LOUISA OF PRUSSIA AND HER TIMES
Part 13 out of 14
that I was right? Mr. Palm is at home, and will help me."
"I will help you if I can," said Palm, kindly. "What does your debt
"Ah, Mr. Palm, I owe my landlord a quarter's rent, amounting to
twenty florins. But if you should be so generous as to give me half
that sum, it would be enough, for the landlord has promised to wait
three months, provided I paid him now ten florins."
"You shall have the ten florins," said Palm. "Mr. Bertram, pay this
man ten florins, and charge them to me."
"Oh, Mr. Palm, how kind you are!" exclaimed the beggar, joyfully.
"How shall I ever be able to thank you for what you have done for me
"Thank me by being industrious and making timely provision for your
wife and child, in order not to be again reduced to such distress,"
said Palm, nodding kindly to the stranger, and returning to the
With the ten florins which the book-keeper had paid to him, the
beggar hastened into the street. No sooner had he left the threshold
of Palm's house than the melancholy and despairing air disappeared
from his face, which now assumed a scornful and malicious mien. With
hasty steps he hurried over to St. Sebald's church, to the pillar
yonder, behind which two men, wrapped in their cloaks, were to be
"Mr. Palm is at home," said the beggar, grinning. "Go into the
store, cross it and enter the adjoining sitting-room--there you will
find him. I have spied it out for you, and now give me my pay."
"First we must know whether you have told us the truth," said one of
the men. "It may be all false."
"But I tell you I have seen him with my own eyes," replied the
beggar. "I stood in the store, and cried and lamented in the most
heart-rending manner, and protested solemnly that my wife and baby
would be starved to death, unless Mr. Palm should assist me. The
book-keeper refused my application, but then I cried only the
louder, so as to be heard by Mr. Palm. And he did hear me; he came
out of his hiding-place and gave me the ten florins I asked him for.
Here they are."
"Well, if you have got ten florins, that is abundant pay for your
treachery," said the two men. "It is Judas-money. To betray your
benefactor, who has just made you a generous present; forsooth, only
a German could do that."
They turned their backs contemptuously on the beggar, and walked
across the street toward Palm's house.
There was nobody in the hall, and the two men entered the store
without being hindered. Without replying to the book-keeper and
second clerk, who came to meet them for the purpose of receiving
their orders, they put off their cloaks.
"French gens d'armes," muttered the book-keeper, turning pale, and
he advanced a few steps toward the door of the sitting-room. One of
the gens d'armes kept him back.
"Both of you will stay here," he said, imperiously, "we are going to
enter that room. Utter the faintest sound, the slightest warning,
and we shall arrest both of you. Be silent, therefore, and let us do
The two clerks dared not stir, and saw with silent dismay that the
two gens d'armes approached the door of the sitting-room and hastily
Then they heard a few imperious words, followed by a loud cry of
"Oh, the poor woman!" muttered the book-keeper, with quivering lips,
but without moving from the spot.
The door of the sitting-room, which the gens d'armes had closed,
opened again, and the two policemen stepped into the store; they led
Palm into it. Each of them had seized one of his arms.
Palm looked pale, and his brow was clouded, but nevertheless he
walked forward like a man who is determined not to be crushed by his
misfortunes, but to bear them as manfully as possible. When he
arrived in the middle of the store, near the table where his two
clerks were standing, he stopped.
"Then you will not give me half an hour's time to arrange my
business affairs with my book-keeper, and to give him my orders?" he
asked the policemen, who wanted to drag him forward.
"No, not a minute," they said. "We have received stringent orders to
take you at once to the general, and if you should refuse to follow
us willingly, to iron you and remove you forcibly."
"You see I offer no resistance whatever," said Palm, contemptuously.
"Let us go. Bertram, pray look after my wife--she has fainted.
Remember me to her and to my children. Farewell!"
The two young men made no reply; their tears choked their voices.
But when Palm had disappeared, they rushed into the sitting-room to
assist the unhappy young wife.
She was lying on the floor, pale, rigid, and resembling a lily
broken by the storm. Her eyes were half opened and dim; the long
braids of her beautiful light-colored hair, which she had just been
engaged in arranging when the gens d'armes entered, fell down
dishevelled and like curling snakes on her face and shoulders, from
which the small, transparent, gauze handkerchief had been removed.
Her features, always so lovely and gentle, bore now an expression of
anger and horror, which they had assumed when she fainted on hearing
the French policemen tell her husband that they had come to arrest
him, and that he must follow them.
They succeeded only after long efforts in bringing her back to
consciousness. But she was not restored to life by the salts which
her servant-girl rubbed on her forehead, nor by the imploring words
of the book-keeper, but by the scalding tears of her little girls
which melted and warmed her frozen blood again.
She raised herself with a deep sigh, and her wild, frightened
glances wandered about the room, and fixed themselves searchingly on
every form which she beheld in it. When she had satisfied her-self
that he was not among them, he whom her glances had sought for so
anxiously, she clasped her children with a loud cry of horror in her
arms and pressing them convulsively against her bosom, sobbed
But she did not long give way to her grief and despair. She dried
her tears hastily and rose.
"It is no time now for weeping and lamenting," she said, drawing a
deep breath; "I shall have time enough for that afterward, now I
must act and see whether I cannot assist him. Do you know whither
they have taken him?"
"To the headquarters of Colomb, the French general, who is stationed
in this city," said the book-keeper.
"I shall go to the general, and he will have to tell me at least if
I cannot see my husband in his prison," she said, resolutely.
"Quick, Kate, assist me in dressing-; arrange my hair, for you see
my hands are trembling violently; they are weaker than my heart."
She rose to go to her dressing-room. But her feet refused to serve
her; she turned dizzy, and sank down overcome by a fresh swoon.
It was only after hours of the most violent efforts that the poor
young wife succeeded in recovering from the physical prostration
caused by her sudden fright, and in becoming again able to act
resolutely and energetically. Then, as bold and courageous as an
angry lioness, she was determined to struggle with the whole world
for the beloved husband who had been torn from her.
A WIFE'S LOVE.
Anna went in the first place to General Colomb, and begged him to
grant her an interview.
About four hours had passed since Palm's arrest when the general
"Madame," he said, "I know why you have come to me, you are looking
for your husband, but he is no longer here at my headquarters."
"No longer here?" she ejaculated in terror. "You have sent him to
France? You intend to kill him, then?"
"The law will judge him, madame," said the general, sternly. "I have
myself examined him and requested him to give us the name of the
author of this infamous libel which Mr. Palm has brought into
general circulation. Had he done so, he would no longer be held
responsible, and would have been at liberty to return to his house
and to you. But he refused firmly to state the names of the author
and printer of the pamphlet."
"He does not know either!" exclaimed Anna; "oh, believe me, sir,
Palm is innocent. That pamphlet was sent to him, together with an
"He ought to have taken care, then, not to circulate it," replied
the general. "It is contrary to law to circulate a printed book, the
author and printer of which are unknown to him who circulates it."
"No, general, it is not contrary to the laws of the German free city
of Nuremberg. By an order of the Emperor of France, Nuremberg has
been given to Bavaria, but the laws and privileges of our more
liberal constitution were guaranteed to our ancient free city.
Hence, Palm has done nothing contrary to law."
"We judge according to our laws," said the general, shrugging his
shoulders; "wherever we are there is France, and wherever we are
insulted we hold him who insults us responsible for it, and punish
him according to our laws. Your husband has committed a great crime;
he has circulated a pamphlet reviling France and the Emperor of the
French in the most outrageous manner. He refused to mention the
author of this pamphlet; so long as he persists in his refusal, we
take him for the author, and shall punish him accordingly. As he
declined confessing any thing to me, I have surrendered him to my
superiors. Mr. Palm left Nuremberg two hours ago for Anspach, where
Marshal Bernadotte is going to judge him."
"Then I shall go to Anspach, to Marshal Bernadotte," said Anna; and
without deigning to cast another glance at the general, she turned
around and left the room.
She intended to set out this very hour, but her endeavors to find a
conveyance to take her to Anspach proved unavailing. All the horses
of the postmaster had been retained for the suite and baggage-wagons
of Marshal Berthier, who was about setting out for Munich, and the
proprietors of the livery-stables, owing to the approaching darkness
and insecurity of the roads, refused to let her have any of their
Anna had to wait, therefore, until morning, and improved the long
hours of the night in drawing up a petition, which she intended to
send to Marshal Bernadotte, in case he should refuse to grant her an
Early next morning she at length started, but the roads were sandy
and bad; the horses were lazy and weak, and she reached Anspach only
late at night.
She had again to wait during a long, dreary night. No one could or
would reply to her anxious inquiries whether Palm was really there,
or whether he had been again sent to some other place. Trembling
with inward fear and dismay, but firmly determined to dare every
thing, and leave nothing untried that might lead to Palm's
preservation, Anna repaired in the morning to the residence of
The marshal's adjutant received her, and asked her what she wanted.
"I must see the marshal himself, for I shall read in his mien
whether he will pardon or annihilate my husband," said Anna. "I
beseech you, sir, have mercy on the grief of a wife, trembling for
the father of her children. Induce the marshal to grant me an
"I will see what can be done," said the adjutant, touched by the
despair depicted on the pale face of the poor lady. But he returned
in a few minutes after he had left her.
"Madame," he said, shrugging his shoulders, "I am sorry, but your
wish cannot be fulfilled. The marshal will have nothing whatever to
do with this affair, and declines interfering in it. For this
reason, too, he did not admit Mr. Palm, who yesterday, like you,
applied for an interview with the marshal, and I had to receive him
in the place of the marshal, as I have now the honor to receive
"Oh, you have seen my husband?" asked Anna, almost joyfully. "You
have spoken to him?"
"I have told him in the name of the marshal what I am now telling
you, madame. The marshal is unable to do any thing whatever for your
husband. The order for his arrest came directly from Paris, from the
emperor's cabinet, and the marshal, therefore, has not the power to
revoke it and to prevent the law from taking its course. Moreover,
Mr. Palm is no longer in Anspach, as he was sent to another place
"Whither? Oh, sir, you will have mercy on me, and tell me whither my
unfortunate husband has been sent."
"Madame," said the adjutant, timidly looking around as if he were
afraid of being overheard by an eavesdropper, "he has been sent to
Anna uttered a cry of horror. "To Braunau!" she said, breathlessly.
"To Braunau, that is to say, out of the country. You do not wish to
try a citizen and subject of Bavaria, for a crime which he is said
to have committed in his own country, according to the laws of
Bavaria, but according to those of a foreign and hostile state? My
husband has been sent to Austria!"
"Pardon me, madame," said the adjutant, smiling, "the city of
Braunau does not yet again belong to Austria; up to the present hour
it is still French territory, for we took and occupied it during the
war and have not yet given it back to Austria; hence, Mr. Palm will
be tried in Braunau according to the laws of France."
"Oh, then he is lost," exclaimed Anna, in despair; "there is no more
hope for him."
"If he be guilty, madame, he has deserved punishment; if he be
innocent, no harm can befall him, for the laws of France are
impartial and just."
"Oh, sir," said Anna, almost haughtily, "there are things which may
seem deserving of punishment, nay, criminal, according to the laws
of your country, but which, according to the laws of a German state,
would not deserve any punishment, but, on the contrary, praise and
"If what Mr. Palm has done is an offence of this description, I am
sorry for him," said the adjutant, shrugging his shoulders. "But,"
he added, in a lower voice, "I will give you some good advice.
Hasten to the French ambassador at Munich. If he should decline
granting you an audience, send him a petition, stating the case of
your husband truthfully and with full details, and asking for his
"And if he should not reply to my petition; if he should refuse to
intercede for me?"
"Then a last remedy will remain to you. In that case, apply to
Marshal Berthier, who is now also at Munich. He has great power over
the emperor, and will alone be able to help you. But lose no time."
"I shall set out this very hour, sir, and I thank you for your
advice and sympathy. I see very well that you cannot do any thing
for me, but you have granted me your compassion, and I thank you for
it. Farewell, sir."
An hour later, Anna was on the road to Munich. After an exhausting
journey of four days--for, at that time there were no turnpikes,
much less railroads, in Bavaria--she reached Munich, where she
stopped at a hotel.
She was utterly unacquainted in that capital; she had no friends, no
protectors, no recommendations, and, as a matter of course, all
doors were closed against her, and nobody would listen to her.
Nobody felt pity for the poor, despairing lady; nobody would listen
to her complaints, for her complaints were at the same time charged
against the all-powerful man who now held his hand stretched out
over Bavaria, and was able to crush her whenever he chose to do so.
Anna, therefore, met with no encouragement at the hands of the
German authorities, who even refused to hear a statement of her
application. She went to all the ministers, to all those on whom,
according to their official position, it would have been incumbent
to intercede for her. She even ventured to enter the royal palace,
and stood for hours in the anteroom, always hoping that her
supplications would be heeded, and that some door would be opened to
But all doors were closed against her, even that of the French
ambassador. She had vainly applied to him for an audience; when her
request had been refused, she had delivered to his attache a
petition which an attorney had drawn up for her, and in which all
the points for and against Palm were lucidly stated. For a week she
waited for a reply; for a week she went every morning to the
residence of the French ambassador and asked in the same gentle and
imploring voice, whether there was any reply for her, and whether no
answer had been returned to her application?
On the eighth day she was informed that no reply would be made to
her petition, and that the French ambassador was unable to do any
thing for her.
Anna did not weep and complain; she received this information with
the gentle calmness of a martyr, and prayed instead of bursting into
lamentations. She prayed to God that He might grant her strength not
to despair, not to succumb to the stunning blow; she prayed to God
that He might impart vigor to her body, so that it might not prevent
her from doing her duty, and from seeking for further assistance for
her beloved husband.
Strengthened and inwardly relieved by this prayer, Anna now repaired
to the residence of Marshal Berthier; her step, however, was slower,
a deep blush mantled her cheeks, which had hitherto been so pale,
and her hands were no longer icy cold, but hot and red.
She did not apply for an audience on reaching the marshal's
residence, for she already knew that such an application would meet
with a refusal; she only took thither another copy of the petition
which she had delivered to the French ambassador, and begged
urgently for an early reply.
Her supplications were this time not destined to be unsuccessful,
and she received a reply on the third day.
But this reply was even more terrible than if none whatever had been
made. Marshal Berthier sent word to her by his adjutant that Palm
had been placed before a court-martial at Braunau, and that no
intercession and prayers would be of any avail, the decision being
exclusively left with the court-martial.
A single, piercing cry escaped from Anna's breast when she received
this information. Then she became again calm and composed. Without
uttering another complaint, another prayer, she left the marshal's
residence and returned to her hotel.
With perfect equanimity and coolness, she requested the waiter to
bring her the bill and get her a carriage, so that she might set out
Fifteen minutes later, the landlady herself appeared to present to
Madame Palm the bill she had called for. She found Anna sitting
quietly at the window, her hands folded on her lap, her head leaning
on the high back of the chair, and her dilated eyes staring vacantly
at the sky. Her small travelling-trunk stood ready and locked in the
middle of the room.
The landlady handed her the paper silently, and then turned aside in
order not to show the tears which, at the sight of the pale, gentle
young wife, had filled her eyes.
Anna rose and quietly placed the money on the table. "I thank you,
madame, for all the attention and kindness I have met with at your
house," she said. "It only seems to me that my bill is much too
moderate. You must have omitted many items, for it is impossible
that I should not have used up any more than that during my
prolonged sojourn in Munich."
"Madame," said the landlady, deeply moved, "I should be happy if you
permitted me to take no money at all from you, but I know that that
would offend you, and for that reason I brought you my bill. If you
allow me to follow the promptings of my heart, I should say, grant
me the honor of having afforded hospitality to so noble, brave, and
faithful a lady, and, if you should consent, I should be courageous
enough to utter a request which I dare not make now, because you
would deem it egotistic."
"Oh, tell me what it is," said Anna, mildly; "for the last two weeks
I have begged so much, and my requests were so often refused, that
it would truly gratify me to hear from others a request which I
might be able to fulfil."
"Well, then, madame," said the landlady, taking Anna's hand and
kissing it respectfully, "I request you to stay here and not to
depart. Afford me the pleasure of keeping you here in my house, of
taking care and nursing you as a mother would nurse her daughter. I
am old enough to be your mother, and you, my poor, beloved child,
you need nursing, for you are sick."
"I feel no pain--I am not sick," said Anna, with a smile which was
more heart-rending than loud lamentations.
"You are sick," replied the landlady; "your hands are burning with
fever, and the roses blooming on your cheeks are not natural, but
symptoms of your inward sufferings. During your whole sojourn in my
house you have scarcely touched the food that was placed before you;
frequently you have not gone to bed at night, and, instead of
sleeping, restlessly paced your room. A fever is now raging in your
delicate body, and if you do not take care of yourself, and use
medicine, your body will succumb."
"No, it will not succumb," said Anna; "my heart will sustain it."
"But your heart, too, will break, if you do not take care of
yourself," exclaimed the landlady, compassionately. "Stay here, I
beseech you, do not depart. Stay as a guest at my house!"
Anna placed her burning hand on the shoulder of the landlady, and
looked at her long and tenderly.
"You were married?" she asked. "You loved your husband?"
"Yes," said the landlady, bursting into tears, "I was married, and
God knows that I loved my husband. For twenty years we lived happy
and peacefully together, and when he died last year, my whole
happiness died with him."
"He was sick, I suppose, and you nursed him?"
"He was sick for a month, and I did not leave his bedside either by
day or by night."
"Well, then, what would you have replied to him who would have tried
to keep you back from your husband's death-bed, and to persuade you
to leave him in his agony, because it might have injured your
health? Would you have listened to him?"
"No, I should have believed him, who had made such a proposition to
me, to be my enemy, and should have replied to him: 'It is my sacred
right to stand at my husband's death-bed, to kiss the last sigh from
his lips, to close his eyes, and no one in the world shall prevent
me from doing so!'"
"Well, then, dear mother, I say as you have said: it is my sacred
right to stand at my husband's death-bed and to close his eyes. My
husband's death-bed is in Braunau; I am not so happy as you have
been; I cannot nurse him, nor be with him and comfort him in his
agony; but I am able, at least, to see him in his last hour. My
mother, will you still ask your daughter to stay here and take care
of her health, instead of going to her husband's death-bed in
"No, my daughter," exclaimed the landlady, "no; I say to you, go!
Take not a minute's rest until you reach your husband. God will
guide and protect you, for He is love, and has mercy on those whose
heart are filled with love! Go, then, with God; but, for the sake of
your husband, take some nourishing food; try to eat and sleep, so as
to gain fresh strength, for you will need it."
"Give me some nourishing food, mother, I will eat," said Anna,
placing her arms tenderly around the landlady's neck; "I will try
also to-night to sleep, for you are right: I shall need my whole
strength! But after I have eaten, I may set out at once, may I not?"
"Yes, my poor, dear child, then you may set out. Now come to my
room--your meal is already waiting for you."
Half an hour later the landlady herself lifted Anna into the
carriage, and said to her in a voice trembling with tearful emotion:
"Farewell, my daughter. God bless you and grant you strength. When
alone one day, and in need of a mother, then come to me! May the
Lord have mercy on you!"
"Yes, may the Lord have mercy on me, and let me die with him!"
whispered Anna, as the carriage rolled away with her.
At noon on the following day, August 30th, 1806, she arrived at
THE WOMEN OF BRAUNAU.
In the mean time Palm had constantly been in the French prison at
Braunau. During the sixteen days since he had been in jail, he had
only twice been taken out of it to be examined by the court-martial,
which General St. Hilaire had specially convoked for his trial.
This court-martial consisted of French generals and staff-officers;
it met at a time of peace in a German city, and declared its
competence to try a German citizen who had committed no other crime
than to circulate a pamphlet, in which the misfortunes of Germany,
and the oppressions of German states by Napoleon and his armies, had
been commented upon.
The whole proceedings had been carried on so hastily and secretly,
that the German authorities of Braunau had scarcely heard of them at
the time when the French court-martial was already about to sentence
The French, however, wanted to maintain some semblance of
impartiality; and before Palm was called before the court-martial,
it was left to him either to defend himself in person against the
charges, or to provide himself with counsel.
Palm, who was ignorant of the French language, had preferred the
latter, and selected as his counsel a resident lawyer of Braunau,
with whom he was well acquainted, and even on terms of intimacy, and
whom he knew to be familiar with the French language.
But this friend declined being a "friend in need." He excused
himself on the pretext of a serious indisposition which confined him
to his bed, and rendered it impossible for him to make a speech.
Palm was informed of this excuse only at the moment when he entered
the room in which the trial was to be held; hence he had to make up
his mind to conduct his own defence, and to have his words
translated by an interpreter to the members of the court.
And he felt convinced that his defence had been successful, and
satisfied the men who had assumed to be his judges, of his entire
He had, therefore, no doubt of his speedy release; he was looking
every day for the announcement that his innocence had been proved,
and that he should be restored to liberty and to his family. This
confident hope caused him to bear his solitary confinement with
joyful courage, and to look, in this time of privations and pain,
fondly for the golden days to come, when he would repose again,
after all his trouble and toil, in the arms of love, gently guarded
by the tender eyes of his affectionate young wife, and his heart
gladdened by the sight of his sweet children.
From dreams so joyous and soul-stirring he was awakened on the
morning of the 26th of August by the appearance of the jailer and of
several soldiers who came to summon him before the court-martial
which would communicate his sentence to him.
"God be praised!" exclaimed Palm, enthusiastically. "My sentence,
that is to say, my release. Come, let us go; for, you see, it is hot
and oppressive in my cell, and I long for God's fresh air, of which
I have been deprived so long. Let us go, then, that I may receive
the sentence which I have so ardently yearned for."
And with a kind smile he offered his hand to the jailer who stood at
the door with a gloomy, sullen air. "Do not look so gloomy,
Balthasar," he said. "You always used to be so merry a companion and
have often agreeably enlivened the long and dreary hours of my
confinement by your entertaining conversation. Accept my thanks for
your kindness and clemency; you might have tormented me a great
deal, and you have not done so, but have always been accommodating
and compassionate. I thank you for it, Balthasar, and beg you to
accept this as a souvenir from me."
He drew a golden breastpin richly set with precious stones from his
cravat, and offered it to the jailer.
But Balthasar did not take it; on the contrary, he averted his head
sullenly and gloomily. "I am not allowed to accept any presents
from the prisoners," he muttered.
"Well, then, I shall come and see you as soon as I am free, and from
the free man, I suppose, you will accept a small souvenir?" asked
The jailer made no reply to this question, but exclaimed,
impatiently: "Make haste, it is high time!"
Palm laughed, and, nodding a farewell to the jailer, left the prison
in the midst of the soldiers.
"Poor man, he suspects nothing," murmured the jailer to himself, and
his features now became mild and gentle, and his eyes were filled
with tears. "Poor man, he believes they will set him at liberty!
Yes, they will do so, but it is not the sort of liberty he is
looking and hoping for!"
Palm followed the soldiers gayly and courageously to the room where
the members of the court-martial were assembled seated on high-
backed arm-chairs which had been placed in a semicircle on one side
of the room, awaiting the arrival of the prisoner.
He greeted them with an unclouded brow and frank and open bearing;
not a tinge of fear and nervousness was to be seen in his features;
he fixed his large and lustrous eyes on the lips of General St.
Hilaire who presided over the court-martial and now rose from his
seat. The secretary of the court immediately approached the general
and handed him a paper.
The general took it, and, bending a stern glance on Palm, said: "The
court-martial has agreed to-day unanimously on your sentence. I will
now communicate it to you."
The other officers rose from their seats to listen standing to the
reading of the sentence. It is true, their faces were grave, and for
the first time Palm was seized with a sinister foreboding, and asked
himself whether his judges would assume so grave and solemn an air
if they were merely to announce to him that he was innocent and
A small pause ensued. The general then raised his voice, and read in
a loud and ringing tone: "Whereas at all places where there is an
army it is the first and most imperious duty of its chief to watch
over its safety and preservation;"
"Whereas the circulation of writings instigating sedition and murder
does not only threaten the safety of the army, but also that of the
"Whereas nothing is more urgent and necessary than the prevention of
the propagation of such doctrines which are a crime against the
rights of man and against the respect due to crowned heads--an
insult to the people submissive to their government--and, in short,
subversive of law, order, and subordination:"
"The military commission here assembled declares unanimously that
all authors and printers of libellous books of the above-named
description, as well as booksellers and other persons engaged in
circulating them, shall be deemed guilty of high-treason."
"In consideration whereof the defendant, John Frederick Palm,
convicted of having circulated the pamphlet, 'Germany in her Deepest
Degradation,' has been charged with the crime of high-treason, and
the commission has unanimously found him guilty of the charge."
"The penalty incurred by the traitor is death."
"Consequently the traitor, John Frederick Palm, will suffer death,
which sentence will be carried out this afternoon at two o'clock,
when he will be shot." [Footnote: "Memoires d'un Homme d'Etat," vol.
ix., p. 247.]
"John Frederick Palm," added the general, "you have heard your
sentence, prepare for death!"
The interpreter repeated to the unhappy prisoner the sentence of the
court-martial slowly, impressively, and emphasizing every word; and
every syllable fell like a cold tear on Palm's heart and froze it.
It was, however, not only cold with terror and dismay, but also with
determination and calmness.
Before these strangers, with their cold, indifferent faces, he
resolved at once not to betray any weakness. He did not want to
afford his assassins the pleasure of seeing him tremble.
His bearing, therefore, only manifested firm determination and grave
calmness. He cast a single flaming glance, full of proud disdain, on
"Very well," he said, loudly and firmly, "I shall die; I shall go to
God and accuse YOU before his throne,--you who trample on all state
and international laws, and have not judged, but murdered me. My
blood be on your heads!"
"Prisoner," said General St. Hilaire, quietly, "if you desire any
thing before your death, mention it now, and if able to comply with
it, we shall grant it."
"I have but one desire," said Palm, and now his voice trembled a
little, and a shadow passed across his forehead. "I only wish that
my wife may be permitted to spend these last hours with me, and to
take leave of me!"
"Your wife?" asked the general. "Is your wife here, then? And if she
be here, who has dared to advise you of it?"
"Nobody has advised me of it," replied Palm, "nor do I know whether
she is here or not, but I believe it. Moreover, it would be but
natural that she should have followed me hither. Permit me, then, to
see her when she comes."
"Your request is granted. Return to your prison. A preacher will be
sent to you to prepare you for death. Soldiers, remand the
Palm saluted the gentlemen with a haughty nod, and slowly and
solemnly raised his hand toward heaven. "I summon you to appear
before the awful tribunal of God Almighty!" he said, in a loud and
ringing voice. "Here you have assumed to judge me; there God will
He turned around and left the room at the head of the soldiers.
"It only remains for us now to inform the municipal authorities of
this city of what has to be done," said the general, after a short
pause. "They must be present at the execution, for this act of
justice shall not take place under the veil of secrecy, but openly
under the eyes of God and men. Let the authorities, let the whole
city witness how France punishes and judges those who, in their
traitorous impudence, have offended against her honor and glory!"
He adjourned the court, and returned to his rooms to repose from so
exhausting a session, and to prepare, by partaking of an epicurean
repast, for the unpleasant duty that awaited him, viz., to be
present at an execution.
The general was just sipping a glass of malmsey with infinite
relish, and eating a piece of the excellent pate de foie gras which
had been ordered from Strasburg, when a strange and long-continued
noise on the street suddenly disturbed him in his epicurean
He placed his glass angrily on the table, and turned his eyes and
ears toward the windows opening on the market-place. The noise
continued all the time; it sounded singular and extraordinary, as
though immense swarms of bees were filling the air with their
The general rose and hastened to the window.
A strange spectacle, indeed, presented itself to his eyes. The whole
market-place was crowded with people, not with threatening, violent
men, rushing forward with clinched fists and flashing eyes, but with
persons whose eyes were filled with tears, and who raised their arms
in an imploring manner.
They were women and children, who had marched in solemn procession
to the market-place, and now entirely filled it. The news that the
court-martial had agreed on a sentence, and that Palm was to be shot
by virtue of it this afternoon at two o'clock in the large ditch of
the fortress, had spread like wildfire through the whole city of
The citizens had received the news with intense rage and silent
horror; the authorities and members of the municipality had received
orders to repair at the stated hour in their official robes to the
place of execution for the purpose of witnessing the dreadful scene.
Too weak to offer any resistance, and well aware that they could not
count on the assistance of their own German superiors, they had to
submit to the order. Bowing to the stern law of necessity, they
declared, therefore, their readiness to comply with the behests of
the French general, and to appear at the place of execution.
But while all the men were giving way to cowardly fear; while they
timidly swallowed their rage and humiliation, the women arose in the
genuine and bold enthusiasm of their grief and compassion. They
could not threaten, nor arm their hand with the sword, like men, but
they could beseech and supplicate, and in the place of weapons in
their hands they had tears in their eyes.
"If you will not go to demand justice for a German citizen, I shall
do so," said the wife of the burgomaster of Braunau to her husband.
"You have to watch over the welfare of the city, but I shall save
its honor. I will not permit this day to become an eternal disgrace
to Braunau, and history to speak one day of the slavish fear with
which we humbly submitted to the will of the French tyrant. You men
refuse to intercede with the general for Palm; well, then, we women
will do so, and God at least will hear our words, and history will
She turned her back to her husband and went to inform her friends of
her determination, and to send messengers all over the city.
And from street to street, from house to house, there resounded the
shouts: "Dress in mourning, women, and come out into the street. Let
us go to General St. Hilaire and beg for the life of a German
Not an ear had been closed against this sacred appeal; not a woman's
heart had disregarded it. They came forth from all the houses and
from all the cabins, the countess as well as the beggar-woman, the
old as well as the young; the mothers led their children by the
hand, and the brides lent to their grandmothers their shoulders to
The procession formed in front of the burgomaster's house; then the
women walked in pairs and slowly as the weak feet of the tottering
old dames and the delicate children required it, through the long
main street toward the market-place.
General St. Hilaire was still at the window, gazing in great
astonishment on the strange spectacle, when the door opened and his
"Come and look at this scene," said the general to him, laughing.
"The days of the great revolution seem to find an echo here, and the
women rebel as they did at that time. Oh, well do I remember the day
when the women went to Versailles in order to frighten the queen by
their clamor and to beg bread of the king. But I am no Antoinette,
and no corn-fields are growing in my hands. What do they want of
"General, a deputation of the women has just entered the hotel, and
beg your excellency to grant them an interview."
"Are the members of the deputation pretty?" asked the general,
"The wife of the burgomaster and the first ladies of the city are
among them," said the adjutant, gravely.
"And what do they want?"
"General, they want to implore your excellency to delay the
execution of the German bookseller, and grant him a reprieve so as
to give them time to petition the emperor to pardon him."
"Impossible," exclaimed St. Hilaire, angrily. "It is time to bury
and forget this unpleasant affair. No delay, no reprieve! State that
to those women. I do not want to be disturbed any longer. Of what
importance is this man Palm? Have not thousands of the most
distinguished and excellent men been buried on our battle-fields,
and has not the world quietly pursued its course? It will therefore
do so, too, after Palm is dead. Truly, they are wailing and
lamenting about the sentence of this German bookseller as if he were
the only copy of such a description in this country so famous for
writing and publishing books! Go and dismiss the women; I do not
want to listen to them. But if the youngest and prettiest girl among
them will come up to me and give me a kiss, she may do so."
The adjutant withdrew, and the general returned to the window to
look down on the surging crowd below. He saw that his adjutant had
left the house and walked toward a group of women standing at some
distance from the others and apparently looking for him. He saw that
his adjutant spoke to them, and that the women then turned around
and made a sign to the others.
All the women immediately knelt down, and, raising their folded
hands to heaven, began to sing in loud and solemn notes a pious
hymn, a hymn of mercy, addressed to God and the Holy Virgin.
The general crossed himself involuntarily, and, perhaps unwillingly,
folded his hands as if for silent prayer.
The door opened and the adjutant reentered.
"What does this mean?" exclaimed the general. "I ordered you to send
the women home, and instead of that, they remain here and sing a
"General, the women persist in their request. They persist in their
demand for an interview with your excellency in order to hear from
your own lips whether it is really impossible for them to obtain a--
reprieve--a pardon for Palm. They declare they will not leave the
place until they have spoken to your excellency, even should you
cause your cannon to be pointed against them."
"Ah, bah! I shall not afford them the pleasure of becoming martyrs,"
exclaimed St. Hilaire, sullenly. "Come, I will put an end to the
whole affair. I will myself go down and send them home."
He beckoned his adjutant to follow him, and went with hasty steps
down into the market-place, and appeared in the midst of the women.
The hymn died away, but the women did not rise from their knees;
they only turned their eyes, which had hitherto been raised to
heaven, to the general, and extended their folded hands toward him.
At this moment a dusty travelling-coach drove through the dense
crowd on the main street, and entered the market-place to stop in
front of the large hotel situated there. A pale young woman leaned
out of the carriage, and looked wonderingly at the strange spectacle
presented to her eyes.
The kneeling women, who filled the whole market-place, took no
notice of the carriage; they did not think of opening their ranks to
let it pass; it was, therefore, compelled to halt and wait.
The pale young woman, as if feeling that what had caused all the
women here to kneel down must concern her, too, hastily alighted
from the carriage and approached the kneeling women.
All at once she heard a loud and imperious voice asking: "What do
these ladies want to see me for? You applied for an interview with
me: here I am! What do you want?"
"Mercy!" shouted hundreds and hundreds of voices. "Delay of the
execution! Mercy for Palm!"
A piercing, terrible cry resounded from the lips of the pale young
traveller; she hurried toward the general as if she had wings on her
A murmur of surprise arose from the ranks of the women; they
perceived instinctively that something extraordinary was about to
occur; their hearts comprehended that this pale young woman, who now
stood before the general with flaming eyes and panting breast, must
be closely connected with the poor prisoner. Every one of them held
her breath in order to hear her voice and understand her words.
"They ask for mercy for Palm?" she asked, in a voice in which her
whole soul was vibrating. "They speak of execution? Then you are
going to murder him? You have sentenced him infamously and
And while putting these questions to the general, her eyes pierced
his face as though they were two daggers.
"Pray choose your words more carefully," said the general, harshly;
"the court-martial has sentenced the traitor; hence, he will not be
murdered, but punished for the crime he has committed. And for this
reason," he added, in a louder voice, turning to the women, "for
this reason I am unable to grant your request. The court-martial has
pronounced the sentence, and it is not in my power to annul it. The
Emperor Napoleon alone could do so if he were here. But as he is in
Paris, and consequently cannot be reached, the law must take its
course. Palm will be shot at two o'clock this afternoon!"
"Shot!" ejaculated the young woman; for a moment she tottered as if
she were about to faint, but then she courageously overcame her
emotion, and stretching out her arms to the women, exclaimed: "Pray
with me, my sisters, that I may be permitted to see Palm and bid him
farewell! I am his wife, and have come to die with him!"
And like a broken lily she sank down at the general's feet. The mass
of the women was surging as if a sudden gust of wind had moved the
waves; murmurs and sighs, sobs and groans, filled the air, and were
the only language, the only prayer the deeply-moved women were
The general bent down to Anna and raised her. "Madame," he said, so
loudly as to be heard by the other women, "madame, your prayer is
granted. The only favor for which the prisoner asked was to see YOU
before his death, and we granted it to him. Follow, therefore, my
adjutant: he will bring you to him. Palm is waiting for you!"
"Ah, I knew very well that he was waiting for me, and that God would
lead me to him in time!" exclaimed Anna, raising her radiant eyes
THE LAST HOUR.
Palm had returned to his cell without uttering a complaint, a
reproach. Nothing in his bearing betrayed his profound grief, his
intense indignation. He knew that neither his complaints nor his
reproaches were able to change his fate, and consequently he wanted
to bear it like a man.
He greeted Balthasar with a touching smile; the jailer received him
at the door of his cell, and concealed no longer the tears which
filled his eyes.
"My poor friend," said Palm, kindly, "then you already knew what was
in store for me, and it cut you to the quick to see me so merry and
unconcerned! Well, now you may accept my gift, for now I shall be
free, so free that no shackles and chains will ever be able to hold
me again. And you promised me not to reject my gift when I should be
restored to liberty. I have got it, my friend,--take my present,
He took the breastpin from the table and handed it to the jailer.
The latter received it with a scarcely suppressed groan, and when he
bent down to kiss the hand which had given it to him, a scalding
tear fell from his eyes on Palm's hand.
"Oh," said Palm, feelingly, "I gave you only a small trinket, and
you return to me a diamond for it! I thank you, my friend; I know
you will pray for me in my last moments. Now leave me alone for an
hour, for I must collect my thoughts and consult with God about what
is in store for me. Are you allowed to give me pen and ink?"
"I have already placed writing-materials in the drawer of your
table," said Balthasar, in a low voice, "for all prisoners like you
have the right to draw up their last will for their family, and I
solemnly swear to you that I will forward what you are going to
write to its address."
"I thank you, my friend; leave me alone, then, so that I may write.
But listen! Do not go too far away; remain in the corridor so that
you can open the door to her as soon as SHE comes."
"SHE!" asked the jailer. "Who is it?"
Palm hesitated; he was unable to utter the word at once, for the
tears arose from his heart and paralyzed his tongue. "My wife!" he
said, painfully, at last. "Go and await her, for I am sure she will
He motioned Balthasar to withdraw, and then sat down, weary and
exhausted, in his cane-chair. For a moment he was overwhelmed by the
whole misery of his position, and his grief rolled like an avalanche
on his poor heart. He dropped his head on his breast; his arms hung
down heavy and powerless, and a few tears, as large as those of
children, and burning like fire, rolled over his cheeks. But this
did not last long, for these scalding drops aroused him from the
stupor of his grief.
He raised his head again and dried the tears on his cheeks. "I have
no time to spare for weeping," he said to himself in a low voice;
"my hours are numbered, and I must write to my poor Anna my will for
her and my children!"
He took from the drawer the writing-materials which Balthasar had
kindly placed there, and took a seat at the table in order to write.
He placed his chair, however, in such a manner that he was able to
see the door of his cell, and frequently, while writing, raised his
eyes from the paper and fixed them anxiously on the door.
Now he really heard approaching steps, and the key was put into the
Palm laid his pen aside and rose.
The door opened--Anna entered. She glided toward him with a heavenly
smile; he clasped her in his arms, and, kissing her head which she
had laid on his breast, whispered: "God bless you for having come to
me! I knew that I should not look for you in vain!"
The jailer stood at the open door and wept. His sobs reminded Palm
of his presence.
"Balthasar," he said, imploringly, and pointing his hand at Anna who
was still reposing on his breast, "Balthasar, I am sure you will
leave me alone with her, my friend?"
"I have received stringent orders never to leave prisoners under
sentence of death alone with others," murmured Balthasar. "They
might easily furnish arms or poison to them; that is what my
superiors told me."
Palm placed his hand on his wife's head as if going to take a solemn
oath. "Balthasar," he said, "by this sacred and beloved head I swear
to you that I shall not commit suicide. Let my murderers take my
life. Will you now leave me alone with her?"
"I will, for it would be cruel not to do so," said Balthasar. "God
alone ought to hear what you have to say to each other! I give you
half an hour; then the officers and the priest will come, and it
will no longer be in my power to keep this door locked. But until
then nobody shall disturb you."
He left the cell and locked the door.
Man and wife were alone now; they had half an hour for their last
interview, their last farewell.
There are sacred moments which, like the wings of the butterfly, are
injured by the slightest touch of the human hand, and which,
therefore, must not be approached; there are words which no human
ear ought to listen to, and tears which God alone ought to count.
Half an hour later the jailer opened the door and reentered. Palm
and his wife stood in the middle of the cell, and, encircling each
other with one arm, looked calmly, serenely, and smilingly at each
other like two spirits removed from earth.
The paper on which Palm had written was no longer on the table; it
reposed now on Anna's heart; the golden wedding-ring which Palm had
worn on his finger had disappeared, and glittered now on Anna's hand
near her own wedding-ring.
"The priest is there," said the jailer, "and the soldiers, too, are
already in the corridor. It is high time."
"Go, then, Anna," said Palm, withdrawing his arm from her neck.
But she clung with a long scream of despair to his breast. "You want
me to live, then?" she exclaimed, reproachfully. "You want to sever
our paths? Oh, be merciful, my beloved; remember that we have sworn
at the altar to share life and death with each other! Let me die
with you, therefore!"
"No," he said, tenderly and firmly. "No, Anna, you shall live with
me! My children are my life and my heart; they will live with you.
Every morning I shall greet you from the eyes of our children, and
when they embrace you, think it were my arms encircling you. Live
for our children, Anna; teach them to love their father who, it is
true, will be no longer with them, but whose soul will ever surround
you and them! Swear to me that you will live and bear your fate
firmly and courageously!"
"I swear it," she said in a low voice.
"And now, beloved Anna, leave me! My last moments belong to God!"
He kissed her lips, which were as cold as marble, and led her gently
to the door.
Anna now raised her head in order to fix a long, last look on him.
"You want me to live," she said; "I shall do so long as it pleases
God. I bid you, therefore, farewell, but not forever, nor even for a
very long while. All of us are nothing but poor wanderers whom God
has sent on earth to perform their pilgrimage. But at length He
opens to us again the doors of our paternal house and calls us home!
I long for my return home, my beloved! Farewell, then, until we meet
"Farewell until we meet again!"
They shook hands once more, and gazed at each other with a smile
which lighted up their faces like the last beam of the setting sun.
Then Anna, walking backward in order to see him still, and to
engrave his image deeply on her heart, crossed the threshold as the
jailer hastily closed the door behind her.
Palm heard a heart-rending cry outside; then every thing was silent.
A few minutes later the door opened again, and a Catholic priest
"My wife has fainted, I suppose?" asked Palm.
"No, a sudden vertigo seemed to seize her when the door closed, but
she overcame her weakness and hurried away. May the Lord God have
mercy on her!"
"He will," said Palm, confidently.
"May He have mercy on you, too, my son," said the priest. "Let us
pray; open to me your soul and your heart."
"My soul and my heart lie open before God; He will see and judge
them," said Palm. "I do not belong to your church, my father; I am a
Protestant. But if you will pray with me, do so; if you will give me
your blessing, I shall thankfully accept it, for a dying man always
likes to feel a blessing-hand on his forehead."
The clock struck two, and now the drums commenced rolling, and the
death-knell resounded from the church-steeple. An awful silence
reigned in the whole city of Braunau. All the houses were closed;
all the windows were covered.
Nobody wanted to witness the dreadful spectacle which the despotism
of the foreign tyrant was preparing for the citizens of Braunau. The
women and children had returned to their houses, and were kneeling
and praying in their darkened rooms. The men concealed themselves in
order not to show their shame and rage.
Nobody was, therefore, on the street when the terrible procession
approached. A miserable cart rumbled along in the midst of soldiers
and gens-d'armes, Palm was seated in this cart, backward, and his
hands tied on his back; opposite him sat the priest, holding the
crucifix in his hand and muttering prayers.
The German inhabitants of Braunau had done well to close their doors
and cover their windows, for the disgrace and humiliation of Germany
were at this hour rumbling through their streets.
But not all of them had been so happy as to be permitted to stay at
home. The will of the foreign despot had forbidden it, and the
members of the municipality and other authorities, in their full
official robes, had repaired to the place of execution.
There they stood, dumb with shame, astonishment, and horror, with
downcast eyes, like slaves passing under the yoke.
About a hundred spectators stood behind them, but not persons to
whom executions are merely a piquant spectacle, a rare amusement,
but men with sombre, angry eyes--men who had come to swear secretly
in their hearts, on this spot where the last remnant of German honor
was to bleed to death, a terrible oath of vengeance to the foreign
despot. The blood of the martyr was to stir up their enthusiasm for
the long-deferred, sacred deed of atonement.
Palm had alighted from the cart, and walked with rapid, resolute
steps to the spot which was indicated to him, and behind which an
open grave was yawning.
Refusing the assistance of the provost, he himself took off his coat
and threw it into the open grave. He then turned his eyes to the
side where the authorities of Braunau and his German brethren were
"Friends," he said, aloud, "may my death be a blessing to you; may
my blood not be shed in vain, but make you--"
A loud roll of the drum drowned his words.
The general waved his hand; six guns were discharged.
Palm sank to the ground, but he rose again. Only one bullet had
struck him; the blood was gushing from his heart, but he still
Another file of soldiers stepped forward, and once more six guns
were discharged at him.
But the soldiers, who were accustomed to aim steadily in battle, had
here, where they were to be executioners, averted their eyes, and
their hands, which never had trembled in battle, were trembling now.
Palm rose again from the ground, a panting, bleeding victim, and
seemed, with his uplifted and blood-stained hands, to implore Heaven
to avenge him on his murderers.
A third volley resounded.
This time Palm did not rise again. He was dead! God had received his
soul. His bleeding remains lay on the German soil, as if to
fertilize it for the day of retribution.
PRUSSIA'S DECLARATION OF WAR.
King Frederick William III. had not yet left his cabinet to-day. He
had retired thither early in the morning in order to work. Maps,
plans of battles, and open books lay on the tables, and the king sat
in their midst with a musing, careworn air.
A gentle rap at the door aroused him from his meditations. The king
raised his head and listened. The rap was repeated.
"It is Louisa," he said to himself, and a smile overspread his
features as he hastened to the door and opened it.
He had not been mistaken. It was the queen who stood before the
door. Smiling, graceful, and merry as ever, she entered the cabinet
and gave her hand to her husband.
"Are you angry with me, my dear friend, because I have disturbed
you?" she asked, tenderly. "But, it seemed to me, you had worked
enough for the state to-day and might devote a quarter of an hour to
your Louisa. You know whenever I do not see you in the morning, my
day lacks its genuine sunshine, and is gray and gloomy. For this
reason, as you have not yet come to me to-day, I come to you. Good-
morning, my king and husband!"
"Good-morning, my queen!" said the king, imprinting a kiss on the
white, transparent forehead of the queen. "Add to it, good-day, my
dear Louisa, for a wish from so beautiful and noble lips I hope will
exorcise all evil spirits, and cause this day to become a really
good one. I hope much from it."
The king's forehead, which the queen's appearance had smoothed a
little, became clouded again, and he assumed a grave and sombre air.
The queen saw it, and gently placed her hand on his shoulder.
"You are downcast, my friend," she said, affectionately. "Will you
not let me have my share of your grief? Is not your wife entitled to
it? Or will you cruelly deprive me of what is my right? Speak to me,
my husband. Let me share your grief. Confide to me what is the
meaning of those clouds on your noble brow, and what absorbs your
soul to such an extent that you even forgot me and your children,
and deprived us of your kind morning greeting."
But even these tender words of the queen were unable to light up the
king's forehead; he avoided meeting her beautiful, lustrous eyes,
which were fixed on him inquiringly, and averted his head.
"Government affairs," he said, gravely. "Nothing interesting and
worthy of being communicated to my queen. Let us not embitter
thereby the happy minutes of your presence. Let us sit down."
The queen knew her husband's peculiarities to perfection. She knew
that no one was allowed to contradict him whenever he assumed this
forbidding tone, and that it was best then not to take any notice of
his moroseness, or, if possible, to dispel it.
She, therefore, followed him silently to the sofa and sat down,
inviting him, with a charming smile, to take a seat by her side.
The king did so, and Louisa leaned her head tenderly against his
shoulder. "How sweet it is to lean one's weak head against the
breast of a strong man!" she said. "It seems to me, as long as I am
near you, no misfortune can befall me, and I cling to you trustingly
and happily, like the ivy covering the strong oak."
"The comparison is not correct," said the king. "Ivy does not bloom,
nor is it fragrant. But you are a peerless rose, the queen of
"What! my king condescends to flatter me?" said the queen, laughing
merrily, while she raised her head from the king's shoulder and
looked archly at him. "But, my king, your comparison is not correct
either. Roses have thorns, and wound whosoever touches them. But I
would not pain and wound you for all the riches of the world! Were I
a rose, I should shake off all my fragrant leaves to make of them a
pillow on which your noble head should repose from the toils and
vexations of the day, and on which you should find dreams of a happy
"Only DREAMS of a happy future," said Frederick William, musingly.
"You may be right; our hopes for a happy future may be but a dream."
"No," exclaimed the queen, raising her radiant eyes toward heaven,
"I firmly believe in the happiness of our future; I believe and know
that God has selected you, the most generous and guiltless of
princes, to break the arrogance of that daring tyrant, who would
like to chain the whole world to his despotic yoke, and who, in his
ambitious thirst after conquest, raises his hands against the crowns
of all the sovereigns. YOUR crown he shall not touch! It is the rock
on which his power will be wrecked, and at the feet of which his
proud waves will be broken. Prussia will avenge the disgrace of
Germany; I am sure of it, and for this reason I am so happy and
confident since you, my king and husband, have cast off the mask of
that false friendship for the tyrant, and have shown him your open,
angry, and hostile face. A heavy cloud weighed down my heart so long
as we still continued mediating, occupying neutral ground, trying to
maintain peace, and hoping to derive advantages from that man so
devoid of honesty, sincerity, and fidelity."
"Still, who knows whether I was right, after all, in taking such a
course!" sighed the king. "Peace is a very precious thing, and the
people need it for their prosperity."
"But your people do not want peace!" exclaimed the queen. "They are
enthusiastic and clamorous for war, and long for nothing so much as
to see an end put to this deplorable incertitude. You have now
caused your army to be placed on the war footing, and all faces have
already brightened up, and all hearts feel encouraged; announce to
your people that you will declare war against the usurper, and all
Prussia will rise jubilantly and hasten to the battlefield, as if it
were a festival of victory."
"You refer to the army, but not to the people," said the king. "It
is true, the army is ready for the fray, and it is satisfied also
that it will conquer. But who can tell whether it may not be
mistaken? It is long since we have waged war, while the armies of
Napoleon are experienced and skilled, and ready to take the field at
"The army of Frederick the Great, the army of my king has nothing to
fear from the hordes of the barbarian!" exclaimed the queen, with
The king shrugged his shoulders. "I stand in need of allies," he
said; "alone I am not able to sustain such a struggle. If the courts
of Northern Germany should comply with my invitation, if they should
ally themselves with me, finally, if Austria should accept my
proposition and unite with me, in that case I should hope for
success. All this will be decided to-day, for I am now looking for
the return of two important envoys--for the return of Hardenberg,
who has delivered my propositions in Vienna, and for the return of
Lombard, whom I have sent to the smaller German courts to offer them
an offensive and defensive alliance in opposition to Napoleon's
Confederation of the Rhine. I confess to you, Louisa, I await their
replies tremblingly; I cannot think of any thing else; this feeling
has haunted me all day, and now you know why I even forgot to greet
you this morning. I intended not to betray the uneasiness filling my
heart, but who is able to withstand such an enchantress as you? Now
you know every thing!"
"And do you know already the new misdeed which the tyrant has
committed?" asked the queen. "Do you know that he is ruling and
commanding on German soil as if Germany were nothing but a French
province, and all princes nothing but his vassals? In a time of
peace he has caused a German citizen to be dragged from his house;
in a German state he has ordered a court-martial to meet, and this
court-martial has dared to pass sentence of death upon a German
citizen merely because he, a German bookseller, had circulated a
pamphlet deploring Germany's degradation!"
"I have already known it for three days," said the king, gloomily.
"I concealed it from you in order not to grieve you."
"But public opinion now-a-days conceals nothing," exclaimed Louisa,
ardently, "and public opinion throughout Germany cries for vengeance
against the tyrant who is murdering German honor and German laws in
this manner! In every city subscriptions have been opened for Palm's
family, for his young wife and his little girls. The poor as well as
the rich hasten to offer, according to their means, gifts of love to
the widow and orphans of the martyr; and believe me, the money which
Germany is now collecting for Palm's family will be dragon's seeds
from which armed warriors will spring one day, and Germany's
vengeance will blossom from this blood so unjustly shed. Permit me,
my friend, to contribute my share to these seeds of love and
vengeance. They brought to me this morning a list on which the most
distinguished families had subscribed considerable sums for Palm's
family, and I was asked whether my ladies of honor and the members
of my household would be allowed to subscribe for the same purpose.
I should like to allow it and do even more--I should like to
contribute my mite, too, to the subscriptions. Will you permit me to
"They will take that again for a demonstration," said the king,
uneasily; "they will say we were stirring up strife and discontent
among the Germans. I believe it would be prudent not to make a
public demonstration prematurely, but to wait and keep quiet till
the right time has come."
"And when will the right time come, if it has not come now?"
exclaimed the queen, mournfully. "Remember, my beloved husband, all
the mortifications and humiliations which you have received of late
at the hands of this despot, and which, in your noble and generous
resignation, did not resent in order to preserve peace to your
people. Remember that he alone prevailed on you to occupy Hanover,
that he warranted its possession to you, and then when your troops
had occupied it, applied secretly, and without saying a word to you,
to England, offering to make peace with her by proposing to restore
Hanover to her."
"It was a grievous insult," exclaimed the king, with unusual
vivacity; "I replied to it by placing my army on the war footing."
"But our armies remain inactive," said the queen, sadly, "while
General Knobelsdorf is negotiating for peace with Bonaparte in
"He is to negotiate until I am fully prepared," said Frederick
William--"until I know what German princes will be for and against
me. Above all, it is necessary to know our forces in order to mature
our plans. Hence, I must know who is on my side."
"God is on your side, and so is Germany's honor," exclaimed the
queen; "moreover, you may safely rely at least on one faithful
"You refer to the Emperor of Russia?" asked the king. "True, I
received yesterday a letter from the emperor, in which he announced
'that he would come to my assistance with an army of seventy
thousand men under his personal command, as a faithful friend and
neighbor, and appear in time on the battle-field, no matter whether
it be on the Rhine or beyond it.'"
"Oh, the noble and faithful friend!" exclaimed the queen, joyfully.
"Yes," said the king, thoughtfully, "he promises a great deal, but
Russian promises march more rapidly than Russian armies. I am afraid
events will carry us along so resistlessly that we cannot wait until
the Emperor of Russia has arrived with his army. As soon as Napoleon
suspects that my preparations are meant for him, he will himself
declare war against me. He is always prepared; his army is always
ready for war. Whatever he may be, we cannot deny that he is a brave
and great general; and I do not know," added the king, in a low
voice, "I do not know whether we have got a general able to cope
with him. Oh, Louisa, I envy your courage, your reliance on our
cause. Do you feel then, no uneasiness whatever?"
"Uneasiness?" exclaimed the queen, with a proud smile. "I believe
and feel convinced that now only one thing remains to be done. We
must struggle with the monster, we must crush it, and then only will
we be allowed to speak of uneasiness! [Footnote: The queen's own
words--Vide Gentz's "Writings," vol. iv., p. 169.] I believe,
besides, in divine Providence--I believe in you, my noble, high-
minded, and brave king and husband, and I believe in your splendid
army, which is eager for war! I believe in the lucky star of
"Oh, it seems to me that many clouds are veiling that star," said
the king, mournfully.
"The thunder of battle will dispel them!" exclaimed Louisa,
enthusiastically. "The smoke of powder purifies the air and destroys
its noxious vapors."
Just then the door opened, and the king's valet de chambre entered.
"Your majesty," he said, "his excellency, Minister Baron von
Hardenberg, requests you to grant him an audience."
"You see the decision is drawing near," said the king, turning to
his wife. "I shall request the minister to come in directly."
The valet de chambre withdrew. The king paced the room several
times, his hands folded on his back, and without uttering a word.
Louisa dared not disturb him, but her radiant eyes followed him with
an expression of tender anxiety and affectionate sympathy.
All at once, the king stopped in the middle of the room and drew a
deep breath. "I do not know," he said, "I feel almost joyful and
happy now that the decisive moment is at hand. Francis von Sickingen
was right in saying, 'Better an end with terror, than a terror
without end!'" [Footnote: The motto of the celebrated knight,
Francis von Sickingen: "Besser ein Ende mit Schrecken, als ein
Schrecken ohne Ende!"]
"Oh," exclaimed the queen, joyfully, "now I recognize my noble and
brave husband. When no longer able to avert terrors by mild words
and gentle prudence, he raises his chivalrous arm and crushes them.
But as we must not keep your minister waiting, I will withdraw. One
word more. Will you permit me to add my subscription to the list of
contributions for Palm's widow? I do not wish to do so as Queen of
Prussia, but as a woman sympathizing with the misfortunes of one of
her German sisters, and anxious to comfort her in her distress. I
shall not mention my name, but cause our dear mistress of ceremonies
to subscribe for me. Will you permit it, my friend?"
"Follow your noble and generous heart, Louisa," said the king,
"contribute for the relief of the poor woman!"
"Thanks, my friend, a thousand thanks," exclaimed Louisa, offering
her hand to her husband. He kissed it tenderly, and then accompanied
the queen to the door.
Louisa wanted here to withdraw her hand from him and open the door,
in order to go out, but her husband kept her back, and his features
assumed an air of embarrassment.
"I want you to do me a favor," he said, hastily. "When you have
caused the mistress of ceremonies to subscribe in your name, please
order your grand-marshal to contribute the same sum. I will return
it to him from my privy purse." [Footnote: Palm's widow received
large sums of money, which were subscribed for her everywhere in
Germany, England, and Russia. In St. Petersburg the emperor and
empress headed the list.--Vide "Biography of John Philip Palm,"
The queen made no reply; she encircled the king's neck with her
beautiful white arms, and imprinted a glowing kiss on his lips; she
then hastily turned around and left the room, perhaps, in order not
to let her husband see the tears that filled her eyes.
The king, who had gazed after her with a long and tender look, said
in a low voice to himself: "Oh, she is the sunshine of my life. How
dreary and cold it would be without her! But now I will see the
He hastened to the opposite door and opened it. "Request Minister
von Hardenberg to come in," he said to the valet de chambre, waiting
in the anteroom.
After a few minutes Hardenberg entered. The king went forward to
meet him, and looked at him inquiringly.
"Good news?" he asked.
"Your majesty, 'good' has a very relative meaning," replied
Hardenberg, shrugging his shoulders. "I believe an open and
categorical reply to be good."
"Then you are the bearer of such a reply," said the king, quietly;
"first tell me the result of your mission. You may afterward add the
particulars of the negotiations."
"I shall comply with your majesty's order. The result is that
Austria wants to remain neutral, and will, for the present, engage
in no further wars. Her finances are exhausted, and her many defeats
have demoralized and discouraged her armies. Napoleon has vanquished
Austria, not only militarily, but also morally. The Austrian
soldiers look on the Emperor of the French and his victorious armies
with an almost superstitious terror; the emperor is discouraged and
downcast, and his ministers long for nothing more ardently than a
lasting peace with France. His generals, on the other hand, are
filled with so glowing an admiration for Napoleon's military genius,
that the Archduke Charles himself has said: 'he would deem it a
crime to continue the war against Napoleon, instead of courting his
friendship.'" [Footnote: Vide "Libensbilder aus dem
Befreiungskriege," vol. iii.]
"He may be right," said the king, "but he ought to have called it an
imprudence instead of a crime. I know very well that we are unable
to retrace our steps, and that the logic of events will compel us to
draw the sword and risk a war, but I do not close my eyes against
the serious dangers and misfortunes in which Prussia might be
involved by taking up arms without efficient and active allies. I
have taken pains for years to save Prussia from the horrors and
evils of war, but circumstances are more powerful than I, and I
shall have to submit to them."
"On the contrary, circumstances will have to submit to your majesty
"Fate!" the king interrupted him, hastily. "Fate is no courtier, and
never flattered me much."
"Your majesty, I was going to imitate fate,--I did not want to
flatter you, either," said Hardenberg. "I was merely going to say
that fate seems to favor us suddenly. I have received letters from
Mr. Fox, the English minister. King George the Third, now that he
sees that Prussia is in earnest, and is preparing for war, is more
inclined to form an alliance with Prussia. The first favorable
symptom of this change of views is the fact that England has raised
the blockade of the rivers of northern Germany; a British envoy will
soon be here to make peace with Prussia, and to conclude an
alliance, by virtue of which England will furnish us troops and
"Would to God the envoy would arrive speedily," sighed the king,
"for we need both, auxiliaries as well as money." [Footnote: The
British envoy, Lord Morpeth, unfortunately arrived too late; it was
only on the 19th of October that he reached the king's headquarters
at Weimar. But the French party, Minister Haugwitz, Lombard, and
Lucchesini, managed to prevent him from obtaining an interview with
the king; and dismissed him with the reply, that the results of the
negotiations would depend on the issue of the battle which was about
to be fought.--Vide Hausser's "History of Germany," vol. ii., p.
When Minister von Hardenberg left the king's cabinet, his face was
radiant with inward satisfaction, and he hastened with rapid steps
to his carriage.
"To Prince Louis Ferdinand," he said to the coachman. "As fast as
the horses will run!"
Prince Louis Ferdinand was in the midst of his friends in his music-
room when Minister Hardenberg entered. He was sitting at the piano
and playing a voluntary. His fancy must have taken a bold flight to-
day, for in the music he evoked from the keys there was more ardor,
vigor, and enthusiasm than generally, and the noble features of the
prince were radiant with delight. Close to him, her head leaning
gently on his shoulder, sat Pauline Wiesel, the prince's beautiful
and accomplished friend, and listened with a smile on her crimson
lips, and tears in her eyes, to the charming and soul-stirring
melodies. In the middle of the room there stood a table loaded down
with fiery wines and tropical fruits, and twelve gentlemen, most of
them army officers, were seated around it. They were the military
and learned friends of the prince, his daily companions, who, like
Hardenberg, were always allowed to enter his rooms without being
The minister hastily beckoned the gentlemen who were going to rise
and salute him, to keep their seats, and hurried quickly and softly
across the room toward the prince, whose back was turned to the
door, and who consequently had not noticed his arrival.
"Prince," he said, gently placing his hand on his shoulder, "it is
settled now: we shall have war!"
"War!" shouted the prince, jubilantly, and rose impetuously to
embrace the minister and imprint a kiss on the lips which had
uttered the precious word.
"War!" exclaimed the gentlemen at the table, and emptied their
glasses in honor of the news.
"War!" sighed fair Pauline Wiesel, and clinging closely to the
prince's shoulder, she whispered: "War, that is to say, I shall lose
"No, it is to say that I shall gain every thing," exclaimed the
prince, with flashing eyes." I beseech you, Pauline, no weakness
now, no sentimentality, no tears. The great moment is come. Let us
appreciate it. At length, at length we shall avenge our disgrace, at
length we shall be able to raise our humiliated heads again, and
need not feel ashamed any longer of saying, 'I am a German!'"
"Your royal highness will now be able to say, 'I am a German hero!'"
"Would to God you were right!" exclaimed the prince. "May He grant
me an opportunity to earn a small laurel-wreath, even had I to atone
for it with my blood, nay, with my life! To die for the fatherland
is a sublime death; and should I fall thus, Pauline, you ought not
to weep, but sing jubilant hymns and envy my happy fate. Tell me,
friend Hardenberg, when is the war to commence?"
"As soon as the various army corps can be concentrated," replied
Hardenberg. "We know positively that Napoleon is arming for the
purpose of attacking us, and that he intends to declare war against
us. We shall hasten and try to outstrip him. Prussia has been
insulted too often and too grievously; hence, the challenge ought to
come from her."
"And we will take revenge on M. Bonaparte," exclaimed the prince,
with flaming eyes. "It shall be an American duel, and only the death
of either of the duellists shall put an end to it! Friends, take
your glasses and fill them to overflowing. Hardenberg, take this
glass; Pauline shall present it to you. Now, let us drink to the
honor of Prussia and shout with me, three cheers for the war, for an
heroic victory, for an heroic death!"
"Three cheers for the war, for an heroic victory, for an heroic
death!" shouted the friends. They emptied their glasses; the eyes of
the men were radiant, but Pauline's eyes were filled with tears.
[Prince Louis Ferdinand was killed in the first battle of the war,
at Saalfeld, on the 10th of October, 1806.]
On the evening of that day the king went, as usual, to the queen to
take a cup of tea which she herself served up to him.
Notwithstanding the objections of the mistress of ceremonies, they
paid at this hour no attention to the rules of etiquette, and their
intercourse was as cordial and unceremonious as that of a common
The queen, therefore, was alone when her husband entered the room.
None of her ladies of honor were allowed to disturb the enjoyment of
this pleasant tea-hour; only when the king wished it, the royal
children were sent for to chat with their parents and to receive
their supper at the hands of their beautiful mother.
The queen went to meet her husband with a pleasant salutation, and
offered him her hands. "Well," she asked, tenderly, "your brow is
clouded still? Come, let me kiss those clouds away."
She raised herself on tip-toe, and smiled when she still was unable
to reach up to her husband's forehead.
"You must bend down to me," she said, "I am too small for you."
"No, you are great and sublime, and must bend down to me as angels
bend down to the poor mortals," said the king. "Ah, Louisa, I am
afraid, however, your kiss will no longer be able to drive the
clouds from my brow."
"Have you received bad news?" asked the queen. "Have your
"They have. No assistance from Austria! That is the news brought by
Hardenberg. No league of the princes of Northern Germany! That is
the news brought by Lombard. Every one of them pursues his separate
interests, and thinks only of himself. The Elector of Saxony would
like to be at the head of a Saxon league; the Elector of Hesse
promises to ally himself with us if, above all, we secure to him a
considerable enlargement of his territory; Oldenburg is going to
wait and see what the other states will do; Waldeck and Lippe desire
to join the Confederation of the Rhine, because they might derive
greater advantages from it; and the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
replied, quite haughtily, he would remain neutral: if he were in
danger, he would gratefully accept the protection of Prussia, but he
would have to reject any application for supplies in the most
decided manner." [Hausser's "History of Germany," vol. ii., p. 770.]
"Oh, those narrow-minded, egotistic men," exclaimed the queen,
indignantly. "They dare to call themselves princes, and yet there is
not a single exalted thought, not a trace of the spirit of majesty
in their minds. Bad seeds are being sown by the cowardly spirit of
the princes. Woe unto Germany if these seeds should ripen one day in
the hearts of the people! But you did not say any thing about my
father; what did Mecklenburg-Strelitz reply?"
"She is on our side; your father is faithful to us."
"But, ah, he is able only to give us his great, true heart and
brave, friendly advice!" sighed the queen. "His state is too small
to furnish us any other aid. Oh, my husband, I could now give my
heart's blood if I only were the daughter of a mighty king, and if
my father could hasten to your assistance with an army."
"A single drop of your heart's blood would be too high a price for
the armies of the whole world," said the king. "Your father has
given to me the most precious and priceless treasure earth contains:
a noble, beautiful wife, a high-minded queen! Your father was the
richest prince when he still had his daughter, and I am the richest
man since you are mine."
He clasped the queen in his arms, and she clung to him with a
"For the rest," said the king, after a pause, "there is at least one
German prince who stands faithfully by us, and that is the Duke of
"The friend of Goethe and Schiller!" exclaimed the queen.
"The duke places his battalion of riflemen at our disposal, and will
accept a command in the war."
"There will be war, then?" asked the queen, joyfully.
"Yes, there will be war," said the king, sadly.
"You say so and sigh," exclaimed Louisa.
"Yes, I sigh," replied the king. "I am not as happy as you and those
who are in favor of war. I do not believe in the invincibility of my
army. I feel that we cannot be successful. There is an indescribable
confusion in the affairs of the war department; the gentlemen at the
head of it, it is true, will not believe it, and pretend that I am
still too young and do not understand enough about it. Ah, I wish
from the bottom of my heart I were mistaken. The future will soon
show it." [Footnote: The king's own words.--Vide Henchel von
A BAD OMEN.
The decisive word had been uttered! Prussia was at length going to
draw the sword, and take revenge for years of humiliation.
The army received this intelligence with unbounded exultation and
the people embraced every opportunity to manifest their martial
enthusiasm. They demanded that Schiller's "Maid of Orleans" should
be performed at the theatre, and replied to every warlike and soul-
stirring word of the tragedy by the most rapturous applause. They
again broke all the windows in Count Haugwitz's house, and serenaded
Prince Louis Ferdinand, Minister von Hardenberg, and such generals
as were known to be in favor of war.
All the newspapers predicted the most brilliant victories, and
gloated already in advance over the triumphant battles in which the
Prussian army would defeat the enemy.
But the proudest and happiest of all were the officers who, in the
intoxication of their joy, saw their heads already wreathed with
laurels which they would gain in the impending war, and whose pride
would not admit the possibility of a defeat. The army of Frederick
the Great, they said, could not be vanquished, and there was but one
apprehension which made them tremble: the fear lest war should be
avoided after all, and lest the inevitable and crushing defeat of
Bonaparte should be averted once more by the conclusion of a
miserable peace. [Footnote: Vide Varnhagen's "Denkwurdigkeiten,"
vol. i., pp. 389, 390.]
The old generals who had served under Frederick the Great were the
heroes in whom the officers believed. "We have got generals who know
something about war," said the haughty Prussian officers; "generals
who have served in the army from their early youth. Those French
tailors and shoemakers who have gained some distinction only in
consequence of the revolution, had better take to their heels as
soon as such generals take the field against them." [Footnote:
Hausser's "History of Germany," vol. ii., p. 358.]
And in the enthusiasm inspired by their future victories, the
officers gave each other brilliant farewell festivals, and indulged
in liberal potations of champagne and hock in honor of the impending
battles, singing in stentorian voices the new war-songs which E. M.
Arndt [E. M. Arndt, the celebrated author of the German hymn, "Was
ist des Deutschen Vaterland?"] had just dedicated to the German
people. When their passions had been excited to the highest pitch by
dreams of victory, by wine and soul-stirring songs, they went in the
evening to the residence of the French minister to whet their sword-
blades on the pavement in front of his door.
"But what should we need swords and muskets for?" shouted the
officers up to the windows of the French minister; "for when the
brave Prussians are approaching, the French will run away
spontaneously; cudgels would be sufficient to drive the fellows back
to their own country." [Bishop Eylert, "Frederick William III.,"
vol. iii., p. 8.]
But there were among the officers, and particularly among the
generals, some prudent and sagacious men who shared the king's
apprehensions, and who looked, like him, anxiously into the future.
These prudent men were aware of the condition of the Prussian army,
and knew that it was no longer what it had been in the Seven Years'
War, and that there was no Frederick the Great to lead it into
It is true, there were still in the army many generals and officers
who had served under Frederick the Great, and these, of course, were
experienced and skilled in warlike operations. But they were weighed
down by the long number of their years; old age is opposed to an
adventurous spirit, and in favor of the comforts of life.
Nevertheless, these men believed in themselves and felt convinced
that victory would adhere to them, the warriors of Frederick the
Great, and that no army was able to defeat soldiers commanded by
The more prudent men looked with feelings of reverence on these
ruins of the magnificent structure which the great king had erected,
but they perceived at the same time that they were decayed and
crumbling. They well knew that the Prussian army was behind the
times in many respects, and not equal to the occasion. Not only were
the leaders too old, but the soldiers also had grown hoary--not,
however, in wars and military camps, but in parading and garrison
life. They knew nothing of active warfare, and were only familiar
with the duties of parade-soldiers. They were married, and entered
sullenly into a war which deprived their wives and children of their
The Prussian army, moreover, was still organized in the old-
fashioned style, and none of the improvements rendered indispensable
by the rapid progress of the art of war had been adopted by the
Prussian ministers of war.
The arms of the infantry were defective and bad; the muskets looked
glittering and were splendidly burnished, but their construction was
imperfect. They were calculated only for parades, but not for active
warfare. Besides, the infantry was drilled in the old tactics, which
looked very fine on parade, but were worse than useless in battle.
["The War of 1806 and 1807." By Edward von Hopfner, vol. 1., p. 46.]
The artillery was well mounted, but its generals were too old and
disabled for field service; the youngest of them were more than
seventy years of age.
The clothing of the army was of the most wretched description; it
was made of the coarsest and worst cloth, and, moreover, entirely
insufficient. The rations were just as scanty, and fixed in
accordance with the economical standard of the Seven Years' War.
Besides, there was no enthusiasm, no military ardor in the ranks of
the army. The long period of peace and parade-service had diminished
the zeal of the soldiers, and made them consider their duties as
mere play and unnecessary vexations, requiring no other labor than
the cleaning of their muskets and belts, the buttoning of their
gaiters, and the artistic arrangement of their pigtails. Every
neglect of these important duties was punished in the most merciless
manner. The stick still reigned in the Prussian army, and while
cudgelling discipline into the soldier, they cudgelled ambition and
self-reliance out of him. Not military ardor and manly courage, but
discipline and the everlasting stick accompanied the Prussian
soldiers of 1806 into the war. [Ibid., vol. i., p. 86.]
The commander-in-chief of this dispirited and disorganized army in
the present war was intrusted to the Duke of Brunswick, a man more
than seventy years of age, talented and well versed in war, but
hesitating and timid in action, relying too little on himself, and
consequently without energy and determination. His assistant and
second in command was Field Marshal Mollendorf. One of the bravest
officers of the Seven Years' War, but now no less than eighty years
Such was the army which was to take the field and defeat Napoleon's
enthusiastic, well-tried, and experienced legions!
The apprehensions of the prudent were but too well founded, and the
anxiety visible in the king's gloomy mien was perfectly justified.
But all these doubts were now in vain; they were unable to stem the
tide of events and to prevent the outbreak of hostilities.
The force of circumstances was more irresistible than the
apprehensions of the sagacious; and if the latter said in a low
voice this war was a misfortune for Prussia, public opinion only
shouted the louder: "This war saves the honor of Prussia, and
delivers us from the yoke of the hateful tyrant!"
Public opinion had conquered; war was inevitable. General von
Knobelsdorf was commissioned to present to the Emperor of the French
in the name of the King of Prussia an ultimatum, in which the king
demanded that the French armies should evacuate Germany in the
course of two weeks; that the emperor should raise no obstacles
against the formation of the confederation of the northern princes;
and give back to Prussia the city of Wesel, as well as other
Prussian territories annexed to France.
This ultimatum was equivalent to a declaration of the war, and the
Prussian army, therefore, marched into the field.
The regiments of the life-guards were to leave Berlin on the 21st of
September, and join the army, and the king intended to accompany
In Berlin there reigned everywhere the greatest enthusiasm.
All the houses had been decorated with festoons and flowers, and the
inhabitants crowded the streets in their holiday-dresses to greet
the departing life-guards with jubilant cheers and congratulations.
The king had just reviewed the regiments, and now repaired to his
wife to bid her farewell and then leave Berlin at the head of his
The queen went to meet him with a radiant smile, and a wondrous air
of joy and happiness was beaming from her eyes. The king gazed
mournfully at her beautiful, flushed face, and her cheerfulness only
increased his melancholy.
"You receive me with a smile," he said, "and my heart is full of
anxiety and sadness. Do you not know, then, why I have come to you?
I have come to bid you farewell!"
She placed her hands on his shoulders, and her whole face was
radiant with sunshine.
"No," she said, "you have come to call for me!"
The king looked at her in confusion and terror. "How so, to call for
you!" he asked. "Whither do you want to go, then?"
Louisa encircled her husband's neck with her arms, and clinging to
him she exclaimed, in a loud and joyous voice:
"I want to go with you, dear husband!"
"With me?" ejaculated the king.
"Yes, with you," she said. "Do you believe, then, my friend, I
should have been so merry and joyful if this had not been my hope
and consolation? I have secretly made all the necessary
preparations, and am ready now to set out with you. I have arranged
every thing; I have even," she added, in a low and tremulous voice--
"I have even taken leave of the children, and I confess to you I
have shed bitter tears in doing so. Part of my heart remains with
them, but the other, the larger part, goes with you, and remains
with you, my friend, my beloved, my king. Will you reject it? Will
you not permit me to accompany you?"
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