Berlin and Sans-Souci
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BERLIN AND SANS-SOUCI
FREDERICK THE GREAT AND HIS FRIENDS
An Historical Romance
AUTHOR OF JOSEPH II. AND HIS COURT, FREDERICK THE GREAT AND HIS
COURT, MERCHANT OF BERLIN, ETC.
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY MRS. CHAPMAN COLEMAN AND HER DAUGHTERS
I. The Alchemist's Incantation
II. The Old Courtier
III. The Morning Hours of a King
IV. The Pardoned Courtier
V. How the Princess Ulrica became Queen of Sweden
VI. The Tempter
VII. The First Interview
VIII. Signora Barbarina
IX. The King and Barbarina
XI. A Life Question
XII. Superstition and Piety
I. The Two Sisters
II. The Tempter
III. The Wedding-Festival of the Princess Ulrica
IV. Behind the Curtain
V. A Shame-faced King
VI. The First Rendezvous
VII. On The Balcony
VIII. The First Cloud
IX. The Council of War
X. The Cloister of Camens
XI. The King and the Abbot
XII. The Unknown Abbot
XIII. The Levee of a Dancer
XIV. The Studio
XV. The Confession
XVI. The Traitor
XVII. The Silver-Ware
XVIII. The First Flash of Lightning
I. The Actors in Halle
II. The Student Lupinus
III. The Disturbance in the Theatre
IV. The Friends
V. The Order of the King
VI. The Battle of Sohr
VII. After the Battle
VIII. A Letter Pregnant with Fate
IX. The Return to Berlin
X. Job's Post
XI. The Undeceived
XII. Trenck's First Flight
XIII. The Flight
XIV. "I will"
XV. The Last Struggle for Power
XVI. The Disturbance in the Theatre
I. The Promise
II. Voltaire and his Royal Friend
III. The Confidence-Table
IV. The Confidential Dinner
V. Rome Sauvee
VI. A Woman's Heart
VII. Madame von Cocceji
IX. A Day in the Life of Voltaire
X. The Lovers
XIII. The Last Struggle
BERLIN AND SANS-SOUCI
FREDERICK THE GREAT AND HIS FRIENDS.
THE ALCHEMIST'S INCANTATION.
It was a lovely May morning! The early rays of the sun had not
withered the blossoms, or paled the fresh green of the garden of
Charlottenburg, but quickened them into new life and beauty. The
birds sang merrily in the groves. The wind, with light whispers,
swept through the long avenues of laurel and orange trees, which
surrounded the superb greenhouses and conservatories, and scattered
far and wide throughout the garden clouds of intoxicating perfume.
The garden was quiet and solitary, and the closed shutters of the
castle proved that not only the king, but the entire household, from
the dignified and important chamberlain to the frisky garden-boy,
still slept. Suddenly the silence was broken by the sound of hasty
steps. A young man, in simple citizen costume, ran up the great
avenue which led from the garden gate to the conservatory; then
cautiously looking about him, he drew near to a window of the lower
story in a wing of the castle. The window was closed and secured
with inside shutters; a small piece of white paper was seen between
the glass and the shutter. A passer-by might have supposed this was
accidental, but the young burgher knew that this little piece of
paper was a signal. His light stroke upon the window disturbed for a
moment the deathlike silence around, but produced no other effect;
he struck again, more loudly, and listened breathlessly. The
shutters were slowly and cautiously opened from within, and behind
the glass was seen the wan, sick face of Fredersdorf, the private
secretary and favorite of the king. When he saw the young man, his
features assumed a more animated expression, and a hopeful smile
played upon his lip; hastily opening the window, he gave the youth
his hand. "Good-morning, Joseph," said he; "I have not slept during
the whole night, I was so impatient to receive news from you. Has he
Joseph bowed his head sadly. "He has not yet shown himself," he
replied in a hollow voice; "all our efforts have been in vain; we
have again sacrificed time, money, and strength. He has not yet
"Alas!" cried Fredersdorf, "who could believe it so difficult to
move the devil to appear in person, when he makes his presence known
daily and hourly through the deeds of men? I must and will see him!
He MUST and SHALL make known this mystery. He shall teach me HOW and
of WHAT to make gold."
"He will yield at last!" cried Joseph, solemnly.
"What do you say? Will we succeed? Is not all hope lost?"
"All is not lost: the astrologer heard this night, during his
incantations, the voice of the devil, and saw for one moment the
glare of his eye, though he could not see his person."
"He saw the glare of his eye!" repeated Fredersdorf joyfully. "Oh,
we will yet compel him to show himself wholly. He must teach us to
make gold. And what said the voice of the devil to our astrologer?"
"He said these words: 'Would you see my face and hear words of
golden wisdom from my lips? so offer me, when next the moon is full
and shimmers like liquid gold in the heavens, a black ram; and if
you shed his blood for me, and if not one white hair can be
discovered upon him, I will appear and be subject to you.'"
"Another month of waiting, of patience, and of torture," murmured
Fredersdorf. "Four weeks to search for this black ram without a
single white hair; it will be difficult to find!"
"Oh, the world is large; we will send our messengers in every
quarter; we will find it. Those who truly seek, find at last what
they covet. But we will require much gold, and we are suffering now,
unhappily, for the want of it."
"We? whom do you mean by we?" asked Fredersdorf, with a contemptuous
shrug of the shoulders.
"I, in my own person, above all others, need gold. You can well
understand, my brother, that a student as I am has no superfluous
gold, even to pay his tailor's bills, much less to buy black rams.
Captain Kleist, in whose house the assembly meets to-night, has
already offered up far more valuable things than a score of black
rams; he has sacrificed his health, his rest, and his domestic
peace. His beautiful wife finds it strange, indeed, that he should
seek the devil every night everywhere else than in her lovely
"Yes, I understand that! The bewitching Madame Kleist must ever
remain the vain-glorious and coquettish Louise von Schwerin;
marriage has infused no water in her veins."
"No! but it has poured a river of wine in the blood of her husband,
and in this turbid stream their love and happiness is drowned.
Kleist is but a corpse, whom we must soon bury from our sight. The
king has made separation and divorce easy; yes, easier than
marriage. Is it not so, my brother? Ah, you blush; you find that
your light-hearted brother has more observant eyes than you thought,
and sees that which you intended to conceal. Yes, yes! I have indeed
seen that you have been wounded by Cupid's arrow, and that your
heart bleeds while our noble king refuses his consent to your
"Ah, let me once discover this holy mystery--once learn how to make
gold, and I will have no favor to ask of any earthly monarch; I
shall acknowledge no other sovereign than my own will."
"And to become the possessor of this secret, and your own master,
you require nothing but a black ram. Create for us, then, my
powerful and wealthy brother, a black ram, and the work is done!"
"Alas! to think," cried Fredersdorf, "that I cannot absent myself;
that I must fold my hands and wait silently and quietly! What
slavery is this! but you, you are not in bondage as I am. The whole
world is before you; you can seek throughout the universe for this
blood-offering demanded by the devil."
"Give us gold, brother, and we will seek; without gold, no black
ram; without the black ram, no devil!"
Fredersdorf disappeared a moment and returned with a well-filled
purse, which he handed to his brother. "There, take the gold; send
your messengers in every quarter; go yourself and search. You must
either find or create him. I swear to you, if you do not succeed, I
will withdraw my protection from you; you will be only a poor
student, and must maintain yourself by your studies."
"That would be a sad support, indeed," said the young man, smiling.
"I am more than willing to choose another path in life. I would,
indeed, prefer being an artist to being a philosopher."
"An artist!" cried Fredersdorf, contemptuously; "have you discovered
in yourself an artist's vein?"
"Yes; or rather, Eckhof has awakened my sleeping talent."
"Eckhof--who is Eckhof?"
"How? you ask who is Eckhof? You know not, then, this great, this
exalted artist, who arrived here some weeks since, and has entranced
every one who has a German heart in his bosom, by his glorious
acting? I saw him a few days since in Golsched's Cato. Ah! my
brother, on that evening it was clear to me that I also was born for
something greater than to sit in a lonely study, and seek in musty
books for useless scraps of knowledge. No! I will not make the world
still darker and mistier for myself with the dust of ancient books;
I will illuminate my world by the noblest of all arts--I will become
"Fantastic fool!" said his brother. "A GERMAN ACTOR! that is to say,
a beggar and a vagabond! who wanders from city to city, and from
village to village, with his stage finery, who is laughed at
everywhere, even as the monkeys are laughed at when they make their
somersets over the camels' backs; it might answer to be a dancer,
or, at least, a French actor."
"It is true that the German stage is a castaway--a Cinderella--
thrust aside, and clothed with sackcloth and ashes, while the
spoiled and petted step-child is clothed in gold-embroidered robes.
Alas! alas! it is a bitter thing that the French actors are summoned
by the king to perform in the royal castle, while Schonemein, the
director of the German theatre, must rent the Council-house for a
large sum of money, and must pay a heavy tax for the permission to
give to the German public a German stage. Wait patiently, brother,
all this shall be changed, when the mystery of mysteries is
discovered, when we have found the black ram! I bless the accident
which gave me a knowledge of your secret, which forced you to
receive me as a member in order to secure my silence. I shall be
rich, powerful, and influential; I will build a superb theatre, and
fill the German heart with wonder and rapture."
"Well, well, let us first understand the art of making gold, and we
will make the whole world our theatre, and all mankind shall play
before us! Hasten, therefore, brother, hasten! By the next full moon
we will be the almighty rulers of the earth and all that is
"Always provided that we have found the black ram."
"We will find him! If necessary, we will give his weight in gold,
and gold can do all things. Honor, love, power, position, and fame,
can all be bought with gold! Let us, then, make haste to be rich. To
be rich is to be independent, free, and gloriously happy. Go, my
brother, go! and may you soon return crowned with success."
"I have still a few weighty questions to ask. In the first place,
where shall I go?"
"To seek the black ram--it makes no difference where."
"Ah! it makes no difference! You do not seem to remember that the
vacation is over, that the professors of the University of Halle
have threatened to dismiss me if my attendance is so irregular. I
must, therefore, return to Halle to-day, or--"
"Return to Halle to-day!" cried Fredersdorf, with horror. "That is
impossible! You cannot return to Halle, unless you have already
found what we need."
"And that not being the case, I shall not return to Halle; I shall
be dismissed, and will cease to be a student. Do you consent, then,
that I shall become an actor, and take the great Eckhof for my only
"Yes, I consent, provided the command of the alchemist is complied
"And how if the alchemist, notwithstanding the blood of the black
ram, is unhappily not able to bring up the devil?"
At this question, a feverish crimson spot took possession of the wan
cheek of Fredersdorf, which was instantly chased away by a more
intense pallor. "If that is the result, I will either go mad or
die," he murmured.
"And then will you see the devil face to face!" cried his brother,
with a gay laugh. "But perhaps you might find a Eurydice to unlock
the under world for you. Well, we shall see. Till then, farewell,
brother, farewell." Nodding merrily to Fredersdorf, Joseph hurried
Fredersdorf watched his tall and graceful figure as it disappeared
among the trees with a sad smile.
"He possesses something which is worth more than power or gold; he
is young, healthy, full of hope and confidence. The world belongs to
him, while I--"
The sound of footsteps called his attention again to the allee.
THE OLD COURTIER.
The figure of a man was seen approaching, but with steps less light
and active than young Joseph's. As the stranger drew nearer,
Fredersdorf's features expressed great surprise. When at last he
drew up at the window, the secretary burst into a hearty laugh.
"Von Pollnitz! really and truly I do not deceive myself," cried
Fredersdorf, clapping his hands together, and again and again
uttering peals of laughter, in which Pollnitz heartily joined.
Then suddenly assuming a grave and dignified manner, Fredersdorf
bowed lowly and reverentially. "Pardon, Baron Pollnitz, pardon,"
said he in a tone of mock humility, "that I have dared to welcome
you in such an unseemly manner. I was indeed amazed to see you
again; you had taken an eternal leave of the court, we had shed
rivers of tears over your irreparable loss, and your unexpected
presence completely overpowered me."
"Mock and jeer at me to your heart's content, dear Fredersdorf; I
will joyfully and lustily unite in your laughter and your sport, as
soon as I have recovered from the fearful jolting of the carriage
which brought me here. Be pleased to open the window a little more,
and place a chair on the outside, that I may climb in, like an
ardent, eager lover. I have not patience to go round to the castle
Fredersdorf silently obeyed orders, and in a few moments Von
Pollnitz was lying comfortably stretched out on a silk divan, in the
"Ask me no questions, Fredersdorf," said he, breathing loudly;
"leave me awhile to enjoy undisturbed the comfort of your sofa, and
do me the favor first to answer me a few questions, before I reply
"Demand, baron, and I will answer," said Fredersdorf, seating
himself on a chair near the sofa.
"First of all, who is King of Prussia? You, or Jordan,--or General
Kothenberg,--or Chazot,--or--speak, man, who is King of Prussia?"
"Frederick the Second, and he alone; and he so entirely, that even
his ministers are nothing more than his secretaries, to write at his
dictation; and his generals are only subordinate engineers to draw
the plans of battle which he has already fully determined upon; his
composers are only the copyists of his melodies and his musical
conceptions; the architects are carpenters to build according to the
plan which he has either drawn or chosen from amongst old Grecian
models: in short, all who serve him are literally servants in this
great state machine; they understand his will and obey it, nothing
"Hum! that is bad, very bad," said Pollnitz. "I have found, however,
that there are two sorts of men, and you have mentioned in your
catalogue but one species, who have fallen so completely under the
hand of Frederick. You have said nothing of his cook, of his valet-
de-chambre, and yet these are most important persons. You must know
that in the presence of these powers, a king ceases to be a king,
and indeed becomes an entirely commonplace mortal, who eats and
drinks and clothes himself, and who must either conceal or adorn his
bodily necessities and weaknesses like any other man."
Fredersdorf shook his head sadly. "It seems to me that Frederick the
Second is beyond the pale of temptation; for even with his cook and
his valet he is still a king; his cook may prepare him the most
costly and luxurious viands, but unhappily they do not lead him into
temptation; a bad dish makes him angry, but the richest and choicest
food has no effect upon his humor; he is exactly the same before
dinner as after, fasting or feasting, and the favor he refuses
before the champagne, he never grants afterward."
"The devil! that is worse still," murmured Pollnitz. "And the valet-
-with him also does the king remain king?"
"Yes, so entirely, that he scarcely allows his valet to touch him.
He shaves, coifs, and dresses himself."
"My God! who, then, has any influence over him? To whom can I turn
to obtain a favor for me?"
"To his dogs, dear baron; they are now the only influential
"Do you mean truly the four-footed dogs?--or--"
"The four-footed, dearest baron! Frederick has more confidence in
them than in any two-legged animal. You know the king always trusted
much to the instincts of his dogs; he has now gone so far in this
confidence, as to believe that the hounds have an instinctive
aversion to all false, wicked, and evil-minded men. It is therefore
very important to every new-comer to be well received by the hounds,
as the king's reception is somewhat dependent upon theirs."
"Is Biche yet with the king?"
"Yes, still his greatest favorite."
"I am rejoiced to hear that! I was always in favor with the Signora
Biche; it was her custom to smell my pocket, hoping to find
chocolate. I beseech you, therefore, dearest friend, to give me some
chocolate, with which I may touch and soften the heart of the noble
signora, and thus induce the king to look upon me favorably.
"I will stick a half pound in each of your pockets, and if Biche
still growls at you, it will be a proof that she is far more noble
than men; in short, that she cannot be bribed. Have you finished
with your questions? I think it is now my time to begin."
"Not so, my friend. My head is still entirely filled with questions,
and they are twining and twisting about like the fishing-worms in a
bag, by the help of which men hope to secure fish. Be pitiful and
allow me to fasten a few more of these questions to my fishing-rod,
and thus try to secure my future."
"Well, then, go on--ask further!"
"Does Frederick show no special interest in any prima donna of the
opera, the ballet, or the theatre?"
"No, he cares for none of these things."
"Is his heart, then, entirely turned to stone?"
"Wholly and entirely."
"And the queen-mother, has she no influence?"
"My God! Baron Pollnitz, how long have you been away? You ask me as
many questions as if you had fallen directly from the moon, and knew
not even the outward appearance of the court."
"Dear friend, I have been a whole year away, that is to say, an
eternity. The court is a very slippery place; and if a man does not
accustom himself hourly to walk over this glassy parquet, he will
"Also there is nothing so uncertain as a court life; that which is
true to-day, is to-morrow considered incredible; that which was
beautiful yesterday is thrust aside to-day, as hateful to look upon:
that which we despise to-day is to-morrow sought after as a rare and
"Oh, I have had my experiences. I remember, that while I was
residing at the court of Saxony, I composed a poem in honor of the
Countess Aurora of Konigsmark. This was by special command of the
king; the poem was to be set to music by Hasse, and sung by the
Italian singers on the birthday of Aurora. Well, the Countess Aurora
was cast aside before my poem was finished, and the Countess Kozel
had taken her place. I finished my poem, but Amelia, and not Aurora,
was my heroine. Hasse composed the music, and no one who attended
the concert, given in honor of the birthday of the Countess Kozel,
had an idea that this festal cantata had been originally ordered for
Aurora of Konigsmark!
"Once, while I was in Russia, I had an audience from the Empress
Elizabeth. As I approached the castle, leaning on the arm of the
Captain Ischerbatow, I observed the guard, who stood before the
door, and presented arms. Well, eight weeks later, this common guard
was a general and a prince, and Isoherbatow was compelled to bow
"I saw in Venice a picture of the day of judgment by Tintoretto. In
this picture both Paradise and Hell were portrayed. I saw in
Paradise a lovely woman glowing with youth, beauty, and grace. She
was reclining in a most enchanting attitude, upon a bed of roses,
and surrounded by angels. Below, on the other half of the picture--
that is to say, in Hell--I saw the same woman; she had no couch of
roses, but was stretched upon a glowing gridiron; no smiling angels
surrounded her, but a hideous, grinning devil tore her flesh with
"Pope Adrian had commanded Tintoretto to paint this picture, to make
it a monument in honor of the lovely Cinnia, and to glorify her by
all the power of art. Cinnia was a very dear friend of Adrian. He
was not only a pope, but a man, and a man who took pleasure in all
beautiful things. Cinnia was enchanting, and it was Tintoretto's
first duty to paint her picture, and make her the principal object
in Paradise. But look you! the Last Judgment by Tintoretto was a
large painting, so large that to count even the heads upon it is
laborious. The heads in each corner are counted separately, and then
added together, It required some years, of course, to paint such a
picture; and by the time Tintoretto had completed Paradise and
commenced the lower regions, many sad changes had occurred. The fond
heart of the seducing Cinnia had withdrawn itself from the pope and
clung tenaciously to Prince Colonna. The Holy Father, as we have
said before, notwithstanding he was pope, had some human weaknesses;
he naturally hated the fair inconstant, and sought revenge. He
recommended Tintoretto to bring the erring one once more before the
public--this time, however, as a guilty and condemned shiner in
"Dear Fredersdorf, I think always of this picture when I look at the
favorites of princes and kings, and I amuse myself with their pride
and arrogance. When I see them in their sunny paradise of power and
influence, I say to myself, 'All's well for the fleeting present,
I'll wait patiently; soon I shall see you roasting on the glowing
gridiron of royal displeasure, and the envious devils of this world
filled with rapture at your downfall, will tear your flesh to
pieces.' Friend Fredersdorf, that is my answer to your question as
to whether I have in one short year forgotten the quality of court
"And by Heaven, that is a profound answer, which shows at least that
Baron Pollnitz has undergone no change during the last year, but is
still the experienced man of the world and the wise cavalier!"
"But why do you not give me my title, Fredersdorf? Why do you not
call me grand chamberlain?"
"Because you are no longer in the service of the king, but have
received your dismissal."
"Alas! God grant that the Signora Biche is favorable to me; then
will the king, as I hope, forget this dismissal. One question more.
You say that the queen-mother has no influence; how is it with the
wife of the king, Elizabeth Christine? Is she indeed the reigning
"When did you return to Berlin?"
"Now, to-night; and when I left the carriage, I hastened here."
"Well, that is some excuse for your question. If you have only just
arrived, you could not possibly know of the important event which
will take place at the court to-night. This evening the king will
present his brother, Augustus William, to the court as Prince of
Prussia, and his successor, I think that is a sufficient answer to
your question. As to Queen Elizabeth Christine, she lives at
Schonhausen, and might be called the widow of her husband. The king
never addresses one word to her, not even on grand festal days, when
etiquette compels him to take a seat by her at table."
"Now, one last question, dear friend. How is it with yourself? Are
you influential? Does Frederick love you as warmly as he did a year
ago? Do you hope to reach the goal of your ambition and become all-
"I have ceased to be ambitious," sighed Fredersdorf. "I no longer
thirst to be the king of a king. My only desire is to be independent
of courts and kings--in short, to be my own master. Perhaps I may
succeed in this; if not, be ruined, as many others have been. If I
cannot tear my chains apart, I will perish under them! As for my
influence over the king, it is sufficient to say, that for six
months I have loved a woman to distraction, who returns my passion
with ardor, and I cannot marry her because the king, notwithstanding
my prayers and agony, will not consent."
"He is right," said Pollnitz, earnestly, as he stretched himself out
comfortably on the sofa; "he is a fool who thinks of yielding up his
manly freedom to any woman."
"You say that, baron? you, who gave up king and court, and went to
Nurnberg, in order that you might marry!"
"Aha! how adroitly you have played the knife out of my hands, and
have yourself become the questioner! Well. it is but just that you
also should have your curiosity satisfied. Demand of me now and I
will answer frankly."
"You are not married, baron?"
"Not in the least; and I have sworn that the goddess Fortuna alone
shall be my beloved. I will have no mortal wife."
"The report, then, is untrue that you have again changed your
religion, and become Protestant?"
"No, this time rumor has spoken the truth. The Nurnberger patrician
would accept no hand offered by a Catholic; so I took off the glove
of my Catholicism and drew on my Protestant one. My God! to a man of
the world, his outside faith is nothing more than an article of the
toilet. Do you not know that it is bon ton for princes when they
visit strange courts to wear the orders and uniforms of their
entertainers? So it is my rule of etiquette to adopt the religion
which the circumstances in which I find myself seem to make suitable
and profitable. My situation in Nurnberg demanded that I should
become a Protestant, and I became one."
"And for all that the marriage did not take place?"
"No, it was broken off through the obstinacy of my bride, who
refused to live in good fellowship and equality with me, and gave me
only the use of her income, and no right in her property. Can you
conceive of such folly? She imagined I would give myself in
marriage, and make a baroness of an indifferently pretty burgher
maiden; yes, a baroness of the realm, and expect no other
compensation for it than a wife to bore me! She wished to wed my
rank, and found it offensive that I should marry, not only her fair
self, but her millions! The contest over this point broke off the
contract, and I am glad of it. From my whole soul I regret and am
ashamed of having ever thought of marriage. The king, therefore, has
reason to be pleased with me."
"You are thinking, then, seriously of remaining at court?"
"Do you not find that natural, Fredersdorf? I have lived fifty years
at this court, and accustomed myself to its stupidity, its
nothingness, and its ceremony, as a man may accustom himself to a
hard tent-bed, and find it at last more luxurious than a couch of
eider-down. Besides, I have just lost a million in Nurnberg, and I
must find a compensation; the means at least to close my life
worthily as a cavalier. I must, therefore, again bow my free neck,
and enter service. You must aid me, and this day obtain for me an
audience of the king. I hope your influence will reach that far. The
rest must be my own affair."
"We will see what can be done. I have joyful news for the king to-
day. Perhaps it will make him gay and complaisant, and he will grant
you an audience."
"And this news which you have for him?"
"The Barbarina has arrived!"
"What! the celebrated dancer?"
"The same. We have seized and forcibly carried her off from the
republic of Venice and from Lord McKenzie; and Baron Swartz has
brought her as prisoner to Berlin!"
Pollnitz half raised himself from the sofa, and, seizing the arm of
the private secretary, he looked him joyfully in the face. "I have
conceived a plan," said he, "a heavenly plan! My friend, the sun of
power and splendor is rising for us, and your ambition, which has
been weary and ready to die, will now revive, and raise its head
proudly on high! That which I have long sought for is at last found.
The king is too young, too ardent, too much the genius and poet, to
be completely unimpassioned. Even Achilles was not impenetrable in
the heel, and Frederick has also his mortal part. Do you know,
Fredersdorf, who will discover the weak point, and send an arrow
"Well, I will tell you: the Signora Barbarina. Ah, you smile! you
shake your unbelieving head. You are no good psychologist. Do you
not know that we desire most earnestly that which seems difficult,
if not impossible to attain, and prize most highly that which we
have won with danger and difficulty? Judge, also, how precious a
treasure the Barbarina must be to Frederick. For her sake he has for
months carried on a diplomatic contest with Venice, and at last he
has literally torn her away from my Lord Stuart McKenzie."
"That is true," said Fredersdorf, thoughtfully; "for ten days the
king has waited with a rare impatience for the arrival of this
beautiful dancer, and he commanded that, as soon as she reached
Berlin, it should be announced to him."
"I tell you the king will adore the Signora Barbarina," said
Pollnitz, as he once more stretched himself upon the sofa pillows.
"I shall visit her to-day, and make the necessary arrangements. Now
I am content. I see land, a small island of glorious promise, which
will receive me, the poor shipwrecked mariner, and give me shelter
and protection. I will make myself the indispensable counsellor of
Barbarina; I will teach her how she can melt the stony heart of
Frederick, and make him her willing slave."
"Dreams, dreams!" said Fredersdorf, shrugging his shoulders.
"Dreams which I will make realities as soon as you obtain me an
audience with the king."
"Well, we will see what can be done, and whether--but listen, the
king is awake, and has opened his window. He is playing upon the
flute, which is his morning custom. His morning music is always the
barometer of his mood, and I can generally judge what kind of royal
weather we will have, whether bright or stormy. Come with me to the
window and listen awhile."
"Agreed," said Pollnitz, and he sprang with youthful elasticity from
the divan and joined Fredersdorf at the window. They listened almost
breathlessly to the sweet tones which seemed to whisper to them from
the upper windows; then mingling and melting with the perfume of the
orange-blossoms and the glorious and life-giving morning air, they
forced their sweet and subtle essence into the room with the cunning
and hardened old courtiers.
Fredersdorf and Pollnitz listened as a sly bat listens to the merry
whistling of an innocent bird, and watches the propitious moment to
spring upon her prey. It was an adagio which the king played upon
his flute, and he was indeed a master in the art. Slightly
trembling, as if in eternal melancholy, sobbing and pleading, soon
bursting out in rapturous and joyful strains of harmony, again
sighing and weeping, these melting tones fell like costly pearls
upon the summer air. The birds in the odorous bushes, the wind which
rustled in the trees, the light waves of the river, which with soft
murmurs prattled upon the shore, all Nature seemed for the moment to
hold her breath and listen to this enchanting melody. Even
Fredersdorf felt the power and influence of this music as he had
done in earlier days. The old love for his king filled his heart,
and his eyes were misty with tears.
As the music ceased, Fredersdorf exclaimed involuntarily: "He is,
after all, the noblest and greatest of men. It is useless to be
angry with him. I am forced against my will to worship him."
"Now," said Pollnitz, whose face had not for one moment lost its
expression of cold attention and sly cunning, "how says the
barometer? May we promise ourselves a clear and sunny day?"
"Yes, Frederick is in one of his soft and yielding moods. It is
probable he has been some hours awake and has written to some of his
friends--perhaps to Voltaire, or Algarotti; this makes him always
bright and clear."
"You think I shall obtain my audience?"
"I think you will."
"Then, dear friend, I have only to say that I hope you will give me
the chocolate for that noble and soul-searching hound, the Signora
THE MORNING HOURS OF A KING.
King Frederick had finished the adagio, and stood leaning against
the window gazing into the garden; his eyes, usually so fierce and
commanding, were softened by melancholy, and a sad smile played upon
his lips. The touching air which he had played found its echo
within, and held his soul a prisoner to troubled thoughts. Suddenly
he seemed to rouse himself by a great effort to the realities of
life, and, hastily ringing the bell, he commanded Jordan, the
director of the poor and the almshouse, to be summoned to him.
A few moments later, Jordan, who had been for some days a guest at
the castle of Charlottenburg, entered the king's room. Frederick
advanced to meet him, and extended both hands affectionately. "Good-
morning, Jordan," said he, gazing into the wan, thin face of his
friend, with the most earnest sympathy. "I hope you had a refreshing
"I have had a charming night, for I was dreaming of your majesty,"
he replied, with a soft smile.
Frederick sighed, released his hands, and stepped back a few paces.
"Your majesty?" repeated he. "Why do you lay so cold a hand upon
that heart which beats so warmly for you? To what purpose is this
etiquette? Are we not alone? and can we not accord to our souls a
sweet interchange of thought and feeling without ceremony? Do we not
understand and love each other? Forget, then, for awhile, dear
Jordan, all these worldly distinctions. You see I am still in my
morning-dress. I do not, like the poor kings upon the stage, wear my
crown and sceptre in bed, or with my night-dress."
Jordan gazed lovingly and admiringly upon his great friend. "You
need no crown upon your brow to show to the world that you are a
king by the grace of God. The majesty of greatness is written upon
your face, my king."
"That," said Frederick with light irony, "is because we princes and
kings are acknowledged to be the exact image of the Creator, the
everlasting Father. As for you, and all the rest of the race, you
dare not presume to compare yourselves with us. Probably you are
made in the image of the second and third persons of the Trinity,
while we carry upon our withered and wearisome faces the
quintessence of the Godhead."
"Alas! alas, sire, if our pious priest heard you, what a stumbling-
block would he consider you!"
The king smiled. "Do you know, Jordan," said he gravely, "I believe
God raised me up for this special mission, to be a rock of offence
to these proud and worldly priests, and to trample under foot their
fooleries and their arrogance? I look upon that as the most
important part of my mission upon earth, and I am convinced that I
am appointed to humble this proud church, the vain and arrogant work
of hypocritical priests, and to establish in its place the pure
worship of God."
"Yes, yes," said Jordan, shrugging his shoulders; "if the mass of
men had the clear intellect of a Frederick! if their eyes were like
those of my royal eagle, to whom it is given to gaze steadfastly at
the sun without being dazzled. Alas! sire, the most of our race
resemble you so little! They are all like the solemn night-owls, who
draw a double curtain over their eyes, lest the light should blind
them. The church serves as this double eyelid for the night-owls
among men, or, rather, the churches, for the cunning and
covetousness of those priests has not been satisfied with one
church, but has established many."
"Yes," said the king angrily; "they have sown dragons' teeth, from
which bloodthirsty warriors have sprung, who wander up and down, and
in mad ambition tear all mankind, and themselves included, to
pieces. Listen, Jordan, we have fallen upon a subject which, as you
know, has interested and occupied me much of late, and it is
precisely upon these points that I have sought your counsel to-day.
Be seated, then, and hear what I have to say to you. You know that
the pietists and priests charge me with being a heretic, because I
do not think as they think, and believe as they believe. Which of
them, think you, Jordan, has the true faith? What is truth, and what
is wisdom? Each sect believes itself--and itself alone--the
possessor of both. That is reason enough, it appears to me, for
doubting them all."
"In the same land?"
"Yes, in various places in the same city, we are taught entirely
different and opposing doctrines in the name of religion. On one
hand, we are threatened with everlasting fire in the company of the
devil and his angels, if we believe that the Almighty is bodily
present in the elements offered at the sacrament of the Lord's
supper. On the other hand, we are taught, with equal assurance, that
the same terrible punishment will be awarded us unless we believe
that God is literally, and not symbolically, present in the bread
and wine. The simple statement of the doctrines of the different
churches in the world would fill an endless number of folios. Each
religion condemns all others, as leading to perdition; they cannot
therefore all be true, for truth does not contradict itself. If any
one of these were the true faith, would not God have made it clear,
and without question, to our eyes? God, who is truth, cannot be dark
or doubtful! If these differences in religion related only to
outward forms and ceremonies, we would let them pass as agreeable
and innocent changes, even as we adopt contentedly the changes in
style and fashion of our clothing. The doctrines of faith, as taught
in England, cannot be made to harmonize with those fulminated at
Rome. He to whom it would be given to reconcile all opposing
doctrines, and to unite all hearts in one pure and simple faith
would indeed give peace to the world, and be a Messiah and a
"Yes, he would accomplish what God himself, as it appears, has not
thought proper to do; his first great act must be to institute and
carry out a terrible massacre, in which every priest of every
existing religion must be pursued to the death."
"And that is precisely my mission," said the king. "I will institute
a massacre, not bodily and bloodily, but soul-piercing and
purifying. I say to you, Jordan, God dwells not in the churches of
these imperious priests, who choose to call themselves the servants
of God. God was with Moses on Mount Sinai, and with Zoroaster in the
wilderness; he was by Dante's side as he wrote his 'Divina
Commedia,' and he piloted the ships of Columbus as he went out
bravely to seek a new world! God is everywhere, and that mankind
should reverence and believe in and worship him, is proved by their
bearing his image and their high calling."
Jordan seized the hand of the king and pressed it enthusiastically
to his lips. "And the world says that you do not believe in God," he
exclaimed; "they class you with the unbelievers, and dare to preach
against you, and slander you from the pulpit."
"Yes, as I do not adopt their dogmas, I am, to them, a heretic,"
said the king laughing; "and when they preach against me, it proves
that they fear me, and look upon me as a powerful enemy. The enemy
of the priests I will be as long as I live, that is to say, of those
arrogant and imperious men who are wise in their own eyes, and
despise all who do not agree with them! I will destroy the
foundations of all these different churches, with their different
dogmas. I will utterly extinguish them by a universal church, in
which every man shall worship God after his own fashion. The worship
of God should be the only object of every church! All these
different doctrines, which they cast in each other's teeth, and for
love of which they close their doors against each other, shall be
given up. I will open all their churches, and the fresh, pure air of
God shall purify the musty buildings. I will build a temple, a great
illimitable temple, a second Pantheon, a church which shall unite
all churches within itself, in which it shall be granted to every
man to have his own altar, and adopt his own religious exercises.
All desire to worship God; every man shall do so according to his
conscience! Look you, Jordan, how pathetically they discourse of
brotherly love, and they tear each other to pieces! Let me only
build my Pantheon, and then will all men, in truth, become brothers.
The Jew and the so-called heathen, the Mohammedan and the Persian,
the Calvinist and the Catholic, the Lutheran and the Reformer--they
will all gather into my Pantheon, to worship God; all their forms
and dogmas will simultaneously fall to the ground. They will believe
simply in one God, and the churches of all these different sects
will soon stand empty and in ruins." [Footnote: Thiebault, in his
"Souvenirs de Vingt Ans," tells of Frederick's plan for a Pantheon.]
While the king spoke, his countenance was illumined; a noble
enthusiasm fired his large clear eyes, and his cheeks glowed as if
from the awakening breath of some new internal light.
Jordan's glance expressed unspeakable love, but at the same time he
looked so sad, so pained, that Frederick felt chilled and
"How, Jordan! you are not of my opinion?" said he, with surprise.
"Our souls, which have been always heretofore in union, are now
apart. You do not approve of my Pantheon?"
"It is too exalted, sire, to be realized. Mankind require a form of
religion, in order not to lose all personal control."
"No, you mistake. They require only God, only love for this exalted
and lofty Being, whom we call God. The only proof by which we can
know that we can sincerely love God, lies in a steadfast and strong
purpose to obey Him. According to this, we need no other religion
than our reason, the good gift of God. So soon as we know that He
has spoken, we should be silent and submissive. Our inward worship
of God should consist in this, that we acknowledge Him and confess
our sins; our outward worship in the performance of all our duties,
according to our reason, the exalted nature of God, and our entire
dependence upon Him."
"It is to be regretted, sire, that this world is not sufficiently
enlightened to comprehend you. I am afraid that your majesty will
bring about exactly the opposite of that which you design. All these
religious sects which, as you say, are so entirely antagonistic,
would by this forced union feel themselves humiliated and trampled
upon; their hatred toward each other would be daily augmented; their
antipathies would find new food; and their religious zeal, which is
always exclusive, would burn with fiercer fury. Not only the
priests, but kings and princes, would look upon the carrying out of
your plan with horror. And shall not this daring step bring terror
into the cabinets of kings? A monarch, who has just drawn the eyes
of all politicians upon himself, now proposes to take charge of the
consciences of his subjects, and bow them to his will! Alas, how
would envy, with all her poisonous serpents, fasten upon the
triumphal car of a king who, by the great things he has already
achieved, had given assurance of yet greater results, and now stoops
to tyrannize over and oppress the weak and good, and cast them among
the ruins of their temples of worship to weep and lament in despair!
No, my king, this idea of a Pantheon, a universal house of worship,
can never be realized. It was a great and sublime thought, but not a
wise one; too great, too enlarged and liberal to be appreciated by
this pitiable world. Your majesty will forgive me for having spoken
the honest truth. I was forced to speak. Like my king, I love the
one only and true God, and God is truth."
"You have done well, Jordan," said the king, after a long pause,
during which he raised his eyes thoughtfully toward heaven. "Yes,
you have done well, and I believe you are right in your objections
to my Pantheon. I offer up to you, therefore, my favorite idea. For
your dear sake, my Pantheon shall become a ruin. Let this be a proof
of the strong love I bear you, Jordan. I will not contend with the
priests in my church, but I will pursue them without faltering into
their own; and I say to you, this will be a long and stiff-necked
war, which will last while my life endures. I will not have my
people blinded and stupefied by priests. I will suffer no other king
in Prussia. I alone will be king. These proud priests may decide, in
silence and humility, to teach their churches and intercede for
them; but let them once attempt to play the role of small popes, and
to exalt themselves as the only possessors of the key to heaven,
then they shall find in me an adversary who will prove to them that
the key is false with which they shut up the Holiest of Holies, and
is but used by them as a means to rob the people of their worldly
goods. Light and truth shall be the device of my whole land. This
will I seek after, and by this will I govern Prussia. I will have no
blinded subjects, no superstitious, conscience-stricken, trembling,
priest-ridden slaves. My people shall learn to think; thought shall
be free as the wanton air in Prussia; no censor or police shall
limit her boundary. The thoughts of men should be like the life-
giving and beautifying sun, all-nourishing and all-enlightening;
calling into existence and fructifying, not only the rich, and rare,
and lovely, but also the noxious and poisonous plant and the
creeping worm. These have also the right of life: if left to
themselves, they soon die of their own insignificance or
nothingness--die under the contempt of all the good and great."
"I fear," said Jordan, "that Frederick the Great is the only man
whose mind is so liberal and so unprejudiced. Believe me, my king,
there is no living sovereign in Europe who dares guarantee to his
subjects free thought and free speech."
"I will try so to act as to leave nothing to fear from the largest
liberty of thought or speech," said the king, quietly. "Men may
think and say of me what they will--that troubles me not; I will
amuse myself with their slanders and accusations of heresy; as for
their applause--well, that is a cheap merchandise, which I must
share with every expert magician and every popular comedian. The
applause of my own conscience, and of my friends--thy applause, my
Jordan--is alone of value for me. Then," said he, earnestly, almost
solemnly, "above all things, I covet fame. My name shall not pass
away like a soft tone or a sweet melody. I will write it in golden
letters on the tablet of history; it shall glitter like a star in
the firmament; when centuries have passed away, my people shall
remember me, and shall say, 'Frederick the Second made Prussia
great, and enlarged her borders; he was a father who loved his
people more than he did himself, and cheerfully sacrificed his own
rest and comfort in their service, he was a teacher who spoke to
them by word of mouth, and gave liberty to their souls.' Oh, Jordan,
you must stand by me and help me to reach this great goal for which
I thirst. Remain with me, dear friend, remain ever by my side, and
with thy love, thy constancy, thy truth, and thy sincerity, help me
to establish what is good, and to punish the evil; to acknowledge
and promote what is noble and expose the unworthy to shame and
confusion. Oh, Jordan! God has perhaps called me to be a great king;
remain by me, and help me to be a good and simple-minded man."
He threw himself with impetuosity on Jordan's breast, and clasped
him passionately in his arms. Jordan returned the king's embrace,
and silently raised his moist eyes to heaven. A prayer to "Our
Father" spoke in that eloquent eye, a heart-felt, glowing prayer for
this man now resting upon his bosom, and who for him was not the
all-powerful and commanding sovereign, but the noble, loving, and
beloved friend, this poet and philosopher, before whose mighty
genius his whole soul bowed in wonder and admiration; but suddenly,
in this moment of deep and pious emotion, a cold, an icy chill,
seemed to shiver and play like the breath of death over his
features, and the hot blood, like liquid metal, rushed madly through
his veins; he gave a light, short cough; with a quick, abrupt
movement, he released himself from the arms of the king. Withdrawing
a few steps, he turned away, and pressed his handkerchief to his
"Jordan, you suffer, you are sick," said the king, anxiously.
Jordan turned again to him; his face was calm, and even gay; his
eyes beamed with that strange, mysterious, and touching fire of
consumption which hides the shadow of death under the rosy lip and
glowing cheek; and, less cruel than all other maladies, leaves to
the soul its freshness, and to the heart its power to love and hope.
"Not so, sire," said Jordan, "I do not suffer. How can I be
otherwise than well and happy in your presence?" As he said this he
tried to thrust his handkerchief in his pocket.
The king looked earnestly at this handkerchief. "Jordan, why did you
press that handkerchief so hastily to your lips?"
Jordan forced a smile. "Well," said he, "I was obliged, as your
majesty no doubt saw, to cough, and I wished to make this
disagreeable music as soft as possible."
"That was not the reason," said Frederick; and, stepping hastily
forward, he seized the handkerchief. "Blood! it is drenched in
blood," said he, in a tone so full of anguish, that it was evident
he recognized and feared this fatal signal.
"Well, yes, it is blood; your majesty sees I am blood-thirsty!
Unhappily, I do not shed the blood of your enemies, but my own,
which I would gladly give, drop by drop, if I could thereby save my
king one hour's suffering or care."
"And yet you, Jordan, are now the cause of my bitterest grief. You
are ill, and you conceal it from me. You suffer, and force yourself
to seem gay, and hide your danger from me, in place of turning to my
physicians and demanding their counsel and aid."
"Frederick the Wise once said to me, 'Physicians are but quacks and
charlatans, and a man gives himself up to a tedious suicide who
swallows their prescriptions.'"
"No, it was not 'Frederick the Wise,' but 'Frederick the Fool,' who
uttered that folly. When the sun is shining, Frederick has no fear
of ghosts; but at the turn of midnight, he will breathe a silent
'Father in heaven,' to be protected from them. We have no use for
confidence in physicians when we are healthy; when we are ill we
need them, and then we begin to hold them in consideration. You are
ill, your breast suffers. I entreat you, Jordan, to call upon my
physician, and to follow his advice promptly and systematically. I
demand this as a proof of your friendship."
"I will obey your majesty, immediately," said Jordan, who now found
himself completely overcome by the weakness which follows loss of
blood; trembling, and almost sinking, he leaned upon the table.
Frederick perceived this, and rolling forward his own arm-chair,
with loving and tender care, he placed Jordan within it. He called
his servant, and ordered him to roll the chair to Jordan's room, and
go instantly for the physician Ellertt.
"It will be all in vain, and I shall lose him," murmured the king.
"Yes, I will lose him, as I have lost Suhm, and as I shall soon lose
my Caesarius, the good Kaiserling. Alas! why did God give me so warm
a heart for friendship, and then deprive me of my friends?"
Folding his arms, he stepped to the window and gazed thoughtfully
and sadly into the garden below, but he saw not its bloom and
beauty; his eyes were turned inward, and he saw only the grave of
his friend. Suddenly rousing and conquering himself, he shook off
the weary spirit of melancholy, and sought comfort in his flute, the
faithful companion of all his sufferings and struggles.
THE PARDONED COURTIER.
Frederick commenced again to play, but this time it was not an
adagio, but a joyous and triumphant allegro, with which he sought to
dispel the melancholy and quench the tears flowing in his troubled
heart. He walked backward and forward in his room, and from time to
time stood before the sofa upon which his graceful greyhound, Biche,
was quietly resting. Every minute the king passed her sofa, Biche
raised her beautiful head and greeted her royal friend with an
intelligent and friendly glance and a gentle wagging of her tail,
and this salutation was returned each time by Frederick before he
passed on. Finally, and still playing the flute, the king pressed
his foot upon a silver button in the floor of his room, and rang a
bell which hung in Fredersdorf's room, immediately under his own.
A few minutes later the secretary entered, but stood quietly at the
door till the king had finished his allegro and laid aside his
"Good-morning," said the king, and he looked up at his favorite with
so sharp and piercing a glance that Fredersdorf involuntarily
trembled, and cast his eyes to the ground. "You must have been long
wide awake, you answer the bell so quickly."
"Yes, your majesty, I have been long awake. I am happy, for I have
good news to bring you."
"Well, what is it?" said the king smiling. "Has my god-mother, the
Empress Maria Theresa, voluntarily surrendered to the Emperor
Charles VII.? Have France and England become reconciled? or--and
that seems to me the most probable--has my private secretary
mastered the mystery of gold-making, after which he has so long
striven, and for which he so willingly offers up the most costly and
solemn sacrifices?" The king laid so peculiar an expression upon the
word SACRIFICE that Fredersdorf wondered if he had not listened to
his conversation with Joseph, and learned the strange sacrifice
which they now proposed to offer up to the devil's shrine.
"Well, tell your news quickly," said the king. "You see that I am
torturing myself with the most wild and incredible suppositions."
"Sire, the Barbarina reached Berlin last night."
"Truly," said the king, indifferently, "so we have at last ravished
her from Venice, and Lord Stuart McKenzie."
"Not exactly so, your highness. Lord Stuart McKenzie arrived in
Berlin this morning."
Frederick frowned. "This is also, as it appears, a case of true
love, and may end in a silly marriage. I am not pleased when men or
women in my service entertain serious thoughts of love or marriage;
it occupies their thoughts and interferes with the performance of
"Your majesty judges severely," murmured Fredersdorf, who knew full
well that this remark was intended for his special benefit.
"Well, this is not only my opinion, but I act in consonance with it.
I allow myself no relaxation. Have I ever had a love-affair?
Perhaps, Fredersdorf, you believe my blood to be frozen like ice in
my veins; that I have a heart of stone; in short, that I ceased to
be a man when I became a king."
"Not so; but I believe your majesty is too great and too exalted to
find any one worthy of your love."
"Folly, folly, sheer folly, Fredersdorf! When a man loves, he does
not weigh himself in the scales and find out how many pounds of
worth he has; he only loves, and forgets all other earthly things.
Now, for myself, I dare not forget that I am a king, and that my
time and strength belong to my people. My heart is too tender, and
for this reason I fly from love. So should you also flee, you also
dare not forget that your life is consecrated to your king. The
Signora Barbarina shall not forget that she is in my service;
dancing, and not loving, must now occupy her thoughts and actions. I
will allow her flirtations and amours, but a true love I absolutely
forbid. How can she go through with her ballets, her pirouettes, and
entrechats gayly and gracefully if a passionate love sits enthroned
within her heart? I have promised the English ambassador, who is the
cousin of this Lord Stuart McKenzie, that I will separate these
lovers. At this moment the friendship of England is of much
importance to me, and I shall certainly keep my promise. Write
immediately to the director of police that I command him not only to
banish Lord McKenzie from Berlin, but to send him under guard to
Hamburg, and there place him upon an English ship bound for England.
In twelve hours he must leave Berlin. [Footnote: This order was
obeyed. Lord McKenzie, the tender lover of the beautiful Barbarina,
who had followed her from Venice to Berlin, was, immediately on his
arrival, banished from Prussia by the special command of the king,
and taken to Hamburg; from thence he addressed some passionate
letters to his beautiful beloved, which she, of course, never
received, and which are preserved in the royal archives at Berlin.
(See Schneider's "History of Operas.")] Is that your only news,
"No, sire," said he, stealing a glance toward the door, which at
this moment was lightly opened. "I have another novelty to announce,
but I do not know whether it will be acceptable to your majesty.
Baron von Pollnitz--"
"Has sent us the announcement of his marriage?"
"No, sire, he is not married."
At this moment, the Signora Biche began to bay light notes of
welcome, and raised herself up from her comfortable position on the
sofa. The king did not remark her, however; he was wholly occupied
"How! do you say he is not married?"
"No, he has not married," said a plaintive voice from behind the
door, "and he prays your majesty, of your great grace, to allow him
to dedicate his whole life to his royal master, forgetting all other
men and women." The king turned and saw his former master of
ceremonies kneeling before the door, and his clasped hands stretched
out imploringly before him.
Frederick gave a hearty peal of laughter, while Biche, raising
herself with a joyful bark, sprang toward the kneeling penitent, and
capered playfully about him; she appeared indeed to be licking the
hand in which the sagacious baron held loosely a large piece of her
favorite chocolate. At first, the king laughed heartily; then, as he
remarked how tenderly Biche licked the hand of the baron, he shook
his head thoughtfully. "I have had a false confidence in the true
instinct of my little Biche; she seems, indeed, to welcome Pollnitz
joyfully; while a sharp bite in his calf is the only reception which
his wicked and faithless heart deserves."
"Happily, sire, my heart is not lodged in my calves," said Pollnitz.
"The wise Biche knows that the heart of Pollnitz is always in the
same place, and that love to my king and master has alone brought me
back to Berlin."
"Nonsense! A Pollnitz can feel no other love than that which he
cherishes for his own worthy person, and the purses of all others.
Let him explain now, quickly and without circumlocution, if he
really wishes my pardon, why, after going to Nurnberg to marry a bag
of gold, containing a few millions, he has now returned to Berlin."
"Sire, without circumlocution, the bag of gold would not open for
me, and would not scatter its treasures according to my necessities
"Ah! I comprehend. The beautiful Nurnberger had heard of your rare
talent for scattering gold, and thought it wiser to lose a baron of
the realm than to lose her millions."
"Yes, that's about it, sire."
"I begin to have a great respect for the wisdom of this woman," said
Frederick, laughing. "I think she has a more reliable instinct than
my poor Biche, who, I see, still licks your hands."
"Oh, Biche knows me better than any man," said Pollnitz, tenderly
patting the greyhound. "Biche knows that my heart is filled with but
one love--love to my king and master. She knows that I have returned
to lay myself as she does, in all humility and self-abandonment, at
the feet of my royal Frederick, to receive either kicks or favors,
as he may see fit to bestow them; to be equally grateful for the
bones he may throw to me in his pity, as for the costly viands he
may grant in the magnanimity of his great soul."
"You are an absolute and unqualified fool," said the king, laughing,
"and if it was not against my conscience, and unworthy of human
nature, to engage a man as a perpetual buffoon, I would promote you
to the office of court fool. You might, at least, serve as an
example to my cavaliers, by teaching them what they ought to avoid."
"I have merited this cruel contempt, this painful punishment from my
royal master," said Pollnitz. "I submit silently. I will not, for a
moment, seek to justify myself."
"You do well in that. You can make no defence. You left my service
faithlessly and heartlessly, with the hope of marrying a fortune.
The marriage failed, and you come back with falsehood in your heart
and on your lips, chattering about your love for my royal house. You
are not ashamed to liken yourself to a hound, and to howl even as
they do, in order that I may take you back into favor. Do not
suppose, for one moment, that I am deceived by these professions--if
you could have done better for yourself elsewhere, you would not
have returned to Berlin; that not being the case, you creep back,
and vow that love alone has constrained you. Look you, Pollnitz, I
know you, I know you fully. You can never deceive me; and, most
assuredly, I would not receive you again into my service, if I did
not look upon you as an old inventory of my house, an inheritance
from my grandfather Frederick. I receive you, therefore, out of
consideration for the dead kings in whose service you were, and who
amused themselves with your follies; for their sakes I cannot allow
you to hunger. Think not that I will prepare you a bed of down, and
give you gold to waste in idleness. You must work for your living,
even as we all do. I grant you a pension, but you will perform your
old duty, as grand master of ceremonies. You understand such
nonsense better than I do. You were educated in a good school, and
studied etiquette from the foundation stone, under Prussia's first
king; and that you may not say we have overlooked your great worth,
I will lay yet another burden upon your shoulders, and make you
'master of the wardrobe.' It shall not be said of us, that nonsense
and folly are neglected at our court; even these shall have their
tribute. You shall therefore be called 'Master of the Robes,' but I
counsel you, yes, I warn you, never to interfere with my coats and
shirts. You shall have no opportunity to make a gold-embroidered
monkey of me. Etiquette requires that I must have a master of the
robes, but I warn you to interest yourself in all other things
rather than in my toilet."
"All that your majesty condescends to say, is written in letters of
flame upon my heart."
"I would rather suppose upon your knees; they must indeed burn from
this long penance. I have read you a lecture, a la facon of a
village schoolmaster. You can rise, the lecture is over."
Pollnitz rose from his knees, and, straightening himself, advanced
before the king, and made one of those low, artistic bows, which he
understood to perfection. "When does your majesty wish that I should
enter upon my duties?"
"To-day--at this moment. Count Tessin, a special ambassador from
Sweden, has just arrived. I wish to give him a courtly reception.
You will make the necessary arrangements. Enter at once upon the
discharge of your functions."
"I suppose, sire, that my salary also commences so soon as I begin
the discharge of my duties?"
"I said nothing about a salary. I promised you a pension; and, not
wishing to maintain you in absolute idleness, I lay upon you these
absurd and trifling duties."
"Shall I not, then, receive two pensions, if I discharge the two
functions?" said Pollnitz, in a low voice.
"You are an out-and-out scoundrel," said Frederick, "but I know all
your tricks. I shall not follow my father's example, who once asked
you how much it required to maintain worthily a cavalier of rank,
and you assured him that a hundred thousand thalers was not
sufficient. I grant you a pension of two thousand thalers, and I
tell you it must suffice to support you creditably. Woe to you, when
you commence again your former most contemptible and miserable life!
woe to you, when you again forget to distinguish between your own
money and the money of others! I assure you that I will never again
pay one of your debts. And in order that credulous men may not be so
silly as to lend you money, I will make my wishes known by a printed
order, and impose a tax of fifty thalers upon every man silly and
bold enough to lend you money. Are you content with this, and will
you enter my service upon these terms?"
"Yes, on any conditions which your majesty shall please to lay upon
me. But when, in spite of this open declaration of your majesty,
crazy people will still insist upon lending me money, you will
admit, sire, in short, that it is not my debt, and I cannot be
called upon for payment."
"I will take such precautions that no one will be foolish enough to
lend you money. I will have it publicly announced that he who lends
you money shall have no claim upon you, so that to lend you gold is
to give you gold, and truly in such a way as to spare you even the
trouble of thanks. I will have this trumpted through every street.
Are you still content?"
"Oh, sire, you show me in this the greatest earthly kindness; you
make me completely irresponsible. Woe to the fools and lunatics who
are mad enough to lend me money! From this time onward, I shall
never know a weary or listless moment. I shall have always the
cheering and inspiring occupation of winning the hearts of trusting
and weak-minded dunces, and, by adroit sleight-of-hand, transferring
the gold from their pockets to my own."
"You are incorrigible," said the king. "I doubt if all mankind are
made after the image of God. I think many of the race resemble the
devil, and I look upon you, Pollnitz, as a tolerably successful
portrait of his satanic majesty. I don't suppose you will be much
discomposed by this opinion. I imagine you look upon God and the
devil in very much the same light."
"Oh, not so, your majesty; I am far too religious to fall into such
"Yes, you are too religious; or, rather you have to many religions.
To which, for example, do you now profess to belong?"
"Sire, I have become a Protestant."
"So long as I believed in the possibility of marrying several
millions--yes, from conviction. These millions would have made me
happy, and surely I might allow myself to become a Protestant in
order to be happy."
"Once for all, how many times have you changed your religion?" said
the king, thoughtfully.
"Oh, not very often, sire! I am forever zealously seeking after the
true faith, and so long as I do not find that religion which makes
me content with such things as I have, I am forced to change in
justice to myself. In my childhood I was baptized and brought up a
Lutheran, and I had nothing against it, and remained in that
communion till I went to Rome; there I saw the Holy Father, the
Pope, perform mass, and the solemn ceremony roused my devotional
feelings to such a height that I became a Catholic immediately. This
was, however, no change of religion. Up to this time I had not acted
for myself; so the Catholic may be justly called my first faith."
"Yes, yes! that was about the time you stole your dying bride's
diamonds and fled from France."
"Oh, your majesty, that is a wicked invention of my enemies, and
utterly unfounded. If I had really stolen and sold those magnificent
brilliants--worth half a million--from my dying love, it would have
been sufficient to assure me a luxurious life, and I should not have
found it imperative to become a Catholic."
"Ah, you confess, then, that you did not become a Catholic from
conviction, but in order to obtain the favor of the cardinals and
"Nothing escapes the quick eye of your majesty, so I will not dare
to defend myself. I came back to Berlin then, a Catholic, and the
ever-blessed king received me graciously. He was a noble and a pious
man, and my soul was seized with a glowing desire to imitate him. I
saw, indeed, how little I had advanced on the path to glory by
becoming a Catholic! I made a bold resolve and entered the Reformed
"And by this adroit move you obtained your object: you became the
favorite of my father the king. As he, unhappily, can show you no
further favor, it is no longer prudent to be a reformer, so you are
again a Lutheran--from conviction!"
"Oh, all the world knows the great, exalted, and unprejudiced mind
of our young king," said Pollnitz. "It is to him a matter of supreme
indifference what religious sect a man belongs to, so he adopts that
faith which makes him a brave, reliable, and serviceable subject of
his king and his fatherland."
Frederick cast a dark and contemptuous glance at him. "You are a
miserable mocker and despiser of all holy things; you belong to that
large class who, not from convictions of reason, but from worldly-
mindedness and licentiousness, do not believe in the Christian
religion. Such men can never be honest; they have, perhaps, from
their childhood been preached to, not to do evil from fear of hell-
fire; and so soon as they cease to believe in hell-fire, they give
themselves up to vice without remorse. You are one of these most
miserable wretches; and I say to you, that you will at last suffer
the torments of the damned. I know there is a hell-fire, but it can
only be found in a man's conscience! Now go and enter at once upon
your duties; in two hours I will receive Count Tessin in the palace
Pollnitz made the three customary bows and left the room. The king
gazed after him contemptuously. "He is a finished scoundrel!" Then
turning to Fredersdorf, who at that moment entered the room, he
said, "I believe Pollnitz would sell his mother if he was in want of
money. You have brought me back a charming fellow; I rejoice that
there are no more of the race; Pollnitz has at least the fame of
being alone in his style. Is there any one else who asks an
"Yes, sire, the antechamber is full, and every man declares that his
complaint can only be made personally to your majesty. It will
require much time to listen to all these men, and would be, besides,
a bad example. If your majesty receives fifty men to-day, a hundred
will demand audience to-morrow; they must therefore be put aside; I
have advised them all to make their wishes known in writing."
"Well, I think every man knows that is the common mode of
proceeding; as these people have not adopted it, it is evident they
prefer speaking to me. There are many things which can be better
said than written. A king has no right to close his ear to his
subjects. A ruler should not resemble a framed and curtained picture
of a god, only on rare and solemn occasions to be stared and
wondered at; he must be to his people what the domestic altar and
the household god was to the Romans, to which they drew near at all
hours with consecrated hearts and pious memories. Here they made
known all their cares, their sorrows, and their joys; here they
found comfort and peace. I will never withdraw myself from my
subjects; no, I will be the household god of my people, and will
lend a willing ear to all their prayers and complaints. Turn no man
away, Fredersdorf; I will announce it publicly, that every man has
the right to appeal to me personally."
"My king is great and good," said Fredersdorf, sadly; "every man but
myself can offer his petition to your majesty and hope for grace;
the king's ear is closed only to me; to my entreaties he will not
"Fredersdorf, you complain that I will not give my consent to your
marriage. What would you? I love you too well to give you up; but
when you take a wife you will be forever lost to me. A man cannot
serve two masters, and I will not divide your heart with this
Mademoiselle Daum; you must give it to me entire! Do not call me
cruel, Fredersdorf; believe that I love you and cannot give you up."
"Oh, sire, I shall only truly belong to you in love and gratitude,
when you permit me to be happy and wed the maiden I so fondly love."
"I will have no married private secretary, nor will I have a married
secretary of state," said the king, with a dark frown. "Say not
another word, Fredersdorf; put these thoughts away from you! My God,
there are so many other things on which you could have set your
heart! why must it be ever on a woman?"
"Because I love her passionately, your majesty."
"Ah, bah! do you not love other things with which you can console
yourself? You are a scholar and an alchemist. Well, then, read
Horace; exercise yourself in the art of making gold, and forget this
Mademoiselle Daum, who, be it said, in confidence between us, has no
other fascination than that she is rich. As to her wealth, that can
have but little charm for YOU, who, without doubt, will soon have
control of all the treasures of the world. By God's help, or the
devil's, you will very soon, I suppose, discover the secret of
"He has, indeed, heard my conversation with Joseph," said
Fredersdorf to himself, and ashamed and confused, he cast his eyes
down before the laughing glance of the king.
"Read your Horace diligently," said Frederick--"you know he is also
my favorite author; you shall learn one of his beautiful songs by
heart, and repeat it to me."
The king walked up and down the room, and cast, from time to time, a
piercing glance at Fredersdorf. He then repeated from Horace these
"'Torment not your heart
With the rich offering of a bleeding lamb.'"
"I see well," said Fredersdorf, completely confused, "I see well
that your majesty knows--"
"That it is high time," said the king, interrupting him, "to go to
Berlin; you do well to remind me of it. Order my carriage--I will be
off at once."
HOW THE PRINCESS ULRICA BECAME QUEEN OF SWEDEN.
Princess Ulrica, the eldest of the two unmarried sisters of the
king, paced her room with passionate steps. The king had just made
the queen-mother a visit, and had commanded that his two sisters
should be present at the interview.
Frederick was gay and talkative. He told them that the Signora
Barbarina had arrived, and would appear that evening at the castle
theatre. He invited his mother and the two princesses to be present.
He requested them to make tasteful and becoming toilets, and to be
bright and amiable at the ball and supper after the theatre. The
king implored them both to be gay: the one, in order to show that
she was neither angry nor jealous; the other, that she was proud and
The curiosity of the two young girls was much excited, and they
urged the king to explain his mysterious words. He informed them
that Count Tessin, the Swedish ambassador, would be present at the
ball; that he was sent to Berlin to select a wife for the prince
royal of Sweden, or, rather, to receive one; the choice, it
appeared, had been already made, as the count had asked the king if
he might make proposals for the hand of the Princess Amelia, or if
she were already promised in marriage. The king replied that Amelia
was bound by no contract, and that proposals from Sweden would be
"Be, therefore, lovely and attractive," said the king, placing his
hand caressingly upon the rosy cheek of his little sister; "prove to
the count that the intellectual brow of my sweet sister is fitted to
wear a crown worthily."
The queen-mother glanced toward the window into which the Princess
Ulrica had hastily withdrawn.
"And will your majesty really consent that the youngest of my
daughters shall be first married?"
The king followed the glance of his mother, and saw the frowning
brow and trembling lip of his sister. Frederick feared to increase
the mortification of Ulrica, and seemed, therefore, not to observe
"I think," said he, "your majesty was not older than Amelia when you
married my father; and if the crown prince of Sweden wishes to marry
Amelia, I see no reason why we should refuse him. Happily, we are
not Jews, and our laws do not forbid the younger sister to marry
first. To refuse the prince the hand of Amelia, or to offer him the
hand of Ulrica, would indicate that we feared the latter might
remain unsought. I think my lovely and talented sister does not
deserve to be placed in such a mortifying position, and that her
hand will be eagerly sought by other royal wooers."
"And, for myself, I am not at all anxious to marry," said Ulrica,
throwing her head back proudly, and casting a half-contemptuous,
half-pitiful look at Amelia. "I have no wish to marry. Truly, I have
not seen many happy examples of wedded life in our family. All my
sisters are unhappy, and I see no reason why I should tread the same
The king smiled. "I see the little Ulrica shares my aversion to
wedded life, but we cannot expect, dearest, that all the world
should be equally wise. We will, therefore, allow our foolish sister
Amelia to wed, and run away from us. This marriage will cost her
anxiety and sorrow; she must not only place her little feet in the
land of reindeers, bears, and eternal snows, but she must also be
baptized and adopt a new religion. Let us thank God, then, that the
prince has had the caprice to pass you by and choose Amelia, who, I
can see, is resolved to be married. We will, therefore, leave the
foolish child to her fate."
It was Frederick's intention, by these light jests, to comfort his
sister Ulrica, and give her time to collect herself. He did not
remark that his words had a most painful effect upon his younger
sister, and that she became deadly pale as he said she must change
her faith in order to become princess royal of Sweden.
The proud queen-mother had also received this announcement angrily.
"I think, sire," said she, "that the daughter of William the Second,
and the sister of the King of Prussia, might be allowed to remain
true to the faith of her fathers."
"Madame," said the king, bowing reverentially, "the question is not,
I am sorry to say, as to Amelia's father or brother; she will be the
mother of sons, who, according to the law of the land, must be
brought up in the religion of their father. You see, then, that if
this marriage takes place, one of the two contracting parties must
yield; and, it appears to me, that is the calling and the duty of
"Oh, yes," said the queen bitterly, "you have been educated in too
good a school, and are too thoroughly a Hohenzollern, not to believe
in the complete self-renunciation of women. At this court, women
have only to obey."
"Nevertheless, the women do rule over us; and even when we appear to
command, we are submissive and obedient," said the king, as he
kissed his mother's hand and withdrew.
The three ladies also retired to their own rooms immediately. Each
one was too much occupied with her own thoughts to bear the presence
And now, being alone, the Princess Ulrica found it no longer
necessary to retain the smiles which she had so long and with such
mighty effort forced to play upon her lips; every pulse was beating
with glowing rage, and she gave free course to her scorn.
Her younger sister, this little maiden of eighteen years, was to be
married, to wed a future king; while she, the eldest, now two-and-
twenty, remained unchosen! And it was not her own disinclination nor
the will of the king which led to this shameful result; no! the
Swedish ambassador came not to seek her hand, but that of her
sister! She, the elder, was scorned--set aside. The king might
truthfully say there was no law of the land which forbade the
marriage of the younger sister before the elder; but there was a law
of custom and of propriety, and this law was trampled upon.
As Ulrica thought over these things, she rose from her seat with one
wild spring. On entering the room she had completely overcome, and,
with trembling knees, she had fallen upon the divan. She stood now,
however, like a tigress prepared for attack, and looking for the
enemy she was resolved to slay. The raging, stormy blood of the
Hohenzollerns was aroused. The energy and pride of her mother glowed
with feverish pulses in her bosom. She would have been happy to find
an enemy opposed to her, the waves of passion rushing through her
veins might have been assuaged; but she was alone, entirely alone,
and had no other enemy to overcome than herself. She must, then,
declare war against her own evil heart. With wild steps she rushed
to the glass, and scrutinizingly and fiercely examined her own
image. Her eye was cold, searching, and stern. Yes, she would prove
herself; she would know if it were any thing in her own outward
appearance which led the Swedish ambassador to choose her sister
rather than herself.
"It is true, Amelia is more beautiful, in the common acceptation of
the word; her eyes are larger, her cheek rosier, her smile more
fresh and youthful, and her small but graceful figure is at the same
time childlike and voluptuous. She would make an enchanting
shepherdess, but is not fitted to be a queen. She has no majesty, no
presence. She has not by nature that imposing gravity, which is the
gift of Providence, and cannot be acquired, and without which the
queen is sometimes forgotten in the woman. Amelia can never attain
that eternal calm, that exalted composure, which checks all approach
to familiarity, and which, by an almost imperceptible pressure of
the hand and a light smile, bestows more happiness and a more
liberal reward than the most impassioned tenderness and the warmest
caresses of a commonplace woman. No, Amelia could never make a
complete queen, she can only be a beautiful woman; while I--I know
that I am less lovely, but I feel that I am born to rule. I have the
grace and figure of a queen--yes, I have the soul of a queen! I
would understand how to be imposing, and, at the same time, to
obtain the love of my people, not from any weak thirst for love, but
from a queenly ambition. But I am set aside, and Amelia will be a
queen; my fate will be that of my elder sisters, I shall wed a poor
margrave, or paltry duke, and may indeed thank God if I am not an
old maiden princess, with a small pension."
She stamped wildly upon the floor, and paced the room with hasty
steps. Suddenly she grew calmer, her brow, which had been
overshadowed by dark clouds, cleared, and a faint smile played upon
those lips which a moment before had been compressed by passion.
"After all," she said, "the formal demand for the hand of Amelia has
not yet been made; perhaps the ambassador has mistaken my name for
that of Amelia, and as he has made no direct proposition, I am
convinced he wishes to make some observations before deciding. Now,
if the result of this examination should prove to him that Amelia is
not fitted to be the wife of his prince, and if Amelia herself--I
thought I saw that she turned pale as the king spoke of abandoning
her faith; and when she left the room, despair and misery were
written upon that face which should have glowed with pride and
triumph. Ah, I see land!" said Ulrica, breathing freely and sinking
comfortably upon the divan, "I am no longer hopelessly shipwrecked;
I have found a plank, which may perhaps save me. Let me consider
calmly,"--and, as if Fate itself were playing into her hand, the
door opened and Amelia entered.
One glance was sufficient to show Ulrica that she was not deceived,
and that this important event had brought no joy to poor Amelia. The
lovely eyes of the princess were red with weeping; and the soft
lips, so generally and gladly given to gay chat and merry laughter,
were now expressive of silent anguish. Ulrica saw all this, and laid
her plans accordingly. In place of receiving Amelia coldly and
repulsively, which but a few moments before she would have done, she
sprang to meet her with every sign of heart-felt love; the little
maiden threw herself weeping convulsively into her sister's arms,
and was pressed closely and tenderly to her bosom.
"Tears!" said Ulrica lovingly, as she drew her sister to the sofa
and pressed her down upon the soft pillows; "you weep, and yet a
splendid future is this day secured to you!"
Amelia sobbed yet more loudly and pressed her tear-stained face more
closely to the bosom of her sister. Ulrica looked down with a
mixture of curiosity and triumph; she could not understand these
tears; but she had a secret satisfaction in seeing the person she
most envied weeping so bitterly.
"How is this? are you not happy to be a queen?"
Amelia raised her face hastily and sobbed out: "No! I am not pleased
to be an apostate, to perjure myself! I am not content to deny my
faith in order to buy a miserable earthly crown! I have sworn to be
true to my God and my faith, and now I am commanded to lay it aside
like a perishable robe, and take another in exchange."
"Ah, is it that?" said Ulrica, with a tone of contempt she could
scarcely control; "you fear this bold step by which your poor
innocent soul may be compromised."
"I will remain true to the belief in which I have been educated, and
to which I have dedicated myself at the altar!" cried Amelia,
bursting again into tears.
"It is easy to see that but a short time only has elapsed since you
took these vows upon you. You have all the fanaticism of a new
convert. How would our blessed father rejoice if he could see you
"He would not force me to deny my religion; he would not, for the
sake of outward splendor, endanger my soul's salvation. Oh! it is
harsh and cruel of my brother to treat me as a piece of merchandise;
he asks not whether my heart or principles can conscientiously take
part in his ambitious plans."
Ulrica cast a long and piercing glance upon her sister. She would
gladly have searched to the bottom of her soul; she wished to know
if this fierce opposition to the marriage was the result of love to
the faith of her fathers.
"And you are not ambitious? you are not excited by the thought of
being a queen, of marrying a man who will fill a place in the
The young girl raised her eyes in amazement, and her tears ceased to
"What has a woman to do with the world's history?" she said; "think
you I care to be named as the wife of a king of Sweden? It is a sad,
unhappy fate to be a princess. We are sold to him who makes the
largest offer and the most favorable conditions. Well, let it be so;
it is the fate of all princesses; it is for this we are educated,
and must bow humbly to the yoke; but liberty of conscience should be
at least allowed us, freedom of thought, the poor consolation of
worshipping God in the manner we prefer, and of seeking help and
protection in the arms of that religion we believe in and love."
"One can be faithful to God even when unfaithful to their first
faith," said Ulrica, who began already to make excuses to herself
for the change of religion she contemplated.
"That is not in my power!" cried Amelia passionately. "I cling to
the religion of my house, and I should tremble before the wrath of
God if I gave it up."
"After all, it is but a small and unimportant difference between the
Reformed and Lutheran Churches," said Ulrica, much excited, and
entirely forgetting that the question had as yet no relation to
herself. "One can be as pious a Christian in the Reformed Church as
in the Lutheran."
"Not I; it is not in my power," said Amelia, with the wilfulness of
a spoiled child not accustomed to opposition. "I will not become a
Lutheran. A Pollnitz may change his faith, but not the daughter of
Frederick William. Did not the king with indignation and contempt
relate to us how Pollnitz had again changed his religion and become
a Protestant? Did we not laugh heartily, and in our hearts despise
the dishonorable man? I will not place myself in such a position."
"Then, my sister, there will be stormy times and stern strife in our
household: the bitter scenes of earlier days will be renewed. Our
royal brother is not less resolute than our stern father. I fear
that his brothers and sisters are nothing more to him than useful
instruments in this great state machine, and they must bow
themselves unquestioningly to his commands."
"Yes, I feel this; I see it clearly," said Amelia, trembling; "and
for this reason, dear sister, you must stand by me and help me. I
swear to you that I will not become a Lutheran."
"Is that your unchangeable resolution?"
"Well, if that is so, I will give you my counsel."
"Speak, speak quickly," said Amelia, breathlessly, and throwing her
arms around the slender waist of her sister, she laid her head
trustingly upon her shoulder.
"Firstly, the Swedish ambassador has not made a formal demand for
your hand; that probably proves that he will first examine and
observe you closely, to see if you are suited to be the wife of the
prince royal. We have still, therefore, a short delay, which, if
wisely used, may conduct you to the desired goal. But, Amelia, prove
yourself once more; ask counsel again of your heart and conscience,
before you make a final resolve. I will not have you complain of me
in future, and say that my foolish and guilty counsel lost you the
throne of Sweden."
"Oh, fear not, my beloved sister. I will not be queen of Sweden at
the cost of my immortal soul."
"You will not, then, reproach me, Amelia?"
"Listen, then. From this moment lay a mask upon your face; that is
to say, assume a proud, rude, overbearing tone to all around you--
toward your friends, your servants, the court circle, yes, even
toward the members of your family. Particularly in the presence of
this Swedish ambassador, show yourself to be a capricious, nervous,
and haughty princess, who scarcely thinks it worth the trouble to
speak a word, or give a friendly glance, to a man in his position.
When you speak to him and he attempts to answer, cut short his
replies, and command him to be silent; if he strives to win your
favor by the most respectful civility, let an unmistakable
expression of contempt be written upon your face, and let that be
your only answer. Regulate your conduct for a few days by these
rules, and I am convinced you will attain your object."
"Yes, yes! I understand, I understand!" said the young girl,
clapping her little white hands, and looking up joyously. "I shall,
by my pride and passion, freeze the words in the mouth of my lord
ambassador, so that the decisive word cannot find utterance. Oh!
this will be a precious comedy, my sweet sister, and I promise you
to carry out my role of heroine to perfection. Oh, I thank you! I
thank you! I am indeed happy to have found so wise a sister, so
brave a comrade in arms, while surrounded with such perils!"
"She would not have it otherwise," said Ulrica, laconically, as she
found herself again alone. "If she is without ambition, so much the
worse for her--so much the better for me! And now, it is high time
to think of my toilet--that is the most important consideration. To-
day I must be not only amiable, but lovely. To-day I will appear an
innocent and unpretending maiden."
With a mocking smile she entered her boudoir, and called her
Princess Ulrica was earnestly occupied with considerations of her
toilet. Amelia had returned to her room, musing and thoughtful.
There were difficulties in the way of the new role she had resolved
to play, and by which she expected to deceive the world. She stood
for a moment before the door of her dressing-room, and listened to
the voices of her attendants, who were gayly laughing and talking.
It was her custom to join them, and take a ready part in their merry
sports and jests. She must now, however, deny herself, and put a
guard over her heart and lips. Accordingly, with a dark frown on her
brow and tightly-compressed lips, she entered the room in which her
maids were at that moment arranging her ball toilet for the evening.
"It seems to me that your loud talking is most unseemly," said
Amelia, in a tone so haughty, so passionate, that the smiles of the
two young girls vanished in clouds. "I will be obliged to you if you
will complete your work noiselessly, and reserve your folly till you
have left my room! And what is that, Mademoiselle Felicien? for what
purpose have you prepared these flowers, which I see lying upon your
"Your royal highness, these flowers are for your coiffure, and these
bouquets are intended to festoon your dress."
"How dare you allow yourself to decide upon my toilet,
"I have not dared," said Felicien, tremblingly; "your royal highness
ordered moss roses for your hair, and bouquets of the same for your
bosom and your robe."
"It appears to me," said Amelia, imperiously, "that to contradict
me, and at the same time assert that which is false, is, to say the
least, unbecoming your position. I am not inclined to appear in the
toilet of a gardener's daughter. To prove this, I will throw these
flowers, which you dare to assert I ordered, from the window; with
their strong odor they poison the air."
With a cruel hand, she gathered up the lovely roses, and hastened to
the window. "Look, mademoiselle, these are the flowers which you
undertook to prepare for my hair," said Amelia, with well-assumed
scorn, as she threw the bouquet into the garden which surrounded the
castle of Monbijou; "look, mademoiselle."
Suddenly the princess uttered a low cry, and looked, blushing
painfully, into the garden. In her haste, she had not remarked that
two gentlemen, at that moment, crossed the great court which led to
the principal door of the castle; and the flowers which she had so
scornfully rejected, had struck the younger and taller of the
gentlemen exactly in the face. He stood completely amazed, and
looked questioningly at the window from which this curious bomb had
fallen. His companion, however, laughed aloud, and made a profound
bow to the princess, who still stood, blushing and embarrassed, at
"From this hour I believe in the legend of the Fairy of the Roses,"
said the elder of the two gentlemen, who was indeed no other than
Baron Pollnitz. "Yes, princess, I believe fully, and I would not be
at all astonished if your highness should at this moment flutter
from the window in a chariot drawn by doves, and cast another shower
of blossoms in the face of my friend."
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