Berlin and Sans-Souci
Part 6 out of 11
"I--I am to be the instrument of this miserable plot!" he cried
passionately. "Because I lead a lonely, joyless life. I am selected
to execute this infamy. Ah, how little do they know me! how slight a
knowledge of the human heart have these learned professors! Eckhof
in danger, and I remain silent? Eckhof threatened, and I not warn
him? That were a treachery against myself, a crime against art and
my own poor heart. If I remain silent, I become an accomplice in
this vile conspiracy." At this thought, he took his hat, and hurried
from the room.
When he reached the door of Eckhof's lodging, he hesitated. A
profound pallor succeeded a burning glow upon his countenance, and
he murmured to himself: "No, no; I have not the strength to see him
to-day. I should die if his eyes rested upon me. I will go to
Joseph Fredersdorf was at home, and received Lupinus with astonished
"The holy one trusts himself in the den of the wicked," he said,
with a bright smile. "This is an unheard-of event, which doubtless
indicates something important."
"You are laughing at me, but you are right. I am here for a purpose;
nothing unimportant would have induced me to come to you after the
ungrateful manner in which I declined your friendly advances. But I
am sure you will forgive the intrusion when you become aware of the
motive which has led me to you."
With hurried words and frequent interruptions from Fredersdorf,
Lupinus informed his friend of the president's visit, and its
"This is a regular conspiracy," said Joseph, as Lupinus finished.
"If it succeed, the punishment of the actors will be the result."
"It must not succeed--we must prevent that. The first thing to be
done is to gain over the other students to whom the president has
intrusted this plot. We must either do that or prevent them from
entering the theatre."
"But if we can do neither?"
"Then we must allow what we cannot prevent, but we must seek to
avert the evil consequences. We will address ourselves to the king,
and inform him who has occasioned this disturbance, and why it was
"The king is just, and happily it is not difficult to see him,
especially for me, as my brother is his private secretary. We must
be active, and the victory will be ours. And now, my dear friend,
for you must allow me to call you so from this day, let us go to my
master, Eckhof. He must thank you himself for this kind warning.
Come to Eckhof."
"No!" said Lupinus, "it is a matter of no importance to Eckhof, who
has given the information. There is much to be done to-day. I will
seek to gain over the students; you must hasten to Eckhof."
"And will you not accompany me?"
"No, my friend, not to-day. Let us await the events of this evening.
Perhaps I shall ask you to present me to him to-morrow."
"Ah, that would be a real triumph for me!"
"Let us first take care that this plot fails, and the actors are not
driven from Halle."
"When we have accomplished this, will you promise to walk arm-in-arm
with me three times through the market-place?"
"Not only three times, but as often as you will."
"Now I feel the strength of Samson, and the craft of Delilah. With
this reward before me, I will vanquish all enemies."
THE DISTURBANCE IN THE THEATRE.
So dense was the crowd which filled the streets in the neighborhood
of the theatre on the evening of Eckhof's benefit, that it appeared
as if the entire population of the city of Halle must be unanimous
in wishing to do honor to this wonderful artiste.
Eckhof owed this triumph to the students; he had been their darling
from the time of his first appearance among them, and now he had
become the favorite of the entire city, with the exception of the
Had the theatre been three times its actual size, it could scarcely
have accommodated all who had made applications for tickets. The
parterre was given up almost entirely to the students, upon whose
countenances was plainly seen their deep interest in the evening's
Here and there among them a few earnest faces and darkly flashing
eyes might be seen, but they seemed to arrest no eye but that of
Lupinus. He had passed every countenance in review, and had
instantly recognized by their expression those students who had
entered into the plot of the president. He had failed in his effort
to discover them before the opening of the theatre, and was,
therefore, unable to prevent their attendance.
Professor Franke had informed these students that they might count
upon the assistance of Lupinus, and one of them had just whispered
to him: "There will be a fierce struggle, and I fear we shall be
worsted, as our number is so small. Did you bring your rapier?"
Before Lupinus could answer, he was separated from his questioner by
a crowd of students pushing their way forward. It seemed as if these
new arrivals had not come to the theatre for mere amusement. They
glanced threateningly around them, as if seeking a concealed enemy.
In passing Lupinus they greeted him with a few low-spoken words, or
a warm pressure of the hand.
These students were the special friends of Joseph Fredersdorf. To
them he had confided the danger which threatened the actors this
evening, and had demanded their aid in maintaining peace and quiet.
They scattered about amongst the crowd of students, and whispered to
their friends and acquaintances: "No disturbance this evening. We
must be quiet, whatever occurs."
At length this fluttering, whispering crowd were silenced by the
ringing of the bell which announced the rising of the curtain.
The piece began, and never had Eckhof displayed such fire, such
enthusiasm; the students had never exhibited such rapt and earnest
attention. Their excitement was shown by their flashing eyes and
glowing cheeks, and the low murmurs of delight which arose
occasionally from this dark mass. But at length a moment arrived
when it became impossible to suppress the expression of their
delight, and forgetting all resolve to the contrary, they called
aloud, amid thunders of applause, for their favorite Eckhof, who had
just left the stage.
"A disturbance is now unavoidable," said Lupinus to himself, "but
Eckhof deserves that we should forget all such miserable
considerations. To die for him were to be indeed blessed."
As Eckhof appeared upon the stage, in answer to the repeated calls
upon his name, Lupinus gazed upon him with a beaming countenance,
and joined the others in their cries of delight.
The unalloyed triumph of Eckhof endured but for one moment, for
suddenly, high above the shouts of applause, arose a piercing,
derisive whistle, succeeded by hisses and groans.
As if by magic, the aspect of the parterre was changed. Every
student looked wrathfully at his neighbor, as if determined to
discover and punish the rash offender who dared run counter to the
general approbation. A few students were endeavoring to calm the
rising storm; but renewed hisses and groans made this impossible,
and one voice was heard high above the others: "You hissed, sir; I
"And I forbid you to applaud," was the answer. "So long as you
applaud, I will hiss. Accommodate yourself to that."
A universal cry of wrath arose as if from one voice. The struggle
was inevitable, as Lupinus had foreseen; the parterre of the theatre
was converted into a battle-ground, and a fierce combat began among
these young, hot-blooded students. The manager ordered the lights to
be extinguished, and the police to be called in, but for a long time
their efforts were ineffectual in subduing the contest.
We will leave the theatre with Lupinus, who, as soon as he could
extricate himself from the battling crowd, hurried through the
streets, toward the lodging of Fredersdorf.
He found a post-carriage before the door, and Fredersdorf, dressed
for a journey, was just leaving the house. As he was stepping into
the carriage, Lupinus placed his hand upon his shoulder, and said,
"Where are you going, Fredersdorf?"
"To Berlin, to the king."
"The king is not in Berlin; he is in Silesia, with the army."
"I received letters from my brother to-day. The king has gone to
Berlin for a few days, and my brother is with him. I will have no
difficulty in obtaining an audience. I shall give the king a correct
version of this affair. He will perceive that this disturbance was
occasioned by the professors, and he will not allow us to be driven
from Halle. Farewell, my friend; in four days I return, and you
shall hear the result of my journey."
"I intend to accompany you."
"You intend to accompany me?"
"Yes; perhaps you will need a witness; I must be with you. I thought
you would have counted on me."
"How could I suppose that Lupinus, the learned student, who will
receive his diploma at the end of a few weeks, would tear himself
from the arms of his beloved Science, to go with a comedian before
the king, and bear witness for the hated and despised actors?"
"Ah, Fredersdorf," said Lupinus; "if you consider Science my
beloved, I fear you will soon have occasion to call me a faithless
"What can you mean? How! you also--"
"Let us be off, my friend. We will discuss that in the carriage."
Four days after the unfortunate occurrences in the theatre,
Fredersdorf and his friend Lupinus returned from their secret
journey, the object of which was unknown even to Eckhof. No sooner
had they alighted from their travelling carriage, than they
proceeded arm-in-arm to Eckhof's lodging. They found him at home and
alone, and Fredersdorf saw from his pale countenance and lustreless
eyes that his sensitive, easily excited nature had been deeply
wounded by the late events.
"I bring you a new pupil, my master," said Fredersdorf, drawing
Lupinus forward, who stood deeply blushing before Eckhof.
Eckhof smiled sadly. "A pupil who desires that I should lead him
through all the classes and degrees of the school of suffering and
"A young student, Eckhof, who up to this time has been the pride and
delight of the university; who, however, now wishes to relinquish
this honor, and become one of your followers. In one word, this is
Lupinus, who desires to waive his right to the prospective dignity
of the title of doctor of medicine, and to become your pupil, and
eventually an actor."
"You are kind and tender-hearted as ever, Joseph," said Eckhof,
gently. "You know that I bear a wound in my heart, and you seek to
heal it with the balm of your friendship, and this kind jest."
"This is no jest, but a reality. Truly, you resemble a pair of
lovers, who have not the courage to believe in their own happiness.
Eckhof will not believe that the learned student Lupinus wishes to
become his follower and pupil, and Lupinus stands there like a young
girl who has received a declaration and does not dare say yes.
Speak, Lupinus, and tell this doubter that you have come
voluntarily; that I have not pressed you into the service as
Frederick William impressed soldiers. Truly, I had trouble enough in
divining from your broken words and repressed sighs, your blushes,
and your deep admiration for Eckhof, this secret which lay in your
bosom. But now that it has been discovered, take courage, my friend,
and raise the veil which conceals your desires."
Lupinus remained speechless, only the heaving of his breast betrayed
his excitement. Eckhof had compassion on the evident embarrassment
of the young student, and approaching him laid his hand gently on
his shoulder. Lupinus trembled and grew pale under Eckhof's gentle,
"Do you wish really to become an actor?" questioned Eckhof.
"Yes," he replied in a low voice, "I have long wished it, I have
struggled with this wish, and thought I had overcome it; but the
struggle has been in vain; in vain have I buried myself in books and
studies. I will keep up this internal strife no longer, but will
follow the inclinations of my heart, which lead me to you. In this
new life I shall be happy and contented; and this I can only hope to
be, in giving my life to poetry and art."
"Ah, he speaks and thinks as I did," said Eckhof to him self; then
turning to Lupinus, he said: "You wish to be an actor; that means,
you desire a life of shame and humiliation. No one shall become an
actor if I can prevent it. Do you know, young man, that, to become
an actor, means to have the whole world, and perhaps even God,
arrayed against you?"
"You are unjust, Eckhof," cried Fredersdorf--"unjust to yourself and
to the world. You scorn your own triumph, and those who prepared
that triumph for you."
"You are right so far, my friend," replied Eckhof sadly. "But is it
not also true that we are persecuted and driven forth? Has it not
been proved that for an actor there is no law, no justice?"
"Who knows," said Fredersdorf, smiling, "that we may not still
triumph over these miserable conspirators?"
"Are you aware that the theatre has been closed, and our
representations forbidden until the decision of the General
Assembly, with regard to the late disturbance in the theatre, shall
"The General Assembly will order the theatre to be opened, and our
representations to recommence."
Eckhof heard this with a cutting, derisive laugh. "Dear friend, such
an order would render justice to the scorned and oppressed on
"And they will receive justice; but it must be sought in the right
"Where is that place?"
"Where the king is."
"Ah! the king! That may be true in your case, because your brother
is his private secretary, but it is not true for me--not true for
the German actor."
"Eckhof, you are again unjust. The king is too noble, too free from
prejudice, to be deceived by the dust with which these learned
professors have sought to blind him. The king knows that they
occasioned the late disturbance in the theatre."
"Who has told you that?"
"The king himself."
"You have seen the king?"
"I have. I hope you will allow now, that it is not a good thing for
me only that my brother is private secretary to the king. I have
seen his majesty, and I informed him of this wretched intrigue of
the professors. He might not have put entire faith in the accounts
of the actor, Joseph Fredersdorf, but I was accompanied by a
responsible witness, who confirmed my words."
"Who was this witness?"
"This is he," said Joseph, drawing Lupinus forward.
"Ah!" said Eckhof, "and I was murmuring and complaining against
fate--I, whose friends have shown their love by deeds as well as by
words--friends who worked for me whilst I sat with folded hands
bewailing my bad fortune. Forgive me, Joseph; forgive me, my young
friend; come to my arms, my comrades, my brothers, and say that you
will forget my anger and injustice."
He opened his arms, and Joseph threw himself upon his breast.
"And you, my friend," said Eckhof, turning to Lupinus, who stood
pale and motionless before him.
Joseph drew them together and exclaimed: "Was I not right? You are
like two lovers; Lupinus acts the part of the coy maiden to the
life. I do not believe, Eckhof, that you will ever have a wife who
will love you more entirely, more tenderly, than our young doctor
Lupinus, now folded in the arms of Eckhof, trembled and grew pale at
these words from Joseph.
"Love me, love me, my dear young friend," said Eckhof, softly.
"Friendship is the purest, the holiest gift of God. It is the love
of the souls. Be faithful to me, Lupinus, as I shall be to you."
"I will be faithful so long as I live, faithful beyond the grave,"
"You whispering, dreaming lovers, are forgetting me," said Joseph,
laughing. "You must not forget, Eckhof, that the future of our
friend is awaiting your decision. Shall he give up his studies as I
did, and become an actor? It is only proper to tell you that the
cases are not quite parallel, for I was a very lazy student, and he
is most industrious. I was considered a good-for-nothing, and
Lupinus is a miracle of knowledge and learning. Shall he abandon
this position and follow you?"
"He must not, indeed," said Eckhof.
"You will not receive me?" said Lupinus, sadly.
"Not at present, dear friend; I wish to be reasonable and careful,
and perhaps a little egotistical. If you should leave the university
at present, you give the professors a new weapon against me, and it
would be said that I had employed arts to seduce you from the paths
of science. And, further, we do not know if you have a talent for
our profession; that must first be proved. Remain for the present
true to your studies; at the end of a year, during which time you
shall pass your novitiate, we will decide this question."
"It shall be as you say," said Lupinus, earnestly. "I will first
gain my diploma, and then you shall decide my future, you and no
"So be it," said Joseph, "and now let us drink to your future
success, Lupinus, in a glass of champagne, and to the confusion of
the professors, who are awaiting with such proud confidence the
decision of the General Assembly."
THE ORDER OF THE KING.
Joseph Fredersdorf was quite right in saying that the professors
awaited the decision of the General Assembly with proud confidence.
It did not occur to them that it might be unfavorable to their
wishes. A public disturbance had arisen between the students,
occasioned by a performance in the theatre; this was a sufficient
cause for the banishment of the actors. An account of the riot had
been already forwarded by the Senate of the University to the
General Assembly, and the worthy gentlemen who composed this body
did not doubt the fulfilment of their request, that the actors
should be removed from Halle.
President Franke received with the utmost composure the official
dispatch, containing the decision of the General Assembly, and
called an immediate meeting of the Senate for its perusal. Whilst
awaiting the opening of the meeting, Professor Heinrich was
expressing to his friend, Professor Bierman, his impatience to know
the contents of this dispatch.
"I am not at all impatient," replied Bierman. "I am convinced the
decision will be perfectly satisfactory to us; in fact, that it
commands the departure of these actors from our city."
"Have you no doubts? Do you not fear that the king, in his hatred
for the theologians, and his admiration for these comedians, may
decide in their favor rather than in ours?"
"Dear friend, such a doubt would be unworthy the dignity of our
position. The king, seeing that the matter has gone so far, must
decide in our favor. And here is our worthy president; look at his
proud and cheerful aspect, and judge whether the document he holds
in his hand can be unfavorable."
"He does, indeed, seem contented," answered Professor Heinrich, as
he and his friend moved forward to meet the president.
With great solemnity the senators proceeded to take their seats in
the arm-chairs which encircled a high table standing in the centre
of the room.
After a moment's silence the president addressed them: "Worthy
friends and colleagues, I have to announce to you that the hour has
at length arrived which is to end all the doubts and cares that have
oppressed our hearts for many months. We have had a bitter struggle;
we have striven to preserve the honor of our university and the
well-being of the youth committed to our care. The men who work with
such noble motives must eventually triumph."
"The decision is, then, in our favor?" asked Professor Heinrich, no
longer able to subdue his impatient curiosity. "Your excellency has
already read the dispatch of the General Assembly, and are
acquainted with its contents."
"I have not read it, and I do not know its contents. But I rely upon
our worthy cause, and the king's sense of justice. These comedians
were the occasion of a public disturbance--it is, therefore, proper
that they should be punished. As justice is on our side, I cannot
doubt the result. I have not read this dispatch, for I considered it
more in accordance with the dignity of this body that the seal
should be broken in your presence, and I now beg that you, Professor
Bierman, as the secretary of the Senate, will read to us this
dispatch from the General Assembly."
As Bierman broke the seal, all eyes were turned on him, and in this
moment of expectation the professors were aware that their hearts
beat louder and more rapidly. Suddenly Professor Bierman uttered a
cry, a cry of horror, which awakened an echo in every breast.
"Proceed," commanded the president, with stony composure.
"I cannot," murmured Bierman, as he sank back powerless in his
"Then I will read it myself," cried Professor Heinrich, forgetting
all other considerations in his determination to satisfy his
curiosity. "I will read it," he repeated, as he took the paper from
the trembling hands of his friend.
"Read," said the president, in a low voice.
Professor Heinrich then proceeded to read aloud the following
dispatch sent by the General Assembly to the Senate of the
University at Halle.
"We find it most unworthy that you, in your complaint against the
comedians now in Halle, should endeavor to cast on them the blame of
the late disturbance in the theatre. We are well aware of the cause
of this disturbance, and now declare that the actors shall not be
banished from Halle."
A fearful pause followed this reading. The president perceived that
Heinrich was still looking at the paper he held.
"Is that all? Have you finished the dispatch?"
"No, your excellency; there is a note on the margin, in the writing
of the king."
"Read it aloud."
"Your excellency, the king has made use of some expressions that I
cannot bring my lips to utter."
"The king is our master; we must hear what he has to say in all
"You command me, then, to proceed?"
"I command it."
"'This pack of theologians have caused the whole difficulty. The
actors shall continue to play, and Mr. Franke, or whatever else the
scamp calls himself, shall make public reparation, by visiting the
theatre; and I must receive information from the actors themselves
that he has done so.'"
A murmur of horror succeeded the reading of this order. Only
President Franke maintained his erect position, and continued
looking straight before him at Professor Heinrich, who had just
dropped the fatal paper.
"Is that all?" asked the president.
"It is, your excellency."
He bowed gravely, and, rising from his chair, glanced slowly from
one face to another. The senators cast down their eyes before this
glance, not from fear or shame, but from terror at the fearful
expression of the president's countenance.
"If that is all, it is time for me to go," he said solemnly, as he
pushed his chair back, and slowly and stiffly walked forward, like
an automaton which has been set in motion by machinery.
"This has affected his brain. He will have a paralytic stroke,"
murmured the senators to one another.
The president did not hear them, nor did he seem to know what he
wished. He was now standing motionless a few steps from the table.
The professors were terrified at this spectacle, and only Heinrich
had the courage to advance to his side and ask--"Where do you wish
to go, my dear friend?"
"I wish to obey the command of the king--I am going to the theatre,"
he replied, with a cry of despair, and then fell fainting into the
arms of his friend.
Professor Bierman instantly summoned assistance, and the insensible
form of the president was borne from the room, and a messenger sent
for a physician.
When the professors had become somewhat composed, Bierman announced
to them that he had a proposition to make which he hoped would meet
with their approval.
"You doubtless agree with me, my friends, in saying that this cruel
sentence of the king must not be carried out. Our friend the
president would not suffer alone in its fulfilment--the honor of the
university would receive an irreparable wound. We must employ every
effort to alter this decision. It is, in my opinion, fortunate that
our worthy friend has sunk for the time beneath this blow. His
illness relieves him from the necessity of an immediate appearance
in the theatre; and, whether ill or not, he must remain in his bed
until the king can be induced to alter his sentence. We will prepare
a petition and send it immediately to the king."
The proposal of Bierman met with entire approval; and the petition
was prepared, signed by all the professors, and sent to Berlin by
one of their number. The king, however, declined to receive him, and
his only answer was that in eight days the Senate would be made
acquainted with his final decision.
The professors convinced themselves that there was comfort in this
answer. The king evidently did not intend to insist on the execution
of the first sentence, or he would simply have ordered its
The professors were hopeful, and no longer opposed the nightly
visits of the students to the theatre. A few of them determined to
visit the theatre themselves, and see this Eckhof who had caused
them so much sorrow and trouble. The students were delighted at this
concession, and considered the professors the most enlightened and
unprejudiced of the whole body. To show their apreciation of this,
they attended their lectures on the following day.
This unexpected result made the other professors falter in their
determination. Their temporal good depended very much on the
attendance of the students upon their lectures. They found that they
must consent to listen to Eckhof and his companions, if they would
be heard themselves; and, at length, they determined to make peace
with the students and actors, and to visit the theatre.
Peace was now proclaimed, and Eckhof, whose noble and tender heart
was filled with joy and gratitude, played "Britannicus" with such
power and feeling that he even won applause from the professors.
President Franke was still confined to his room. The terror of a
forced visit to the theatre, which would be known as an expiation
for his fault, made his nights sleepless and his days most wretched.
At length, however, the answer to the petition arrived, and, to his
great relief, he found himself condemned to pay a fine of twenty
thalers to the almshouse of Halle; and no further mention was made
of his visit to the theatre.
THE BATTLE OF SOHR.
Deep silence reigned in the encampment which the Prussians had
established near the village of Sohr. The brave soldiers, wearied
with their long march, were sleeping quietly, although they knew
that the Austrian army, which far outnumbered their own, was
hastening toward them, and would attack them within a few hours.
This knowledge did not alarm them, they had not so soon forgotten
their signal victory over Karl von Lothringen, with his Austrians,
Bavarians, and Saxons, at Hohenfriedberg. They did not fear a defeat
at Sohr, although the grand duke was now the leader of forty
thousand men, and Frederick's army had been so diminished by the
forces he had sent to Saxony and Silesia, that it consisted of
scarcely twenty thousand men. The Prussian soldiers relied
confidently upon the good fortune and the strategic talent of their
king; they could sleep quietly, for Frederick watched beside them.
The watch-fires had died out, the lights in the tents of the
officers were extinguished. Now and then might be heard the measured
tread of a sentinel, or the loud breathing of some soldier dreaming
perhaps of his distant home or forsaken bride. No other sounds broke
upon the night air. The Prussian army slept. Alas! how many of them
were now dreaming their last earthly dream; how many on the morrow
would lie with gaping wounds upon a bloody battle ground, with
staring glassy eyes turned upward, and no one near to wipe the
death-drops from their brows! They know not, they care not, they are
lost in sleep. There can be no pressing danger, for the king is in
their midst--the light has been extinguished in his tent also. He
sleeps with his army.
It is midnight, the hour of wandering spirits. Is that a spirit
which has just left so noiselessly the tent of the king, and has so
quickly vanished in the tent of the adjutant, which adjoins that of
the king? No, not vanished, for it has already reappeared; but there
are now three of these shadowy beings quietly approaching the white
tents of the officers, disappearing for an instant into each tent,
then reappearing, and continuing their course.
Where they have been may now be heard a low whispering and moving.
Soon another dark figure is visible; it moves cautiously forward
toward the soldiers' tents in which it disappears, and from these
may be heard the same low whispering, and like a murmuring brook
this babbling glides through the entire camp, always following the
first three shadows who have gone noiselessly and with the rapidity
of the wind through the camp.
Why have these three shadows driven sleep from the encampment? why
have they ordered the horses to be prepared? No one has been told to
mount, no "Forward!" has been thundered through the camp; and but
for the dark figures which may now be seen on all sides, the silence
is so profound that one might almost think the camp still buried in
The Austrians. who can only view the camp from a distance, think, no
doubt, their enemy still sleeps.
The silence of the camp is at last broken by a sound like the heavy
roll of thunder; and if the moon were now to break through the
clouds, it would gleam upon eight field pieces which are being
carefully drawn behind a little elevation in the ground, which lies
opposite the defile occupied by the Austrians.
Once again all is silent, and the horizon begins to clear; a few
rosy clouds fly across the heavens, the veil of night is raised, the
stars pale as the morning arrays herself with hues of purple and
It is morning. Let us look again at the camp of the Prussian
soldiers. Are they sleeping? No, no; all are awake; all prepared for
action, but all silent and motionless as if bound by a charm.
And here is the enchanter who has awakened all these thousands to
life, and still binds them to silence. His countenance is bright and
clear, his glance seems to pierce the hill which divides him from
the enemy, and to divine the moment of their attack. There is the
ruler, whose will is law to all these thousands of men, whose word
is now to lead them to death, to a shameful defeat, or to a glorious
victory. There is the king. He knows that within a few moments the
Austrians will attack his army, but he does not tremble.
The Austrians expect to surprise a sleeping foe; but the king, who
is the father of his people, has himself, with his two adjutants,
Trenck and Standnitz, awakened them from their slumbers; it was he
who directed the placing of cannon at the point upon which the
Austrian cavalry is certain to make their descent upon the sleeping
The king was right. Do you not hear the heavy tramp of cavalry, the
thunder of those cannon?
The Austrians are pressing through the narrow defile; this is the
thunder of their cannon, with which they thought to awaken the
Prussians. Now the king raises his sword; the sign is given. The
Austrian cavalry may advance, for the Prussians are now in motion;
now rushing forward, pressing toward the defile, before which their
enemy are quietly forming their line of battle, although scarcely
fearing a conflict, for are the Prussians not sleeping? They
expected a bloodless victory.
But the Prussians are awake; it is they who attack the, surprised
Austrians. They have already driven the cavalry back into the narrow
defile. The thunders of their cannon are now heard, and they bear
the appalling news to the Austrians that the Prussians are not
Karl von Lothringen, you should have known the Prussians better. Did
not they out-manoeuvre you two short months since? Did not Frederick
make a pretence of retreating, in order to draw you on out of your
favorable position, and then attack you, and win, in a few short
morning hours, a glorious victory? Karl von Lothringen, you should
have remembered Hohenfriedberg. You should not have imagined that
the Prussians slept while the Austrians stood before them in battle
array. The Prussians are indeed awake. Listen to their joyous
shouts, look at their flashing swords!
Karl von Lothringen, where are your troops which were intended to
attack the enemy in the rear? Where is Trenck with his pandours?
where General Nadasti, with his well-disciplined regiments? If your
hope is in these, then despair, and thrust your sword in its sheath.
The Prussians have deserted their camp; the enemy is before them; in
their pursuit they have left all behind them; they thought not of
earthly possessions, but of honor and victory. Every thing was left
in the camp. The king's entire camp-furniture, and even the army
Karl von Lothringen, hope nothing from Trenck and his pandours;
nothing from Nadasti and his regiments. They have obeyed your
commands; they have pressed into the enemy's camp; they are taking
prizes, plundering greedily. What care they for the battle which
thunders and roars before them? the cannon-balls do not reach them;
they can enrich themselves in the camp of the Prussians whilst these
are gaining a glorious victory.
The battle is not yet decided. "If Trenck and Nadasti attack our
rear," said the king, "we are lost."
At, this moment an adjutant announced to him that Trenck and Nadasti
were plundering the Prussian camp.
The king's countenance beamed with delight. "Let them plunder." he
said, joyfully, "whilst they are so occupied they will not interfere
with our important work. Whilst they plunder, we will conquer."
Yes, the battle is decided; while the Austrians plundered, the
Prussians conquered. Karl von Lothringen, overcome with grief and
shame, is retreating with his disorganized troops.
The Prussians have gained the day, but it was a fearful victory, a
murderous battle between brothers, German against German, brother
The Duke Albrecht, of Brunswick, has fallen by the side of the king;
his brother Ludwig lies covered with wounds in the Austrian camp.
Poor Queen Elizabeth Christine, your husband has conquered, but you
have both paid dearly for the victory. The king has lost his tent,
his camp-furniture, and eighty thousand ducats, and the baggage of
the entire army. You have lost one brother, and the other lies
covered with bloody wounds. The king has gained the battle. His is
the fame and honor. You, poor queen, you have only a new grief.
Yours are the tears and the pain.
AFTER THE BATTLE.
The Prussians were resting from their labors, not in comfortable
tents or on soft cushions, but on the hard ground, with no
protection against sun and wind, and not too distant from the
battle-field to hear the heart-rending cries and groans of their
dying comrades. But even these cries and groans were to the
triumphant Prussians the sign of their glorious victory, and awoke
in those who had escaped unscathed through this terrible fire a
feeling of deep gratitude.
After these fearful hours of excitement followed a general
lassitude, a positive physical necessity for rest. But, alas! there
was something which drove sleep from their eyelids, and increased
the weariness of their bodies. This was hunger. The pandours had
thoroughly plundered the Prussian camp; they had taken not only the
baggage of the poor soldiers, but all their provisions.
The Prussians, who had obtained so glorious a triumph in the
morning, were now looking forward to a day of fasting, while the
Austrians, in spite of their defeat, were consoling themselves with
the provisions which they had taken from the Prussians. Happy was he
who had a piece of bread in his knapsack, or whose tent had been
overlooked or forgotten by the plunderers; but few had been so
fortunate, and these in the egotism of hunger refused to share their
precious treasure, even with their dearest friend.
King Frederick was not among the fortunate. The victory was his, but
his laurel-wreath could not be transformed into bread. He had said
in vain to his generals and adjutants, "We will dine." There was
nothing to set before the king.
When General Rothenberg brought this disagreeable news to the king,
he said, laughing gayly: "Let us imagine ourselves to be Catholics,
my friends, for the present, and it will be quite in order that we
should fast on the day of a glorious victory. I will be quite
contented with a piece of bread, and I suppose that can be found
somewhere for the King of Prussia."
But General Rothenberg's order to the royal cook to satisfy the
simple demand of his master was in vain. The cook had nothing,
neither meat, fruit, nor bread.
"I will not return empty-handed to the king," said Rothenberg, with
tears in his eyes. "I would sooner part with my last ducat to the
first soldier I meet who has a piece of bread."
The general then passed, with inquisitive glances, through the group
of soldiers who were talking over the events of the last few hours.
At last he perceived a soldier who was not talking, but was ogling a
piece of bread which he seemed preparing to devour. With a hasty
spring the general was at his side, his hand upon the bread.
"I will give you two ducats for this piece of bread, my friend."
"Two ducats! what should I do with two ducats?" he asked, with a
scornful laugh. "I cannot eat your ducats, general, and my bread is
more precious to me than a handful of ducats."
"If you will not give it for gold, then give it for love," cried the
general. "For love of your king who is hungry, and has nothing to
satisfy his craving."
The countenance of the soldier, which had been so smiling, became
earnest, and he murmured thoughtfully to himself, "The king has no
"The king is hungry," repeated Rothenberg, almost imploringly.
"The king is hungry," murmured the soldier, sadly, as he glanced at
the bread in his hand. Then, with quiet determination, he cut the
loaf in two pieces, and handing one to the general, he said, "I will
give you half of my bread, that is really all I can do for the king.
Take it, general, the matter is settled. I will give no more."
"I desire no more," said Rothenberg, as he hurried off with the
bread to the newly-erected tent of the king.
The soldier looked smilingly after him, but suddenly his countenance
became overcast, he was seized with a fearful idea--suppose the
general had deceived him, and the bread was not for the king? He
must know, he must convince himself that the statement was true. He
followed the general rapidly, and soon overtook him. Rothenberg
perceived him, and understood instantly why he had followed him.
Smilingly he entered the presence of the king.
"My king, I am here, and bring what you demanded, a piece of bread."
"Ah, that means renewed strength," said the king, as he received the
bread and commenced eating it with evident satisfaction. "How did
you procure this bread for me, my friend?"
"Sire, I obtained it of a soldier, who refused to sell it, but who
gladly gave it to me when he heard it was for the king. Afterward he
conceived a doubt that I had deceived him, and that I had obtained
his treasure for my own gratification. He followed me, and I wager
he is standing without longing to know if the king is really eating
"I will gratify his desire," said Frederick, smiling, as he raised
the curtain of the tent, and stood in the opening.
There stood the soldier, staring at the tent, but he trembled when
he perceived the king. Frederick nodded to him most kindly, and
proceeded to cut the bread which he held in his hand.
"I thank you for your bread," he said; "my friend, you must ask some
favor of me. Think what you would wish."
"Oh! I need not think," the soldier cried joyfully. "If I may wish
for something, it shall be the position of magistrate in my native
land in Prussia."
"When peace is declared, your wish shall be gratified," said the
king to the delighted soldier, and then bowing graciously, Frederick
reentered the tent.
"Now my friend, my Pylades, we will allow ourselves an hour of rest,
of recreation; I think we have earned it. Come and read aloud to
"What shall I read to your majesty?" asked Rothenberg, evidently
"You may read from Horace."
"Your majesty does not know--" said Rothenberg, hesitatingly.
"What do I not know?"
"That the pandours have carried off your camp library."
"What! my books too?" demanded the king, and a cloud darkened his
brow. "What can the pandours and Croats do with my poor books? Could
they not content themselves with my treasure and my silver-ware?
Must they take what is so worthless to them, and so precious to me?"
Then, with bent brows, his hands crossed behind him, he paced back
and forth in the narrow tent. Suddenly arresting his steps, he
glanced around the tent, as if in search of something. "Biche is not
here," he said quietly; "bring Biche to me, my friend."
But General Rothenberg did not move.
"Well!" exclaimed the king.
"Sire, they have taken Biche with them also."
"Biche also, my faithful friend, my pet!" cried the king, with much
emotion, as he again began his walk. At length, approaching the
general, he placed both hands upon his shoulder and looked tenderly
into his eyes. "I have my friend," he said gently, "why should I be
troubled about my books or my dog? I will send to Berlin and have
the books replaced, and I will ransom Biche. They cannot refuse to
restore the faithful animal to me."
There was an expression of such anxiety on the king's features, that
Rothenberg was much moved.
"I do not doubt, sire," he said, "that your favorite will be
returned to you. Your majesty may well trust to that Providence
which has vouchsafed you so glorious a victory."
The king replied, smiling: "I will tell you a secret, my friend. I
deserved to be overcome in this battle, for I had weakened my army
too much by detachments. Nothing but the skill of my generals and
the bravery of my troops saved me from a defeat. Something is also
due to the avarice of the pandours and Croats; a branch of our
laurel-wreath belongs justly to Nadasti and Trenck. It is most
fortunate that the courier who brought those last dispatches from
Berlin, did not arrive during the battle. He would certainly have
been captured by the pandours, and my dispatches lost. My friend, do
you not see how Providence marks out for me the path of duty? A king
dare not waste a moment in dreams or idle pleasures. I wished to
live an hour for myself, when I should have been reading these
dispatches. We will go to work; here is the key of the dispatch bag;
open it and take out the letters."
The king then seated himself before the common deal table which
stood in the centre of the tent, and assorted the papers which
Rothenberg handed to him.
"We will first read the letters from our friends," said the king,
placing the dispatches and papers on one side. "Here are letters
from D'Argens, and from Knobelsdorf, but none from Duhan, or Jordan,
or Kaiserling. What does that mean? I fear that all is not right.
Ah! here is a letter for you, my friend, in the handwriting of
Duhan. He writes to you, and not to me. Read, Rothenberg, and tell
me its contents."
The king then opened one of his own letters, but it was evident that
it did not occupy his attention. He raised his eyes every few
seconds to look at the general, who had become very pale on first
opening his letter, and whose countenance now bore an expression of
pain. Frederick could no longer endure this silence. He arose
hastily, and approached Rothenberg.
"My friend," he said, "Duhan has written something to you that he
would not write to me--something most painful. I see by your
"Your majesty is right; my letters contain most distressing
"Ah!" murmured the king, as he turned from Rothenberg, "I fear I
have not the strength to support this coming trial." After a pause,
he continued: "Now, my friend, tell me, are my mother and sisters
"Sire, the entire royal family are well."
"Your intelligence, then, relates to my friends. Two of them are
ill--yes, two. How is Jordan? You do not answer--you weep. How is
"Sire, Jordan is dead."
"Dead!" cried the king, as he sank powerless upon his chair, and
covered his face with his hands. "Dead! my best, my dearest friend
"His death was as bright and peaceful as his life," said Rothenberg.
"His last word was a farewell to your majesty, his last act was to
write to his king. Here is the letter, sire."
The king silently received the letter from Rothenberg. Two great
tears ran slowly down his checks, and, falling on the letter,
obliterated some words of the address. "Jordan's hand wrote these
words for the last time; this idle title 'his majesty'--and my tears
have washed it away. Jordan! Jordan I am no longer a king, but a
poor, weak man who mourns for his lost friend."
He pressed the paper passionately to his lips; then placed it in his
bosom, and turned once more to Rothenberg.
"Tell me the rest, my friend; I am resigned to all things now."
"Did you not say, sire, that you had left two friends ill in
"Jordan and Kaiserling. You do not mean that Kaiserling also--oh,
no, no! that is impossible! Jordan is dead, and I knew that he must
die; but Kaiserling will recover--I feel, I know it."
"Your majesty," said Rothenberg, "if I were a pious priest, I would
say Kaiserling has recovered, for his soul has returned to God."
"Kaiserling dead also! Rothenberg, how could you find the courage to
tell me this? Two friends lost in a moment of time." The king said
nothing more. His head sank upon his breast, and he wept bitterly.
After a time he raised his head, and said, as if to himself: "My two
friends! They were my family--now I am orphaned. Sorrow will make a
desert of my heart, and men will call me cold and heartless. They
will not know that my heart is a graveyard, wherein my friends lie
The tears ran slowly down his cheeks as he uttered this death-wail.
So deep was the grief depicted on the countenance of the king, that
Rothenberg could no longer restrain himself. He rushed to the king,
and, sinking on his knees beside him, seized his hands and covered
them with tears and kisses.
"Oh, my king, my hero! cease to mourn, if you do not wish to see me
die of grief."
The king smiled mournfully, as he replied: "If one could die of
grief, I would not have survived this hour."
"What would the world think could they see this great conqueror
forgetting his triumphs and indulging such grief?"
"Ah, my friend, you desire to console me with the remembrance of
this victory! I rejoice that I have preserved my land from a cruel
misfortune, and that my troops are crowned with glory. But my
personal vanity finds no food in this victory. The welfare and the
happiness of my people alone lie on my heart--I think not of my own
"The fame of my king is not fleeting. It will live in future years,"
cried the general.
The king shrugged his shoulders almost contemptuously. "Only death
stamps fame upon kings' lives. For the present, I am content to
fulfil my duties to the best of my ability. To be a true king, a
monarch must be willing to resign all personal happiness. As for me,
Rothenberg, on this day, when I, as a king, am peculiarly fortunate,
my heart is wrung by the loss of two dear friends. The man must pay
for the happiness of the king. But," said the king, after a pause,
"this is the dealing of the Almighty; I must submit silently. Would
that my heart were silent! I will tell you something, my friend. I
fear that I was unjust to Machiavelli. He was right--only a man with
a heart of iron can be a king, for he alone could think entirely of
"How suffering and full of grief must my king be to speak thus! You
have lost two dear friends, sire. I also mourn their loss, but am
suffering from a still deeper grief. I have lost the love of my
king. I have lost faith in the friendship of my Frederick," said
Rothenberg, sighing deeply.
"My Rothenberg," said the king, with his deep, tender voice, "look
at me, and tell me what men call you, when they speak of you and
"I hope they call me your majesty's most faithful servant."
"No, they call you my favorite, and what they say is true. Vox
populi vox Dei. Come to my heart, my favorite."
"Ah! my king, my prince, my friend," cried Rothenberg,
enthusiastically, as he threw himself into the arms of the king.
They stood long thus, heart pressed to heart; and who that had seen
them, the king and the hero, the conquerors of the day, would have
imagined that their tears were not the tears of happiness and
triumph, but of suffering and love?
"And now," said Frederick, after a pause, "let me again be king. I
must return to my duties."
He seated himself at the table, and Rothenberg, after taking from
the dispatch-bag a number of documents bearing the state seal,
handed the king a daintily perfumed, rose-colored note. The king
would not receive it, although a light flush mounted to his brow and
his eyes beamed more brightly.
"Lay that on one side," he said, "I cannot read it; the notes of the
Miserere are still sounding in my heart, and this operatic air would
but create a discord. We will proceed to read the dispatches."
A LETTER PREGNANT WITH FATE.
The king was not the only person, in the encampment at Sohr, to whom
the courier brought letters from Berlin; the colonel of every
regiment had received a securely-locked post-bag containing the
letters for the officers and soldiers of his regiment, which it was
his duty to deliver. To avoid errors in the distribution, every
post-bag was accompanied by a list, sent from the war department, on
which each person to whom a letter was addressed must write a
Colonel von Jaschinsky was therefore compelled to deliver to
Lieutenant von Trenck both the letters which were addressed to him.
The colonel looked at one of these letters with a most malicious
expression; he was not at all curious concerning its contents, for
he was well acquainted with them, and knew that as soon as Trenck
received it, it would become a sword, whose deadly point would be
directed to the breast of the young man.
He knew the letter, for he had seen it before, but he had not
delivered it; he had fraudulently withheld it from Trenck, in order
to send it to Berlin, to his friend Pollnitz, and to ask him if he
did not think it well suited to accomplish their purpose of making
Lieutenant von Trenck harmless, by bringing about his utter
destruction. Pollnitz had not answered up to this time, but to-day
Colonel von Jaschinsky had received a letter from him, in which he
said: "It is now time to allow the letter of the pandour to work. I
carried the letter to the post, and I imagine that I played the part
of a Job's messenger to his impertinent young officer, who allows
himself to believe that his colonel owes him two hundred ducats. If
you have ever really been his debtor, he will certainly be yours
from to-day, for to you he will owe free quarters in one of the
Prussian forts, and I hope for no short time. When you inform the
king of this letter from the pandour, you can also say that
Lieutenant von Trenck received a second letter from Berlin, and that
you believe it to be from a lady. Perhaps the king will demand this
letter, which I am positive Trenck will receive, for I mailed it
myself, and it is equally certain that he will not destroy it, for
lovers do not destroy the letters of the beloved."
No, lovers never destroy the letters of the beloved. What would have
induced Frederick von Trenck to destroy this paper, on which HER
HAND had rested, her eyes had looked upon, her breath touched, and
on which her love, her vows, her longing, and her faith, were
depicted? No, he would not have exchanged it for all the treasures
of the world--this holy, this precious paper, which said to him that
the Princess Amelia had not forgotten him, that she was determined
to wait with patience, and love, and faith, until her hero returned,
covered with glory, with a laurel-wreath on his brow, which would be
brighter and more beautiful than the crown of a king.
As Trenck read these lines he wept with shame and humiliation. Two
battles had been already won, and his name had remained dark and
unknown; two battles, and none of those heroic deeds which his
beloved expected from him with such certainty, had come in his path.
He had performed his duty as a brave soldier, but he had not
accomplished such an heroic act as that of Krauel, in the past year,
which had raised the common soldier to the title of Baron Krauel von
Ziskaberg, and had given to the unknown peasant a name whose fame
would extend over centuries. He had not astonished the whole world
with a daring, unheard-of undertaking, such as that of Ziethen, who
had passed with his hussars, unknown, through the Austrian camp. He
had been nothing but a brave soldier--he had done nothing more than
many thousands. He felt the strength and the courage to tear the
very stars from heaven, that he might bind them as a diadem upon the
brow of his beloved; to battle with the Titans, and plunge them into
the abyss; to bear upon his shoulders the whole world, as Atlas did;
he felt in himself the power, the daring, the will, and the ability
of a hero. But the opportunity failed him.
The deeds which he longed to accomplish did not lie in his path. And
thus, in spite of two victorious battles in which he had fought; in
spite of the evident good-will of the king, he had remained what he
was, the unknown, undistinguished Lieutenant von Trenck. With a
trembling heart he demanded of himself that the Princess Amelia
would continue to love him if he returned to her as he had departed;
if her proud, pure heart could stand that severest of all tests, the
discovery that she had bestowed her love upon an ordinary,
"No, no!" he cried, "I have not the courage to return thus to her.
If I cannot distinguish myself, I can die. In the next battle I will
conquer fame or death. And if I fall, she will weep for me. That
would be a far happier fate than living to be forgotten or despised
He pressed Amelia's letter to his lips, then placed it in his bosom,
and opened the second letter. Whilst he read, an expression of
astonishment appeared on his features, and a smile, half gay, half
scornful, played upon his full, fresh lips. Soon, however, his
features grew earnest, and a dark shadow clouded his youthful brow.
"If I had enemies they could destroy me with this letter," he said,
in a low voice. "It could, wild and silly as it is, be made to
represent me as a traitor. Perhaps it is a pitfall which has been
prepared for me. Is it possible that the authorities should have
allowed this letter, coming evidently from inimical Austria, to pass
unread through their hands? I will go immediately to my colonel, and
show him this letter," said Trenck. "He can then inform the king of
it if he think it necessary. Concealment might be more dangerous for
me than an open acknowledgment."
And placing this second letter also in his bosom, Trenck proceeded
to the tent of Colonel von Jaschinsky, who welcomed him with unusual
"Colonel," said Trenck, "do you remember the singular letter which I
received six months since from my cousin, Baron von Trenck, colonel
of the pandours?"
"Ah, you mean that letter in which he invites you to come to
Austria, and promised, should you do so, to make you his sole heir?"
"Yes, that is the letter I mean. I informed you of it at the time
and asked your advice."
"What advice did I give you?"
"That I should reply kindly and gratefully to my cousin; that I
should not appear indifferent or ungrateful for a proposal by which
I might become a millionnaire. You advised me to decline going to
Austria, but only to decline so long as there was war between
Prussia and Austria."
"Well, I think the advice was good, and that you may still follow
"You advised me also to write to my cousin to send me some of those
beautiful Hungarian horses, and promised to forward my letter
through Baron von Bossart, the Saxon ambassador; but on the
condition that when I received the Hungarian horses, I should
present one of them to you."
"That was only a jest--a jest which binds you to nothing, and of
which you have no proofs."
"I!" asked Trenck, astonished; "what proof do I need that I promised
you a Hungarian horse? What do I want with proofs?"
Count Jaschinsky looked embarrassed before the open, trusting
expression of the young officer. His singular remark would have
betrayed him to a more suspicious, a more worldly-wise man, who
would have perceived from it the possibility of some danger, from
which Jaschinsky was seeking to extricate himself.
"I did not mean," said the count, laughing, "that you needed a
proof; I only wished to say that I had no proof that you had
promised me a Hungarian horse, and that you need not feel obliged to
give me one."
"Yes, colonel, your request and my promise occurred before
witnesses. Lieutenant von Stadnitz and Ensign von Wagnitz were
present; and if that had not been the case, I should consider my
word binding. But at present I have no Hungarian horses, only an
answer from my singular cousin, the contents of which I wish to
impart to you."
"Ah, the colonel of the pandours has answered you?" asked
Jaschinsky, with well-dissembled astonishment.
"Yes, he has answered me, and has written me the most singular
letter that one can imagine. Only listen to it."
And Frederick von Trenck hastily pulled out the letter which he had
put in his bosom. Entirely occupied with this subject, and thinking
of nothing else, he opened the letter and read:
"From yours, dated Berlin, February 12th, I ascertain that you
desire some Hungarian horses on which to meet my hussars and
pandours. I learned with much pleasure, in the last campaign, that
the Prussian Trenck was a brave soldier; as a proof of my
consideration, I returned to you at that time the horses which my
men had captured from you. If you desire to ride Hungarian horses,
you must take mine from me on the field, or come to your cousin, who
will receive you with open arms as his son and friend, and accord
you every wish of your heart."
Had Trenck looked less attentively at his letter, while reading, he
would have perceived that Jaschinsky was paying but slight attention
(he was looking attentively on the floor); he quietly approached
Trenck, and placed his foot upon something which he evidently wished
to conceal. He then stood still, and as Trenck finished reading he
broke into a loud laugh, in which the young officer joined him.
"Your cousin is a droll man," said the count, "and under the
conditions which he offers you, I will still accept your Hungarian
horse. Perhaps you will soon find an opportunity to give it to me,
for I believe we are about to attack Hungary, and you can yourself
procure the horses. But now, my young friend, excuse me; I must go
to the king to give my report. You know he will endure no neglect of
duty. After the war council I will see you again."
Trenck took leave, a little surprised at the sudden dismissal. The
colonel did not accompany him, as usual. He remained standing in the
middle of the tent until he was alone; then stooping down, he drew
from under his foot the daintily folded letter that he had concealed
while Trenck was present.
Count Jaschinsky had seen what had escaped Trenck. He saw that
Trenck, in taking out the letter from his cousin, had let fall
another paper, and while Trenck was, reading, he had managed to
conceal it with his foot. Now he hastily seized this paper, and
opened it. A most wicked expression of joy overspread his
countenance whilst he read, and then he said, triumphantly: "Now he
is lost. It is not necessary to tell the king that Trenck has
received a letter from a lady; I will take him the letter itself,
and that will condemn Trenck more surely than any conspiracy with
his cousin. Away to the king!"
But, as he had already withdrawn the curtain of his tent, he
remained motionless, and appeared deep in thought. Then he allowed
the curtain to fall, and returned within.
"I think I was on the point of committing a great folly. This letter
would of course accomplish the destruction of my hated creditor, but
I doubt exceedingly if I would escape unharmed if I handed this
ominous writing to the king. He would never forgive me for having
discovered this affair, which he, of course, wishes to conceal from
the whole world. The knowledge of such a secret would be most
dangerous, and I prefer to have nothing to do with it. How can I
manage to let this letter reach the king, without allowing him to
know that I am acquainted with the contents? Ah, I have it!" he
cried, after a long pause, "the means are sure, and not at all
dangerous for me."
With rapid steps he left his tent, and proceeded to that of the king
from whom he prayed an audience.
"Ah! I wager that you come to complain of some one," said the king,
as Jaschinsky entered. "There is a wicked light in your eye. Am I
not right? one of your officers has committed some folly."
"I leave the decision entirely to your majesty," said Jaschinsky,
humbly. "Your majesty commanded me to watch carefully over my
officers, especially the Lieutenant von Trenck."
"Your complaint is again of Trenck, then?" asked the king,
frowningly. "I will tell you before we begin, unless it is something
important I do not wish to hear it; gossip is disagreeable to me. I
am well pleased with Trenck; he is a brave and zealous officer, and
I think he does not neglect his duties. Consider, therefore,
colonel, unless it is a grave fault of which you have to complain, I
advise you to remain silent."
"I hope your majesty will allow me to proceed."
"Speak," said the king, as he turned his back on the colonel, and
appeared to occupy himself with the books on his table.
"Lieutenant von Trenck received a letter by the post to-day which
points, in my opinion, to an utterly unlawful proceeding."
The king turned hastily, and looked so angrily at the colonel that
he involuntarily withdrew a step. "It is fortunate that I did not
hand him that letter," thought Jaschinsky; "in his anger the king
would have destroyed me."
"From whom is this letter?" demanded the king.
"Sire, it is from Baron von Trenck, the colonel of the pandours."
The king appeared relieved, as he replied, with a smile: "This
pandour is a cousin of our lieutenant."
"But he is in the enemy's camp; and I do not think it proper for a
Prussian officer to request one in the Austrian service to send him
a present of horses, or for the Austrian to invite the Prussian to
"Is this in the letter?" asked the king in a threatening tone; and
when Jaschinsky answered in the affirmative, he said: "Give me the
letter; I must convince myself with my own eyes that this is so."
"I have not the letter, but if your majesty desire, I will demand it
from Lieutenant von Trenck."
"And if he has burnt the letter?"
"Then I am willing to take an oath that what I have related was in
the letter. I read it myself, for the lieutenant showed it to me."
"Bring me the letter."
Jaschinsky went, and the king remained alone and thoughtful in his
tent. "If he were a traitor, he would surely not have shown the
letter to Jaschinsky," said the king, softly; "no, his brow is as
clear, his glance as open as formerly. Trenck is no traitor--no
traitor to his country--I fear only a traitor to his own happiness.
Well, perhaps he has come to his reason, I have warned him
repeatedly, and perhaps he has at length understood me.--Where is
the letter?" he asked, as Colonel Jaschinsky reentered.
"Sire, here it is. At least I think that is it. I did not take time
to glance at the paper, in my haste to return to your majesty."
"Was he willing to give the letter?"
"He said nothing, but drew it instantly from his bosom, and I
brought it to your majesty without glancing at it."
The king looked searchingly into the countenance of the colonel.
Jaschinsky's repeated assurances that he had not looked at the
letter surprised the king, and led him to suspect some hidden
motive. He received the letter, and opened it slowly and carefully.
He again turned his piercing glance upon the countenance of
Jaschinsky; he now perceived the rose-colored letter, which lay in
the folds of that one from Colonel Trenck, and he immediately
understood the words of the count. This little letter was really the
kernel of the whole matter, and Jaschinsky preferred to know nothing
"Wait outside until I call you. I wish to read this letter
carefully," said the king, with perfect composure; but when
Jaschinsky had disappeared, he hastily unfolded the paper, and,
throwing Trenck's letter on the table, he took the other, and
looking carefully at it, he said softly, "It is her writing--yes, it
is her writing, and all my trouble has been in vain. They WOULD not
understand me. They are lost."
And sighing deeply, the king turned again to the letter. "Poor,
miserable children, why should I not make them happy? is it
impossible to forget prejudice for once, and to allow these two
beings to be happy in their own way? So strange a thing is the heart
of a woman, that she prefers an orange-wreath to a crown! Why should
I force this young girl to be a princess, when she only desires to
be a woman? Shall I allow them to fly away into some wilderness, and
there create a paradise? But how soon would the serpent creep into
this paradise! how soon would satiety, and ennui, and repentance
destroy their elysium! No, the daughters of the Hohenzollerns must
not stoop for happiness; I cannot change it. Fate condemns them, not
I. They are condemned, but the sword which is suspended above them
must fall only upon his head. His is the guilt, for he is the man.
His stake was immense, and he has lost all."
The king then took the letter of Colonel Trenck, and read it
attentively. "This letter bears all-sufficient testimony against
him; it is the iron mask which I will raise before his crime, that
the world may not discover it. I would laugh at this letter were it
not for the other, which condemns him. This will answer as an excuse
for his punishment."
The king arose from his seat, and placing the letter of the princess
in his bosom, and folding the other, he walked hastily to the
opening of the tent and called Jaschinsky.
"Colonel," he said, and his countenance was troubled but determined,
"you are right. Lieutenant von Trenck is a great criminal, for this
letter contains undeniable proof of his traitorous connection with
the enemy. If I ordered him before a court-martial, he would be
condemned to death. As his crime may have grown out of carelessness
and thoughtlessness, I will be merciful, and try if a few years'
imprisonment will not work a cure. You can inform him of his
punishment, when you return his cousin's letter to him. You did not
open this letter when you brought it to me?"
The eye of the king rested with a threatening expression upon the
colonel as he asked this question.
"No, your majesty,--I did not open it," replied the colonel.
"You did well," said the king, "for a wasp had crept within it,
which might have given you a deadly wound. Go now, and take this
letter to Trenck, and take his sword from him. He is under arrest,
and must be sent at once to the fortress at Glatz."
"Must it be quietly done?" asked Jaschinsky, scarcely able to
conceal his delight.
"No, on the contrary, I wish the whole army, the whole world to know
why I have punished Trenck. You can say to every one that Trenck is
a traitor, who has carried on an unlawful correspondence with his
cousin in Austria, and has conspired with the enemy. His arrest must
be public, and he must be sent to Glatz, guarded by fifty hussars.
Go now and attend to this business.--He is lost," said the king,
solemnly, when he was once more alone. "Trenck is condemned, and
Amelia must struggle with her grief. Poor Amelia!"
The generals were waiting outside, among them the favorite of the
king, General Rothenberg. They had been summoned to a council by the
king, and were awaiting his orders to enter the tent.
But the king did not call them, perhaps he had forgotten them. He
walked slowly up and down in his tent, apparently lost in thought.
Suddenly he stood motionless and listened. He heard the tramp of
many horses, and he knew what it meant. He approached the opening of
the tent, and drew back the curtain sufficiently to see without
The noise of the horses' hoofs came nearer and nearer. The first
hussars have passed the king's tent, and two more, and again two,
and again, and again; and there in their midst, a pale young man,
with a distracted countenance, with staring eyes, and colorless
lips, which appear never to have known how to laugh, a young
officer, without sword or epaulettes. Is this Trenck, the beautiful,
the young, the light-hearted Trenck, the beloved of a princess, the
darling of all the ladies, the envied favorite of the king? He has
passed the tent of the king; behind him are his servants with his
horses and his baggage; and then again hussars, who close the
procession, the burial-procession of Trenck's happiness and freedom.
The king seemed deeply moved as he stepped back from the curtain.
"Now," he said solemnly, "I have committed my first act of
injustice; for I judged this man in my own conscience, without
bringing him before a court-martial. Should the world condemn me for
this, I can at least say that it is my only fault of the kind."
THE RETURN TO BERLIN.
Peace was proclaimed. This poor land, bleeding from a thousand
wounds, might now rest, in order to gather strength for new
victories. The husband of Maria Theresa had been crowned as emperor,
and the conditions of peace had been signed at Dresden, by both
Austrians and Prussians. The king and his army returned victorious
to their native land. Berlin had assumed her most joyous appearance,
to welcome her king; even Nature had done her utmost to enliven the
scene. The freshly fallen snow, which covered the streets and roofs
of the houses, glittered in the December sunshine as if strewn with
diamonds. But none felt to-day that the air was cold or the wind
piercing; happiness created summer in their hearts, and they felt
not that it was winter. On every side the windows were open, and
beautiful women were awaiting the appearance of their adored
sovereign with as much curiosity and impatience as the common people
in the streets, who were longing to greet their hero-king.
At length the happy hour came. At length the roar of cannon, the
ringing of bells, the shouts of the crowd, which filled every avenue
leading to the palace, announced that the king had returned to his
capital, which, in the last few days, he had saved by a happy
manoeuvre from being attacked by the Austrians and Saxons. The
people greeted their king with shouts; the ladies in the windows
waved their handkerchiefs, and threw fragrant flowers into the open
carriage in which Frederick and his brothers sat.
As they passed before the gymnasium, the scholars commenced a solemn
song, which was at the same time a hymn, and a prayer for their
king, their hero, and their father. "Vivat, vivat Fredericus! Rex
vivat, Augustus, Magnus, Felix Pater Patriae!" sang the scholars.
But suddenly rising above the voices of the singers, and the shouts
of the people, a voice was heard, crying aloud, "Vivat Frederick the
The people who had listened silently to the Latin because they did
not understand it, joined as with one impulse in this cry, the shout
arose as from one throat, "Vivat Frederick the Great!" And this cry
spread like wildfire through all the streets, over all the public
squares; it resounded from every window, and even from the tops of
the houses. To-day Berlin had rebaptized her king. She gave him now
a new name, the name which he will bear through all ages, the name
of Frederick the Great.
The king flushed deeply as he heard this cry. His heart, which had
been sad and gloomy, seemed warmed as by a ray of sunlight. Ambition
throbbed within his breast, and awakened him from his melancholy
thoughts. No, Frederick had now no time to think of the dead; no
time to mourn secretly over the loved, the faithful friends whom he
would no longer find in Berlin. The king must overcome the feelings
of the friend. His people are here to greet him, to welcome his
return, to bestow upon him an immortal name. The king has no right
to withdraw himself from their love; he must meet it with his whole
soul, his whole heart.
Convincing himself that this was necessary, Frederick lifted his
head, a bright color mounted to his chocks, and his eyes flashed as
he bowed graciously to his people. Now he is truly Frederick the
Great, for he has conquered his own heart, and he has poured upon
the open wound of his private sorrows the balm of his people's love.
Now the carriage of the king has reached the palace gate. Frederick
raises his hat once more, and bows smilingly to the people, whose
cries of "Vivat Frederick the Great" still fill the air. When for a
moment there is silence, a single, clear, commanding voice is heard,
"Long live Frederick the Great!"
The king turns hastily; he has recognized the voice of his mother.
She is standing on the threshold of the palace, surrounded by the
princesses of the royal family. Her eyes are more brilliant than the
diamonds which glitter in her hair, and more precious than the
costly pearls upon her bosom are the drops which fall from her eyes,
tears of pride and happiness, shed in this moment of triumph. Again
she repeats the cry taught her by the people, "Long live Frederick
The king knew the first tone of that dear voice, and, springing from
the carriage, hurried forward and threw himself into his mother's
extended arms, and laid his head upon her breast, as he had done
when a child, and wept hot tears, which no one saw, which his mother
alone felt upon her bosom.
Near them stood Elizabeth Christine, the consort of the king, and in
the depths of her heart she repeated the cry of the people, and she
gazed prayerfully toward heaven, as she petitioned for the long and
happy life of her adored husband. But Frederick did not see her; he
gave his arm to his mother, and they entered the palace, followed by
his wife and his sisters and brothers.
"Frederick the Great!" This cry still resounds through the streets,
and the windows of the palace tremble with the ringing of this proud
name. The sound enters the saloons before him; it opens wide the
doors of the White Saloon, and when the king enters, the pictures
and statues of the Hohenzollerns appear to become animate, the dead
eyes flash, the stiffened lips smile, and the motionless heads seem
to bow, for Frederick's new name has called his ancestors from their
graves--this name, which only one other Hohenzollern had borne
before him--this name, which is as rare a blossom on the
genealogical trees of the proudest royal families as the blossoms of
the aloe. The king greets his ancestors with a happy smile, for he
feels that he is no unworthy successor. He has forgotten his grief
and his pain; he has overcome them. In this hour he is only the king
But as the shadows of night approach, and Berlin is brilliant with
illuminations, Frederick lays aside his majesty, and becomes once
more the loving man, the friend. He is sitting by the death-bed of
his friend and preceptor, Duhan. The joyous shouts of the people are
still heard without, but the king heeds them not; he hears only the
heavy breathing of his friend, and speaks to him gentle words of
love and consolation.
At length ho leaves his friend, and now a new light springs into his
eyes. He is no longer a king, no longer a mourning friend, he is
only a young man. He is going to spend an hour with his friend
General Rothenberg, and forget his royalty for a while.
Rothenberg seems to have forgotten it also, for he does not come to
welcome his kingly guest. He does not receive him on the threshold.
No one receives him, but the hall and stairway are brilliantly
lighted; and, as he ascends, a door opens, and a woman appears,
beautiful as an angel, with eyes beaming like stars, with lips
glowing as crimson roses. Is it an angel or a woman? Her voice is as
the music of the spheres to the king, when she whispers her welcome
to him, and he, at last, thinks he beholds an angel when he sees
Berlin shouted, huzzaed, sang, danced, declaimed, illuminated for
three entire days in honor of the conquered peace, and the return of
her great king. Every one but the young Princess Amelia seemed
contented, happy, joyous. She took no part in the glad triumph of
her family, and the loud hosarmas of the people found no echo in her
breast. With heavy heart and misty eyes she walked slowly backward
and forward in her boudoir. For three days she had borne this
terrible torture, this anguish of uncertainty. Her soul was moved
with fearful anticipations, but she was forced to appear gay.
For three days, with trembling heart and lips, she had been
compelled to appear at the theatre, the masquerades, the balls, and
ceremonious dinners of the court. She felt that the stern eye of the
king was ever searchingly and angrily fixed upon her. Several times,
completely overcome and exhausted by her efforts to seem gay and
careless, she sought to withdraw unobserved to her room, but her
ever-watchful brother intercepted her, and led her back to her place
by her royal mother. He chatted and jested merrily, but his
expression was dark and threatening. Once she had not the power to
respond with smiles. She fixed her pleading, tearful eyes upon the
king. He bowed down to her, and said harshly: "I command you to
appear gay. A princess has not the right to weep when her people are
To-day the court festivities closed. At last Amelia dared hope for
some hours of solitude and undisturbed thought. To-day she could
weep and allow her pale lips to express the wild grief of her heart.
In her loneliness she dared give utterance to the cry of anguish
rending her bosom.
Where was he? where was Trenck? Why had he not returned? Why had she
no news, no love-token, no message from him? She had carefully
examined the list of killed and wounded. He had not fallen in
battle. He was not fatally wounded. He had not returned with the
army, or she would have seen him. Where was he, then? Was he ill, or
had he forgotten her, or did he blush to return without his laurels?
Had he been taken by the Austrians? Was her beloved suffering in a
loathsome prison, while she was laughing, jesting, and adorning
herself in costly array? While she thus thought and spoke, burning
tears blinded her eyes, and sighs and sobs choked her utterance.
"If he is dead," said she, firmly, "then I will also die. If he is
in prison, I will set him at liberty. If he does not come because he
has not been promoted and fears I no longer love him, I will seek
him out, I will swear that I love him, that I desire only his love,
that I will fly with him to some lonely, quiet valley. I will lay
aside my rank, my royalty, forget my birth, abandon all joyously,
that I may belong to him, be his fond and dear-loved wife."
And now a light sound was heard at the door, and she recognized the
voice of her maid asking admittance.
"Ah!" said Amelia, "if the good Marwitz were here, I should not have
to endure this torture, but my brother has unconsciously robbed me
of this consolation. He has sent my friend and confidante home, and
forced upon me a strange and stupid woman whom I hate."
And now a gentle voice plead more earnestly for admittance.
"I must indeed open the door," said the princess, unwillingly
drawing back the bolt. "Enter, Mademoiselle von Haak," said Amelia,
turning her back in order to conceal her red and swollen eyes.
Mademoiselle von Haak gave a soft, sad glance at the young princess,
and in a low voice asked for pardon for her unwelcome appearance.
"Without doubt your reason for coming will justify you," said the
princess. "I pray you, therefore, to make it known quickly. I wish
to be alone."
"Alas! your royal highness is harsh with me," whispered the young
girl. "I was forced upon you. I know it; you hate me because I have
taken the place of Mademoiselle von Marwitz. I assure you I was not
to blame in this. It was only after the written and peremptory
command of his majesty the king that my mother consented to my
appearance at court."
"Have you come, mademoiselle, simply to tell me this?"
"No, your royal highness; I come to say that I love you. Even since
I had the honor of knowing you, I have loved you. In the loneliness
which surrounds me here, my heart gives itself up wholly to you. Oh,
do not spurn me from you! Tell me why you are sad; let me bear a
part of your sorrow. Princess, I offer you the heart of a true
friend, of a sister--will you cast me off?"
The young girl threw herself upon her knees before the princess, and
her cheeks were bathed in tears. Amelia raised and embraced her.
"Oh!" said she, "I see that God has not utterly forsaken me. He
sends me aid and comfort in my necessity. Will you be, indeed, my
"Yes, a friend in whom you can trust fully, to whom you can speak
freely," said Mademoiselle von Haak.
"Who knows but that may be more dangerous for you than for me?"
sighed Amelia. "There are fearful secrets, the mere knowledge of
which brings destruction."
"But if I already know the secret of your royal highness?--if I
understand the reason of your grief during these last few days?"
"Well, then, tell me what you know."
The maiden bowed down low to the ear of her mistress. "Your eyes
seek in vain for him whom you love. You suffer, for you know not
where he is."
"Yes, you are right," cried Amelia. "I suffer the anguish of
uncertainty. If I do not soon learn where he is, I shall die in
"Shall I tell you, princess?"
Amelia turned pale and trembled. "You will not say that he is in his
grave?" said she, breathlessly.
"No, your highness, he lives and is well."
"He lives, is well, and comes not?"
"He cannot come--he is a prisoner."
"A prisoner! God be thanked it is no worse! The king will obtain his
liberation. My brother cares for his young officers--he will not
leave him in the hands of the Austrians. Oh! I thank you--I thank
you. You are indeed a messenger of glad tidings. And now the king
will be pleased with me. I can be merry and laugh, and jest with
Mademoiselle von Haak bowed her head sadly, and sighed. "He is not
in an Austrian prison," she said, in low tones.
"Not in an Austrian prison?" repeated Amelia, astonished, "where is
he, then? My God! why do you not speak? Where is Trenck? Who has
captured him? Speak! I die with impatience and anxiety."
"In God's name, princess, listen to me calmly, and above all things,
speak softly. I am sure you are surrounded by spies. If we are
heard, we are lost!"
"Do you wish me to die?" murmured the princess, sinking exhausted
upon the divan. "Where is Trenck?"
"He is in the fortress of Glatz," whispered Von Haak.
"Ah! in a Prussian fortress; sent there by the king? He has
committed some small fault in discipline, as once before, and as
this is the second offence, the king punishes him more severely.
That is all! I thank you; you have restored my peace of mind."
"I fear, princess, that you are mistaken. It is said that Baron von
Trenck has been arrested for high treason."
The princess became deadly pale, and almost fainted. She overcame
this weakness, however, quickly, and said smilingly: "He will then
soon be free, for all must know that he is innocent."
"God grant that it may be proved!" said Mademoiselle von Haak. "This
is no time to shrink or be silent. You have a great, strong heart,
and you love him. You must know all! Listen, therefore, princess. I
also love; I also look to the future with hope! My love is calm, for
it is without danger; it has my mother's consent and blessing. Our
only hope is, that my lover may be promoted, and that the king will
give his consent to our marriage. We are both poor, and rely only
upon the favor of the king. He is now lieutenant, and is on duty in
the garrison of Glatz."
"In Glatz! and you say that Trenck is a prisoner in Glatz?"
"Yes, I received letters yesterday from Schnell. He belongs to the
officers who have guard over Trenck. He writes that he feels the
profoundest pity for this young man, and that he will joyfully aid
him in every way. He asks me if I know no one who has the courage to
plead with the king in behalf of this unhappy youth."
"My God! my God! give me strength to hear all, and yet control
myself!" murmured Amelia. "Do you know the nature of his
punishment?" said she, quietly.
"No one knows positively the duration of his punishment; but the
commandant of the fort told the officers that Trenck would be a
prisoner for many years."
The princess uttered one wild cry, then pressed both hands upon her
lips and forced herself to silence.
"What is the charge against him?" she said, after a long pause.
"High treason. A treasonable correspondence has been discovered
between him and his cousin the pandour."
The princess shrugged her shoulders contemptuously. "He will soon
justify himself, in view of this pitiful charge! His judges will
acknowledge his innocence, and set him at liberty. But why is he not
already free? Why has he been condemned? Who were his judges? Did
you not say to me that he was condemned?"
"My lover wrote me that Baron Trenck had written to the king and
asked for a court-martial and trial."
"This proves his innocence; he does not fear a trial! What was the
"He ordered the commandant to place Trenck in closer confinement,
and to forward no more letters from him. And now, princess, you must
act promptly; use all your power and influence, if you would save
"I have no influence, I have no power!" cried Amelia, with streaming
eyes. "Oh! you do not know my brother; his heart is of stone. No one
can move him--neither his, mother, his sisters, nor his wife; his
purpose is unchangeable, and what he says is fixed. But I will show
him that I am his sister; that the hot blood of the Hohenzollerns
flows also in my veins. I will seek him boldly; I will avow that I
love Trenck; I will demand that he give Trenck liberty, or give me
death! I will demand--"
The door was hastily opened, and a servant said, breathlessly, "The
king is coming!"
"No, he is already here," said the king, who now stood upon the
threshold of the door. "He comes to beg his little sister to
accompany him to the court-yard and see the reindeer and the
Laplanders, sent to us by the crown princess of Sweden."
The king advanced to his sister, and held out both his hands. But
Amelia did not appear to see this. She made a profound and
ceremonious bow, and murmured a few cold words of greeting. The king
frowned, and looked at her angrily. He saw that she had been
weeping, and his expression was harsh and stern.
"Come, princess!" said he imperiously.
But Amelia had now overcome her terror and her confusion. She was
resolved to act, and know the worst.
"Will your majesty grant me an audience? I have something important,
most important to myself, to say. I would speak more to the heart of
my brother than to the ear of my king. I pray your majesty to allow
me to speak with you alone."
The king's eyes were fixed upon her with a dark and threatening
expression, but she did not look down or tremble; she met his glance
firmly, even daringly, and Frederick hesitated. "She will speak the
whole truth to me," thought the king, "and I shall be forced to act
with severity against her. I cannot do this; I am not brave enough
to battle with a maiden's heart."
"Sister," said he aloud, "if you have indeed something to say to
your brother, and not to the king, I counsel you not to speak now. I
have so much to do and hear as a king, I have no time to act another
part. Is what yon have to say to me truly important? Does it relate
to a rare jewel, or a costly robe?--to some debt, which your pin-
money does not suffice to meet?--in short, to any one of those great
matters which completely fill the heart of a young maiden? If so, I
advise you to confide in our mother. If she makes your wishes known
to me, you are sure to receive no denial. It is decidedly better for
a young girl to turn to her mother with her little wishes and
mysteries. If they are innocent, her mother will ever promote them;
if they are guilty, a mother's anger will be more restrained and
milder than a brother's ever can be."
"You will not even listen to me, my brother?" said the princess,
The king threw a quick glance backward toward the door opening into
the corridor, where the cavaliers and maids of honor were assembled,
and looking curiously into the room of the princess.
"No! I will not listen to you," said he, in a low tone; "but you
shall listen to me! You shall not act a drama at my court; you shall
not give the world a cause for scandal; you shall not exhibit
yourself with red and swollen eyes; that might be misinterpreted. It
might be said that the sister of the king did not rejoice at the
return of her brother; that she was not patriot enough to feel happy
at Prussia's release from the burdens of war, not patriot enough to
despise and forget the enemies of her country! I command you to be
gay, to conceal your childish grief. A princess dare not weep, or,
if she does, it must be under the shadow of night, when God only is
with her. This is my counsel and reproof, and I beg you to lay it to
heart. I will not command you to accompany me, your eyes are red
with weeping. Remain, then, in your room, and that the time may not
pass heavily, I hand you this letter, which I have received for
He drew a sealed letter from his bosom, handed it to Amelia, and
left the room.
"Let us go," said he, nodding to his courtiers; "the princess is
unwell, and cannot accompany us."
Mademoiselle von Haak hastened again to the boudoir. "Has your royal
highness spoken to the king?"
She shook her head silently, and with trembling hands tore open the
letter given her by the king. Breathlessly she fixed her eyes upon
the writing, uttered one wild shriek, and fell insensible upon the
floor. This was the last letter she had written to Trenck, and upon
the margin the king had written this one word, "Read." The king then
knew all; he had read the letter; he knew of her engagement to
Trenck, knew how she loved him, and he had no mercy. For this was he
condemned. He had given her this letter to prove to her that she had
nothing to hope; that Trenck was punished, not for high treason
against the state, but because he was the lover of the princess.
Amelia understood all. With flashing eyes, with glowing cheeks, she
exclaimed: "I will set him at liberty; he suffers because he loves
me; for my sake he languishes in a lonely prison. I will free him if
it costs me my heart's blood, drop by drop! Now, King Frederick, you
shall see that I am indeed your sister; that I have a will even like
your own. My life belongs to my beloved; if I cannot share it with
him, I will offer it up to him--I swear this; may God condemn me if
I break my oath! Trenck shall be free! that is the mission of my
life. Now, friend, come to my help; all that I am and have I offer
up. I have gold, I have diamonds, I gave an estate given me by my
father. I will sell all to liberate him; we will, if necessary,
bribe the whole garrison. But now, before all other things, I must
write to him."
"I promise he shall receive your letter," said Mademoiselle von
Haak; "I will send it to Lieutenant Schnell. I will enclose it to my
mother; no one here must know that I correspond with an officer at
the fortress of Glatz."
"No one dare know that, till the day of Trenck's liberation," said
Amelia, with a radiant smile.
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