The Youth of the Great Elector
Part 4 out of 10
words! Bury them in your heart and never again utter them! These are
fearful tidings, which you have brought me, Marwitz, and my heart is
bitterly, painfully moved by them, so that for an instant I--"
"Oh, my beloved young master," entreated Marwitz, "let not your heart be
merely touched by them, but be inspired and sanctified. Embrace a high
noble decision. Conquer yourself, and--"
With uplifted hand the Electoral Prince beckoned him to be silent, and
with rapid step and head sunk he paced up and down the apartment. Then all
at once he stopped, and, quickly raising his head, asked, "Where is
Leuchtmar? Why did he not come with you?"
"I know not, Prince--he told me he could not dare to appear in your
"Ah! that is true," said the Prince mournfully; "we have not seen each
other since--I beg of you, Marwitz, to go and fetch Leuchtmar to me."
The baron made haste to execute the Prince's mandate. Frederick William
looked after him until the door closed behind him. Then his large, moist
eyes were slowly upraised to heaven, and his trembling lips murmured: "Oh,
how young I am yet, and how much I have still to learn! Help me, my God,
that I may have the needed strength!"
Again the door opened, and Marwitz entered, followed by Leuchtmar, who
remained standing at the door. The Electoral Prince looked at him with
questioning glances, and ever brighter became his brow, ever more cheerful
his aspect. And all at once he spread out his arms, and in a tone of most
heartfelt love, most tender pleading, called out, "My beloved teacher!
come to my arms!"
Leuchtmar sprang forward with a cry of joy. The Prince tenderly fell on
his neck and pressed him closely to his breast.
"Oh," he murmured softly, "my friend, I have suffered much, and still
suffer. Forgive me on account of my pain!"
And he leaned his head on Leuchtmar's shoulder and wept bitterly. A long
pause ensued. No one of the three could interrupt it, for speech remained
locked upon the trembling lips of all, and only their tears, their sighs
spoke. Then the door slowly opened, and the private secretary, Mueller,
appeared upon the threshold. For a moment he stood still, and looked with
quivering lips upon the Prince, who was just slowly extricating himself
from Leuchtmar's embrace, then he stepped resolutely forward.
"Your highness," he said, "forgive me for venturing to intrude my presence
here, without having been summoned. But old Dietrich dared not take the
step which I do now, and so the responsibility rests upon myself alone."
"And what is it?" asked the Prince. "What brings you to me, my dear, true
"He calls me his dear, true friend!" rejoiced Mueller.
"All is right again, then--all is in order! We are not dismissed--we are
not sent home!"
"You may be, after all, my old friend," said the Electoral Prince, with a
feeble smile. "But what would you say to me? What sort of responsibility
have you taken upon yourself?"
"Prince, I have taken upon myself the responsibility of admitting into
your cabinet the veiled lady who has just come, and of requesting you to
grant her the audience for which she has been besieging Dietrich with
tears and lamentations. Dietrich, however, would not hear to it, and the
lady continually called for Eberhard to come--Eberhard must lead her to
the Prince. But, as Dietrich says, this is not Eberhard's week of service,
so that he can not enter here. I was attracted to the antechamber by the
loud conversation, and now the lady turned upon me, and pleaded so
touchingly and so eloquently, that I could not refuse to grant her
request. Your highness, I have conducted the lady into your cabinet, and
she awaits you there."
"But, Mueller," cried Baron Leuchtmar despairingly, "what have you done?
How could you be so inconsiderate?"
The old man drew himself up, and his mild eye grew angry. "Inconsiderate!
I was not at all inconsiderate, Baron Leuchtmar. On the contrary, I
thought it would be unworthy of a noble Prince to allow a woman to plead
in vain, and I thought, moreover, that Hercules would never have become a
hero if he had not had the valor to meet the women who greeted him at the
crossing of the roads."
"You have done right, Mueller," said Frederick William, with a faint smile;
"it will be seen whether Hercules was perhaps my forefather. I shall speak
to the lady. Wait for me here."
He crossed the apartment hastily, and entered his cabinet. In the center
of the room stood a veiled female form. The Prince, however, recognized
her, although her face could not be seen, for he knew her by her pretty
coquettish costume to be the Princess Ludovicka's French chambermaid, and
he stepped quickly up to her.
"I thought that it was you, Alice," he said softly, "and I have therefore
come to tell you to--"
With sudden movement she tore back her veil, and before the pale,
beautiful countenance thereby revealed the Prince stepped back, as pale as
"You yourself?" he murmured. "You, Ludovicka?"
"Yes, I, Ludovicka! I come here in my maid's dress," said she, in a voice
trembling with pain and emotion. "I come to you, my beloved, to ask you
whether you will desert me, leaving me in despair, affliction, and
heart-sickness? O Frederick, Frederick! how fearfully have I suffered this
"And I?" murmured he softly. "Have I not suffered too?"
"No," she cried, "you have not suffered as I did, for you love me not as I
love you--you love me not more than your life, your honor, your
fatherland! You will abandon and forsake me, because it is France that has
offered us aid! Oh, you are a cold, heartless man, as all men are, and yet
I love you so much and can not live without you! Frederick William, you
will not go with me to France--well then, I will go with you, wherever you
will. I cleave to you--I will stay with you! Let shame and ignominy be my
fate, let my mother curse me, let all the world despise me and call me
your mistress, I will stay with you, for I love you and can not live
Passionately she extended her arms to him, love flaming in her glances.
But a darker shadow flitted across the Prince's face, and he shrank back.
"God forbid, Ludovicka," he said, "that misery and shame should ever come
to you through me, that your mother should curse you for my sake! We are
both yet children, Ludovicka. I felt right painfully last night that the
first duty of children is to obey and reverence their parents. Let us do
our duty, Ludovicka!"
"That is," replied she with swelling rage--"that is to say, you give me
up? They have overcome your opposition, they have brought you back to
obedience, to subjection?"
"No other than myself has done it, Ludovicka."
"You? You give me up? Voluntarily? And yet you swore that you loved me and
me alone of all the world?"
"And I swore truly, Ludovicka. I love you boundlessly!"
"And yet you will forsake me?"
"Yet I must do so, beloved! I must forsake you, but God alone, who has
witnessed my tortures this past night, knows what I suffer. My father is
solitary, my fatherland calls to me, and the first thing that I sacrifice
on its altar is my love for you. I can not marry you, Ludovicka, and God
forbid that I should accept your love without marriage!"
"Words, nothing but words!" cried she indignantly. "You would palliate
your unfaithfulness, represent your fickleness of mind as magnanimity! But
I hear only one thing in your words--you give me up, you renounce your
"Yes!" he cried with a loud scream of pain--"yes, I renounce my love!"
"Vengeance upon you for it!" cried she, in flaming wrath. "I, Ludovicka
Hollandine, cry vengeance upon you, for you break my heart!"
"And you will have no compassion? You will not see what I suffer?
Ludovicka, look! Look in my eyes, they wept out last night the pains of a
whole life--see what I suffer! Ludovicka, on my knees I beseech you, if
you really love me, then have pity upon me--for the sake of my agony
forgive me what you suffer!"
And beside himself with emotion, he fell upon his knees, lifting up to her
his clasped hands and his face that was bathed in tears.
But now it was she who shrank back. "No," said she harshly and severely,
"no, no compassion, no forgiveness! I do not love you, I have never loved
you, for you are a foolish boy, and know nothing of the glow of passion!
You are a child! Go away and act like a child, and be an obedient son!
Love rejects you! love turns from you!" And waving him off with both
hands, the Princess turned and walked to the door. Frederick William,
still upon his knees, heard her quickly retreating steps, but did not
rise. Ludovicka had already stretched out her hand to open the door; but
she turned round once more, and in tones of mingled love and grief cried,
"Frederick, will you let me go?"
He did not answer, his head sank lower, and a painful groan forced itself
from his breast. She opened the door--he heard it--he saw the streak of
light that crossed the room through the open door, it vanished--the door
had closed. Then was wrung from the Prince's breast a shriek of agony such
as only issues from the lips of man under the pressure of earth's sharpest
The three gentlemen were yet assembled in the Prince's drawing room,
conversing and imparting to one another their fears and hopes. All at once
the door of the cabinet opened and the Electoral Prince entered. Pale as
death, but with firm, determined features, he stepped up to the three
gentlemen, who looked at him with tender, anxious glances.
"Marwitz," he said, "you can this very day set out on your return to
Berlin, for your mission is fulfilled. Say to my father that as an
obedient son I submit to his wishes, and shall forthwith depart for
The three gentlemen only answered him by a single cry of joy, and,
animated by one feeling, one inspiration, sank upon their knees and prayed
aloud, "Bless, O God! bless the Prince, who has conquered himself!"
"What is going on here?" asked a loud manly voice behind them. "What means
this? Three gentlemen on their knees, and my young cousin looking on like
the Knight St. George!"
"And so he is, Prince of Orange," cried Baron Leuchtmar, rising and
advancing to meet the Prince, who had come in unannounced, as was his wont
at the house of his cousin. "Yes, he is a Knight St. George, who has
conquered the dragon. You know, Prince Henry, how sweetly they have
enticed him, with what magic chains they have been encircling him. You
know the Media Nocte and"--added he softly--"the Princess Ludovicka."
"Well, and what more now?" asked the Prince, with eager interest. "Not
much, cousin," said Frederick William, with a melancholy smile. "I must
bid you farewell. I owe it to my parents, to my honor, and my country,
forthwith to leave The Hague!"
"Bravo, cousin, bravo!" cried Henry of Orange. "You flee from danger and
escape from temptation. That is to be called heroism, and herewith you
have as truly conquered a citadel as when I vanquished Breda!"
"Believe me too, cousin," said Frederick William, while he leaned upon the
Prince's heroic breast--"believe me, that this victory has cost much blood
and many tears."
One moment he let his head rest on the shoulder of his fatherly friend,
then proudly drew himself up.
"Baron Leuchtmar and you, my trusty private secretary, Mueller!" he cried,
with loud voice, "to-day we leave The Hague and proceed to Arnheim, and
thence we set forth to-morrow on our journey home. Marwitz, you travel in
advance. The golden days of our youth are past! Let iron ones follow! I am
prepared for all!"
"Strange, very strange," muttered Count Adam Schwarzenberg to himself.
"The Prince must have set out on his journey four weeks ago, and still no
news from Gabriel Nietzel! The journey by sea, it is true, offered no
opportunity for any enterprise, and the Electoral Prince had the sublime
fancy of choosing the water in preference to the land route, in spite of
the severities of this season of the year. But, according to the Prince's
scheme of traveling, and according to my own calculations, the Prince must
have reached Hamburg full eight days ago, and as he was only to stay there
three days, he must already have been journeying five days by land, and
yet have I in vain looked for any tidings whatever from Gabriel Nietzel.
Could it be possible that this man has dared to disobey me?--could he have
carried his folly so far as to sacrifice wife and child rather than
execute my commands?"
Gloomily the count's brow wrinkled, as he asked himself this question, and
his eyes flamed with fury. With folded arms he walked rapidly to and fro.
"To think that all my plans may be wrecked by the pangs of conscience of a
single fool!" he sighed--"to think, that for months, nay, for years, I
have been laboring in vain to see the realization of these projects, and
that in my highest, proudest aims I am dependent upon a blockhead,
who--What is it Daniel? What is your errand?"
"Pardon me, your excellency; some one is without who
desires most urgently to speak with you."
"Who is it?--do you know him?"
"No, my lord count, I do not know him, and he will not tell what he wants
of your excellency. He says he must speak with your lordship himself, and
I must only announce his name. It is Gabriel Nietzel."
"Gabriel Nietzel!" cried the count. "Why did you not tell me so directly,
you fool! Bring him in without delay, and take care that no one disturbs
us so long as the painter Gabriel Nietzel is with us."
The lackey hurried off, leaving the door open for the painter, whom he
fetched in from the first antechamber. Breathlessly, in violent
excitement, Count Schwarzenberg looked toward this open door. "It is my
future fate that is about to enter," he murmured. "Ah, there he is! There
is Gabriel Nietzel!" And in his vehement agitation he rushed forward a few
steps to meet the painter, whom he saw approaching through the entrance
hall. But forcibly constraining himself to an appearance of moderation and
reserve, he stood still and assumed a calm, unimpassioned expression.
Gabriel Nietzel entered, and behind him the lackey gently closed the door.
The sharp eyes of the count rested inquiringly upon the newcomer, who
remained standing near the door with head sunk and humble, melancholy
mien. This submissive, contrite silence on the part of the returning
painter was sufficiently eloquent to the mind of the count. It told him
that Gabriel Nietzel had nothing welcome to communicate. He subdued his
rage and proudly threw back his head, as if to shake off, like troublesome
insects, all his disappointed hopes.
"Well, you are actually at home again, Master Court Painter!" he cried, in
a tone that was well-nigh cheerful.
"Yes, your excellency," whispered Gabriel, with downcast eyes, "here I am
again, and report myself forthwith to your excellency."
"To me?" asked Schwarzenberg, affecting astonishment. "Why do you report
yourself to me, and what have I to do with you, Sir Court Painter Gabriel
Nietzel? You should have gone to the palace, to the Electress, and
gladdened her heart with your pleasing intelligence. I doubt not that you
are the bearer of glad tidings for her, and come to forewarn her of the
Prince's speedy arrival here in safety and good health?"
"I had no wish to go to her highness the Electress," said Gabriel Nietzel
humbly. "She knows already, independently of any information from me, that
the Electoral Prince is safe and sound. I come to your excellency to
excuse myself for the failure of my undertaking, and to beg your pardon."
"I do not understand you at all, Sir Court Painter," replied Count
Schwarzenberg, shrugging his shoulders. "I know not what sort of
undertaking you had in view, what you have failed in, and what I can have
to pardon you for."
"Your excellency!" cried Gabriel with an outburst of grief--"your
excellency, I swear that I am innocent, that it has been the result of no
ill will, no negligence, but because I really could not find an
opportunity for carrying out what--"
"Well, carrying out what?" asked Schwarzenberg, when Gabriel faltered.
"What do I care for your unfinished works, your abortive schemes? I only
buy finished pictures, and, if they are well executed and successes, I pay
for them in kingly style. With daubers, though, and wretched copyists who
would pass off copies as originals, I have nothing to do. Speak not to me,
then, Sir Court Painter, of your sketches and designs. I ask nothing about
them, but only come to me when you have a completed work to exhibit."
"Your excellency will not understand me," said Gabriel, while drops of
agony trickled from his cold brow.
"No," proudly retorted the count, "it is for you to understand
_me_, Sir Court Painter Gabriel Nietzel. Were you not sent to The Hague to
complete your studies there? Why have you returned home so soon?"
"Because I was homesick, most gracious sir--because I longed inexpressibly
after my child, my wife!"
The painter ventured to lift his eyes with earnest anxiety and entreaty to
the face of the count, but Schwarzenberg's glance remained cold.
"Ah, you have a wife?" he asked, with indifference. "You left her behind
and went alone to The Hague?"
"Yes, I went there quite alone, because I had a great and important work
to accomplish there; but before I had even stretched my canvas and
sketched the outlines, an unexpected hindrance interposed which
annihilated all my plans."
"What sort of hindrance?" asked the count carelessly, while he played with
the heavy golden chain about his neck, to which was attached the portrait
of the Elector set in brilliants. "What sort of hindrance?"
"The Electoral Prince, to whom the Electress had recommended me, and who
received me into the number of his attendants, suddenly and unexpectedly
determined to take his departure from The Hague, and straightway carried
his resolution into effect. He himself, together with Baron von Marwitz,
Baron Leuchtmar von Kalkhun, secretary Mueller, and his chamberlain
repaired forthwith to Amsterdam, in order to take ship there. He, however,
ordered his majordomo and myself to break up his household, to pack up
his books and paintings, and to journey with them by land to Berlin. I
ventured to protest against this, and even preferred the request to be
permitted to accompany the Electoral Prince upon his sea voyage; this,
however, Baron Leuchtmar refused, and nobody was allowed to speak with the
Electoral Prince himself. Up to the time of his departure he remained shut
up in his chamber, and only left it to get into the carriage which
conveyed him to Amsterdam. There, as was known, lay a passenger vessel
ready to sail for Hamburg, and in this the Electoral Prince took passage."
"And you did not see the Electoral Prince at all before he set out?"
"Oh, your excellency, I had ranged myself along with all his other
household officers at the side of his traveling carriage, and the Prince
very condescendingly held out his hand to me, yes, he even tried to smile.
'Gabriel Nietzel,' he said, 'make all speed to reach Berlin right soon. I
shall desire my mother to allow you to enter my special service, and then
you shall paint for me many a pretty picture. Until then, farewell!' He
once more nodded kindly to me, and jumped into the carriage."
"That is the only time that you have spoken at all to the Electoral
"No, your honor, on the very day of my arrival I had an audience with him,
and the Electoral Prince was highly delighted to receive news from home. I
must tell him everything in detail, and since, with your gracious
permission, I claimed to side with your lordship's opponents, the
Electoral Prince immediately became very confidential and affectionate to
me, receiving me into his house and retinue, and promising to present me
at the courts of the Stadtholder and the Queen of Bohemia."
"How came it, then, that the Prince so immediately afterward suddenly took
the resolution to depart?"
"Most gracious sir, four-and-twenty hours after myself the Chamberlain von
Marwitz arrived at The Hague, and had a long conversation with the
Electoral Prince. Immediately after that the Electoral Prince gave orders
for departure, and three hours later had already left The Hague."
"Now it seems, therefore, that Baron von Marwitz is a very persuasive
speaker, who well understood how to move the Electoral Prince's heart, and
to lead him back to obedience to his father and--myself. I shall therefore
prove my gratitude to Herr von Marwitz. I like very much to have my orders
and commissions executed punctiliously and exactly, and this Herr von
Marwitz has done, for I had bidden him to leave no means untried whereby
the Electoral Prince might be induced to leave Holland."
A crushing glance from his large gray eyes as he uttered these words fell
full upon Gabriel Nietzel's pale and contrite face, making his heart quake
with undefined dread.
"Your honor is very angry with me?" he asked faintly.
"You?" exclaimed the count in astonishment. "Why should I be angry with
you? What have I to do with you? I only know you as the painter Nietzel,
who sold me a copy for a good original, and whom I could therefore have
condemned to the gallows as a falsifier and cheat. But you know I have
forgiven you, and let your copy be valued as an original. I even went
further in my magnanimous forgiveness; I had even intrusted you with
commissions for Holland, where you were to visit the picture galleries in
order to make copies. You have not executed my commissions, for you have
returned home too soon. That is all, and therefore all connection between
us is dissolved. Farewell, Mr. Court Painter Gabriel Nietzel; you are
He haughtily motioned to the door, turned his back upon the painter, and
slowly traversed the apartment. But Gabriel Nietzel did not go. There he
stood as if rooted to the spot, and stared fixedly at the count, who
walked to and fro, as if lost in thought, and seemed to be wholly
unconscious that the painter had dared still to remain in his presence.
After a long pause his eye fell quite accidentally on the spot where
Gabriel Nietzel stood, and he started as if in sudden terror.
"Why, you still here?" he asked. "You dare to brave me? To terrify me with
your dull, pale face? Have you grown deaf, Mr. Court Painter? Did you not
hear me dismiss you?"
"I heard, but your honor knows that I can not go. Your lordship well knows
that from your lips I await the sentence which is to seal my whole future
fate, and that I will not leave this room until I have received this."
"How? You will not leave this room. You will stay although I have bidden
you go? Very well, then, I shall call my servants and have you put out."
And already the count's hand was stretched forth to take his silver
whistle. But Gabriel Nietzel dared to grasp this hand and hold it firmly
between both his own.
"Pity, gracious sir, pity!" he pleaded. "Drive me from your presence, take
from me the pension you most condescendingly insured to me; I feel that I
am indeed undeserving of your favor and graciousness. Only, for pity's
sake, for humanity's sake, restore to me my own--give me my wife and
"What have I to do with your wife and child?" asked Count Schwarzenberg
angrily. "Have you handed them over to me? Am I the chief of an asylum for
deserted women and children?"
"My wife, Sir Count, give me back my wife!" cried Gabriel Nietzel, sinking
down upon his knees.
"I know nothing about her, I have never seen her," said the count.
"You do know about her, your excellency! You took her and my dear,
precious child under your protection when I went to The Hague. You had my
wife and child carried to, Spandow, and gave them an abode within your
"Now I see plainly that you speak like a deranged man, Master Gabriel
Nietzel," cried the count passionately. "Collect your faculties, man, or I
shall immediately have you arrested and sent to a madhouse. I repeat,
collect your faculties, and utter not such palpably idle tales. Very
likely that I should have taken your wife and child into my keeping.
Bethink yourself, Master Gabriel Nietzel, be rational, and remember that
you are happily unincumbered and a free bachelor!"
"No, no, I am not free!" shrieked Gabriel Nietzel. "I have a wife, I have
a child, and see them again I must! Deliver them up to me, Sir Count. I
beseech you by all that is sacred--deliver them up to me! I must have my
wife and boy again!"
"Well then, go and look for them," said Schwarzenberg composedly "Apply to
the police, and furnish them with a description of both their persons.
Show your marriage license and your child's certificate of baptism, that
every one may be convinced of the truth of your deposition. Then write a
description of your wife, or, as you are a painter, draw a likeness of
her, publish her name and family, call upon her relatives to render you
their assistance, and in that way, if you really have a wife, you will in
the end succeed in discovering her."
"Sir Count, you well know that I can not do so," groaned Gabriel Nietzel.
"You well know that I am a poor, ruined man, entirely in your power. I
beseech you, have mercy upon me! Restore to me my wife and child, and I
will do all that you require of me. Give me back my wife, and I swear to
you that I will do here what I was to have done on the journey. I swear
to you that I will make good what I missed, that I--"
"I do not believe your oaths, Gabriel Nietzel," interposed the count. "You
are liberal with your oaths and promises, but come short in deeds, in
performances. Nobody will pay for a picture before he has seen it, or at
least a sketch of the same. Therefore take yourself off, devise a plan,
sketch your outline, and bring it to me. If it pleases me, and is
practicable, if I see that you are zealous and well disposed, then will I
gladly aid you in its execution and pay you in princely style. That is my
last word, Master Court Painter Gabriel Nietzel, and now go, and do not
show your face here again until you can show me that sketch. You have
understood me, have you not, Master Gabriel Nietzel? I bespeak a picture,
and you are to furnish me with a sketch of it; then, as you are in want, I
shall gladly pay you for it in advance."
"Yes, I have understood your lordship," said Gabriel Nietzel, heaving a
deep sigh. "I know a subject for the painting you have ordered, and will
make a sketch of it. You shall not have to wait long for it."
"It is a fine subject," said Schwarzenberg quietly. "We might call it the
murder of Julius Caesar."
"No, it is the execution of the Emperor Conrad III--the execution and
murder of the last Hohen-Hohenstaufen," sobbed the painter, while tears
fell in clear streams from his eyes.
"I believe another paroxysm of insanity has seized you," said the count
contemptuously. "How can any one weep merely because he will represent a
tragic scene? What is the last of the Hohenstaufens to you? You depict his
death, and if the painting is a success I shall reward you handsomely for
it, give you a splendid income, and then you can go to Italy, the home of
all artists, to spend the remainder of your life there in pleasure and
"It shall be just as your excellency says," sighed Gabriel. "Only, your
excellency, only be so gracious as to give me back my wife and child."
"I said so, your paroxysm of madness is coming on afresh!" cried
Schwarzenberg, shrugging his shoulders. "Man, are you really beside
yourself?--have you lost your senses? Do you demand your wife and child of
me, of Count Adam von Schwarzenberg, the Stadtholder in the Mark? Go away
with your follies. Be off, so that you can make your sketch, and when you
come back, and it is good, you will perhaps find me inclined to answer all
your silly questions for you!"
"Sir Count, oh, for God's sake, let me at least see my Rebecca once more!"
"Rebecca! your wife's name is Rebecca? Why, that really sounds as if she
were a Jewess. And you say that she is your wife? Ah, repeat that again,
then name the priest who celebrated your nuptials and united a Christian
to a Jewess! By ----! I shall bring this evildoer to a strict account, and
he shall be degraded from his office as a criminal and blot upon the
Church, for he has sinned against God, the Church, and his Sovereign!
Gabriel Nietzel, name the priest who married you to a Jewess!"
"I can not name him," murmured Nietzel, almost inaudibly. "Sir Count, I
will be obedient and diligent in your service. I am a wretched sinner, and
must expiate my crime. I shall do penance, too, and will be nothing more
than a tool in your hands. Only have mercy upon me. Let me at least see my
wife and child, if I may not speak to them! I only wish to see them, in
order to gain courage and strength for my difficult and dangerous
The count reflected for a moment, his eyes fastened upon Gabriel Nietzel's
countenance, whose imploring, anxious expression seemed to touch him.
"I have in my house at Spandow," he said, after a long pause, "a beautiful
painting by Albrecht Duerer. It was, unfortunately, a little injured in the
transportation, and you shall restore it for me. To-morrow morning repair
to Spandow, and ask for me. I shall be there, and will myself put the
painting in your charge. Perhaps you will see there another painting
besides, which will please you, and which, perhaps, is not unknown to
Gabriel Nietzel took the count's proffered hand, and with joyful
impatience pressed it to his lips. "Sir Count, I will be your servant,
your slave, your creature. I will damn my soul for you and suffer the
torture of perpetual flames if you will only give back to me my wife and
"Master Court Painter," said Schwarzenberg, parodying his words, "I shall
make you a rich and distinguished man. I shall send you to Italy, and you
will enjoy the heavenly fires of the Italian sky, if you will only bring
me the sketch ordered, and prove to me that you are in earnest as to its
Gabriel Nietzel laughed aloud in the joy of his heart.
"Your highness shall not have long to wait. I will very soon have the
sketch at your excellency's disposal."
"We shall see," said the count, with a slight nod of his head. "And now
that we have understood one another, and you have somewhat recovered your
reason, now for the last time I tell you, you are dismissed!"
Gabriel Nietzel bowed low, and strode through the apartment toward the
door of entrance, reverentially going backward that he might not turn his
back upon the high-born, all-powerful count. He had almost reached the
door, when it was opened and a valet appeared, who announced in a loud
"His honor Count John Adolphus von Schwarzenberg!"
"My son!" exclaimed the count. "He has returned? Where is he? Where?"
"His honor has just gone to his apartments to divest himself of his
traveling clothes, but with your highness's permission he will be here in
a few minutes."
"Tell the count, that I expect him with impatience," cried the father. The
valet hurried out, and Gabriel Nietzel was in the act of following him,
when Schwarzenberg called him back.
"Do not go out that way now," he said; "my son is coming, and it is not
worth while for him to see you. Go through yonder door. It leads to a
corridor, and there you will find a small staircase by which you can
descend to the court. Go!"
II.--COUNT JOHN ADOLPHUS VON SCHWARZENBERG.
"I think I have distressed and tormented him enough," said the count to
himself; "he will devise some means of gratifying my wishes, and in his
despair will risk everything in order to obtain his wife and child. It is
well that men have hearts, for they supply the most convenient handles for
seizing hold of them and managing them. And for that reason men without
susceptible hearts always become rulers, conquerors. Therefore have I
become great and powerful, and will ascend yet higher, grow yet more
mighty, for I, thank God! I have no heart! I have never been a victim to
the silly vagaries of an enamored heart, never made a fool of myself for
any woman; never have I felt my heart moved by any other desire than that
of attaining a pre-eminent position and becoming a great man. Such I have
become, but I would mount yet higher, and in this--in this that enamored
fool Gabriel Nietzel shall assist me."
The count grew suddenly silent, and looked toward the door. In the
antechamber he had heard the sound of a voice familiar and grateful to his
ears, a voice which awakened in his breast a rare and unwonted feeling of
joy and happiness. "My son," he murmured, "yes, it is my son. I really
believe that I have a heart at last, for I feel it beat higher just now,
and feel that it is a happiness to have a son!"
He hastily crossed the room, and had almost reached the door, when it
suddenly opened and revealed the presence of a tall and slender young
man, dressed in the elegant Spanish garb, such as was worn at the court of
the German Emperor Ferdinand III.
"Father, dear father!" he cried, with a voice full of tenderness, and with
outstretched arms he sped toward his father to press him to his heart.
Count Adam von Schwarzenberg smilingly submitted, and an infinite feeling
of satisfaction penetrated his whole being under the warm pressure of his
only son's embrace. But only one short instant did he yield to this
sensation, for he was ashamed of his weakness, and gently extricated
himself from his son's arms.
"Here you are again, you gadabout and rover!" he said; but he could not
subdue the brighter glistening of his eyes, as they fastened themselves
upon his son's handsome, spirited, and youthful face.
"Yes, here I am again, _cher et aimable pere_," exclaimed the young man,
laughing; "but you do me great injustice by calling me a gadabout and
rover, for, indeed, I have only traveled on most serious and proper
business, and it strikes me that I am vastly to be feared and honored in
my capacity of imperial treasurer and member of the Aulic council."
"What?" cried Count Adam joyfully, "the Emperor has conferred upon you
such a high favor and honored you with such lofty titles?"
The young count nodded assent. "In me he has honored my father's son,"
said he, "and distinguished me out of veneration and respect for you."
"You are far too modest, my son," cried the count, smiling. "What the
Emperor Ferdinand has done for you he did not for your father's son, but
in deference to your own merits."
"Please, oh please, let us talk no more on the subject," said the young
man. "You will not succeed in altering my opinion, especially as I had it
from the exalted mouth of his Imperial Majesty himself, that he gladly
distinguished the son of so noble, gifted, and faithful a servant as Count
Adam Schwarzenberg had ever been to the imperial house, and in
consideration thereof bestowed upon him the dignity of imperial treasurer,
and nominated him independently of individual merit a member of the Aulic
council. I beg you to observe, my noble and highly deserving count, that
your son has fallen heir to his honors without individual merit, whence it
naturally follows that I am a worthless treasurer, and wholly devoid of
merit as a member of the Aulic council."
"Well," laughed his father, "then I must console you with this, Adolphus,
that you are besides that my coadjutor in my office of Grand Master of the
Knights of St. John, and that I entertain the fixed determination of soon
seeing you share with me the Stadtholdership of the Mark."
"I assure you, I need no consolation whatever!" cried Count Adolphus
Schwarzenberg. "I am your son, and that is as much as if I were the fair
Danae, and had a shower of gold perpetually poured out upon me."
"You would deceive me," said Count Adam, gently shaking his head. "You
would have me believe that you are satisfied with being my son, and have
no personal ambition for yourself."
"It is no deception, _cher pere_" laughed the young man. "I really do not
give myself the trouble to have personal ambition beforehand. I behold my
much-loved father standing in the sunshine of renown, and I quite
composedly allow a few stray beams from his splendor to alight upon
myself. I would not say, though, that I am wholly devoid of ambition. I
only avoid talking about it till the time comes."
"My son, the time is come," said Count Adam quickly. "Yes, the time for
ambition is come with you, too, and to-day we must discuss it at length.
But first tell me what news do you bring me from Vienna? Come, let us sit
down, and confer with one another like two grave politicians and
diplomatists." He took his son's arm and led him toward the divan.
"God forbid, Sir Stadtholder, that I, a mere tyro in diplomacy and
politics, should venture to seat myself at your side," cried Count
Adolphus. "No, father, I know my place, and you must indeed permit me to
take my station at a reverential distance from you."
He took one of the little gold-embroidered footstools which stood near the
divan and seated himself opposite his father. Count Adam looked upon him
with a proud yet gentle smile, and seemed to have his own pleasure in his
son's handsome and imposing appearance.
"I should like to know whether you resemble me," he said thoughtfully; "I
should like to know whether I was ever such a lively, jovial young man."
"You are more than that, most respected father," cried his son; "you were
handsome and possessed of irresistible attractions. I know that, for you
are still so."
"So, it seems that my son has learned to flatter at the imperial court!"
"No, no; I speak the truth, and I swear that every one who has the good
fortune to be admitted to your presence will confirm my testimony. You
understand the art of fascinating men, and once let any one love you, then
you can never be forgotten. The Emperor Ferdinand spoke of you with
genuine admiration, and Princess Lobkowitz assured me that you were the
only man whom she had ardently and truly loved. And yet they say that
Princess Lobkowitz has had many admirers and still has."
"Princess Lobkowitz!" repeated Count Adam thoughtfully--"how fine that
sounds, Princess Lobkowitz! Yet I well remember the time when Lobkowitz
was quite a poor, inconsiderable count, who esteemed himself peculiarly
happy when I lent him some of my pocket money, which, by the bye, I never
saw again. We were both at that time pages at the court of Emperor
Ferdinand I, and swore eternal friendship. But how vain are such oaths! I
afterward left the imperial court and came to the court of Cleves, and
thence here to Prussia. I have restlessly labored, and may well say that I
have wielded the helm of state in this country for twenty years, and--am
still nothing but plain Count Schwarzenberg! The little, insignificant
Count Lobkowitz, on the other hand, has now become a Prince through the
Emperor's favor, as have also Eggenberg, Liechtenstein, and Fuerstenberg."
"You shall be a Prince, too, father," said Count Adolphus softly. "Yes,
without doubt, you have only to hint your wish to receive the title of
Prince, and the Emperor Ferdinand will gladly remunerate you in that way,
if he first sees his own desires fulfilled through you."
The count started, and cast an inquisitive, questioning look upon his son.
"I thank you, Adolphus," said he, "you have led back our conversation, or
rather, my lord treasurer, our conference, to the subject in point, in a
manner as tender as diplomatic. Yes, the question is, first of all, to
learn what news you bring for me from his Majesty, and what orders the
Emperor has to give me."
"First of all, _cher pere_, the Emperor wishes that every possible
obstruction be interposed to prevent the Electoral Prince's marriage with
the Princess of the Palatinate, and that, if practicable, the Electoral
Prince be deterred from forming any matrimonial connection. It would
greatly complicate affairs if the Electoral Prince should chance to have
offspring soon, and thereby outwardly give more firmness and durability to
the house of Brandenburg."
The count's eyes flashed upon his son's countenance, which still preserved
its placid, innocent expression. "Who told you that?" said he, "Who spoke
such strange, mysterious words? Not the Emperor, no, he can not have said
"No, but the Emperor's most confidential adviser, _mio padre amato_, the
venerable father confessor and Jesuit, Signor Silvio. By the way, I regard
him as a man turned serpent, and would avoid exposing a shoeless heel to
him. But one thing is certain, that he has the Emperor's ear not only in
the confessional, but in the council chamber as well, and what he says is
just as good as if the Emperor himself said it. For the rest, they affirm
at the imperial court that he is a sorcerer, and can look through men's
eyes straight into their hearts and decipher what is therein as plainly
and distinctly as if it was written on parchment in German text."
"I believe it is so," murmured the count. "I believe he has read into my
heart, too. But further, further, my son! What more did Father Silvio say
"He spoke much of the weak and uncertain condition of the Electoral house
of Brandenburg, which he said rested upon only two lives, and would be
extinct if the Electoral Prince Frederick William should perish by a
The count started, and a gray pallor overspread his face. His son,
absorbed in his own discourse, observed it not and continued: "I ventured
meanwhile to differ from the wise father, and reminded him that seven
cousins and blood relations were still in existence, to give permanence to
the Elector's family, and thereby lessen very greatly the weakness of the
Brandenburg-Hohenzollerns. But Father Silvio smiled almost compassionately
at this remark of mine, and said in a tone of lofty superiority: 'Young
man, your father will be a better judge of this; only repeat my words to
him: that the Emperor will not admit the claims of the collateral branches
of the Electoral house, and if unfortunately the Electoral Prince of
Brandenburg should die without descendants, he will consider the Electoral
Mark as an unincumbered fief, which the Emperor of Germany, in the
plenitude of his power and as an act of free grace, might bestow on
Count Adam Schwarzenberg sprang up, and for a moment his eyes rested with
a penetrating expression upon his son's countenance. Then he turned and
began to move violently to and fro. Now it was his son's turn to fix his
eyes piercingly upon _him_. When the count turned again, however, there
was no trace of excitement visible on the young man's countenance, and
with a friendly smile he looked at his father. Count Adam stepped close up
to him, and laid his hand on his son's shoulder.
"You did not remind wise Father Silvio, then," he asked, "that the Elector
George William has, besides his son, two daughters? That there are two
Electoral Princesses--Charlotte Louise and the young Sophie Hedwig?"
"No, father," replied Count Adolphus carelessly, "no, I did not. I deemed
that superfluous, because in the Brandenburg Electoral house women have no
right to the succession. The Salic law exists here, does it not?"
"As if laws could not be altered!" cried Count Adam. "As if the Emperor
were not here to give new laws! My son, let us speak openly and candidly
to one another, and answer me one question: On what terms are you with the
Princess Charlotte Louise?"
The young man started, and for a moment a deep blush suffused his cheeks.
"I do not understand you, father. What do you mean? On what terms should I
be with the Princess?"
"John Adolphus, you understand me well enough, and know what I mean,"
returned Count Schwarzenberg smiling. "When I ask on what terms you are
with the Princess Charlotte Louise, I mean by that, what progress have you
made in her good graces?"
An almost imperceptible smile flitted across the young count's visage.
"Well," he said, "the ladies of the Electoral house have ever been most
condescending in their manner to me, Princess Charlotte Louise no less
than her mother and sister, and, as I have done nothing to forfeit their
favor, I hope that upon my return they will receive me as graciously as
they dismissed me before I left home."
"My son," said Count Adam seriously, "you answer me evasively, and that is
not well. We two are made to support each other, and to go hand in hand in
the difficult path which lies before us. For you know as well as I do that
our safety is imperiled when the Electoral Prince again makes his
appearance at court, and we will henceforth find many stones of stumbling
in our way."
"But my wise and puissant father will remove all such obstructions," cried
the son, with a merry laugh. "Let the Electoral Prince throw ever so many
stones in our way, we can pick them up, and your honor will find
opportunity to hurl them back at the little Prince, the last scion of his
"I shall find opportunity, and, by heavens, I will make use of it."
"And if my gracious father can or will make use of me in picking up the
stones, or maybe in throwing them, I am most heartily at his service. Your
honor needs only to direct. I shall aim well, and hope to hit the mark."
"My son, verily, you are a great diplomatist," cried Schwarzenberg, "and
many an one who esteems himself an old adept in this art might take
lessons from you. How cleverly you managed to evade the question I put to
you, and lead the conversation into a different channel! But I must recur
to my question, and, since you will throw stones subject to my direction,
then, my son, I tell you that your relations with the Princess Charlotte
Louise may become a most effective missile against the Electoral Prince,
which, if you aim it accurately, may inflict a deadly blow upon the
Prince. Therefore, my fine son, answer my question honestly: On what terms
are you with the Princess Charlotte Louise?"
A cloud of displeasure flitted across the young count's lofty and open
brow, and his cheerful countenance became overshadowed with gloom.
"My God!" he said, "what on earth has the Princess to do with politics?"
"A great deal, my son. Let me remind you of Father Silvio's words, which
you yourself reported to me. The father had me informed that in case of
the Electoral Prince's dying without heirs, his Majesty would not
recognize the claims of the other branches of the house of Brandenburg,
but would consider the Electoral Mark as a vacant fief, which he might
bestow elsewhere as matter of favor. The simplest and most natural thing
will be, if there is no longer any son living, to pass the right of
succession to the daughter, and for the Emperor to declare the eldest
daughter of the Elector George William rightful successor, and to transmit
the Electoral Mark Brandenburg to herself and her husband as an act of
"Those are very great and very far-seeing plans," murmured the young man,
with downcast eyes.
"But plans which may be realized," interposed his father hastily--"plans
which you have very maturely weighed in your prudent brain, for--I shall
answer my own question myself--for you are on very good terms with
Princess Charlotte Louise. You have calculated very wisely and very
correctly. The Princess loves you, and may bring you an electorship as a
"God forbid that I should play a criminal game with the Princess's heart!"
cried Count Adolphus, in tones louder and more energetic than he had yet
employed. "You accuse me falsely, most gracious sir. It has never come
into my mind to speculate on such a bridal gift, or to make of love a
Count Adam gazed with an expression of painful astonishment upon the
excited countenance of his son. "Unhappy boy, you love the Princess,
then?" he asked.
"Yes," exclaimed the young man vehemently--"yes, I love her! I should love
her were she a simple village maiden. I should seek to win her were she of
obscure and humble parentage, if she could present me with nothing but her
heart, her affectionate nature, her charming self. Learn now, father, on
what terms I stand with the Princess: I love her, love her passionately!"
"Ah, my son, how well this enthusiasm becomes you!" said his father. "How
happy the Princess would be if she could see you with those fiery glances
flashing from your large bright eyes! My son, you will surpass me, for you
have one great advantage over me, you have received from Nature a glorious
endowment denied to me; you have a tender heart! You either feel glowing
love or--maybe simulate, and act it to the life! We will not discuss this
further; I only repeat it, you are destined to surpass me. You love the
Princess Charlotte Louise! I thank you for this one confession, but add to
it a second, Adolphus. Tell me whether the Princess returns your love?"
"I have not ventured to put this question to her," replied Count Adolphus,
with downcast eyes. "The Princess is so high above me, is so pure and
virtuous, that it would be a sin to tempt her innocence and virtue by the
avowal of an unsanctioned love!"
"My son!" exclaimed the count, smiling, "you are a pattern of discretion
and modesty. You amaze, you delight me. You have not ventured, and will
not venture to declare your love to the Princess?"
"No, father, at least, not so long as it is an unsanctioned love--so long
as I do not know whether it has your approval, and through you the
"You would step surely, you would engage in no undertaking that does not
promise good results! Ah, I understand now--I comprehend all now. I have
an irresistible desire to embrace you, and I know you will pardon your
father for this one ebullition of tenderness. Come to my heart, my great,
my admirable son!"
He flung his arms around his son's neck and imprinted a warm kiss upon his
"Count John Adolphus Schwarzenberg," he said then, "with this kiss I give
you my consent to woo the Princess Charlotte Louise! With this kiss I
promise so to work upon and bend the Elector's heart, that he will give
you the Princess's hand, and agree to your union."
"My dear father, you open indeed to me the gate of paradise. But this gate
has two wings, and if I would gain admittance, both wings must open to
"Oh, you mean the Electress? She will certainly be very much opposed to
such a union, for she has a proud and willful heart, over which no one has
any influence except the Electoral Prince, and he, indeed, will not use
his influence in our behalf. Well, there is nothing for it but to oppose
force to force, and to constrain the dear lady to give her consent. To
employ such coercive measures is your affair, my son!"
"You empower me to do so, father? You will not refuse me your support? You
will not disavow my acts?"
"I empower you to do everything you think needful, and you will find me a
faithful ally, for I recognize joyfully in you my trusty coadjutor, and
see that we may count upon each other."
"I shall ever esteem it a sacred and delightful duty to obey you, my
much-loved father, and I shall joyfully hold myself ready to carry out
"And you will do well in this, my son," said Count Adam Schwarzenberg,
with a hearty pressure of the hand. "All that I do for myself is also done
for you, all that I obtain is for your profit and advantage. You are my
heir, to you will descend all my earthly possessions, my name, my renown,
my dignities and offices, my money and estates."
"_Cher pere_" cried the young man, "let us not speak of such solemn
things. I hope that it will be a long time yet ere I enter upon that great
and sad inheritance."
"I hope so, too," said Count Adam, with animation of manner. "I would
leave you _all_ in perfect condition, and to effect this much labor is yet
required. I have set myself a mighty task, and it is yet far from its
"And yet you have already conducted and executed matters so grandly, so
admirably, father! You have no idea with what rapture they think of you
and your performances at the imperial court. Emperor Ferdinand spoke of
you as his most trusted and beloved servant, and Father Silvio called you
a lamp of the faith and a faithful son of the Church, through whom many
will yet be saved."
"Yes, many shall yet be brought within the ark of safety by my means!"
cried Count Adam, in a lively manner. "I know what I purpose, I know the
great aims after which I have striven for twenty years with intrepid
spirit, with ardor never to be chilled. My son, with you I make no secret
of my aims, and you must know them, that you may stand unflinching at my
side. It is true, I am ambitious. I thirst for fame; it is true, I have
labored for myself and forwarded my own personal interests as much as I
could. My aims, however, are not restricted to these private interests,
they are higher, nobler! I am the faithful servant and subject of my
Emperor and lord; I am the believing and zealous son of our holy Church.
To the Emperor and the Church belong the fruits of my striving and my
energy, and to promote the greatness and consideration of both is the
ultimate object of all my labors and all my schemes."
"And I, most gracious father, will take my station firmly at your side,"
said Count Adolphus fervently. "You will ever find in me an attentive
pupil, eager to learn."
"We have both a great mission to fulfill," exclaimed Count Adam, "and it
is well for us sometimes to place this clearly before our eyes, in order
to be ever mindful of it, and never to forget it even in the pursuance of
private ends. You, too, remember this, my son, and act accordingly. To the
Emperor and the Church be all our services dedicated! To render the
Emperor great and mighty, to strengthen his consideration throughout the
German Empire, is and shall be my aim as a statesman. To extend
continually the power and dominion of the Catholic religion is and shall
be my task as a Christian, as a son of the Church, within whose pale alone
is salvation. God himself has chosen me for his tool, else how would it
have been possible that the bigoted, reformed Elector should have selected
me for his first and mightiest minister? God wills that through me the
influence of the Holy Roman See and the German Emperor be promoted and
advanced; therefore has he caused me, the subject of the Emperor, an
Austrian born, to become the servant of the Elector of Brandenburg. But
the servant has become master, and the Catholic Austrian is Stadtholder in
the Mark, the almighty minister in the land of the heretic. It is so,
because through him this land is to be led back to the true faith and the
Emperor, because through him is to be re-established the endangered
supremacy of the Emperor of Germany! The Protestant Electors would have
exalted themselves against the power of Emperor and empire; with the help
of the Swedes they would have cut up the Holy Roman Empire into a number
of free, independent States, great and small, where Protestants,
Reformers, and Lutherans would have enjoyed as great consideration as the
Catholics, and over which the Emperor would no longer have exercised
control. The Protestant Elector of the Palatinate was to have been changed
into a King, waving his scepter over Catholic Bohemia, and in place of the
little Elector of Brandenburg was to have arisen a mighty Prince, who was
to have broken the power of the German Emperor in the north, and become
the chief and center of Protestant Germany! To that end were they leagued
with the Swedes, to that end was King Gustavus Adolphus to have furnished
help to his cousins and brothers-in-law. But the fates were against them!
In the battle of the White Mountain the Count Palatine lost his Bohemian
throne, in the battle of Luetzen the Swedish King his life, and in the
peace of Prague the Swedes and other enemies of the Emperor a powerful
ally in the Elector of Brandenburg! It was I who alienated the Elector
from the Swedes, who made him again the obedient vassal of his Emperor and
Sovereign. And it shall be I who will make the Mark Brandenburg
imperialist again! For the limbs accommodate themselves to the head, and
if the Prince acknowledges himself a professed Catholic, his subjects will
soon follow suit."
"What! most gracious father, is it possible that the Elector George
"Hush, hush, my son! who says anything about the Elector George William?
Who thinks of the decaying tree, which can no longer bear fruit, when he
beholds at its side a young, vigorous tree laden with blossoms, rich for
future harvests? My son, I herewith give you my consent to woo the love of
the Princess Charlotte Louise, but I make one condition which you must
solemnly swear to respect: none but a Catholic becomes the wife of my son
"None but a Catholic becomes my wife!" cried the young count. "I solemnly
give you my oath to that effect, father."
"And you actually suppose that the Emperor will bestow upon me the same
favor he has conferred upon Fuerstenberg, Lobkowitz, and Liechtenstein?"
"I am empowered to promise it prospectively, most gracious sir. The house
of Austria is grateful, and forgets not that already your father before
you rendered her important services, attending the Emperor with credit in
his wars against the Turks; that you yourself have been through a whole
lifetime true and unswerving in your fidelity to the Emperor's service;
that the Stadtholder in the Mark, and the Grand Master of the Order of St.
John has been ever mindful of his duty to the Emperor."
"I must and shall be ever called a good Imperialist," cried the count
warmly, "and prefer the Emperor's to the Elector's service. Bethlen
Gabor, Prince of Hungary, has well said that the Elector and I are upon
one ship, and that my fortune depends upon the Elector's fortune; but he
shall be proved to have been in error, and we prefer making our voyage in
our own little bark to take passage in the Electoral ship."
"Yes, father, that shall we!" cried the young count joyfully. "You sit at
the helm and give management and direction to the boat. For my part, I
shall so hoist and unfurl the sails that we catch the breeze and bound
"Do so, my son, and always heed the wind as it blows across from the
apartments of the Electress and her princesses, as well as from the robber
nests and dens of the squires and waylayers of the Mark, and from the
fortresses and garrisons. We, too, my son, voyage together in the same
boat; I am the pilot, you unfurl the sails, and upon our flag in
mysterious and invisible colors is inscribed this device: Good
Imperialists, good Catholics!"
"Yes, good Imperialists and good Catholics," replied the young count
energetically. "But, dearest father, let us add besides, quite softly,
"Yes, my son, that will we. For, in addition to those great and holy
interests, to keep one's own interests a little in view is manly and
justifiable. My heavens! life would have been perfectly hateful and
abominable in this dirty, cheerless Berlin if we had not seen above us a
glittering star, to which we could look up when all was so dismal here
below, which shone upon our path and cheered us when we feared to sink in
the mud and mire. This star, my son, do you know its name?"
"Its name is Fame, its name is Love, _cher pere_."
"Well, for the sake of fame I will put up with love, foolish dreamer. You
may bring it on board our boat as ballast. But if a storm should come and
necessity impel, we shall throw our ballast overboard."
"Dear father, if you do that, you will throw overboard likewise my
happiness and life!" exclaimed Count Adolphus warmly. "If you call love
ballast, then forget not, father, that in this ballast your son's heart is
"Enamored fool, you really have a heart? Do you believe so?"
"I believe so, most noble father, because I feel it, because--"
A hasty knock, thrice repeated, at the door of the antechamber interrupted
him, and in obedience to the Stadtholder's summons, the lackey Balthasar
"Most gracious sir," he said, "it is a courier from the Commandant von
Rochow at Spandow, who desires to speak with your lordship on most urgent
"I am going, most gracious father, I am going," cried the young count,
speedily rising. "I can no longer lay claim to the Stadtholder's precious
"And you have very important affairs of your own to attend to, have you
not?" asked his father. "You have been long enough diplomatist and
politician, and that curious thing, whose possession you boast, the heart,
will now assert its rights?"
The young man laughed and pressed the count's extended hand tenderly to
his lips. Then he nodded once more affectionately to his father, and
bounded lightly through the room to the side door, through which he
vanished. Count Adam Schwarzenberg looked thoughtfully after his son.
"Strange!" he murmured. "Is he acting a comedy, or is it truth? Does he
prudently pretend to have a heart, or has he one in reality? Well, never
mind. The courier from Spandow!"
In answer to the count's loud call a huntsman in dirty, dusty uniform made
his appearance from the antechamber, and, making a military salute,
remained standing near the door.
"What news have you for me?" asked Count Schwarzenberg, striding toward
him. "Where are your letters and dispatches?"
"I crave pardon, your excellency, but I have no letters or dispatches. The
Commandant von Rochow sent me with a verbal message, and entreats
forgiveness in that haste allowed him no time for writing. I have only to
announce that, even at the instant of my departure, the Electoral Prince
was making his solemn entry into Spandow. All ranks and conditions of
people from the region round about had joined the Electoral Prince, and
followed him, in carriages, on horseback, and on foot. The commandant was
greatly amazed to witness so much pomp, and hastened to array himself in
parade uniform in order to go and meet the Electoral Prince with his corps
"That is all you have to communicate to me?"
"All, your excellency."
"Then ride back again, and return to the commandant my warmest thanks for
his welcome message."
"Yes," repeated the count, when the courier had taken leave, "yes, this is
a welcome message and by ----! I shall derive profit from it."
"Ho, Balthasar, Balthasar! Is the commander of police in the antechamber?"
"Your highness, he has been there an hour already."
"Bid him come in. There you are, Master Brandt! Well, listen! Send all
your secret friends and emissaries through the city, privately inform the
citizens, the magistrates, the merchants, the whole inhabitants in a body,
that the Electoral Prince will arrive here in from three to four hours,
and that it would surely be a right great pleasure to the Elector and his
wife if they would prepare him a public reception, and go a little way on
the road to meet him. Say, moreover, that it would assuredly prepare a
very great joy for the Electoral Prince if they would illuminate the city
this evening, and if this were done voluntarily, and without suggestion,
the Electoral Prince would be forced to admit how very glad the people of
Berlin are to welcome him, and how much they hope for from his return.
Excite the populace properly, that their houses be brightly illuminated,
and that they may give great demonstrations of joy. Dispatch your agents
everywhere, and show me to-day for once that you know how to execute my
orders punctually, and are a worthy successor of my dear, recently
deceased Dietrich, your predecessor in office."
"Your excellency, I shall do all that lies in my power, and I doubt not
but that I shall succeed in deserving your honor's approbation. I only
venture to remark, that many of the citizens will find it exceedingly
difficult to procure the candles or lamps needed for the illumination, for
the poverty and distress are very great, and it would perhaps be well to
aid the people and furnish them with the candles for illuminating."
"Do so, Master Brandt," cried the count, smiling. "I fully empower you to
purchase tallow candles for distribution, to the amount of a hundred
dollars; only, take care that the people actually light and burn them up,
and do not consume them as dainties these hard times. And one thing more,
Brandt! It would be pleasant to me if you would excite a few people
against me and his highness the Elector, while you tell them various bad
things about me, and attribute it as a crime to the Elector that he is so
devoted to me. You might then urge on to the palace such people as you
have stirred up and goaded, so that, as soon as the Electoral Prince
arrives, they might shout with loud distinct voices: 'Long live the
Electoral Prince! Long live our savior and deliverer! Down with the
Catholics. Away with Schwarzenberg!' You can at least persuade ten or
fifteen to do this, and promise them that they shall have money to buy a
good drink if they shout right loudly and clearly. Well, why do you smile
so all of a sudden, man?"
"Pardon me, your highness, but when I entered upon my office, four weeks
ago, your excellency urged it upon me as a stringent duty to report truly
to your honor, not only what happens, but what is the mood of the people
here. Does this command always have validity, your excellency?"
"It has validity for the whole term of your service, Master Brandt, or,
rather, you will only remain chief of police so long as I am convinced
that you always report to me the full truth in all things, without
reserve. Speak! What would you say?"
"Your highness, I would only say that it is not necessary to stir up the
people to give utterance to such infamous and disrespectful outcries
against your excellency. They will do so of their own accord, and if I
should not pick up the first who raised such a cry, have him arrested, and
carried off, then immediately would twenty fellows be found, without any
prompting from me, to shout exactly the words which your excellency would
"You mean the words: 'Away with the Catholics! Down with Schwarzenberg'?"
"I beg your honor's pardon, but those are the words I mean."
The count laughed clearly. "Well," he said, "so much the better! We will
be spared then some trouble and expense, which is always a very pleasant
thing. But hear, Sir Master of Police! If we let the fellows shout to-day,
it does not follow that we shall not administer fitting punishment
to-morrow. Mark the shouters very narrowly, and to-morrow, when the
merriment is over, have them arrested and thrust into prison for a couple
The chief of police shrugged his shoulders. "I crave pardon, your
excellency; that is no punishment for the rabble in these days. They are
glad when they are put away at Oxenhead, or here in the castle prison,
receiving food and lodgings free of cost, and many a one, who formerly
lived in honor and affluence, would to-day be gladly found guilty of some
fault, for the sake of being arrested and supported in prison at the
expense of the state."
"Well, then we will not gratify the shouting mob by punishing them with
imprisonment, but cause the jailer to administer a sound cudgeling to each
one of them, and then let the fellows go again. Make good speed now,
Brandt, for I expect the Electoral Prince here in a few hours, and if the
people are not properly notified, he will make his entry before they have
taken off their rags and donned their holiday attire. Make haste, and let
us have this evening a right brilliant illumination. Farewell, Master
The chief of police departed, and by a loud whistle Schwarzenberg called
the lackey to him.
"One of the grooms must take horse," was his command.
"He must ride out on the road to Spandow about a quarter of a mile. There
he is to halt, and wait until the Electoral Prince arrives with his
attendants. As soon as he has seen him, he is to come back at full speed
and make the announcement to me."
"All necessary preliminaries are arranged," said Schwarzenberg, when he
found himself again alone. "Now let the Electoral Prince come on, we are
ready to receive him. There will be a hard struggle, but I have been
victorious over all my enemies for twenty years, and shall probably
conquer the little Electoral Prince too! Now a hurried toilet, and then
to the Elector, to open the skirmish in his neighborhood! Ah, we shall
see, my young Prince! For you shouts the rabble of Berlin, for me speaks
the Elector! We shall see which of us two has built upon the sand!"
"May I be so bold as to come in, most noble sir?" asked Count
Schwarzenberg, as he opened the door leading into the Electoral cabinet
and thrust in his head, encircled by a hundred beautifully arranged curls.
"Behold, there is Adam Schwarzenberg!" cried Elector George William,
wheeling his chair from the writing table. "Why do you ask, count, since
you know that you are always privileged to enter unannounced? Come closer,
and be heartily welcome!"
And the Elector leaned both his arms upon the wooden aims of his chair,
making an effort to rise. But the count was at his side in a moment,
gently forcing him back into his seat, while at the same time he half bent
one knee and imprinted a kiss upon the Elector's right hand.
"If your grace treats me with such formality, and rises on my account,
then I must believe that you love me no longer," he said, with soft,
insinuating voice. "But you well know, beloved master, that I could not
live without your love, and that existence itself would seem gloomy and
dark to me if the star of your favor and love should cease to shine upon
"Live, my Adam, live merrily, then, and joyously, for you well know that I
love you," replied George William, nodding to the count in most friendly
manner. "And how could it be otherwise, when I know that I can depend upon
your love, and that you are the only one truly interested in my not being
called away yet awhile, and in having me tarry a little longer upon earth.
Come, my friend, sit down. Draw up your armchair close to my side--no,
opposite to me, that I may look at you. I love dearly to behold your
handsome, noble face, and then console myself with the thought that, after
all, the Elector of Brandenburg can not be such a pitiful little Prince,
since such a proud, distinguished lord as Count Schwarzenberg is his
"Say his servant, his slave, his humble subject, most gracious sir! Yes,
look at me, my much-loved master, and read in my countenance that I am
devoted to you with my whole heart and soul. Ah! who knows how much longer
you will read that in my face, and how soon it may come to pass that poor
Adam Schwarzenberg will be thrust aside and no longer find a place in your
heart! Oh, dearest sir, when I think of that, I feel perfectly wretched
and inconsolable, and I would rather hide my head and weep and mourn, than
go smilingly to meet the joyful countenance of him who will come to
supplant me in your affections!"
"Nobody shall do that, Adam, and I know not, indeed, who could be bold
enough even to attempt it."
"Most gracious sir, the Electoral Prince will attempt it! He who, when a
mere little child, was my opponent. He, who has been brought up by his
mother and other relatives to mistrust me. He will grudge me the smallest
place in his father's heart, and will do everything to contest it with
"But he will not succeed, be assured of that, my Adam, he will not succeed
in it. I only know too well that in you I have a faithful, devoted
servant, in the Electoral Prince a rebellious and refractory son; that
with you all is bound up in my life; with him all in my death!"
"Oh, no, your highness, no, it is impossible that the Electoral Prince
could be so heartless and degenerate as to wish for his father's death.
No, I must take the part of the Electoral Prince against you. You accuse
him falsely, most gracious sir; he surely loves you, and it is only his
ambition and youthful arrogance that sometimes lead him to do what is not
right, and what surely he would not do if he only reflected better. Out of
youthful presumption he undertook, despite your commands to the contrary,
to remain longer at The Hague, and even to send back the Chamberlain von
Schlieben, whom you had dispatched to him with strict orders to bring him
home. And only his stormy, boundless ambition is at fault now in inducing
him to appear here in rather an unbecoming manner. But you must not be
angry with him for it, dear sir, and on that very account have I come to
you to-day, to beg and implore you most earnestly not to admit any
feelings of resentment into your mind this day, which is to restore to you
the Electoral Prince."
"He is coming, then, at last?" cried the Elector, breathing again. "He has
finally had the goodness to heed our oft-repeated commands, and
condescended to return home? But this return is, as I feel, likely enough
to prepare renewed vexation for me, and in your magnanimity you come to me
only to sweeten a little the pill which my son gives me to swallow. Speak
out openly, Adam, and keep back nothing! What is it? What has the
Electoral Prince done?"
"Oh, your highness, I am convinced that he means nothing bad, and has no
design of vexing you. He naturally rejoices greatly on his return to his
future dominions, and consequently enjoys the congratulations of his
future subjects, and gladly allows them to receive him with demonstrations
"Do they so, his future subjects?" inquired the Elector, and his hands,
swollen by gout, grasped convulsively the arms of his easychair. "Do they
welcome him with rejoicings as their future sovereign?"
"Yes, most gracious sir, it is plainly to be seen how closely the people
cling to the electoral house of Hohenzollern, and how they sympathize in
every fortunate event occurring in that family. From the moment that the
Electoral Prince crossed the boundaries of the Mark, the inhabitants of
every village and town have joyfully poured forth to meet him; his journey
is a genuine triumphal procession, and the reigning Sovereign of the
country could not be received with more honor and delight than is the
young Electoral Prince!"
"Me, their reigning Sovereign, me, they did not receive with rejoicings,"
exclaimed the Elector, whose face grew crimson with excitement and
passion. "My journey was anything but a triumphal procession, resembling
much more a funeral, so quiet and still was everything on my way. Nowhere
did I hear a joyful welcome, nowhere did the people come forth to meet me,
and as at Koenigsberg they permitted me to depart without greeting or
acclamation, so here at Berlin they allowed me to enter without a sign of
welcome or congratulation. I will now confess to you alone that I was much
mortified by this, although I did not complain of it. I comforted myself
by reflecting that the times were bad and depressing, and that in their
afflictions the people could not even present a glad, cheerful countenance
to the father of their country. But now it falls to my lot to hear that
they _can_ make merry and rejoice, and that they have only saved up the
joy in their hearts to bestow it upon the return home of my son and heir."
"Pardon, your highness, but I believe that we accuse the poor people
wrongfully if we imagine that they are now acting thus of their own free
motion, when they were so quiet on the arrival of their beloved Sovereign.
No, the poor, unhappy people would have been equally silent at this time
if they had not been stirred up to make noisy demonstrations of joy, if
they had not been paid for it. It is otherwise wholly incredible and not
to be thought of that the populace should have prepared such a triumph for
the young home-returning lord. It is plainly to be seen that all has been
settled and arranged beforehand. For it is not merely the offscourings of
the streets, but burghers, magistrates, and officials, who have extended a
welcome to the Electoral Prince. At Spandow, for example, all the
citizens, with the magistracy at their head, issued from the town to pay
their respects to him--yes, even Commandant von Rochow has found it
necessary to join in the universal rejoicings, and has ridden out with his
officers in their dress uniforms to do honor to the Prince's arrival. Here
at Berlin, too, your own residence, all is uproar and excitement. They are
putting on their holiday suits, and making ready to meet the Electoral
Prince. That proves quite clearly that his speedy approach to the city has
been already announced to the citizens, and communicated to the
magistrates even before any tidings of the sort had reached your highness
or myself, the Stadtholder in the Mark. For as soon as I obtained this
intimation from Colonel von Rochow, I hastened hither to bring to your
highness the glad news of your son's return home, and on the way I was
stopped by whole crowds of festive men and women hastening to the suburb
Spandow, to plant themselves near the Pomegranate Bridge and along the
meadow dike. Indeed, it strikes me that I even saw some gentlemen of
municipal authority going the same way in full official dress."
"And you suffered this?" asked the Elector angrily. "You allowed them to
prepare such an insult and affront as to do for the son what they have not
found needful to do for the father? But I will not bear it; I shall not be
humiliated by my own son. You are the Stadtholder in the Mark, you must
provide against their offering me any cause of vexation. Send out your
officers, Sir Stadtholder, to clear the streets of this gaping multitude,
send the magistrates home, and order the people to remain quietly within
their houses, to do their work and not to lounge about the streets."
"My much-loved lord and Elector, I sue for a favor in behalf of your most
faithful servant, your poor Adam. I beg you out of consideration for me to
retract these stringent orders, for I should be ruined if I were to
execute them. Throughout the whole Mark, yea, throughout all Germany, they
would raise the cry of murder against me, would everywhere blazon it, that
Count Schwarzenberg is so inimically disposed toward the Electoral Prince
that he would not even grant him an honorable reception on his return home
after an absence of three years. Oh, most gracious sir, you will not
increase yet more the number of my enemies and opposers, you will not
excite public opinion yet more against me, and render it more favorably
disposed to the Electoral Prince! If we now forcibly restrain these
testimonials of pleasure on the part of the people, then will it be said
that I misuse my power and am jealous of the Electoral Prince; that I am
seeking to thrust him aside from his exalted position. If, on the other
hand, it is seen how joyfully I acquiesce in the Electoral Prince's
reception with acclamations everywhere, then will they be forced to
acknowledge that it is not I who meet the young Prince with hatred, but
that I willingly concede to him all honors and triumphs."
"It is true," muttered the Elector, "they would surely suspect and accuse
you, and it would not mend matters to say that I myself gave orders that
the Electoral Prince be allowed to come home quietly."
"God forbid that such a thing should be said!" cried Schwarzenberg. "No,
rather let the whole world censure and condemn me--rather let it be said
that I have acted as the spiteful and unworthy enemy of the Electoral
Prince--than that they should dare even to cast one shadow upon my beloved
master's heart. What matters it that they calumniate me, if they only
venture not to attack and suspect your highness?"
"They shall not slander and suspect you, my Adam," said the Elector,
offering him his hand. "For your sake let us suffer the Electoral Prince
to come hither in triumph. But we will remember it against him, and our
love for him will not be thereby increased."
"Yet I entreat your highness to receive your son kindly and graciously,"
pleaded Schwarzenberg with insinuating voice. "It is better, your
highness, to try to chain him to you by goodness and love than by
strictness and severity to repel him yet more, and force him to join the
party of your opponents. It is a great and powerful party, and I well know
that it is their plan to place the Electoral Prince at their head, and
through him to attain their ends."
"And what are their ends?" asked the Elector, with lowering brow.
The count bent over closer to his ear, as if he feared letting even the
walls hear what he had to say.
"Their ends are a transference of the government, and when this is
effected a revolt from Emperor and empire, and a league with the Swedes
and all Protestant German princes against Emperor and empire."
"The transference of the government? That means an insurrection, a
revolution. They would hurl me from my throne and ensconce my son there?"
"They hope that in your distress you will do, gracious sir, what your
blessed father did."
"Abdicate!" cried the Elector angrily. "Abdicate in favor of my son?"
"In favor of the Electoral Prince, who has grown up in Holland to become a
promising Prince, a general of the future, a brilliant leader of the
Protestant Church, and of whom his followers say that he will be a second
"A second plague--a second source of danger to myself!" screamed the
Elector, striking with his clinched fist upon the arm of his chair. "It
was not enough that my brother-in-law Gustavus Adolphus brought me into
trouble and distress, and caused the Emperor's wrath to flame forth
against me, so that I was really afraid that I would share the fate of my
cousin the Margrave of Jaegerndorf, whom the Emperor put under his ban,
declaring that he had forfeited his margraviate, and giving it over as a
feudal tenure to Prince Liechstenstein! I was only saved then from a like
terrible fate by your intercession and fidelity! It was you who, by your
address and eloquence, softened the Emperor's resentment against me,
induced him to pardon me, and afterward brought about the peace of Prague,
which reconciled the Emperor to me. Yet it was not enough to have gone
through those times of anxiety and distress, they must be now renewed
through my only son! In him am I to find a second Gustavus Adolphus, to
plunge me into new perils and bring down upon me the Emperor's avenging
wrath? But it shall not be--I solemnly swear, it shall not be! I will
_not_ involve my land in new dangers and calamities of war. I will _not_
depart from my neutrality. I _will_ have peace--peace with the Emperor,
peace for my poor people, and for their unhappy Prince! But I shall not
act as my father did, and prepare a pleasure for my son by resigning
sovereignty and rule in my lifetime and becoming the servant and subject
of my own son! Before me shall he bow--me shall he acknowledge to be his
lord so long as I live, and never while I breathe shall I cease to lay to
his charge these hours of pain and vexation. I am Elector and ruler, and
he is nothing further than my son and subject, my successor when I die,
but not my coregent while I live! Count Adam Schwarzenberg, I charge you
to stand courageously at my side, to remain zealous in my service, and to
direct your attention especially to unraveling all the arts and wiles, the
plots and schemes of my son and his abettors; to give me always
information on these points, to keep nothing in the background, and not to
conceal anything from me merely to save me from vexation. Will you promise
and swear so to manage and act, my Adam?"
"I swear and promise it, and in affirmation will my Prince allow me to
give him my hand upon it?" asked Schwarzenberg, laying his own right hand
in the outstretched one of the Elector. "You will find in me a true
servant and guardian of your sacred person and your throne, and he who
would supplant or harm you must first step over the corpse of Count
Schwarzenberg! But now, most gracious sir, I beseech you not to be
overpowered by your feelings of indignation, and to be amiable and
condescending toward the home-coming Electoral Prince; for it is sometimes
very necessary to wear a mask and assume an appearance of harmlessness and
unconcern in order the better to fathom the designs of one's enemies, and
to make them feel secure, that they may the more easily betray themselves."
"Yes, I will do so," said George William, sighing. "I will swallow down my
rage, although it would be a relief to me to vent it a little, and to show
my son that I know him and am not deceived by him. But what noise is that
without, and who is knocking so violently at the door?"
This door was now impetuously torn open, and the Electress Sophy Elizabeth
entered, with beaming eyes and features lighted up by joy, while on high
she held an open letter in her hand.
"George!" she exclaimed--"George, our son is coming! Our dear Frederick
William is coming!"
"Well, I rather think he ought to have been here a half year ago," growled
the Elector, "and we have been expecting him several months already."
"But he is here now, my husband, he is actually here now. Only see what a
good, affectionate son he is! He has halted at the inn of the Spandow
suburb, merely to forewarn us of his arrival. It was not enough for him
that he had sent us a messenger with a verbal communication, no, he must
send us a written salutation, and such kind, cordial words as he has
written. There, read, my husband, just read!"
She handed the paper to the Elector, but he did not take it.
"Is the letter directed to me?" he asked.
"No, to me, to his mother he wrote, because he knew how happy it would
make me, and how heartily I love him. Read, George!"
"I never read letters that are not directed to myself," said the Elector,
"Well, then, I will read it to you!" cried the Electress, who in the
fullness of her joy heeded as little the ill humor of the Elector as she
did the presence of Count Schwarzenberg, who upon her entrance had
modestly withdrawn to one of the deep window recesses. "Yes, I will read
it to you," she repeated, "for you must hear what our son writes."
And with a voice trembling from joy and agitation she read:
"My gracious, revered Mother: Before I enter my dear birthplace and return
home to my beloved parents and sisters, I would announce my arrival to
your highnesses, that you may not be alarmed by my unexpected coming, and
that I may not come inopportunely to his grace, my father. I enjoy greatly
getting home, and all the testimonials of love and sympathy which I have
received ever since I set foot within my father's territories, and they
will remain indelibly graven on my heart. I beg your grace to present my
most submissive respects to my gracious father and Elector, and to speak a
good word for me to him, that his grace may no longer cherish resentment
against me on account of my long stay abroad, and that he may favorably
incline toward and receive me, and be convinced that I am and shall ever
remain the grateful and obedient son of my venerated parents.
"Well" asked the Electress, "are not those affectionate, glorious words,
and does not your fatherly heart rejoice in them? But just hear, hear, how
they shout and hurrah! It is the good people of Berlin! They are coming to
the palace to see our son!"
Again was the door through which the Electress had entered violently
thrown open, and two young ladies entered. Their lovely and blooming faces
beamed with happiness and their eyes glistened with joy.
"He comes! Our brother is coming!" they cried, rushing forward toward
their parents. "Just come to the window, that we may see him, for he is
riding around the corner into the pleasure garden"
"Are you all, then, wholly beside yourselves, and gone stark mad?" cried
the Elector passionately, while he rose from his armchair and proudly drew
himself up. "Who gives these two young ladies the privilege of entering my
cabinet thus, unannounced and without ceremony? Just answer me one thing,
Miss Charlotte Louise, did I permit you to come here?"
"No, dearest father," said the Princess timidly, casting down her large,
dark eyes, "no, your grace has not indeed permitted us to do so, but we
did not think of that in the joy of our hearts, and because from here is
the best lookout upon the pleasure grounds, we--"
"We thought," interrupted the younger sister, who had hardly attained her
fifteenth year--"we thought our dear papa, his Electoral Grace, would
forgive us and look out with us to catch a sight of our beloved brother.
And were we not right, dear papa, were we mistaken in thinking so, and
will your grace not allow your little Sophie Hedwig to lead you to the
great corner window, that with mamma you may have a view of dear Frederick
The Princess had approached her father, and, tenderly and coaxingly
stroking his cheeks with her little white hand, looked up at him with such
a gentle, pleading glance in her blue eyes as George William had never
hitherto been known to resist. But this time the eyes of his favorite had
no power over the Elector's heart, and indignantly he repelled her
"Let me alone with your 'dear Frederick William,' you saucy piece!" cried
he passionately. "You should at all events have waited until I had given
you leave to appear here. If, in your childish giddiness, you knew no
better, yet your sister Charlotte Louise, at the more mature age of
twenty, ought to have arrived at years of discretion, and known what was
"No one knows better what is becoming than the fair young Princess
Charlotte Louise, most gracious sir," said Count Adam Schwarzenberg,
issuing from the window recess and greeting the Princess with a
reverential bow. "In the whole country the Electoral Princess is honored
as a brilliant model of fine manners and noble demeanor, and every one
feels himself blessed and honored who is permitted to approach her. And is
not the young lady right even now, dear sir, in coming here with her young
sister? It is surely proper and well for the united Electoral family to be
seen by the nation as they look upon the dear son and brother, whose
return gladdens their hearts?"
"Well, for aught I care, she may be right," muttered the Elector, "and I
will grant my wife and daughters leave to look out of the corner window.
But, meanwhile, where is the Electress?"
"Her grace is standing there before the corner window and gazing down so
earnestly upon the square that I have not yet been so fortunate as to be
allowed to pay my respects to her highness."
"For if the whole world had been assembled together she would have seen
nothing but the Electoral Prince," called out the Elector, shrugging his
shoulders. "Go to her, Adam, and present my compliments to her. Tell her
that I resign my cabinet to her and my daughters, and will withdraw into
my sleeping apartment until this uproar has subsided."
"Oh, do not do so, most honored father," cried the younger Princess. "Stay
here, and look out of the window with us."
"Do so, your Electoral Highness," pleaded the count, softly and quickly.
"Grant the people the light of your countenance."
"Well, so be it, then," sighed George William. "Call the servants,
Charlotte Louise, that they may roll me to the window."
"As if I could not have the privilege of acting as servant to your
highness, and as if my arm were not strong enough to guide your highness's
chair. Permit me, gracious sir, to roll you to the window."
"And permit me to help your excellency," said Princess Charlotte Louise,
smiling, while she seized one of the arms of the fauteuil.
"Now truly this is a very lofty equipage," cried George William, as the
fauteuil rolled along through the spacious apartment. "The Stadtholder in
the Mark and a Princess of the blood drawing my equipage."
"But what a man sits in it!" said Count Schwarzenberg. "A duke of Prussia,
of Pomerania, of Cleves, an Elector of Brandenburg, and--"
"Hurrah, hurrah!" sounded up from below in a chorus of hundreds of voices.
"Hurrah! long live the Electoral Prince!"
"He comes! Oh, my son, my son!" cried the Electress. "He comes! George,
She had turned round and her eye met the count's gaze, who immediately
bowed low and reverentially before her. The Electress only thanked him
with a slight nod of her head, and herself sprang forward to push the
fauteuil into the window niche. Then, with trembling hands, she opened
both window shutters and beckoned her daughters to her side.
"He must see us all, _all_" she said. "With one glance he must take in
father, mother, and sisters."
"And my most faithful and best-beloved servant, the Stadtholder in the
Mark!" cried the Elector. "Come, Adam, place yourself close beside me,
that the picture may be complete, and my son may see us all at once."
Boundless public rejoicings seemed to be in progress below; a loud,
long-sustained, ever-renewed cheering rolled over the square like the roar
of the sea.
"My son, my beloved son!" cried the Electress, leaning far out of the
window and stretching out both arms toward the young man, who had just
emerged from the shrubbery, on horseback and followed by a brilliant train.
"Brother, dear brother!" called out the two Princesses, leaning out of the
other side of the window, and waving their handkerchiefs in token of
welcome. Behind them sat the Elector in his great armchair, quite
forgotten and quite hidden from view by his wife and daughters, not at all
visible to either the people or his son.
"I shall remember this hour, oh! to be sure, I shall remember it," he
said, with trembling lips; "my son shall atone to me for this hour of
shame and mortification. I--"
The huzzaing and shouting below drowned his words; they came pouring in at
the open window like the pealing tones of an organ, like the roar of the
sea, like claps of thunder.
The Elector could no longer bear it. He looked up with glances of entreaty
at the count, who, drawn up to his full height, stood proud and commanding
at the side of his chair, his sharp eyes piercing down into the court over
the ladies' heads.
"Ah, Adam," sighed George William, "you, too, have forgotten me, and are
only looking upon him who is coming!"
But, however softly these words had been spoken, the count heard them, and
tenderly he leaned over the Elector, and seized his hand to kiss it.
"I am looking at the newcomer," he whispered, "but I never forget you, and
my heart can never be unmindful of the love and fidelity it owes you."
"Hurrah! Long live the Electoral Prince!" was borne up in tumultuous
uproar from the pleasure garden. "Long live the Electoral Prince! Long
live the Elector! Hurrah for the Elector George William!"
"They are calling for you, my husband, they call for you!" said the
Electress. "Will you not show yourself to our dear people?"
"I ought, indeed, to be thankful to the dear people," returned her
husband. "The dear people have at least reminded the Electress that I
still exist, although she had crowded me back and rendered me entirely
invisible behind her. Yes, I will show myself to the people, as they still
think of me in the midst of their merriment. Step back from the window,
ladies, make room for your Elector and lord! And you, Count Schwarzenberg,
come and give me your arm; I would lean upon you!"
The count willingly offered the Elector his arm. Powerfully drawn up by
him, the Elector rose from his seat, and, leaning upon his favorite,
stepped close up to the window. The shouts of joy were for a moment
hushed; perhaps because the Electoral Prince had just ridden into the
palace yard, perhaps because the ladies' retreat from the window was
considered by the people a sign that the Elector was about to appear. And
now, within the window frame, was seen the clumsy, broad figure of the
Elector; now was seen his large head, sparsely covered with gray hairs,
his pale, swollen face, prematurely old, with its melancholy blue eyes and
thin, colorless lips, round which played not the slightest smile. In the
handsome, powerful, and youthful Electoral Prince the people had just
joyfully greeted Brandenburg's future, and now from the window of that
gray, gloomy, wretched old palace looked out upon them the hopelessness of
Brandenburg's present. Like gazing upon embodied care and joyless
resignation it was, to behold the Elector's grave, forbidding aspect, and
before it the joyous cry upon the people's lips was silenced. They stared
up at the window in dumb horror, and only here and there sounded cries
from compassionate or bribed mouths: "Long live the Elector! Long live
George William!" And like a dying echo came back the answer on this side
and on that, feebly and slowly: "Long live the Elector! Long live George
But now the people caught sight of the tall, stately form, in gold
embroidered velvet suit, with the star of brilliants glittering on its
breast, which stood beside the Elector; now they recognized that haughty
countenance with its glance of sovereign contempt, its smile of lofty
condescension upon the thin, scornful lips, and a disturbance was
perceptible among the multitudes, as when a sudden gust of wind agitates
the waves of the sea and lashes them up into fury and rage. All at once
there came thundering up to the window, shrieked, howled, and hissed by
the crowd: "Down with the Catholics! Down with Schwarzenberg! Down with
A deep flush overspread the Elector's face. He hastily stepped back from
the window, and looked almost timidly up at the count, whose countenance
meanwhile had not for a moment lost its proud, smiling serenity. He seemed
not to have heard the screams of the mob.
"They would vex me to death, therefore do they scream so!" cried the
Elector; "they know my regard for Schwarzenberg, and therefore are they so
set against him and insult him, in order to insult me through him!"
"My parents, my beloved parents!" cried a clear, rich voice, and a young
man tore open the doors of the Electoral cabinet, revealing a tall,
slender figure and a noble face, with sparkling eyes and smiling lips. The
Electress uttered one scream of rapture, and hastened to meet her son with
outstretched arms. He threw himself upon her breast, greeting her with
phrases of fond endearment, and when he lifted himself from his mother's
heart there were the two sisters to embrace their dear and only brother,
to greet him with affectionate words of love, and to hold him long, long
in their encircling arms. The Elector had again sunk back into his
armchair. His "faithful servant," Count Schwarzenberg, had again rolled
him back into the middle of the apartment and stationed himself
immediately in the rear.
With unpropitious frowns had the Elector witnessed the first tender
greeting exchanged between the Electress and her son. Now, when his
sisters in their turn engrossed him and the mother stood looking on in
transport, now the Elector turned round to Schwarzenberg, and an
expression of deep bitterness spoke in every feature.
"My son seems not to know that I am yet in the world," he said, with
quick, complaining tone of voice. "Had you not better remind him of it for
decency's sake, Adam?"
But at this moment the Electoral Prince freed himself from his sisters'
arms, perceived the Elector, and sprang forward to him with open arms to
throw himself on his heart. But, when he got a nearer view of his father's
dark countenance, he let his arms drop, bent his knee before the Elector,
and grasped one hand to imprint upon it a reverential kiss.
"My dear father, my most gracious Sovereign and Elector!" cried he in
tones full of tenderness, "I beg your pardon that my first word, my first
salutation was not given to you. You see, I was always a foolish boy, whom
my mother spoils, and who delights in being spoiled."
"I beg your pardon, my husband," said the Electress, approaching her
husband; "I alone was to blame that our son did not come first to you, as
was his duty, and pay his first respects to his father and Sovereign. I
stopped him, and you must not impute as a fault to the son what was
occasioned by a mother's tenderness."
The Elector made no reply, but looked down with moody resentment upon the
Electoral Prince, who still knelt before him.
"My much-loved, gracious father," cried the Prince, "I once more beg your
pardon, and pray you kindly to forget if I have hitherto often given you
ground for annoyance, and have not appeared here immediately on your first
command. I see my error, and I promise, my dear, kind father, that I have
returned home as a penitent, affectionate son, as an obedient subject,
whose earnest endeavor shall be to deserve the forgiveness and good
opinion of his lord and father, and to live wholly and solely in
subjection to his will. Only bid me welcome, too, my most revered sir;
bestow upon your son one word of welcome and fatherly love."
The Prince glanced so tenderly at his father, there lay so much feeling in
his handsome, expressive countenance, that the Elector could not resist
him, but, in spite of himself, felt his heart stirred by tenderness and
emotion. He bowed down to him, a rare smile lit up his face, and he was
just opening his lips to greet his son with words of friendliness and
love, when the shrieking and shouting down in the pleasure garden, which
had ceased for some time (probably because their exhausted throats
required rest), burst forth again with redoubled violence.
"Away with the Catholics! Down with Schwarzenberg! Long live the Electoral
Prince. Down with Schwarzenberg!" came up with thundering impetuosity.
The friendly words died upon the Elector's lips, and the short sunshine of
his smile vanished under a cloud of displeasure.
"It seems, sir," he said, "as if your arrival were a real jubilee for the
low rabble, who have assembled down there in the pleasure grounds, and as
if your arrival were to be the cause of much vexation to me. What
seditious, scandalous words are those shouted by those wretches?"
"I do not know, I did not hear them," said the Electoral Prince quickly.
"My whole attention was concentrated upon y father's lips, waiting to hear
one gracious word of welcome!"
"The mob saved me that trouble!" cried the Elector. They cut me off from
speech with their 'Long live the electoral Prince!' What need is there for
a further welcome from your old father?"
"I need it much," replied the Electoral Prince, with low, melancholy
voice. "I need a kind, gracious word from my father, on returning home
after so long an absence; and it would seem to me as if my whole future,
my whole life were under a cloud if I lacked the blessing of your love,
the sunshine of your favor."
"My son knows how to arrange his words prettily," said the Elector,
shrugging his shoulders; "it is very observable that he has become quite a
fine, elegant gentleman; who will find but little to his taste among us,
and who will suit us just as little! But what are those people forever
shouting?" said the Elector, interrupting himself, while he rose
impulsively from his armchair, thus obliging the Prince to rise from his
knees. "What infamous hubbub and howling is this, and what do you villains
want of us?"
"Nothing further, most noble Elector," replied Count Schwarzenberg, to
whom the Elector had turned with his query--"nothing further than that
your honor drive me away, nothing further than that you dismiss the hated
minister, whom they abhor, simply because he is a Catholic and not a
Reformer, and because he is named Schwarzenberg and not Rochow or Quitzow,
nor blessed with some country bumpkin's title."
"I will rout this pack of vagabonds!" cried the Elector. "Let them dare
just once more to let such an opprobrious, insulting shout be heard!"
And, quite forgetting his weakness and his limb so painfully swollen with
gout, the Elector went rapidly to the still open corner window, and,
leaning far out of it, lifted up his hand, commanding quiet. The people
took this inclination of the body, this movement of the hand, for a token
of grace, for a kind salutation on the part of their Sovereign, perhaps
even for a granting of their demand. They roared aloud with delight, waved
aloft their hats and caps, their arms and handkerchiefs, and cried and
whooped and hurrahed: "Long live the Elector! Long live George William!
Long live the Electoral Prince!"
The Elector stepped back and shut the window so violently that the little
panes of glass, framed in lead, fairly rattled.
"Frantic populace!" he growled, "they mix up a wretched salad of cheers
and curses, mingle weeds with their herbs, and fancy that we will find
this devilish compound pleasing to our palates! We shall remember them for
"Most gracious sir!" cried Count Schwarzenberg, with radiant countenance,
approaching the Elector--"most gracious sir, in this blessed hour of our
beloved Electoral Prince's return, I have a favor to ask of your highness.
His grace has just greeted me so amiably, so condescendingly, that he has
caused my heart to overflow with joy, and I feel the strongest desire to
give expression to this joy. The return of the Electoral Prince is just as
propitious an event for me as, for the Electoral family, and for all your
subjects it is a festive occasion which can not be sufficiently honored,
and therefore I entreat your highness to permit me to celebrate it at my
house also, and to gratify me by being present yourself at this _fete_,
with all the other members of your exalted family."
The Elector looked upon his minister with an expression of joyful
tenderness, and then turned his glance upon the Electoral Prince, who
stood silent, and with lowered eyelids, beside his mother and sisters.
"Well, what say you to it, sir?" asked George William. "Do you accept the
invitation to the feast?"
"I, Electoral Lord?" asked the Prince, astonished. "It is not for me to
accept, or to say anything. I only await the decision of your highness,
and now allow myself to remark that I shall ever feel honored by an
invitation from the Stadtholder in the Mark, and that no one can have a
higher appreciation of his services and a greater respect for his
statesman-like experience and wisdom than myself."
"He knows how to speak, does he not, count?" asked the Elector, indicating
his son by a quick nod of the head.
"Well, since it depends on my decision, I shall gladly extend to you my
leave to celebrate the Electoral Prince's return by a little merrymaking,
were it only that the good-for-nothing people of Berlin may see that we
and our family are devoted to Count Schwarzenberg now as before, and that
their pitiful howls have had no influence upon us and our determinations.
Yes, we will come to your party, Adam, we accept your invitation cordially
"I thank my most gracious lord for this act of favor and condescension,"
cried the count, pressing the Elector's proffered hand to his lips. "Will
your highness extend your favor by appointing the day on which so
distinguished an honor is to befall my house?"
"Well, that you may not have time to make too great preparations, and put
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