LOUISA OF PRUSSIA AND HER TIMES
Part 1 out of 14
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NAPOLEON IN GERMANY
LOUISA OF PRUSSIA AND HER TIMES
A Historical Novel
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY F. JORDAN
I. Dreadful Tidings
II. Minister von Thugut
III. The Interview
IV. The Two Ministers
V. The House in the Gumpendorfer Suburb
VI. Joseph Haydn
VII. General Bonaparte
VIII. The Treaty of Campo Formio
THE YOUNG QUEEN OF PRUSSIA.
IX. Queen Louisa
X. The King's Recollections
XI. The Young King
XII. Frederick Gentz
XIII. The Interview with the Minister of Finance
XIV. The Memorial to Frederick William III.
XV. The Wedding
XVI. Marianne Meier
XVII. Love and Politics
FRANCE AND GERMANY.
XVIII. Citoyenne Josephine Bonaparte
XIX. Bonaparte and Josephine
XX. The Reception of the Ambassadors
XXI. France and Austria
XXII. The Banner of Glory
XXIII. Minister Thugut
XXIV. The Festival of the Volunteers
XXV. The Riot
LAST DAYS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
XXVI. Victoria de Poutet
XXVIII. The Justification
XXIX. The Assassination
XXX. Jean Debry
XXXI. The Coalition
XXXII. The Friend of Peace
XXXIII. The Legitimate Wife
XXXIV. The Eighteenth of Brumaire
THE PEACE OF LUNEVILLE.
XXXV. Johannes Muller
XXXVI. Thugut's Fall
XXXVII. Fanny von Arnstein
XXXVIII. The Rivals
XXXIX. The Legacy
XL. The First Consul
XLI. Two German Savants
THE THIRD COALITION.
XLVII. The Emperor Napoleon
XLVIII. Napoleon and the German Princes
XLIV. Queen Louisa's Piano Lesson
XLV. The Conference
XLVI. The Oath at the Grave of Frederick the Great
THE FALL OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE.
XLVII. Evil Tidings
XLVIII. Before the Battle
XLIX. "Gott Erhalte Franz den Kaiser!"
LII. Napoleon and the Prussian Minister
LIII. Judith and Holofernes
LIV. The Fall of the German Empire
THE BATTLE OF JENA.
LV. A German Bookseller and Martyr
LVI. The Arrest
LVII. A Wife's Love
LVIII. The Women of Braunau
LIX. The Last Hour
LX. Prussia's Declaration of War
LXI. A Bad Omen
LXII. Before the Battle
LXIII. The German Philosopher
The population of Vienna was paralyzed with terror; a heavy gloom
weighed down all minds, and the strength of the stoutest hearts
seemed broken. Couriers had arrived today from the camp of the army,
and brought the dreadful tidings of an overwhelming defeat of the
Austrian forces. Bonaparte, the young general of the French
Republic, who, in the course of one year (1796), had won as many
battles and as much glory as many a great and illustrious warrior
during the whole course of an eventful life--Bonaparte had crossed
the Italian Alps with the serried columns of his army, and the most
trusted military leaders of Austria were fleeing before him in
dismay. The hero of Lodi and Arcole had won new victories, and these
victories constantly diminished the distance between his army and
the menaced capital of Austria.
Archduke Charles had been defeated by Massena, and driven back to
Villach; Bernadotte had reached Laybach; the citadels of Goritz,
Triest, and Laybach had surrendered; Klagenfurth, after a most
desperate struggle, had been forced to open its gates to the
conquerors; Loudon, with his brave troops, had been dispersed in the
Tyrol; Botzen had opened its gates to General Joubert, who, after a
brief sojourn, left that city in order to join Bonaparte, who, in
his victorious career, was advancing resistlessly toward Vienna.
Such were tidings which the couriers had brought, and these tidings
were well calculated to produce a panic in the Austrian capital.
While the court and the nobility were concealing their grief and
their sorrows in the interior of their palaces, the populace rushed
into the streets, anxiously inquiring for later intelligence, and
still hopeful that God in His mercy might perhaps send down some ray
of light that would dispel this gloom of anguish and despair.
But a pall covered Vienna, and everybody looked sad and dejected.
Suddenly some new movement of terror seemed to pervade the crowd
that had gathered on the Kohlmarkt. [Footnote: Cabbage Market.] As
if a storm were raising up the waves of this black sea of human
figures, the dense mass commenced to undulate to and fro, and a wail
of distress arose, growing louder and louder, until it finally broke
out into the terrible cry: "The emperor has deserted us! the emperor
and the empress have fled from Vienna!"
While the masses were bewailing this new misfortune with the
manifestations of despair, while they assembled in small groups to
comment vociferously on this last and most dreadful event of the
day, all of a sudden Hungarian hussars galloped up and commanded the
people, in the most peremptory manner, to stand aside and to open a
passage for the wagons which were about to enter the market from one
of the adjoining streets.
The people, intimidated by the flashing swords and harsh words of
the soldiers, fell back and gazed with an expression of anxious
suspense upon the strange procession which now made its appearance.
This procession consisted of twelve wagons, apparently not destined
to receive living men, but the remains of the dead. The broad and
heavy wheels were not surmounted by ordinary carriage-boxes, but by
immense iron trunks, large enough to enclose a coffin or a corpse;
and these trunks were covered with heavy blankets, the four corners
of which contained the imperial crown of Austria in beautiful
embroidery. Every one of these strange wagons was drawn by six
horses, mounted by jockeys in the imperial livery, while the hussars
of the emperor's Hungarian bodyguard rode in serried ranks on both
The horses drew these mysterious wagons slowly and heavily through
the streets; the wheels rolled with a dull, thundering noise over
the uneven pavement; and this noise resounded in the ears and hearts
of the pale and terrified spectators like the premonitory signs of
some new thunderstorm.
What was concealed in these mysterious wagons? What was taken away
from Vienna in so careful a manner and guarded so closely? Everybody
was asking these questions, but only in the depth of his own heart,
for nobody dared to interrupt the painful and anxious silence by a
loud word or an inquisitive phrase. Every one seemed to be
fascinated by the forbidding glances of the hussars, and stunned by
the dull rumbling of the wheels.
But, when finally the last wagon had disappeared in the next street,
when the last horseman of the hussar escort had left the place, the
eyes of the anxious spectators turned once more toward the speakers
who had previously addressed them, and told them of the misfortunes
of Austria, and of the brilliant victories of the youthful French
"What do those wagons contain?" shouted the crowd. "We want to know
it, and we must know it!"
"If you must know it, why did you not ask the soldiers themselves?"
shouted a sneering voice in the crowd.
"Yes, yes," said another voice, "why did you not approach the wagons
and knock at the trunks?--may be the devil would have jumped out and
shown you his pretty face!"
The people paid no attention to these sneering remarks. The painful
uncertainty, the anxious excitement continued unabated, and
everybody made surmises concerning the contents of the wagons.
"The trunks contain perhaps the coffins of the imperial ancestors,
which have been removed from the Kapuzinergruft, in order to save
them from the French," said an honest tailor to his neighbor, and
this romantic idea rolled immediately, like an avalanche, through
the vast crowd.
"They are removing the remains of the old emperors from Vienna!"
wailed the crowd. "Even the tombs are no longer safe! They are
saving the corpses of the emperors, but they are forsaking us--the
living! They abandon us to the tender mercies of the enemy! All who
have not got the money to escape are lost! The French will come and
kill us all!"
"We will not permit it!" shouted a stentorian voice. "We want to
keep the remains of Maria Theresa and of the great Emperor Joseph
here in Vienna. As long as they lived they loved the people of the
capital, and they will protect us in death. Come, brethren, come;
let us follow the wagons--let us stop them and take the bodies back
to the Kapuzinergruft [Footnote: Vaults of the Capuchins]".
"Yes, let us follow the wagons and stop them," yelled the crowd,
which now, when it could no longer see the flashing and threatening
weapons of the soldiers, felt exceedingly brave.
Suddenly, however, these furious shouts and yells were interrupted
by a powerful voice which ordered the people to desist, and they
beheld a tall man who, with cat-like agility, climbed upon the iron
lamp-post in the centre of the square.
"Stop, stop!" roared this man, extending his arms over the crowd as
if, a new Moses, he wanted to allay the fury of the sea and cause it
to stand still.
The crowd instantly obeyed this tremendous voice, and all these
indignant, anxious, and terrified faces now turned toward the
speaker who stood above them on top of the lamp-post.
"Don't make fools of yourselves," said he--"don't give these
Hungarians--who would be only too glad to quench their present rage
in German blood--a chance to break your bones. Have you any arms to
compel them to show you the wagons and their contents? And even if
you were armed, the soldiers would overpower you, for most of you
would run away as soon as a fight broke out, and the balance of you
would be taken to the calaboose. I will do you the favor, however,
to tell you all about those wagons. Do you want to know it?"
"Yes, yes, we do!" shouted the crowd, emphatically. "Be quiet over
there!--Stop your noise!--Do not cry so loud!--Hush!--Let us hear
what is in the wagons.--Silence, silence!"
Profound silence ensued--everybody held his breath and listened.
"Well, then, listen to me. These wagons do not contain the remains
of the former emperors, but the gold and the jewels of the present
emperor. It is the state treasure which those hussars are escorting
from Vienna to Presburg, because the government deems it no longer
safe here. Just think of what we have come to now-a-days! Our
imperial family, and even the state treasure, must flee from Vienna!
And whose fault is it that we have to suffer all this? Who has
brought these French down upon us? Who is inundating all Austria
with war and its calamities? Shall I tell you who is doing it?"
"Yes, tell us, tell us!" shouted the crowd. "Woe unto him who has
plunged Austria into war and distress, and caused the flight of the
emperor and the removal of the treasure from Vienna!"
The speaker waited until the angry waves of the people's wrath had
subsided again, and then said in the clear, ringing tones of his
powerful voice: "It is the fault of our prime minister, Baron von
Thugut. He don't want us to make peace with the French. He would
rather ruin us all than to make peace with the French Republic."
"But we don't want to be ruined!" shouted the crowd--"we don't want
to be led to the shambles like sheep. No, no; we want peace--peace
with France. Prime Minister Thugut shall give us peace with France!"
"You had better go and inform the proud minister himself of what you
want," said the speaker with a sneer. "First compel him to do what
the emperor and even our brave Archduke Charles wanted to be done--
compel the omnipotent minister to make peace."
"We will go and ask him to give us peace," said several voices in
"Yes, yes, we will do that!" shouted others. "Come, come; let us all
go to the minister's house and ask him to give us back the emperor
and the state treasure, and to make peace with Bonaparte."
The speaker now descended hurriedly from the lamp-post. His tall,
herculean figure, however, towered above the crowd even after his
feet had touched the pavement.
"Come," said he to the bystanders in a loud and decided tone, "I
will take you to the minister's house, for I know where he lives,
and we will shout and raise such a storm there until the proud
gentleman condescends to comply with our wishes."
He led the way rapidly, and the crowd, always easily guided and
pliable, followed its improvised leader with loud acclamations. Only
one idea, only one wish, animated all these men: they wanted peace
with France, lest Bonaparte might come to Vienna and lay their
beautiful capital in ashes in the same manner in which he had
treated so many Italian cities.
Their leader walked proudly at the head of the irregular procession;
and as the crowd continued to shout and yell, "Peace with France!"
he muttered, "I think I have accomplished a good deal to-day. The
archduke will be satisfied with what I have done, and we may compel
the minister after all to make peace with France."
MINISTER VON THUGUT.
The prime minister, Baron von Thugut, was in his cabinet, in eager
consultation with the new police minister, Count von Saurau, who had
given him an account of the safe removal of the imperial state
treasure which, like the emperor and the empress, had set out for
"All right! all right!" said Thugut, with a sinister chuckle. "In
Hungary both will be safe enough, for I think I have intimidated the
Hungarians so much that they will remain very quiet and very
"Your excellency refers to the conspiracy which we discovered there,
two years ago," said Count Saurau, smiling, "and which the accursed
traitors expiated on the gallows!"
"De Mortuir Nil Nisi Bene!" exclaimed Thugut. "We are under many
obligations to these excellent traitors, for they have enabled us to
render the Hungarians submissive, just as the traitors who conspired
here at Vienna two years ago enabled us to do the same thing to the
population of the capital. A conspiracy discovered by the
authorities is always a good thing, because it furnishes us with an
opportunity to make an example, to tell the nation through the
bloody heads of the conspirators: 'Thus, thus, all will be treated
who dare to plot against the government and against their masters!'
The Viennese have grown very humble and obedient since the day they
saw Hebenstreit, the commander of the garrison, on the scaffold, and
Baron Riedel, the tutor of the imperial children, at the pillory.
And the Hungarians, too, have learned to bow their heads ever since
the five noble conspirators were beheaded on the Generalwiese, in
front of the citadel of Ofen. Believe me, count, that day has
contributed more to the submissiveness of Hungary than all the
favors and privileges which the Emperors of Austria have bestowed
upon the Magyars. Nations are always frivolous and impudent
children: he who tries to educate them tenderly is sure to spoil
them; but raise them in fear and trembling, and they will become
quiet and obedient men. And for that reason, I tell you once more,
don't call those men, now that they are dead, accursed traitors, for
they have been very useful to us; they have been the instrument with
which we have chastised the whole overbearing people of Austria and
Hungary, and those were blessed days for us when we mowed down the
high-born traitors of both countries. The sword of our justice
performed a noble work on that day, for it struck down a savant and
a poet, a count and a distinguished prelate. Oh, what a pity that
there was no prince among them!"
"Well, a prince might have been found likewise," said Count Saurau,
"and perhaps he may get into our meshes on some other occasion. Your
excellency is an adroit hunter."
"And you are an excellent pointer for me. You scent such things on
the spot," Count Thugut exclaimed, and broke out into a loud burst
Count Saurau laughed also, and took good care not to betray how
cruelly the joke had wounded his aristocratic pride. The Austrian
aristocracy was accustomed to such insults at the hands of the
powerful and proud prime minister, and everybody knew that Thugut,
the son of a poor ship-builder, in the midst of his greatness, liked
to recall his modest descent, and to humble the nobility through the
agency of the ship-builder's son.
"Your excellency will permit me to render myself at once worthy of
the praise you have kindly bestowed upon me," said the police
minister, after a short pause. "I believe we have discovered another
conspiracy here. True, it is only an embryo as yet, but it may grow
into something if we give it the necessary time."
"What is it, Saurau?" said Thugut, joyfully--"tell me at once what
it is! A conspiracy--a good, sound conspiracy?"
"Yes, a most malignant and important conspiracy! A conspiracy
against your excellency's life!"
"Bah!--is that all?" said Thugut carelessly, and with evident
disappointment. "I was in hopes that by this time you would hand
over to me some high-born aristocrats who had held secret
intercourse with that execrable French Republic. It would have been
a splendid example for all those hare-brained fools who are so fond
of repeating the three talismanic words of the republican regicides,
and who are crazy with delight when talking of Liberte, Egalite,
Fraternite. I would have liked to chastise a few of these madmen, in
order to put a stop to the prevailing republican enthusiasm. But
instead of that, you talk to me of a conspiracy only aimed at
"Only at yourself!" repeated the count, with great indignation. "As
if it were not the most dreadful calamity for Austria if she should
be deprived of your services. You know that we are standing on the
verge of a precipice; in the interior, the liberal and seditious
desires which the senseless reforms of the Emperor Joseph have
stirred up, are still prevalent, and the people only submit with
reluctance and with spiteful feelings to the reforms which your
excellency has inaugurated with a view to the best interests of
Austria. Abroad, on the other hand, the blood-stained French
Republic incites the malecontents to imitate its own infamies; they
would like to see the victorious banners of General Bonaparte here
in order to have his assistance in establishing a republican
government in Austria."
"It is true," said Thugut, "the Austrian empire, at the present
time, is exposed to great dangers from within and without; the reins
must be held very firmly in order to conduct the ship of state
safely through the breakers, and I believe I am the man to do it.
You see, count, I do not underrate my own importance. I know only
too well that Austria needs me. Still, the plots and conspiracies
that are merely directed against myself, make me laugh. For let me
tell you, my dear little count, I really fancy that my person has
nothing to fear either from daggers, or from pistols, or from
poisoned cups. Do you believe in a Providence, count? Ah!--you look
surprised, and wonder how such a question could fall from infidel
lips like mine. Yes, yes, I am an infidel, and I honestly confess
that the heaven of Mohammed, where you are smoking your chibouk,
seated on cushions of clouds, while houris, radiant with beauty, are
tickling the soles of your feet with rosy fingers, appears to me by
far more desirable than the Christian heaven where you are to stand
in eternal idleness before the throne of God Almighty, singing
hymns, and praising His greatness. Ah! during the happy days of my
sojourn at Constantinople, I have had a slight foretaste of the
heaven of Mohammed; and again, in the tedious days of Maria Theresa,
I have had a foretaste of the heaven of Christianity!"
"And which Providence did your excellency refer to?" asked Saurau.
"I pray your excellency to tell me, because your faith is to be the
model of mine."
"I believe in a Providence that never does any thing in vain, and
never creates great men in order to let them be crushed, like flies,
by miserable monkeys. That is the reason why I am not afraid of any
conspiracy against myself. Providence has created me to be useful to
Austria, and to be her bulwark against the surging waves of the
revolution, and against the victorious legions of General Bonaparte.
I am an instrument of Providence, and therefore it will protect me
as long as it needs me. But if, some day, it should need me no
longer, if it intended then that I should fall, all my precautions
would be fruitless, and all your spies, my dear count, would be
unable to stay the hand of the assassin."
"You want me to understand, then, that no steps whatever are to be
taken against the criminals conspiring against your excellency's
"By no means, count--indeed, that would be an exaggeration of
fatalism. I rely greatly on your sagacity and on the vigilance of
your servants, count. Let them watch the stupid populace--see to it
that faux freres always attend the meetings of my enemies, and
whenever they inform you of conspiracies against myself, why, the
malefactors shall be spirited away without any superfluous noise.
Thank God, we have fortresses and state prisons, with walls too
thick for shrieks or groans to penetrate, and that no one is able to
break through. The public should learn as little as possible of the
fate of these criminals. The public punishment of an assassin who
failed to strike me, only instigates ten others to try if they
cannot hit me better. But the noiseless disappearance of a culprit
fills their cowardly souls with horror and dismay, and the ten men
shrink back from the intended deed, merely because they do not know
in what manner their eleventh accomplice has expiated his crime. The
disappearance of prisoners, the oubliettes, are just what is needed.
You must quietly remove your enemies and adversaries--it must seem
as if some hidden abyss had ingulfed them; everybody, then, will
think this abyss might open one day before his own feet, and he
grows cautious, uneasy, and timid. Solely by the wisdom of secret
punishments, and through the terror inspired by its mysterious
tribunals, Venice has been able to prolong her existence for so many
centuries. Because the spies of the Three were believed to be
ubiquitous--and because everybody was afraid of the two lions on the
Piazzetta, the Venetians obeyed these invisible rulers whom they did
not know, and whose avenging hand was constantly hanging over them."
"Now, however, it seems that a visible hand, a hand of iron, is
going to strike away the invisible hands of the Three," said Count
Saurau, quickly. "Bonaparte seems to desire to force Venice, too,
into the pale of his Italian republics. The city is full of French
emissaries, who, by means of the most eloquent and insidious
appeals, try to bring about a rising of the Venetians against their
rulers, in order--but hark!" said the count, suddenly interrupting
himself. "What is that? Don't you hear the clamor in the street,
right under our window?"
He paused, and, like the minister, turned his eyes and ears toward
the window. A confused noise, loud shouts and yells, resounded
The two ministers, without uttering a word, arose from their arm-
chairs and hurried to one of the windows, which looked upon the wide
street extending from the Kohlmarkt to the minister's palace. A vast
mass of heads, broad shoulders, and uplifted arms, was visible
there, and the angry roar of the excited populace was approaching
already the immediate neighborhood of the palace.
"It seems, indeed, as if these honorable representatives of the
people, intended to pay me a visit," said Thugut, with great
composure. "Just listen how the fellows are roaring my name, as if
it were the refrain of some rollicking beer-song!"
"Why, it is a regular riot!" exclaimed the police minister, angrily.
"Your excellency will permit me to withdraw--"
He left the window hastily, and took his hat, but Thugut's vigorous
hand kept him back.
"Where are you going, count?" said he, smiling.
"To the governor of Vienna," said Saurau. "I want to ask him why he
permits this nonsense, and order him to disperse the rabble in the
most summary manner!"
"Pray, stay here," said Thugut, quietly. "The governor of Vienna is
a man of great sagacity, who knows perfectly well how we have to
treat the people. Why, it would be an unparalleled tyranny if the
poor people were not even allowed to give the prime minister their
good advice, and tell him what they think of the state of affairs.
Just give them this permission, and they will believe they have
performed a most heroic deed, and it will seem to them as if they
could boast of great liberty. True political wisdom, my dear little
count, commands us to give the people a semblance of liberty; we
thereby succeed in dazzling their eyes so well that they do not
perceive that they have no real liberty whatever."
The clamor and noise in the street below had increased in fury. The
people, whose dense masses now entirely obstructed the street,
impetuously moved up to the portal of the ministerial palace, the
front door of which had been locked and barred already by the
cautious porter. Vigorous fists hammered violently against the door,
and as an accompaniment to this terrible music of their leaders, the
people howled and yelled their furious refrain: "We want to see the
minister! He shall give us peace! peace! peace!"
"Ah! I know what it means!" exclaimed Count Saurau, gnashing his
teeth. "Your enemies have instigated these scoundrels. The party
that would like to overthrow you and me, that wants to make peace
with France at any price, and to keep Belgium united with Austria--
this party has hired the villains below to get up a riot. They want
to compel your excellency either to resign or to comply with the
wishes of the people, and make peace with the French Republic."
Thugut laughed. "Compel ME!" said he, laconically.
At that moment the mob yelled louder than ever, and the shout--
"Peace! we want peace!" shook the windows.
Simultaneously the furious blows against the front door redoubled in
"Assuredly, I cannot stand this any longer!" exclaimed the police
minister, perfectly beside himself. "I ought not to listen quietly
to this outrage."
"No," said Thugut, very quietly, "we won't listen to it any longer.
This is my breakfast-hour, and I invite you to be my guest. Come,
let us go to the dining-room."
He took the count's arm, and proceeded with him to the adjoining
room. Breakfast for eight persons was served in this room, for Baron
Thugut was in the habit of keeping every day open table for seven
uninvited guests, and his intimate acquaintances, as well as his
special favorites, never failed to call on the minister at least
once a week during his well-known breakfast and dinner hours.
To-day, however, the minister's rapid and inquisitive glances did
not discover a single guest. Nobody was in the room except the eight
foot-men who stood behind the chairs. Well aware of their master's
stern and indomitable spirit, they occupied their usual places, but
their faces were very pale, and their eyes turned with an expression
of extreme anxiety toward the windows which, just then, trembled
again under the heavy, thundering blows levelled at the front door.
"Cowards!" muttered Thugut, while walking to his chair at the upper
end of the table and beckoning Count Saurau to take a seat at his
At this moment, however, the door was hastily opened, and the
steward, pale and with distorted features, rushed into the room.
"Excuse me, your excellency," said he, "but this time they are
assuredly in earnest. The people are storming the front door--the
hinges are beginning to give way, and in fifteen minutes, at the
latest, the scoundrels will have forced an entrance!"
"You had no business to close the door," said the minister. "Who
ordered you to do so? Who ordered you to barricade the house, as if
it were a fortress--as if we had a bad conscience and were afraid of
The steward looked aghast, and did not know what to reply.
"Go down-stairs at once," continued the minister; "order the porter
to open the door, and admit everybody. Show the people up-stairs;
and you rascals who are standing there with pale faces and trembling
knees, open the two folding-doors so that they can get in without
hurting each other. Now do what I have told you."
The steward bowed with a sigh expressive of the agony he felt, and
hurriedly left the room.
The footmen, meanwhile, hastened to open the folding-doors of the
dining-room, as well as those of the antechamber. The two gentlemen
at the table obtaining thereby a full view of the landing of the
large staircase, directly in front of the open door of the first
"And now, Germain," said Thugut to the footman behind his chair,
"now let us have our breakfast. Be wise, my dear count, and follow
my example; take some of this sherbet. It cools the blood, and, at
the same time, is quite invigorating. Drink, dear count, drink! Ah!
just see, my cook has prepared for us to-day a genuine Turkish meal,
for there is a turkey boiled with rice and paprica. The chief cook
of the grand vizier himself furnished me the receipt for this
exquisite dish, and I may venture to assert that you might look for
it everywhere in Vienna without finding it so well prepared as at my
Heavy footsteps and confused voices were now heard on the staircase.
"They are coming--they really dare to enter here!" said Count
Saurau, trembling with anger. "Pardon me, your excellency; I admire
your heroic equanimity, but I am unable to imitate it. It is an
utter impossibility for me to sit here calmly and passively, while a
gang of criminals is bold enough to break into your house!"
"I beg your pardon, count; these people did not break into my house,
but I voluntarily opened the door to admit them," said Baron Thugut,
coolly. "And as far as your official position is concerned, I pray
you to forget it for half an hour, and remember only that I have the
honor of seeing you--a rare guest--at my table. Let me beg you to
take some of that fowl; it is really delicious!"
Count Saurau, heaving a loud sigh, took a piece of the fowl which
Germain presented to him, and laid it on the silver plate that stood
before him. But just as he was going to taste the first morsel, he
hesitated, and looked steadily through the open doors. Several heads
with shaggy hair and flashing eyes emerged above the railing of the
staircase; many others followed--now the entire figures became
visible, and in the next moment, from twenty to thirty wild-looking
men reached the landing, behind whom, on the staircase, a dense mass
of other heads rose to the surface.
But the loud shouts, the fierce swearing and yelling, had ceased;
the awe with which the intruders were filled by the aristocratic
appearance of every thing they beheld, had hushed their voices, and
even the intrepid orator, who previously, on the Kohlmarkt, had
excited the people to commit acts of violence, and brought them to
the minister's house--even he stood now hesitating and undecided, at
the door of the dining-room, casting glances full of savage hatred
and rage into the interior.
Thugut took apparently no notice whatever of what was going on; his
breakfast entirely absorbed him, and he devoted his whole attention
to a large piece of the turkey, which he seemed to relish greatly.
Count Saurau merely feigned to eat, and looked steadfastly at his
plate, as he did not want the rioters to read in his eyes the
furious wrath that filled his breast.
The men of the people did not seem to feel quite at ease on
beholding this strange and unexpected scene, which all of a sudden
commenced to cool their zeal and heroism, like a wet blanket. They
had triumphantly penetrated into the palace, shouting vociferously,
and quite sure that the minister would appear before them trembling
and begging for mercy; and now, to their utter amazement, they
beheld him sitting very calmly at the breakfast-table!
There was something greatly embarrassing for the poor men in this
position. They suddenly grew quite sober, and even intimidated, and
many of those who had ascended the staircase so boisterously and
triumphantly, now deemed it prudent to withdraw as quietly as
possible. The number of the heads that had appeared above the
balusters was constantly decreasing, and only about twenty of the
most resolute and intrepid remained at the door of the ante-room.
At length, the speaker who had addressed them on the Kohlmarkt,
conscious of his pledges and of the reward promised to him, overcame
his momentary bashfulness and stepped boldly into the ante-room,
where the others, encouraged by his example, followed him at once.
Baron Thugut now raised his eyes with an air of great indifference
from his plate and glanced at the men who with noisy steps
approached through the anteroom. Then turning to the footman behind
him, he said, in a loud voice:
"Germain, go and ask these gentlemen if they want to see me? Ask
them likewise whom you will have the honor to announce to your
The men, overhearing these words, grew still more confused when the
servant in his gorgeous livery stepped up to them, and, with a most
condescending smile, informed them of the errand his master had
given to him.
But now it was out of the question to withdraw, as there was nothing
left to them but to arm themselves with whatever pluck and boldness
they had at their command in order to carry out the role they had
undertaken to play in the most becoming manner.
"Yes," said the speaker of the Kohlmarkt, loudly and resolutely, "we
want to see the minister; and as for our names, I am Mr. Wenzel, of
the tailors' guild; my neighbor here is Mr. Kahlbaum, also a tailor;
and others may mention their own names, so that this polite
gentleman may answer them to his excellency."
But none of the other men complied with this request; on the
contrary, all looked timidly aside, a misgiving dawning in their
minds that such a loud announcement of their names might not be
altogether without danger for them.
Germain did not wait for the final conclusion, but hastily returned
to his master, in order to inform him of what he had heard.
"Mr. Wenzel, of the tailors' guild, Mr. Tailor Kahlbaum, and the
other gentlemen, whatever their names may be, are welcome." said the
minister, aloud, but without interrupting his meal for a single
The men thereupon advanced to the door of the dining-room. But here
a proud and imperious glance from the minister caused them suddenly
"I believe you have breakfasted already?" asked Thugut.
"Yes, we have breakfasted already," replied Mr. Wenzel, in a surly
"Well, unluckily, I have not, and so I request you to let me finish
my breakfast first," said Thugut, attacking once more the wing of
the turkey on his plate.
A long pause ensued. The men stood in the most painful embarrassment
at the door, where the minister's stern glance had arrested them,
and a most unpleasant apprehension of what might be the result of
this scene began to take hold of their minds. Flashing sword-blades
and muskets aimed at their breasts would not have frightened them so
much as the aspect of the calm, proud, and forbidding figure of the
minister, and the utter indifference, the feeling of perfect
security with which he took his breakfast in full view of a
seditious mob filled the rioters with serious apprehensions for the
safety of their own persons.
"I am sure a good many soldiers and policemen are hidden about the
palace," thought Mr. Wenzel, "and that is the reason why he
permitted us to enter, and why he is now so calm and unconcerned;
for as soon as we get into the dining-room, those fine-looking
footmen will lock the door behind, and the soldiers will rush out of
that other door and arrest us."
These pleasant reflections were interrupted by another terrible
glance from the minister, which caused poor Mr. Wenzel to tremble
"Now, gentlemen, if you please, come in; I have finished my
breakfast." said Thugut with perfect coolness. "I am quite ready and
anxious to hear what you wish to say to me. So, come in, come in!"
The men who stood behind Mr. Wenzel moved forward, but the tall,
herculean figure of the member of the tailors' guild resisted them
and compelled them to stand still.
"No, I beg your excellency's pardon," said Mr. Wenzel, fully
determined not to cross the fatal threshold of the dining-room, "it
would not become poor men like us to enter your excellency's dining-
room. Our place is in the anteroom--there we will wait until your
excellency will condescend to listen to us."
This humble language, this tremulous voice, that did not tally at
all with the air of a lion-hearted and outspoken popular leader,
which Mr. Wenzel had assumed in the street, struck terror and
consternation into the souls of the men who had so rashly followed
him into the palace.
The minister rose; his broad-shouldered figure loomed up proudly, a
sarcastic smile played on his angular and well-marked features; his
shaggy white eyebrows convulsively contracted up to this moment--the
only outward symptom of anger which Thugut, even under the most
provoking circumstances, ever exhibited--relaxed and became calm and
serene again, as he approached the men with slow and measured steps.
"Well, tell me now what you have come for? What can I do for you?"
asked Thugut, in the full consciousness of his power.
"We want to implore your excellency to give us peace. The poor
"Peace with whom?" calmly asked the minister.
"Peace with France, your excellency--peace with General Bonaparte,
who is said to be a magician, bewitching everybody, and capable of
conquering all countries by a glance, by a motion of his hands,
whenever he wishes to do so. If we do not make peace, he will
conquer Austria too, come to Vienna, and proclaim himself emperor;
whereupon he will dismiss our own wise and good ministers, and give
us French masters. But we would like to keep our emperor and our
excellent ministers, who take care of us so paternally. And that is
the only reason why we have come here--just to implore your
excellency to have mercy with the poor people and make peace, so
that the emperor may return to Vienna, and bring his state treasury
back to the capital. Yes, men, that is all we wanted, is it not? We
just wanted to pray your excellency to give us peace!"
"Yes, your excellency," shouted the men, "have mercy with us, and
give us peace!"
"Well, for angels of peace, you have penetrated rather rudely into
my house," said the minister, sternly. "You got up a riot in order
to obtain peace."
"It was merely our anxiety that made us so hasty and impetuous,"
said Mr. Wenzel, deprecatingly. "We ask your excellency's pardon if
we have frightened you."
"Frightened me!" echoed Thugut, in a tone of unmeasured contempt.
"As if you were the men to frighten ME! I knew that you would come,
and I knew, too, who had bribed you to do it. Yes, yes, I know they
have paid you well, Mr. Wenzel, to get up a riot--they have given
you shining ducats for leading a mob into my house. But will their
ducats be able to get you out of it again?"
Mr. Wenzel turned very pale; he uttered a shriek and staggered back
a few paces.
"Your excellency knew--" he said.
"Yes, I knew," continued Thugut, sternly, "that men who have no
regard for the honor and dignity of their country--men who are
stupid enough to believe that it would be better to submit
voluntarily to the dominion of the French Republic, instead of
resisting the demands of the regicides manfully and unyieldingly--
that these men have hired you to open your big mouth, and howl about
things which you do not understand, and which do not concern you at
At this moment, shrieks of terror and loud supplications, mingled
with violent and threatening voices, and words of military command
were heard outside.
The men turned anxiously around, and beheld with dismay that the
staircase, which only a few minutes ago was crowded with people, was
now entirely deserted.
Suddenly, however, two men appeared on the landing, who were little
calculated to allay the apprehensions of the rioters, for they wore
the uniform of that dreaded and inexorable police who, under
Thugut's administration, had inaugurated a perfect reign of terror
The two officers approached the door of the anteroom, where they
were met by Germain, the footman, who conversed with them in a
whisper. Germain then hastened back to the door of the dining-room
and walked in, scarcely deigning to cast a contemptuous glance on
the dismayed rioters.
"Well, what is it?" asked Thugut.
"Your excellency, the chief of police sends word that his men are
posted at all the doors of the palace, and will prevent anybody from
getting out. He has cleared the streets, besides, and dispersed the
rioters. The chief of police, who is in the hall below, where he is
engaged in taking down the names of the criminals who are yet in the
house, asks for your excellency's further orders."
"Ah, he does not suspect that his own chief, the minister of police
is present," said Thugut, turning with a smile to Count Saurau, who,
being condemned to witness this scene in the capacity of an idle and
passive spectator, had withdrawn into a bay-window, where he had
quietly listened to the whole proceedings.
"My dear count, will you permit the chief of police to come here and
report to yourself?" asked Thugut.
"I pray you to give him this permission," replied the count,
approaching his colleague.
Germain hastened back to the policemen in the anteroom.
"And what are we--?" asked Mr. Wenzel, timidly.
"You will wait!" thundered the minister. "Withdraw into yonder
corner! may be the chief of police will not see you there."
They withdrew tremblingly into one of the corners of the ante-room,
and did not even dare to whisper to each other, but the glances they
exchanged betrayed the anguish of their hearts.
The two ministers, meanwhile, had likewise gone into the ante-room,
and, while waiting for the arrival of the chief of police, conversed
in a whisper.
In the course of a few minutes, the broad-shouldered and erect
figure of the chief of the Viennese police appeared in the official
uniform so well known to the people of the capital, who, for good
reasons, were in the utmost dread of the terrible functionary. When
the rioters beheld him, they turned even paler than before; now they
thought that every thing was lost, and gave way to the most gloomy
Count Saurau beckoned the chief to enter; the latter had a paper in
his right hand.
"Your report," said the count, rather harshly. "How was it possible
that this riot could occur? Was nobody there to disperse the
seditious scoundrels before they made the attack on his excellency's
The chief of police was silent, and only glanced anxiously at Baron
Thugut. The latter smiled, and turned to the count:
"I beg you, my dear count, don't be angry with our worthy chief of
police. I am satisfied he has done his whole duty."
"The whole house is surrounded," hastily added the chief. "Nobody
can get out, and I have taken down the names of all the criminals."
"Except these here," said Thugut, pointing at Mr. Wenzel and his
unfortunate companions, who vainly tried to hide themselves in their
corner. "But that is unnecessary, inasmuch as they have given us
their names already, and informed us of their wishes Then, sir, the
whole honorable meeting of the people is caught in my house as in a
"Yes, we have got them all," said the chief. "Now, I would like to
know of his excellency, the minister of police, what is to be done
"I beg you, my dear count," said Thugut, turning to Count Saurau,
"let me have my way in this matter, and treat these men in a spirit
of hospitality. I have opened them the doors of my palace and
admitted them into my presence, and it would be ungenerous not to
let them depart again. Do not read the list of the names which the
chief holds in his hand, but permit him to give it to me, and order
him to withdraw his men from my house, and let the prisoners retire
without molestation, and with all the honors of war."
"Your will shall be done, of course, your excellency," said the
count, bowing respectfully. "Deliver your list to the prime
minister, and go down-stairs to carry out the wishes of his
The chief delivered the list of the captured rioters, and left the
room, after saluting the two dignitaries in the most respectful
"And we--? may we go likewise, your excellency?" asked Mr. Wenzel,
"Yes, you may go," said Thugut. "But only on one condition. Mr.
Wenzel, you must first recite to me the song which the honorable
people were howling when you came here."
"Ah, your excellency, I only know a single verse by heart!"
"Well, then, let us have that verse. Out with it! I tell you, you
will not leave this room until you have recited it. Never fear,
however; for whatever it may be, I pledge you my word that no harm
shall befall you."
"Very well," said Mr. Wenzel, desperately. "I believe the verse
reads as follows:"
"'Triumph! triumph! es siegt die gute Sache!
Die Turkenknechte flieh'n!
Laut tont der Donner der gerechten Sache,
Nach Wien und nach Berlin.'"
"Triumph! triumph! the good cause conquers
The despots' minions flee!
The thunders of the just cause Reach Vienna and Berlin!"
This hymn was universally sung at that time (1797) in all the German
States, not merely by the popular classes, but likewise in the
exclusive circles of the aristocracy. It is found in a good many
memoirs of that period.]
"Indeed, it is a very fine song," said Thugut, "and can you tell me
who has taught you this song?"
"No, your excellency, I could not do it. Nobody knows it besides. It
was printed on a small handbill, and circulated all over the city. A
copy was thrown into every house, and the working-men, when setting
out early one morning, found it in the streets."
"And did you not assist in circulating this excellent song, my dear
"I? God and the Holy Virgin forbid!" exclaimed Mr. Wenzel, in
dismay. "I have merely sung it, like all the rest of us, and sung it
to the tune which I heard from the others."
"Well, well, you did right, for the melody is really pleasing. Such
songs generally have the peculiarity that not a single word of them
is true; people call that poetry. Now, you may go, my poetical Mr.
Wenzel, and you others, whom the people sent with this pacific
mission to me. Tell your constituents that I will this time comply
mercifully with their wishes, and give them peace, that is, I will
let them go, and not send them to the calaboose, as they have
abundantly deserved. But if you try this game again, and get up
another riot, and sing that fine song once more, you may rest
assured that you will be taken to jail and taught there a most
unpleasant lesson. Begone now!"
He turned his back on the trembling citizens, and took no notice of
the respectful bows with which they took leave of him, whereupon
they retired with soft but hasty steps, like mice escaping from the
presence of the dreaded lion.
"And now, my dear count, as we have finished our breakfast, let us
return to my cabinet, for I believe we have to settle some
THE TWO MINISTERS.
Baron Thugut took the count's arm and led him back to his cabinet.
"I read a question in your eyes," he said, smiling; "may I know what
"Why, yes, your excellency," replied Count Saurau.
"Let me ask you, then, what all this means? Why did you excuse the
chief of police, who evidently had not done his duty and been guilty
of a lack of vigilance? And why did you let these rascals go,
instead of having them whipped to death?"
"You were away from Vienna, count? You were absent from the capital
because you accompanied their majesties on their trip to Presburg,
and have returned only an hour ago. Am I right?"
"Perfectly right, your excellency."
"Then you could not be aware of what has happened meanwhile here in
Vienna, and the chief of police could not have informed you of the
particulars. Well, then, he came to me and told me that an
insurrection had been planned against the two emperors--(I believe
you know that the people does us the honor of calling us the two
emperors of Vienna), and that the faction hostile to us was going to
make an attempt to overthrow us. A great deal of money had been
distributed among the populace. Prince Carl von Schwarzenburg
himself had dropped some indiscreet remarks. In short, the faction
which hates me because I do not deem seditious Belgium a priceless
jewel of the crown of Austria, and do not advise the emperor to keep
that remote province at any price--the faction which detests both of
us because we do not join its enthusiastic hymns in honor of the
French Republic and the republican General Bonaparte--this faction
has hired the miserable rabble to represent the people, to break my
windows, and frighten me sufficiently to make me ready and willing
to adopt its insane policy. The chief of police came to see me
yesterday. He gave me an account of the whole affair, and declared
himself fully prepared to protect my palace, and to nip the riot in
the bud. I begged him not to do any thing of the kind, but to look
on passively and attentively, and only come to my palace after the
mob had entered it. I was very anxious for once to find out
something definite about the strength, courage, and importance of
the opposing faction. It is always desirable to know one's
adversaries, and to learn as accurately as possible what they are
capable of. Besides, it was a splendid opportunity for the police to
discover the sneaking demagogues and ringleaders of the mob, and to
take down their names for the purpose of punishing them by and by,
as we Europeans unfortunately cannot imitate the example of that
blessed Queen of Egypt, who took a thousand conspirators by the
tails, and, holding them in her left hand, cut off their thousand
seditious heads with one stroke of the sword in her right hand.
Unfortunately, we have to act by far more cautiously."
"But why did you dismiss all the rioters this time without giving
them into custody?" asked the count, moodily.
"Why, we have them all by the tails, anyhow," laughed Thugut, "for
have not we got the list of the names here? Ah, my dear little
count, perhaps you thought I would have gone in my generosity so far
as to tear this list, throw the pieces away, and avert my head, like
the pious bishop who found a murderer under his bed, permitted him
to escape, and averted his head in order not to see the fugitive's
face and may be recognize him on some future occasion? I like to
know the faces of my enemies, and to find out their names, and,
depend upon it, I shall never, never forget the names I read on this
"But for the time being, these scoundrels, having escaped with
impunity, will go home in triumph, and repeat the same game as soon
as another occasion offers."
"Ah, I see you do not know the people at all! Believe me, we could
not have frightened them worse than by letting them go. They are
perfectly conscious of their guilt. The very idea of not having
received any punishment at our hands fills them with misgivings, and
they tremble every moment in the expectation that they will have to
suffer yet for their crime. Remorse and fear are tormenting them,
and THEY are the best instruments to rule a people with. My God,
what should be done with a nation consisting of none but pure and
virtuous men? It would be perfectly unassailable, while its vices
and foibles are the very things by which we control it. Therefore,
do not blame the people on account of its vices. I love it for the
sake of them, for it is through them that I succeed in subjecting it
to my will. The idea of acting upon men by appealing to their
virtues, is simply preposterous. You must rely on their faults and
crimes, and, owing to the latter, all these fellows whom we
dismissed to-day without punishment have become our property. The
discharged and unpunished criminal is a sbirro--the police has only
to hand him a dagger, and tell him, 'Strike there!' and he will
"Your excellency believes, then, that even the ringleaders should
not be punished?"
"By no means. Of course some of them should be chastised, in order
to increase the terror of the others. But for God's sake, no public
trials--no public penalties! Wenzel should be secretly arrested and
disposed of. Let him disappear--he and the other ringleaders who
were bold enough to come up here. Let us immure them in some strong,
thick-walled prison, and while the other rioters are vainly
tormenting their heavy skulls by trying to guess what has become of
their leaders, we shall render the latter so pliable and tame by all
kinds of tortures and threats of capital punishment, that when we
finally set them free again, they will actually believe they are in
our debt, and in their gratitude become willing tools in our hands
to be used as we may deem best."
"By the eternal, you are a great statesman, a sagacious ruler!"
exclaimed Count Saurau, with the gushing enthusiasm of sincere
admiration. "Men grow wise by listening to you, and happy and
powerful by obeying you! I am entirely devoted to you--full of
affection and veneration--and do not want to be any thing but your
attentive and grateful pupil."
"Be my friend," said Thugut. "Let us pursue our career hand in hand-
-let us always keep our common goal in view, and shrink back from no
step in order to reach it."
"Tell me what I am to do. I shall follow you as readily as the blind
man follows his guide."
"Well, if you desire it, my friend, we will consider a little how we
have to steer the ship of state during the next months in order to
get her safely through the breakers that are threatening her on all
sides. During the few days of your absence from the capital, various
events have occurred, materially altering the general state of
affairs. When you departed, I advised the emperor not to make peace
with France under any circumstances. We counted at that time on the
regiments of grenadiers whom we had sent to the seat of war, and
who, under the command of Archduke Charles, were to defend the
defiles of Neumarkt against the advancing columns of the French
army. We knew, besides, that the French troops were worn out,
exhausted, and anxious for peace, or that General Bonaparte would
not have addressed that letter to the Archduke Charles, in which he
requested the latter to induce the Emperor of Austria to conclude
peace with France. In accordance with our advice, the archduke had
to give Bonaparte an evasive answer, informing him that, in case of
further negotiations, he would have to send to Vienna for fresh
"But, your excellency, you were firmly determined not to make peace
"So I was, and even now I have not changed my mind; but we are
frequently compelled to disguise our real intentions, and events
have occurred, which, for the present, render peace desirable. You
need not be frightened, my dear count--I merely say, for the
present. In my heart I shall never make peace with France, and my
purpose remains as fixed as ever--to revenge Austria one day for the
humiliations we have suffered at her hands. Never forget that, my
friend; and now listen to me. Late dispatches have arrived. Massena,
after a bloody struggle with our troops, has taken Friesach, and
advanced on the next day to attack the fresh regiments of our
grenadiers in the gorges of Neumarkt. Archduke Charles had placed
himself at the head of these regiments, firing the courage of the
soldiers by his own heroic example. But he was confronted by the
united French forces from Italy and Germany, and in the evening of
that disastrous day the archduke and his grenadiers were compelled
to evacuate Neumarkt, which was occupied by the victorious French.
The archduke now asked the French general for a cessation of
hostilities during twenty-four hours in order to gain time, for he
was in hopes that this respite would enable him to bring up the
corps of General von Kerpen, and then, with his united forces, drive
the enemy back again. But this little General Bonaparte seems to
possess a great deal of sagacity, for he rejected the request, and
sent a detached column against Von Kerpen's corps, which separated
the latter still farther from our main army. Bonaparte himself
advanced with his forces as far as Fudenberg and Leoben. In order to
save Vienna, there was but one course left to the archduke: he had
to make proposals of peace."
"Did he really do so?" asked Count Saurau, breathlessly.
"He did. He sent two of our friends--Count Meerveldt, and the
Marquis de Gallo--to Bonaparte's headquarters at Leoben, for the
purpose of opening negotiations with him."
"Did your excellency authorize the archduke to do so?" asked the
"No, I did not, and I might disavow it now if it suited me, but it
does not--it would not promote our interests--and I know but one
policy, the policy of interest. We should always adopt those
measures which afford us a reasonable prospect of gain, and discard
those which may involve us in loss. Power alone is infallible,
eternal, and divine, and power has now decided in favor of France.
Wherefore we must yield, and don the garb of peace until we secure
once more sufficient power to renew hostilities. We must make peace!
Our aim, however, should be to render this peace as advantageous to
Austria as possible--"
"You mean at the expense of France?"
"Bah!--at the expense of Germany, my dear little count. Germany is
to compensate us for the losses which peace may inflict. If we lose
any territory in Italy, why, we shall make it up in Germany, that is
"But in that case, there will be another terrible hue and cry about
the infringement of the rights of the holy German empire," said
Count Saurau, smiling; "Prussia will have a new opportunity of
playing the defender of the German fatherland."
"My dear count, never mind the bombastic nonsense in which Prussia
is going to indulge--we shall take good care that nothing comes of
it. Prussia has no longer a Frederick the Great at her head, but the
fat Frederick William the Second--"
"But his life," said the count, interrupting him, "I know for
certain, will last but a few days, at best for a few weeks; for his
disease, dropsy of the chest, you know, does not even respect
"And when Prussia has lost her present fat king, she will have
another, Frederick William--a young man twenty-seven years of age,
volia tout! He is just as old as General Bonaparte, and was born in
the same year as this general whose glory already fills the whole
world; but of the young heir of the Prussian throne the world has
heard nothing as yet, except that he has a most beautiful wife. He
is not dangerous, therefore, and I hope and believe that Austria
never will lack the power to humiliate and check this Prussian
kingdom--this revolutionary element in the heart of the German
empire. The danger, however, that threatens us now, does not come
from Prussia, but from France, and especially from this General
Bonaparte, who, by his glory and his wonderful battles, excites the
wildest enthusiasm for the cause of the revolution, and delights the
stupid masses so much that they hail him as a new messiah of
liberty. Liberty, detestable word! that, like the fatal bite of the
tarantula, renders men furious, and causes them to rave about in
frantic dances until death strikes them down."
"This word is the talismanic charm with which Bonaparte has
conquered all Italy, and transformed the Italians into insurgents
and rebels against their legitimate sovereigns," said Count Saurau,
"All Italy? Not yet, my friend. A portion of it still stands firm.
The lion of St. Mark has not yet fallen."
"But he will fall. His feet are tottering already."
"Well, then, we must try to make him fall in a manner which will
entitle us to a portion of the spoils. And now, my dear little
count, we have reached the point which claims our immediate
attention. The preliminaries of the peace have been concluded at
Leoben, and until peace itself is established, we should pursue such
a policy that the peace, instead of involving Austria in serious
losses, will give her a chance to increase her strength and enlarge
her territory. We must keep our eyes on Bavaria--for Bavaria will
and must be ours as soon as a favorable opportunity offers. If
France should object and refuse to let us seize our prey, why, we
will be sure to revive the old quarrel about Belgium, which will
render her willing and tame enough."
"But what shall we do if Prussia should support the objections of
France? Shall we satisfy her, too, by giving her a piece of
"On the contrary, we shall try to take as much as possible from her;
we shall try to humiliate and isolate her, in order to deprive her
of the power of injuring us. We shall endeavor so to arrange the
peace we are going to conclude with France as to benefit Austria,
and injure Prussia as much as we can. In the north, we shall
increase our territory by the acquisition of Bavaria; in the south,
by the annexation of Venice."
"By the annexation of Venice!" ejaculated Count Saurau, greatly
astonished at what he had heard. "But did you not just tell me that
Venice still stood firm?"
"We must bring about her fall, my dear count; that is our great task
just now; for, I repeat, Venice is to compensate us on our southern
frontier for our losses elsewhere. Of course, we ought to receive
some substantial equivalent for ceding Belgium to France, and if it
cannot be Bavaria, then let it be Venice."
"Nevertheless, I do not comprehend--"
"My dear count, if my schemes were so easily fathomed, they could
not be very profound. Everybody may guess the game I am playing now;
but the cards I have got in my hand must remain a secret until I
have played them out, or I would run the risk of losing every thing.
But this time I will let you peep into my cards, and you shall help
me win the game. Venice is the stake we are playing for, my dear
count, and we want to annex her to Austria. How is that to be
"I confess, your excellency, that my limited understanding is unable
to answer that question, and that I cannot conceive how a sovereign
and independent state is to become an Austrian province in the
absence of any claims to its territory, except by an act of open
"Not exactly, my dear count. Suppose we set a mouse-trap for Venice,
and catch her, like a mouse, in it? Listen to me! We must encourage
Venice to determine upon open resistance against the victor of Lodi,
and make war upon France."
"Ah, your excellency, I am afraid the timid signoria will not be
bold enough for that, after hearing of our late defeats, and of the
new victories of the French."
"Precisely. It is of the highest importance, therefore, that the
signoria should hear nothing of it, but believe exactly the reverse,
viz., that our troops are victorious; and this task, my friend, de-
devolves upon you. Pray dispatch, at once, some reliable agents to
Venice, and to other parts of the Venetian territory. Inform the
signoria that the French have been defeated in the Tyrol and in
Styria, and was now in the most precarious position. Through some
other confidential messenger send word to Count Adam Neipperg, who,
with some of our regiments occupies the southern Tyrol in close
proximity to the Venetian frontier, that Venetia is ready to rise
and needs his assistance, and order him to advance as far as Verona.
The Venetians will look upon this advance as a confirmation of the
news of our victories. The wise little mice will only smell the
bait, and, in their joy, not see the trap we have set for them. They
will rush into it, and we shall catch them. For a rising in Venice
will be called nowadays a rebellion against France, and France will
hasten to punish so terrible a crime. The Venetian Republic will he
destroyed by the French Republic, and then we shall ask France to
cede us Venice as a compensation for the loss of Belgium."
"By the Eternal! it is a splendid--a grand scheme!" exclaimed Count
Saurau--"a scheme worthy of being planned by some great statesman.
In this manner we shall conquer a new province without firing a gun,
or spilling a drop of blood."
"No. Some blood will be shed," said Thugut, quietly. "But it will
not be Austrian blood--it will be the blood of the Venetian
insurgents whom we instigate to rise in arms. This bloodshed will
glue them firmly to us, for no cement is more tenacious than blood.
And now, my dear count, as you know and approve of my plans, I pray
you to carry them out as rapidly as possible. Dispatch your agents
without delay to Venice and to the Tyrol. We have no time to lose,
for the preliminaries of Leoben only extend to the eighteenth of
April, and until then Venice must have become a ripe fruit, which,
in the absence of hands to pluck it, will spontaneously fall to the
"In the course of an hour, your excellency, I shall have executed
your orders, and my most skilful spies and agents will be on their
"Whom are you going to send to the Venetian signoria? "
"The best confidential agent I have--Anthony Schulmeister."
"Oh, I know him; he has often served me, and is very adroit, indeed.
But do not forget to pay him well in order to be sure of his
fidelity, for fortunately he has a failing which renders it easy for
us to control him. He is exceedingly covetous, and has a pretty wife
who spends a great deal of money. Pay him well, therefore, and he
will do us good service. And now, farewell, my dear count. I believe
we understand each other perfectly, and know what we have to do."
"I have found out once more that the Austrian ship of state is in
the hands of a man who knows how to steer and guide her, as no other
ruler does," said Count Saurau, who rose and took his hat.
"I have inherited this talent, perhaps, my dear count. My father,
the ship-builder, taught me all about the management of ships.
Addio, caro amico mio."
They cordially shook hands, and Count Saurau, with a face radiant
with admiration and affection, withdrew from the cabinet of the
prime minister. A smile still played on his features when the
footman in the anteroom assisted him in putting on his cloak,
whereupon he rapidly descended the magnificent marble staircase
which an hour ago had been desecrated by the broad and clumsy feet
of the populace. But when the door of his carriage had closed behind
him, and no prying eyes, no listening ears were watching him any
longer, his smile disappeared as if by magic, and savage
imprecations burst from his lips.
"Intolerable arrogance! Revolting insolence!" said he, angrily. "He
thinks he can play the despot, and treat all of us--even myself--
worse than slaves. He dares to call me 'his little count!' His
little count! Ah, I shall prove to this ship-builder's son one day
that little Count Saurau is, after all, a greater man than our
overbearing and conceited prime minister. But patience, patience! My
day will come. And on that day I shall hurl little Thugut from his
THE HOUSE IN THE GUMPENDORFER SUBURB.
Vienna was really terribly frightened by the near approach of the
French army, and the conviction of their dangerous position had
excited the people so fearfully that the Viennese, generally noted
for their peaceful and submissive disposition, had committed an open
riot--for the sole purpose, however, of compelling the all-powerful
prime minister to make peace with France. Archduke Charles had been
defeated--the emperor had fled to Hungary.
None of all these disastrous tidings had disturbed the inmates of a
small house on the outskirts of the Gumpendorfer suburb, in close
proximity to the Mariahilf line. This little house was a perfect
image of peace and tranquillity. It stood in the centre of a small
garden which showed the first tender blossoms of returning spring on
its neatly arranged beds. Dense shrubbery covered the white walls of
the house with evergreen verdure. Curtains as white and dazzling as
fresh snow, and, between them, flower-pots filled with luxuriant
plants, might be seen behind the glittering window-panes. Although
there was nothing very peculiar about the house, which had but two
stories, yet nobody passed by without looking up to the windows with
a reverential and inquisitive air, and he who only thought he could
discover behind the panes the fugitive shadow of a human being, made
at once a deep and respectful bow, and a proud and happy smile
overspread his features.
And still, we repeat, there was nothing very peculiar about the
house. Its outside was plain and modest, and the inside was equally
so. The most profound silence prevailed in the small hall, the floor
of which had been sprinkled with fresh white sand. A large spotted
cat--truly beautiful animal--lay not far from the front door on a
soft, white cushion, and played gracefully and gently with the ball
of white yarn that had just fallen from the woman sitting at the
window while she was eagerly engaged in knitting. This woman, in her
plain and unassuming dress, seemed to be a servant of the house, but
at all events a servant in whom entire confidence was reposed, as
was indicated by the large bunch of keys, such as the lady of the
house or a trusted housekeeper will carry, which hung at her side.
An expression of serene calmness rendered her venerable features
quite attractive, and a graceful smile played on her thin and
bloodless lips as she now dropped her knitting upon her lap, and,
with her body bent forward, commenced watching the merry play of the
cat on the cushion. Suddenly the silence was interrupted by a loud
and shrill scream, and a very strange-sounding voice uttered a few
incoherent words in English. At the same time a door was opened
hastily, and another woman appeared--just as old, just as kind-
looking, and with as mild and serene features as the one we have
just described. Her more refined appearance, however, her handsome
dress, her beautiful cap, her well-powdered toupet, and the massive
gold chain encircling her neck, indicated that she was no servant,
but the lady of the house.
However, peculiarly pleasant relations seemed to prevail between the
mistress and the servant, for the appearance of the lady did not
cause the latter to interrupt her merry play with the cat; and the
mistress, on her part, evidently did not consider it strange or
disrespectful, but quietly approached her servant.
"Catharine," she said, "just listen how that abominable bird,
Paperl, screams again to-day. I am sure the noise will disturb the
doctor, who is at work already."
"Yes, Paperl is an intolerable nuisance," sighed Catharine. "I
cannot comprehend why the Kapellmeister--I was going to say the
doctor--likes the bird so well, and why he has brought it along from
England. Yes, if Paperl could sing, in that case it would not be
strange if the Ka--, I mean the doctor, had grown fond of the bird.
But no, Paperl merely jabbers a few broken words which no good
Christian is able to understand."
"He who speaks English can understand it well enough, Catharine,
"said the lady, "for the bird talks English, and in that respect
Paperl knows more than either of us."
"But Paperl cannot talk German, and I think that our language,
especially our dear Viennese dialect, sounds by far better than that
horrid English. I don't know why the doctor likes the abominable
noise, and why he suffers the bird to disturb his quiet by these
"I know it well enough, Catharine," said the doctor's wife, with a
gentle smile. "The parrot reminds my husband of his voyage to
England, and of all the glory and honor that were showered upon him
"Well, as far as that is concerned, I should think it was entirely
unnecessary for my master to make a trip to England," exclaimed
Catharine. "He has not returned a more famous man than he was
already when he went away. The English were unable to add to his
glory, for he was already the most celebrated man in the whole world
when he went there, and if that had not been the case, they would
not have invited him to come and perform his beautiful music before
them, for then they would not have known that he is such a splendid
"But they were delighted to see him, Catharine, and I tell you they
have perfectly overwhelmed him with honors. Every day they gave him
festivals, and even the king and queen urged him frequently to take
up his abode in England. The queen promised him splendid apartments
in Windsor Castle, and a large salary, and in return my husband was
to do nothing but to perform every day for an hour or so before her
majesty, or sing with her. Nevertheless, he had the courage to
refuse the brilliant offers of the king and queen, and do you know,
Catharine, why he rejected them?"
Catharine knew it well enough; she had frequently heard the story
from her mistress during the two years since the doctor had returned
from England, but she was aware that the lady liked to repeat it,
and she liked it very much, too, to hear people talk about her
beloved master's fame and glory, having faithfully served him
already for more than twenty years. Hence she said, with a kind-
"No, indeed, I don't know it, and I cannot comprehend why the doctor
said no to the king and queen of England."
"He did so for my sake, Catharine!" said the lady, and an expression
of joyful pride shed a lustre of beauty and tenderness over her kind
old face. "Yes, I tell you, it was solely for my sake that my
husband came home again. 'Remain with us!' said the king to him.
'You shall have every thing the queen has offered you. You shall
live at Windsor, and sing once a day with the queen. Of you, my dear
doctor, I shall not be jealous, for you are an excellent and honest
German gentleman.' And when the king had told him that, my husband
bowed respectfully, and replied: 'Your majesty, it is my highest
pride to maintain this reputation. But just because I am an honest
German, I must tell you that I cannot stay here--I cannot leave my
country and my wife forever!'"
"'Oh, as far as that is concerned,' exclaimed the king, 'we shall
send for your wife. She shall live with you at Windsor.' But my
husband laughed and said: 'She will never come, your majesty. She
would not cross the Danube in a skiff, much less make a trip beyond
the sea. And, therefore, there is nothing left to me but to return
myself to my little wife.' And he did so, and left the king, and the
queen, and all the noble lords and ladies, and came back to Vienna,
and to his little wife. Say, Catharine, was not that well done of
"Of course it was," said Catharine; "the fact was, our good doctor
loved his wife better than the queen, and all the high born people
who treated him so well in England. And, besides, he knew that
people hereabouts treat him with as much deference as over there,
and that if he only desired it, he could hold daily intercourse with
the emperor, the princes, and the highest dignitaries in the
country. But he does not care for it. The fact is, our master is by
far too modest; he is always so quiet and unassuming, that nobody,
unless they knew him, would believe for a single moment that he is
so far-famed a man; and then he dresses so plainly, while he might
deck himself with all the diamond rings and breast-pins, the
splendid watches and chains, which the various sovereigns have given
to him. But all these fine things he keeps shut up in his desk, and
constantly wears the old silver watch which he has had already God
knows how long!"
"Why, Catharine, that was the wedding-present I gave him," said the
good wife, proudly; "and just for that reason my husband wears it
all the time, although he has watches by far more beautiful and
valuable. At the time I gave him that watch, both of us were very
poor. He was a young music-teacher, and I was a hairdresser's
daughter. He lived in a small room in my father's house, and as he
often could not pay the rent, he gave me every day a lesson on the
piano. But in those lessons, I did not only learn music--I learned
to love him, too. He asked me to become his wife, and on our
wedding-day, I gave him the silver watch, and that is just the
reason why he wears it all the time, although he has by far better
ones. His wife's present is more precious to him than what kings and
emperors have given to him."
"But he might wear at least a nice gold chain to it," said
Catharine. "Why, I am sure he has no less than a dozen of them. But
he never wears one of them, not even the other day when the Princess
Esterhazy called for him with her carriage to drive with him to the
emperor. The doctor wore on that occasion only a plain blue ribbon,
on which his own name was embroidered in silver."
"Well, there is a story to that ribbon," said the mistress,
thoughtfully. "My husband brought it likewise from Loudon, and he
got it there on one of his proudest days. I did not know the story
myself, for you are aware my husband is always so modest, and never
talks about his great triumphs in Loudon, and I would not have
learned any thing about the ribbon if he had not worn it the other
day when he accompanied the princess to the emperor. Ah, Catharine,
it is a very beautiful and touching story!"
Catharine did not know this story at all; hence she asked her
mistress with more than usual animation to tell her all about the
The doctor's wife assented readily. She sat down on a chair at
Catharine's side, and looked with a pleasant smile at the cat who
had come up to her, and, purring comfortably, lay down on the hem of
"Yes," said she, "the story of that ribbon is quite touching, and I
do not know really, Catharine, but I will have to shed a few tears
while telling it. It was in Loudon, when my husband had just
returned from Oxford, where the university had conferred upon him
the title of Doctor of--"
"Yes, yes, I know," grumbled Catharine, "that is the reason why we
now have to call him doctor, which does not sound near as imposing
and distinguished as our master's former title of Kapellmeister."
"But then it is a very high honor to obtain the title of doctor of
music in England, Catharine. The great composer Handel lived thirty
years in England without receiving it, and my husband had not been
there but a few months when they conferred the title upon him. Well,
then, on the day after his return from Oxford, he was invited to the
house of a gentleman of high rank and great wealth, who gave him a
brilliant party. A large number of ladies and gentlemen were
present, and when my husband appeared among them they rose and bowed
as respectfully as though he were a king. When the doctor had
returned the compliment, he perceived that every lady in the room
wore in her hair a ribbon of blue silk, on which his name had been
embroidered in silver. His host wore the same name in silver beads
on his coat-facings, so that he looked precisely as if he were my
husband's servant, and dressed in his livery. Oh, it was a splendid
festival which Mr. Shaw--that was the gentleman's name--gave him on
that day. At length Mr. Shaw asked the doctor to give him a
souvenir, whereupon he presented him with a snuff-box he had
purchased in the course of the day for a few shillings; and when my
husband requested the lady of the house, whom he pronounces the most
beautiful woman on earth, to give him likewise a souvenir; Mrs. Shaw
thereupon took the ribbon from her head and handed it to him; and my
husband pressed it to his lips, and assured her he would always wear
that ribbon on the most solemn occasions. You see, Catharine, he
keeps his promise religiously, for he wore the ribbon the other day
when he was called to the imperial palace. But my story is not
finished yet. Your master called a few days after that party on Mr.
Shaw, when the latter showed him the snuff-box he had received from
my husband. It was enclosed in a handsome silver case, a beautiful
lyre was engraved on the lid, with an inscription stating that my
great and illustrious husband had given him the box. [Footnote: The
inscription was: "Ex dono celeberrimi Josephi Haydn."] How do you
like my story, Catharine?"
"Oh, it is beautiful," said the old servant, thoughtfully; "only,
what you said about that beautiful Mrs. Shaw did not exactly please
me. I am sure the doctor got the parrot also from her, and for that
reason likes the bird so well, although it screeches so horribly,
and doubtless disturbs him often in his studies."
"Yes, he got the bird from Mrs. Shaw," replied her mistress, with a
smile. "She taught Paperl to whistle three airs from my husband's
finest quartets, singing and whistling the music to the bird every
day during three or four weeks for several hours, until Paperl could
imitate them; and when my husband took leave of her, she gave him
"But the bird never whistles the tunes any more. I have only heard
Paperl do it once, and that was on the day after the doctor's return
from England." "I know the reason why. The bird hears here every day
so much music, and so many new melodies which the doctor plays on
his piano, that its head has grown quite confused, and poor Paperl
has forgotten its tunes."
"It has not forgotten its English words, though," murmured
Catharine. "What may be the meaning of these words which the bird is
screaming all the time?"
"That beautiful Mrs. Shaw taught Paperl to pronounce them,
Catharine. I do not know their precise meaning, but they commence as
follows: 'Forget me not, forget me not--' Good Heaven! the bird has
commenced screaming again. I am sure it has not had any sugar to-
day. Where is Conrad? He ought to attend to the bird."
"He has gone down town. The doctor has given him several errands."
"Good Heaven! the screams are almost intolerable. Go, Catharine, and
give poor Paperl a piece of sugar."
"I dare not, madame; it always snaps at me with its abominable beak,
and if the chain did not prevent it from attacking me, it would
scratch out my eyes."
"I am afraid of it, too," said the lady, anxiously; "nevertheless we
cannot permit the bird to go on in this manner. Just listen to it--
it is yelling as though it were going to be roasted. It will disturb
my husband, and you know the doctor is composing a new piece. Come,
Catharine, we must quiet the bird. I will give him the sugar."
"And I shall take my knitting-needles along, and if it should try to
bite, I will hit it on the beak. Let us go now, madame."
And the two women walked boldly across the anteroom, toward the door
of the small parlor, in order to commence the campaign against the
parrot. The cat followed them gravely and solemnly, and with an air
as though it had taken the liveliest interest in the conversation,
and thought it might greatly assist them in pacifying the screaming
While the parrot's screams had rendered the mistress and her maid so
uneasy, the most profound stillness and quiet reigned in the upper
rooms of the little house. Not a sound interrupted the silence of
this small, elegantly-furnished sitting-room. Even the sun
apparently dared only to send a few stealthy beams through the
windows, and the wind seemed to hold its breath in order not to
shake the panes of the small chamber adjoining, venerated by all the
inmates of the house as a sacred temple of art.
In this small chamber, in this temple of art, a gentleman,
apparently engaged in reading, was seated at a table covered with
papers and music-books, close to an open piano. He was no longer
young; on the contrary, beholding only the thin white hair hanging
down on his expansive and wrinkled forehead, and his stooping form,
it became evident that he was an old man, nearly seventy years of
age. But as soon as he raised his eyes from the paper, as soon as he
turned them toward heaven with an air of blissful enthusiasm, the
fire of eternal youth and radiant joyousness burst forth from those
eyes; and whatever the white hair, the wrinkled forehead, the
furrowed cheeks and the stooping form might tell of the long years
of his life, those eyes were full of youthful ardor and strength--
only the body of this white haired man was old; in his soul he had
remained young--a youth of fervid imagination, procreative power,
and nervous activity.
This venerable man with the soul, the heart, and the eyes of a
youth, was Joseph Haydn, the great composer, whose glory, even at
that time, filled the whole world, although he had not yet written
his greatest masterpieces--the "Creation" and the "Seasons."
He was working to-day at the "Creation." [Footnote: Haydn commenced
the "Creation" in 1797, and finished it in April, 1798.] The poem,
which had been sent to him from England, and which his worthy friend
Von Swieten had translated into German, lay before him. He had read
it again and again, and gradually it seemed as if the words were
transformed into music; gradually he heard whispering--low at first,
then louder, and more sublime and majestic--the jubilant choirs of
heaven and earth, that were to resound in his "Creation."
As yet he had not written a single note; he had only read the poem,
and composed in reading, and inwardly weighed and tried the sublime
melodies which, when reduced to time and measure, and combined into
an harmonious whole, were to form the new immortal work of his
genius. While thus reading and composing, the aged musician was
transformed more and more into a youth, and the glowing enthusiasm
which burst forth from his eyes became every moment more radiant,
surrounding his massive forehead with a halo of inspiration, and
shedding the purple lustre of ecstatic joy upon his furrowed cheeks.
"Yes, yes, it will do. I shall succeed!" he exclaimed suddenly, in a
loud and full voice. "God will give me the strength to complete this
work; but it must be commenced with Him--strength and inspiration
come from Him alone!"
And Joseph Haydn, perhaps not quite conscious of what he was doing,
knelt down and with folded hands, and beaming eyes lifted up to
heaven, he prayed: "O, Lord God, give me Thy blessing and Thy
strength, that I may gloriously and successfully carry out this
work, which praiseth Thee and Thy creation. Breathe Thy Holy Spirit
into the words which Thou speakest in my work. Speak through me to
Thy creatures, and let my music be Thy language!"
He paused, but remaining on his knees, continued to look up to
heaven. Then he rose slowly, and like a seer or a somnambulist, with
eyes opened but seeing nothing, he went to his piano without knowing
what he was doing. He sat down on the stool, and did not know it;
his hands touched the keys and drew magnificent chords from them,
and he did not hear them. He only heard the thousands of seraphic
voices which in his breast chanted sublime anthems; he only heard
the praise of his own winged soul which, in divine ecstasy, soared
far into the realm of eternal harmonies.
Louder and louder rolled the music he drew from the keys; now it
burst forth into a tremendous jubilee, then again it died away in
melancholy complaints and gentle whispers, and again it broke out
into a swelling, thundering anthem.
At length Haydn concluded with a sonorous and brilliant passage, and
then with youthful agility jumped up from his seat.
"That was the prelude," he said, aloud, "and now we will go to
He hastily threw the white and comfortable dressing-gown from his
shoulders and rapidly walked toward the looking-glass which hung
over the bureau. Every thing was ready for his toilet, the footman
having carefully arranged the whole. He put the cravat with lace
trimmings around his neck and arranged the tie before the looking-
glass in the most artistic manner; then he slipped into the long
waistcoat of silver-lined velvet, and finally put on the long-tailed
brown coat with bright metal buttons. He was just going to put the
heavy silver watch, which his wife had given him on their wedding-
day, into his vest-pocket, when his eye fell upon the blue ribbon
embroidered with silver, which, ever since his visit to the imperial
palace, had lain on the bureau.
"I will wear it on this holiday of mine," said Haydn, with great
warmth, "for I think the day on which a new work is begun is a
holiday, and we ought to wear our choicest ornaments to celebrate
He attached the ribbon to his watch, threw it over his neck, and
slipped the watch into his vest-pocket.
"If that beautiful Mrs. Shaw could see me now," he whispered, almost
inaudibly, "how her magnificent eyes would sparkle, and what a
heavenly smile would animate her angelic features! Yes, yes, I will
remember her smile--it shall find an echo in the jubilant accords of
my Creation. But let us begin--let us begin!"
He rapidly walked toward his desk, but stopped suddenly. "Hold on!"
said he; "I really forgot the most important thing--my ring. While
looking at the precious ribbon of my beautiful English friend, I did
not think of the ring of my great king--and still it is the talisman
without which I cannot work at all."
Returning once, more to the bureau, he opened a small case and took
from it a ring which he put on his finger. He contemplated the large
and brilliant diamonds of the ring with undisguised admiration.
"Yes," he exclaimed--"yes, thou art my talisman, and when I look at
thee, it seems to me as if I saw the eyes of the great king beaming
down upon me, and pouring courage and enthusiasm into my heart. That
is the reason, too, why I cannot work unless I have the ring on my
finger. [Footnote: Haydn had dedicated six quartets to Frederick the
Great, who acknowledged the compliment by sending him a valuable
diamond ring. Haydn wore this ring whenever he composed a new work,
and it seemed to him as though inspiration failed him unless he wore
the ring. He stated this on many occasions.] But now I am ready and
adorned like a bridegroom who is going to his young bride. Yes, yes,
it is just so with me. I am going to my bride--to St. Cecilia!"
When he now returned to his desk, his features assumed a grave and
solemn expression. He sat down once more at the piano and played an
anthem, then he resumed his seat at the desk, took a sheet of music-
paper and commenced writing. He wielded his pen with the utmost
rapidity, and covered page after page with the queer little dots and
dashes which we call notes.
And Haydn's eyes flashed and his cheeks glowed, and a heavenly smile
played on his lips while he was writing. But all of a sudden his pen
stopped, and a slight cloud settled on his brow. Some passage, may
be a modulation, had displeased him, in what he had just composed,
for he glanced over the last few lines and shook his head. He looked
down sadly and dropped the pen.
"Help me, O Lord God--help me!" he exclaimed, and hastily seized the
rosary which always lay on his desk, "Help me!" he muttered once
more, and, while hurriedly pacing the room, he slipped the beads of
the rosary through his fingers and whispered an Ave Maria.
His prayer seemed to have the desired effect, for the cloud
disappeared from his forehead, and his eyes beamed again with the
fervor of inspiration. He resumed his seat and wrote on with renewed
energy. A holy peace now settled on his serene features, and reigned
around him in the silent little cabinet.
But all at once this peaceful stillness was interrupted by a loud
noise resounding from below. Vociferous lamentations were heard, and
heavy footsteps ascended the staircase.
Haydn, however, did not hear any thing--his genius was soaring far
away in the realm of inspiration, and divine harmonies still
enchanted his ears.
But now the door of the small parlor was opened violently, and his
wife, with a face deadly pale and depicting the liveliest anxiety,
rushed into the room. Catharine and Conrad, the aged footman,
appeared behind her, while the cat slipped in with her mistress, and
the parrot ejaculated the most frantic and piercing screams.
Haydn started in dismay from his seat and stared at his wife without
being able to utter a single word. It was something unheard of for
him to be disturbed by his wife during his working hours, hence he
very naturally concluded that something unusual, something really
terrible must have occurred, and the frightened looks of his wife,
the pale faces of his servants, plainly told him that he was not
"Oh, husband--poor, dear husband!" wailed his wife, "pack up your
papers, the time for working and composing is past. Conrad has
brought the most dreadful tidings from the city. We are all lost!--
Vienna is lost! Oh, dear, dear! it is awful, and I tell you I am
almost frightened out of my senses!"
And the old lady, trembling like an aspen-leaf, threw herself into
"What in Heaven's name is the matter?" asked Haydn--"what is it that
has frightened you thus? Conrad, tell me what is the news?"
"Oh, my dear master," wailed Conrad, approaching the doctor with
folded hands and shaking knees, "it is all up with us! Austria is
lost--Vienna is lost--and consequently we are lost, too! Late
dispatches have arrived from the army. Ah! what do I say?--army? We
have no longer an army--our forces are entirely dispersed--Archduke
Charles has lost another battle--old Wurmser has been driven back--
and General Bonaparte is advancing upon Vienna."
"These are sad tidings, indeed," said Haydn, shrugging his
shoulders, "still they are no reason why we should despair. If the
archduke has lost a battle--why, all generals have lost battles--"
"Bonaparte never lost one," replied Conrad, with a profound sigh,
"he wins every battle, and devours all countries he wants to
"We must pack up our things, Joseph," said Mrs. Haydn--" we must
bury our money, our plate, and especially your jewels and trinkets,
so that those French robbers and cannibals will not find them. Come,
husband, let us go to work quickly, before they come and take every
thing from us."
"Hush, wife, hush!" said Haydn, mildly, and a gentle smile
overspread his features. "Never fear about our few trifles, and do
not think that the French just want to come to Vienna for what few
gold snuff-boxes and rings I have got. If they were anxious for gold
and jewels, coming as they do as enemies, they might simply open the
imperial treasury and take there all they want."
"Yes, but they would not find any thing," said Conrad. "The treasury
is empty, doctor, entirely empty. Every thing is gone; there is not
a single crown, not a single precious stone left in the treasury."
"Well, and where is the whole treasure then, you fool?" asked Haydn,
with a smile.
"They have taken it to Presburg, master. I saw the wagons myself--
soldiers rode in front of them, soldiers behind them. All streets,
all places were crowded with people, and a riot broke out, and oh!
such lamentations, such wails!--and finally the people became
desperate, and roared and yelled that the government should make
peace, and prevent the French from corning to Vienna and bombarding
the city; and in their desperation they grew quite bold and brave,
and thousands of them marched to the house of Minister Thugut, whom
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