NAPOLEON AND BLUCHER
Part 1 out of 12
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NAPOLEON IN GERMANY
NAPOLEON AND BLUCHER
An historical Novel
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY F. JORDAN
NAPOLEON AT DRESDEN.
I. Frederick William and Hardenberg
II. The White Lady
III. Napoleon and the White Lady
IV. Napoleon at Dresden
V. Napoleon's High-born Ancestors
VI. Napoleon's Departure from Dresden
THE LAST DAYS OF 1812.
VII. The Conspirators of Helgoland
VIII. The European Conspiracy
IX. Gebhard Leberecht Blucher
X. Recollections of Mecklenburg
XI. Glad Tidings
XII. The Oath
CHANCELLOR VON HARDENBERG.
XIII. The Interrupted Supper
XIV. The Defection of General York
XV. The Warning
XVI. The Diplomatist
XVII. The Clairvoyante
XVIII. An Adventuress
XIX. The Two Diplomatists
XX. The Attack
XXI. The Courier's Return
XXII. The Manifesto
XXIII. Leonora Prohaska
XXIV. Joan of Orleans
XXV. The National Representatives
WAR AND AN ARMISTICE.
XXVI. Theodore Korner
XXVII. The Heroic Tailor
XXVIII. The General-in-Chief of the Silesian Army
XXIX. The Ball at the City Hall of Breslau
XXX. The Appointment
XXXI. After the Battle of Bautzen
XXXII. Bad News
XXXIII. The Traitors
XXXIV. Napoleon and Metternich
DELIVERANCE OF GERMANY.
XXXV. On the Katzbach
XXXVI. Blucher as a Writer
XXXVII. The Revolt of the Generals
XXXVIII. The Battle of Leipsic
XXXIX. The Nineteenth of October
HANNIBAL ANTE PORTAS.
XL. Blucher's Birthday
XLI. Passage of the Rhine
XLII. Napoleon's New-Year's-Day
XLIII. The King of Rome
XLVI. Madame Letitia
FALL OF PARIS.
XLVII. The Battle of La Rothiere
XLVIII. The Diseased Eyes
XLIX. On to Paris!
L. Departure of Maria Louisa
LI. The Capitulation of Paris
LII. Night and Morning near Paris
LIII. Napoleon at Fontainebleau
LIV. A Soul in Purgatory
NAPOLEON AND BLUCHER.
NAPOLEON AT DRESDEN.
FREDERICK WILLIAM AND HARDENBERG.
It was a fine, warm day in May, 1812. The world was groaning under
the yoke of Napoleon's tyranny. As a consolation for the hopeless
year, came the laughing spring. Fields, forests, and meadows, were
clad in beautiful verdure; flowers were blooming, and birds were
singing everywhere--even at Charlottenburg, which King Frederick
William formerly delighted to call his "pleasure palace," but which
now was his house of mourning. At Charlottenburg, Frederick William
had spent many and happy spring days with Queen Louisa; and when she
was with him at this country-seat, it was indeed a pleasure palace.
The noble and beautiful queen was also now at Charlottenburg, but
the king only felt her presence--he beheld her no more. Her merry
remarks and charming laughter had ceased, as also her sighs and
suffering; her radiant eyes had closed forever, and her sweet lips
spoke no more. She was still at Charlottenburg, but only as a
corpse. The king had her mausoleum erected in the middle of the
garden. Here lay her coffin, and room had been left for another, as
Frederick William intended to repose one day at the side of his
From the time that the queen's remains had been deposited there--
from that day of anguish and tears--the king called Charlottenburg
no longer his "pleasure palace." It was henceforth a tomb, where his
happiness and love were buried. Still, he liked to remain there, for
it seemed to him as though he felt the presence of the spirit of his
blessed queen, and understood better what she whispered to his soul
in the silent nights when she consoled him, and spoke of heaven and
a renewed love. The bereaved husband, however, did not prefer to
dwell in the magnificent abode of his ancestors, where he had
formerly passed in spring so many happy days with his beloved
Louisa. He had, therefore, a small house near the palace; it was
into this plain and humble structure that he had retired with his
grief-stricken heart. Here, in his solitude, he had already passed
The second year had nearly elapsed since the queen's death, and
Frederick William's heart was still overburdened with sorrow, but
yet he had learned what time teaches all mortals--he had learned to
be resigned. Yes, resignation in these melancholy days was the only
thing that remained to the unfortunate King of Prussia. It was a sad
and difficult duty, for he had lost happiness, love, greatness, and
even his royal independence. It is true, he was still called King of
Prussia, but he was powerless. He had to bow to the despotic will of
Napoleon, and scarcely a shadow of his former greatness had been
left him. The days of Tilsit had not yet brought disgrace and
humiliation enough upon him. The Emperor of the French had added
fresh exactions, and his arrogance became daily more reckless and
intolerable. In the face of such demands it only remained for
Frederick William to submit or resist. He looked mournfully at his
unhappy country, at those whom the last war had deprived of their
husbands and fathers; at his small army; at the scanty means at his
disposal, compared with the resources of Napoleon, and--the king
He had indeed hesitated long, and struggled strongly with his own
feelings. For, by submitting to Napoleon's behests, he was to become
the open enemy of the Emperor Alexander, and the King of Prussia
was, jointly with the Emperor of the French, to arm against the
Emperor of Russia. It was a terrible necessity for Frederick William
to sacrifice his friend to his enemy, and at the very moment when
Alexander had offered his hand for a new league, and proposed to
conclude an offensive and defensive alliance with Prussia and
But such an alliance with distant Russia could not strengthen
Prussia against neighboring France, whose armies were encamped near
her frontiers. The danger of being crushed by Napoleon was much more
probable than the hope of being supported by Russia. Russia had
enough to do to take care of herself. She was unable to prevent
France from destroying Prussia, if Napoleon desired, and the crown
might fall from the head of Frederick William long before a Russian
army of succor could cross the Prussian frontier. He submitted
therefore, and accepted with one hand the alliance of France, while
threatening her with the other.
On the 24th of February, 1812, the Prussian king signed this new
treaty. As was stipulated by the first article, he entered into a
defensive alliance with France against any European power with which
either France or Prussia should hereafter be at war. Napoleon, the
man who had broken Queen Louisa's heart, was now the friend and ally
of King Frederick William, and the enemies of France were henceforth
to be the enemies of Prussia!
It was this that the king thought of to-day, when, in the early part
of May, he was alone, and absorbed in his reflections, at his small
house in Charlottenburg. It was yet early, for he had risen before
sunrise, and had been at work a long time, when he ceased for a
moment and yielded to his meditations. Leaning back in his easy
chair, he gazed musingly through the open glass-doors, now on serene
sky, and again on the fragrant verdure of his garden.
But this quiet relaxation was not to last long; the door of the
small anteroom opened, and the footman announced that his excellency
Minister and Chancellor von Hardenberg requested to see his majesty.
"Let him come in," said the king, as he rose, turning his grave
eyes, which had become even gloomier than before, toward the door,
on the threshold of which the elegant and somewhat corpulent form of
the chancellor of state appeared. He bowed respectfully. His noble
and prepossessing countenance was smiling and genial as usual; the
king's, grave, thoughtful, and sad.
"Bad news, I suppose?" asked the king, briefly. "You come at so
early an hour, something extraordinary must have happened. What is
"Nothing of that kind, your majesty," said Hardenberg, with his
imperturbable smile. "Yet, it is true, we are constantly in an
extraordinary situation, so that what otherwise might appear unusual
is now nothing but a very ordinary occurrence."
"A preamble!" said Frederick William, thoughtfully. "You have, then,
to tell me something important. What is it? Take a seat and speak!"
The king pointed to a chair, and resumed his own. Hardenberg seated
himself, and looked down for a moment with an air of embarrassment.
"Any thing the matter in Berlin?" asked the king. "Perhaps, a
quarrel between the citizens and the French?"
"No, your majesty," said Hardenberg, to whose thin lips came his
wonted smile. "The people of Berlin keep very quiet, and bear the
arrogance of the French with admirable patience. I have to report no
quarrels, and, on the whole, nothing of importance; I wished only to
inform your majesty that I received a courier from Dresden late last
The king started, and looked gloomy. "From whom?" he asked, in a
"From our ambassador," replied Hardenberg, carelessly. "Surprising
intelligence has reached Dresden. They are expecting the Emperor
Napoleon. He left Saint Cloud with the Empress Maria Louisa on the
9th of May, and no one knew any thing about the object or
destination of the journey. It was generally believed that the
emperor, with his consort, intended to take a pleasure-trip to
Mentz, but immediately after his arrival there he informed his suite
that he was on his way to a new war, and would accompany his wife
only as far as Dresden, where they would meet their Austrian
majesties. Couriers were sent from Mentz to Vienna, to Dresden, to
King Jerome, and to all the marshals and generals. The columns of
the army have commenced moving everywhere, and are now marching from
all sides upon Dresden. As usual, Napoleon has again succeeded in
keeping his plans secret to the very last moment, and informing the
world of his intentions only when they are about to be realized."
"Yes," exclaimed the king, in a tone of intense hatred and anger--
"yes, he wears a kind, hypocritical mask, and feigns friendship and
pacific intentions until he has drawn into his nets those whom he
intends to ruin; then he drops his mask and shows his true arrogant
and ambitious face. He caressed us, and protested his friendship,
until we signed the treaty of alliance, but now he will insist on
the fulfilment of the engagements we have entered into. He commences
a new war, and, by virtue of the first article of our treaty, I have
to furnish him an auxiliary corps of twenty thousand men and sixty
"Yes, your majesty, it is so," said Hardenberg, composedly. "The new
French governor of Berlin, General Durutte, came to see me this
morning, and demanded in the name of his emperor that the Prussian
auxiliary troops should immediately take the field."
"Auxiliary troops!" exclaimed the king, angrily. "The Prussian
victims, he ought to have said, for what else will my poor,
unfortunate soldiers be but the doomed victims of his ambition and
insatiable thirst for conquest? He will drive them into the jaws of
death, that they may gain a piece of blood-stained land, or a new
title from the ruin of the world's happiness; he does not care
whether brave soldiers die or not, so long as his own ambition is
"Yes," said Hardenberg, solemnly, "his path leads across corpses and
through rivers of blood, but the vengeance of God and man will
finally overtake him, and who knows whether it may not do so during
this wild Russian campaign?"
"My evil forebodings, then, are proving true," said the king,
sighing; "the expedition is directed against Russia?"
"Yes, against Russia," said Hardenberg, sneeringly; "the master of
the world intends to crush Russia also, because she ventured to
remain an independent power, and the Emperor Alexander was so bold
as to demand the fulfilment of the promises of Tilsit and Erfurt.
Providence is always just in the final result, your majesty. It
punishes the Emperor Alexander for suffering himself to be beguiled
by the flatteries and promises of Napoleon, and the territories
which he allowed Napoleon to give him at Tilsit, at the expense of
Prussia, will be no precious stones in his crown."
"Not a word against Alexander!" exclaimed the king, imperiously.
"However appearances may be against him, he has always proved a true
friend of mine, and perhaps especially at a time when we suspected
it the least. His keen eyes penetrated the future, and behind the
clouds darkening our horizon he believed he could descry light and
safety. He yielded, in order to lull Napoleon to sleep; he pretended
to be fascinated, in order to convince him of his attachment and
devotedness. He wished to be regarded as Napoleon's friend until ho
had armed himself, and felt strong enough to turn against the
usurper. Hush! do not contradict me. I have heard all this from
Alexander's own lips. On his return from Erfurt he confided the
plans of his future to me and the queen, under the seal of secrecy.
Louisa carried the secret into her grave, and I have preserved it in
my breast. Now I may communicate it to you, for the hour of decision
has come; it finds me on the side of France, and God has decreed
that I should turn my arms against my friend, against Alexander! Ah,
happy the queen, because she did not live to see this day and
witness my new humiliation and disgrace! And was it, then,
unavoidable? Was it, then, really necessary for me to enter into
this hateful alliance? Was there no way of avoiding it?"
And as the king put this question to himself rather than to
Hardenberg, he laid his head against the back of his easy-chair, and
looked gloomy and thoughtful.
"There was no way, unfortunately, of avoiding it," said Hardenberg,
after a short pause. "Your majesty knows full well that we submitted
to stern necessity only; to act otherwise would have been too
dangerous, for the crown on the head of your majesty would have been
"It is better to lose the crown and die a freeman than live a
crowned slave!" exclaimed the king, impetuously.
"No, pardon me, your majesty, for daring to contradict you," said
Hardenberg, smiling; "it is better to keep the crown, and submit to
necessity as long as possible, in order to be able to take future
revenge on the oppressor. At times I am likewise tortured by the
doubts and fears now disquieting the noble soul of your majesty. But
at such hours I always repeat to myself, in order to justify our
course, a few words from the letter which the Duke de Bassano
addressed to our ambassador, Baron von Krusemark, as the ultimatum
of the Tuileries. I have learned this letter by heart, and, if you
will graciously permit me, I will repeat a few words." The king
nodded assent, and Hardenberg added: "This letter read: 'My dear
baron, the moment has come when we must give you our views about the
fate of Prussia. I cannot conceal from you that this is a matter of
life and death for your country. You know that the emperor
entertained already at Tilsit very unfriendy intentions against
Prussia. These intentions still remain the same, but will not be
carried out at this time, on the condition that Prussia become our
ally, and a faithful one. The moments are precious, and the
circumstances very grave.'" [Footnote: "Memoires d'un Homme d'Etat,"
vol. xi., p. 324]
"An outrageous letter!" muttered Frederick William to himself.
"Yes, an outrageous letter," repeated Hardenberg, bowing, "for it
contained a serious threat, and yet, on the other hand, it offered
us a sort of guaranty. Prussia was lost, in case she refused to join
the alliance, for Austria had likewise acceded to it, and, by
holding out against the wishes of France, Prussia would have run the
risk of being crushed by two armed enemies in the north, as well as
in the south, and blotted out from the list of nations. We,
therefore, were obliged to submit; we had no other choice."
"But what did we gain by submitting?" asked the king, angrily. "In
order to preserve my people from the horrors of war, I bowed to
Napoleon's will, and accepted the disgraceful alliance. I thereby
wished to secure peace to my unfortunate country, which stands so
greatly in need of it. Instead of attaining this object, the
alliance plunges us into the very abyss which I intended to avoid,
and I am compelled to send my soldiers into the field for an unjust
cause against a monarch who is my friend, and under the orders of a
commander-in-chief who is my enemy, and has always shown his bitter
hostility to me."
"But your majesty has at least prevented your own country from being
devastated by war. It is true, you send out your army, but the war
will not lay waste the fields of Prussia; it will not trample in the
dust the crops of the Prussian farmer, interrupt the labors of the
mechanic, or carry its terror into our cities and villages, our
houses and families. The enemy is at least far from our own
"You only wish to palliate the calamity," exclaimed the king. "The
enemy is here, and you know it. He is dogging every step of ours; he
is listening to every word of mine, and watching every movement. An
inconsiderate word, an imprudent step, and the French gendarmes will
rush upon me and conduct the King of Prussia as a prisoner to
France, while no one can raise his hand to prevent them. We have the
enemy in Berlin, in Spandau, and in all our fortresses. Our own
soldiers we have to send into the field, and our cities and
fortresses are occupied by French garrisons. An army of four hundred
and eighty thousand infantry and seventy thousand cavalry cover
Prussia like a cloud of locusts; Berlin, Spandau, Konigsberg, and
Pillau, have received French garrisons; only Upper Silesia, Colberg,
and Graudenz, have remained exempt from them. The whole country, as
though we were at war, is exposed to the robberies, extortions, and
cruelties in which an enemy indulges: this time, however, he comes
in the garb of a friend, and, as our ally, he is irritating and
impoverishing the farmers, and plundering the mechanics and
manufacturers. And I am not only obliged to suffer all this in
silence, but I must send my own soldiers, the natural defenders of
our states, into a foreign country, and command them to obey the man
who has heaped the vilest insults not only on myself, but on the
whole of Prussia, and has broken the heart of my beloved wife!" And
the king, quite exhausted, breathless with his unusually long
speech, and almost ashamed of his own tremulous excitement, buried
his face in his hands and groaned aloud.
Hardenberg gazed upon him for a moment with an expression of
profound sympathy; he then looked around the room with searching
glances, which seemed to pierce every niche, every fold of the
curtains, and every piece of furniture and sculpture. "Is your
majesty sure that no one can hear and watch us here?" he asked in a
The king dropped his hands from his face, and looked at him in
"Your majesty, you yourself say that you are surrounded by spies,
and eavesdroppers," added Hardenberg. "Does your majesty suspect any
such to be here?"
"No," said the king, with a mournful smile, "it is the last blessing
of my Louisa that she has secured me this quiet asylum. The spies do
not venture to penetrate here--this retreat is not desecrated by
their inquisitive and lurking glances."
"Well," said Hardenberg, almost joyously, "if we need not be afraid
of the eyes and ears of spies, your majesty will permit me to speak
freely to you. My king, great events are maturing; while
impenetrable darkness still seems to surround us, morning is
gradually dawning, and the day of retribution is not distant. Europe
is utterly tired of war, and this incessant bloodshed; she has
practised forbearance until it is exhausted and converted into an
intense indignation. Thanks to his unscrupulous machinations,
Napoleon has hitherto succeeded in bringing about wars between the
different nations of Europe in order to derive benefits for France
alone from these fratricidal struggles. It was he who drove the
Poles and Turks into a war against the Russians, the Italians
against the Austrians, the Danes against the Swedes and English, and
armed the princes of the Rhenish Confederation against their German
countrymen and brethren. He instigated all against each other; he
made them continue the struggle until they sank from loss of blood,
for he knew that he would then be able to take the property of those
whom he had made murder each other. And who could prevent him? The
warriors, exhausted by their long and bloody work--the starving
people, to whom, in their hunger and anguish, only he who brought
them peace and a little bread seemed a true friend! Italy wished to
deliver herself from the Austrian yoke, and after long struggles the
liberty that Napoleon had promised her consisted but in entire
submission to his own behests. To Poland, too, he promised
deliverance, and, after the unfortunate country had risen, and spent
her last strength and her best blood in the war against Russia, she
became exhausted, and offered no resistance when he claimed her as
his spoil, and declared the Poles, who had dreamed that they were
free, to be subjects of France. The princes of the Rhenish
Confederation were compelled to send their German troops to Spain,
to wage war against a nation that was struggling for independence;
and Napoleon in the meantime placed a French adventurer upon a
throne in the middle of Germany, and erected a kingdom for him from
the spoils he had taken from German princes. Holland, which had
endeavored to preserve some vestiges of liberty, was suddenly
deprived of her sovereign, and converted into a French province; and
when Napoleon had succeeded in bringing about a war between Sweden
and Russia, and instigating unfortunate Finland to resist the latter
power, he profited by the favorable moment, and took Stralsund and
the Island of Rugen, both of which belonged to the King of Sweden,
who had been his ally up to that time. In Italy only the Pontifical
states and the holy father at Rome still resisted him, after the
remainder of the peninsula had awakened from its dreams of liberty
under the rule of French marshals and Napoleonic princes. He
instigated Naples and Sardinia against Rome, and when the struggle
had commenced, he magnanimously hastened to the assistance of his
brother-in-law Murat, arrested the pope, conveyed him as a prisoner
to France, and declared Rome to be the property of that country
until the pope should submit to his will. No country, no nation,
escaped his intrigues--conflagrations, devastation, and death
accompanied him everywhere! But the nations, as I have stated
already, are at length impatient; they are wearied of fighting; or,
rather, if they still fight, they intend to do so only in order to
conquer peace for themselves, and bring retribution on him who was
the sole cause of all this bloodshed."
"And they commenced by rushing, at his command, into the field--by
entering upon another war!" exclaimed Frederick William, shrugging
his shoulders with a sneer.
"Your majesty," said Hardenberg, solemnly, "they will do so now for
the last time. Napoleon is digging his own grave, and, by
consolidating the forces of all countries into one vast army, he
makes friends of those whom he hitherto successfully tried to make
enemies and adversaries of each other. But when the nations have
once found out that they are really brethren, it only needs a voice
calling upon them to unite for one grand object--that is to say, for
the deliverance of Europe from the tyrant's yoke!"
"Those are Utopian dreams," said the king. "Whence should this voice
come? Who would be so audacious as to utter it?"
"Whence should this voice come?" asked Hardenberg. "Your majesty, it
will come from heaven, and find an echo on the whole earth. It will
resound from the hundred thousand graves of the soldiers killed in
battle; from the breasts of sorrowing widows and orphans, and, like
the noise of the tempest, it will come from the lips of thousands of
humiliated and disgraced men. This voice will not be that of a
single man; but God, Nature, and all nations, will unite, and
millions will utter that one shout of 'Liberty! Let us rise and
expel the tyrant!'"
"But, then, the story of the tower of Babel will be reenacted," said
Frederick William, sighing; "the nations will not understand each
other; an endless confusion of languages will ensue, and, finally,
the building, which they intended jointly to erect, will fall to
ruins and they be dispersed."
"In order to prevent this, a chieftain must gladly place himself at
their head, and direct their will," exclaimed Hardenberg. "I hope
God will intrust this leadership to your majesty."
"To me?" asked the king, almost angrily. "Will you take the liberty
of mocking my distress, or do you believe that I ought to be
consoled in the calamities of the present by such hopes of the
"No, your majesty, I am only convinced that God will one day intrust
the task of retribution to Prussia, because it is she that has
"Let us leave retribution to God," said the king, gently.
"No, your majesty," exclaimed Hardenberg, "let us now take upon
ourselves the task of avenging our wrongs, and only pray to Heaven
for a blessing on our efforts. And that God is with us, that He at
last averts His face from the man who has so long trampled the world
under foot, is shown by the new war into which Napoleon is about to
enter. This expedition to Russia is the first step to his ruin!"
"Oh, you are mistaken!" exclaimed the king, almost indignantly. "It
will be a new triumphal procession for Napoleon. Russia will succumb
to him, as we all have done. He marches upon the position of his
enemy with the armies of all his allies--half a million of warriors
and thousands of cannon--while Russia stands alone; she has no force
compared with his, and no allies whatever."
"She has one friend more powerful than any Napoleon has," said
Hardenberg, solemnly--"NATURE. When this ally appears, with its
masses of ice and snow-storms, Napoleon is lost."
"But he will take good care not to wait for this reenforcement,"
exclaimed the king. "As always, he will finish the war in a few
weeks, vanquish the feeble forces of Alexander with his own
tremendous columns in one or two decisive battles, and then, on the
ruins of the Russian empire, dictate terms of peace to the
humiliated emperor. This has been the course of events ever since
Bonaparte commanded, and so it will be hereafter."
"Your majesty, it will not; for, during twelve years, he has been
the instructor of the world, and the nations have learned from him
not only the art of war, but his special strategies. His secret
consists in the rapidity of his movements. He has made
Macchiavelli's words his own: 'A short and vigorous war insures
victory!' He must, therefore, be opposed by a protracted and
desultory war--his enemies must fight long, not with heavy columns,
but with light battalions, now here, now there; they must take care
not to bring on a general battle, but slowly thin the ranks of his
army, and exhaust his resources and his patience. This was the
course which the Spaniards pursued, and their hopes are, therefore,
promising; they are carrying on a guerilla warfare, and he is
obliged to renew the struggle every day without being able to defeat
them in a decisive battle. Russia will adopt a similar plan. She
will take pains to draw Napoleon farther and farther into the
interior of the country, incessantly alluring him forward by
insignificant victories, rendering him eager for a great battle. In
strict obedience to the plans he has adopted, she will especially
endeavor to weaken Napoleon, and cut him off from his supplies and
base of operations. She will successively fight him at every
important point with a strong army, supported by large reserves,
tire him out, and ruin him in detail. This plan she will adhere to
until her great ally approaches from Siberia--grim Winter, covering
Russia with an invulnerable defence, so that her sons may at last
take the offensive, and expel the terrified enemy."
"That is a grand, but an infernal scheme!" exclaimed the king, who
had risen, and was walking up and down with hasty steps. "Who
"No single brain; it is the result of the consultations of the most
eminent Russian generals. They also have studied Macchiavelli, and
found that significant axiom, 'He who knows how to resist will
conquer in the end.' The Russians, therefore, will resist, and they
"But who tells you that this is the plan which Russia will adopt?"
asked the king. "Whence have you derived such accurate information?"
"Your majesty," said Hardenberg, smiling, "though we publicly act as
the enemies of Russia, and are compelled to send our army against
her, she secretly regards us as her ally, and knows well that we are
only waiting for the favorable moment to drop the mask and become
the open enemy of the usurper. We have, therefore, warm friends in
Russia, who will keep us informed about every thing going on, that
we may prudently use the favorable moment when we also can take up
arms against Napoleon."
"No rash steps--no coups de main," exclaimed Frederick William,
gravely and imperiously, standing in front of Hardenberg, and
looking him full in the face. "I am opposed to any sort of underhand
games; when you are not strong enough to attack your enemy openly
and honestly, you ought to be too proud to shoot at him from an
ambuscade, like a coward and bandit. The bullet may miss him, and he
who fired it dies as a traitor, overwhelmed with disgrace. I have
concluded this alliance with France; I am now her ally, and thereby
compelled to furnish her an auxiliary corps of twenty thousand men
against Russia; so long, therefore, as this campaign lasts, I must,
by virtue of the pledges I have given, stand by France, and woe to
the general of mine who should forget this, and disobey the orders I
have given him!"
"There may be circumstances, however, your majesty," said
Hardenberg, in an embarrassed tone, "circumstances--"
"There can be none," interrupted the king, "justifying us to turn
traitors. A man has but one word to pledge, and that I have pledged
to Napoleon. When my soldiers forsake the colors under which I have
placed them, they shall be punished as deserters. No one knows the
anguish with which I say this, but as a man who must keep his word,
and as a commander-in-chief who, above all, must maintain discipline
and subordination, I cannot speak otherwise. Tell your friends in
Russia so. I am sad and dejected enough, compelled as I am to become
Napoleon's ally. But I will not perjure myself!"
"Your majesty, I bow in admiration of these noble words of my king,"
exclaimed Hardenberg, enthusiastically; "I wish the whole world
could hear them. At this hour you obtained a greater victory than
Napoleon ever gained on the battlefield--a victory of duty and
fidelity over your own inclinations and wishes! Far be it from me to
oppose this magnanimous resolution. Our army, then, will march out
side by side with the French troops and will return, if it ever
should, as an auxiliary corps of the grand army. But then, your
majesty, the new day will dawn, for which we must prepare while
Napoleon is in Russia. It must be in secret--in the dead of night--
but the rising sun will find us ready. The world is now united for
the great work; brethren are offering their hands to brethren from
the shores of the Mediterranean to those of the Atlantic and the
Baltic. Their common sufferings have filled their hearts with the
same love and hatred. All the nations are uniting into one family,
and in their wrath will destroy him who is menacing all alike.
Secret messengers keep the brethren in the west and north, in the
south and east, well informed of what is done by their friends.
Patriotic poets are arousing the nations from the lethargy that
enthralled them during so many years; they make them hear the gospel
of liberty, and awaken them from their indifference. In secret
workshops the brethren are forging arms; in the night the sisters
are at work upon uniforms, and their children are making lint for
warriors to be wounded in the holy war of liberation. They are
quietly preparing for it in the offices, the students' halls, and
the workshops. At the first call they will fling aside their pens
and tools, take up the sword, and hasten into the field, to deliver
the fatherland. All Europe, at the present moment, is but one vast
secret society, which has even in France active and influential
members. Napoleon stands on a volcano, which will soon engulf him."
"Enough!" exclaimed the king, anxiously. "Say no more; I will know
nothing about secret societies and conspiracies. They are perhaps an
inevitable evil in these times, but still they ARE an evil,
destroying those for whose benefit they were intended."
"May God in His mercy favor them in advancing our cause," exclaimed
Hardenberg, "that from them may arise the army that is to deliver
the nations from the yoke of the tyrant! I am convinced that it will
be so, and that the moment will come when Prussia will be able to
redeem the oath which I am sure every Prussian took when he saw the
coffin of the august Queen Louisa. On the day, your majesty, when I
saw it, I resolved to strive for no other object than to deliver my
country. For this I will devote my whole strength--my life, if need
be! Heaven heard my oath, and I shall not die before its
The king gazed long and mournfully upon the queen's portrait which
hung over his desk, and represented her in the attire in which
Frederick William had seen her for the first time. "But she died
before the hour of deliverance struck," he said, gloomily, to
himself. "Her heart was broken, and she did not even take hope with
her into the grave. She,--" he stopped suddenly, and turned his eyes
toward Hardenberg. "I will communicate something to you," he said
briefly and impulsively; "I will confess to you that I comprehend
your oath; for I also took one when I held the queen's corpse in my
arms. In the beginning the terrible blow paralyzed my soul, and I
felt as though I had been hurled into a dark abyss. Suddenly I
heard, as from a voice resounding in my ears, 'You must not die
before you avenge her death upon him who broke her heart!' I bent
over her, and kissing her lips, swore that I would live only to
obey. I have not forgotten that oath and that hour, and, you may
depend on it, I shall ever remember it; but I will wait for the
favorable moment and it must not be supposed that I can allow myself
to be carried away by imprudent projects."
"No one would wish that, your majesty," said Hardenberg hastily. "On
the contrary, prudence, above all, is necessary at the present time,
and for this reason I would entreat you to overcome your feelings
and go to Dresden, to pay your respects to the emperor."
"Never!" exclaimed Frederick William, starting up and blushing with
indignation. "No, nowhere else than in battle can I meet again this
man, who has destroyed my happiness, my honor, and my hopes! Do not
allude to this any more. It cannot be. How can I meet him, whom I
have not seen since the days of Tilsit? Who can ask me to go to
Dresden, to stand there as a courtier at the door of an arrogant
victor, and mingle with the crowd of his trainbearers?"
"Your majesty, the Emperor of Austria will also go to Dresden," said
"The Emperor of Austria does so, because he is unfortunate enough to
be Napoleon's father-in-law."
"Nevertheless, the Emperor Francis saw his son-in-law for the last
time on the day when, after the battle of Austerlitz, he repaired as
a supplicant to the bivouac-fire of Napoleon, and implored the
conqueror to grant him peace. That was even worse than Tilsit, and
still the Emperor of Austria comes to Dresden, to become, as your
majesty said, the trainbearer of the victor."
"Why does he do so?" asked the king, shrugging his shoulders.
"Because he must--because at the present time every wish of Napoleon
is almost an order, even for princes. Napoleon caused his ambassador
at Vienna verbally to inform the emperor that he wished to see his
father-in-law at Dresden, and witness the meeting of his consort,
Maria Louisa, with her parents. The Emperor Francis hastened to
comply with this request, and is expected to arrive to-morrow."
"Well, Bonaparte, fortunately, expressed to me no such wish, and it
will not be expected that I should go thither without being
requested to do so."
"Pardon me, your majesty, our ambassador at Dresden received a
similar communication from the French envoy at the court of Saxony.
The Emperor Napoleon desires likewise to see your majesty at
Dresden. Here is the letter from the ambassador."
The king took the paper and hastily glanced over it. He then heaved
a profound sigh, and, returning it to Hardenberg, fixed his eyes
once more upon the portrait of the queen. He gazed steadfastly upon
it. Gradually the expression of his features became milder, and his
gloomy eye more cheerful. With a wave of his hand he called
Hardenberg to his side; looking again at the portrait, and saluting
it with a gentle nod, he said, "She overcame her feelings, and went
to Tilsit, because she believed it necessary, for the welfare of
Prussia, to pacify the wrath of Napoleon. I will follow the example
of my beloved Louisa. I will conquer myself, and go to Dresden. But
you, Hardenberg, must accompany me."
THE WHITE LADY.
Great commotion reigned at the palace of Baireuth. Servants hurried
through the brilliantly-decorated rooms, spreading out here and
there an additional carpet, placing everywhere vases filled with
fragrant flowers, or dusting the finely-polished furniture. It was a
great and important day for Baireuth. All felt it, and excitement
and curiosity drove the inhabitants into the streets. No one cared
to stay at home, or be absent at that historic hour which was to
shed upon Baireuth a ray of her ancient glory.
The man at whose feet the world was prostrate, to whom kings and
princes were bowing, before whom empires trembled and thrones passed
away, who had only to stretch out his hand to establish new
dynasties, and whom the world admired while it hated--Napoleon--was
to arrive at Baireuth. The quartermasters had arrived already early
in the morning, and ordered in the name of the emperor that the
rooms at the palace should be put in readiness, because he intended
to reach Baireuth in the afternoon of the 14th of May, and stop
The whole population seemed to be in the streets. The windows of the
houses along the route of the emperor were open, crowded with the
most distinguished ladies of the city; they were dressed in their
most beautiful toilets, and held in their hands bouquets, with which
they intended to salute Napoleon. But the greatest commotion, as we
have remarked, reigned at the new palace, for the emperor had given
express orders that apartments should be prepared for him there, and
not at the old palace of the Margraves of Brandenburg. Count
Munster, intendant of the palaces, had, of course, complied with
these orders, and four brilliant rooms were ready for the reception
of Napoleon. All the arrangements were completed, and the intendant,
followed by the castellan, walked for the last time through the
imperial rooms to satisfy himself that every thing was in good
"No, nothing has been left undone," said the count, when he stepped
into the bedchamber destined for the emperor. "Every thing is as
comfortable as it is splendid; the arrangement reflects a great deal
of credit upon you, my dear Schluter, and will, doubtless, procure
you a liberal reward from the emperor, who is said to be very
"I do not wish to accept any presents at the tyrant's hands,"
growled the castellan, with a gloomy face; "I do not want to stain
my hands with the plunder which he brings from foreign lands, and
which is accompanied with a curse rather than a blessing."
"You are a fool, my dear Schluter," exclaimed the count, laughing.
"You see at least that curses do not incommode the emperor, for his
power and authority are constantly on the increase. He is now going
to Dresden, to see at his feet all the princes of Germany; and he
will then hasten northward, to gain new victories and humiliate the
only man in the world who still dares to defy him, the Emperor
Alexander of Russia."
"I know some one else who will not bow to him, and whom he will not
humiliate," said the castellan, contemptuously shrugging his
"Well, and who is that?" asked Count Munster, quickly.
"It is the White Lady!" exclaimed the castellan, solemnly and
Count Munster shuddered and glanced around in evident terror, "For
Heaven's sake, hush!" he said, hastily. "Pray forget these foolish
hallucinations, and, above all, do not venture to talk about them at
the present time."
The castellan shook his head slowly. "You ought not to talk of
hallucinations, count," he said, solemnly. "The White Lady is awake
and walking, and she knows that the enemy of her house, the house of
Brandenburg, will spend the coming night at this palace. I repeat it
to your excellency, she is walking, and her eyes are filled with
wrath, and there is a curse on her lips against the enemy of the
Hohenzollerns. I would not be surprised if she should shout to-night
into the ears of the tyrant, and, by her words, awaken him from his
"Gracious Heaven, Schluter, do not talk so audaciously!" exclaimed
the count, anxiously. "If one of the attendants of the emperor
overhear your words, you would perish. Napoleon is said to be
somewhat superstitious; he, who otherwise is afraid of nothing in
the world, is said to be easily terrified by ghosts, and to believe
in all sorts of omens and prophecies. He has already heard of the
White Lady of Baireuth, and therefore given express orders that
apartments should be prepared for him at the new palace, and not at
the old one, and rooms selected in which she was not in the habit of
walking. [Footnote: Historical.--Vide Minutoli, "The White Lady," p.
17.] I hope that you have punctually carried out this order, and
that these rooms are exempt from the visits of the apparition?"
"Who has the power to give orders to spirits, and command them, 'So
far and no farther?'" asked the castellan, almost scornfully. "She
goes whither she desires, and the doors closed against her she opens
by a breath. The walls disappear before her, and where you expect
her least of all, there you suddenly meet her tall, majestic form in
the white dress, her head covered with a black veil, under which her
large angry eyes are flashing."
"Hush, Schluter!" exclaimed the count, anxiously, "I know the
portrait of the White Lady, which hangs in the cabinet adjoining the
audience-hall, and it is, therefore, unnecessary for you to describe
her appearance to me."
"Your excellency knows that we have two portraits of the White
Lady," said the castellan, laconically.
"Yes, the one with the white dress is at the hermitage; the other,
representing her in a dark dress, is here at the palace. Thank
Heaven! there is but one portrait of her here, and I hope it is in
the other wing of the building."
"That is to say, I saw the portrait there this afternoon, but who
knows whether it is still there?"
"How so? Who knows?" asked the count impatiently. "What do you
"I mean, count, that it is in fact no portrait, but only the bed in
which the White Lady sleeps until it pleases her to walk, and that,
while she is walking, it will certainly not be found at its place.
Did I not report to your excellency six months since that the
portrait had again broken the nail and fallen? It was an entirely
new nail, count, so firm and strong, that half a regiment of French
soldiers might have been hung upon it at the same time; I had had
the nail made by the blacksmith, and the mason fixed it. I myself
hung up the portrait, and it seemed as firm as though it had grown
in the wall. But that very night a noise like a thunder-clap rolling
over my head awakened me, and when I opened my eyes, the White Lady
stood at my bedside; her right hand raised menacingly, her black
veil thrown back, she stared at me with a face flashing with anger.
I uttered a cry, and shut my eyes. When I opened them again, she had
disappeared. In the morning I went into the hall to look after the
portrait. It was gone. Where the nail had been fixed nothing but a
blood-red stain was to be seen; the nail itself, broken into small
pieces, lay on the floor. The portrait had walked to the small
cabinet adjoining the hall, and was quietly leaning there against
the wall as though nothing had happened."
"And I told you to let it stand there, and not try again to hang it
up. The large painting is too heavy."
"If the large painting wanted to hang on the wall it would allow the
smallest nail to hold it," said Schluter, shaking his head. "But the
White Lady wishes to stand on her own feet, and no human power is
able to prevent her."
"Schluter, I repeat to you, you are a dreamer," exclaimed the count,
impatiently. "Let us speak no more of the apparition. It makes one
feel quite curious. Tell me now whether you have really removed the
portrait far enough that it cannot be seen by the emperor?"
"When I was an hour ago at the cabinet adjoining the audience-hall,
the portrait was still there. But who knows what may have happened
"Well, it is a fixed idea of yours," said the count, shrugging his
shoulders. "I do not wish to hear any more of it. These rooms are
finely arranged, and I have no fault to find with them. Now lock the
entrance-door, and let us go out through the Gallery of Palms, by
which the emperor will have to enter."
"Pray, your excellency, lead the way; I shall lock the door and
immediately follow you," said the castellan, walking hastily through
the opened rooms.
Count Munster slowly walked on, thoughtfully looking down, and
shuddering inwardly at the immovable superstition of the castellan,
whom his reason vainly endeavored to deride.
"And still it is folly, nothing but folly," he muttered to himself,
while opening the high hall-door, and stepping into the anteroom, to
which, on account of its length and narrowness, and the fresco
paintings of tropical plants on the walls, the name of the "Gallery
of Palms" had been given.
All was silent in this gallery; the setting sun shed its beams
through the windows, covered with dark curtains, and drew trembling
shining lines across the high room. The footsteps of the count
resounded so loudly that he himself was frightened, and glanced
anxiously around. Suddenly he started in dismay, and quickly
advanced several steps. He had seen something moving at the lower
end of the gallery, and it seemed to him as though he had heard
approaching footsteps. Yes, he was not mistaken; now he saw it quite
distinctly! A lady approached. The sun illuminated her tall form,
and shed a golden light over the white dress falling down in ample
folds over her feet. She approached with slow steps, quite
regardless of the count, who at first looked at her in surprise, and
then turned with an angry face toward the castellan, who just then
"You did not comply, then, with my orders, Schluter?" exclaimed the
count, vehemently. "I told you expressly to keep the rooms shut
until the emperor's arrival, and not to admit any one. How could you
dare disobey my instructions?"
"But, your excellency, I did obey them," answered Schluter. "Not a
human being besides the footmen has been permitted to enter here,
and even those I drove out two hours ago, and shut the doors."
"If that be true, how does it happen that there is a lady here in
the gallery," asked Count Minister, stretching out his arm toward
the lower end of the apartment.
"A lady?" asked Schluter, greatly amazed. "Where is she, your
The count fixed his eyes searchingly on the large arched window, in
the bright light of which he had distinctly seen the lady. She was
gone--the gallery was empty. "You forgot to shut the lower door, and
while I turned and scolded you, the lady escaped!" he exclaimed. He
hastily rushed forward, and tried to open the door leading into the
corridor: but this was locked. The count vainly shook the lock.
"That is strange," he muttered, dropping his hand. "I know I saw her
distinctly; it is impossible that I could have been mistaken. Where
can she be? What has become of her? Where has she concealed
"What becomes of the last sigh of a dying person, your excellency,"
asked Schluter, solemnly. "Where does the soul conceal itself after
escaping from the body?"
"Ah, nonsense!" ejaculated Count Munster. "It could not have been a
spectre. Why, it is not a spectre's hour, and, besides, I certainly
saw the lady plainly; it was a decidedly earthly figure. Her face
was pale and grave, but there was nothing spectral about it. She
wore a black veil thrown back from her face; the upper part of her
body was covered with--"
"A dark pelisse trimmed with fur," interrupted Schluter, composedly.
"Below this dark pelisse protruded a white silk dress, falling to
the ground in full folds."
"Yes, yes, that was the costume," exclaimed the count. "But how do
you know it without having seen her?"
"It is the costume of the White Lady, your excellency," said
Schluter, "and it was she who just walked through the gallery. Pray,
count, go with me to the other wing of the palace and look at her
portrait; your excellency will then be convinced that I tell the
"No, no, I do not wish to see it," replied Count Munster, whose
cheeks turned pale, and who felt his heart frozen with terror.
"Unlock the door, Schluter! The air here is sultry and very
oppressive! Quick! quick! open the door!" The castellan obeyed, and
the count rushed out into the corridor, where he opened a window and
inhaled the fresh air in eager draughts.
At this moment shouts were heard at a distance, and at the same time
the count's footman rushed breathlessly down the corridor. "Your
excellency, the emperor is coming. He has already passed through the
gate, and the people are loudly cheering him. I have run as fast as
I could, in order to inform your excellency."
"I am coming," said the count, advancing rapidly. But, having
proceeded a few steps, he turned again and beckoned the castellan to
his side. "Schluter," he whispered to him, "if you love your life,
do not say a word about what has just happened here. It must remain
"A secret!" muttered Schluter to himself, gazing after the count,
who hurried away. "The White Lady will manage the affair in such a
manner that he at least will hear of the secret, and the
bloodthirsty tyrant will not sleep well in the palace of the
Margraves of Brandenburg." He violently closed the door and stepped
out into the large staircase-hall, the doors of which opened upon
the street. Uttering incoherent words of indignation in an
undertone, the castellan pushed open one of the windows and looked
gloomily down on the street. An immense crowd were in front of the
palace; all eyes were turned to the side from which the emperor was
to approach. Breathless with curiosity, the people waited for the
arrival of the hero who had conquered nearly all the world.
"How those fools are gaping!" growled Schluter. "Idle and lazy as
usual; they like to complain and lament, but they never think of
doing anything. If only each one would take up a single stone from
the pavement and throw it as a greeting at the tyrant's iron head,
all this distress and wretchedness would be at an end. But no one
thinks of that, and I should not wonder if those fellows, instead of
cursing him, should enthusiastically cheer him."
The shouts drew nearer at this moment, as the crowd rushed from the
lower part of the street, their acclamations growing constantly more
deafening. French lancers galloped up to keep the people back, and
several carriages, preceded by a plain calash, came in view. A
negro, dressed in a richly-embroidered livery, sat on the box by the
side of the coachman; two plainly-dressed gentlemen occupied the
inside of the carriage.
"That is he!" growled Schluter. "The Evil One brings him hither--he
is his best friend. Yes, that is he, and he looks pale, grave, and
incensed, as though he would like to wither by a single glance the
whole miserable rabble staring at him."
"That is he!" shouted the people. "Long live Napoleon! Long live the
Napoleon gazed coldly arid impassively upon the crowd, whose cheers
came to him as a sound to which he had long been accustomed, and
which was by no means agreeable. It was not worth while for him to
smile on these inhabitants of a small city; a cold, quick nod was a
sufficient acknowledgment. "Long live Napoleon!" shouted the crowd
again, when the emperor, having left the carriage, now turned again
in front of the palace-gate, and gazed long and indifferently upon
The castellan closed his window. "Ah!" he said, "he dares to enter
this palace. The White Lady will bid him welcome, and know how to
hasten the flight of this arrogant tyrant. Napoleon is coming! Do
you hear that, White Lady? Napoleon is coming!" He burst into
laughter, and, opening the door of the corridor, took a position at
the one leading into the Gallery of Palms.
Footsteps resounded on the staircase, and various persons appeared.
Generals, adjutants, and lackeys hurried in and formed on both
sides, as it were, in line of battle. The emperor then entered the
lower end of the corridor; Count Munster walked by his side in the
most respectful and submissive manner. All bowed their heads
reverentially, but the emperor took no notice of them, and slowly
passed the saluting officers and servants.
"I hope you have punctually fulfilled my orders, count?" he asked,
in his sonorous voice. "This is the new palace, is it not?"
"It is, sire. And this man will testify that no one has set foot
into the imperial rooms," said Count Munster, pointing with a smile
to the castellan, who, holding his bunch of keys in his uplifted
arm, stood at the entrance of the Gallery of Palms.
"Who is it?" asked Napoleon, whose eagle eye was fixed upon
"Sire, it is the castellan of this palace, a faithful, reliable man,
who has been on service here for more than thirty years. He has
guarded and locked the rooms, and they open now only to your
"Open," ordered the emperor, with a quick wave of his hand. The
castellan obeyed, and Napoleon entered. Count Munster followed, and
the attendants crowded in after them. Advancing quickly into the
middle of the gallery, the emperor stood directly in front of the
arched window in which Count Munster had before seen the strange
"The White Lady, then, never appears in this wing of the palace?"
asked Napoleon, abruptly.
"No, sire--never," said Count Munster, solemnly. "On the whole,
sire, no one here believes in the absurd old story, and I am sure no
one knows of the White Lady otherwise than from hearsay."
The emperor nodded, and passed on. "Let us soon have supper; you
will be my guest," he said, turning on the threshold to Count
Munster and dismissing the gentlemen of his suite.
The door closed. He was now a guest at the palace of the ancestors
of the royal family of Prussia, the Margraves of Brandenburg.
NAPOLEON AND THE WHITE LADY.
The emperor had long risen from the supper-table. The imperial suite
had been allowed to withdraw. Alone he sat in a comfortable night-
dress on the high, antiquated easy-chair, in front of the fire-
place, in which, at his express order, notwithstanding the warm
weather, a large fire had been kindled. He liked heat; the sun of
Egypt and the desert had never been too warm for him; in the hottest
summer days in France he frequently felt chilly, and called for a
fire. It seemed as though the inflamed blood in his veins made the
world appear cold to him; he saw the light of the sunbeams, but did
not feel their warmth. He now sat close to the fire, his face bent
over the large map that lay on the table. It was a map of Russia. He
rapidly drew several lines across it, marking positions with the
colored pins, taken from the small boxes beside him. "Yes, this is
my plan," he said to himself, after a long pause. "Three of my corps
must be placed on the Niemen; Davoust, Oudinot, and Ney, will
command them. There, farther to the left, the cavalry reserves,
under Nansouty and Montbrun, will take position. Here the old guard,
under Lefebore; there the young guard, under Mortier and Bessieres,
with the cavalry of the guard. At this point, farther to the south,
the fourth corps, composed of the Italians and Bavarians, will
operate, and the Viceroy of Italy, Eugene, will be its general-in-
chief. Farther down, here at Grodno and Bialys tock, I will place
the Poles, Westphalians, and Saxons; the fifth, seventh, and eighth
corps to be commanded by my brother Jerome. The Prussians will halt
at Tilsit, and form the extreme left wing; Macdonald will be their
leader; and below there, at Drochiczyn Schwartzenberg with his
Austrians will form the extreme right wing. The preparations are
complete, and the thunder-cloud is ready to burst over Russia if
Alexander should persist in his obstinacy. Like the waves of the
tempestuous ocean, my armies are rolling toward the shores of
Russia. They can still be stopped by a suppliant word from
Alexander. If he refuses, let his destiny be fulfilled, and let the
roar of my cannon inform him that his hour has struck, and that the
end of his imperial power draws nigh. It was his own will. He
himself has brought destruction upon his head! He--"
A loud noise above his head, making the walls tremble and the
windows rattle suddenly interrupted the stillness. The emperor rose
from his seat and shouted "Roustan!" The door of the adjoining room
opened and the Mameluke appeared on the threshold.
"What was it?" asked Napoleon hastily.
"Sire, it was as if a wall fell in above us; the noise was as loud
as though a cannon were fired in the palace. I rushed immediately
into the corridor, but every thing there was quiet. Only the
castellan of the palace appeared in the utmost haste in his night-
gown, and asked whether an accident had happened in the rooms of the
"Where is the castellan now?"
"Sire, when I told him that the noise was on the upper floor, he
immediately went thither in order to see what had occurred."
"Go and bring him to me," ordered Napoleon; and when Roustan had
withdrawn, the emperor fixed his eyes steadfastly on the door, and
his compressed lips quivered with impatience.
Finally, the door opened again; Roustan appeared, followed by the
castellan, pale and trembling, behind the Mameluke, and clinging
with his hands to the door to support himself.
Napoleon cast upon him one of his quick glances. "What was this
noise, and why do you tremble so violently?"
"Pardon me, your majesty," faltered Schluter, "but my terror--the
surprise--I am afraid I have lost my senses. I have just seen
something so unheard of, so incredible, that I--"
"What have you seen?" asked Napoleon. "Speak! What was this noise?"
The castellan slowly raised his head, and stared with terrified eyes
at the emperor. "Your majesty," he said, solemnly, "the White Lady
made the noise!"
Napoleon started, and his brow grew clouded. "But did they not tell
me that the miserable spectre never haunted this part of the
palace?" he asked. "Did I not issue orders that rooms should be
given me where I should not be disturbed by this apparition?"
"Your majesty, she has hitherto never entered these rooms,"
exclaimed Schluter. "Never before has the White Lady directed her
steps hither, and this afternoon her portrait stood quietly in a
cabinet of the other wing of the palace. I can take an oath that
this is true."
"What portrait do you refer to?" asked Napoleon, impatiently.
"The portrait of the White Lady," said Schluter. "I saw it this very
day in the cabinet on the other side; all the doors were locked, and
now I suddenly find this large painting in the room above you; it
was lying on the floor as if in walking it had stumbled over
something and fallen. It is the first time that the White Lady
appears in this wing of the palace; her portrait has come from the
other side, and Heaven alone knows how it has happened. Whenever we
wished to convey the painting, with its enormous wooden frame, from
one room to another, no less than six men were required to carry it,
and now it is here as though it had flitted through the air: and it
is lying on the floor as if struck down by lightning."
"And you think the fall of the painting produced the noise?"
"I feel convinced of it. If your majesty wishes me to do so, I will
get a few men, go up-stairs to raise the painting, and let it fall
again, that your majesty may judge whether it is the same noise or
"Ah, you do not feel much respect for your walking portrait,"
exclaimed the emperor, smiling. "You want to abuse it, and make
experiments with it. We will suppose that the fall of the painting
was the sole cause of the noise. Now, that it is on the floor, I
believe it will lie still and disturb us no longer, unless it be
that your portrait should fall asleep and snore. What do you know
"Your majesty," said Schluter, gravely, "the White Lady never
The emperor cast a searching glance upon him, and then turned away,
folded his hands, and slowly paced the room. Suddenly he stood in
front of the castellan.
"What about this White Lady?" he asked, hastily. "Who was she, and
what is her history?"
"Ah, sire, it is a long and melancholy history concerning the
ancestors of the Margraves of Brandenburg," said Schluter, sighing.
"You know the history?"
"Yes, your majesty, I know it well."
"Tell it to me, but very briefly," said Napoleon, throwing himself
on the easy-chair in front the fireplace, and ordering Roustan, by a
wave of his hand and the word "Fire!" to add fresh fuel.
"Now, tell me all about it."
"Your majesty," replied Schluter, hesitatingly, "I do not know how
to narrate a story in fine words, and you must pardon me if I do not
acquit myself very satisfactorily."
"Who was this White Lady?"
"Sire, her name was Cunigunda, Countess von Plassenburg. Her parents
had compelled her to marry the old Count von Plassenburg, and when
her husband died, after two years of unhappy wedded life, the
Countess Cunigunda of Orlamunde and Plassenburg was a young widow,
twenty-four years of age, heiress of the splendid Plassenburg, and
mother of two children. She was a gay-spirited lady, and looked
around for another husband. Her eyes fell on the Burgrave of
Nuremberg, the distinguished nobleman Albert the Handsome. The whole
German people called him so; and all the girls, far and near,
daughters of the nobility, as well as those of the citizens of
Nuremberg, loved the fine-looking Burgrave of Nuremberg, who was the
ancestor of the House of Hohenzollern. But the noble Count Albert
loved only one young lady, beautiful Beatrice of Hainault, and would
marry none but her. The Countess Cunigunda of Orlamunde, however,
was not aware of this, and sent him a message, asking him whether he
would not like to marry her. She would give him, besides her hand,
the splendid Plassenburg and all her other property. Burgrave Albert
the Handsome smiled when he heard the message; shrugging his
shoulders, he said: 'Tell your countess I regard her as very
amiable, and should like to marry her, provided four eyes were not
in existence. But as it is, I cannot do so.' The burgrave referred
to the eyes of his parents, who did not like the Countess of
Orlamunde, and he wished to make them responsible for his refusal,
so as not to offend the beautiful widow. But Cunigunda interpreted
the words differently, and thought the four eyes, which the Burgrave
said were in the way of their marriage, were those of her two
children. She loved the handsome Burgrave so intensely, that she
henceforth hated the children, because she believed them to be the
sole obstacles to her marriage. The Evil One and her passion
whispered into her ear, 'Go and kill your children.' So Cunigunda
rose from her couch; in a long white night-dress, her head covered
with a black veil, she crept to the bed of her children, and,
drawing from her raven hair a long golden pin, set with precious
stones (a gift which she had once received at the hands of Burgrave
Albert), she pierced the heads of her children, penetrating the
brain to the vertebra."
"Medea!" ejaculated Napoleon, staring into the fire. "This, then, is
the history of the Medea of the Hohenzollern."
"No, sire, the name of the countess was not Medea, but Cunigunda,"
said Schluter, respectfully.
Napoleon smiled. "Proceed," he said.
"On the following morning there was great wailing at the
Plassenburg, for the two sweet little children lay dead in their
bed; not a vestige of violence was to be seen, and the physician of
the countess decided that a stroke of apoplexy had killed them. The
Countess of Orlamunde sent a mounted messenger to Nuremberg to
Burgrave Albert the Handsome, requesting him to come and see her.
And when the burgrave came she met him in a white bridal dress, and
looked at him with radiant eyes; in her uplifted right hand she had
the golden hair-pin, and said, 'The four eyes are no longer in
existence. For your sake I have stabbed my two children with this
pin, your first love-gift; the four eyes are extinguished forever.
Now, marry me!' But the burgrave recoiled in terror, and pushed back
the murderess, who was about to embrace him. He then dragged her
through the rooms to the dungeon of the castle. She begged and
cried, but the burgrave had no mercy upon the infanticide, and
hurled her down into the dungeon. He then informed the courts of the
crime that had been committed. The Countess von Orlamunde, the last
member of her family, was put on trial, and sentence of death passed
upon her. The burgrave of Nuremberg sent the first executioner from
the city to the Plassenburg, and the countess was beheaded in the
presence of the burgrave, and in the same room in which she had
murdered her children. Before putting her head on the block she
glanced at the handsome burgrave, raised both her arms toward
heaven, and took a fearful oath that she would avenge herself on him
and his house; that, whenever one of his descendants was at the
point of death, she would be present, as the burgrave himself was
now present at her death; that she would never rest in her grave,
but live and walk, though the burgrave had her executed, and that,
as she was before him now at her last hour, she would appear to him
at his last hour. After uttering these words, she put her head
calmly on the block. The burgrave then had her buried at the convent
of Himmelskron, and, by virtue of an old treaty, the Burgraves of
Nuremberg now succeeded to the fiefs of the Counts of Orlamunde,
whose line had become extinct. The Plassenburg, with Baireuth and
Burgundy, and all the possessions of the Counts of Orlamunde,
therefore passed into the hands of Burgrave Albert the Handsome. He
did not enjoy the inheritance a long time, for, a few years
afterward, shortly after he had married the beautiful Countess
Beatrice of Hainault, he died very suddenly. His wife was awakened
by a loud cry he uttered. He then exclaimed, 'Cunigunda, do you come
already to take me away? Woe to me! Woe to me!' All became still;
the countess called for the servants and a light. They rushed into
the room with torches. Burgrave Albert the Handsome lay in his bed
dead. That, your majesty, is the history of the White Lady of
"This lady, then, followed the Hohenzollern from the Plassenburg to
Baireuth and Berlin?" asked Napoleon. "For she appears sometimes at
Berlin, does she not?"
"At Berlin, and all places where members of the house of
Hohenzollern, the descendants of the Burgraves of Nuremberg, are
about to die."
"Oh, the dear lady, then, appears only to the family of the
Hohenzollern," exclaimed Napoleon, smiling. "Is it not so?"
"No, your majesty, at times she appears also to others," said
Schluter; "she walks about the palace, and if there is any one in
her way whom she dislikes, she tells them so, and angrily orders him
away. She forgets no insult heaped upon her house, and she is
terrible in her wrath."
"I have heard of it," exclaimed the emperor, gloomily. "My generals
complained vehemently of the annoyances they had suffered here in
1806, owing to the movements of this lady. You were here at that
time, were you not?"
"I was, sire, and so I was when General d'Espagne, in 1809,
established his headquarters at this palace."
"Ah, I remember," said Napoleon to himself. "Duroc told me the
horrible story at that time. Tell me what was it that befell General
"Sire, the general had arrived late at night, and, being weary, had
immediately retired. In the night terrible cries were heard in his
room. The orderlies hastened into it; the general's bed, which, when
he retired for the night stood at the wall, was now in the middle of
the room; it was upset, and, having fainted, he lay under it. He was
placed on a couch, and a doctor sent for, who bled him, and, when he
awoke, gave him sedative powders. The general declared that the
White Lady had appeared to him, and tried to kill him. While
struggling with her, his bed was upset, and, when about to succumb,
he uttered loud cries for assistance. He described all the
particulars of the countenance, form, and dress of the apparition,
and, at his express request, I had to conduct him to her portrait.
As soon as he saw it, he turned pale, and almost sank to the floor,
muttering, 'It is she! She looked exactly like that when she
appeared to me! Her apparition, doubtless, indicated my impending
death!' His officers tried to dissuade him from this belief, but he
adhered to his conviction, and left the palace that very night in
order to establish his headquarters at the 'Fantaisie,' the king's
little villa near the city. On the following morning General
d'Espagne sent a large detachment of soldiers to this palace; they
had to open the floor under the direction of their officers, and
take down the wall-paper, in order to see whether there were any
secret trap-doors or hidden entrances. [Footnote: Vide Minutoli,
"The White Lady," p. 17.] But they found nothing, for the White Lady
needs no theatrical apparatus; she goes where she pleases, and walls
and locked doors open to her. General d'Espagne, however, was unable
to overcome his horror. He left Baireuth on the following day, and
when he rode out of the gate he said, 'I heard my own death-knell
here at Baireuth. I shall soon die!'"
"And he really died shortly after, for he was killed at the battle
of Aspen," [Footnote: Ibid., p.17.] said Napoleon to himself,
staring gloomily into the fire. A pause ensued; suddenly the emperor
rose. "It is all right," he said. "Go! Your story of the White Lady
was quite entertaining. I hope she will keep quiet now. Go!--And
you, too, Roustan! I will afterward call you!" Long after the two
had withdrawn, the emperor walked slowly up and down the room. He
stood at length in front of the fireplace, and stared moodily into
the blazing flames. His face was pale and gloomy. "Foolish stories,
which no man of sense can believe! but which, nevertheless, are
fulfilled now and then," he added, in a lower voice. "Was it not
predicted to Josephine that she would become an empress; and that
not death, but a woman, would hurl her from the throne? The prophecy
was fulfilled! Poor Josephine! I had to desert you, and, at your
lonely palace of Malmaison, you are perhaps praying for me at this
hour, because you know I am about to brave new dangers. Poor
Josephine!--you were my good angel, and, since you are no longer at
my side--no matter!" the emperor interrupted himself; "I will retire
to rest." He advanced several steps toward the door leading into his
bedroom, where Roustan and Constant were waiting for him, but
stopping said, "No, I will first arrange my plans, and fight my
decisive battles with the Emperor Alexander." He returned with rapid
steps to the table covered with maps, and resumed his seat in the
easy-chair. The tapers were burning dimly; the flames in the
fireplace flickered, shedding a dark-red lustre on the marble face
of the emperor, who, bending over the map, sat motionless. Perhaps
it was the heat, or the profound silence, that lulled him to sleep.
His head fell back into the chair, and his eyes closed. The emperor
slept, but his sleep was not calm, and his features, which when
awake were so firm and motionless, were restless, and expressive of
various emotions. Once he exclaimed in a tender voice, "My father!
Do you at last come to me? Oh, welcome, father!" And a joyous
expression overspread the countenance of the sleeper; but it soon
faded away, and he appeared angry, and his lips quivered. "No, no,"
he said, with a faltering tongue, impeded by sleep, "no, father, you
are mistaken! my luck does not resemble the changing seasons; I am
not yet in autumn, when the fruits drop from the trees and winter is
at hand." He paused again, and his face assumed the expression of an
attentive listener. "What!" he then exclaimed in a loud voice, "you
say my family will leave me, and betray me in adversity? No, that is
impossible, I have lavished kindnesses on them, I--" He paused, and
seemed to listen again. "Ah," he exclaimed, after a short interval,
starting violently, "that is too much! All Europe is unable to
overthrow me. My name is more powerful than Fate!"
Awakened, perhaps, by the loud sound of his own voice, he opened his
eyes and looked around uneasily. "Ah," he said, putting his hand on
his moist forehead, "what a terrible dream it was! My father stood
before me, and predicted what would befall me. He prophesied my
ruin! He cautioned me against my relatives, and the ingratitude of
my marshals! [Footnote: "Le Normand." vol. ii, p. 421.] It is the
second time that this is predicted to me, and just as I now saw and
heard my father in my dream, the old sorceress spoke to me by the
pyramids of Egypt." And the emperor, absorbed in his reflections,
muttered in a hollow voice: "'You will have two wives,' said the
Egyptian sorceress to me; 'your first wife you will unjustly desert.
Your second wife will bear you a son, but your misfortunes will
nevertheless begin with her. You will soon cease to be prosperous
and powerful. All your hopes will be disappointed; you will be
forcibly expelled, and cast upon a foreign soil, hemmed in by
mountains and the sky. Beware of your relatives! Your own blood will
revolt against you!' [Footnote: This prophecy is historical. Vide
"Le Normand," vol. ii., p. 487.] Nonsense," exclaimed the emperor,
quickly raising his head; "all this is folly. The palace, with its
weird traditions, has infected me, and I scent ghosts in the air,
and transform my dreams into prophecies. I will retire!"
For the second time he approached the door of the bedroom, but
suddenly recoiled and stood with dilated eyes. In front of it
appeared a tall female figure, her arms spread out before the door,
as if she wished to prevent the emperor from passing out. A long
white dress covered her slender form, a black veil concealed her
bosom and her erect head; but behind the transparent tissue of the
veil was a pale, beautiful face, the eyes of which were flashing
like swords' points. Breathless with horror, he fixed his eyes
steadfastly on the apparition, that approached him now with uplifted
arms. Trembling in spite of himself, he drew back, and, putting his
hand on the back of the easy-chair, gazed searchingly at the
"You dare set your foot into the house of the Hohenzollerns?" asked
the spectre in a hollow, menacing voice. "You come hither to disturb
the repose of the dead? Flee, audacious man--flee, for destruction
is pursuing you; it will seize and destroy you! Your last hour has
come! Prepare to stand before your Judge!"
"Ay, you will kill me, then, beautiful lady?" asked Napoleon,
sneeringly. "You will revenge the defeats I have inflicted on the
descendants of Burgrave Albert the Handsome, on the battle-fields of
Jena, Eylau, and Friedland? In truth, I should have thought that
beautiful Cunigunda of Orlamunde would rather welcome me as a
friend, for was it not I who avenged her on the faithless house of
"You try to mock me," said the spectre, "for your heart is filled
with doubt, and your soul with pride. But beware, Bonaparte--beware,
I tell you for the last time--your hour has come, and every step you
advance is a step toward your ruin. Turn back, Bonaparte, if you
intend to be saved, for ruin awaits you on the battle-fields of
Russia! Turn back, for the souls of your victims cry to God for
vengeance, and demand your blood for theirs--your punishment for the
ruthlessly destroyed happiness of whole nations! Bonaparte, escape
from the soil of Germany, and dare no longer to set foot upon it,
for disgraceful defeats are in store for you! Return to France, and
endeavor to conciliate those who are cursing you as a perjurer and
"Who are they who dare call me a perjurer and renegade?" asked
"Who are they?" repeated the spectre, advancing a step toward the
emperor and fixing her menacing eyes upon him. "The men to whom you
once vowed eternal fidelity, and whom you called your brethren--
The emperor started in terror, and his cheeks turned livid. His
features, which had hitherto had a sneering, scornful air, were now
gloomy, and he stared with an expression of undisguised fear at the
lady who stood before him in an imposing attitude, with her arm
lifted in a menacing manner.
"The Philadelphians?" asked Napoleon, timidly. "I do not know them."
"You do!" said the spectre, solemnly. "You do know that the
invisible ones are watching you, and will punish you because you
have broken your oath!"
"I know of no oath!"
"Woe to you if you have forgotten it. I will repeat it to you! It
was in 1789, at the forest of Fontainebleau, that you appeared at
the meeting of the brethren and requested to be initiated. The
Philadelphians admitted you into their league and received your
oath. Shall I repeat this oath to you?"
"Do so if you can!"
"You swore that never again should a freeman obey kings, and that
death to tyrants under all titles and in all governments is
"That was the formality of the oath of every club and secret society
at that time," exclaimed Napoleon, contemptuously.
"But the Philadelphians demanded still another written oath of you.
It read as follows: 'I consent that my life be taken if I ever
become reconciled to royalty. In order to contribute to its
eradication in Europe, I will make use of fire and sword, and, when
the society to which I belong asks me to do so, sacrifice even what
is most precious to me.' You wrote this and affixed your name to it
with your blood." [Footnote: "Le Normand" vol. ii., p. 516.]
"It is true, I did!" muttered Napoleon. "I was a fool, dreaming,
like all the others, of the possibility of a republic."
"You were a believer, and have become a renegade," exclaimed the
spectre, in a threatening voice. "The invisible ones will judge and
punish you, unless you make haste to conciliate them. You have
forgotten that you stand under the yoke of the Philadelphians. The
Emperor Napoleon believes that he has power to blot out with the
blood of subjugated nations the words of the sacred oath which
Lieutenant Bonaparte swore to the Philadelphians in the forest of
"And I HAVE the power to do so!" exclaimed Napoleon, proudly. "I
stretch out my arm over Europe, and she bows before me."
"But the Philadelphians will break your arm, and convert your crowns
into dust, unless you make haste to conciliate them," exclaimed the
spectre. "Turn back, for it is yet time. Return to France, renounce
conquests: France wants no more wars; she is cursing the tyrant who
refuses peace to her and to Europe. There has been bloodshed enough.
Take an oath at this hour that you will renounce your ambition, and
no longer pursue a career of crime and blood! Swear that you will
return to France to-morrow!"
"Never!" ejaculated Napoleon, vehemently, and coloring with anger.
"Swear that you will return, or I will kill you!" cried the spectre.
"I will kill you as a wolf. Swear that you will return!"
"Ah, you will not swear--you prefer to die, then," and at a bound
she was by the Emperor's side, grasped him with iron hands, and
threw him down on the easy-chair. "You prefer to die!" she repeated
wildly, tearing the black veil from her head and showing her face
unveiled. It was livid as that of a corpse, the bloodless lips
quivering, and her red eyes flaming with rage.
"You prefer to die!" exclaimed the spectre, for the third time.
"Well, die!" And her arms encircled Napoleon's breast like iron
rings, her glance seemed to pierce his face, her lips opened and
exhibited terrible teeth, as if ready to tear his breast. The
emperor was unable to breathe; he felt his strength giving way, and,
with a last effort, he uttered a shrill cry calling for help.
"Sire, sire, awake!" cried an anxious voice by his side. Napoleon
started up, and violently pushed back the hand which touched his
arm. "Who is there?" he asked, angrily.
"Sire, it is I--Constant!" said the faithful valet de chambre. "I
heard in the antechamber your majesty's groans and cries; I rushed
in and saw you writhing on the easy-chair. A bad dream seemed to
torment your majesty, and I therefore ventured to awaken you."
"And I am glad you did, Constant," said the emperor. "Ah, my friend,
what a terrible dream it was! The White Lady was here; she threw
herself upon me like a tigress; she wanted to tear me and drink my
"Your majesty had once before a similar dream," said Constant,
"Where--where was it?" asked Napoleon, hastily, wiping the cold
sweat from his brow.
"Sire, it was at Erfurt, when the Emperor Alexander was there."
[Footnote: Constant, "Memoires," vol. iv., p. 79.]
"Yes, I remember," said the emperor, in a low voice. "It seems this
bad dream returns as soon as I approach Alexander. Does Fate intend
to warn me? Is he to be the wolf that will one day lacerate my
breast? Ah, it was an awful dream, indeed, and even now it seems to
me as really seen and heard." He glanced around the gloomy room.
Every thing was in precisely the same condition as when he had
entered it. The maps lay undisturbed on the table before him; the
colored pins stood in long rows like little armies, and opposite
each other, drawn up in line of battle. But the tapers had burned,
down, and the fire was nearly extinguished. Napoleon rose
shudderingly from his easy-chair. "I will go to rest," he said.
Constant, taking a candlestick, preceded the emperor, and opened the
door of the adjoining room. Fifteen minutes afterward Napoleon was
in bed, and Constant and Roustan had withdrawn into the antechamber.
But this sleep was not to be of long duration. A loud cry, uttered
by his master, awakened Constant, and caused him to rush into the
bedroom. The emperor had raised himself in bed. "Constant," he said,
"it was no dream this time. The White Lady was here--I saw her
distinctly--I had not fallen asleep, my eyes and all my senses were
awake. I saw the tall, white figure, her head covered with the black
veil, at the wall there, as though she had grown from the ground. At
a bound she was at my bedside, and raised her hands. I quickly
seized her and called for you. She then glided from my fingers and
disappeared. Like General d'Espagne, I say there must he a trap-door
somewhere in this room. Call Roustan, take lights, and examine the
walls and the floor."
The valet de chambre hastened to fetch Roustan: they took lights and
made a thorough examination, but in vain. The oaken planks of the
floor were firmly joined, and the dark velvet hangings glued to the
"Well, then, the White Lady has fooled me in another dream," said
the emperor. "Go! Let us sleep." The two servants withdrew.
About an hour had elapsed, when another cry, uttered by the emperor,
called Constant back into the bedroom. Seized with dismay, he halted
at the door. The bed was in the middle of the room; the table which
stood beside it was upset, and the night-lamp lay thrown on the
"I hope that no accident has befallen your majesty," said Constant,
rushing toward the emperor.
"No," said Napoleon. "But this accursed white spectre was here
again. It wanted to treat me like General d'Espagne; to upset my bed
and throttle me. I awoke just when this horrible monster of a woman
pushed the bed with the strength of a giant into the middle of the
room. I called for you, and she disappeared. As the White Lady
apparently does not like several persons to be in the room, you and
Roustan must remain here to-night."
"And, with your majesty's leave, each of us will hold a pistol in
his hand, that we may fire at the apparition if it return."
"Ah, my friend, you know little of the power of spectres," said
Napoleon, smiling. "When you have fired at them, they laugh
scornfully, throw the bullet back to you and pass on entirely
uninjured. That is their fashion. But you may take your pistols, and
if she has still a human heart in her breast, she will feel some
respect for it."
And the White Lady really seemed to have a human heart. Constant and
Roustan, who sat on the floor beside the emperor's bed with cocked
pistols, waited in vain for the return of the apparition. Every
thing remained quiet; nothing stirred in the room, where the
emperor, guarded by his faithful servants, now at last enjoyed
When he rose on the following morning, his face was even paler and
gloomier than usual. He who generally on being dressed conversed in
an affable manner with his servants, remained silent and grave that
day, and muttered only occasionally, "The accursed palace! The
miserable spectre-hole!" [Footnote: Historical.--Vide Minutoli, "The
White Lady," p. 17.]
Constant and Roustan, having finished the emperor's toilet, were
about leaving the room, when he called them back by a gesture. "You
will not mention any thing about what happened here last night!" he
said, imperiously. "If I find out that you disobey my order, I shall
be very angry. Go!" And the emperor went into the Gallery of Palms
in order to receive the reports of his suite and give the usual
audiences. With a nod and a dismal look he greeted Count Munster,
who inquired, with the fawning smile of a true courtier, whether his
majesty had passed an agreeable night.
"Your castellan, then, has not informed you of the horrible noise
last night in the palace?" asked Napoleon, angrily. "You ought to
get better nails, count, to hang up paintings, so that they do not
fall down. He who wants to hang anybody or any thing, even though it
be but a painting, ought to have at least a substantial gallows."
"Sire," faltered Count Munster, "I do not comprehend--this palace--"
"Is not even fit to be a gallows, for it drops those who have been
hung in it," exclaimed Napoleon, vehemently. "It is an accursed
place, and the air in it as sultry and oppressive as in a rat-hole.
Have the carriages brought to the door. Let us depart!" He did not
deign the count another glance, and returned into the adjoining
room, whither none but the grand marshal and his adjutants were
permitted to follow.
Fifteen minutes afterward, the emperor, with his numerous suite,
left the palace of Baireuth and set out for Plauen, where he
intended to join the Empress Maria Louisa, who had stopped there
over night, and continue with her the journey to Dresden. The
streets of Baireuth, which had presented so animated a spectacle the
day before, were at this early hour quiet and deserted; all the
windows were closed; only here and there a wondering, inquisitive
face appeared behind the panes and looked at the carriages that
rolled through the streets, and at the melancholy countenance of the
emperor, who sat in his open calash. When out of the gate, he turned
again, and cast an angry glance on the palace, whose high gray walls
were brightened by the morning sun. "An accursed old palace!" he
muttered to himself. "I shall never spend there another night."
[Footnote: Napoleon's own words.--Vide Minotoli, p. 17.] And leaning
back in a corner of the carriage he gazed in silence at the sky.
Count Munster, however, stood inside the palace of Baireuth, at the
window of the Gallery of Palms, and looked anxiously after the
emperor. The carriages disappeared at a bend in the road behind the
green willows, and the count turned to Castellan Schluter, who was
standing behind him.
"But tell me, for Heaven's sake, Schluter," exclaimed the count,
"what did the emperor refer to? What happened to him last night?"
"There happened to him what will happen to all those who dare
disquiet the White Lady of Baireuth or defy her power," said
"You really believe, then, that she appeared to him?" asked the
count, in terror.
"The emperor sent for me late last night, and again this morning.
Shall I tell your excellency what it was for? The portrait of the
White Lady, which I had put yesterday into the cabinet adjoining the
audience-hall in the other wing of the palace, had walked over to
this side, and, in the room directly above the emperor, had thrown
itself down with so much violence, that the noise resounded through
the whole building."
"But that is altogether impossible," exclaimed Count Munster, in
dismay. "Why, you told me that the portrait was standing in the
other wing of the palace, and that you had carefully locked all the
"But I told your excellency also that locks and bolts are unable to
impede her progress, and that, when she intends to wander, the walls
open to her, and that all obstructions give way. The air wafted her
over to the enemy of her house, and, by the thunder of her wrath,
she awakened him from his slumber."
"And that was the reason why the emperor sent for you last night?"
"Yes, I had the honor of narrating to him the history of the White
Lady," said Schluter, laughing scornfully. "I did so, and told him
also what happened here to General d'Espagne."
"But did you not say the emperor has sent for you again this
The castellan nodded.
"Well, what did he want again?"
"I had to describe to him the costume in which the White Lady is in
the habit of walking--her dress, her veil, her countenance--in
short, I had to tell him all about her appearance. I proposed at
last that I would have the portrait brought to him, that he might
himself look at it; but, when I did so, he cast a furious glance on
me, and said in an angry voice, 'No, no, I do not want to see it!
Let me alone with your doomed portrait!'[Footnote: Historical.--Vide
Minutoli, p. 17.] In truth, I believe the all-powerful emperor was
frightened, and the White Lady had paid him a visit. In fact, he
turned quite pale!" And Schluter burst into loud and scornful
Count Munster shook his head gravely, and hastened to leave the
Gallery of Palms and the haunted palace.
The castellan remained there and listened until the count's
footsteps died away. He then hurried to the rooms which the emperor
had occupied. When he arrived at Napoleon's bedroom, he pushed the
bed aside, and stooped down to the floor, at which he looked with
searching eyes. "It is all right! Nothing is to be seen!" he
muttered to himself. "The White Lady will yet be able often to walk
here!" He burst into loud laughter and left the imperial apartments
to return to his own rooms, which were situated on the ground-floor.
"I will now put away my dear treasures, that no uninitiated eye may
behold them," he said, carefully locking the door. "Come, my
mysterious treasures! Come!" He drew from his bed a long white
dress, a small cloak trimmed with fur, and a long black veil,
[Footnote: These articles, belonging to the toilet of the White
Lady, were found in Schluter's trunk when he died, in 1880.--Vide
Minutoli, p. 17.] and while carefully folding up these articles,
which he locked in a trunk standing under the bed, He sang in a loud
and merry voice:
[Footnote: A comic song, sung in Germany in 1812.]
"Ein Korsl, Ihr kennt den Namen schon,
Seit vierzehn Jahr und druber,
Spricht allen Nationen Hohn,
Sturzt Throne wie ein Kartenhaus
Und treibt das Wesen gar zu Kraus,
A Corsican--you know his name--
For more than fourteen years
Has scorned the nations, to their shame,
And pulled their princes' ears.
He plays sad tricks upon his toes,
And, marching with his guards,
He casts down kingdoms as he goes
Like houses made of cards,
A better name for him would be
Not BONA, but MALA-parte]
NAPOLEON AT DRESDEN.
Joy, happiness, and love, reigned at the court of the King of
Saxony, Napoleon had honored the royal house of Saxony with a visit;
he had come to Dresden to spend a few days in the family circle of
Frederick Augustus, whom he flatteringly called his "cher papa." He
had also come to embrace his father-in-law, the Emperor of Austria,
before setting out for Russia, and to shake hands with his ally the
King of Prussia; and, finally, to gather around him again his
vassals, the princes of the Confederation of the Rhine, and, in the
face of Europe, to receive the homage of kings, emperors, and
Amid the ringing of bells and the light of torches, Napoleon and
Maria Louisa made their entry into Dresden. The late hour of the
night, when the imperial couple arrived, prevented the population
from greeting them with cheers. But the good people of the Saxon
capital were not to be deprived of the happiness of bidding Napoleon
welcome, and seeing his beautiful young empress. The court,
therefore, arranged a drive in open calashes on the day after; and
everywhere on the streets through which the procession passed the
people stood in vast crowds. The windows of the houses were opened,
and beautiful ladies looked out of them. The imperial and royal
carriages made but slow headway, for thousands of excited spectators
preceded them, and thousands more surrounding the carriages looked
up with inquisitive eyes to the distinguished persons who, greeting
and smiling, bowed to them on all sides. But the multitude were
silent; not a cheer resounded--not a "Vive l'empereur"--and the
praise of Napoleon, that was uttered by the lips of princes, lacked
the wonted accompaniment of popular enthusiasm.
Good-natured King Frederick Augustus felt all this as a rebuke
administered to himself, as a reflection on his hospitality, and he
looked with an expression full of uneasiness and affection at the
emperor, who was sitting beside him. But Napoleon's countenance was
as calm and cold as it always was. Not a flash of inward anger was
seen in those unfathomable eyes. He conversed quietly and almost
smilingly with his consort, the Empress Maria Louisa, and did not
even seem to notice that the people received him in silence.
"Well, he shall have a most gratifying compensation at the theatre
to-night," said Frederick Augustus to himself. "The audience will
there at least receive the great Napoleon with enthusiastic cheers;
and when, on his return, he sees all Dresden glittering in the
illumination that is to take place, he will have to admit, after
all, that my good Saxons, like their king, love and admire him."
King Frederick Augustus was not mistaken.--The vast and brilliant
audience, that in the evening assembled at the royal theatre,
received the members of the court, on their appearance, with
deafening cheers; all rose from their seats and shouted with
constantly recurring enthusiasm, "Long live Napoleon: Long live the
Emperor Francis! Long live our dear King Frederick Augustus!" The
band accompanied these cheers, the ladies waved their bouquets, and
the gentlemen their hats and handkerchiefs, and when this outburst
subsided, hundreds of eyes were fixed on the royal box, to watch
every motion of Napoleon's countenance, and admire him in the circle
of his family; for this large gathering of princes and kings were
now his family, and the son of the Corsican lawyer was its head.
There was the Emperor Francis of Austria, who had arrived but a few
hours before, to greet his beloved son-in-law, whom he had not seen
since the battle of Austerlitz. The emperor was accompanied by his
young consort, the Empress Ludovica. Every one knew that she hated
Napoleon; that her proud heart never could forgive him the
humiliations which he had inflicted on Austria, and that she had
consented only with the utmost reluctance, and with bitter tears, to
the marriage of her step-daughter, the Archduchess Maria Louisa,
with the conqueror of Austria. And yet, notwithstanding her hatred,
grief, and humiliated pride, the Empress Ludovica had likewise come
to Dresden to witness the triumph of Napoleon, to be the second lady
at this court, and the first in the suite of the Empress Maria
Louisa. There were the King and Queen of Westphalia, sister-in-law
of Napoleon and daughter of the King of Wurtemberg, who deemed
himself happy that Napoleon was a relative of his. There were,
besides, the Grand-Duke of Wurzburg, brother of the Emperor Francis,
and now uncle of Bonaparte; the Grand-Duke of Baden, Napoleon's
nephew, and the King of Saxony, the cher papa of Napoleon; and
finally, the crowd of the petty German princes of the Confederation
of the Rhine, who had eagerly hurried to Dresden in order to do
homage to their protector, and seek after new gifts of territories
and titles from the all-powerful master of Germany. But these
personages formed only part of the suite; no one paid attention to
them; they stood humbly and modestly in the background, and only the
two emperors and empresses, the Queens of Saxony and Westphalia, and
the King of Saxony, occupied front seats. The King of Saxony
conducted Napoleon to the first gilded easy-chair on the right side;
to him belonged the seat of honor here as everywhere. He was first
in the line of emperors and kings. By his side sat Maria Louisa,
sparkling with diamonds, which covered her head, neck, arms, and the
golden belt around her slender waist. Her countenance was joyful,
and never had she feasted her eyes on her husband with more heart-
felt pride than during this evening, when, sitting beside him, she
eclipsed her imperial step-mother in the magnificence of her toilet
and the splendor of her rank. It was only when Napoleon had taken
his seat that the Emperor and Empress of Austria, and all the other
kings and princes, followed his example. The band immediately
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