lettering, she lightly turned over some of its leaves. The nurse looked
at her like a hungry person gazing upon another at a bountiful repast.
At last the maid noticed her eager look and said: “Shall I read you some
of it?”

“I should be delighted to have you do so!”

“You must first know that a regular Francophobist wrote this book.”

“Are there such people as Francopho—”

The maid was only restrained from a peal of laughter by fear of waking
the child. “Ah! You are still way back in Ukermark,” she said.
“Francophobists is the name of persons who cannot abide anything that is
French.” She turned the leaves once more and then said: “Listen to what
he has written.” She read a long tirade against the French and their
influence upon German life, habits, literature, music, and attire. “What
does this man know of our attire?” said she.

The nurse meanwhile sat staring at the maid’s head-dress. The latter was
irritated and said: “What are you looking at, you marigold of Ukermark,
with your taffeta head ribbon? You would gladly dress like me if there
were no regular style of dress prescribed for you.”

They would have resumed their casual talk had not the tumult increased
around the castle and in the streets near by. The maid immediately
betook herself to the dark room and looked out of the window. Armed men
were rushing about excitedly. She saw military officers and heard wild
cries and curses, shouts and laughter. Now and then a shot was fired.

The maid returned and said: “The little Prince will be scared to death
by this noise.” She had hardly spoken when firing was resumed near the
castle. The child started up and opened his eyes, but immediately closed
them again. “Ah!” said the nurse in a low tone, “see how he doubles up
his little fist and how impatiently he moves about. Just wait, you
people, wait till he is grown up.”

“Yes,” said a voice, “God grant he may live to grow up a bold, brave

They turned in surprise and saw the Princess in the room.

The tumult lasted all night, sometimes dying away, again breaking out.
About midnight there was an excited gathering in front of the house of
Minister Schwarzenberg. The Count at last met the people and assured
them that their fears about the English were groundless. He said he had
further taken the precaution to send out patrols to confirm the truth of
his statements and they had nowhere encountered the dreaded English. In
the morning good news came from all sides, whereupon the people quietly
returned to their homes.

It was not until the thirtieth of July that the christening of the
Prince took place, for up to that time they had not succeeded in raising
the necessary money. They had also vainly awaited the return of the
Elector. Affairs in Prussia were in such confusion that he could not
think of leaving for a long time. The witnesses of the christening were
the young Prince’s grandmother, Electoress Anna (widow of Elector Johann
Sigismund), Princess Marie Eleonore, subsequently Queen of Sweden,
Katherine, who later married the Transylvanian, Prince Betler Gabor,
both sisters of the Elector George William, and lastly, the Brandenburg
nobility and representatives of cities on both sides of the Oder, who
were invited but could bring no other christening gift than the loyalty
they owed to the future master of their country.

                              Chapter III
                      In November of the Same Year

Six months have passed since that unquiet night. The people of both
cities were greatly excited during that time by some momentous events.
To understand them, we must narrate some occurrences which happened in
the Spring.

About that time a Swedish captain appeared at the Elector’s court—a
handsome man of kingly bearing. He remained in Cöln about fourteen days
and was very often at the castle. It was universally supposed he was
engaged upon a secret mission. This was actually the case, but the
people were mistaken: they thought he was acting for others, while in
reality he was acting for himself. This captain was no other than
Gustavus Adolphus, the chivalrous King of Sweden. Reports of the beauty
and goodness of the Princess Marie Eleonore, sister of the Elector, had
drawn him to the Brandenburg court. He wished to ascertain by his own
observation whether these reports were true. He found all that he
wished—modesty, intelligence, personal charm. He made her acquaintance,
pressed his suit, and she confidingly placed her destiny in his hands.

Not long after this, Oxenstjern, the Swedish Chancellor, escorted the
royal bride to Stockholm, where the marriage was to be celebrated. The
people then discovered for the first time that the Swedish captain, in
whom they had been so deeply interested the past six months, and King
Gustavus Adolphus were one and the same person. One may well imagine
that the event was the subject of eager discourse for a long time, and
that the union between Brandenburg and Sweden was hailed with rejoicing.

The popular interest, however, was still greater in the future of
Bohemia and its chosen ruler. The coronation of Frederick of the
Palatinate was celebrated with brilliant ceremonies, the first act in a
momentous drama. Bohemia was now the country in which the strength of
Catholicism and that of Protestantism were to be measured for the first
time. The Emperor was opposed to the Catholic union. The news reached
Berlin and Cöln that a strong army was approaching the capital of
Bohemia, led by Maximilian of Bavaria, whose prowess as a soldier had
made his name one to be dreaded.

What days, what nights, the Electoress passed, alternating between hope
and anxiety! And more and more her hope grew fainter.

                               Chapter IV
                             Two Princesses

As has already been related, the Electoress widow Anna, mother of the
reigning Elector, was invited to act as godmother at the christening of
the new-born Prince. She belonged to the Lutheran Confession, and her
hatred of the Reformers was so intense that, while she was willing to
enter her name as a witness in the church book she could not bring
herself to attend the ceremonies in the cathedral. The Electoress made
several ineffectual attempts to conciliate her mother-in-law. It may be
well imagined that the incident greatly excited the people. The number
of Reformers in the two cities, as has been said, was insignificant and
nearly every one sided with the widowed Electoress. She was so ardent in
her zeal that she even employed the Lutheran minister, Balthazar
Meissner, to preach both the last Sundays of her stay in the large hall
of the castle. She also invited many prominent citizens of both the
cities to attend the service. As the people were leaving the castle on
the last Sunday they met the Electoress coming out of the cathedral. She
imagined that they did not greet her with their usual deference and even
fancied that many of them showed signs of marked disrespect.

On the following Monday the Electoress summoned the wife of a halberdier
who had attended the castle service on the preceding day. The woman was
much alarmed, fearing that the Electoress was going to rebuke her; but
the latter reassured her. “As to this matter,” she said, “neither my
husband nor I have any desire to prevent you from doing what your
conscience approves, but I claim, and Sigismund also, that we shall have
the same right and that we shall pray to our common Heavenly Father in
the Reformed Church without being condemned for it.” Then she questioned
the woman about Balthazar Meissner’s sermon, what he had said and
whether he had bitterly attacked the Reformers. “Is it true,” she
inquired, “that he assailed my brother and the Bohemians?”

After some hesitation the woman replied: “Yes! He invoked the wrath of
Heaven upon the Bohemians and also—upon their new King. He also implored
divine help for the Catholics in their contest with the detested

“Go on! Tell me all, conceal nothing.”

After some cross-questioning, the Electoress ascertained that Balthazar
Meissner had stigmatized the Reformers as children of the devil and
worse even than the Catholics, some of whom might expect the divine
mercy. Furthermore he had said that whenever a country fell into the
hands of a ruler who was one of these heretical Reformers, the devil
erected an altar upon, which the salvation of his subjects was

After the Electoress had dismissed the woman, she reflected for some
time upon the course she should pursue. At last she decided to
remonstrate with her mother-in-law so that such dangerous proceedings
should not be repeated. She went at once to her apartments, sent in her
name by a maid in waiting, and was admitted. Though both were under the
same roof, the two ladies had not seen one another for several weeks.
The manner of their meeting showed their alienation. The Electoress
bowed low; her face was pale, and its expression that of one who was
very ill. The Princess Anna stood erect and motionless some seconds and
regarded her with piercing glances from her black eyes. Her gray locks
shadowed a flushed face, the features of which revealed a crafty nature.
Politely acknowledging her deference, she motioned the Electoress to be
seated and then asked in a cutting tone: “What is it that has brought
you to your mother-in-law? Surely something very extraordinary must have

The reply came in a clear, firm voice. “Yes, something very
extraordinary has happened. I, the Princess of the country, have been
insulted under my own roof, by a priest—I and my husband and the
government. And who has brought this shame upon us? My own
mother-in-law, the mother of my dear husband! She protected this priest,
she summoned him here, she invited citizens here to listen to insults of
myself and assaults upon my religion, and to expose me to their hatred
and derision. O my God! when ever before has a Princess been so
treated?” She burst into tears.

With the utmost coolness the other replied: “Nathan also went to the
house of the King, and his words were a two-edged sword. He came to save
David from destruction, and, lo, he succeeded; for David repented. The
pious Balthazar came to this house and denounced the apostasy of those
who are floundering about in the morasses of the heretical Reformed
religion. Oh, that his words were a trumpet blast to rouse you from your
sinful slumber and that you, like David, might repent and acknowledge
your error.”

The Electoress in the meantime had regained composure. “I have not come
here,” said she, “to engage in useless dispute with you about the
doctrines of the Lutheran and Reformed faiths, but I may remind you that
if you assail us so shamefully you cannot blame the Catholics for
assailing you. You call us apostates and you condemn the Catholics for
their persecution of you, and yet in your heart you deny us in like
manner the freedom of conscience!”

“Well! when we see hearts in the power of Satan, should we not cry

“How can you be so bitterly unjust?” replied the Electoress. “Should you
not hesitate before you insult a religion in which not only I but my
husband, your son, believe—a religion indeed in which a man believed who
for a long time was the nearest one to you on earth?”

The other sprang from her seat and paced the room to and fro with eyes
blazing with excitement. “My Sigismund!” she exclaimed at last with
clasped hands and upturned eyes. “My Sigismund, that you also should
have apostatized from the true faith! Was it the longing for those
possessions on the frontier of Holland which you hoped to secure by your
renunciation of your religion, that blinded you? Or, had the Evil One—”

“Horrible!” said the Electoress. “You spare neither the dead nor the
living, neither friends nor kinsmen. How dare you assert that your
husband went over to the Reformed Church for the sake of those
possessions? I am as sure that was not the case, as I am that you are
standing here.”

“Sure,” said the Electoress Anna, “sure! tell me what grounds you have
for your certainty.”

“They are simple and, I think, convincing. Every one says that when your
husband made the change, he intended if possible to acquire those
possessions, but was conscious at the same time that he would lose
Lutheran Brandenburg. On the one hand, a little gain; on the other, an
immense loss. Had he been influenced by material considerations, do you
suppose, does any one suppose, that he would not have decided to remain
with the Lutherans and secure a great gain, rather than go over to the
Reformers and incur a great loss? His action is conclusive proof that
his renunciation was a matter of conscience, and conscience alone.”

“You may be right,” exclaimed the Electoress Anna, with a sigh. “My
husband has told me this and also my son, and yet, and yet—” After a
pause she continued: “But grant it were so! Is the power of the Evil One
so great that it can thus deceive the conscience?”

“We think otherwise,” replied the Electoress. “We hope, if we strive to
live rightfully and in accordance with our faith, to enter the Kingdom
of Heaven, but we do not believe that its doors of mercy are closed
against others. We tolerate other beliefs. We do not charge them with
being heterodox.”

The princely widow came close to the Electoress, looked at her fixedly,
and said: “I will tell you just how you stand. You Reformers have a very
small following in the country, therefore you are tolerant. Should your
numbers increase, then—”

“Then, do you mean we will be as intolerant as the Lutherans? Never!”

The conversation had taken a turn which did not please the widowed
Electoress. She could no longer talk reasonably or dispassionately. She
turned suddenly and asked the following questions: “What was your real
purpose in calling upon me? Tell me truly. Had you not rather I would
leave the castle, the city, and the country? Place your hand upon your
heart and tell me no untruth.”

The Electoress replied: “God is my witness that I shall speak the truth.
I take your hand, beloved Princess Mother, and implore you and yours to
live in peace with us under this roof, to refrain from assailing the
faith of others, and to prove the excellence of your belief by your
conduct. Dear mother, let us set the country an example of the peace
which we find in our common love of the Saviour.”

“No! No! the serpent of Paradise is hidden in your words. No! a
long-cherished thought impels me to instant decision. A few days hence I
shall go from here, far from this wretched country to a land where
genuine Lutherans may be found. Say no more. I wish to be alone.”

A silent adieu and the Electoress left the apartment.

                               Chapter V
                               The Battle

Chancellor Pruckmann went to the castle to seek an audience. He entered
in his usual deferential manner but the Electoress had not yet returned
from the apartment of her mother-in-law. As he was traversing the
corridor, he suddenly heard his name called behind him. He turned and
beheld her. A look of distress came into his face and he bowed very low,
perhaps to conceal his countenance from her gaze until he could master
his emotions. His expression did not escape the sharp eyes of the
Electoress, who was already filled with gloomy anticipations. Her
presentiment as to the fate of her brother and Bohemia was confirmed by
his looks, and she said in a tone of alarm: “Pruckmann, you are the
bearer of evil tidings, are you not? Oh, God! What am I to hear next.
Quick! follow me to my apartment.”

When they were together there the Electoress paced up and down the room
with clasped hands, trying to regain her composure. At last she seated
herself and said to Pruckmann, who remained standing by the door like a
statue, and looking down: “Now, Pruckmann, I am strong enough to hear
whatever you have to say. Tell me briefly and quickly all that has

It seemed as if the flowers on the carpet had riveted Pruckmann’s gaze.
He did not look up, but after a little said in a hollow voice: “So be
it. I will tell you briefly. Your brother is no longer King of Bohemia.
He was defeated, and has had to fly.”

Another pause ensued. As Pruckmann heard no sound from the Electoress he
looked up. Her face alarmed him beyond all measure, for in reality she
looked like a dead rather than a live person. She was barely able to
gasp out: “Pruckmann, are you certain of this?”

“Alas! as certain as I know that this hand is mine!”

The Electoress’s head suddenly dropped upon the arm of her chair.
Pruckmann rushed to an adjoining apartment and sent her maids to her. He
remained there but had not waited long when he heard her voice, which
had been silenced by her convulsive weeping. When at last he was
summoned he found her remarkably composed.

“Now, Pruckmann, give me, as far as you can, an exact account of what
has occurred. Have you the news by word of mouth or by letter?”

“I received this letter two hours ago.”

“Leave it with me. I will read it later. Now tell me what you know.”

“Gracious Princess, I should not merit your confidence did I not tell
you the whole truth.”

“Pruckmann, tell me everything, in the fewest words.”

“Your princely brother lost the devotion of the Bohemians in many ways:
he showed himself too fond of splendor; he offended the Bohemian leaders
in the army by disregarding the movements of the German general; and,
worse still, he embittered the Bohemian Lutherans by his unmistakable
expressions of contempt for their faith. I have known these things for
several weeks, and you know that as far as it was my duty, I gave you
intimations of them.”

“Yes; and I have not failed to communicate my opinions about these
things to my brother freely, but as now appears in vain.”

“Your princely brother deemed himself too secure. His advisers must have
failed in their duty. He soon discovered, however, the weakness of his
situation. The Catholic princes rallied promptly at the call of the
Emperor, but none of the princes who had joined the Protestant Union
came at the King’s summons. The Elector of Saxony—he belongs, you know,
to the Lutheran confession—sent word: ‘I would rather unite with the
Turks than with you.’”

The Electoress was growing impatient. Pruckmann—and this was a frequent
failing of his—dwelt upon matters which she knew already as well as he.

“The result of all these acts was the failure of the Bohemian army to
meet the emergency when the decisive hour approached.”

“At last you are coming to the point, Pruckmann. Tell me when and where
the battle occurred.”

“The battle took place fourteen days ago, on the eighth of November, at
White Mountain, near Prague.”

“Did Maximilian of Bavaria lead his army against my brother in the

“He led the army of the Catholics in person. But your brother was not

“Not there! Where was he, then?”

“The news of the defeat reached him at dinner, in Prague. He hurried to
the ramparts and beheld his army in full retreat.”

“And now?”

“Your princely brother asked for an armistice of twenty-four hours. Only
eight was granted. He took advantage of the armistice to fly, his wife
and children and the leaders following him.”

The Electoress breathed heavily. “Is everything, then, lost?” she said,
after a pause. “What does the black raven say about it? [She meant
Schwarzenberg.] Ah! he has a keen scent.”

Pruckmann replied: “I spoke with him just before I came here. God grant
his words do not come true. He says with the crown of Bohemia stands and
falls the Electorate of the Palatinate.”

“Bird of ill omen!” exclaimed the Electoress. “He means that both King
and Elector are lost together. But that is not yet the case. My brother
is Elector of the Palatinate by divine right and justice, and he is
still, in fact, King of Bohemia. The dignitaries of the country placed
the crown upon his head before the whole world. One battle is lost.
Cannot a second be won? What do you say to that?”

“This letter says the flight of your brother was so precipitate that he
forgot to take not only his private papers but his crown with him.
Without doubt they are at this moment in possession of the Emperor.
Losing the crown, the outward symbol of power, I fear he has lost the
confidence of the Bohemians, and especially the confidence of the
Protestant party of Germany.”

“And what do you both think my brother’s next step will be?”

“Gracious Princess, I have no gift of prophecy. Schwarzenberg fears that
your brother and his family will seek refuge in your court.”

“Does Schwarzenberg fear that?”

“Alas! yes. Your brother is an enemy of the Emperor. As his reception
here would be dangerous, Schwarzenberg thinks it must be refused,
however painful it may be.”

“My God!” exclaimed the Electoress in a despairing tone, “has it come to
this, that my brother is to be banned as an outlaw?”

Pruckmann shrugged his shoulders, as he said: “Schwarzenberg thinks—”

The Electoress wrung her hands. Pruckmann was about to go on. “It is
enough,” said the Electoress. “I cannot bear more to-day.” She gave him
a sign to leave.

As he passed through the courtyard he looked up at the windows of the
apartment he had just left and, as he pursued his way, said to himself:
“Perhaps to-day this or that one passing here has also looked up with
envious glances and has thought that the greatest happiness on earth is
found in a princely crown. O foolish ones, who thus think! Truly princes
buy dearly enough the favors which you cannot have, with sorrows you
cannot know.”

                               Chapter VI
                          Baron and Chancellor

Chancellor Pruckmann sat at his richly carved oak desk, finishing a
letter to the Elector, who was still in Prussia, as he had just been
informed by Baron Leuchtmar. The Baron, a large, powerfully built man of
about fifty, had a somewhat serious, even solemn, expression of face.
The important duty of caring for the education of the young Prince
Frederick William had recently been assigned to him. He was to enter
upon that duty when the Prince, now in his fifth year, reached the age
of seven.

Leuchtmar, who had just returned from a journey to Austria and Bohemia,
had much of importance to communicate to his friend the Chancellor, as
they sat over their wine. Pruckmann began the conversation: “Is it true
that a wealthy Bohemian nobleman has offered to recruit an army for the

“Yes, it is true.”

“His name?”


“Ah! that audacious general! I remember to have heard that he did the
Emperor good service in his time against the Venetians, and that he was
rewarded for it with the governorship of Moravia.”

“You are right,” replied Leuchtmar. “And while governor he enriched his
own coffers much faster than he enriched the public treasury. Some years
ago he was forced to resign his position and a sweeping investigation
was ordered, but he succeeded in silencing the principal witnesses
against him by buying them off.”

“Then he is very rich?”

“He is exceedingly rich, as you may know by this fact. You remember the
revenge which the Emperor took, when Frederick was defeated at White
Mountain and the Bohemians were helpless at his feet?”

“Only too well,” replied Pruckmann. “He vindictively waited three months
and then gave the signal. The tiger stretched out its cruel claws and
seized its victims, who fancied themselves secure. He consigned seven
hundred and twenty of the foremost inciters of the uprising to the
scaffold, and stripped them and thousands of the common people of their

“And do you know, Herr Chancellor, who purchased the larger part of the
possessions of these victims? None other than Wallenstein. He bought
sixty large and small estates from the Emperor for only seven million
gulden, and in the following year made other purchases which cost him
three and a half million gulden more.”

The Chancellor regarded this statement with the utmost astonishment.

“Yes,” continued the Baron, “Wallenstein possesses a kingly fortune and
lives like a king. I do not believe any prince in Europe lives more
luxuriously. Many indeed are poor compared to him. I will give you some
idea of his immense wealth. He bought a hundred houses in Prague and had
them demolished to make room for the palace he built. What is an
electoral castle compared with that palace? You ought to see his
stables. The arches are supported by marble columns and the horses stand
in marble stalls.”

“I heard something of this, but set it down as a romantic story.”

Baron Leuchtmar shook his head: “It is the hard truth, and it is all the
harder because without any doubt the inexhaustible wealth of this man
will bring great trouble to us and the Protestants.”

The Chancellor recognized this truth by his anxious expression.
Leuchtmar continued: “Tell me, Herr Chancellor, how many halberdiers you
have in the castle service.”

“Twelve in all, dear Baron.”

“Compare that with the number in Wallenstein’s palace. Fifty halberdiers
keep watch day and night in the anteroom, and twelve guards are in
constant attendance upon him. Four chamberlains also keep watch and
examine all persons who seek an audience with him. When he travels he
requires for himself and attendants sixty wagons, and several more are
necessary to convey the table plate and fixtures. He owns ten state
coaches with glass windows. Fifty grooms follow, each with a good extra

“Wallenstein is an ambitious, violent, dangerous character, created to
be a scourge of mankind. How audaciously he appropriates everything! The
Catholic League, with Maximilian at its head, robbed Bohemia of its
Emperor and forced the Catholic religion upon the Palatinate. This was
agreeable to the Emperor, and at the same time not agreeable accordingly
as it affected him personally. It was agreeable to have the Protestant
cause weakened; but it was not agreeable that he, the Emperor, should
possess no power and be obliged practically to live by the grace of the
Catholic Princes’ Union. The Emperor would gladly have raised an army,
but he had not the money. Wallenstein understood the situation—oh, he
has eyes, that man!—and offered to raise an army for the Emperor at his
own expense. It pleased the Emperor. He knew Wallenstein’s ability as a
leader, and he was also aware of his great wealth. The maximum of the
army was fixed by the Emperor at twenty thousand men. Wallenstein
objected. Fifty thousand men could be supported as easily as twenty
thousand. When the Emperor’s advisers asked him to explain, he replied:
‘Where I go with fifty thousand men I am master.’ They consented.”

“That devil!” exclaimed Pruckmann. “He means that where he goes with his
army he will be master because it will harry that region and consume
everything like a swarm of locusts. This in our dear German Empire! God
have pity upon it! Wallenstein has whims and extravagances of many
sorts. Like the lion, he cannot endure the crowing of a cock. He is very
superstitious also. He dabbles much in astrology. When he is not in the
field, he secludes himself from other men. What do you think of him?”

Leuchtmar replied: “It cannot be denied he is sinister, violent, and
taciturn. A man who hates his kind has always something strange about
him. What they say about the crowing of a cock may be all romance. It is
true, however, that in Prague he lives all the year round separated from
men and mostly keeps himself shut up in the interior of the palace. His
taciturnity and his general aspect give him a demoniac appearance which
spreads terror all about him. When his tall, spare figure, with that
high brow and sinister glance, moves among the ranks of the troops, even
the stoutest spirits are seized with a mysterious awe, and his personal
presence is not a little intensified by his attire. A red feather hangs
from his hat. His collar is ruffled in the Spanish fashion. His breeches
and cloak are scarlet, his riding cloak of elk skin and his girdle red.
When Christian took the leadership of the Protestant cause he found his
victorious enemy in Tilly. Now comes a still worse enemy.”

Leuchtmar asked: “What does Schwarzenberg say?”

“He has advised the Elector to take sides with the Emperor, and my
friends and I are working to prevent it; but Schwarzenberg will be
satisfied if he continues neutral. But I fear, in spite of neutrality,
that our country will suffer from Wallenstein’s army. We have had
already to suffer, first, because of the passage of the two thousand
English five years ago through the land; second, from the armies of
Count Ernst von Mansfeld and Duke Christian, in struggles for the
Protestant cause; and, third, from the warlike Danes, perhaps. I say,
all this seems to me but a foretaste of what is coming.”

Leuchtmar asked: “What does the Electoress think?”

“She is overcome with sorrow.”

An hour later, the Electoress knew of what they had been talking. The
image of Wallenstein accompanied her as she reposed at night. She tossed
about restlessly on her couch and his terrible figure appeared to her in
dreams. It was early morning when she awoke, but she was so exhausted by
her restless night that she did not rise. She went to sleep again, and
again the terrible image appeared to her. A mysterious fire gleamed in
his eyes, the features of his face were rigid. There was not a trace of
human emotion in them. She felt as she gazed at it that she was doomed.
Then he seemed gradually to grow larger. Higher and higher towered his
figure. The sky was shrouded in clouds, lightning flashed, the thunder
rolled, and upon the storm winds fluttered the blood-red robe of the
mighty figure.

The Princess awoke. An involuntary prayer to Heaven rose from her lips.

                              Chapter VII
                             The Departure

In the year 1626 a genealogical work was published in Berlin, containing
a fine copperplate engraving of the Prince Frederick William. He was
then six years of age. The attractive young face, framed in abundant
hair, shows the same expressive features which later characterized the
Great Elector. He wears a jacket of flowery embroidered stuff and white
breeches, besides ruffles and collar.

When the Electoral Prince reached his seventh year (1627) Baron
Leuchtmar was instructed to enter upon his duties as educator. He was
summoned to the castle and proceeded at once to the antechamber leading
to the audience-room. Stepping to the window he saw the Prince crossing
the narrow wooden bridge where afterwards stood the majestic castle
bridge adorned with marble groups. His preceptor, Müller, an elderly but
still active man, who had instructed him in a general way during the
previous two years, walked by his side. Upon being summoned to the
audience-chamber, Leuchtmar found the Electoress seated at a marble
table, upon which were the instructions which she had just read over
again. She beckoned him to her side and said:

“My dear Baron, my husband and I have finally decided upon the castle of
Cüstrin as the Prince’s abode so long as these troublesome times
continue. Many warlike bands have traversed our country of late to our
sorrow, and now we hear that Wallenstein has been summoned and will
sweep over the land with his army. He has made fine promises to spare
Brandenburg, but he means to play the part of the wolf toward our
country, which he regards as the lamb. In these times of tumult, whose
end is not yet visible, my husband and I are deeply concerned about the
education of our oldest son. The confusion and excitement of war would
deprive him of the quiet and peace which are indispensable, if his
education is to be of any benefit. The strong castle of Cüstrin is at
present a secure place. You will accompany him there. During the summer
season you may take him to the hunting-castle of Letzlingen. Consider,
my dear Baron, the sacrifice my husband and I are making for the welfare
of the fatherland,—the separation of our family,—my husband in distant
Prussia, I here, our oldest son in Cüstrin. Tell me, does it not all
show that we are an afflicted family, and that the favors we enjoy are
but of little consequence as compared with the calamities which our
position forces us to endure?”

“Gracious Princess,” said Leuchtmar, “the people fully recognize that,
and also that—”

“My dear Baron,” interrupted the Electoress, “I have had some
unfortunate experiences with the people, but we will not talk about
them. It will greatly please me if you will cherish my last words and
let them sink deep into your heart.” She took the instructions from the
table. “My dear Baron, in these papers you will find the substantial
features of the system you are to follow in the education and upbringing
of my son. But I must add some words from my heart. Above all else,
educate my son to be a pious, Christian man. Then take the utmost care
that the pious soul dwells in a strong body. May our Heavenly Father
grant you clear insight and bless your work! Then my son will prove an
exemplar for our own people in soul and body. Finally, my dear Baron,
see to it that my son is spared as far as possible from the knowledge
that a bloody war is raging around us. May this curse keep far away from
his retreat. Now I ask you before God, will you strive with all your
might and daily implore divine assistance to accomplish what these
instructions set forth and what my heart has told you? If you will,
confirm it, not by an oath, but in knightly fashion, by the clasp of the

This was done, and Leuchtmar, bowing low, said, with great emotion:
“Gracious Princess, I will strive to the utmost of my ability to
accomplish what you desire, with the help of God.”

A few days later, on the fourth of May, the Prince, Leuchtmar, Müller
his preceptor, and a little band of attendants, made ready to depart. No
one saw the tears the mother shed in parting with her beloved son. The
weeping Prince at last left her apartment; Leuchtmar led him to the
coach, drawn by powerful horses; it rolled over the long bridge, through
Saint George’s street, and out through Saint George’s Gate. The Baron
did not intrude upon the Prince’s grief at parting from his mother, but
the change of scene, the bright sky, the green of the trees, and the
songs of the lark and other birds, gradually softened the bitter sorrow
in the child’s heart.

                              Chapter VIII
                       The Sixteenth of February

On the sixteenth of February, 1629, the Prince was nine years old. At an
early hour in the morning, while it was still dark outside, he was
awakened by singing. In an adjoining room, the door of which was open,
Baron Leuchtmar, Preceptor Müller, six pages, and some of the servants
were singing a chorale together. When they had finished, Leuchtmar and
Müller greeted the Prince, wished him God’s blessing, and expressed
hearty personal congratulations in their own names as well as in the
names of his parents. As soon as he was dressed he went to the
apartment. Nine wax candles were burning upon a table covered with
gifts. One of the pages read a poem in his honor, and the servants
congratulated him. After he had shaken hands with them all and thanked
them he went to the table. Among the gifts were two which he cherished
and kept all his life. His mother sent him an armlet with the following
inscription: “I send you this as an assurance of my heartfelt love and
to remind you not to forget my earnest exhortation to love God above all
else, to practise the virtues, and to hate vice. Then God’s help will
strengthen you, and all temporal and eternal blessings will follow you.”
Besides this, there was a large package, covered with a cloth, which at
once arrested his attention. He lifted the cloth and saw a large volume,
bound in leather with silver corner pieces. He opened it. It was a
Bible. He was overcome with delight. At that time there were no
children’s libraries. If there had been, he would have had a large one
and one book more or less would have made little impression upon him. Up
to this time his entire library was comprised in one volume,—the
Catechism. Now, he had another, the Bible, which Leuchtmar and Müller
had given him as the most precious symbol of manhood. His joy was
indescribable. He knew a great number of the Bible stories already, and
it was an added pleasure to find this or that one illustrated. On his
way to church (his birthday fell on a Sunday) and when he left it, he
could think of nothing but his treasure.

Baron Leuchtmar soon observed that the Prince returned again and again
to the pictures illustrating the story of David. Preceptor Müller had
told him already much about it and David, the shepherd, singer, hero,
and king occupied all his attention. Leuchtmar also increased his
interest. He decided to read the entire history of David, from his
anointing to his death, with the Prince. “I must share his delight in
this narrative,” he said to himself, “and thus our reading will prove a
double blessing.” He also decided to look it over himself in advance, so
that when they read together he could better explain it. The more he
read, the more he was delighted, and the clearer understanding he had of
the hero youth and king. For an entire evening he left the oversight of
the Prince to the preceptor and sat until midnight at his table. He read
not only the history of David but the larger part of the Psalms. The
life of the pious singer was reflected in them, and they seemed to him
as a whole like a stately song of David’s. An hour was set apart every
evening for their study of the history. Leuchtmar read, and the Prince
and pages sat at the table. Müller was also present. Seldom have the
Holy Scriptures been perused with such ardent devotion. The elders and
the youths were alike interested. From time to time they stopped reading
and Leuchtmar and Müller would explain the text to their young
listeners, or read passages from the Psalms which made the narrative
still clearer.

                               Chapter IX
                              The Runaway

The Prince and Leuchtmar one day took a long ride to a mill in a wooded
valley about two miles away. When about a a half-mile distant from it
they met a horseman. He suddenly drew up as if undecided whether to keep
on his way or take another road. At last he approached them, and the
Prince and Leuchtmar recognized him as the miller’s son—a strong,
handsome young fellow. He greeted them and was about to ride on.

“Stephen, wait a minute and tell——”

But Stephen put spurs to his horse and dashed on. The Prince looked from
the rider to his governor as if to seek an explanation of his conduct.
Suddenly Stephen turned, rode back, and stopping a few paces away from
them said: “Herr Prince, console my parents, and tell them I will
restore everything that the war takes from them. God keep and bless you
also.” Thereupon he turned once more and soon disappeared in the woods.

Leuchtmar at once understood Stephen’s strange conduct: he was on his
way to Wallenstein’s army. Leuchtmar rode by the side of the Prince with
a serious face, for the latter several times looked at him inquiringly.
It was an embarrassing situation for him. What should he do? Pass over
the whole matter in silence? He considered it from every point of view.
At last, he said: “Stephen has run away from his parents. Sooner or
later he will regret it. He is going to the foreign war, and remember,
Prince, it is a foreign war. We are not at war with any one.”

His words did not wholly allay the Prince’s disquiet, for Stephen had
said he would restore to his parents everything that the war took from
them; and this clearly indicated war in that neighborhood. Leuchtmar was
not unaware of that statement, and it made it all the harder for him to
decide what to do. Should he ride on to the mill? He feared what might
be said then; but they were already so near it that they could hear the
barking of the miller’s dog.

Suddenly he stopped and said: “Prince, I shall be a poor consoler for
Stephen’s parents. I would rather ride over here a few days hence.”

Both turned their horses, but before they had gone far they saw the
miller hurrying along the footpath. He was already close to them. It
would not be polite to run away from the old man, Leuchtmar said to
himself, and stopped. The Prince followed his example. The gray-haired
miller accosted them. “My son, my son,” he moaned, “have you met him on
the road, Herr Prince?”

The Prince replied: “Yes, my good man, we met your Stephen. He was about
to pass us without a word, but at last he called to me and asked me to
console you and tell you he would restore everything that the war might
take from you.”

“Alas!” exclaimed the old man, “it is just as I thought. The wicked boy!
He has joined hands with the devil and left his old parents, who will
soon go to the grave in sorrow.”

“But what put such an idea into his head?” asked Leuchtmar.

“Ah! my good sir,” replied the miller, “one lad can spoil many others.
Fine, strong young fellows have been running away from all the villages
hereabouts. And now, alas, my Stephen! God knows what is the matter with
these young fellows. Wallenstein is their idol, their ideal of all that
is splendid. Many have been running away to him for a long time and some
of them are now officers. Those stories about him pass from mouth to
mouth and attract those who are not bad at heart. Tell them he is a
Catholic and the leader of the Catholic army and they will reply: ‘We
care nothing about our religion, what he wants is men of courage.’ For
several days Stephen has been talking with my daughter Elizabeth. He
said to her: ‘Am I to wait here until Wallenstein comes, and then get
treated like a mangy dog who is clipped and has to lie behind the stove,
while everything is going topsy turvy without?’ And Elizabeth replied:
‘Even if they come into our neighborhood and the villages around us,
they will not find us here in the valley; and even if they should, we
can run into the forest and stay until they are gone.’ Stephen answered:
‘You do not understand what you are talking about, Elizabeth. Once the
Wallensteinians are here in the villages they will quickly find the way
to the mills and farms. I tell you they have keen noses. There are many
of them who have lost all they had in the war, and they are going to
make it up with whatever they can lay their hands on here, and then, I
tell you, when we have lost everything you will be glad to see Stephen
coming home with his pockets full of gold pieces.’ This is the way the
boy talked; and when Elizabeth told me about it, it made me sad and
anxious. ‘Take the boy to Schoneick,’ said my wife to me yesterday, ‘and
keep him there. Perhaps he will gradually forget all about the war.’ He
must have overheard her, for when I was making ready to do so to-day he
took the horse out of the stall, mounted, and rode off. Alas! I shall
never see him again, my Stephen, my handsome boy!”

“Your misfortune touches me deeply, old father,” said the Prince, “but
how could Stephen engage in such a foolish project? We are not at war
with any one. Even if the troops should come here, they would come as
friends and harm no one.”

“Ah, my gracious Prince,” replied the miller, “the good God thus far has
protected this region from the calamity of war, but what about other
parts of the country? You well know that even the hereditary Prince is
not safe in the capital, but has to live in a fortress. If troops were
to come into the country to-day, they would treat burghers and peasants
alike without caring whether they were enemies or friends. That is what
I say, but you, gracious Prince, of course, know more about it than I.”

Instead of replying, the Prince reddened. He was ashamed to expose his
ignorance. The old man read this in his looks, and continued: “Perhaps
your princely parents have kept the knowledge of such things from you.
Yes, yes, it must be so. They may think their dear son will have enough
of suffering without this. Well, well, they are right, the good

The Prince had lost all desire to go to the miller’s house. He gave the
Baron to understand this and both rode off. On the way, Leuchtmar said
to him: “The miller has mentioned things about which we will talk later,
if your parents think it advisable. I will communicate with them at
once, and in the meantime beg you patiently to await their decision.”

                               Chapter X
                           The Hunting-Castle

It was in the morning of a beautiful spring day that the Prince and
Leuchtmar rode together into the forest. They were on their way to the
hunting-castle of Letzlingen, which the Prince’s parents had selected as
his summer residence. The Prince had been there during the previous
summer and had left it in the autumn with the woodbirds of the romantic
spot. He had looked forward longingly to this journey and could hardly
wait for the day of departure. When he left in the autumn, the firs,
enveloped in haze, looked to him like priests in dark robes standing at
graves. Now the trees and shrubs were arrayed in bright new garments. He
was overcome with joy in the fragrant arcades of the forest, shot
through with golden sunbeams. What a soft, delicious life met his gaze
everywhere. Now nimble squirrels frisked up the gray trunks of the oaks
and watched the travellers inquisitively with bushy ears and tails
uplifted. Again, a woodpecker tapped upon a dry limb, and under a tree
stood a deer and two fauns, the slender animals looking fearlessly at
the riders with their dark, beautiful eyes. Wood-doves, rollers, and
nuthatches enlivened the crowns of the high oaks and firs. The cuckoo
called in the distance, and in the clear sky a hawk circled with shrill

The riders were now nearing the castle. The dogs must have known of
their coming, for their loud barking was heard in the distance. “I know
every one of them by their voices,” said the Prince delightedly. “I hear
Nimrod, and Diana, and Ajax. I wonder if they will know me?”

“Dogs are just as grateful to those who treat them well as men are,”
replied Leuchtmar. “They have not forgotten their last summer’s friend.”

At a short distance from the castle stood a charcoal-burner’s house. He
was evidently aware of the Prince’s coming, for the family were at the
door and the little cherry-cheeked daughter handed the Prince a nosegay.

The Prince reined in his horse, bowed, and took the flowers, saying: “I
have something for you also, Dorothy. It is in my chest, which is on the
way; you shall have it in the morning.” Then he asked her parents how
they were getting along, and after they had replied, the two rode on to
the castle. The forester had already opened the gate, which was
decorated with oak leaves, and with his wife and his young hunters in
holiday attire met the Prince. He courteously extended his hand and
inquired about their health. A favorable reply came from all. Meanwhile
there were some others waiting anxiously to welcome him. Nimrod, Diana,
and Ajax joyously barked and leaped about him, and the gold-brown Nimrod
was so overcome by his emotions that he sprang upon the Prince and
licked his face.

The Prince spent nearly the entire day visiting his favorite spots in
the vicinity of the castle. It was not only the beauty of the woods
which endeared the place to him, but the fact that in former years his
parents had been accustomed to spend their summers there.

Much had happened of late in the theatre of war, much also in the
immediate vicinity of the Prince which was kept concealed from him,
though it might not have been had it not been for one predominant
feature of his character,—his submission to the parental will. Several
detachments of Wallenstein’s army had been in the neighborhood of
Cüstrin in 1627. Several of the imperial officers also had visited
Cüstrin, and upon one of these occasions he was presented by Count
Schoffgotsch with the cream-colored pony upon which he rode to the

One day the Prince asked Leuchtmar what the appearance of these Austrian
soldiers meant, and was answered that his parents wished him to refrain
from asking such questions. In good time he would be told. It would be
wrong for him to know now, as it would disturb his studies.

                               Chapter XI
                             The Stag Hunt

The Prince received his instruction in the so-called hunting-room of the
castle. It was a handsome, lofty apartment, decorated with stag antlers,
deer heads, and paintings. Many of the latter represented hunting-scenes
and some were pictures of wild animals. Among them were a herd of stags
in the forest, a deer family, a mountain cock with its young, a wild
boar, a hare in its bed under the firs, a canny fox leaving its hole, a
striped badger, an otter leaping into the water after a fish, a wild cat
making a spring after a flying bird, besides various kinds of small
birds—nuthatches, rollers, wood-doves, ousels, starlings, thrushes,
woodpeckers, and robins. The most of these pictures were of the
Netherlands School and very valuable. “Is there not a picture in this
room painted by a Brandenburger?” the Prince asked of his preceptor. He
answered in the negative. “Have we no famous painters in our country?”
Müller silently shrugged his shoulders.

After this the Prince became deeply interested in the country which had
accomplished such artistic achievements, and Leuchtmar, who had made
many visits to the most famous cities of Holland, told him much about
the life of its people. One day the Prince asked: “How is it that
everything prospers in that country so much better than in ours?”

Much might be said about it, thought Leuchtmar, but he contented himself
with this brief reply: “My Prince, the development of a nation is
accomplished by individuals of gifted minds and souls. Their culture
extends gradually to the whole people. The history of every nation
confirms this. It is essentially the history of individuals. They bear
the torch of knowledge aloft and lead the people out of darkness into
the light. That nation may consider itself happy and fortunate when such
persons exercise authority in the State, for they combine in themselves
all the qualities necessary to the uplifting of the people. My Prince,
some day you will be first in authority among your people. God grant you
may be first also in the spiritual empire of our fatherland!”

The Prince in common with the pages received instruction in Latin also.
One day while they were industriously engaged in translation, there was
a knock at the door, and the forester entered the room. “Pardon me for
interrupting you, gracious sir,” said he, “but as you told me the
Prince’s noble parents wished him to participate in the hunt for the
development of his strength and courage, I have come to tell you I have
wounded a stag worth the hunting.”

The Prince and pages at once gathered about him eagerly inquiring,
“Where? What kind of an animal? A stag or a hind?”

“In the vicinity of the Ullensee,” replied the forester. “He is a
splendid animal—a stag of sixteen antlers.”

Leuchtmar hesitated, for he doubted whether it was right for him to stop
the lesson. Thereupon the forester said: “It will be a long time before
such an opportunity for a stag hunt offers itself again.”

That decided it. “Prepare everything that you need,” said Leuchtmar,
“and we will come immediately.” The green hunting coats and plumed hats
were quickly donned and the deer lances and horns were collected. They
found the forester in the courtyard with a horse for the Prince. Baron
Leuchtmar and three huntsmen also joined them, and they set off at once.
The Prince, Leuchtmar, and the forester were mounted; the others were on
foot. The hounds, which were in leash, could hardly be kept from
breaking loose. In about half an hour they reached the vicinity of the
Ullensee. In the forester’s opinion they would find the stag upon a
hillside thickly covered with bushes. He cautioned all to be quiet, and
designated a spot at the base of the hill where the Prince, Leuchtmar,
and the pages should station themselves. Thereupon he went around the
hill to start the stag from its cover, the hunters following with the

The Prince and Leuchtmar stopped at the foot of an oak and watched the
thicket closely. Suddenly there was a crackling of bushes and at the
same time a stamping, as if a horse were dashing through them. An
instant after a splendid stag rushed out of the thicket and passed
within ten paces of the Prince, with the swiftness of a bird. Silently
and at full speed, hardly seeming to touch the ground, the hounds
followed him,—Nimrod, Ajax, and Diana. Another thicket concealed both
stag and hounds from his view. The hunter’s “Holla-ho-ho!” sounded, the
horn blasts rang through the greenwood, and the chase began, the
forester and hunters having come up with them. The wounded stag bled and
every ten or twelve paces there was a drop of blood upon the moss, or
grass blades, or leaves of plants. The practised huntsmen’s eyes can see
such traces thirty or forty paces off, and such was the case now. The
forester led the hunt. It took them up hill and down dale with many
twistings and turnings. At the top of one of these hills they stopped
and listened. They could not hear any barking—a sign that the stag was
not yet exhausted. And so the chase was resumed. It was not an easy
matter for the horses to keep to the rough course, nor was it easy for
the riders, brushing back branches with one hand and using the horn with
the other, to keep firmly in their saddles. The Prince’s stout, active
horse flew over the course with so little difficulty that the Prince was
generally either a little behind the forester or riding by his side. The
latter, though reluctant to lose track of the stag, kept his eye upon
him from time to time. What jewels, he thought to himself, ever flashed
so brightly as those eyes? Where was there ever a face so fresh, so full
of youthful ardor, or swept by such beautiful flowing hair? Leuchtmar
also closely scanned his pupil, and his heart beat, not with anxiety,
but with joy. The hunters now reached another hill and hesitated an
instant. At that point they overlooked a part of the Ullensee. Suddenly
they heard the barking of the hounds. “They have chased him to water,”
said the forester. On they dashed again. As they emerged from the woods
they saw the stag about two hundred paces away, standing under some
alders in the sedges, evidently bent upon giving battle to the hounds.
The dogs sprang at him but he kept them at bay with his horns. The
Prince was for keeping on, but the forester cried “Halt! he will take to
the water and then we shall have to ride clear round the lake to reach
him again.” The instant the hounds saw the hunters they renewed the
attack. They barked furiously and rushed at the stag. He struck at them
with his horns, but they evaded his thrusts. There was a remarkable echo
at this spot which magnified their barking tenfold. The Prince’s little
horse shared the enthusiasm of its rider, tugged at the reins and
circled about, its white foam spotting the ground. The Prince, growing
impatient, exclaimed: “Let us go on, Herr Forester. What have we brought
our spears for?”

“Just a moment, gracious Prince,” replied the forester, “and we will
decide when to give the horn signal.”

It was given sooner than he wished. The stag was standing knee deep in
the water. The signal increased the excitement of the hounds. Nimrod
rushed directly at the stag, the other two dogs attacking on the left
side, and sprang at his neck. Had the dog been on shore he could have
moved about more effectively, but the water, which reached to his
middle, impeded him. The stag impaled him on his horns and threw him to
the beach, where he lay upon his back howling, his blood crimsoning the
white sand.

Notwithstanding his respect for the Prince, the forester gave vent to an
oath, for he took the wounding of Nimrod sadly to heart; but hardly more
than the Prince himself, with whom the hound was a great favorite. The
latter could be restrained no longer. Putting spurs to his horse he
dashed forward with levelled spear and bending forward loudly shouted
the hunting call. The courageous young pages followed him. Leuchtmar
also spurred up his horse and sounded the call; but as he came up with
the Prince he seized his horse’s bridle and said: “Prince, you must not
do it.”

The stag had been standing motionless, but when Leuchtmar stopped the
Prince, the animal retreated a little distance and then sprang ashore
and began his flight anew. He ran more feebly than before and the
hunters soon overtook him. Their lances whizzed past him amid the blasts
of horns and shouts of the hunters, and the Prince also hurled his
lances, but with no more success than had attended the efforts of his
companions. On they went, while the two hunters picked up the lances.
Suddenly the stag ran against an oak which, although it was as large
round as a man’s body, trembled to its very top. The impact was so
strong that the stag’s neck was broken and it fell to the ground dead.

After they had examined and admired the body, one of the hunters was
ordered to ride back and look after the wounded Nimrod. He soon returned
with the good news that the hound was not dangerously wounded, but he
thought it would be well to let him lie there until evening and bathe
his wound. The forester commissioned one of his helpers to ride to the
hunting-castle, harness up a team, and go to the spot; and the Baron
ordered breakfast and wine to be brought. While they were waiting, the
Prince and pages enjoyed a swim in the lake. After they had been in the
water about half an hour, the wagon came bringing the breakfast in
baskets, and Preceptor Müller, who was warmly welcomed. After a little
the bathers came back with lusty appetites. A snow-white cloth was
spread upon the ground and covered with good things to eat and drink.
The time was spent in pleasant conversation, and it may be imagined the
forester did not lose the opportunity to tell some of his most
interesting hunting stories. At the sound of the horn, the homeward
journey was begun, a wagon, decorated with fir branches and carrying the
stag, bringing up the rear of the procession.

                              Chapter XII
                              A Retrospect

Baron Leuchtmar received a reply to his letter to the Electoress in
which she authorized him to communicate any information to the Prince
about the events connected with the war which he could understand. In
reality she would have preferred to have him remain ignorant about it,
but as that was no longer possible, he might inform him so far as it
seemed necessary.

Leuchtmar began his task at once. He went back to the times of the
Reformation to show the Prince that the war which had cost Germany so
much blood and so many tears was a war of religious faiths. Then he told
him about conditions in Bohemia, the elevation of his uncle Frederick
the Fifth to the throne of that country and his downfall, and finally
the appearance of Wallenstein upon the arena of war. This occupied one
evening. The Prince was deeply interested in what he heard, and would
gladly have learned further details about the careers of this or that
person, but he realized, as Leuchtmar had pointed out, that to
understand the events of the existing war he must first be acquainted
with events leading up to it.

The next evening the Prince, Leuchtmar, the Preceptor, and the pages
assembled in the hunting-room and took their places at a long oval table
lit by silver sconces. All listened as Leuchtmar began his talk:—

“Before I go on with Wallenstein’s operations I must mention two of the
fiercest, stoutest champions of the Protestant cause as well as of your
unfortunate uncle. They are the Count von Mansfeld and Duke Christian of
Brunswick. The first was actively engaged in Frederick’s cause while he
was still King of Bohemia. He was exceedingly able and had many hard
battles with the League, as also did Duke Christian. Both were very
vindictive against the Catholic bishops and abbots, especially the Duke.
He once looted a Catholic monastery of its silver, had it melted down
and coined, and inscribed upon the coins: ‘God’s friend, the priests’
enemy.’ Your uncle, who had found refuge in Holland, was told that if he
would discharge these generals the Emperor would be delighted to restore
the Palatinate to him. Frederick believed what was told him and
dismissed them, only to find himself disappointed. The two went to
Holland to assist that country against Spain. Christian, at the very
outset, was so badly wounded in the arm that it had to be amputated. The
operation was performed by his orders, to an accompaniment of trumpet
fanfares, and when it was over he sent word to the opposing general that
the mad duke had lost one arm but he was keeping the other to inflict
vengeance upon his enemies. This he did not fail in doing. The two
generals were in Holland but a short time. Count von Mansfeld was
defeated on the Elbe, at the bridge of Dessau in 1626 by Wallenstein;
and of his twenty thousand men he could only rally five thousand about
him in Germany. We have suffered much from the outrages of his troops,
for there were many very bad men among them. He marched through Silesia
and Moravia into Transylvania. Wallenstein pursued him, which gave
Christian of Denmark, who had espoused the Protestant cause, an
opportunity to take the field.

“The Count von Mansfeld supposed that he would have no difficulty in
conducting operations against the Emperor in Transylvania. He knew that
Prince Bethlen Gabor, who was ruling at that time, had been engaged in a
fierce contest with the Emperor a short time previously; but he soon
discovered, greatly to his surprise, that peace had been made between
them. He then went to England to raise troops for fresh undertakings,
and died while thus engaged. When he realized that his end was near he
donned his armor and helmet and died erect, supported by two of his
officers. The Duke of Brunswick died in the same year.

“In the meantime, as I have already mentioned, another champion of the
Protestant cause appeared, Christian the Fourth, King of Denmark, and
the Dukes of Brunswick and Mecklenburg joined him. Their union was
already accomplished when Wallenstein appeared upon the scene. Supposing
that they were confronted by the League alone, they now discovered that
they had to meet a second and much stronger foe. While Wallenstein was
pursuing Count von Mansfeld the League’s forces were contending with
those of the King of Denmark. The former were led by Tilly. The King
tried to evade a battle, but he was finally forced into it at the
village of Lutter. Christian fought bravely, but his troops were no
match for those of the League. He lost the battle and had to fly. Tilly
pursued him and captured one strong place after another. Meanwhile
Wallenstein returned from his pursuit of the Count von Mansfeld and
improved the opportunity to make a trip from Frankfurt to Berlin.”

“Was he in Berlin?” asked the Prince, in amazement. “Did he go there as
friend or enemy?”

“Not as a friend and yet not as an avowed enemy.”

                   [Illustration: _In the dark days_]

“But we are Protestants, and he is the leader on the Catholic side,”
said the Prince.

“You are right,” replied Leuchtmar, “and yet we made no hostile movement
against him.”

“Was no assistance tendered by us to the Protestants who rose in arms
against the Catholics?”


“Why not?”

“My Prince,” said Leuchtmar, after a pause, “it is not so easy to answer
that question as you think. Perhaps some time you may be able to do so.
You must trust your father in this matter. In this great war he has thus
far not taken sides with the Protestants. Be assured he has good reasons
for his course. Now listen to me once more. Our first minister, Count
Schwarzenberg, is a Cath—”

“Pardon me, Herr Leuchtmar, for interrupting you,” said the Prince. “We
are Protestants and our first minister is a Catholic?”

“I can give you a reason for that,” replied Leuchtmar. “There is an
unfortunate division among the Protestants. The two factions are called
Lutherans and Reformers. They are very bitter against each other, the
Lutherans especially so. Were not this the case the Catholics would not
have been so successful. I think your father did not care to add oil to
the flames by selecting his first minister from either of those two
factions. Their enmity was so strong that they would rather see a
Catholic at the head of the Privy Council in Berlin than any one from
either faction. It is undoubtedly due to our Catholic minister
Schwarzenberg that Wallenstein was much gentler among us at the
beginning of the campaign than we had any reason to expect he would be.
Schwarzenberg implored him to spare the country, and upon the same
occasion invited him to go to Berlin. He accepted the invitation and
went there with thirty princes, counts, and barons, sixteen pages,
twenty-four halberdiers, twelve lackeys, and a great number of
chamberlains, cooks, and servants,—in all fifteen hundred persons and a
thousand horses. He remained in Berlin only one night and on the next
day went back to his army, which already had been increased to a hundred
thousand men. He advanced with this army, driving the Danes before him.
His monthly stipend at that time, six thousand gulden, had increased by
the end of 1627 to one hundred and eighty thousand, and as it had not
been paid, the Emperor indemnified him with the dukedom of Sagan as a
feudal tenure and also made him a prince of the empire. Thereupon he
aspired to the possession of Mecklenburg. As both the dukes were allies
of the King of Denmark and had therefore incurred the enmity of the
Emperor, he had no difficulty in getting his consent. Ferdinand outlawed
the dukes and granted Wallenstein the possession of Mecklenburg.”

“About what time did this occur?” asked the Prince.

“In the year 1629,” replied Leuchtmar.

“You have forgotten one very important event, Herr Leuchtmar,” remarked
the Preceptor, “the siege of Stralsund, the year before, in 1628.”

“That is true,” said Leuchtmar, “and I thank you, Herr Preceptor, for
reminding me of it. Stralsund is one of the Hanseatic cities and has a
regular military force. As Wallenstein absolutely dominated city and
country, wherever he was, he thought he could do the same in Stralsund.
He sent a force there which he expected would garrison the city. The
Stralsunders, however, closed their gates and would not admit the
imperial troops. Doubtless they were sufficiently familiar with imperial
outrages even against friends. They sent an embassy to Wallenstein to
justify their action. He turned upon them in a rage and declared in
substance that even were Stralsund bound to the heavens by a chain he
would break it and enter the city. The brave Stralsunders in the
meantime made preparations for a stout resistance. They also applied to
the King of Denmark for help, as well as to another sovereign who is a
near relation of yours, my Prince.”

“Ah! you mean Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden.”

“Yes. Both sent help,—Gustavus Adolphus ammunition, the Danish king four
companies of foot soldiers. Wallenstein’s force besieged and assaulted
the city without any effect. Then Wallenstein came in person, demanded
the city’s surrender, and swore that if it refused he would spare
neither old nor young. The magistrates hesitated, but the burghers,
encouraged by the arrival of four hundred Danes and two thousand Swedes,
refused to open the gates to the enemy. It will be to their honor for
all time that they were so courageous and resolute. All Wallenstein’s
exertions were useless; after losing twelve thousand men before the
walls of the city he had to make a dishonorable, shameful retreat.”

With this, the talk for that day closed.

Early the next morning Leuchtmar went out for a walk in the castle
grounds. The air was fresh and fragrant, and the golden morning light
shimmered among the trees. As it was nearly six o’clock, he went in to
wake the Prince. He walked up to his bed and drew back the silken
curtains. The Prince lay before him the picture of health. His cheeks
glowed, and his lips were deep red in color. “Poor little fellow,” he
thought to himself, “thy peace is forever gone. The knowledge of the
world thou hast acquired will wither many an innocent joy in the bud. As
the years increase, thy anxiety and cares will increase. Is not the lot
of a prince harder than that of any one of his subjects?”

The clock struck six and Leuchtmar aroused the Prince. His first words
were: “Herr Leuchtmar, I have been in Stralsund all night, fighting upon
the walls against the Emperor’s troops. Wallenstein came, wearing a
blood-red cloak, and rose to such a towering height that his head
overtopped the walls. Some of our men fled, but the most remained and
shot and thrust at him. At last a cannon ball took off his head and he
fell.” At breakfast, also, the Prince mentioned his dream.

                              Chapter XIII
                         The Imperial Soldiers

Before Leuchtmar resumed his talk on the next evening the Prince asked a
question. He recalled the miller’s son they had met in the woods and
inquired if this was the same Wallenstein his father had meant when he
spoke of his son’s joining his army.

    [Illustration: _Soldiers at the time of the Thirty Years’ War_’]

“Yes, my Prince,” replied Leuchtmar, “and the miller also said, you
remember, that many young fellows in that vicinity were running away to
serve in that army. This reminds me to tell you something about the
soldier’s life at the period of which we have been hearing.” Leuchtmar
picked up a paper from the table, and, glancing at it now and then,
resumed: “I will name to you the Emperor’s generals who were the most
moderate in their treatment of our people. They were Generals Arnim and
Pappenheim. Wallenstein assigned one to Altmark, the other to Ukermark.
Although, as I have just said, they conducted themselves more moderately
than the others in authority, yet they demanded from the people seven
gulden for each musketeer, twelve for each trooper, and fifteen for each
cuirassier in monthly payments. The extortions of Colonel Hebron in the
Winter of 1624-25 were frightful. Brandenburg, Rathenow, Treuenbrietzen,
Belitz, Spandau, Potsdam, Rauen, and vicinity had to pay him 7,700
gulden a month in cash. A year afterwards Montecuculi was even more
cruel in Neumark. He made an inhuman demand of the Landtag then in
session, requiring for his staff and his own command not less than
29,520 gulden monthly, 12,000 for his table, 600 for the table of each
of his under officers, 1,940 for other commands, 4,800 for recruiting
service,—in all, not taking minor expenses into account, 96,860 gulden
for the period of two months. With their utmost exertion the people
could raise only one-third that sum. ‘You dogs,’ exclaimed Montecuculi
to the committee which waited upon him and begged him to spare them,
‘You dogs, why have you not done what I told you?’ They replied they had
given all they had. ‘Good,’ said Montecuculi; ‘now I will show you what
happens to those who do not pay the tax levied upon them.’ The burghers
and peasants were maltreated and the last of their effects were taken
from them by force. This opened the eyes of those who were of the same
faith. What were these soldiers, they said, but robbers? And who was
their leader but the leader of a band of robbers?”

Leuchtmar was greatly excited as he spoke, as well as the others. “Yes,”
exclaimed the Preceptor, “they will be detested as robbers to the latest

Leuchtmar resumed: “And while Montecuculi and his officers were
carousing, the people whom they had robbed went begging from house to
house and from place to place. There was dreadful consternation in all
the villages. The fiends themselves could not have invented more
ingenious tortures to force the villagers to disclose where they had
hidden their last pfenning. In some places people were killed after they
had given up all they had, then their houses were fired, and thus whole
districts were desolated.”

The Prince said nothing, but tears streamed down his red cheeks.

“This is enough for to-day,” said the Preceptor; “I will defer what I
have to say until to-morrow.” Leuchtmar agreed to this, and then related
to the Prince the tale of Perseus by Ovid, his favorite story-teller. It
made little impression upon him, however, so deeply had he been affected
by the evening’s talk.

                              Chapter XIV
                         The Restitutions Edict

“My Prince,” the Preceptor began, “there was a brief time of peace in
Germany. The Count von Mansfeld and Duke Christian of Brunswick were
dead; your uncle, Prince of the Palatinate, and both the Dukes of
Mecklenburg were driven out of the country, and the Danish King had been
compelled to make peace. It was confidently expected that the Army of
the League, led by Tilly, would be withdrawn to Bavaria and that of
Wallenstein into the imperial dominions, and then there would be peace
everywhere in Germany, which was bleeding from a thousand wounds and
needed peace for its own recuperation. But the Emperor Ferdinand
prevented it. The Jesuits told him, ‘Now or never is the time to crush
out the Reformation. Use it.’

“Ferdinand was only too willing to obey his spiritual masters. He signed
a document called ‘The Restitutions Edict.’ I will give you only its
principal provisions. All the sees and ecclesiastical property
appropriated since the treaty of Passau (1525), shall be restored to the
Catholics. Every Catholic prince shall have the right to demand of his
subjects that they embrace his faith, and those who refuse or hesitate
shall be outlawed. As soon as the edict was promulgated the Jesuits and
Capuchins appeared in swarms to regain possession of the promised
property, and the Emperor’s soldiers accompanied them on pillaging
expeditions. Augsburg gave up six monasteries and was forced to
recognize the bishop. It was the same in Wurzburg. The excitement in the
Protestant parts of middle and south Germany was almost indescribable.
Lichtenstein’s dragoons looted Silesia. Brandenburg also yielded its
right to an archbishopric and gave up its four sees. Matters with us,
however, did not reach so serious a pass, for two good reasons.
Ferdinand wished to establish his son firmly in the succession and
needed the votes of the Electors, as well as that of your gracious
father. For this reason he delayed the enforcement of the edict. But
there was a still stronger reason. A hero, the ‘Star of the North,’ was
giving him great anxiety. Whom did that name mean? Whom else than the
knightly King, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden? In the war with Poland he
had shown all the qualities that go to make a hero. The six years’
armistice with that country was accomplished, and it was now expected he
would have something to say about affairs in Germany.”

There was some desultory talk about Gustavus Adolphus and his appearance
in Germany, after which Leuchtmar said: “The two Catholic generals,
Wallenstein and Tilly, now had to meet a different enemy from Christian
of Denmark. He had won his spurs when seventeen years of age, in an
expedition against that King. It is now time, however, to bring our talk
to a close, and I will mention only one incident in his career. In the
Polish war it happened upon one occasion that his courage outran his
prudence, and he suddenly found himself surrounded by his enemies. Death
or capture seemed the only alternative, and he decided to die fighting.
Right and left his foes fell before his stout blows. At the critical
moment a Swedish cavalryman supported by his comrades rescued the King
at the risk of their own lives. Not long afterwards the King found his
rescuer a captive. He dashed into the crowd and freed him in turn.
‘Brother comrade,’ he called out, ‘now we are even with each other.’ My
Prince, how do you like your cousin?”

The Prince made no reply in words but his eyes spoke what he thought.
The old Preceptor’s eyes flashed also when he arose, Bible in hand, and
said: “Yes, yes, he is coming! the ‘Hero of the North’—the ‘Lion of the
Northland,’ as he is variously called. He will be our David, and the
Lord will give him strength to vanquish his enemies. Now let us
reverently read the Twenty-seventh Psalm, which begins with these words:
‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is
the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’”

                               Chapter XV
                         Colonel von Burgsdorf

Weeks have passed since the events just described. Knowledge has opened
a new world for the Prince. Many questions have arisen in his mind. Some
of them were settled, others troubled him. It was growing unsafe in the
vicinity of Letzlingen. Several pillaging bands had appeared and murders
had been committed. For this reason Leuchtmar wrote to the Elector,
asking whether it would not be advisable to return to Cüstrin rather
than remain at the hunting-castle until Fall, as originally intended.

It was midnight before his letter was finished, for he had much to say
about the Prince’s intellectual and physical progress, and then he
retired. The wind roared in the chimney. The vines clinging to the iron
shutters of the windows shook against the panes. Before he could get to
sleep he heard a shot. He closed his eyes. Then came a second shot.
Naturally he thought there was a party of marauders near by, and yet
there might be some other cause for the firing. He quietly arose, went
into the front room, closed the door behind him and stepped to the
window. He opened it and listened. He heard voices near the
charcoal-burner’s hut. The hounds were already barking furiously. A
number of persons seemed to be approaching the castle. The forester was
on the alert. There was a soft knock at the door; Leuchtmar opened it.
The Preceptor stood there with a light in his hand and anxiously asked
him what he thought about the noise. Two servants who slept in the entry
had started up, and the forester soon appeared at the door. “It is a
plundering gang,” said he, “but they will find their match.”

“Silence, silence!” cautioned Leuchtmar. “Let us first consider what it
is best to do.” He went again to the window, but only heard the voices
of those approaching; what they said was inaudible by reason of the
barking of the dogs. The forester in the meantime went into the castle
yard, hunting-knife in one hand and pistol in the other, and asked who
they were, after a hunter had quieted the dogs with a whip.

“Colonel von Burgsdorf and two attendants, who have lost their way,” was
the reply.

The forester hesitated about opening the gate, but Leuchtmar, who
recognized Von Burgsdorf’s voice, assured him that all was right and
gave his friend a hearty welcome. He had lost his way in the forest and
had purposely raised an alarm. Fortunately he found himself near the
castle. The barking of the dogs first gave him the right direction, and
then the charcoal-burner, whom he aroused, directed him to the castle.

The three men soon were sitting together, the Colonel, Leuchtmar, and
Müller, in the Preceptor’s apartment. Burgsdorf was a somewhat corpulent
man with a genial face, notwithstanding his fierce mustaches. In a
jovial way he declared that he had some highly important news, but he
would not give them a morsel of it until he had appeased his hunger and
quenched his thirst. Leuchtmar had already made his arrangements and a
cold supper was brought in,—half a mountain-cock, and a wild boar’s head
with a lemon in its mouth, and good Rhine wine was not lacking. As he
ate and drank heartily, he made fun of his table companions, who were
sitting by him hungering for the news. At last he said: “I will begin my
information thus: If there should be one explosion right at your doors
would you not be frightened? and then, if a second should occur, would
you not immediately make preparations to leave? What do you think about

“Great heaven! you have terrified me already,” said the Preceptor.

Leuchtmar spoke: “In fact, great things must have happened, when you
introduce them in this way.”

“They have happened,” replied Burgsdorf. “Now listen: First
explosion—Wallenstein has been dismissed. Second explosion—Gustavus
Adolphus has landed in Pomerania. Ah! I see that the news excites you
even more than if two powder-houses had exploded at your very door.”

“Herr Colonel, you are a reliable man, otherwise I should think—”

“Two such pieces of news at once! This is too much; one is all we can

Thus spoke Leuchtmar and Müller. The latter added: “And what about

“He is still at large,” replied Burgsdorf; “my information concerns
Wallenstein only. And do you know who brought about his retirement? The
Catholic princes, his companions in the League. The rascal’s colossal
audacity was too much for them. They could not endure that he should
dispossess the Dukes of Mecklenburg (though they cared nothing for them
personally, as they are Protestants) and strut about as an imperial

“Aha! So he has got himself into trouble!”

“Surely! Ferdinand went with high hopes to the assembly of the Electors
at Regensburg. He intended to crush out the rights of the Protestants
completely, besides arranging for the choice of his son as his
successor. It turned out differently from what he expected. There was a
storm of complaints on all sides, and in the midst of the excitement
Maximilian of Bavaria appeared upon the scene. He satirically charged
that Wallenstein was only the leader of the imperial halberdiers whom he
had collected in Germany at an exorbitant price. Was it not most
atrocious, he said, that the Electors, the pillars of the empire, should
be made subordinate to the imperial army commanders, especially in
Brandenburg, where this had been the case for years?”

“This much I know,” said the Preceptor, “his expenses are not to be
reckoned by thousands or hundreds of thousands, but by millions.”

“Twenty million gulden,” said Burgsdorf, “and perhaps more. Everything
combined to force Ferdinand to displace Wallenstein. Many teeth
chattered at the thought, ‘Will the mighty Wallenstein give up his sword
without resistance?’ He has done it. They say that the stars told him he
must obey the Emperor’s behest.”

Leuchtmar interrupted: “May he not contemplate taking it up again? Then
he will make more extortionate demands than the former ones.”

“Very possible,” replied Burgsdorf. “He has a penetrating foresight.”

The Preceptor now asked: “Was the arrival of Gustavus Adolphus known at
that time to Regensburg?”

“No,” replied Burgsdorf; “otherwise the Emperor would have had most
substantial reasons for deferring the dismissal of his favorite, who has
now retired to his kennel in Prague. But who can tell what is going on
now in his brains? What may they be hatching—cruel scenes of blood and
revenge? But let us drop this fiend and speak of that brilliant hero,
Gustavus Adolphus! It seems to me that the lightning of his sword is
already flashing all over Germany. He will measure himself with Tilly,
who is now in supreme command of the Catholic army.”

“Truly, this news,” said Leuchtmar, “is soul-inspiring. I feel already
as if a new order of things had come. But how are affairs at the court?
Above all, what does Schwarzenberg say?”

Burgsdorf made a bitter grimace. “He has been trying in every way to
induce the Elector to join the Emperor, and failing in that, he
continually urges him to remain neutral and not to recognize Gustavus
Adolphus. Now, as you know, there is a party at the Elector’s court
which for a long time has practically been on the side of Sweden. That I
belong to it you will not doubt. The Electoress is decidedly on our
side. The Elector remains quiet, and no one knows what is passing in his
mind. One remark of Gustavus Adolphus concerning Schwarzenberg is well
known. He called him a traitor, and added that he richly deserved to
have his neck broken. To prevent a meeting of the two, the Elector has
sent Schwarzenberg on business to Treves. I wish that he might never
come back.”

They spoke of many other distinguished persons and important events. At
last Burgsdorf told them that he was commissioned to arrange for the
return of the Prince to Cüstrin, as it was safer there than at the
hunting-castle. For this reason no letter had been sent, as he had
undertaken to convey the message personally.

It was between three and four o’clock in the morning when they sought
their beds.

                              Chapter XVI
                           Gustavus Adolphus

When Gustavus Adolphus took his solemn farewell of the Swedish council
he confided himself to the protection of the Almighty. His last words,
“I bid you all a heartfelt farewell, perhaps forever; perhaps we see
each other for the last time,” brought tears to the eyes of all present.
After a moment’s silence the King closed with a fervent prayer.

The King embarked at once. After a long and stormy passage he landed,
July 4, 1630, just a hundred years after the reading of the Augsburg
Confession, upon the little island of Ruden. As soon as he had landed he
fell upon his knees in earnest prayer. To his followers, who were moved
to tears by his fervor, he said: “The more prayer, the surer victory;
for he who prays often has already half striven and gained the victory.”
Thereupon, taking spade in hand, and while the disembarkation was going
on, he helped half of the landed troops in throwing up defences, while
the rest stood guard under arms. Notwithstanding the meagreness of his
supplies, he maintained strict discipline, and his soldiers were
forbidden under penalty of death to break into houses or to annoy or rob
any one. His little army of fifteen thousand men presented a strong
contrast with the robber bands of that time, who fought only where there
was a chance of booty and dissoluteness. At the outset the Swedes were
derided and called “starvelings” and “bigots,” but they were full soon
recognized as warriors to be feared. Even at the imperial court they
were looked upon with contempt when the landing was announced, but the
court soon learned its mistake.

Gustavus Adolphus suddenly appeared before Stettin. Pomerania, like
Brandenburg, had been devastated by the Imperialists. Bogislav
Fourteenth, Duke of Pomerania, yielded to the inevitable and made a
treaty with Gustavus Adolphus, whose army at the close of the year 1630
had been increased to thirty thousand men by accessions from Sweden and
by deserters from the enemy. At the beginning of the year 1631 a treaty
was made between Sweden and France, for the increasing power of the
Emperor had long displeased France. In Germany about this time the Duke
of Saxe-Weimar, the Landgrave Ludwig Wilhelm of Hesse-Cassel, and the
city of Magdeburg declared for Gustavus Adolphus. The Imperialists
retreated before him. He attacked Frankfort and took the city by storm.
Not a single combatant was spared, because Tilly, at the capture of
Neubrandenburg, had killed two thousand Swedes in violation of the rules
of warfare. Gustavus Adolphus next appeared before Berlin and ordered
the Elector to declare whether he would close a treaty with him, like
the princes named above, or be his enemy. The Swedish party in Berlin,
to which the Electoress and her mother belonged, besides most of the
councillors (among them Pruckmann and Von Burgsdorf, whose acquaintance
we have made at Letzlingen) exerted themselves to the utmost to induce
the Elector to make the treaty; but it came to nought. Gustavus Adolphus
meanwhile received word from Magdeburg that it was besieged by Tilly,
and that it depended upon him to relieve the city. But this master of
war knew that in spite of all calculations and the utmost courage a
retreat might be necessary if he did not occupy strong positions, so as
not to be cut off from his base of operations. Gustavus Adolphus desired
the concession of the fortresses of Spandau and Cüstrin. The Elector
consented, but upon condition that the fortresses should be given back
immediately after the raising of the siege.

Gustavus Adolphus now advanced toward the Elbe, sent ambassadors to the
Elector of Saxony, and asked of him the surrender of Wittenberg that he
might have free passage of the Elbe. The Elector hesitated while the
danger to Magdeburg steadily increased. Suddenly came the dreadful news
that Magdeburg had fallen. Of its thirty-five thousand citizens, thirty
thousand were put to death by Tilly’s hordes, and after a few days in
the place of a flourishing city only a heap of ruins was left, from
which the smoke of the fires which had been kindled rose to heaven.

The news of the fall of Magdeburg deeply pained the King, but his
courage did not waver in the least.

                              Chapter XVII
                      In a Garden House at Berlin

Gustavus Adolphus shortly appeared again with his army before Berlin and
trained his cannon upon it, whereupon its citizens became
panic-stricken. The King well knew that there was a strong party opposed
to him, and he decided to see what effect a menacing attitude would have
upon them. The Electoress and her mother, the widowed Princess of the
Palatinate, betook themselves to the King’s camp and arranged for an
interview between the King and the Elector. At the place of their
meeting, near the Stralauer Gate, a Berlin alderman owned a fruit
garden, in which he had erected a handsome summer house. At the
appointed hour the Elector appeared in his coach, accompanied by
Pruckmann and Burgsdorf. His face showed that the sufferings of his
people had made a deep impression upon him. He dismounted and went to
the summer house, where he was notified that the King was near by.
Standing at the door he saw his royal brother-in-law upon his steed,
accompanied by a brilliant array of officers, approaching the summer
house. The Elector advanced to meet him, Pruckmann and Burgsdorf
following. The princes greeted each other by word, hand shake, and kiss,
but the greeting was not characterized by warmth of feeling on either
side. How could it have been otherwise?

“Dear brother-in-law,” began the King in a loud voice, “I come in the
name of our holy religion, to which we belong, to invite you to join
with me against our common hereditary enemy. Once there was a union of
German princes. Where is it now? Three times I have offered you my hand.
Wavering courage, discord, fear of the world’s opinions have prevented
the making of a common agreement against the Emperor and the Catholic
League. Now I have come here at my own risk, and trusting in God have
raised my banners for the protection of the oppressed followers of our

The Elector replied: “My dear brother-in-law, how well I know that our
beloved Church is sorely beset! Twelve long years I have borne this
sorrow which has well-nigh overcome my soul, and the burden only grows
heavier. This war is wasting Germany like a dreadful disease. But you
know as well as I that religion is not the only exciting cause of it.”

“We must sever conflicting interests as once the Gordian knot was cut.
There is no other way, and we must strike the blow now while our sinews
are still strong. If we hesitate longer, all Protestant countries will
share the fate of Bohemia and the Palatinate.”

“Is that the only possible way? The Emperor has yielded somewhat.
Wallenstein has been dismissed.”

“Yes,” said the King, “one person may fall, but does the spirit which
calls men fall with him? The smoking ruins of Magdeburg answer the
question. In the place of Wallenstein, Tilly was there. And may not
Wallenstein be summoned again? May he not any day emerge from his
hiding-place? Where he will be needed is as clear as the day. Stralsund
is the key of the Baltic. That is why so much blood was shed to win it.
Ferdinand’s plans are clear. The promulgation of the Restitutions Edict
for the north of Germany has been delayed, but when the delay is ended,
then it will be time for the northern empire to draw the sword. Has not
Wallenstein already shown his enmity to Sweden? For years he sent troops
to my enemies, the Poles, and when I called him to account for it he
gave me the insulting answer that he was not in want of those he spared.
May they not put forth fresh and redoubled exertions to secure
Stralsund? I know well enough there are persons who will say now and in
the future, ‘What business has Sweden to meddle with the war in
Germany?’ Thus fools and ill-wishers will talk. There is a war against
the Protestant Church, and if it be destroyed in Germany it will be
destroyed in Sweden. Shall I suffer the last hope of German Protestants
to disappear before I move? No. I clearly see what would happen if I, as
a Protestant prince, should act as you have done,—tremble and hesitate;
now assume an earnest manner as if I were about to draw the sword, and
then, submissively smiling, acknowledge my vassalage. Tell me, my
brother-in-law, what have your vacillating politics toward Austria
during the last twelve years done for you? Could the hardest war have
caused the loss of more men and money than has already occurred?”

“I fear, yes. An openly declared war against the Emperor might cost me
as much as it has cost the Duke of Mecklenburg against whom the ban has
been pronounced.”

“Yes, an unjust, unrighteous act. But the ban is now an empty shell, for
I have restored this right to the Duke.”

“That is very good,” replied the Elector. “But can you guarantee that
that ends the matter? You are a brave warrior. You have proved it in
Poland and in many places in Germany. And yet the history of all times
and people shows that the personal courage and ability of a leader do
not always decide a contest. There are many things which upset all human
calculations. Shall I now place my own and my country’s welfare upon the
hazard of a die held in the hand of a man very dear to me, and yet

The King’s face reddened as he said: “Is that your last word,

“By no means, my brother. Do not be angry with me,” replied the Elector.
Seizing the King’s hand, he continued: “Would you look into the very
depths of my soul? Come with me.”

Both princes went into the garden house, where they remained for an
hour. When they came out they came hand in hand. When they first met
they coolly shook hands. At parting they embraced each other
affectionately. The King rode back to camp and the Elector to the city.

What did one of them say to the other at this meeting?

“I cannot blame my brother-in-law for hesitating hitherto to grant my
wishes,” said Gustavus Adolphus. “They are dangerous things which I

And the Elector said at the castle: “Who can withstand that magnificent
man? We have shown each other our inmost emotions. He is actuated by the
feelings of injured honor, the safety of his empire, and above all else
by his devotion to our faith. He is travelling a dangerous road. May God
be his helper.”

Upon the afternoon of the same day Gustavus Adolphus entered Berlin with
his army. In the evening a treaty was made between the Electorate of
Brandenburg and Sweden. Spandau was given over anew to the Swedes, the
opening of Cüstrin was promised in case of retreat, and thirty thousand
thalers monthly was guaranteed for the support of the Swedish army.

                             Chapter XVIII
                               At Wolgast

Terrible news spread over Germany in November, 1632. Gustavus Adolphus,
the hero, but for whom Germany would have been a second Spain, was
killed at the battle of Lützen on the sixth of that month. The battle
was won, but he paid for the victory with his life. They found the
hero’s body after the battle, plundered and trodden under foot, covered
with blood and wounds, and lying face downward. It was taken in an
ammunition wagon to the village of Menchen. From there it was carried in
a simple casket to Weissenfels, where it was embalmed and thence was
conveyed in solemn procession through Wittenberg to Wolgast. From there
in the Spring of 1633 the Prince and his noble kinsmen accompanied the
coffin to the vessel which was to bear it home.

The Prince was the first to meet the royal widow. When she saw him, she
wrung her hands, went up to him weeping and embraced him. Gradually she
regained composure and began to speak of her husband. “You too, my
Frederick,” she said, “were included in his plans. You are to be the
inheritor of his power and the champion of Protestantism. He has also
consigned to you a precious treasure, our little daughter Christine,
heiress to the Swedish crown. He has confided her to your love and care.
How often, especially since his death, have I thought of what he said at
that time! Alas! he had then a presentiment that he would never return!
I can never forget his words. ‘Do not imagine,’ he said to the Diet,
‘that I enter upon this war impelled by common ambition. I venture all
to release the Church from the domination of the Pope, and because I
expect to accomplish it with divine assistance. I have many times fought
for the welfare of the kingdom, and God has always saved me from death.
But it cannot always be so, and at last I must give up my life.
Therefore I commend you all to God, the Almighty, and hope that after
this sorrowful life of trouble we may all meet again in the future in

This and much more concerning her husband the Queen related to the
Prince. One of the captains who had accompanied her to Wolgast, a
German, had been in the battle of Lützen. The Crown-prince requested his
royal aunt to summon the man. “As you wish to learn of the battle from
one who participated in it you shall meet the man—but not here, not

That evening the Crown-prince’s parents arrived, also the Dukes of
Mecklenburg, who owed the restoration of their dukedoms to the King. The
meeting between the parents and the Prince was a most affectionate one.
On the following day the escort for the King’s body, which rested in a
silver casket, accompanied it on board the ship. Cavalry and artillery
bearing standards and banners captured at Lützen marched in advance. The
banners of Sweden were draped. Then came the hearse, drawn by eight
horses with black velvet trappings. The Elector George William as the
nearest mourner, followed on foot, accompanied by the two Dukes of
Mecklenburg. The Crown-prince followed as second mourner, accompanied by
the Pomeranian embassy. A long train of mourners succeeded them and
closed the procession, all heavily burdened with anxiety as they
reflected upon the future. Solemnly it moved to the harbor. The precious
remains of the King were placed on board, and amid the booming of cannon
the vessel weighed anchor.

                              Chapter XIX
                               In Holland

The progress of our narrative brings us to the neighborhood of Arnheim
in Holland. On a canal, a few miles from that city, we meet a boat being
towed along. It resembles a barge, is about sixteen to twenty feet in
length and ten feet in width, and is divided into two sections. The
forward section is intended for freight and second-class passengers; and
the rear one, a handsomely painted cabin, for first-class. It contains a
table and cushioned seats under the windows. The boat is drawn by a
number of horses attached to a long line fastened to the top of the
mast. A boy rides one of the horses at an easy trot along the towpath.

In the rear section we see a lad of strong figure, fresh face, and
beaming eyes. He is sitting near the sternpost the better to see the
landscape, and perhaps also to talk with the helmsman. His dress shows
him of high rank. There are two persons in the cabin. One of them, a
large man of noble appearance, sits near the door and often watches the
lad, as he converses with the little old man sitting near him. These two
persons are the Electoral Prince of Brandenburg, Frederick William, and
Baron Leuchtmar.

Before the narrative proceeds further we must once more look back a
little. Five years have elapsed since the funeral ceremony at Wolgast.
From that place his parents took the Prince to Stettin, where they left
him with the old Duke Bogislav the Fourteenth. He remained two years
among the brave, true-hearted Pomeranians, studying the people, their
form of government, the agricultural and maritime affairs. During this
time he made great progress in the art of fencing and in many
departments of scientific education. In his fifteenth year he spoke and
wrote Latin, French, and Polish besides his mother tongue, and at last
the Elector decided to send him to the world-famous University of Leyden
in Holland. Schwarzenberg made objections. There was not sufficient
money in the Elector’s coffers to pay the expenses of such a journey.
All the more determined was the so-called Swedish party that he should
go; and at last the Electoress overcame Schwarzenberg’s objections by
providing thirty thousand thalers from her own savings. It did not seem
any burden to the mother so long as it secured the safety and the
highest possible education of her son.

For three years the Prince has been in Holland. He has temporarily left
Leyden, where a pestilence is raging. For several days he has been
journeying about, for he is anxious not alone to acquire an education,
but also to study the people with whom he is living.

The boat stops at a village and the passengers go ashore. The village is
a model of Dutch cleanliness. The neatly built houses, mostly one story
in height, are handsomely painted, and the paint is always kept fresh.
The mirror-like windows are closely hung with snow-white curtains. There
is a little garden in front of every house. The pavements consist of
small red and blue tiles so laid that they resemble the pattern of a
Turkish carpet. No filth is permitted to remain upon the streets. They
are thoroughly washed and sprinkled with white sand and sometimes with
flowers. No cow or horse is allowed to stray about. They are all kept in
stalls in the rear of the houses. Not only the wooden implements in the
houses, but the gates, the trellises, and posts in the fields against
which the cattle rub themselves are painted, and some of the latter have
carved work at the top. Every house has two doors, one at the rear for
ordinary outgoing and incoming, the other being used as the principal
entrance, and opened only upon the occasion of christenings, marriages,
and funerals. This door, the pride of the owner, is covered with carving
and here and there gilded. Flowers grow luxuriously in the gardens. The
tops of the trees are cut off and the trunks smeared with white paint.
This description will give the reader a picture of a Dutch village of
that time as well as of the well-to-do condition of the people.

After our travellers had drunk some good beer and eaten a lobster, they
hired horses and were soon on their way to Arnheim, a servant who was to
bring the horses back following them. The nearer they came to the city
the more delightful was the country, which began to look like a large
garden. Although there were no rocky heights, the high dikes which rose
along the way, the multitude of country seats, mansions, and towers, the
beautiful groups of trees in the fields and meadows and upon the edges
of the streams, varied the landscape continually and presented pictures
worthy of the brush of the greatest painter. Cities, villages, castles
with their luxurious surroundings, country houses of every style of
architecture with handsome gardens, boundless grassy meadows with herds
of cattle, lakes which had been made by peat-cutters, countless islands
upon which long reeds were cultivated as thatch for the houses, serving
also as homes for great flocks of waterfowl,—such was the panorama which
met the eyes of the Prince.

The life of the Prince in this richly blest country was permanently
influenced by it. His love of art and science was developed and he
gained greatly in knowledge of State affairs and the ways of the world
from his intercourse with Dutch statesmen, burghers, and peasants. It
was of the highest significance also in relation to the future that he
studied the plans and schemes of the great Prince of Orange. The army of
this man was still a nursery of field-marshals and naval officers.

The Prince and Leuchtmar at last reached Arnheim. The Prince occupied a
beautiful country house in the suburbs. Let us go with the Prince to the
house while Leuchtmar is otherwise engaged. The entrance is paved with
white marble, covered with a carpet and bordered with veined marble to
the height of four feet. The Prince enters a lofty apartment on the
right. The fireplace is of black marble with a broad mirror above it.
Upon the wall surrounded by chaplets are half-length portraits of the
Elector George William and his wife. Weapons of various kinds are also
suspended among the pictures. A dark polished table, with chairs placed
by it, and a bookcase are the only furniture in the room. As soon as the
Prince has changed his dress he takes his diary and notes down his
recollections of the trip. Ever since Leuchtmar’s talks the Prince had
devoted himself assiduously to this diary. All the more unfortunate is
it that it has been lost.

                               Chapter XX
                              In the Park

In the vicinity of Arnheim, at Rehnen, dwelt the clever and once so
beautiful Elizabeth, daughter of King James the First of England, who
still called herself Queen of Bohemia and Electoress of the Palatinate.
Her country house stood in a handsome park. The last hopes of her
husband, Frederick the Fifth, disappeared with the death of Gustavus
Adolphus. Shortly after the news came he was stricken down with an
illness which proved fatal. Both the oldest sons of the Electoress, the
Prince, subsequently the Elector Carl Ludwig, and Prince Rupert, who was
a year older than the Electoral Prince Frederick William, had been
fellow-students with him at Leyden and in daily intercourse with him.
They were now spending a short time with their mother in Rehnen. Besides
these, the Electoress had a younger son, Prince Moritz, and two
daughters, Princess Henrietta, who was so well educated that in her
nineteenth year she engaged in arguments with Dutch scholars, and
Princess Louise, who was sprightlier by nature and had a special talent
in painting.

While the Prince was living in Arnheim it was his custom to ride over to
Rehnen every afternoon and make a call of a few hours, returning at
dusk. One day, as he approached Rehnen, he was informed by the porter to
whom he gave his horse that he would find the Electoress with the
princes and princesses in the pavilion at the lower end of the park. In
the middle of the park he reached a garden ornamented with marble
statuary. From this point he saw his princely relatives. The green doors
and windows of the pavilion in which they were sitting were open, so
that the sunshine and perfume of the garden found their way into it. His
cousins saw him coming and advanced to meet him, and the Electoress and
princesses greeted him affectionately upon the estrade.

The time passed in animated conversation. It was the dearest wish of the
Electoress to secure the heir of Brandenburg for her son-in-law. The
pleasure of the conversation, however, was soon seriously marred. The
Princess Henrietta asked if Wallenstein had not actually attempted to
secure the crown of Bohemia. The Princess Louise maintained that he had.
“I look with a shudder,” said she, “into the dark, bottomless abyss of
that man’s soul. Despicable ambitions rage there. Selfishness
characterizes every mortal more or less, but he had no other impelling
motive. All love in his nature was destroyed by it, and where there is
no love one becomes a fiend. What were Luther, the Pope, or Calvin to
him! He made no account of them. His own person was all he cared for.
Many a time I have said ‘He is Satan incarnate!’”

“And yet,” remarked the Electoress, “his faith in the stars—”

“Superstition,” replied the Princess.

“I will not dispute with you about the word,” replied the Electoral
Prince. “But you must concede one thing: He sought to read his fate in
the position of the stars. He believed that everything which happened to
him was written there, and he tried to read the writing. To that extent
he acknowledged the power which governs the stars.”

“Then in reality his superstition was an evidence of his faith,” said
the Electoress. “Then if he sometimes fell into a fanaticism, which
sprung from his belief in his favorite science, we are bound to excuse
him. Do you mean that?”

“Not entirely,” replied Frederick William. “In part he was a fanatic;
but besides this there was much of evil in him, and when that evil took
possession of his nature it destroyed everything before it.”

The Princess Henrietta replied: “There is nothing upon earth which
interests me so much as the human soul. The famous botanist Kluit at
Leyden analyzes an object and examines its organism and structure with
the microscope. I would like to have an instrument which would so
disclose the soul of Wallenstein that I might look into its lowest
depths. What a picture it would reveal to my gaze!”

“Sister,” said the Princess Louise, “I agree with you. Many years have
passed, but I clearly remember that for a long time I could not rid
myself of the picture of the dying Wallenstein by day or night. The door
is burst open by the hired assassin. There he stands in the middle of
his chamber, an apparition in his white night-dress. The assassin
trembles for an instant. Then plucking up courage he rushes upon
Wallenstein and pierces him with his knife. Silently and with
outstretched arms he receives his death-wound. Not a word! not a sound!
He expires in silence! What a monstrous spectacle! But I will desist,
for our Rupert is again growing angry.”

It was true, but Rupert only said: “Not yet, sister! But I think you
ought not to make such an ado about a murderous soul. In the end you may
sympathize with that wretch as well as with Maximilian, who took away
our inheritance without a sting of conscience.”

The Electoress grew visibly pale. It was always so when she heard the
name of the man who had defeated her husband’s army at Prague.

The oldest Prince, desirous of pacifying his brother, who was somewhat
impetuous and outbreaking, said: “Now I will say a word for the sisters
who have often expressed themselves as to Maximilian. I may not repeat
what they said here, but I remember it. Believe me as to one thing. Had
no battle been fought at Prague and had not Maximilian usurped our
birthright, I should still have despised him from the bottom of my soul
and ranked him far below Wallenstein. How basely he acted! He first
suggested his removal. Then when Gustavus Adolphus had driven him into
straits, he whined like a dog at Wallenstein’s door and begged for
protection and assistance. But hardly is Gustavus Adolphus gone when he
again begins his machinations, and continues them until Wallenstein is
killed by an assassin.”

“Do you seriously mean, cousin,” said the Electoral Prince, “that
Maximilian was the only cause of Wallenstein’s murder?”

“Not the only one, but the principal one.”

Prince Ludwig now spoke: “I do not believe it. Maximilian had a hand in
the game, but the Emperor is mainly responsible. What a weak successor
the Emperor’s oldest son will prove!”

“He is only nominally commander-in-chief of the army. The real leader is
Gallas, and he has learned from his great predecessors. It almost seemed
as if Tilly or Pappenheim were again leading the Imperialists, so
bravely did they fight at Nordlingen, where Marshal Franz Horn was

“This is also an inestimable loss for our side,” said the Electoress
with a sigh. “With my own ears I have heard Gustavus Adolphus call him
his right hand. As long as the Swedes had a Marshal Franz Horn and a
Chancellor Oxenstjern they decided to continue the war against the
Emperor and the League. But Horn has been languishing in prison for
several years.”

“Twenty years,” began Prince Ludwig, “the war has already lasted. If the
Elector of Saxony did not continually temporize, possibly some
settlement might be reached, but that vacillating gentleman thinks only
of his own advantage. The Protestant cause has been left in the lurch.
He does not consider our rights in treaties of peace with the Emperor.
But the enraged Swedes now in his country will pay him off.”

The Electoress folded her hands. “May the Almighty,” she sighed, “soon
bring peace to the German Empire and restore us our rights!”

Prince Ludwig replied: “Mother, we three must also play some part upon
the stage of war. There is still much remaining to be done.”

The wild Rupert exclaimed: “Even if peace could be made, I would not
have it so until I have done something in the field.”

The Electoral Prince said nothing, but his look and manner showed how
ardently he longed to take part in the struggle.

The Elector of Brandenburg had agreed to the treaty of peace which had
been concluded between the Emperor and the Elector of Saxony. That the
Electoress of the Palatinate as well as her sons and daughters were
dissatisfied may well be imagined. But up to this time nothing had been
said of his father’s politics in the presence of the Electoral Prince.
But now Prince Rupert broke out: “The Electors by this treaty with the
Emperor have proved traitors to a good cause.”

The Electoral Prince rose and with flashing eyes passionately exclaimed:
“Cousin, woe to you or me, if I have heard aright!”

The rest of the company were alarmed. They were familiar with Rupert’s
wildness and impetuosity, but now they had experienced Frederick
William’s resoluteness and passionate sense of honor.

“Dear cousin,” said Ludwig, “our brother only refers to the Elector of

The mother and the princesses confirmed the statement and demanded of
Prince Rupert by look and action that he should agree with them.

He remained silent, and his manner caused the apprehension that he was
disinclined to answer his cousin. His mother’s look, however, had such
power over him that he overmastered his furious temper. He said: “Far be
it from me to tarnish your father’s honor with a breath from my mouth.”

The Prince was outwardly satisfied with the explanation. Political
conversation was dropped, and they talked about The Hague, which the
Electoral Prince was going to visit during the next few days.

In the bright moonlight Frederick William rode back to Arnheim.

                              Chapter XXI
                            Sweden’s Revenge

There had been many changes in Brandenburg. They feared the Swedes now
as greatly as they had once feared the Emperor’s army. The cause of this
will be found in the following statement:

At the beginning of the year 1637 Emperor Ferdinand the Second died, and
his successor, Ferdinand the Third, exhibited a friendly attitude toward
Brandenburg. In March of the same year Bogislav the Fourteenth died
childless, and Brandenburg made preparations to enforce certain rights
in Pomerania which were provided in the treaty. Its most important
cities at the time were beset by Swedish troops. Sweden also asserted
certain claims in the dukedom, which it would not yield until it was
assured of ample indemnity for the great sacrifices it had made in
maintaining the good cause. When George William summoned Stettin to take
the oath of allegiance, the Swedish commander Banner was so infuriated
that he ordered the herald bearing the summons to be hanged. It was only
by the greatest exertions that the Duchess-widow saved the poor man’s

This proceeding induced the Elector to agree to the treaty which had
been made between the Emperor and the Elector of Saxony. The Emperor
expressly declared his readiness to support the Elector in his efforts
to obtain a settlement in Pomerania, with all the necessary means.
Shortly thereafter the Brandenburg troops, acting with the Imperialists
under Gallas, invaded Pomerania. At first the Swedes were driven back,
but after they had received reinforcements of fourteen thousand men from
home the fortunes of war changed, and they drove the Brandenburgers and
Imperialists before them. The unfortunate people of Brandenburg suffered
unspeakably at the hands of their former friends who believed that they
had been treacherous, and for that reason became their bitter enemies.
Their former troubles were light in comparison with those growing out of
Sweden’s revenge. Although the main army was removed to the south,
Brandenburg continued to suffer from the depredations of small

                              Chapter XXII
                          The Prince’s Flight

While the campaigns of Banner in Bohemia and of the heroic Bernhard von
Weimar upon the Rhine were in progress, George William summoned the
Electoral Prince from Holland. The court residence was removed from
Berlin to the strong fortress of Spandau. The Prince arrived there with
Leuchtmar and Müller, whose functions had ceased. The jovial and
patriotic Colonel von Burgsdorf was also there. Speaking of the Prince,
and the events of the day upon one occasion when Leuchtmar was visiting
Burgsdorf, the former said: “The Prince would have been in Holland
to-day had it not been for him.” (Leuchtmar made three crosses in the

“Schwarzenberg! Yes, he sits upon our necks like the Evil One himself!
They say he can do anything he wishes with the Elector. He has even
asserted that the Prince must marry a Catholic lady. And whom do you
suppose he has in mind? The Archduchess Isabella Clara. The Elector
knows nothing about it as yet, but Schwarzenberg believes the Prince
will be greatly pleased.”

Leuchtmar smiled. “If he thinks the Prince can be moulded and pressed to
suit his pleasure he is mistaken. There are surely few young men of his
age who show an equal force of character. Here is one example out of
many. In The Hague, as you well know, there are many young and
distinguished people, sons of princes, counts, and others. A
clear-headed man can learn much from association with them, while a
frivolous man would only learn things destructive of body and soul
alike. When I received the letter requesting me to take the Prince to
The Hague I implored divine help to keep his life blameless. The Prince
surprised me reading it and asked what troubled me. I told him frankly
what disquieted me, and that in my trouble I had sought divine
assistance. The Prince, deeply moved, took my hand and said that he
would always heed my admonitions. I was consoled for a time, but anxiety
returned when we arrived at The Hague and I thought of the young men who
would be his associates. Many of them had been to Paris. I knew the
Prince’s strength of character but I feared the insidious temptations to
which he might be exposed. I had no outward way of protecting him. What
power can a governor have over a nineteen-year-old prince? But he is not
a hypocrite, I can tell you. He likes jolly company and a beaker of good
wine, and he is very jovial. These young gentlemen of the Paris school
were in the habit of giving suppers at which some handsome but not very
reputable young women were present. Think of it! And to one of these
suppers the Prince was invited.”

“I should like to have wrung the necks of those who invited him!”
exclaimed the Colonel.

“Listen further. The Prince went to the designated place with young Von
Loewen, from whom I learned the particulars. At first he could not trust
his own eyes. But when he was convinced of the kind of company he had
fallen into, he took his hat and indignantly left the place.”

Interrupting the Baron, Burgsdorf exclaimed, “Did the Prince do that?”

“Why should you doubt it?” replied Leuchtmar. “He did still more. Some
of these sons of princes and counts sprang up and followed him, seized
him by the arm and hand and tried to induce him to stay. But he shook
them off and said: ‘You may justify yourselves in what you are doing;
but I know what I owe to my parents, to my country, and to myself.’”

Burgsdorf vainly strove to keep back the tears. Pacing the floor to and
fro he exclaimed, “Lord, my God, he is every inch a prince. If he were
my child I would love him to death—that old ass—but what am I saying? He
is the Electoral Prince, and will he not be my Prince every day? Whom
have we to thank for such a Prince, whom else than—”

“Than God,” replied Leuchtmar.

“Yes,” replied the Colonel; “your first thanks for everything are due to
Him. But we also have to thank you for your judicious course, excellent
man. Believe me, if Frederick William turns out to be a great prince,
your name will not be forgotten. And should a thankless posterity forget
him, he will not be forgotten by God. Of one thing I am sure, the Prince
himself will be grateful to you as long as he lives.”

“He has already more than repaid me for my efforts,” replied Leuchtmar.
“I will show you in the morning a deed of gift which I lately received
from the Prince. But be seated. I have not yet finished what I wish to
say. A few days after this incident, the Prince left The Hague.”

“Why? Did he fear that sometime he might yield to temptation?”

“It may be. But where did he go? Can you guess? To the camp. The Prince
of Orange was investing Breda at the time. He offered his services to
him, and there he had daily experience in the art of war under the eyes
of distinguished field officers. When Orange learned the cause of his
flight from The Hague, he said to him: ‘My Prince, your flight displays
more heroic spirit than the taking of Breda will do. He who can conquer
himself so early will always be great.’”

Their further conversation was devoted to matters in Holland.

                             Chapter XXIII
                              The Message

Count Schwarzenberg gave a banquet in honor of the Prince, who accepted
the invitation, although he had no sympathy with the Count, because his
father desired him to do so. A sudden illness seized him at the table
and he was taken home very sick. On the next day he felt better and soon
recovered. It was whispered among the people that an attempt had been
made to poison him. The Electoral Prince, they said, is the only
survivor of his family who can enter upon the inheritance, and
Schwarzenberg is the Emperor’s favorite. Two other stories were also
circulated. A man was said to have been discovered under the Prince’s
bed with a dagger. It was also said that an attempt had been made upon
his life while he was hunting. These and similar stories passed from
mouth to mouth, which had the effect to make the people more
uncomfortable and wretched. At last the citizens of Berlin and Cöln
decided to send a message to the Prince. It read as follows:

“It is well known how greatly the country has been weakened and wasted
by friend and foe, and that many officers have been sumptuously
entertained though they had no commands, and have been paid large
salaries, while under-officers and soldiers have had but scanty
allowances and have been wretched and hungry. The outrages of the
Elector’s troopers have been so monstrous that neither horse, cow, ox,
nor man was safe from them; and for that reason tillage in the best
localities has been abandoned. Business has stopped; cities, towns, and
villages are deserted, and for miles you will find neither men nor
cattle nor even a dog or a cat. In spite of all this, heavy tribute has
been levied and collected by military force. They have taken houses,
farms, gardens, fields, and vineyards, and given them to officers who
were exempt from levies. Berlin has paid immense sums monthly for the
support of the Elector’s troops, and Cöln in proportion. The Swedes
under Colonel von Debitz, after the Elector’s troops had abandoned the
roads to Landsberg, Frankfort, and Pürstenwald, and left everything in
the greatest disorder, invaded the residences and stripped them of
almost everything. Merchants, tradespeople, and travellers were robbed
of their goods and property. Villages lay in ashes. The town-house
servants, church and school teachers have not been paid. In short,
Berlin and Cöln have been reduced to poverty by fire, robbery, and
oppression. Many have put an end to their wretched lives by water, the
rope, or the knife; while others, taking wives and children, have
forsaken their homes and are wandering about in wretched plight.”

Burgsdorf handed this message to the Prince on the forenoon of the day
it was received. He hoped that he would graciously receive the message,
meet his friends, consult with them about the condition of the country,
settle upon some plan of action for its relief, and afterwards lay it
before the Elector, and especially insist upon Schwarzenberg’s
dismissal. But Burgsdorf had greatly deceived himself. The Prince, whose
motto was the words of the Psalm “Lord, show me the way that I must go,”
had decided upon his homeward journey the position he would take at the
Electoral Court. After reading the message he looked earnestly at
Burgsdorf and said: “You know the story of Absalom, how he sat by the
gate and did obeisance to all who came nigh to the King for judgment and
stole the hearts of the men of Israel. Do you think these stories are
unknown to me? I know also the story in which we are told how David met
Saul, who would have killed him in the cave, and how some of David’s
friends bade him kill Saul. You ought to know these stories; but better
still you ought to understand that mere knowing is of little use. ‘Be it
far from me,’ said David, ‘to lay my hand upon the Lord’s anointed.’ You
seem astonished that I have referred to these past events. You certainly
do not desire to make an attempt upon the life of the Prince of this
country. But I say to you, ‘Far be it from me to stretch out my hand
against the country’s anointed,’ so take back the message. If my father
seeks my advice, my word for the good cause shall not be lacking, so far
as God gives me the power to perceive what is right.”

                              Chapter XXIV
                             Mother and Son

On the same day the Prince talked with his mother about the events we
have described, and at last they spoke of Schwarzenberg, whom they
equally disliked. “When he entered our service,” said the Electoress,
“he was poor; now he is rich. Indeed he has a larger private fortune
than we. Tell me of any good thing he has done. It is an indelible stain
upon him that he has enriched himself while the people have sunk with
utter wretchedness through hunger, war, and pestilence. A man who can do
such a thing is capable of any meanness or villainy. I believe, my son,
that he is in the pay of the Emperor’s party. But God watches over us.
They maintain in Vienna that your father is far less sharp-sighted than
he really is. The fools! With the good Catholic Schwarzenberg at the
head of Protestant Brandenburg no wonder they have high expectations at
the court of Vienna. But wisdom and intelligence on the Spree and the
Havel are perhaps even stronger than on the Danube. Let them continue to
believe that Schwarzenberg will accomplish his purpose; let them keep up
their delusion as to this crafty, egotistical, covetous, corruptible
man! The Elector, gentle, sick, and heroic in endurance, is wiser, or at
least as wise, as any of these gentleman, who think they have him
entrapped. It is little matter to him what the Count wishes. Would you
leave him in the service of the State if your father to-day should place
the cares of government upon your shoulders?”

“God will guide me,” replied the Prince.

“But if it should become necessary, then certainly you would dismiss the
Count immediately, as he has discharged Pruckmann and others because
they have opposed the Emperor’s politics.”

“No, Mother, out of respect to my father I could not discharge him at
once. That would be looked upon by the people as a reproach against my
father. But I would not endure him long.”

“My dear son, by these words you show me that you recognize filial duty
and that you are ready to perform it. God’s blessing will be upon you
for it. When I look into your eyes, my son, something tells me your
politics will not be those of your father. In your nature there is a
resolute determination which is lacking in your father’s. The times need
men of iron. Anvil and hammer! That is the watchword of our time.”

                              Chapter XXV
                           The Great Elector

The Elector was announced. Mother and son rose and went to meet him. He
had suffered for years in one foot, and for a short time in the other,
so that he could not walk and had to be taken about in a roll-chair.
Upon the face of the broken-down man one could read the sorrowful
history of his twenty years’ rule.

“My son,” began the Elector, “I learn from Schwarzenberg that you have
sent back a message of the Berlinese. I understand you, my son, and
declare to you now that I would gladly listen to any suggestion from you
bearing upon the welfare of the country. It is time, my son, for you to
live here, that you may become acquainted with the hard duties of ruling
a country. Who knows whether the Almighty may not soon call me hence? I
long for the rest, for I am tired, so tired! Come here, my son, and sit
by my side, for I would speak with you from the bottom of my heart. And
you too, dearest wife, who have shared joys and sorrows with me,—there
have not been many joys,—sit at my side and be a witness to the words I
shall speak to the future ruler of this country. Give me your hands!

“My son, for more than twenty years the war has raged between Catholics
and Protestants, and there is not a country in Europe which has suffered
as much as our own possessions, Brandenburg, Prussia, and Cleves. My
son, I will look calmly back upon my life and try to speak without
prejudice. I have turned my attention from worldly to eternal matters.
Why should I seek worldly glory, I, who am so soon to stand before the
judgment seat of God? Had I had the heroic character of Gustavus
Adolphus, surely, surely things might have been different. But it would
have been difficult even for him, whose devoted courage led him to his
death, to be a soldier as well as a Brandenburg prince; for the very
things necessary to a soldier’s success—a full treasury, and a great,
valiant army—would have been lacking.

“Many will say, ‘Why could they not have been secured?’ My son, glance
with me at my life and then decide. Difficulties were piled upon
difficulties. I could hardly move, there were so many obstacles in my
way. (Had it not been for you, dear wife, I should long ago have been
only dust and ashes. You were my stay and staff.) Almost everything
which happened to our house so weighed down my soul that it was not
possible to rise above it. I had to secure your safety and education far
away from me. You know what happened to your mother’s brother. Shortly
afterwards the Emperor’s ban stripped one of my father’s uncles, Duke
Johann George, of his dukedom, and me and my house of all claims upon
it. Then another brother of my father, Margrave Christian Wilhelm,
administrator of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg, was outlawed and driven
from his country and people. My brother, Joachim Sigismund, whom I
appointed before Schwarzenberg as Minister of Brandenburg, escaped only
by his courage from death by fire, and died at a time when he was most
needed. Then my usually excellent mother still further increased my
troubles by helping to aggravate the bitterness of the Lutherans against
the Reformers. You will agree with me, my son, that such things are not
calculated to fill the heart with fresh courage.

“Notwithstanding all this I had no intention of letting things go as
they might. I strove to create an army, but the money was not to be had,
as I have said. The acquisition of Prussia and the Cleves Rhineland
imposed tremendous burdens, and besides this, the country was burdened
with a load of debt. In a period of undisturbed peace the country might
pay its obligations in twenty or thirty years, but in a time of the
greatest exhaustion the greatest sacrifices had to be made. The
provinces were so hard to please and so penurious and reluctant to make
grants of money, that any chance of energetic action in my time was
nipped in the bud. The country continually grew poorer from year to
year. Perhaps another, standing in my relations to the provinces at the
time when there was possible hope of relief, might have acted more
resolutely than I did and have accomplished some results. I can believe
it, and yet I could not do otherwise while I, as a follower of the
Reformed religion, had almost the entire population against me.

“But suppose the Protestant cause at the very beginning of the war had
not induced the Emperor to renounce me? I sometimes ask myself this
question, my son, and surely it should often occur to you. Think about
it. The war began in Bohemia, then under the rule of my poor cousin
Frederick. He belonged to the Reformed Church. What sympathy did we show
for him? His overthrow was desired by the Lutherans and by nearly all
the people of the country. Not a finger could be raised in his behalf
without it being the signal for an uproar.

“Then came our cousin Christian of Denmark with a strong army. My son, I
knew him. I will not inveigh against him, far from it. But could I rely
upon him? I could not and dared not. ‘If everything prospers,’ I said to
myself, ‘our nearest inheritance, the dukedom of Pomerania, will be in
danger of being swallowed up by Denmark. If everything goes badly, then
Denmark will make a good peace and will be the bitter enemy of its own
allies.’ Has not Denmark treated another country in that manner? The
Dukes of Mecklenburg could sing you a song about broken faith.

“Next appears Gustavus Adolphus. He was then fighting the Poles. You
know about our rights in Prussia. We had obtained it as a fief from
Poland. Great was our danger of losing it. When Gustavus Adolphus made
peace with the Poles our circumstances were more favorable. But when he
came to Germany at the head of an army as the Emperor’s enemy, I
hesitated about joining him and had many serious scruples. His army,
when he landed on the coast of Pomerania, numbered scarcely fifteen
thousand men. I said to myself, ‘If my brother-in-law fails, then he
must retreat, and the experiences of his brother-in-law Frederick and
the Dukes of Mecklenburg will be repeated. The Emperor will outlaw him
and divide up the country among his favorites.’

“At last it became painful to me to see the German Empire invaded by a
stranger, and the thought of offering him assistance was intolerable.
The victorious advance of the God-fearing and trusting King at last
irresistibly appealed to me and all my apprehensions vanished. Urged
from within and without, I joined him. Now came the only time in my
regent-pilgrimage when I could breathe freely,—but, alas, only for a
short time. ‘The Star of the North’ aroused hopes for better times in my
breast—even more, belief in them. But the Star was extinguished all too
soon on the bloody field of Lützen.”

The Elector paused. His long talk and perhaps the recalling of so much
that was sorrowful had greatly overcome him.

“My dearest husband,” said the Electoress, “this is enough of these
painful memories for to-day.”

“Just a few words more, true wife, my staff and consolation in times of
trouble. You and my son are the only joys I have known, the only joys I
shall know in my dying hour.”

Tears glistened in all their eyes. The Electoress stroked his emaciated
cheeks with a pale, trembling hand.

With a deep sigh he resumed: “Ah! what a mournful picture my rule from
the first to the last year calls up! Death will soon lay his hand upon
my heart, and already my grave opens to receive me. And what do I see
all about me? The country wasted by the hand of enemy and friend as no
other country in Europe has been! A churchyard of mouldering corpses!
Oh, horrible sight! And this is the legacy which I must make to my brave
and pious son! My God!” He hid his face.

                            * * * * * * * *

Shortly after this scene the Elector, whose gentle heart was not made
for such times of iron and who surely would have been blest by his
people in peaceful times, passed away.

In his twentieth year the Electoral Prince Frederick William took the
reins of power. His provinces were partly in the hands of the Swedes,
who had changed them into a wilderness, in which villages were traced
only by their ashes, and cities by rubbish and ruins. The dukedoms of
Cleves had been robbed by Spaniards and Dutch, who levied unheard-of
tribute and plundered them while pretending to protect them. Prussia,
which had previously been invaded by Gustavus Adolphus, still suffered
from the wounds which had been inflicted during this war. In such
desperate circumstances—his inheritance invaded by many princes; Ruler,
without possession of his own provinces; Elector, without the authority
of one; Ally, without friends,—Frederick William began his reign; and in
his early youth, at the age when errors are most likely to be made, and
when men find it difficult to rule even themselves, he furnished an
example of extraordinary wisdom and of all those virtues which fit one
to rule mankind.


[1]The wife of Frederick the Fifth was the daughter of King James of

[2]Berlin and Cöln, on either side of the River Spree, were subsequently
   united into one city.


The following is a chronological statement of the principal events in
Germany and elsewhere during the youth of the Great Elector:

    1619     George William becomes Elector of Brandenburg.
    1619     Frederick the Fifth elected Emperor of Bohemia.
    1620     Birth of Frederick William, the Great Elector.
    1620     Frederick the Fifth defeated at White Mountain and deposed.
    1622     Tilly victorious at Wimpfen.
    1623     Maximilian of Bavaria made Elector.
    1625     Christian the Fourth of Denmark becomes Protestant leader.
    1626     Tilly defeats Christian the Fourth at Lutter.
    1626     Wallenstein defeats Count von Mansfeld.
    1628     Siege of Stralsund.
    1629     Frederick issues Restitutions Edict.
    1630     Wallenstein dismissed.
    1630     Gustavus Adolphus becomes Protestant leader.
    1631     Tilly storms Magdeburg.
    1631     Victory of Gustavus Adolphus at Breitenfeld.
    1632     Death of Gustavus Adolphus at Lützen.
    1634     Murder of Wallenstein.
    1635     Treaty between Saxony and Frederick.
    1637     Death of Ferdinand the Second.
    1640     Death of George William and accession of the Great Elector.

                     LIFE STORIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

                    _Translated from the German by_
                            GEORGE P. UPTON

                          24 Volumes Now Ready

                     _Historical and Biographical_

  William of Orange
  Maria Theresa
  The Maid of Orleans
  Frederick the Great
  The Little Dauphin
  Herman and Thusnelda
  The Swiss Heroes
  Marie Antoinette’s Youth
  The Duke of Brittany
  Louise, Queen of Prussia
  The Youth of the Great Elector
  Emperor William First
  Elizabeth, Empress of Austria

                          _Musical Biography_

  Johann Sebastian Bach
  Joseph Haydn


  Frithjof Saga
  The Nibelungs
  William Tell
  Arnold of Winkelried

                    Illustrated. Each 60 cents _net_
                      A. C. McCLURG & CO., Chicago

                          Transcriber’s Notes

--Copyright notice provided as in the original—this e-text is public
  domain in the country of publication.

--In the text versions, delimited italics text in _underscores_ (the
  HTML version reproduces the font form of the printed book.)

--Silently corrected palpable typos; left non-standard spellings and
  dialect unchanged.

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