FREDERICK THE GREAT AND HIS FAMILY
Part 10 out of 16
"Adieu, D'Argens! In this picture
Thou wilt see the cause of my death;
At least, do not think, a nothing in the vault,
That I aspire to apotheosis.
All that friendship by these lines proposes
Is only this much, that here the celestial torch
May clear thy days while I repose,
And each time when the Spring appears anew
And from her abundant breast offers thee the flowers there enclosed
That thou with a bouquet of myrtle and rose
Wilt deign to decorate my tomb."]
"Ah!" murmured the king, as he folded and addressed his poetical
letter, "how lovely it must now be at Sans-Souci! Well, well! my
grave shall be there, and D'Argens will cover it with flowers. And
have I no other friends at Sans-Souci? My good old hounds, my
crippled soldiers! They cannot come to me, but I will go to them."
The king then arose, opened the door, and asked if a messenger was
in readiness; receiving an answer in the affirmative, he gave the
three letters to the adjutant. "And now my work is finished," said
he, "now I can die." He took from his breast-pocket a small casket
of gold which he always carried with him, and which, in the late
battle, had served him as a shield against the enemy's balls. The
lid had been hollowed in by a ball; strange to say, this casket,
which had saved his life, was now to cause his death. For within it
there was a small vial containing three pills of the most deadly
poison, which the king had kept with him since the beginning of the
war. The king looked at the casket thoughtfully. "Death here fought
against death; and still how glorious it would have been to die upon
the battle-field believing myself the victor!" He held the vial up
to the light and shook it; and as the pills bounded up and down, he
said, smiling sadly, "Death is merry! It comes eagerly to invite me
to the dance. Well, well, my gay cavalier, I am ready for the
He opened the vial and emptied the pills into his hand. Then arose
and approached the window to see once more the sky with its
glittering stars and its brightly-beaming moon, and the battle-field
upon which thousands of his subjects had this day found their death.
Then raised the hand with the pills. What was it that caused him to
hesitate? Why did his hand fall slowly down? What were his eyes so
intently gazing on?
The king was not gazing at the sky, the stars, or the moon; but far
off into the distance, at the Austrian camp-fires. There were the
conquerors, there was Soltikow and Loudon with their armies. The
king had observed these fires before entering the hut, but their
number had now increased, a sign that the enemy had not advanced,
but was resting. How? Was it possible that the enemy, not taking
advantage of their victory, was not following the conquered troops,
but giving them time to rally, to outmarch them, perhaps time to
reach the Spree, perhaps Berlin?
"If this is so," said the king, answering his own thoughts, "if the
enemy neglects to give me the finishing-blow, all is not lost. If
there is a chance of salvation for my country, I must not die; she
needs me, and it is, my duty to do all in my power to retrieve the
He looked again at the camp-fires, and a bright smile played about
"If those fires speak aright," said he, "my enemies are more
generous--or more stupid--than I thought, and many advantages may
still be derived from this lost battle. If so, I must return to my
old motto that 'life is a duty.' And so long as good, honorable work
is to be done, man has no right to seek the lazy rest of the grave.
I must ascertain at once if my suspicions are correct. Death may
wait awhile. As long as there is a necessity for living, I cannot
He returned the pills to the vial and hid the casket in its former
resting-place. Then passing hastily through the room, he opened the
door. The two adjutants were sitting upon the wooden bench in front
of the hut; both were asleep. The grenadiers were pacing with even
tread up and down before the house; deep quiet prevailed. The king
stood at the door looking in amazement at the glorious scene before
him. He inhaled with delight the soft summer air; never had it
seemed to him so balmy, so full of strengthening power, and he
acknowledged that never had the stars, the moon, the sky looked as
beautiful. With lively joy he felt the night-wind toying with his
hair. The king would not tire of all this; it seemed to him as if a
friend, dead long since, mourned and bewailed, had suddenly appeared
to him beaming with health, and as if he must open his arms and say,
"Welcome, thou returned one. Fate separated us; but now, as we have
met, we will never leave one another, but cling together through
life and death, through good and evil report."
Life was the friend that appeared to Frederick, and he now felt his
great love for it. Raising his eyes in a sort of ecstasy to the sky,
he murmured, "I swear not to seek death unless at the last
extremity, if, when made a prisoner, I cannot escape. I swear to
live, to suffer, so long as I am free."
He had assumed the harness of life, and was determined to battle
bravely with it.
THE TWO GRENADIERS.
Smiling, and with elastic step, the king advanced to meet the two
grenadiers, who stood rooted to the spot as he approached them.
"Grenadiers," said he, "why are you not with your comrades?"
"Our comrades fled," said one.
"It is dishonorable to fly," said the other.
The king was startled. These voices were familiar, he had surely
heard them before.
"I ought to know you," said he, "this is not the first time we have
spoken together. What is your name, my son?"
"Fritz Kober is my name," said the grenadier.
"Charles Henry Buschman," said the other.
"You are not mistaken, sir king! we have met and spoken before, but
it was on a better night than this."
"Where was it?" said the king.
"The night before the great, the glorious battle of Leuthen," said
Fritz Kober, gravely; "at that time, sir king, you sat at our tent-
fire and ate dumplings with us. Charles Henry knows how to cook them
"Ah! I remember," said the king; "you made me pay my share of the
"And you did so, like a true king," said Fritz Kober. "Afterward you
came back to our tent-fire, and Charles Henry Buschman told you
fairy tales, nobody can do that so beautifully as Charles Henry, and
you slept refreshingly throughout."
"No, no, grenadier," said the king, "I did not sleep, and I can tell
you to-day all that Charles Henry related."
"Well, what was it?" said Fritz Kober, with great delight.
The king reflected a moment, and then said, in a soft voice:
"He told of a king who was so fondly loved by a beautiful fairy,
that she changed herself into a sword when the king went to war and
helped him to defeat his enemies! Is that it. Fritz Kober?"
"Nearly so, sir king; I wish you had such a fairy at your side to-
"Still, Fritz," whispered Charles Henry Buschman, "our king does not
need the help of a fairy; our king can maintain his own cause, and
God is with his sword."
"Do you truly believe that, my son?" said the king, deeply moved.
"Have you still this great confidence in me? Do you still believe
that I can sustain myself and that God is with me?"
"We have this confidence, and we will never lose it!" cried Charles
Henry, quickly. "Our enemies over there have no Frederick to lead
them on, no commander-in-chief to share with them hunger and thirst,
and danger and fatigue; therefore they cannot love their leaders as
we do ours."
"And then," said Fritz Kober, thoughtfully, "I am always thinking
that this war is like a battle of the cats and hounds. Sometimes it
looks as if the little cats would get the better of the great
bulldogs; they have sharp claws, and scratch the dogs in the face
till they can neither see nor hear, and must for a while give way;
they go off, however, give themselves a good shake, and open their
eyes, and spring forward as great and strong and full of courage as
ever; they seize upon the poor cats in the nape of the neck and bite
them deadly with their strong, powerful teeth. What care they if the
cats do scratch in the mean while? No, no, sir king, the cats cannot
hold out to the end; claws are neither so strong nor so lasting as
"Yes," said the king, laughing, "but how do you know but our foes
over there are the hounds and we are the little cats?"
"What!" cried Fritz Kober, amazed, "we shall be the cats? No, no,
sir king, we are the great hounds."
"But how can you prove this?"
"How shall I prove it?" said Fritz Kober. somewhat embarrassed.
After a short pause, he cried out, gayly, "I have it--I will prove
it. Those over there are the cats because they are Russians and
Austrians, and do not serve a king as we do; they have only two
empresses, two women. Now, sir king, am I not right? Women and cats,
are they not alike? So those over there are the cats and we are the
Frederick was highly amused. "Take care," said he, "that 'those over
there' do not hear you liken their empresses to cats."
"And if they are empresses," said Fritz Kober, dryly, "they are
still women, and women are cats."
The king looked over toward the camp-fires, which were boldly
shining on the horizon.
"How far is it from here to those fires?" said he.
"About an hour," said Charles Henry, "not more."
"One hour," repeated the king, softly. "In one hour, then, I could
know my fate! Listen, children, which of you will go for me?"
Both exclaimed in the same moment, "I will!"
"It is a fearful attempt," said the king, earnestly; "the Cossacks
are swarming in every direction, and if you escape them, you may be
caught in the camp and shot as spies."
"I will take care that they shall not recognize me as an enemy,"
said Charles Henry, quietly.
"I also," said Fritz Kober, zealously. "You stay, Charles Henry, we
dare not both leave the king. You know that only this evening, while
upon the watch, we swore that, even if the whole army of the enemy
marched against us, we would not desert our king, but would stand at
our post as long as there was a drop of blood in our veins or a
breath in our bodies."
The king laid his hands upon the two soldiers and looked at them
with much emotion. The moon, which stood great and full in the
heavens, lighted up this curious group, and threw three long, dark
shadows over the plain.
"And you have sworn that, my children?" said the king, after a long
pause. "Ah, if all my men thought as you do we would not have been
defeated this day."
"Sir king, your soldiers all think as we do, but fate was against
us. Just as I said, the cats outnumbered us to-day, but we will bite
them bravely for it next time. And now tell me, sir king, what shall
I do over there in the camp?"
Before the king could answer, Charles Henry laid his hand upon his
"Let me go," said he, entreatingly; "Fritz Kober is so daring, so
undaunted, he is not cautious; they will certainly shoot him, and
then you have lost the best soldier in your army."
"Your loss, I suppose, would not be felt; the king can do without
"Listen, children," said the king, "it is best that you both go; one
can protect the other, and four ears are better than two."
"The king is right, that is best--we will both go."
"And leave the king alone and unguarded?"
"No," said the king, pointing to the two sleepers, "I have my two
adjutants, and they will keep guard for me. Now, listen to what I
have to say to you. Over there is the enemy, and it is most
important for me to know what he is doing, and what he proposes to
do. Go, then, and listen. Their generals have certainly taken up
their quarters in the village. You must ascertain that positively,
and then draw near their quarters. You will return as quickly as
possible, and inform me of all that you hear and see."
"Is that all?" said Fritz Kober.
"That is all. Now be off, and if you do your duty well, and return
fresh and in good order, you shall be both made officers." Fritz
Kober laughed aloud. "No, no, sir king, we know that old story
"It is not necessary that you should promise us any thing, your
majesty," said Charles Henry; "we do not go for a reward, but for
respect and love to our king."
"But tell me, Fritz Kober, why you laughed so heartily?" said the
"Because this is not the first time that your majesty has promised
to make us officers. Before the battle of Leuthen, you said if we
were brave and performed valiant deeds, you would make us officers.
Well, we were brave. Charles Henry took seven prisoners, and I took
nine; but we are not officers."
"You shall be to-morrow," said the king. "Now, hasten off, and come
back as quickly as possible."
"We will leave our muskets here," said Charles Henry; "we dare not
visit our enemies in Prussian array."
They placed their arms at the house door, and then clasping each
other's hands, and making a military salute, they hastened off. The
king looked after them till their slender forms were lost in the
"With fifty thousand such soldiers I could conquer the world,"
murmured he; "they are of the true metal."
He turned, and stepping up to the two sleepers, touched them lightly
on the shoulders. They sprang up alarmed when they recognized the
"You need not excuse yourselves," said Frederick kindly, "you have
had a day of great fatigue, and are, of course, exhausted. Come into
the house, the night air is dangerous; we will sleep here together."
"Where are the two grenadiers?" said Goltz.
"I have sent them off on duty."
"Then your majesty must allow us to remain on guard. I have slept
well, and am entirely refreshed."
"I also," said the second lieutenant. "Will your majesty be pleased
to sleep? we will keep guard."
"Not so," said the king, "the moon will watch over us all. Come in."
"But it is impossible that your majesty should sleep thus, entirely
unguarded. The first Cossack that dashes by could take aim at your
majesty through the window."
Frederick shook his head gravely. "The ball which will strike me
will come from above, [Footnote: The king's own words.--See Nicolai,
p. 118.] and that you cannot intercept. No, it is better to have no
watch before the door; we will not draw the attention of troops
passing by to this house. I think no one will suppose that this
miserable and ruinous barrack, through which the wind howls, is the
residence of a king. Come, then, messieurs." He stepped into the
hut, followed by the two adjutants, who dared no longer oppose him.
"Put out that light," said the king, "the moon will be our torch,
and will glorify our bed of straw." He drew his sword, and grasping
it firmly in his right hand, he stretched himself upon the straw.
"There is room for both of you--lie down. Good-night, sirs."
Frederick slightly raised his three-cornered hat in greeting, and
then laid it over his face as a protection from the moonlight and
the cold night air. The adjutants laid down silently at his feet,
and soon no sound was heard in the room but the loud breathing of
the three sleepers.
THE RIGHT COUNSEL.
Hand in hand the two grenadiers advanced directly toward the battle-
field. Before they could approach the enemy's camp they must borrow
two Austrian uniforms from the dead upon the plain. It was not
difficult, amongst so many dead bodies, to find two Austrian
officers, and the two Prussian grenadiers went quickly to work to
rob the dead and appropriate their garments.
"I don't know how it is," said Charles Henry, shuddering, "a cold
chill thrills through me when I think of putting on a coat which I
have just taken from a dead body. It seems to me the marble
chillness of the corpse will insinuate itself into my whole body,
and that I shall never be warm again."
Fritz Kober looked up with wide-open eyes! "You have such curious
thoughts, Charles Henry, such as come to no other man; but you are
right, it is a frosty thing." And now he had removed the uniform and
was about to draw off his own jacket and assume the white coat of
the Austrian. "It is a great happiness," said he, "that we need not
change our trousers, a little clearer or darker gray can make no
difference in the night."
Charles Henry was in the act of drawing on the coat of the dead man,
when Fritz Kober suddenly seized his arm and held him back. "Stop,"
said he, "you must do me a favor--this coat is too narrow, and it
pinches me fearfully; you are thinner than I am, and I think it will
fit you exactly; take it and give me yours." He jerked off the coat
and handed it to his friend.
"No, no, Fritz Kober," said Charles Henry, in a voice so soft and
sweet, that Fritz was confused and bewildered by it. "No, Fritz, I
understand you fully. You have the heart of an angel; you only
pretend that this coat is too narrow for you that you may induce me
to take the one you have already warmed."
It was well that Fritz had his back turned to the moon, otherwise
his friend would have seen that his face was crimson; he blushed as
if detected in some wicked act. However, he tore the uniform away
from Charles Henry rather roughly, and hastened to put it on.
"Folly," said he, "the coat squeezes me, that is all! Besides, it is
not wise to fool away our time in silly talking. Let us go onward."
"Directly over the battle-field?" said Charles Henry, shuddering.
"Directly over the battle-field," said Kober, "because that is the
"Come, then," said Charles, giving him his hand.
It was indeed a fearful path through which they must walk. They
passed by troops of corpses--by thousands of groaning, rattling,
dying men--by many severely wounded, who cried out to them piteously
for mercy and help! Often Charles Henry hesitated and stood still to
offer consolation to the unhappy wretches, but Fritz Kober drew him
on. "We cannot help them, and we have far to go!" Often the swarming
Cossacks, dashing around on their agile little ponies, called to
them from afar off in their barbarous speech, but when they drew
near and saw the Austrian uniforms, they passed them quietly, and
were not surprised they had not given the pass-word.
At last they passed the battle-field, and came on the open plain, at
the end of which they perceived the camp-fires of the Russians and
Austrians. The nearer they approached, the more lively was the
scene. Shouts, laughter, loud calls, and outcries--from time to time
a word of command. And in the midst of this mad confusion, here and
there soldiers were running, market-women offering them wares cheap,
and exulting soldiers assembling around the camp-fires. From time to
time the regular step of the patrouille was heard, who surrounded
the camp, and kept a watchful eye in every direction.
Arm in arm they passed steadily around the camp. "One thing I know,"
whispered Fritz Kober, "they have no thought of marching. They will
pass a quiet, peaceful night by their camp-fires."
"I agree with you," said Charles Henry, "but let us go forward and
listen a little; perhaps we can learn where the generals are
"Look, look! it must he there," said Fritz Kober, hastily.
"There are no camp-fires; but there is a brilliant light in the
peasants' huts, and it appears to me that I see a guard before the
doors. These, certainly, are the headquarters."
"Let us go there, then," said Charles Henry; "but we must approach
the houses from behind, and thus avoid the guard."
They moved cautiously around, and drew near the houses. Profound
quiet reigned in this neighborhood; it was the reverence of
subordination--the effect which the presence of superior officers
ever exercises upon their men. Here stood groups of officers,
lightly whispering together--there soldiers were leading their
masters' horses; not far off orderlies were waiting on horseback--
sentinels with shouldered arms were going slowly by. The attention
of all seemed to be fixed upon the two small houses, and every
glance and every ear was turned eagerly toward the brilliantly
"We have hit the mark exactly," whispered Fritz Kober; he had
succeeded with his friend in forcing his way into the little alley
which separated the two houses. "We have now reached the head-
quarters of the generals. Look! there is an Austrian sentinel with
his bear's cap. Both the Austrian and Russian generals are here."
" Let us watch the Russians a little through the window," said
Charles Henry, slipping forward.
They reached the corner, and were hidden by the trunk of a tree
which overshadowed the huts. Suddenly they heard the word of
command, and there was a general movement among the files of
soldiers assembled about the square. The officers placed themselves
in rank, the soldiers presented arms; for, at this moment, the
Austrian General Loudon, surrounded by his staff, stepped from one
of the small houses into the square. The Cossacks, who were crouched
down on the earth before the door, raised themselves, and also
While Loudon stood waiting, the two Prussian grenadiers slipped
slyly to the other hut.
"Let us go behind," whispered Charles Henry. "There are no sentinels
there, and perhaps we may find a door, and get into the house."
Behind the hut was a little garden whose thick shrubs and bushes
gave complete concealment to the two grenadiers. Noiselessly they
sprang over the little fence, and made a reconnoissance of the
terrain--unseen, unnoticed, they drew near the house. As they
stepped from behind the bushes, Fritz Kober seized his friend's arm,
and with difficulty suppressed a cry of joy.
The scene which was presented to them was well calculated to rejoice
the hearts of brave soldiers. They had reached the goal, and might
now hope to fulfil the wishes of their king. The quarters of the
Russian general were plainly exposed to them. In this great room,
which was evidently the ball-room of the village, at a long oak-
table, in the middle of the room, sat General Soltikow, and around
him sat and stood the generals and officers. At the door, half a
dozen Cossacks were crouching, staring sleepily on the ground. The
room was brilliantly illuminated with wax-lights, and gave the two
grenadiers an opportunity of seeing it in every part. Fate appeared
to favor them in every way, and gave them an opportunity to hear as
well as see. The window on the garden was opened to give entrance to
the cool night air, and near it there was a thick branch of a tree
in which a man could conceal himself.
"Look there," said Charles Henry, "I will hide in that tree. We will
make our observations from different stand-points. Perhaps one of us
may see what escapes the other. Let us attend closely, that we may
tell all to our king."
No man in this room guessed that in the silent little garden four
flashing eyes were observing all that passed.
At the table sat the Russian commander-in-chief, surrounded by his
generals and officers. Before him lay letters, maps, and plans, at
which he gazed from time to time, while he dictated an account of
the battle to the officer sitting near him, Soltikow was preparing a
dispatch for the Empress Elizabeth. A few steps farther off, in
stiff military bearing, stood the officers who were giving in their
reports, and whose statements brought a dark cloud to the brow of
the victorious commander. Turning with a hasty movement of the head
to the small man with the gold-embroidered uniform and the stiffly-
frizzed wig, he said--
"Did you hear that, sir marquis? Ten thousand of my brave soldiers
lie dead upon the battle-field, and as many more are severely
"It follows then," said the Marquis Montalembert, the French
commissioner between the courts of Vienna, Petersburg, and Paris,
"it follows then, that the king of Prussia has forty thousand dead
and wounded, and, consequently, his little army is utterly
"Who knows?" said Soltikow; "the king of Prussia is accustomed to
sell his defeats dearly. I should not be at all surprised if he had
lost fewer soldiers than we have." [Footnote: Soltikow's own words--
See Archenholtz, p 206.] "Well, I think he has now nothing more to
lose," said the marquis, laughing; "it rests with you to give the
last coup de grace to this conquered and flying king, and forever
The entrance of an officer interrupted him. The officer announced
General von Loudon.
Soltikow arose, and advanced to the door to welcome the Austrian
general. A proud smile was on his face as he gave his hand to
Loudon; he did this with the air of a gracious superior who wished
to be benevolent to his subordinate.
The quick, firm glance of Loudon seemed to read the haughty heart of
his ally, and, no doubt for this reason, he scarcely touched
Soltikow's hand. With erect head and proud step he advanced into the
middle of the room.
"I resolved to come to your excellency," said Loudon, in a sharp,
excited tone; "you have a large room, while in my hut I could
scarcely find accommodation for you and your adjutants."
"You come exactly at the right hour," said Soltikow, with a haughty
smile; "you see, we were about to hold a council of war, and
consider what remains to be done."
A dark and scornful expression was seen in Loudon's countenance, and
his eyes rested fiercely upon the smiling face of Soltikow.
"Impossible, general! you could not have held a council of war
without me," said he, angrily.
"Oh, be composed, general," said Soltikow, smiling, "I would,
without doubt, have informed you immediately of our conclusions."
"I suppose you could not possibly have come to any conclusion in my
absence," said Loudon, the veins in whose forehead began to swell.
Soltikow bowed low, with the same unchanged and insolent smile.
"Let us not dispute about things which have not yet taken place,
your excellency. The council of war had not commenced, but now that
you are here, we may begin. Allow me, however, first to sign these
dispatches which I have written to my gracious sovereign, announcing
the victory which the Russian troops have this day achieved over the
army of the King of Prussia."
"Ah, general, this time I am in advance of you," cried Loudon; "the
dispatches are already sent off in which I announced to my empress
the victory which the Austrian troops gained over the Prussians."
Soltikow threw his head back scornfully, and his little gray eyes
flashed at the Austrian.
Loudon went on, calmly: "I assure your excellency that enthusiasm at
our glorious victory has made me eloquent. I pictured to my empress
the picturesque moment in which the conquering Prussians were
rushing forward to take possession of the batteries deserted by the
flying Russians, at which time the Austrian horsemen sprang, as it
were, from the ground, checked the conquerors, and forced them back;
and by deeds of lionlike courage changed the fate of the day."
While Loudon, seeming entirely cool and careless, thus spoke, the
face of the Russian general was lurid with rage. Panting for breath,
he pressed his doubled fist upon the table.
Every one looked at him in breathless excitement and horror--all
knew his passionate and unrestrained rage. But the Marquis
Montalembert hastened to prevent this outburst of passion, and
before Soltikow found breath to speak, he turned with a gay and
conciliating expression to Loudon.
"If you have painted the battle of to-day so much in detail," said
he, "you have certainly not forgotten to depict the gallant conduct
of the Russian troops to describe that truly exalted movement, when
the Russians threw themselves to the earth, as if dead, before
advancing columns of the Prussian army, and allowed them to pass
over them; then, springing up, shot them in the back." [Footnote:
Archenholtz, Seven Years' War, p. 257.]
"Certainly I did not forget that," said Loudon, whose noble,
generous heart already repented his momentary passion and jealousy;
"certainly, I am not so cowardly and so unconscionable as to deny
the weighty share which the Russian army merit in the honor of this
day; but you can well understand that I will not allow the gallant
deeds of the Austrians to be swept away. We have fought together and
conquered together, and now let us rejoice together over the
Loudon gave his hand to Soltikow with so friendly an expression that
he could not withstand it. "You are right, Loudon; we will rejoice
together over this great victory," cried he. "Wine, here! We will
first drink a glass in honor of the triumph of the day; then we will
empty a glass of your beautiful Rhine wine to the friendship of the
Austrians and Russians. Wine here! The night is long enough for
council; let us first celebrate our victory."
The Cossacks, at a sign from the adjutants, sprang from the floor
and drew from a corner of the room a number of bottles and silver
cups, which they hastened to place upon the table. The secretaries
moved the papers, maps, etc.; and the table, which a moment before
had quite a business-like aspect, was now changed into an enticing
Soltikow looked on enraptured, but the marquis cast an anxious and
significant look upon the Austrian general, which was answered with
a slight shrug of the shoulders. Both knew that the brave General
Soltikow, next to the thunder of cannon and the mad whirl of battle,
loved nothing so well as the springing of corks and the odor of
wine. Both knew that the general was as valiant and unconquerable a
soldier as he was a valiant and unconquerable drinker--who was most
apt while drinking to forget every thing else but the gladness of
the moment. The marquis tried to make another weak attempt to remind
him of more earnest duties.
"Look you, your excellency, your secretaries appear very melancholy.
Will you not first hold a council of war? and we can then give
ourselves undisturbed to joy and enjoyment."
"Why is a council of war necessary?" said Soltikow, sinking down
into a chair and handing his cup to the Cossack behind him to be
filled for the second time. "Away with business and scribbling! The
dispatches to my empress are completed; seal them, Pietrowitch, and
send the courier off immediately; every thing else can wait till
morning. Come, generals, let us strike our glasses to the healths of
our exalted sovereigns."
Loudon took the cup and drank a brave pledge, then when he had
emptied the glass he said: "We should not be satisfied with sending
our exalted sovereigns the news of the day's victory--it lies in our
hands to inform them of the complete and irrevocable defeat of the
"How so?" said Soltikow, filling up his cup for the third time.
"If now, in place of enjoying this comfortable rest, and giving our
enemy time to recover himself, we should follow up the Prussians and
cut off the king's retreat, preventing him from taking possession of
his old camp at Reutven, we would then be in a condition to crush
him completely and put an end to this war."
"Ah, you mean that we should break up the camp at once," said
Soltikow; "that we should not grant to our poor, exhausted soldiers
a single hour of sleep, but lead them out again to battle and to
death? No, no, sir general; the blood of my brave Russians is worth
as much as the blood of other men, and I will not make of them a
wall behind which the noble Dutchmen place themselves in comfortable
security, while we offer up for them our blood and our life. I think
we Russians have done enough; we do not need another victory to
prove that we are brave. When I fight another such battle as I have
fought to-day, with my staff in my hand and alone I must carry the
news to Petersburg, for I shall have no soldiers left.[ Footnote:
"Frederick the Great."--Geschow, p. 200.] I have nothing to say
against you, General Loudon. You have been a faithful ally; we have
fought, bled, and conquered together, although not protected by a
consecrated hat and sword like Field-Marshal Daun, who ever demands
new victories from us while he himself is undecided and completely
"Your excellency seems to be somewhat embittered against Daun," said
Loudon, with a smile he could not wholly suppress.
"Yes," said Soltikow, "I am embittered against this modern Fabius
Cunctator, who finds it so easy to become renowned--who remains in
Vienna and reaps the harvest which belongs rightly to you, General
Loudon. You act, while he hesitates--you are full of energy and ever
ready for the strife; Daun is dilatory, and while he is resolving
whether to strike or not, the opportunity is lost."
"The empress, my exalted sovereign, has honored him with her
especial confidence," said Loudon; "he must therefore merit it."
"Yes; and in Vienna they have honored you and myself with their
especial distrust," said Soltikow, stormily, and swallowing a full
cup of wine. "You, I know, receive rare and scanty praise; eulogies
must be reserved for Daun. We are regarded with inimical and jealous
eyes, and our zeal and our good-will are forever suspected."
"This is true," said Loudon, smiling; "it is difficult for us to
believe in the sincere friendship of the Russians, perhaps, because
we so earnestly desire it."
"Words, words!" said Soltikow, angrily. "The German has ever a
secret aversion to the Russian--you look upon us as disguised
tigers, ever ready to rob and devour your glorious culture and
accomplishments. For this reason you gladly place a glass shade over
yourselves when we are in your neighborhood, and show us your glory
through a transparent wall that we may admire and envy. When you are
living in peace and harmony, you avoid us sedulously; then the
German finds himself entirely too educated, too refined, for the
barbaric Russian. But when you quarrel and strive with each other,
and cannot lay the storm, then you suddenly remember that the
Russian is your neighbor and friend, that he wields a good sword,
and knows how to hew with it right and left. You call lustily on him
for help, and offer him your friendship--that means, just so long as
hostilities endure and you have use for us. Even when you call us
your friends you distrust us and suspect our good-will. Constant
charges are brought against us in Vienna. Spresain languishes in
chains--Austria charges him with treachery and want of zeal in the
good cause; Fermor and Butterlin are also accused of great crimes--
they have sought to make both their sincerity and ability suspected
by the empress, and to bring them into reproach. This they have not
deserved. I know, also, that they have charged me with
disinclination to assist the allies--they declare that I have no
ardor for the common cause. This makes bad blood, messieurs; and if
it were not for the excellent wine in your beautiful Germany, I
doubt if our friendship would stand upon a sure footing. Therefore,
sir general, take your cup and let us drink together--drink this
glorious wine to the health of our friendship. Make your glasses
ring, messieurs, and that the general may see that we mean honorably
with our toast, empty them at a draught."
They all accepted the challenge and emptied a cup of the old, fiery
Rhine wine, which Soltikow so dearly loved; their eyes flashed,
their cheeks were glowing.
Loudon saw this with horror, and he cast an anxious glance at
Montalembert, who returned it with a significant shrug of the
"And now, your excellency," said Loudon, "that we have enjoyed the
German wine, let us think a little of Germany and the enemy who can
no longer disturb her peace, if we act promptly. Our troops have had
some hours' rest, and will now be in a condition to advance."
"Always the same old song," said Soltikow, laughing; "but I shall
not be waked up from my comfortable quarters; I have done enough! my
"I have just received a courier from Daun," said Loudon, softly; "he
makes it my duty to entreat your excellency to follow up our victory
and crush the enemy completely."
"That will be easy work," said Montalembert, in a flattering tone.
"The army of the King of Prussia is scattered and flying in every
direction; they must be prevented from reassembling; the scattering
troops must be harassed and more widely separated, and every
possibility of retreat cut off for Frederick."
"Well, well, if that must be," said Soltikow, apathetically, placing
the cup just filled with wine to his lips, "let Field-Marshal Daun
undertake the duty. I have won two battles; I will wait and rest; I
make no other movements till I hear of two victories won by Daun. It
is not reasonable or just for the troops of my empress to act
alone." [Footnote: Soltikow's own words.--See Archenholtz, p. 266.]
"But," said the Marquis Montalembert, giving himself the appearance
of wishing not to be heard by Loudon, "if your excellency now
remains inactive and does not press forward vigorously, the
Austrians alone will reap the fruits of your victory."
"I am not at all disposed to be jealous," said Soltikow, laughing;
"from my heart I wish the Austrians more success than I have had.
For my part, I have done enough. [Footnote: Historical.] Fill your
glasses, messieurs, fill your glasses! We have won a few hours of
happiness from the goddess Bellona; let us enjoy them and forget all
our cares. Let us drink once more, gentlemen. Long live our charming
mistress, the Empress Elizabeth!" The Russian officers clanged their
glasses and chimed in zealously, and the fragrant Rhine wine bubbled
like foaming gold in the silver cups. Soltikow swallowed it with
ever-increasing delight, and he became more and more animated.
The officers sat round the table with glowing cheeks and listened to
their worshipped general who, in innocent gayety, related some
scenes from his youth, and made his hearers laugh so loud, so
rapturously, that the walls trembled, and Fritz Kober, who was
crouching down in the bushes, could with difficulty prevent himself
from joining in heartily.
The gayety of the Russians became more impetuous and unbridled. They
dreamed of their home; here and there they began to sing Russian
love-songs. The Cossacks, on the floor, grinned with delight and
hummed lightly the refrain.
The wine began to exercise its freedom and equality principles upon
the heart, and all difference of rank was forgotten. Every
countenance beamed with delight; every man laughed and jested, sang
and drank. No one thought of the King of Prussia and his scattered
army; they remembered the victory they had achieved, but the
fragrant wine banished the remembrance of the conquered. [Footnote:
See Prussia; Frederick the Great.--Gebhard, p. 73.]
Montalembert and Loudon took no part in the general mirth. They had
left the table, and from an open window watched the wild and
"It is in vain," whispered Loudon, "we cannot influence him. The
German wine lies nearer his heart than his German allies."
"But you, general, you should do what Soltikow omits or neglects.
You should draw your own advantage from this tardiness of the
Russian general, and pursue and crush the King of Prussia."
"I would not be here now," said Loudon, painfully, "if I could do
that. My hands are bound. I dare not undertake any thing to which
the allies do not agree; we can only act in concert."
A loud roar of laughter from the table silenced the two gentlemen.
Soltikow had just related a merry anecdote, which made the Cossacks
laugh aloud. One of the Russian generals rewarded them by throwing
them two tallow-candles. This dainty little delicacy was received by
them with joyful shouts.
"Let us withdraw," whispered Montalembert, "the scene becomes too
"Yes, let us go," sighed Loudon; "if we must remain here inactive,
we can at least employ the time in sleep."
No one remarked the withdrawal of the two gentlemen. The gay
laughter, the drinking and singing went on undisturbed, and soon
became a scene of wild and drunken confusion.
"We can now also withdraw," whispered Charles Henry to Fritz Kober.
"Come, come! you know we are expected."
With every possible caution, they hastened away, and only after they
had left the camp of the Russians and Austrians far behind them, and
passed again over the battle-field did Fritz Kober break silence.
"Well," said he, sighing, "what have we to say to the king?"
"All that we have heard," said Charles Henry.
"Yes, but we have heard nothing," murmured Fritz. "I opened my ears
as wide as possible, but it was all in vain. Is it not base and vile
to come to Germany and speak this gibberish, not a word of which can
be understood? In Germany men should be obliged to speak German, and
"They did not speak Russian, but French," said Charles Henry; "I
understood it all."
Fritz Kober stopped suddenly, and stared at his friend. "You say you
"Yes, I was at home on the French borders. My mother was from
Alsace, and there I learned French."
"You understand every thing," murmured Fritz, "but for myself, I am
a poor stupid blockhead, and the king will laugh at me, for I have
nothing to tell. I shall not get my commission."
"Then neither will I, Fritz; and, besides, as to what we have seen,
you have as much to tell as I. You heard with your eyes and I with
my ears, and the great point arrived at you know as much about as I
do. The Russians and Austrians are sleeping quietly, not thinking of
pursuing us. That's the principal point."
"Yes, that's true; that I can also assure the king--that will please
him best. Look! Charles Henry, the day is breaking! Let us hasten on
to the king. When he knows that the Austrians and Russians sleep, he
will think it high time for the Prussians to be awake."
A HERO IN MISFORTUNE.
The two grenadiers returned unharmed to the village where the king
had at present established his headquarters. The first rays of the
morning sun were falling upon the wretched hut which was occupied by
his majesty. The peaceful morning quiet was unbroken by the faintest
sound, and, as if Nature had a certain reverence for the hero's
slumber, even the birds were hushed, and the morning breeze blew
softly against the little window, as if it would murmur a sleeping
song to the king. There were no sentinels before the door; the
bright morning sun alone was guarding the holy place where the
unfortunate hero reposed.
Lightly, and with bated breath, the two grenadiers crept into the
open hut. The utter silence disturbed them. It seemed incredible
that they should find the king in this miserable place, alone and
unguarded. They thought of the hordes of Cossacks which infested
that region, and that a dozen of them would suffice to surround this
little hut, and make prisoners of the king and his adjutants.
"I have not the courage to open the door," whispered Fritz Kober. "I
fear that the king is no longer here. The Cossacks have captured
"God has not permitted that," said Charles Henry, solemnly; "I
believe that He has guarded the king in our absence. Come, we will
go to his majesty."
They opened the door and entered, and then both stood motionless,
awed and arrested by what they beheld.
There, on the straw that was scantily scattered on the dirty floor,
lay the king, his hat drawn partially over his face, his unsheathed
sword in his hand, sleeping as quietly as if he were at his bright
and beautiful Sans-Souci.
"Look!" whispered Charles Henry; "thus sleeps a king, over whom God
watches! But now we must awaken him."
He advanced to the king, and kneeling beside him, whispered: "Your
majesty, we have returned; we bring intelligence of the Russians and
The king arose slowly, and pushed his hat back from his brow.
"Good or bad news?" he asked.
"Good news!" said Fritz. "The Austrians and Russians have both gone
to bed; they were sleepy."
"And they have no idea of pursuing your majesty," continued Charles
Henry. "Loudon wished it, but Soltikow refused; he will do nothing
until Daun acts."
"So you sat with them in the council of war?" asked the king,
"Yes, we were present," said Fritz Kober, with evident delight; "I
saw the council, and Charles Henry heard them."
The king stood up. "You speak too loud!" he said; "you will waken
these two gentlemen, who are sleeping so well. We will go outside,
and you can continue your report."
He crossed the room noiselessly, and left the hut. Then seating
himself before the door, on a small bench, he told the two
grenadiers to give him an exact account of what they had seen and
Long after they had finished speaking, the king sat silent, and
apparently lost in thought. His eyes raised to heaven, he seemed to
be in holy communion with the Almighty. As his eyes slowly sank, his
glance fell upon the two grenadiers who stood before him, silently
"I am pleased with you, children, and this time the promise shall be
kept. You shall become subordinate officers."
"In the same company?" asked Fritz Kober.
"In the same company. That is," continued the king, "if I am ever
able to form companies and regiments again."
"We are not so badly off as your majesty thinks," said Fritz Kober.
"Our troops have already recovered from their first terror, and as
we returned we saw numbers of them entering the village. In a few
hours the army can be reorganized."
"God grant that you may be right, my son!" said the king, kindly.
"Go, now, into the village, and repeat the news you brought me to
the soldiers. It will encourage them to hear that the enemy sleep,
and do not think of pursuing us. I will prepare your commissions for
you to-day. Farewell, my children!"
He bent his head slightly, and then turned to re-enter the hut and
awaken his two adjutants. With a calm voice he commanded them to go
into the village, and order the generals and higher officers to
assemble the remnants of their regiments before the hut.
"A general march must be sounded," said the king. "The morning air
will bear the sound into the distance, and when my soldiers hear it,
perhaps they will return to their colors."
When the adjutants left him, the king commenced pacing slowly up and
down, his hands crossed behind him.
"All is lost, all!" he murmured; "but I must wait and watch. If the
stupidity or rashness of the enemy should break a mesh in the net
within which I am enclosed, it is my duty to slip through with my
army. Ah! how heavily this crown presses upon my head; it leaves me
no moment of repose. How hard is life, and how terribly are the
bright illusions of our earlier years destroyed!"
At the sound of the drum, the king shivered, and murmured to
himself: "I feel now, what I never thought to feel. I am afraid my
heart trembles at the thought of this encounter, as it never did in
battle. The drums and trumpets call my soldiers, but they will not
come. They are stretched upon the field of battle, or fleeing before
the enemy. They will not come, and the sun will witness my shame and
The king, completely overcome, sank upon the bench, and buried his
face in his hands. He sat thus for a long time. The sounds before
the door became louder and louder, but the king heard them not; he
still held his hands before his face. He could not see the bright
array of uniforms that had assembled before the window, nor that the
soldiers were swarming in from all sides. He did not hear the
beating of drums, the orders to the soldiers, or military signals.
Neither did he hear the door, which was gently opened by his
adjutants, who had returned to inform him that his orders had been
obeyed, and that the generals and staff officers were awaiting him
outside the hut.
"Sire," whispered at length one of the adjutants, "your commands
have been fulfilled. The generals await your majesty's pleasure."
The king allowed his hands to glide slowly from his face. "And the
troops?" he asked.
"They are beginning to form."
"They are also just placing the cannon," said the second adjutant.
The king turned angrily to him. "Sir," he cried, "you lie! I have no
"Your majesty has, God be praised, more than fifty cannon," said the
A ray of light overspread the countenance of the king, and a slight
flush arose to his pale cheek. Standing up, he bowed kindly to the
adjutants, and passed out among the generals, who saluted him
respectfully, and pressed back to make way for their king. The king
walked silently through their ranks, and then turning his head, he
"Gentlemen, let us see what yesterday has left us. Assemble your
The generals and staff officers hurried silently away, to place
themselves at the head of their regiments, and lead them before the
The king stood upright, his unsheathed sword in his right hand, as
in the most ceremonious parade. The marching of the troops began,
but it was a sad spectacle for their king. How little was left of
the great and glorious army which he had led yesterday to battle!
More than twenty thousand men were either killed or wounded.
Thousands were flying and scattered. A few regiments had been formed
with great trouble; barely five thousand men were now assembled. The
king looked on with a firm eye, but his lips were tightly
compressed, and his breath came heavily. Suddenly he turned to Count
Dolmer, the adjutant of the Grand Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, who
had arrived a few days before with the intelligence of a victory
gained at Minden. The king had invited him to remain, "I am about to
overpower the Russians, remain until I can give you a like message."
The king was reminded of this as he saw the count near him.
"Ah," he said, with a troubled smile, "you are waiting for the
message I promised. I am distressed that I cannot make you the
bearer of better news. If, however, you arrive safely at the end of
your journey, and do not find Daun already in Berlin, and Contades
in Magdeburg, you can assure the Grand Duke Ferdinand from me that
all is not lost. Farewell, sir."
Then, bowing slightly, he advanced with a firm step to the generals.
His eyes glowed and flashed once more, and his whole being reassumed
its usual bold and energetic expression.
"Gentlemen," he said, in a clear voice, "fortune did not favor us
yesterday, but there is no reason to despair. A day will come when
we shall repay the enemy with bloody interest. I at least expect
such a day; I will live for its coming, and all my thoughts and
plans shall be directed toward that object. I strive for no other
glory than to deliver Prussia from the conspiracy into which the
whole of Europe has entered against her. I will obtain peace for my
native land, but it shall be a great and honorable peace. I will
accept no other: I would rather be buried under the ruins of my
cannon, than accept a peace that would bring no advantages to
Prussia, no fame to us Honor is the highest, the holiest possession
of individuals, as it is of nations; and Prussia, who has placed her
honor in our hands, must receive it from us pure and spotless. If
you agree with me, gentlemen, join me in this cry, 'Long live
Prussia! Long live Prussia's honor!'"
The generals and officers joined enthusiastically in this cry, and
like a mighty torrent it spread from mouth to mouth, until it
reached the regiments, where it was repeated again and again. The
color-bearers unfurled their tattered banners, and the shout arose
from thousands of throats, "Long live Prussia's honor!"
The king's countenance was bright, but a tear seemed to glitter in
his eye. He raised his glance to heaven and murmured:
"I swear to live so long as there is hope, so long as I am free! I
swear only to think of death when my liberty is threatened!" Slowly
his glance returned to earth, and then in a powerful voice, he
cried: "Onward! onward! that has ever been Prussia's watch-word, and
it shall remain so--Onward! We have a great object be fore us--we
must use every effort to keep the Russians out of Berlin. The
palladium of our happiness must not fall into the hands of our
enemies. The Oder and the Spree must be ours--we must recover to-
morrow what the enemy wrenched from us yesterday!"
"Onward! onward!" cried the army, and the words of the king bore
courage and enthusiasm to all hearts.
Hope was awakened, and all were ready to follow the king; for
however dark and threatening the horizon appeared, all had faith in
the star of the king, and believed that it could never be
THE TERESIANI AND THE PRUSSIANI.
At the splendid hotel of the "White Lion," situated on the Canale
Grande, a gondola had just arrived. The porter sounded the great
house-bell, and the host hastened immediately to greet the stranger,
who, having left the gondola, was briskly mounting the small white
marble steps that led to the beautiful and sumptuous vestibule of
The stranger returned the host's profound and respectful salutation
with a stiff military bow, and asked in forced and rather foreign
Italian if he could obtain rooms.
Signer Montardo gazed at him with a doubtful and uncertain
expression, and instead of answering his question, said:
"Signor, it appears to me that you are a foreigner?"
"Yes," said the stranger, smiling, "my Italian has betrayed me. I am
a foreigner, but hope that will not prevent your showing me
comfortable and agreeable rooms."
"Certainly not, signor; our most elegant and sumptuous apartment is
at your command," said the host, with a flattering smile. In the
mean time, however, he did not move from the spot, but gazed with
confused and anxious countenance first at the stranger, and then at
his large trunk, which the men were just lifting from the gondola.
"Will you please show me the rooms?" cried the stranger, impatiently
advancing into the hall.
The host sighed deeply, and threw a questioning glance at the head
waiter, who returned it with a shrug of his shoulders.
"I will first show you into the dining-saloon," murmured the host,
hastening after the stranger. "Will you please step in here,
excellency?" and with humble submission he opened the large folding
doors before which they stood, and conducted the stranger into the
magnificent saloon which served as dining-saloon and ball-room.
"Now, excellency," continued the host, after he closed the door, and
had convinced himself by a rapid glance that they were alone,
"forgive my curiosity in asking you two questions before I have the
honor of showing you your rooms. How long do you intend to remain
"A few days, sir. Well, your second question?"
The host hesitated a moment; then looking down, he said:
"Your excellency is a German?"
"Yes, a German," said the stranger, impatiently.
"I thought so," sighed the host.
"Will you show me my rooms or not? Decide quickly, for I know there
are other handsome hotels on the Canale Grande where I would be
The host bowed with an aggrieved expression. "Signor, I will show
you rooms. Will you have the kindness to follow me?"
Like one who had come to a desperate decision, he advanced and
pushed open a door which led to a long passage, with rooms on each
side; he passed them all hastily, and entered a small, dark, side-
passage, which was little in keeping with the general elegance of
the building; the walls were not covered with tapestry, as those of
the large halls, but with dirty whitewash; the floor had no carpet,
and the doors of the rooms were low and small.
The host opened one of them and led the stranger into a small,
simply-furnished room, with a little dark closet containing a bed.
"Signor," he said, with a profound bow, "these are, unfortunately,
the only two rooms I can offer you."
"They are small and mean," said the stranger, angrily.
"They are quiet and remote, and you will have the advantage of not
being disturbed by the ball which the club of the Prussiani are to
hold in my grand saloon to-night."
As he finished, he looked at the stranger hastily and searchingly,
to see what impression his words had upon him. He was decidedly
astonished and confused.
"The Prussian Club?" he said. "Are there so many Prussians here, and
are they to celebrate a gay feast when it appears to me they have
every reason to mourn for their king's misfortune?"
It was now the stranger who gazed searchingly at the host, and
awaited his answer with impatience.
"You ask if there are many Prussians here?" said the host,
pathetically. "Yes, there are a great many in la bella Venezia,
eccellenza, chi non e buon Prussiano, non e buon Veneziano. You say
further, that the Prussians have no reason to celebrate a festival,
but should mourn for their king's misfortunes. No, your excellency,
the Prussians will never have reason to despair, for a hero like the
great Frederick can never succumb. His sun is clouded for a moment,
but it will burst forth again brilliant and triumphant, and blind
all his enemies. The Prussians celebrate this feast to defy the
Teresiani. They have their club at the hotel of the 'Golden Fleece,'
and held a grand ball there yesterday in honor of their victory at
Mayen. 'Tis true the king has lost two battles, the battles of
Kunersdorf and Mayen, but the Prussians do not despair; for if the
king has lost two battles, he will win four to make up for them, and
the Austrians, French, and Russians will flee before him, as they
did at Zorndorf and Rossbach. The Prussians wish to celebrate this
feast to convince the Teresiani that they are not disturbed by the
king's apparent misfortune, and are now celebrating the victories
that their great king is still to achieve."
The stranger's face beamed with delight. "The Prussians have great
confidence in their king," he said, with forced composure; "but you
have not yet told me why so many Prussians are stopping here?"
The host laughed. "Signor does not occupy himself with politics?"
"No," answered the stranger, with hesitation.
"Well, otherwise you would have known that there are many Prussians
in the world, and that all the world takes an interest in this war
in which a single hero battles against so many powerful enemies.
Yes, yes, there are Prussians in all Europe, and the great Frederick
is joyfully welcomed everywhere; but nowhere more joyfully than in
our beautiful Italy; and nowhere in Italy is he more welcomed than
in our beautiful Venice. The nobles and the gondoliers decide for or
against, and Venice is divided into two great parties: the first for
the King of Prussia, the latter for the Austrian empress, Maria
Theresa. But I assure you the Teresiani are mean and despicable,
bought enthusiasts, and cowardly fools."
"Consequently, you do not belong to them, signor," said the
stranger, smiling; "you are a good Prussiano."
"I should think so," cried the host, proudly; "I am a good patriot,
and our watchword is, 'Chi non e buon Prussiano, non e buon
"If that is so," cried the stranger, gayly, as he kindly offered the
host his hand, "I congratulate myself for having stopped here, and
these small, mean rooms will not prevent my remaining. I also am a
Prussian, and say, like yourself, what care we for the battles of
Kunersdorf and Mayen? Frederick the Great will still triumph over
"Ah, signor, you are a Prussian" cried the host, with a true Italian
burst of joy. "You are heartily welcome at my hotel, and be
convinced, sir, that I shall do every thing to deserve your
approval. Come, sir, these rooms are too small, too mean, for a
follower of Frederick; I shall have the honor of showing you two
beautiful rooms on the first floor, with a view of the Canale
Grande, and you shall pay no more for them. Follow me, sir, and
pardon me that you were not at once worthily served. I did not know
you were a Prussiano, and it would have been most dangerous and
impolitic to have received a stranger who might have been a
Teresiano; it might have deprived me of all the Prussian custom.
Have the goodness to follow me."
He stepped forward briskly, and conducted the stranger across the
passage through the grand saloon into the hall. The head waiter was
standing there engaged in an excited conversation with the
gondoliers who, having placed the traveller's trunk in the hall,
were cursing and crying aloud for their money. While the waiter was
assuring them, that it was not decided whether the stranger would
remain with them or not, and perhaps they would have to carry his
trunk farther, the host nodded smilingly at the head waiter and
said, proudly, "His excellency is not only a German, but a
The clouded faces of the waiters and gondoliers cleared immediately,
and they gazed at the traveller with a significant smile as he
mounted the splendid steps with the host.
"He is a Prussian!" cried the waiters. "Evviva il Re di Prussia!"
cried the gondoliers, as they raised the trunk and carried it nimbly
up the steps.
The saloon into which the host conducted his guest was certainly
different from the small, unclean rooms he had shown him before. All
was elegance, and with a feeling of pride he led the stranger to the
balcony which offered a splendid view of the imposing and glorious
Canale Grande, with its proud churches and palaces.
"And now, signor," said the host, humbly, "command me. If I can
serve you in any manner, I shall do so with pleasure. Any
information you desire, I am ready to give. Perhaps your excellency
"No," said the stranger, quickly, "I have no political mission, and
my letter to the prior is of a very innocent nature. I am a
merchant, and by chance have become possessed of several costly
relics, and hope that the prior of the cloister may purchase them."
"Ah, relics, "said the host, with a contemptuous shrug of his
shoulders; "do you know, sir, that no one now is enthusiastic about
such things? Politics leave us no time for piety; the Pope has lost
his influence, and even the Romans are good Prussiani, and care not
for Frederick the Great being a heretic. The Pope blesses his
enemies and celebrates their victories with brilliant masses and
costly presents. The Romans are indifferent to all this, and pray
for their hero-king, the Great Frederick, and in spite of the Pope
desire him to triumph."
"Ah," said the traveller, with apparent sadness, "then I shall
certainly not succeed with my relics, but I hope I shall do better
in the city with my fans; for them I desire your advice. Will you
please tell me the names of a few large commercial houses where they
might buy some of my beautiful fans? But they must be good
Prussiani, as you will soon see." He stepped to his trunk, unlocked
it, and took from it an etui containing a number of fans.
"Look here, sir. I saw these fans in Geneva, and thinking I might
perhaps do a good business with them in Italy, I bought several
dozen. Examine the charming and tasteful paintings." He opened one
of the fans; it was of white satin, with quite an artistic painting
of a large Prussian eagle about to devour a white lily.
The host clapped his hands with delight. "Delicious!" he cried,
laughing. "The Prussian eagle devouring the French lily; this is
charming prophecy, a wonderful satire. You bought these fans in
Geneva; there are Prussians in Geneva also, then."
"Every lady in Geneva has such a fan, and there are no better
Prussians in Berlin than in Geneva."
"I am delighted, truly delighted," cried the Italian,
enthusiastically." The time will come when all the people of Europe
will be Prussians and only princes Teresiani."
"Nevertheless, the people will have to obey their princes," said the
stranger, with a watchful glance; "and if they command it, will war
against the great king."
"Not we, not the Italians," cried the host, violently; "our Doge
would not dare to side with the Teresiani, for he knows very well
that would occasion a revolution in Venice and, perhaps, endanger
his own throne. No, no, signor; our exalted government is too wise
not to adopt a neutral position, while secretly they are as good
Prussians as we are."
"But the Lombardians and the Sardinians?" asked the stranger,
"They also are Prussians; even if their king is a Teresiano, as they
say, his people are Prussians like ourselves."
"And the Neapolitans?"
"Well, the Neapolitans," said the host, laughing, "the Neapolitans
are, as you know, not renowned for their bravery; and if they do not
love the great Frederick, they fear him. The Neapolitans are the
children of Italy, knowing only that Naples is a beautiful city, and
fearing a barbarian might come and devour it. In their terror they
forget that no one is thinking of them, and that they are separated
by Italy and the Alps from all warlike people. The king of Naples
thinks it possible that Frederick may one day ascend Vesuvius with
his conquering army and take possession of Naples. Since the king's
last victories, Ferdinand has increased the number of his troops and
doubled the guard in his capital."
The host laughed so heartily at this account, that the stranger was
irresistibly compelled to join him.
"The King of Naples is but a boy nine years old. His ministers are
older than himself, and should know a little more geography, signor.
But corpo di Bacco, here I am talking and talking of politics
forgetting entirely that your excellency is doubtless hungry, and
desires a strengthening meal."
"'Tis true, I am a little hungry," said the stranger, smiling.
"In a quarter of an hour the most splendid dinner, that the
celebrated White Lion can prepare, shall be ready for you, signor,"
cried the host, as he rushed hastily from the room.
The stranger gazed thoughtfully after him. "It appears to me that I
have been very fortunate in coming here; the good host seems to be a
good Prussian, and I have learned more from him in a quarter of an
hour than I would have done in a long journey through Italy. I shall
now be able to act with zeal and energy. But I must not forget the
role I have to play. I am a merchant trading with fans, curiosities,
and relics, and very anxious to bring my wares to market."
The entrance of the waiter interrupted him, and soon the savory
dishes invited the traveller to refresh himself.
FREDERICK THE GREAT AS A SAINT.
"And now to business," said the Traveller, when he had finished
dining. "It is high time I were on my way, if I am to leave this
place to-day." He hastened to his trunk and took from it several
bundles and packages, some of which he put in his pockets and some,
like a true merchant, he carried under his arm. Then putting on his
large, black felt hat, he turned to leave the room. In passing the
mirror he looked at himself, and broke out into a merry laugh at his
"Truly," said he, "I look like a veritable shop-keeper, and he who
takes me for any thing else, must be of a more political turn of
mind than my host, Signor Montardo, the Prussiano."
He turned and left the room to obtain the address of some merchants
and a guide from his host. In spite of remonstrances Signer Montardo
insisted on accompanying him.
"Otherwise," said he, "some one might address you who is not on our
side, and if you were then to show him your fans, there would be a
fearful scandal; the other party is quite as hot-headed as we are,
and many a pitched battle has taken place between the Teresiani and
the Prussiani. Come, sir; I must accompany you. We will not go by
the canal, but through the small by-streets; they will lead us
quickest to the Riva di Schiavoni, and then to the Rialto, which is
"Is that far from the convent of San Giovanni e Paolo?" asked the
"Ah, you are still determined to offer your relics to the abbot?"
said the host, laughing.
"Yes, and hope to sell them."
"Well, I wish you luck. The Rialto is not far from there. I will go
with you until within the vicinity of the convent, but not farther."
"And why not?"
"Because the door-keeper is a raging Teresiano, and would
undoubtedly close the door in your face, were I at your side."
"But did you not tell me the abbot was a Prussia, no?"
"Yes, the abbot, but the porter is not; nor are many of the monks, I
am sorry to say."
"Ah, even the monks are occupied with politics?"
"Signor," cried the host, pathetically, "every one here interests
himself in politics; and when you hear that our little children are
divided into Teresiani and Prussiani, you will credit me. There was
a slight revolution yesterday in the Riva Peschiera. It was
occasioned by a fishwoman's refusing to sell my cook some beautiful
trout; she declared God had not created fish for the Prussiani,
which, in her opinion, was another name for heathen and unbeliever.
My cook insisted on having the fish, and, as unfortunately there
were many Prussiani among the fishwomen, it soon came to hard words
and still harder blows, and was terminated by the arrest of the
They were now entering the Riva di Schiavoni, and the talkative
Signor Montardo was continuing his merry tales when he was
interrupted by cries and shouts of laughter and derision, and they
were almost surrounded by a large crowd of excited men.
"We are fortunately at the end of our walk," said Signor Montardo,
"for there is the house of my worthy friend Cicernachi, dealer in
fancy goods, and it is to him we are going. Let us press forward to
see what this crowd means. I presume my friend Cicernachi has
prepared another surprise for the good people of Venice."
He made a way for himself and friend with his broad shoulders, and
soon stood in front of the shop around which the crowd was
collected. A cry of astonishment escaped the stranger, and he
pointed to the entrance of the shop. "You see there," said he, "a
speaking likeness of Frederick the Great."
There hung at the front of the store a large engraving in a rich
golden frame. It was the portrait of Prussia's hero king--of
Frederick the Great--and beneath burnt a bright lamp, its light
shedding a rosy tint over Frederick's noble countenance.
"Ah! I understand it now," whispered the host. "Cicernachi has done
this to enrage the Teresiani. To show his boundless reverence for
the king, he has placed a burning lamp beneath his picture, an honor
due only in our country to the saints. Let us hear what the people
have to say of it."
Just then a Teresiano commenced a speech, accompanied by violent
gesticulations, against this insult to the Church. "How can you
suffer this heretic to be represented by you as a saint?" cried he,
in a voice of rage. "Do you not know that the Pope has
excommunicated the King of Prussia? Do you not know that he is an
enemy to God, to the Church, and to our holy Catholic religion?
Away, then, with this lamp! The fires of hell will devour him, but
no holy lamp shall enlighten his darkened soul."
"He is right, he is right," cried some among the crowd. "Away with
the lamp! Break Cicernachi's windows, for he is a Prussiano. He
makes a saint of a heretic! Put out the lamp!"
"Do not venture to touch the lamp," cried others. "Back! back! or
our fists shall close your eyes until neither the lamp nor the great
Frederick is visible to you."
"Put out the lamp, in God's name!" cried the infuriated Teresiani.
And the cry was repeated by many of his party, as they pressed
forward. But the Prussiani, amongst whom were our host and the
stranger, had already formed a wall of defence before the store, and
were energetically beating back the approaching Teresiani. And then
there occurred a tumult, such as can only occur among passionate
Italians. Wild shouts, curses, and threats were heard--eyes
sparkling with rage, doubled fists, and here and there a dagger or a
knife was seen.
But the noise suddenly ceased, and a deep stillness prevailed. No
sound was heard but the quiet even tread of the solemn silent forms
that stood suddenly, as if they had risen from the earth in their
midst. No one had seen them come--no word was spoken by them, and
still many retreated timidly, fearfully from them; their presence
was enough to quiet these enraged masses, to silence their anger.
Even Signor Montardo deserted his prominent position before the
lamp, and was gazing anxiously at the dark forms passing slowly
through the crowd.
"The sbirri!" whispered he to the stranger. "The servants of the
Council of Ten! Whom will they take with them?"
But it seemed as if these much-feared men only desired to cause the
people to remember them only, to threaten--not to punish. They
wished to remind the people that the law was watching over them.
Completely hid by their long mantles, they passed with bowed heads
through the crowd. Thus without addressing or noticing any one, they
passed into one of the small by-streets leading from the Rialto.
As the last one disappeared, life once more animated the crowd. All
breathed more freely when relieved from their much-feared presence,
and soon they commenced talking again of Cicernachi's new saint.
"You see," whispered Montardo to the stranger, "that our government
is neutral. It will not punish neither the Prussiani nor the
Teresiani; only warns us not to carry our zeal too far, and reminds
us that it is against the law to carry a dagger or a knife in the
streets. But now let us enter the shop, and I will introduce you to
He took the stranger's arm, and entered the shop, where a tall, slim
man met him. His long black hair hung in wild disorder on both sides
of his expressive countenance, his eyes sparkled with fire, and on
his full red lip there was a proud, triumphant smile.
"Well, Montardo," said he, "you come undoubtedly to congratulate me
on this victory over these miserable Teresiani."
"Certainly, sir." cried Montardo, laughingly, "it was a most
"Do you know why I have done it?" said Cicernachi, "yesterday the
Teresiani placed before their restaurants the bull of Pope Clement
XI., which has just been confirmed and renewed by Clement XIII. It
was printed on white satin, and enclosed in a beautiful gilt frame,
and underneath it burnt a sacred lamp."
"What are the contents of this bull?" said Montardo.
"I will tell you the beginning." said Cicernachi, "I do not
recollect all. It sounded thus: 'You have long known that Frederick,
margrave of Brandenburg, in contempt for the authority of the
Church, took to himself the name and insignia of king, a profane and
unheard of act among Christians. He has thus unwisely enough become
one of those of whom it is said in the Bible, 'They reigned, but not
through Me; they were princes, but I did not know them.' Do you
conceive now why I placed the king's picture before my store? why I
burnt a lamp beneath it? I think this glorious portrait is more
deserving of a sacred lamp than the Pope's nonsensical bull."
"You are right, signor," said the stranger, advancing to Cicernachi
and shaking hands with him. "Permit me to thank you in the name of
my great and noble king whom you have this day defended in so
original a manner from the malicious charges of his enemies. I give
you my word of honor that the king shall hear of it through me; I
know it will rejoice him."
"Ah, signor," said Montardo, laughing, "you forget that you are an
honest merchant who does not concern himself about politics."
"I can never forget I am a Prussian," said the traveller; "and how
could I forget it?" continued he, laughing. "My whole business
consists of Prussian wares."
"Truly you have some very beautiful articles," said Montardo. "You
will be charmed with them, Cicernachi; it will be another
opportunity to annoy the Teresiani. Look at this merchant's fans."
The stranger opened several fans. Cicernachi's eyes sparkled with
delight at the sight of the painting. "How many have you, signor?"
"I take them all, and regret you have not more."
"But Cicernachi, where has all your wisdom gone to?" cried Montardo.
"You have not even asked the price; or do you, perhaps, think the
stranger gives them to you for nothing?"
"No, no; I forgot it," said Cicernachi, gazing with delight at the
fans which the stranger was spreading out before him. "What is their
The stranger was silent for a moment, and then said, in a hesitating
manner: "I paid ten francs for each fan in Geneva."
"I give twice that," said Cicernachi, quickly.
The stranger started up hastily, blushing with annoyance. "Sir,"
said he, "I take from no one a higher price than I gave."
"Ah, signor, signor," cried Montardo, "you have again forgotten that
you are but a merchant. No merchant sells his goods for what he gave
for them. Remember that."
"I will make a good business with these fans," said Cicernachi. "I
give you twenty-four francs, and will ask fifty for them. The ladies
of our nobility, many of whom are Prussiani, will be delighted to
annoy their opponents in so elegant a manner. Are you content, sir?"
"I am satisfied," said the stranger, blushing with embarrassment.
"Is this all you have for sale?"
"No, I have something else," said the stranger, opening another
package. "As you are Prussiano, these neat little coins and medals,
with pretty caricatures of the enemies of the king on them, will no
doubt please you."
"Ah, let us see them," cried both Italians. They examined with
eagerness the medals upon which the enemies of Frederick were
represented in various laughable situations and positions.
"I take them all!" cried Cicernachi, enraptured.
The stranger laughed. "I cannot sell you my whole business," said
he; "I must retain something. I will give you one of each. You must
accept them as a token of my esteem, and must not pay me for them."
"Signor!" cried Montardo, in an imploring tone, "remain at my hotel
as long as you please, and when I bring you your bill lay some of
these coins upon it, and I shall be richly paid."
The stranger promised: then having received, with visible annoyance,
the money for the fans, left the store with Montardo to pay his
visit to the Convent Giovanni e Paolo.
THE CLOISTER BROTHERS OF SAN GIOVANNI E PAOLO.
The Prior of San Giovanni e Paolo had just returned from the second
mass celebrated in the beautiful church of his cloister, the burial-
place of the great Titiano Vicelli. With his arms folded across his
back, he walked slowly and thoughtfully backward and forward, then
stood before a large table at which a monk was occupied in unfolding
letters and maps.
"This, your worship," said the monk, opening a new paper, "is an
exact plan of the region around Mayen; we have just received it, and
the positions of the two armies are plainly marked down. If
agreeable to your worship, I will read the bulletins aloud, and you
can follow the movements of the troops upon the map."
The prior shook his head softly. "No, Brother Anselmo, do not read
again the triumphant bulletins of the Austrians and Russians; they
pain my ears and my heart. Let us rather look at the map to see if
the present position of the army offers any ground of hope."
"I have marked it all out with pins," said Father Anselmo; "the
black pins signify the army of the allies, the white pins the army
of the King of Prussia."
The prior bowed over the map, and his eye followed thoughtfully the
lines which Father Anselmo marked out. "Your pins are a sad omen,"
he said, shaking his head. "The black ones surround like a
churchyard wall the white ones, which stand like crosses upon the
solitary graves in the midst of their black enclosures."
"But the white pins will break through the enclosure," said Father
Anselmo, confidently. "The great king--" Father Anselmo stopped
speaking; suddenly the door opened, and the father guardian asked if
he might enter.
The prior blushed slightly, and stepped back from the table as the
sharp eyes of the father guardian wandered around the room and fell
at last with a sarcastic expression upon the table covered with maps
"Welcome, Brother Theodore," said the prior, with a slight nod of
"I fear that I disturb your worship in your favorite occupation,"
said the father guardian, pointing to the maps. "Your worship is
considering the unfortunate condition of the heretical king whom
God, as it appears, will soon cast down in the dust, and crush at
the feet of the triumphant Church."
"We must leave results, at all events, to God," said the prior,
softly; "He has so often evidently lent his aid to the King of
Prussia, that I think no one can count confidently upon Frederick's
"The Holy Father at Rome has blessed the weapons of his adversaries,
consequently they must triumph," cried Father Theodore, unctuously.
"But pardon, your worship, I forgot my errand. A stranger wishes to
see the prior of the cloister; he has rare and beautiful relics to
sell, which he will only show to your worship."
"Our church is rich enough in relics," said the prior.
"Your worship does not attach any especial value to such things,"
said the father guardian with a derisive smile; "but I must allow
myself to recall to you that the Holy Father in Rome has only lately
addressed a circular to all the cloisters, recommending the purchase
of rare relics to the awakening and advancing of the true faith."
"You, father guardian, must understand that matter best," said
Brother Anselmo, sticking four new pins into his map. "I think you
brought back this circular about six months since, when you returned
to take the place of guardian."
The father was in the act of giving an angry answer, but the prior
came forward, and pointing to the door, said, "Introduce the
stranger with the relics."
A few moments later the traveller from the hotel of Signor Montardo
entered the prior's room. He received a kindly welcome, and was
asked to show his treasures.
The stranger hesitated, and looked significantly at the two monks.
"I begged to be allowed to show them to your worship alone," said
"These two fathers are consecrated priests, and may therefore dare
to look upon the holy treasures," said the prior, with a scarcely
"I solemnly swore to the man from whom I bought these relics that I
would only show them to the most worthy member of your order; he was
a very pious man, and bitter necessity alone forced him to sell his
precious treasures; he prayed to God to grant them a worthy place,
and never to allow them to be desecrated by unholy eyes or hands. As
the most holy and worthy brother is ever chosen to be the prior, I
swore to show the relics only to the prior. Your worship will surely
not ask me to break my oath?"
The prior made no answer, but nodded to the two monks, who silently
left the room.
"And now, sir, show your treasures," said the prior, as the door
closed behind them.
"Your worship," said the stranger, rapidly, "I have nothing but a
letter from the Abbe Bastiani, which I was to give to your own
hands." He drew a letter from his bosom, which he handed to the
prior, who received it with anxious haste and hid it in his robe;
then, with quick but noiseless steps he passed hastily through the
room, and with a rapid movement dashed open the door; a low cry was
heard, and a black figure tumbled back upon the floor.
"Ah! is that you, father guardian?" said the prior, in a tone of
sympathy. "I fear that I hurt you."
"Not so, your worship; I only returned to say to you that it is the
hour for dinner, and the pious brothers are already assembled in the
"And I opened the door to call after you, father, and entreat you to
take my place at the table. As I am in the act of looking at these
holy relics, and touching them, I dare not soil my hands so soon
afterward with earthly food. You will, therefore, kindly take my
place, and I will not appear till the evening meal. Go, then, worthy
brother, and may God bless you richly." He bowed and raising his
right hand, made the sign of the cross, while the father guardian
slowly, and with a frowning brow, passed through the room. Having
reached the opposite door, he paused and looked back; but seeing the
prior still standing upon the threshold of his room, and gazing
after him, he dashed open the door and disappeared. "Now, sir," said
the prior, entering and closing the door carefully, "we are alone,
and I am ready to listen to you."
"I pray your worship to read first the letter of your brother, the
"Ah! he has told you that I am his brother?" said the prior,
eagerly. "He trusts you then, fully? Well, I will read the letter."
He opened and read it impatiently. "This is a very laconic and
enigmatical letter," said he. "My brother refers me wholly to you;
he assures me I can confide entirely in your silence and discretion,
and entreats me to assist you in the attainment of your object. Make
known to me then, signor, in what way I can serve you, and what aim
you have in view."
"First, I will give your worship a proof that I trust you fully and
unconditionally. I will tell you who I am, and then make known my
purpose; you will then be able to decide how far you can give me
counsel and aid."
"Let us step into this window-niche," said the prior; "we will be
more secure from eavesdroppers. Now, signor, I am ready to listen."
The stranger bowed. "First, I must pray your worship's forgiveness,
for having dared to deceive you. I am no merchant, and have nothing
to do with relics; I am a soldier! my name is Cocceji, and I have
the honor to be an adjutant of the King of Prussia. My royal master
has intrusted me with a most important and secret mission, and I am
commissioned by your brother, the Abbe Bastiani, to ask in his name
for your assistance in this great matter."
"In what does your mission consist?" said the prior, calmly.
The Baron Cocceji smiled. "It is difficult--yes, impossible to tell
you in a few words. Your worship must allow me a wider scope, in
order to explain myself fully."
"Speak on!" said the prior.
"I see, by the maps and the arrangements of the pins, that your
worship knows exactly the position and circumstances of my royal
master, whom all Europe admires and wonders at, and whom his enemies
fear most when they have just defeated him. They know that my king
is never so great, never so energetic and bold in action, as when he
is seemingly at a disadvantage, and overwhelmed by misfortunes. The
bold glance of the great Frederick discovers ever-new fountains of
help; he creates in himself both power and strength, and when his
enemies think they have caught the royal lion in their nets, his
bold eye has already discovered the weak spot; he tears it apart,
and makes his foes, bewildered with terror and astonishment, fly
before him. It is true, the king has just lost three battles! The
Austrians and Russians defeated him at Hochkirch, at Kunersdorf, and
at Mayen. But what have they gained? They have, in these three
battles, lost more than the king; they have exhausted their
resources--their own, and those of their allies; but Frederick
stands still opposed to them, full of strength and power. His army
is enlarged; from every side, from every province, shouting crowds
stream onward to join the colors of their king. Enthusiasm makes a
youth of the graybeard, and changes boys to men. Each one of them
will have his part in the experience and fame of the great
Frederick, and demands this of him as a holy right. The king's
treasury is not exhausted; the people, with joy and gladness, have
offered up upon the altar of the fatherland, their possessions,
their jewels, and their precious things, and submit with enthusiasm
to all the restrictions and self-denials which the war imposes upon
them. They desire nothing but to see their king victorious; to help
him to this, they will give property, blood--yes, life itself. It is
this warm, enthusiastic love of his people which makes the king so
fearful to his enemies; it protects him like a diamond shield,
steels him against the balls of his adversaries, and fills his
proud, heroic soul with assurances of triumph. All Europe shares
this enthusiasm and these convictions of ultimate success with the
Prussians and their dear-loved king. All Europe greets the hero with
loud hosannas, who alone defies so many and such mighty foes, who
has often overcome them, and from whom they have not yet wrung one
single strip of the land they have watered with their blood, and in
whose bosom their fallen hosts lie buried in giant graves. This has
won for him the sympathy of all Europe, and the love and admiration
of even the subjects of his great and powerful foes. In France--that
France, whose warriors suffered so shameful a defeat at Rossbach,
and whose government is filled with rage and thirsty for revenge
against this heroic king--even in France is Frederick admired and
worshipped. Even in the palace of the king, they no longer refuse to
acknowledge his worth and glory. But lately, the young Duke de
Belleisle exhorted the Marquise de Pompadour to implore King Louis
to prosecute the war with earnestness and ardor, otherwise King
Frederick might soon be expected in Paris with his army. The
Marquise de Pompadour cried out warmly, 'Good! then I shall at last
see a king!' In Germany, his enemies seek in vain to arouse the
fanaticism of the people against the heretical king. Catholic
Bavaria--the Palatinate-Main--enter murmuringly and reluctantly into
this war against this Protestant king, although they wear the beads
in their pockets, and the scapular over their shoulders. Even if
Frederick the Second is now overcome by his enemies, in the public
opinion he is the conqueror, and the whole world sympathizes with
him. But public opinion is his only ally, and the sympathy of the
people is his only source of revenue, outside of the subsidy from
England, which will soon be exhausted. Frederick, therefore, must
look after other allies, other friends, who will render him
assistance, in so far as not to unsheathe the sword against him, and
to prepare some difficulties for his adversaries, and occupy a
portion of their attention. Such friends the king hopes to find in
Italy; and to attain this object, I would ask counsel and help of
"And in how far is it thought that I can be useful in this matter?"
said the prior, thoughtfully.
"Your worship has a second brother, who is minister of the King of
Sardinia, and it is well known he is the king's especial confidant
"And my noble brother, Giovanni, merits fully the favor of his
king!" said the prior, heartily. "He is the most faithful, the most
exalted servant of his master!"
"In all his great and good characteristics, he resembles his
brother, the Prior of San Giovanni, and I hope, in this also, that
he is the friend of the King of Prussia!" said the stranger.
"But I fear neither the friendship of my brother Giovanni nor my own
can be useful to the King of Prussia. I am a poor and powerless
monk, suspected and watched. My offence is, that I have not, like
the fanatical priests of the Church, wished for the destruction and
death of the great Frederick. My brother is the minister of a king,
whose land is neither rich enough in gold to pay subsidies, nor in
men to place an army in the field."
"Well, then, we must take occasion to increase the territory of the
King of Sardinia!" said Baron Cocceji. "We must give him so large a
realm, that he will be a dangerous neighbor to France and Austria.
This is the plan and the intention of my king. Upon these points
turn the proposals I will make in Turin, for the furtherance of
which, I pray your assistance. The King of Sardinia has well-
grounded claim to Milan, to Mantua, and to Bologna, by the treaty of
Aix-la-Chapelle; why not make himself King of Lombardy? Unhappy
Italy is like unhappy Germany--torn to pieces. In place of obeying
one master, they must submit to the yoke of many. The dwellers in
Italy, instead of being Italians, call themselves Milanese,
Venetians, Sardinians, Tuscans, Romans, Neapolitans, and I know not
what. All this weakens the national pride, and takes from the people
the joyful consciousness of their greatness. Italy must be one in
herself, in order to be once more great and powerful. Let the King
of Sardinia take possession of Upper Italy, and he will, with his
rightful inheritance, and as King of Lombardy, be a powerful prince-
-feared by his enemies, and welcomed by his allies."
"And do you think that Naples would look quietly on and witness this
rapid growth of Sardinia?" said the prior, laughing.
"We will give to Naples an opportunity at the same time to enlarge
her borders the young King of Naples has energy; he has proved it.
When his father, Don Carlos, was called by right of succession to
the Spanish throne, he had himself declared King of Naples, not
regarding the right of the Duke of Parma, to whom, according to the
treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, the Neapolitan throne rightly belonged.
King Ferdinand is already a usurper! Let him go on, even as
successfully in the same path--he has taken Naples--let him take
Tuscany and the States of the Church, and, as King of Lower Italy,
he will be as powerful as the King of Sardinia. In order that both
may obtain possession of these lands uninterrupted and uninjured,
will the King of Prussia so completely occupy the attention of
Austria and France in Germany and Flanders as to make it impossible
for them to interfere with Naples and Sardinia?" [Footnote: Preuss,
"History of Frederick the Great."]
"By Heaven! a great and bold idea; altogether in harmony with the
energetic spirit of Frederick," cried the prior. "If the two Italian
kings resemble the great Frederick, they will adopt this plan with
He had risen, and stepped hastily backward and forward, now and then
murmuring a few disconnected words; he then drew near the table and
stood earnestly regarding the maps.
Cocceji did not dare to interrupt him by word or sound; he watched
him, however, closely. At last, however, the inward struggle seemed
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