Part 11 out of 14
of Trafalgar by a brilliant victory." [Footnote: Napoleon's own
The door behind him opened at this moment, and the chief of the
imperial cabinet, M. de Bourrienne, entered.
"Sire," he said, "the two Austrian envoys, Count de Giulay and Count
Stadion, have returned, and beg your majesty to grant them an
"So late at night!" exclaimed the emperor. "Why did they not come in
"They pretend to have been detained by the impassable state of the
roads, but assert to be able to lay before your majesty some highly
important intelligence, which would seem entirely calculated to
bring about the conclusion of peace so longed for by Austria."
"Let the gentlemen come in," said the emperor, after a short
reflection, and he placed his foot again on the crumpled paper, as
if he wished to choke the secret of its contents, so that it might
not betray itself to the Austrians. Bourrienne had gone out, and the
two Austrian envoys, Count Giulay and Count Stadion, now appeared on
"You return to me," said the emperor, hastily, to them; "my
conditions have been accepted, then? I told you I should not
negotiate separately with Austria, but that I should require Russia
to participate in the negotiations, and to be included in the treaty
of peace on which we might agree. You come, then, in the name of the
Emperors of Austria and Russia?"
"No, sire," said Count Stadion, respectfully, "we come only in the
name of Austria."
"The emperor, our august master," began Count Giulay--but Napoleon
interrupted him quickly.
"I shall listen to you only if you are authorized to speak in the
name of the two emperors," said Napoleon. "I already told you so
yesterday, and I do not see what should induce me to-day to change
my mind. The state of affairs is precisely the same."
"Pardon me, sire, it is not," said Count Giulay, firmly.
The emperor fixed a piercing glance on him, as if he wished to read
in the innermost recesses of his heart.
"And why is it not the same?" he asked, while his eye slowly turned
toward the foot, under which he concealed the sinister dispatch.
"Your majesty was yesterday pleased to say that Austria, although
she might boast of the active support of Russia, could never count
on the assistance of Prussia, and that Prussia's neutrality was as
useful to France as Russia's active support to Austria."
"Why do you repeat the words I uttered yesterday?" asked the
"Sire, because Prussia is no longer neutral," said Count Stadion,
"Because Prussia is ready to become, like Russia and England, the
active ally of Austria," added Count Giulay.
Napoleon's flashing, gloomy eyes looked alternately at the two
"How did you obtain that information?" he asked at last.
"Sire, from his majesty the Emperor of Russia. He has concluded a
treaty with the king at Potsdam, by which Frederick William III.
declares his readiness to participate in the campaign and to assist
Austria, unless your majesty should condescend to accept the
conditions which the King of Prussia is to propose as mediator
between the coalition and France."
"Ah, the King of Prussia is going to propose conditions to me?"
exclaimed Napoleon, shrugging his shoulders. "Do you know those
"The King of Prussia will propose to your majesty to surrender the
crown of Italy, not to disturb the princes of Italy in their
possessions and independence, to recognize the independence of the
German empire, of Holland, of Switzerland, to--"
"Enough!" said Napoleon, impatiently. "The Emperor Alexander has
taken the liberty to tell you a story, and your credulity must have
greatly delighted him. Can you seriously believe that the King of
Prussia would in his infatuation go so far as to hope that I should
accept propositions of so ridiculous a description? Truly, even if I
were a vanquished and humiliated emperor, I should stab myself with
my own sword rather than submit to such a disgrace. It seems I have
not yet engraved my name deeply enough into the marble tablets of
history, and I shall prove to these overbearing princes, who believe
their legitimacy to be the Gorgon's head they only need show in
order to crush me--I shall prove to them WHO I AM, AND TO WHOM the
future belongs, whether to THEM or to ME! However, it is unnecessary
to say so much about things which do not exist."
"Sire, the treaty of Potsdam DOES exist," said Count Stadion. "The
envoy whom the King of Prussia has sent off to lay its stiputions
before your majesty would have reached your headquarters already if
he had travelled as rapidly as the Emperor Alexander, who left
Potsdam simultaneously with him."
"Well, let him come; I shall see, then, whether you have told me a
story or not," replied Napoleon. "If the King of Prussia has dared
to do this, by God, I will pay him for it! [Footnote: Napoleon's own
words.--Vide Hormayer. vol. i., and Hausser's "History of Germany,"
vol. ii., p. 680.] But this does not change my resolutions and plans
in any respect. I shall enter into negotiations with Austria only on
condition that Russia participates in them. State it to those who
have sent you, and now farewell."
He nodded to the two gentlemen, and turning his back to them,
stepped to the window. Only when a slight jarring of the door told
him that they had withdrawn, the emperor turned around and commenced
again, his hands folded behind his back, slowly pacing the room.
He then stopped before the large table in the middle of the room,
and unrolled one of the maps lying on it. It was a map of southern
Germany. After spreading it on the table, the emperor commenced
marking it with pins, the variously-colored heads of which
designated the different armies of the Russians, Austrians, and
The emperor was engaged all night in this task, in studying the map,
and in measuring and calculating the distances some of his troops
would have to march before reaching the field of action. The wax-
candles in the silver chandelier burned down, but he did not notice
it; the fire in the fireplace had gone out, but he did not feel it;
the door of his cabinet was softly opened from time to time, and the
pale face of his vale de chambre Constant, who was evidently
exhausted with long waking, appeared, but the emperor did not heed
it. His soul was concentrated on one idea, on one aim, viz., to
pursue the glorious course of his victories, to humiliate Germany as
he had humiliated Italy, and to drown the echoes of Trafalgar by a
Morning was already dawning, when Napoleon at length rose from the
table and commenced again slowly pacing the room.
"Time, time!" he said, "I only need three days for moving up the
third corps, which is already on the march from Bohemia. Time! And
yet I must gain a great and brilliant victory before Prussia allies
herself openly with Austria and Russia against France. If I should
not succeed in doing so, the army of my enemies would be increased
by one hundred and fifty thousand men. Hence," he said, after a
pause, quite merrily and hopefully, "hence, I must succeed."
He returned to the map and pointed his finger at it.
"The Austrians are over there at Olmutz," he said, quickly. "Here,
the Russian guards; there, the united corps of Kutusof and
Buxhowden; farther on, the vanguard under Prince Bagration. If they
should advance now rapidly, resolutely, directly toward my front,
the odds would be too overwhelming; if they should tarry, or if I
should succeed in causing them to hesitate until I have got my
Bohemian corps in line, I should defeat them. Let us try it,
therefore; let us feign inactivity and timidity, so that they may
not become active. Cunning is the best ally of a general; let us try
to deceive them."
He went to his desk, and taking some gilt-edged paper, commenced
Fifteen minutes later an orderly requested General Savary to repair
to the emperor's cabinet.
Napoleon received the general with a kindly smile, but he was
silent, and looked almost irresolutely at the letter he held in his
hand. Suddenly, however, he seemed to come to a firm resolution, and
handing the letter to Savary, he said: "Take this letter to Olmutz;
deliver it to the Emperor of Russia, and tell him that, having
learned that he had arrived at the headquarters of his army, I had
sent you to welcome him in my name. If he should converse with you,
and put questions to you, you know the replies that should be made
under such circumstances. Go." [Footnote: Napoleon's own words.--
Vide "Memoires du Duc de Rovigo," vol. ii., p. 171.]
"And now," said the emperor, when Savary had left him, "now we will
sleep a little. Constant!"
The door opened immediately, and the VALET DE CHAMBRE entered.
"Ah, I am afraid you have had a bad night of it," said the emperor,
"Sire, your majesty has again been awake all the night long, and--"
"And consequently," said Napoleon, interrupting him--"consequently
you have been awake, too. Well, console yourself; we shall soon have
more quiet nights; console yourself, and do not report me to the
Empress Josephine when we have returned to Paris. My dear Josephine
hates nothing so much as sleepless nights."
"Sire, the empress is right; she ought to hate them," said Constant,
respectfully. "Your majesty, taking no rest whatever in the daytime,
needs repose at least in the night. Your majesty sleeps too little."
"By doing so I am better off than the sluggards, inasmuch as my life
does not only consist of days, but also of nights," replied
Napoleon, good-humoredly. "I shall have lived eighty years then in
the space of forty. But be quiet, Constant, I will now comply with
your wishes and sleep."
Constant hastened to open the door leading to the bedroom.
"Oh, no," said the emperor, "if I say I will sleep, I do not mean
that I will go to bed. Beds are, on the whole, only good for old
women and gouty old men. When I was second lieutenant, I once made
the experiment not to go to bed for six months, but to sleep on the
floor or on a chair, and it agreed very well with me. Give me the
handkerchief for my head, and my coat, Constant."
Constant hurried with a sigh to the bedroom in order to fetch the
articles Napoleon had ordered; and while he was wrapping the silken
handkerchief around the emperor's head, and assisted him in putting
on his gray, well-lined, and comfortable cloth-coat instead of the
uniform, the emperor softly whistled and hummed an air.
He then snugly stretched himself in his arm-chair, and kindly
nodding to Constant, he said: "As soon as General Savary has
returned, let him come in."
Constant softly glided into the anteroom. He met there some of his
"I have important news for you, gentlemen," he said. "We shall fight
a battle in two or three days."
"Did the emperor tell you so?"
"No, he is not in the habit of speaking of such things. But during
the night-toilet he whistled Marlborough's air, and he does so only
when there is to be a battle." [Footnote: "Memoires de Constant,"
vol. iv., p. 109.]
BEFORE THE BATTLE.
Five hours later General Savary reentered the emperor's cabinet; he
was still lying on his arm-chair and sleeping; but when the general
accosted him in a low voice, Napoleon opened his eyes and asked
eagerly: "Well, did you see the czar?"
"Yes, sire, I saw him and conversed with him." "Ah," exclaimed
Napoleon, quickly, "tell me all about it; do not omit any thing. How
did he look when he read my letter?"
"Sire, when I had delivered your letter to the Emperor Alexander, he
went with it into an adjoining room, from which he returned only
half an hour later, with a reply in his hand."
"Give me the letter, Savary!"
"Sire, here it is."
Napoleon took it hastily; but when he fixed his eyes on the address,
"Ah, this emperor 'by the grace of God' believes he need not address
me with the title conferred upon me by the French nation," he said,
hastily. "He does not write to the Emperor of the French, but 'to
the chief of the French government.' [Footnote: historical.--Vide
"Memoires du Due de Rovigo," vol. ii., p. 187.] Did you read the
"The Emperor Alexander called my attention to it himself, sire. I
remember his words distinctly. They were as follows: "The address
does not contain the title which your chief has assumed since then.
I do not set any great value on such trifles; but it is a rule of
etiquette, and I shall alter it with pleasure as soon as he has
given me an opportunity for doing so." [Footnote: Alexander's own
words.--Vide "Memoires du Due de Rovigo," vol. ii., p. 187.]
"And what did you reply to him?"
"Sire, I replied, 'Your majesty is right. This can only be a rule of
etiquette, and the emperor will not judge it in any other way. When
he was general-in-chief of the Italian army he already gave orders
and prescribed laws to more than one king; contented with the homage
of the French, he only deems it a satisfaction for them to be
recognized.'" [Footnote: Historical.--Vide "Memoires du Duc de
Rovigo," vol. ii., p. 167.]
"Your reply was fitting and to the point," said Napoleon, with a
pleasant nod, while he opened the emperor's letter and glanced over
it. "Phrases, empty words," he then exclaimed, throwing the letter
contemptuously on the table. "Talleyrand was right when he said
language was given to us for the purpose of concealing our thoughts.
Those men use it for that purpose."
"Sire, the emperor did not conceal his thoughts during our
interview," replied the general. "I conversed with him long and
freely, and I may say that he uttered his opinions very frankly. The
Emperor Alexander said: 'Peace was only to be thought of if your
majesty should stipulate reasonable terms which would not hurt
anybody's feelings, and which would not be calculated to weaken the
power and importance of the other princes and to increase that of
France. France was a power already large enough; she needed no
aggrandizement, and the other powers could not tolerate such a
"Ah, I shall teach them to tolerate it nevertheless; I shall prove
to all of them that France is at the head of all monarchies, and
compel them to recognize the Emperor of France with bowed heads!"
He paced the room hastily with angry eyes and panting breast. His
steps, however, became gradually more quiet, and the furrows
disappeared from his forehead.
"I need two days more," he muttered to himself--"two days, and I
must have them, Savary." He then said aloud, turning to the general:
"Did you make no further observations? Did you not notice the spirit
animating the Russian camp?" "Sire, the whole youth of the highest
Russian nobility were at the emperor's headquarters, and I conversed
with many of them; I heard and observed a great many things."
"Well, and what do they think of us?"
Savary smiled. "Sire," he said, "those young men did not breathe any
thing but war and victory, and they seemed to believe that your
majesty wished to avoid active hostilities since the Russians had
formed a junction with the Austrians."
"Ah, did they seem to believe that?" exclaimed Napoleon, joyfully.
"Well, we will try to strengthen their belief. General, take a
bugler along and return to the headquarters of the emperor. Tell him
that I propose to him an interview for to-morrow in the open field
between the two armies, the time and hour to be designated by
himself, and a cessation of hostilities to take place for the next
twenty-four hours. Go!"
"I believe," said the emperor, when he was alone again, "I believe I
have gained my second day also, and I only want a third one, in
order to be able to vanquish all my enemies. Those arrogant Russians
believe, then, that I wish to avoid a battle, and to remain in my
present position? I will try to strengthen this opinion of theirs;
earthworks shall be thrown up, and the batteries shall be fortified.
Every thing must have the appearance of anxiety and timidity."
And Napoleon summoned his generals and gave them aloud these new
orders, but, in a whisper, he instructed them to begin the
retrograde movement, and to let the troops occupy the positions he
had selected for them on the extensive ground he had reconnoitered
And the night expired, and half the next day, before General Savary
returned from his mission. In the mean time Napoleon had changed his
quarters. He had repaired to the camp of his army, and a bundle of
straw was now his only couch. He had impatiently looked for Savary,
and went to meet him with hasty steps.
"Why so late?" he asked.
"Sire, it was almost impossible for me to reach the emperor. He had
left Olmutz. All the night long I was conducted from bivouac to
bivouac, in order to find Prince Bagration, who could alone take me
to the emperor."
"And you have seen the emperor?" asked Napoleon, impatiently.
"Yes, sire, after overcoming many obstacles and difficulties, I
succeeded in penetrating to the emperor. I submitted your majesty's
proposition to him. The emperor replied: 'It would afford him the
greatest pleasure to see and make the acquaintance of your majesty,
but time was too short for it now. Moreover, before entering into
such negotiations, he would have to consult the Emperor of Austria,
and learn your majesty's views, so as to be able to see whether such
an interview would be advisable or not. Hence, he would send one of
his confidential advisers with me, and intrust him with a mission to
your majesty. The reply which he would bring to him from your
majesty would decide the matter.'"
"Ah, and the third day will pass in this manner!" exclaimed
Napoleon, joyfully. "Where is the emperor's envoy? and who is it?"
"Sire, the emperor sent his first aide-de-camp, Prince Dolgorouki,
"Where is he?"
"Sire, I left him with the grand-guard; he is waiting there for your
Napoleon rose hastily from the straw, on which he had been sitting
with folded arms.
"My horse!" he shouted; and when Roustan had brought his charger, he
vaulted into the saddle and galloped so rapidly forward that his
suite were scarcely able to overtake him. On arriving close to the
grand-guard, he halted and alighted, and while he sent off Savary to
conduct Prince Dolgorouki to him, he muttered: "Only a third day!"
He received the prince with the calmness and composure of a proud
imperator, of a chieftain accustomed to victory. A wave of his hand
caused his suite to stand back; and when the officers had withdrawn,
he commenced conversing with Prince Dolgorouki, while walking up and
down with him.
The emperor suddenly approached the members of his suite, and they
heard him say in a loud and angry voice:
"If that is all you wish to say to me, hasten to inform your emperor
that I had not thought at all of such conditions when I applied for
an interview with him; I should only have shown him my army; and, as
to the conditions, relied on his honesty. He wishes a battle; very
well, let us fight. I wash my hands of it!" [Footnote: Napoleon's
own words.--Vide "Memoires du Due de Rovigo," vol. ii., p. 196.]
He turned his back to Prince Dolgorouki with a slight wave of his
hand; and fixing his flaming eagle-eyes on his generals, he said,
shrugging his shoulders:
"Russia will make peace if France will give up Belgium, and, first
of all things, cede the crown of Italy to the King of Sardinia. Oh,
those men must be crazy!. They want me to evacuate Italy, and they
will find out soon that they cannot even get me out of Vienna. What
would have been their terms, and what would they have made of
France, if they had beaten? Well, let things turn out as it may,
please God, but in less than forty-eight hours I will pay them well
for their arrogance!" [Footnote: Ibid, p. 198.]
And instead of mounting again on horseback, he continued walking on
the highway, muttering to himself, and with his riding-whip knocking
off the small grass-blades he met on the road. He had now reached
the first infantry post of his army. The sentinel was an old
soldier, who was unconcernedly filling his pipe while holding his
musket between his legs.
The gloomy eyes of the emperor turned to him, and pointing over to
the position of the enemy, he said, angrily: "Those arrogant fellows
believe they can swallow us without further ceremony!"
The old soldier looked smilingly at the emperor with his shrewd
eyes, and quietly continued filling his pipe with the small finger
of his right hand.
"Oh, oh, they cannot swallow us so fast! We shall lie down, your
The emperor laughed loudly, and his face became radiant. "Yes," he
said, "you are right, we will lie down as soon as they try to
swallow us; and then we will choke them!"
He nodded to the soldier, and vaulting into the saddle he returned
to headquarters. Night was coming on already, and looking up to the
moonlighted sky, the emperor murmured: "Only one more day, and then
I shall defeat them!"
And fate gave him that day. It is true, the combined forces of the
Austrians and Russians approached his positions, but did not attack
them. They drew up in a long line directly in front of the French
camp, and so close to it that their movements could be plainly seen.
Napoleon was on horseback all day; he inspected every regiment of
his whole army; his eyes beamed with enthusiasm, and a wondrous
smile played on his lips.
The Bohemian corps had arrived: the delay of three days had borne
fruits; he now felt strong enough to defeat his enemies. He spoke in
a merry tone to the soldiers here and there, and they replied to him
with enthusiastic shouts. He inspected the artillery parks and light
batteries with searching glances, and then gave the necessary
instructions to the officers and gunners.
Only after inspecting every thing in person, after visiting the
ambulances and wagons for the wounded, he returned to his bivouac in
order to take a frugal meal. He then summoned all his marshals and
generals, and spoke to them about every thing they would have to do
on the following day, and about what the enemy might do. To each of
them he gave his instructions and assigned his position; and already
on the evening of this day he issued to his soldiers a proclamation,
admonishing them to perform deeds of heroism on the following day.
"Soldiers," he said to them in his proclamation, "the Russian army
appears before you to average the Austrian defeat of Ulm. They are
the same battalions that you beat at Holabrunn, and, that you have
since been constantly pursuing to this spot."
"The positions which we occupy are formidable; and while they are
marching to turn my right, they will present their flank to me."
"Soldiers, I shall myself direct your battalions. I shall keep out
of the fire, if, with your usual bravery, you throw disorder and
confusion into the enemy's ranks. But, if the victory should be for
a moment uncertain, you will see your emperor the foremost to expose
himself to danger. For victory must not hang doubtful on this day,
most particularly, when the honor of the French infantry, which so
deeply concerns the honor of the whole nation, is at stake."
"Let not the ranks be thinned upon pretext of carrying away the
wounded; and let every one be thoroughly impressed with this
thought, that it behooves us to conquer these hirelings of England,
who are animated with such bitter hatred against our nation."
"This victory will put an end to the campaign, and we shall then be
able to return to our winter quarters, where we shall be joined by
the new armies which are forming in France, and then the peace which
I shall make will be worthy of my people, of you, and of myself."
The soldiers received this proclamation with jubilant shouts; and
when Napoleon, after night had set in, rode once more through the
camp, the first soldiers who perceived him, eager to light him on
his way, picked up the straw of their bivouac and made it into
torches, which they placed blazing on the tops of their muskets. In
a few minutes this example was followed by the whole army, and along
the vast front of the French position was displayed this singular
illumination. The soldiers accompanied the steps of Napoleon with
shouts of "Vive l'Empereur!" promising to prove on the morrow that
they were worthy of him and of themselves. Enthusiasm pervaded all
the ranks. They went as men ought to go into danger, with hearts
full of content and confidence.
Napoleon retired, to oblige his soldiers, to take some rest. With a
feeling of the most unbounded satisfaction, he threw himself on the
straw in his tent, and smilingly rejecting the services of his
valets de chambre, Roustan and Constant, who implored him to permit
them to wrap him in warmer clothes, he said:
"Kindle a good fire and let me sleep as a soldier who has a hot day
before him on the morrow ought to sleep."
He pressed his head into the straw and fell asleep; and he was still
sleeping when the marshals and generals at daybreak came to the
emperor's tent to awaken him as he had ordered them to do.
They surrounded the open tent in respectful silence and looked at
the chieftain who was to fight a great battle to-day, and who was
now lying on the straw with a calm, serene face, and with the gentle
slumber of a child.
But they durst not let him sleep any longer, for the emperor, who
had regulated every movement of the present day by the hour and
minute, would have been very angry if any delay had occurred.
General Savary, therefore, approached the sleeping emperor and bent
over him. Then his loud and earnest voice was heard to say: "Sire,
the fixed hour has come."
Napoleon, opened his eyes and jumped up. Sleep had suddenly fallen
from him like a thin veil; as soon as he rose to his feet he was
once more the great emperor and general. He cast a long, searching
look on the gray, moist, and wintry horizon, and the dense mist
which shrouded every thing at a distance of ten paces caused his
eyes to sparkle with delight,
"That mist is an excellent ally of ours, for it will conceal our
movements from the enemy. Issue your orders, gentlemen; let the
whole army take up arms as silently as possible."
The emperor then mounted on horseback and rode through the camp to
see the infantry and cavalry form in column.
It was now seven o'clock in the morning. The mist began to rise; the
first feeble rays of the December sun pierced it and commenced
gradually illuminating the landscape.
The emperor placed himself on a small knoll, where his eye embraced
the whole field of battle; his marshals were on horseback at his
side, anxiously awaiting his order to commence the combat.
Profound silence reigned everywhere; but suddenly it was interrupted
by a very brisk fire of artillery and musketry. A radiant flash
seemed to light up the emperor's face, and proudly raising his head,
he said, in an imperious voice:
"To your posts, gentlemen; the battle is about to commence!"
[Footnote: The battle of Austerlitz, Dec. 2,1805.]
"GOTT ERHALTE FRANZ DEN KAISER!"
For three days the utmost uneasiness and commotion had reigned in
Vienna. Nobody wanted to stay at home. Everybody hastened into the
street, as if he hoped there to hear at an earlier moment the great
news which the people were looking for, and as if the fresh air
which had carried to them three days ago the thundering echoes
of the cannon, would waft to them to-day the tidings of the
brilliant victory supposed to be achieved by the Emperors Francis
But these victorious tidings did not come; the roar of the cannon
had a quicker tongue than the courier who was to bring the news of
the victory. He did not come, and yet the good people of Vienna were
waiting for him with impatience and, at the same time, with proud
and joyful confidence. It is true no one was able to state
positively where the battle had been fought, but the people were
able to calculate the spot where the great struggle had probably
taken place, for they knew that the allies had occupied the
immediate environs of Olmutz, and then advanced toward Brunn and
Austerlitz, where the French army had established itself. They
calculated the time which the courier would consume in order to
reach Vienna from the battle-field, and the obstacles and delays
that might have possibly impeded his progress were taken into
consideration. But no one felt anxious at his prolonged absence; no
one doubted that the allies had obtained a great victory.
For their two armies were by far superior to the French army, and
Napoleon himself had not hoped for a victory this time; he had
fallen back with his army because he wished to avoid a battle with
the superior forces of the enemy; he had even gone so far in his
despondency as to write to the Emperor of Russia and to sue for
How could people think, therefore, that Napoleon had won the battle,
the thunders of which had filled the Viennese three days ago with
the utmost exultation?
No, fate had at length stopped the onward career of the conqueror,
and it was on Austrian soil that his eagles were to be struck down
and his laurels to wither.
Nobody doubted it; the joyful anticipation of a great victory
animated every heart and beamed from every eye. They longed for the
arrival of the courier, and were overjoyed to celebrate at length a
triumph over those supercilious French, who had latterly humiliated
and angered the poor people of Vienna on so many occasions.
It is true the French embassy had not yet left Vienna. But that was
only a symptom that it had not yet been reached by a courier from
the battle-field; else it would have fled from Vienna in the utmost
But the people did not wish to permit the overbearing French to
depart from their city in so quiet and unpretending a manner; they
wanted to accompany them at least with loud jeers, with scornful
shouts and curses.
Thousands, therefore, surrounded the house of the French embassy,
where Talleyrand, Napoleon's minister of foreign affairs, had been
staying for some days, and no longer did they swallow their wrath
and hatred, but they gave vent to it loudly; no longer did they
threaten only with their glances, but also with their fists, which
they raised menacingly toward the windows of the French minister.
And while thousands had gathered around the embassy building, other
thousands strolled out toward Mohringen, and stared breathlessly
down the road, hoping to behold the longed-for messenger who would
announce to them at length the great victory that had been won.
All at once something in the distance commenced stirring on the
road; at times glittering objects, resembling twinkling stars, were
to be seen, and then motley colors were discerned; it came nearer
and nearer. No doubt it must be a column of soldiers; perhaps some
of the heroic regiments which had defeated the French army were
already on their homeward march.
Ah, the proud and sanguine people of Vienna regretted now
exceedingly that there were no longer any French regiments in the
capital, and that they had left their city only a week ago and
rejoined Napoleon's army. Now there would have been an opportunity
for them to take revenge for the hospitality which they had been
compelled for the last two weeks to extend to the French. Now they
would have chased the French soldiers in the most ignominious manner
through the same streets which they had marched hitherto with so
proud and confident a step.
The soldiers drew nearer and nearer; the people hastened to meet
them like a huge boa constrictor with thousands and thousands of
movable rings, and thousands and thousands of flashing eyes.
But all at once these eyes became fixed and dismayed; the joyful
hum, which hitherto had filled the air as though it were a vast
multitude of gnats playing in the sun, died away.
Those were not the uniforms of the Austrians, nor of the Russians
either! Those were the odious colors of France. The soldiers
marching toward Vienna were French regiments.
And couriers appeared too, the longed-for couriers! But they were no
Austrian couriers; the tri-colored sash was wrapped around their
waists, they did not greet the people with German words and with
fraternal German salutations. They galloped past them and shouted
"VICTOIRE! VICTOIRE! VIVE L'EMPEREUR NAPOLEON!"
The people were thunderstruck; they did not stir, but stared wildly
and pale with horror at the regiments that now approached to the
jubilant music of their bands, and treated the Viennese to the notes
of the Marseillaise and the air of Va-t-en-guerrier; they stared at
the sullen, ragged men who marched in the midst of the soldiers,
like the Roman slaves before the car of the Triumphator. These poor,
pale men wore no French uniforms, and the tri-colored sash was not
wrapped around their waists, nor did they bear arms; their hands
were empty, and their eyes were fixed on the ground. They were
prisoners, prisoners of the French, and they wore Russian uniforms.
The people saw it with dismay. The good Viennese had suddenly been
hurled from their proud hopes of victory into an abyss of despair,
and they were stunned by the sudden fall, and unable to speak and to
collect their thoughts. They stood on the road, pale and breathless,
and witnessed the spectacle of the return of the victorious columns
with silent despondency.
All at once the brilliant column, which had filed through the ranks
of the people, halted, and the band ceased playing. An officer
galloped up and exchanged a few words with the colonel in command.
The colonel made a sign and uttered a few hurried words, whereupon
four soldiers stepped from the ranks, and forcing a passage through
the staring crowd, walked directly toward a small house situated
solitary and alone on the road, in the middle of a garden.
Every inhabitant of Vienna knew this house and the man living in it,
for it was the residence of Joseph Haydn.
When the four soldiers approached the door of the popular and well-
known maestro, the people seemed to awake from their stupefaction, a
unanimous cry of rage and horror resounded, and thousands and
thousands of voices shouted and screamed, "Father Haydn! They want
to arrest Father Haydn!"
But, no. The four soldiers stopped at the door, and remained there
as a guard of honor.
And the band of the next regiment, which had just come up, halted on
the road too, and, in stirring notes, the French musicians began to
play a melody which was well known to everybody, the melody of the
great hymn from the "Creation," "In verdure clad." [Footnote:
It sounded to the poor Viennese like a cruel mockery to hear a band
of the victorious French army play this melody composed by a German
maestro, and tears of heart-felt shame, of inward rage, filled many
an eye which had never wept before, and a bitter pang seized every
The French musicians had not yet finished the tune, when a window in
the upper story of the house was opened, and Joseph Haydn's
venerable white-haired head appeared. His cheeks were pale, and his
lips trembled, for his footman, who had just returned home, had
brought him the news that the French had been victorious again, and
that Napoleon had defeated the two emperors at Austerlitz.
Joseph Haydn, the old man, was pale and trembling, but Joseph Haydn,
the genius, was courageous, joyful, and defiant, and he was filled
with noble anger when he heard that the trumpeters of the French
conqueror dared to play his German music.
This anger of the eternally-young and eternally-bold genius now
burst forth from Haydn's eyes, and restored to his whole bearing the
vigor and elasticity of youth.
Leaning far out of the window, he beckoned the people with both
arms, while they were looking up to him and waving their hats to
"Sing, people of Vienna!" he shouted, "oh, sing our favorite hymn!"
The music had just ceased, and Joseph Haydn now commenced singing in
a loud, ringing voice, "GOTT ERHALTE FRANZ DEN KAISER, UNSERN GUTEN
And thousands of voices sang and shouted all at once, "GOTT ERHALTE
FRAN DEN KAISER, UNSERN GUTEN KAISER FRANZ!"
Joseph Haydn stood at the window, and moved his arm as though he
were standing before his orchestra and leading his choir.
The people sang their favorite hymn louder and more jubilantly, and
to the notes of this prayer of a whole people, of this jubilant
hymn, by which the Viennese honored their unfortunate, vanquished
emperor in the face of the conquering army, the French marched up
the road toward the interior of the city.
Joseph Haydn was still at the window; he led the choir no longer; he
sang no more. He had folded his hands and listened to the majestic
anthem of the people, and the tears, filling his eyes, glistened
The people continued shouting and singing, in spite of the French,
the hymn of "GOTT ERHALTE FRANZ DEN KAISER, UNSERN GUTEN KAISER
And the victorious French marched silently through the opened ranks
of the people.
Princess Marianne von Eibenberg had just returned from a party which
the British ambassador, Lord Paget, had given in her honor, and
which was to celebrate at the same time the victory which the two
emperors, the allies of England, were firmly believed to have
achieved over the usurper.
Marianne Eibenberg, therefore, wore a brilliant toilet. She was
adorned with diamonds and costly jewelry, and looked as beautiful
and proud as a queen. She had now reached the acme of her career.
She was still lovely, and besides she had become, as it were, the
protectress of the most refined society of Vienna and the centre of
the intellectual as well as aristocratic circles. She had
accomplished her purpose. Marianne Meier, the Jewess, was now a
noble lady, to whom everybody was paying deference; and Marianne,
princess von Eibenberg, felt so much at home in her new position,
that she had herself almost forgotten who and what she had been in
former times. Only sometimes she remembered it, only when such
recollections secured a triumph to her, and when she met with
persons who had formerly, at the best, tolerated her with proud
disdain in good society, and who did not deem it now beneath their
dignity to solicit an invitation to her reception-room as a favor.
This reception-room was now the only resort of good society in
Vienna, the only place where people were sure to meet always amidst
the troubles and convulsions of the times with the most refined and
patriotic men, and where they might rely on never finding any
persons of doubtful patriotism, much less any French.
But, it is true, since the imperial family had fled from Vienna, the
reception-room of the Princess von Eibenberg had gradually become
deserted, for the members of the aristocracy had retired to their
estates and castles, and the ministers and high functionaries had
accompanied the emperor and the imperial court to Olmutz.
The ambassadors, too, were about to repair thither; hence, the party
given by the British minister, Lord Paget, to his adored friend the
Princess von Eibenberg, was to celebrate not only the supposed
victory, but also his departure from the capital.
Marianne, as we stated already, had just returned from this party.
With rapid steps, absorbed in profound reflections, she was pacing
her boudoir, muttering, now and then, inaudible words, and from time
to time heaving deep sighs as if feeling violent pain. When she
walked past the large Venetian mirror, she stopped and contemplated
the brilliant and imposing form it reflected.
"It is true," she said, mournfully, "the Princess von Eibonberg is a
beautiful and charming lady; she has very fine diamonds and a very
aristocratic title; she is living in grand style; she has very many
admirers; she is adored and beloved on account of her enthusiastic
patriotism; she has got whatever is able to beautify and adorn life,
and yet I see a cloud on this forehead which artists compare with
that of the Ludovisian Juno, and diplomatists with that of Pallas
Athene. What does this cloud mean? Reply to this question, you, whom
I see there in the mirror; reply to it, proud woman with the
precious diadem, how does it come that you look so sad, although the
world says that you are happy and highly honored?"
She paused, and looked almost expectantly at her own image in the
looking-glass. The clock commenced all at once striking twelve.
"Midnight!" whispered Marianne; "midnight, the hour in which ghosts
walk! I will also call up a ghost," she said, after a short pause;
"I will call it up and compel it to reply to me."
And raising her arm toward the glittering, radiant image in the
looking-glass, she said in a loud and solemn voice: "Marianne Meier,
rise from your grave and come hither to reply to my questions!
Marianne Meier, rise and walk; it is the Princess von Eibenberg who
is calling you! Ah, I see you--it is you, Marianne; you are looking
at me with the melancholy eyes of those days when you had to bear so
much contumely and disgrace, and when you were sitting mournfully by
the rivers of Babylon and weeping. Yes, I recognize you; you still
wear the features of your ancestors of the tribe of Levi; men
pretend not to notice them any longer, but I see them. Marianne
Meier, now listen to what I am going to tell you, and reply to me:
tell me what is the matter with the Princess von Eibenberg? What is
the reason she is not happy? Look around in her house, Marianne
Meier; you will behold there such opulence and magnificence as you
never knew in the days of your childhood. Look at her gilt
furniture, her carpets and lustres; look at the beautiful paintings
on the walls, and at the splendid solid plate in her chests. Look at
her velvet and silk dresses, adorned with gold and silver
embroidery; look at her diamonds, her other precious stones and
jewelry. Do you know still, Marianne Meier, how often, in the days
of your childhood and early youth, you have longed, with scalding
tears, for all those things? Do you know still, Marianne Meier, how
often you have wrung your hands and wailed, 'Would to God I were
rich! For he who is rich is happy!' The Princess von Eibenberg is
rich, Marianne Meier; why, then, is she not happy? If it had been
predicted to you at that time, when you were only sighing for
wealth, Marianne Meier, that you would be a princess one day, and
carry your Jewish head proudly erect in the most aristocratic
society, would you not have believed that this was the acme of
happiness, and that your boldest wishes had been fulfilled? Ah,
Marianne Meier, I have reached this acme, and yet it seems to me
that I am much more remote from happiness than you ever were at that
time! You had then something to struggle for; you had a great aim.
But what have I got? I have reached my aim, and there is nothing for
me to accomplish and to struggle for! That is the secret of my
melancholy; I have nothing to struggle for. I have reached the acme
of my prosperity, and every step I advance is a step down-hill
toward the grave, and when the grave closes over me nothing will
remain of me, and my name will be forgotten, while the name of the
hateful usurper will resound through all ages like a golden harp!
Oh, a little glory, a little immortality on earth; that, Marianne
Meier, is what the ambitious heart of the Princess von Eibenberg is
longing for; that is the object for which she would willingly
sacrifice years of her life. Life is now so boundlessly tedious and
empty; it is nothing but a glittering phrase; nothing but a smiling
and gorgeous but dull repetition of the same thing! But, hark! What
is that?" She suddenly interrupted herself. "It seemed to me as if I
heard steps in the small corridor. Yes, I was not mistaken. Somebody
is at the door. Oh, it is he, then; it is Gentz."
She rushed toward the door, and opening it hastily, she said, "Is it
you, my beloved friend?"
"If you apply this epithet to me, Marianne, yes, it is I," replied
Gentz, entering the room.
"And to whom else should I apply it, Frederick?" she asked,
reproachfully. "Who but you has got a key to my house and to this
door? Who but you is allowed to enter my house and my room at any
hour of the day or night?"
"Perhaps Lord Paget, my powerful and fine-looking rival," said
Gentz, carelessly, and without the least shade of bitterness, while
he sat down on the sofa with evident symptoms of weariness and
"Are you jealous of Lord Paget?" she asked, taking a seat by his
side, and placing her hand, sparkling with diamond-rings, on his
shoulder. "Remember, my friend, that it was solely in obedience to
your advice that I did not reject the attentions of the dear lord
and entered into this political liaison."
"I know, I know," said Gentz, deprecatingly; "nor have I come to
quarrel with you about such trifles. I have not come as a jealous
lover who wishes to upbraid his beloved with the attentions she has
shown to other men, but as a poor, desponding man who appears before
his friend to pour his lamentations, his despair into her bosom, and
to ask her for a little sympathy with his rage and grief."
"My friend, what has occurred?" asked Marianne, in dismay.
"Where have you been during the week, since I have not seen you? You
took leave of me in a hurried note, stating that you would set out
on an important journey, although you did not tell me whither you
were going. Where have you been, Frederick?"
"I was in Olmutz with the emperor and with the ministers," sighed
Gentz. "I hoped to promote there the triumph of the good cause and
of Germany; I hoped to witness a brilliant victory, and now--"
"And now?" asked Marianne, breathlessly, when Gentz paused.
"Now I have witnessed a disgraceful defeat," groaned Gentz.
Marianne uttered a cry, and her eyes flashed angrily. "He has
conquered again?" she asked, in a husky voice.
"He has conquered, and we have been beaten," exclaimed Gentz, in a
loud and bitter tone. "The last hope of Germany, nay, of Europe, is
gone; the Russians were defeated with us in a terrible battle. The
disaster is an irretrievable one, all the armies of Prussia being
unable to restore the lost prestige of the coalition! [Footnote:
Gentz's own words.--Vide Gentz's "Correspondence with Johannes von
Muller," p. 150.] The Russians have already retreated, and the
Emperor Alexander has set out to-night in order to return to his
"And HE," muttered Marianne, "HE is celebrating another triumph over
us! He is marching onward proudly and victoriously, while we are
lying, crushed and humiliated, in the dust of degradation. Is it Thy
will that it should be so, God in heaven?" she asked, turning her
eyes upward with an angry glance. "Hast Thou no thunderbolt for this
Titan who is rebelling against the laws of the world? Wilt Thou
permit this upstart to render all countries unhappy, and to enslave
"Yes, God permits him to do so," exclaimed Gentz, laughing
scornfully. "God has destined him to be a scourge to chastise us for
our own impotence. We do not succumb owing to his greatness, but
owing to our weakness. The Austrian cabinet is responsible for our
misfortunes! I have long since perceived the utter lack of ability,
the contemptible character, nay, the infamy of this cabinet; in
former times I used to denounce our Austrian cabinet to the other
cabinets of Europe as the real source of the calamities of our
period, and to unveil to them the whole terrible truth. Oh, if they
had heeded MY warnings, when I wrote last June, and as late as in
the beginning of August, to many prominent men, 'Beware with whom
you enter into a coalition! Do not be deceived by an illusory
semblance of improvement. They are the same as ever! With them no
great undertaking, either in the cabinet or in the field, will
succeed; their rejection is the conditio sine qua non of the
preservation of Europe. It was all in vain! Finally, I was left
alone with my warnings; every one deserted me!" [Footnote: Gentz's
"Correspondence," etc., p. 144.]
"I did not desert you, Frederick," said Marianne, reproachfully,
"and I compelled Lord Paget, too, to support your views. Thanks to
our united efforts, that stupid Count Colloredo, at least, was
forced to withdraw from the cabinet."
"That is a consolation, but no hope," said Gentz. "So long as the
other ministers will retain their positions, every thing will be in
vain. Every thing is so diseased and rotten that, unless the whole
be thrown away, there is no reasonable hope left. I hoped the
Emperor of Russia would boldly denounce the incapacity of the
cabinet, and by his powerful influence succeed in cleansing our
Augean stable, but he is too gentle for such an undertaking, and has
no man of irresistible power and energy at his side. He beheld our
misery; he greatly deplored it, but refused to meddle with the
domestic affairs of Austria. Thus every thing was lost, and he was
himself disgracefully defeated."
"And now we have submitted altogether?" asked Marianne. "We have
made peace with the usurper?"
"We have BEGGED him to make peace with us, you mean, and he will
dictate the terms in which we shall have to acquiesce. Oh, Marianne,
when I think of the events of the last few days, I am seized with
rage and grief, and hardly know how I shall be able to live
henceforward. Just listen HOW we have begged for peace! Yesterday,
two days after the battle, the Emperor Francis sent Prince John of
Lichtenstein to Napoleon, who had established his headquarters at
Austerlitz, in a mansion belonging to the Kaunitz family, to express
to the conqueror his wish to have an interview with him at the
advanced posts. Napoleon granted it to him, and the Emperor of
Germany went to his conqueror to beg for peace. He was accompanied
by none but Lamberti to the meeting, which was to take place in the
open field. Bonaparte received him, surrounded by all his generals,
chamberlains, and masters of ceremonies, and with the whole pomp of
his imperial dignity." [Footnote: This account of the interview of
the two emperors may be found verbatim in a letter from Gentz to
Johannes von Muller. Vide "Correspondence," etc., p. 154.]
"Oh, what a terrible disgrace and humiliation!" exclaimed Marianne,
bursting into tears, while she tore the diadem with a wild gesture
from her hair and hurled it to the floor. "Who dares to adorn
himself after events so utterly ignominious have occurred?" she
ejaculated--"who dares to carry his head erect after Germany has
been thus trampled under foot! The Emperor of Germany has begged the
invader to make peace; he has humbly solicited it like a beggar
asking alms! And has the conqueror graciously granted his request?
Oh, tell me every thing, Frederick! What took place at that
interview? What did they say to each other?"
"I can tell you but little about it," said Gentz, shrugging his
shoulders, "for the two emperors conversed without witnesses.
Bonaparte left his suite at the bivouac fire kindled by his
soldiers, and Lamberti also went thither. The two emperors then
embraced each other like two friends who had not met for years."
"And the Emperor Francis had not sufficient strength to strangle the
fiend with his arms?" asked Marianne, trembling with wrath and
"He had neither the strength nor the inclination, I suppose," said
Gentz, shrugging his shoulders. "When Napoleon released the
unfortunate Emperor Francis from his arms, he pointed with a proud
glance toward heaven and said: 'Such are the palaces which your
majesty has obliged me to inhabit for these three months.'"
"'The abode in them,' replied the Austrian monarch, 'makes you so
thriving that you have no right to be angry with me for it.'"
"'I only ask your majesty,' said Napoleon, hastily, 'not to renew
the war against France.'"
"'I pledge you my word as a man and a sovereign that I shall do so
no more,' replied Francis, loudly and unhesitatingly. The
conversation then was continued in a lower tone, and neither
Lamberti nor the French marshals were able to understand another
word." [Footnote: "Memoires du Duo de Rovigo," vol. ii., p. 218.]
"The interview lasted two hours, and then the two emperors parted
with reiterated demonstrations of cordiality. The Emperor Francis
returned silently, and absorbed in his reflections to his
headquarters at Austerlitz. Hitherto he had not uttered a word; but
when he saw the Prince von Lichtenstein, he beckoned him to
approach, and said to him in a low voice, and with suppressed anger,
'Now that I have seen him, he is more intolerable to me than ever.'
[Footnote: Hausser's "History of Germany," vol. ii., p. 690.] That
was the only utterance he gave to his rage; as for the rest, he
seemed contented with the terms he obtained."
"And were the terms honorable?" asked Marianne.
"Honorable!" said Gentz, shrugging his shoulders. "Napoleon
demanded, above all, that the Russian army should retire speedily
from the Austrian territories, and the emperor promised this to him.
Hence, the Emperor Alexander has departed; the Russian army is
retreating; one part of it is going to Prussia, while the other is
returning to Poland. The cabinet of Vienna, therefore, is free; that
is to say, it is left to its own peculiar infamy without any bounds
whatever, and thus peace will be made soon enough. Those
contemptible men will submit to any thing, provided he gives up
Vienna. Finance-minister Fichy said to me in Olmutz yesterday,
'Peace will be cheap, if we have merely to cede the Tyrol, Venice,
and a portion of Upper Austria, and we should be content with such
terms.' Ah, if THEY could only be got rid of, what a splendid thing
the fall of the monarchy would he! But to lose the provinces, honor,
Germany, Europe, and to KEEP Fichy, Ungart, Cobenzl, Collenbach,
Lamberti, Dietrichstein--no satisfaction, no revenge?-not a single
one of the dogs hung or quartered,--it is impossible to digest
THAT!" [Footnote: Gentz's own words.--Vide his "Correspondence with
Johannes von Muller," p. 155.]
"It is true," said Marianne, musingly, and in a low voice, "this is
a boundless disgrace; and if men will submit to it, and bow their
heads, it is time for women to raise theirs, and to become lionesses
in order to tear the enemy opposing them! And what do you intend
doing now, my friend?" she then asked aloud, forcibly dispelling her
painful emotions. "What are your prospects? What plan of battle will
you draw up for us?"
"I have no prospects at all, and I have given up drawing plans of
battle," said Gentz, sighing. "After exhausting my last strength for
five days during my sojourn in Olmutz, I am done with every thing,
and I have withdrawn weary and satiated ad nauseam. Our ministers
have gone to Presburg, for the purpose of negotiating there with the
plenipotentiaries of Bonaparte about the terms of peace."
"And where is he at present--where is the proud triumphator?" asked
"He left Austerlitz to-night, and will reside again at Schonbrunn.
until peace has been concluded."
"Ah, in Schonbrunn!" said Marianne, "that is to say, here in Vienna.
And you, Frederick, will you remain here, too?"
"After making peace, they will banish me, of course, from Vienna;
for Bonaparte knows my hatred against him, and moreover, he knows it
to be implacable. Hence, I prefer going voluntarily into exile, and
shall repair to Breslau, where I shall find plenty of friends and
acquaintances. There I will live, amuse myself, be a man like all of
them, that is to say, gratify nothing but my egotism, and take rest
after so many annoyances and struggles."
"That cannot be true--that cannot be possible!" exclaimed Marianne,
ardently. "A patriot, a man like you, does not repose and amuse
himself, while his country is plunged into misery and disgrace. I
repeat to you what Arnauld said to his friend Nicole, when the
latter, tired of the struggle for Jansenism, declared to him that he
would retire and repose: 'Vous reposer! Eh! n'avez-vous pas pour
vous reposer V'eternite toute enliere?' If those men were filled
with so undying an enthusiasm for an insipid quarrel about mere
sophistries, how could you take rest, since eternity itself, whether
it be repose or motion, offers nothing more sublime than a struggle
for the liberty and dignity of the world?"
"God bless you for these words, Marianne!" exclaimed Gentz,
enthusiastically, while he embraced his friend passionately, and
imprinted a glowing kiss on her forehead. "Oh, Marianne, I only
wished to try you; I wanted to see whether, with the ardor of your
love for me, the ardor of the holy cause represented by me, had also
left you; I only wanted to know whether, now that you love me no
longer--" "And how can you say that I love you no longer?" she
interrupted him. "Have I deserved so bitter a reproach?"
"It is no reproach, Marianne," said Gentz, mournfully; "you have
paid your tribute to the vacillating, changeable, and fickle
organization peculiar to every living creature; and so have I,
perhaps. We are all perishable, and hence our feelings must be
perishable also. Above all, love is a most precious, fragrant, and
enchanting rose; but its life lasts but a day, and then it withers.
Happy are those, therefore, who have improved this day and enjoyed
the beauty of the rose, and passionately inhaled its fragrance. We
did so, Marianne; and when we now look back to our day of blissful
love, we may say, 'It was delightful and intoxicating, and with its
memories it will shed a golden, sunny lustre over our whole life.'
Let us not revile it, therefore, for having passed away, and let us
not be angry with ourselves for not being able to prolong it. The
rose has faded, but the stem, from which it burst forth, must remain
to us; it is our immortal part. That stem is the harmony of our
sentiments; it is the consonance of our ideas; in short, the seeds
of friendship have ripened in the withered flower of our love. I
have not, therefore, come to you, Marianne, to seek for my beloved,
but to find my friend? the friend who understands me, who shares my
views, my grief, my despair, and my rage, and who is ready to aspire
with me to one goal, and to seek with me for it in one way. This
goal is the deliverance of Germany from the chains of slavery."
"Above all, the annihilation of the tyrant who wants to enslave us!"
exclaimed Marianne, with flashing eyes. "Tell me the way leading to
that goal; I will enter it, even if it should be necessary for me to
walk on thorns and pointed swords!"
"The goal lies before us clearly and distinctly," said Gentz, sadly;
"but the way leading to it is still obstructed, and so narrow and
low that we are compelled, for the time being, to advance very
slowly on our knees. But we must take spades and work, so that the
way may become wider and higher, and that we may walk on it one day,
not with bowed heads, but drawn up to our full height, our eyes
flashing, and sword in hand. Let us prepare for that day; let us
work in the dark shaft, and other laborers will join us, and, like
us, take spades and dig; and in the dead of night, with curses on
our lips and prayers in our hearts, we will dig on, dig like moles,
until we have finally reached our goal, and burst forth into the
sunshine of the day which will restore liberty to Germany. At the
present time, Secret societies may become very useful. I always
hated and despised whatever bore that name; but necessity knows no
law, and now I am obliged to hail them as the harbingers of a
blessed future. [Footnote: Gentz's own words.--Vide
"Correspondence," etc., p. 163.] Like the first church, the great
secret society of Germany ought to be enthusiastic, self-reliant,
and thoroughly organized; its aim ought to be the destruction of
Bonaparte's tyranny, reconstruction of the states, restoration of
the legitimate sovereigns, introduction of a better system of
government, and, last, everlasting resistance to the principles
which have brought about our indifference, prostration, and
meanness. And now, Marianne, I come to ask you as the worthiest
patriot, as the most intrepid and generous man I know and revere--
Marianne, will you join this, secret society?"
He gave her his hand with a glance full of the most profound
emotion; and she returned his glance with her large, open eyes,
warmly grasping his hand.
"I will, so help me God!" she said, solemnly; "I will join your
secret society, and I will travel around and win over men to our
league. I will seek for catacombs where we may pray, and exhort, and
encourage each other to struggle on with unflagging zeal. I will
enlist brethren and adherents in all circles, in the highest as well
as in the lowest; and the peasant as well as the prince, the
countess as well as the citizen's wife, shall become brethren and
sisters of the holy covenant, the aim of which is to be the
deliverance of Germany from the tyrant's yoke. My activity and zeal
to promote the good work you have begun shall prove to you, my
friend, whether I love you still, and whether my mind has
"I counted on your mind, Marianne, after I ceased building my hopes
on your heart!" exclaimed Gentz, "and I was not mistaken. Your mind
has comprehended me; it is the same as mine. Let us, therefore, go
to work with joyful courage and make our first steps forward. The
time when there was still a hope that the sword might save our cause
is past; the sword lies broken at our feet. Now we have two weapons
left, but they are no less sharp, cutting, and fatal than the
"These weapons are the tongue and the pen?" said Marianne, smiling.
"Yes, you have understood me," said Gentz, joyfully, "these are our
weapons. You, my beautiful comrade, will wield one of these weapons,
the tongue, and I shall wield the other, the pen. And I have already
commenced doing so, and written in the sleepless nights of these
last few days a pamphlet which I should like to flit, like a pigeon,
over Germany, so that everywhere it may be seen, understood and
appreciated. The title of this pamphlet is Germany in her Deepest
Degredation. It is an outcry of my grief, by which I intend arousing
the German people, so that they may wake up at last from their long
torpor, seize the sword and rise in the exuberance of their vigor
for the purpose of expelling the tyrant. But, alas! where shall I
find one who will dare to print it; a censor who will not expunge
its most powerful passages; and, finally, book-sellers who will
venture to offer so bold a work to their customers?"
"Give your manuscript to ME!" exclaimed Marianne, enthusiastically;
"I will cause it to be printed, and if there should be no
booksellers to circulate it, I will travel as your agent throughout
the whole of Germany, and in the night-time secretly scatter your
pamphlet in the streets of all the German cities, so that their
inhabitants may find it in the morning--a manna fallen from heaven
to nourish and invigorate them. Give your manuscript to me,
Frederick Gentz; let it be the first solemn act of our secret
"Just see how well I understood you, and how entirely I counted on
your cooperation, Marianne," said Gentz, drawing a small package
from his side pocket and placing it in her hands. "Here is my
manuscript; seek for a printer and for a bookseller to publish it;
give it the blessing of your protection, and promote its general
circulation to the best of your ability."
"I shall do so most assuredly," replied Marianne, placing her hand
on the package, as though she were taking an oath. "In less than a
month's time the German people shall read this pamphlet. It shall be
only the first comet which the secret league of which we are now
members causes to appear on the dark firmament. Count on me; your
manuscript will be published."
Gentz bent over her hand and kissed it. He then rose.
"My purpose is accomplished," he said; "I came to Vienna only to see
you and enlist you as a member of my secret society. My purpose is
accomplished, and I shall set out within an hour."
"And why are you in such a hurry, my friend? Why depart in so stormy
and wintry a night?" asked Marianne. "Remain with me for another
"It is impossible, Marianne," said Gentz, deprecatingly. "Friends
like ourselves must have no secrets from each other, and are allowed
fearlessly to tell each other every thing. The Countess of
Lankoronska is waiting for me; I shall set out with her for
"Ah," exclaimed Marianne, reproachfully, "Lord Paget, too, is going
to leave Vienna, but I do not desert you in order to accompany him;
"You are the sun around which the planets are revolving," said
Gentz, smiling; "but I am nothing but a planet. I am revolving
around my sun."
"You love the Countess of Lankoronska, then?"
"She is to me the quintessence of all womanly and of many manly
accomplishments!" exclaimed Gentz, enthusiastically.
"And she will also join our secret society?" asked Marianne. "No,"
said Gentz, hastily. "My heart adores her, but my mind will never
forget that she is a Russian. Next to cold death and the French, I
hate nothing so cordially as the Russians."
"Still you have lived for a month with a Russian lady, of whom you
"And precisely in this month my hatred has increased to an
astonishing extent. I despise the Austrians; I am indignant at their
weakness, but still I also pity them; and when I see them, as was
the case this time, trampled under foot by the Russian barbarians,
my German bowels turn, and I feel that the Austrians are my
brethren. During the last few days I have frequently met
Constantine, the grand-duke, and the other distinguished Russians;
and the blind, stupid, and impudent national pride with which they
assailed Austria and Germany generally, calling our country a
despicable part of earth, where none but traitors and cowards were
to be found, cut me to the quick. I know very well that we are at
present scarcely allowed to maintain our dignity as Germans; our
government has reduced us to so degrading a position; but when we
keep in mind what the Russians are, compared with US; when we have
mournfully witnessed for two months that they are unable, in spite
of the bravery of their troops, to make any headway against the
French, and that they have injured rather than improved our
condition; when we see those insulting and scorning us who cannot
even claim the merit of having saved us, only then we become fully
alive to the consciousness of our present degradation and abject
misery!" [Footnote: Gentz's own words--"Correspondence," pp. 159,
"God be praised that such are your thoughts!" exclaimed Marianne,
"for now I may hope at least that the Countess of Lankoronska, even
though every thing should fail here, will not succeed in enticing
you to Russia. I am sure, Gentz, you will not accompany her to the
cold, distant north."
"God forbid!" replied Gentz, shuddering." If every thing should
fail, I shall settle somewhere in the southern provinces of Austria,
in Carinthia or in the Tyrol, where one may hear the people speak
German, and live there with the plants and stars which I know and
love, and with God, in some warm nook, no matter what tyrant or
proconsul may rule over me. [Footnote: Ibid., p. 167] And now,
Marianne, let us part. I do not promise that our meeting will be a
joyful one, for I hardly count on any more joyful days, but I say
that we will meet at the right hour. And the right hour will be for
us only the hour when we shall have reached the goal of our secret
league; when we shall have aroused the German people, and when they
will rise like a courageous giant whom no one is able to withstand,
and who will expel the invader with his hordes from the soil of
"Farewell," said Marianne, feelingly. "My friend will always be
welcome, and cordial greetings will be in store for him whenever he
comes. Remember that, my friend; I say no more 'my beloved,' for the
Countess of Lankoronska might be jealous!"
"And she might inform Lord Paget of it," said Gentz, smiling. He
then kissed Marianne's hand, and took his hat and overcoat.
"Farewell, Marianne, and do not forget our league and my
"I shall not forget any thing, for I shall not forget you," she
replied, giving him her hand.
Thus, hand in hand, they walked to the door; then they nodded a last
silent greeting to each other, and Gentz left the room.
Marianne listened to his steps until they had died away. She then
drew a deep breath, and commenced once more slowly pacing the room.
The tapers on the silver chandeliers had burned down very low, and
their liquid wax trickled slowly and lazily on the marble table.
Whenever Marianne passed them, the draught fanned them to a blaze;
then they shed a lurid light on the tall, queenly form in the
magnificent dress, and grew dim again when Marianne stepped back
into the darker parts of the long room.
Suddenly she exclaimed in a joyful voice: "Yes, I have found it at
last! That is the path leading to the goal; that is the path I have
to pursue." With rapid steps she hastened back to the looking-glass.
"Marianne Meier," she cried aloud?--"Marianne Meier, listen to what
I am going to tell you. The Princess von Eibenberg has discovered a
remedy to dispel her weariness and dull repose--a remedy that will
immortalize her name. Good-night, Marianne Meier, now you may go to
sleep, for the Princess von Eibenberg will take care of herself!"
Marianne was awakened after a short and calm slumber by the low
sound of stealthy steps approaching her couch. She opened her eyes
hastily, and beheld her mistress of ceremonies, who stood at her
bedside, holding in her hand a golden salver with a letter on it.
"What, Camilla," she asked, in terror, "you have not yet dispatched
the letter which I gave you last night? Did I not instruct you to
have it delivered by the footman early in the morning?"
"Yes, your highness, and I have faithfully carried out your orders."
"Well, and this letter?"
"Is the major's reply. Your highness ordered me to awaken you as
soon as the footman would bring the answer."
Marianne hastily seized the letter and broke the seal.
"He will come," she said, loudly and joyfully, after reading the few
lines the letter contained. "What o'clock is it, Camilla?"
"Your highness, it is just ten o'clock."
"And I am looking for visitors already at eleven o'clock. Quick,
Madame Camilla, tell my maid to arrange every thing in the dressing-
room. Please see to it yourself that I may find there an elegant,
rich, and not too matronly, morning costume."
"Will your highness put on the dress which Lord Paget received the
other day for you from Loudon?" asked Madame Camilla. "Your highness
has never yet worn it, and his lordship would doubtless rejoice at
seeing your highness in this charming costume."
"I do not expect Lord Paget," said Marianne, with a stern glance;
"besides, you ought to confine your advice to matters relating to my
toilet. Do not forget it any more. Now bring me my chocolate, I will
take it in bed. In the mean time cause an invigorating, perfumed
bath to be prepared, and tell the cook that I wish him to serve up a
sumptuous breakfast for two persons in the small dining-room in the
course of an hour. Go."
Madame Camilla withdrew to carry out the various orders her mistress
had given her, but she did not do so joyfully and readily as usual,
but with a grave face and careworn air.
"There is something going on," she whispered, slowly gliding down
the corridor. "Yes, there is something going on, and at length I
shall have an opportunity for spying and reporting what I have
discovered. Well, I get my pay from two men, from the French
governor of Vienna and from Lord Paget. Would to God I could serve
both of them to-day! As for Lord Paget, I have already some news for
him, for Mr. von Gentz was with her last night, and remained for two
hours; my mistress then wrote a letter to Major von Brandt, which I
had to dispatch early in the morning. And this is exactly the point,
concerning which I do not know whether it ought to be reported to my
French customer or to the English lord. Well, I will consider the
matter. I will watch every step of hers, for it is certain that
something extraordinary is going on here, and I want to know what it
And, after taking this resolution, Madame Camilla accelerated her
steps to deliver the orders of the princess to the cook. An hour
later, the lady's maid had finished the toilet of the princess, who
approached the large looking-glass in order to cast a last critical
look on her appearance.
A charming smile of satisfaction overspread her fair face when she
beheld her enchanting image in the glass, and she said, with a
triumphant air, "Yes, it is true, this woman is beautiful enough
even to court the favor of an emperor. Do you not think so, too,
Madame Camilla had watched, with a very attentive and grave face,
every word her mistress tittered, but now she hastened to smile.
"Your highness," she said, "if we lived still in the days of the
ancient gods, I would not trust any butterfly nor any bird, nay, not
even a gold-piece, for, behind every thing, I should suspect Jove
disguised, for the purpose of surprising my beautiful mistress."
Marianne laughed. "Ah, how learned you are," she said. "You refer
even to the disguised bull of poor Europa and to the golden rain of
Danae. But fear not; no disguised god will penetrate into my rooms,
for unhappily the time of gods and demi-gods is past."
"Nevertheless, those arrogant French would like to make the world
believe that M. Bonaparte had restored that time," said Madame
Camilla, with a contemptuous air; "they would like to persuade us
that the son of that Corsican lawyer was a last and belated son of
"Oh!" exclaimed Marianne, triumphantly; "the world shall discover
soon enough that he is nothing but a miserable son of earth, and
that his immortality, too, will find sufficient room between six
blackboards. I know, Camilla, you hate the usurper as ardently, as
bitterly and vindictively as I do, and this hatred is the
sympathetic link uniting me with you. Well, let me tell you that
your hatred will speedily be gratified, and that your vindictiveness
will be satiated. Pray to God, Camilla, that He may bless the hand
about to be raised against the tyrant; pray to God that He may
sharpen the dagger which may soon be aimed at his heart! The world
has suffered enough; it is time that it should find an avenger of
"Major von Brandt," announced a footman, entering the room.
"Conduct the major to the drawing-room," said Marianne, hastily; "I
will join him directly."
She cast a last triumphant look on the mirror, and then left the
Madame Camilla watched her, with a scowl, until the door had closed
behind her. "Now I know whom I have to inform of her doings," she
muttered. "They concern the French governor; I have to take pains,
however, to find out more about her schemes, so that my report may
embrace as much important information as possible. The better the
news, the better the pay."
Marianne had meanwhile gone to the drawing-room. A tall, elderly
officer, in Austrian uniform, with the epaulets of a major, came to
meet her, and bent down to kiss reverentially the hand which she
offered to him.
Marianne saluted him with a fascinating smile. "You have entirely
forgotten me, then, major?" she asked. "It was necessary for me to
invite you in order to induce you to pay me a visit?"
"I did not know whether I might dare to appear before you, most
gracious princess," said the major, respectfully. "The last time I
had the honor of waiting on you, I met your highness in the circle
of your distinguished friends who used to be mine, too. But nobody
had a word of welcome, a pleasant smile for me, and your highness,
it seemed to me, did not notice me during the whole evening.
Whenever I intended to approach you, you averted your face and
entered into so animated a conversation with one of the bystanders,
that I could not venture to interrupt it. Hence I withdrew, my heart
filled with grief and despair, for I certainly believed that your
highness wished to banish me from your reception-room forever."
"And you consoled yourself for this banishment in the reception-room
of the French governor whom the great Emperor Napoleon had given to
the good city of Vienna, I suppose?" asked the princess, with an
arch smile. "And you would have never come back to me unless I had
taken the bold resolution to invite you to my house?"
"By this invitation you have rendered me the happiest of mortals,
most gracious princess," exclaimed the major, emphatically. "You
have reopened to me the gates of Paradise, while, in my despair, I
believed them to be closed against me forever."
"Confess, major," said Marianne, laughing, "that you did not make
the slightest attempt to see whether these gates were merely ajar or
really closed. Under the present circumstances we may speak honestly
and frankly to each other. You believed me to be an ardent patriot,
one of those furious adversaries of the French and their rule, who
do not look upon Napoleon as a hero and genius, but only as a tyrant
and usurper. Because I was the intimate friend of Lord Paget and M.
von Gentz, of the Princesses von Carolath and Clary, of the Countess
von Colloredo, and Count Cobenzl, you believed that my political
sentiments coincided with theirs?"
"Yes, your highness, indeed that is what I believed," said Major von
Brandt, "and as you want me to tell the truth, I will confess that
it was the reason why I did not venture to appear again in your
drawing-room. I have never denied that I am an enthusiastic admirer
of that great man who is conquering and subjugating the whole world,
because God has destined him to be its master. Hence, I never was
able to comprehend the audacity of those who instigated our gracious
and noble Emperor Francis to wage war against the victorious hero,
and as a true and sincere patriot I now bless the dispensations of
fate which compels us to make peace with Napoleon the Great, for
Austria can regain her former prosperity only by maintaining peace
and harmony with France. The war against France has brought the
barbarian hordes of Russia to Germany; after the conclusion of
peace, France will assist us in expelling these unclean and
unwelcome guests from the soil of our fatherland."
Marianne had listened to him smilingly and with an air of un-
qualified assent. Only once a slight blush, as if produced by an
ebullition of suppressed anger, had mantled her cheeks--only for a
brief moment she had frowned, but she quickly overcame her
indignation and appeared as smiling and serene as before.
"I am precisely of your opinion, my dear major," she said, with a
"Your highness assents to the views I have just uttered?" exclaimed
the major, in joyful surprise.
"Do you doubt it still?" she asked. "Have I followed, then, the
example of all my friends, even that of Lord Paget and Gentz? Have I
fled from the capital because the Emperor Napoleon, with his army,
has turned his victorious steps toward Vienna? No, I have remained,
to the dismay of all of them; I have remained, although my prolonged
sojourn in Vienna has deprived me of two of my dearest friends, and
brought about an everlasting rupture between myself and Lord Paget,
as well as Herr von Gentz. I have remained because I was unable to
withstand any longer the ardent yearning of my heart--because I
wished to get at length a sight of the hero to whom the whole world
is bowing. But look, my footman comes to tell me that my breakfast
has been served. You must consent to be my guest to-day and
breakfast with me."
She took the major's arm and went with him to the dining-room. In
the middle of it a table had been set, on which splendid pates,
luscious tropical fruits, and well-spiced salamis agreeably
surprised the major by their appetizing odor, while golden Rhenish
wine and dark Tokay in the white decanters seemed to beckon him.
They took seats at the table in elastic, soft arm-chairs, and for a
while the conversation was interrupted, for the pastry and the other
dainty dishes absorbed their whole attention. The major, who was
noted for his epicurism, enjoyed the delicacies served up to him
with the profound seriousness and immovable tranquillity of a
philosopher. Besides, the princess shared his enjoyment after a
while by her conversation, sparkling with wit and humor; she was
inexhaustible in telling piquant anecdotes and merry bon-mots; she
portrayed her friends and acquaintances in so skilful a manner that
the major did not know whether to admire their striking resemblance
or the talent with which she rendered their weak traits most
When they had reached the dessert, the princess made a sign to the
footman to leave the room, and she remained alone with the major.
With her own fair hand she poured fragrant Syracusan wine into his
glass, and begged him to drink the health of Napoleon the Great.
"And your highness will not do me the honor to take wine with me?"
asked the major, pointing at the empty glass of the princess.
She smiled and shook her head. "I never drink wine," she said; "wine
is a magician who suddenly tears the mask from my face and compels
my lips to speak the truth which they would otherwise, perhaps,
never have uttered. But I will make an exception this time; this
time I will fill my glass, for I must drink the health of the great
emperor. Pour some wine into it, and let us cry: 'Long live Napoleon
She drank some of the fiery southern wine, and her prediction was
fulfilled. The wine took the mask from her face, and loosened the
fetters of her tongue.
Her eyes beamed now with the fire of enthusiasm, and the rapturous
praise of Napoleon flowed from her lips like a torrent of the most
She was wondrously beautiful in her enthusiastic ardor, with the
flaming blush on her cheeks, with her flashing eyes and quivering
lips, the sweet smile of which showed two rows of pearly teeth.
"Oh," exclaimed the major, fascinated by her loveliness, "why is the
great emperor not here--why does he not hear your enchanting words--
why is he not permitted to admire you in your radiant beauty!"
"Why am I not allowed to hasten to him in order to sink down at his
feet and worship him?" exclaimed Marianne, fervently. "Why am I not
allowed to lie for a blissful hour before him on my knees in order
to beg with scalding tears his pardon for the hatred which formerly
filled my soul against him, and to confess to him that my hatred has
been transformed into boundless love and ecstatic adoration? Where
shall I find the friend who will pity my longing, and open for me
the path leading to him? Such a friend I should reward with a gold-
piece for every minute of my bliss, for every minute I should be
allowed to remain near the great emperor."
"Do you speak in earnest, your highness?" asked Major von Brandt,
gravely and almost solemnly.
"In solemn earnest!" asseverated Marianne. "A gold-piece for every
minute of an interview with the Emperor Napoleon."
"Well, then," said the major, joyfully, "I shall procure this
interview for you, your highness, and your beauty and fascinating
loveliness will cause the emperor not to count the minutes, nor the
hours either, so that it will be only necessary for me to reduce the
hours to minutes."
"A gold-piece for every minute!" repeated Marianne, whose face was
radiant with joy and happiness. "Oh, you look at me doubtingly, you
believe that I am only joking, and shall not keep afterward what I
am now promising."
"Most gracious princess, I believe that enthusiasm has carried you
away to a promise the acceptance of which would be an abuse of your
generosity. Suppose the emperor, fascinated by your wit, your
beauty, your charming conversation, should remain four hours with
you, that would be a very handsome number of gold pieces for me!"
Instead of replying to him, Marianne took the silver bell and rang
"Bring me pen, ink, and paper, a burning candle and sealing-wax,"
she said to the footman who entered.
In a few minutes every thing had been brought to her, and Marianne
hastily wrote a few lines. She then drew the seal-ring from her
finger and affixed her seal to the paper, which she handed to the
"Read it aloud," she said.
The major read:
"I promise to Major von Brandt, in case he should procure me an
interview with the Emperor Napoleon, to pay him for every minute of
this interview a louis-d'or as a token of my gratitude."
"MARIANNE, PRINCESS VON EIBENBERG."
"Are you content and convinced?" asked the princess.
"I am, your highness."
"And you will and can procure me this interview?"
"I will and can do so."
"When will you conduct me to Schonbrunn?"
The major reflected some time, and seemed to make a calculation. "I
hope to be able to procure for your highness to-morrow evening an
interview with the emperor," he said. "I am quite well acquainted
with M. de Bausset, intendant of the palace, and I besides know
Constant, his majesty's valet de chambre. These are the two channels
through which the wish of your highness will easily reach the
emperor, and as his majesty is a great admirer of female beauty, he
will assuredly be ready to grant the audience applied for."
"Will you bring me word to-day?" asked Marianne.
"Yes, princess, to-day. I will immediately repair to Schonbrunn. The
emperor arrived there yesterday."
"Hasten, then," said Marianne, rising from her seat--"hasten to
Schonbrunn, and remember that I am waiting for your return with
trembling impatience and suspense."
She gave her hand to the major.
"Good Heaven, your highness!" he exclaimed, in terror, "your hand is
as cold as marble."
"All my blood is here," she said, pointing to her heart. "Hasten to
He imprinted a kiss on her hand and left the room.
Marianne smiled until the door had closed behind him. Then her
features underwent a sudden change, and assumed an air of horror and
"Oh, these miserable men, these venal souls!" she muttered. "They
measure every thing by their own standard, and cannot comprehend the
longings and schemes of a great soul. Accursed be all those who turn
traitors to their country and adhere to its enemies! May the wrath
of God and the contempt of their fellow-creatures punish them! But I
will use the traitors as tools for the purpose of accomplishing the
sacred task which the misfortunes of Germany have obliged me to
undertake. I will put my house in order, that I may be ready when
the hour has come."
Madame Camilla was right, indeed; something was going on, and she
was able to collect important news for the French governor.
The Princess von Eibenberg, since her interview with the major, had
been a prey to a feverish agitation and impatience which caused her
to wander restlessly through the various rooms of her mansion. At
length, toward evening, the major returned, and the news he had
brought must have been highly welcome, for the countenance of the
princess had been ever since radiant with joy, and a wondrous smile
was constantly playing on her lips.
During the following night she was incessantly engaged in writing,
and Madame Camilla as well as the maid were waiting in vain for
their mistress to call them; the princess did not leave her cabinet,
and did not go to bed at all. Early next morning she took a ride in
her carriage, and Madame Camilla, who had heretofore invariably
accompanied the princess on her rides, was ordered to stay at home.
When Marianne returned after several hours, she was pale and
exhausted, and her eyes showed that she had wept. Then officers of
the city courts made their appearance, and asked to see the
princess, stating that she had sent for them. The princess locked
her room while conferring with them, and the officers withdrew only
after several hours. At the dinner-table, to which, by her express
orders, no guests had been admitted to-day, she scarcely touched any
food, and seemed absorbed in deep reflections.
Soon after dinner she repaired to her dressing-room, and never
before had she been so particular and careful in choosing the
various articles of her costume; never before had she watched her
toilet with so much attention and anxiety. At last the work was
finished, and the princess looked radiantly beautiful in her crimson
velvet dress, floating behind her in a long train, and fastened
under her bosom, only half veiled by a clear lace collar, by means
of a wide, golden sash. Her hair, framing her expansive brow in a
few black ringlets a la Josephine, was tied up in a Greek knot,
adorned with pearls and diamonds. Similar jewels surrounded her
queenly neck and the splendidly-shaped snow-white arms. Her cheeks
were transparently pale to-day, and a gloomy, sinister fire was
burning in her large black eyes.
She looked beautiful, proud, and menacing, like Judith, who has
adorned herself for the purpose of going to the tent of Holofernes.
Madame Camilla could not help thinking of it when she now saw the
princess walk across the room in her proud beauty, and with her
stern, solemn air. Madame Camilla could not help thinking of it when
she saw the princess draw an oblong, flashing object from a case
which the mistress of ceremonies had never beheld before, and
hastily concealed it in her bosom.
Was it, perhaps, a dagger, and was the princess a modern Judith,
going to kill a modern Holofernes in her voluptuous arms?
The footman now announced that Major von Brandt was waiting for the
princess in the reception-room, and that the carriage was at the
door. A slight shudder shook the whole frame of the princess, and
her cheeks turned even paler than before. She ordered the foot-man
to withdraw, and then made a sign to Madame Camilla to give her her
cloak and bonnet. Camilla obeyed silently. When the princess was
ready to depart, she turned to Camilla, and, drawing a valuable
diamond ring from her finger, she handed it to her.
"Take this ring as a souvenir from me," she said. "I know you are a
good and enthusiastic Austrian; like myself, you hate the tyrant who
wants to subjugate us, and you will bless the hand which will order
him to stop, and put au end to his victorious career. Farewell"
She nodded once more to her and left her cabinet to go to the
reception-room, where Major von Brandt was waiting for her.
"Come," she said, hastily, "it is high time. I hope you have got a
watch with you, so as to be able to count the minutes."
"Yes, your highness," said Major von Brandt, smiling, "I have got my
watch with me, and I shall have the honor of showing it to you
before you enter the imperial cabinet."
Marianne made no reply, but rapidly crossed the room to go down-
stairs to the carriage waiting at the door. Major von Brandt
hastened after her and offered his arm to her.
Madame Camilla, who had not lost a single word of her short
conversation with Major von Brandt, followed the princess
downstairs, and remained standing humbly at the foot of it till the
princess and her companion had entered the carriage and the coach
door had been closed.
But no sooner had the brilliant carriage of the princess rolled out
of the court-yard in front of her mansion, than Madame Camilla
hastened into the street, entered a hack, and ordered the coachman
to drive her to the residence of the French governor as fast as his
horses could run.
NAPOLEON AND THE PRUSSIAN MINISTER.
Napoleon had left Austerlitz, and had, for some days, again resided
at Schonbrunn. The country palace of the great empress Maria Theresa
was now the abode of him who had driven her grandson from his
capital, defeated his army, and was just about to dictate a peace to
him, the terms of which would be equivalent to a fresh defeat of
Austria and a fresh victory for France. The plenipotentiaries of
Austria and France were already assembled at Presburg to conclude
this treaty, and every hour couriers reached Schonbrunn, who
reported to the emperor the progress of the negotiations and
obtained further instructions from him.
But while Austria now, after the disastrous battle of the 2d of
December, was treating with Napoleon about the best terms of peace,
the Prussian envoy, Count Haugwitz, who was to deliver to Napoleon
the menacing declaration of Prussia, was still on the road, or, at
least, had not been able to lay his dispatch before the emperor.
Prussia demanded, in this dispatch, which had been approved by
Russia, that Napoleon should give up Italy and Holland, and
recognize the independence of both countries, as well as that of
Germany. Prussia gave France a month's time to take this proposition
into consideration; and if it should be declined, then Prussia would
declare war against the Emperor Napoleon.
This month had expired on the 15th of December, and, as previously
stated, Count Haugwitz had not yet succeeded in delivering his
dispatch to the Emperor Napoleon.
It is true, he had set out from Berlin on the 6th of November; but
the noble count liked to travel as comfortably as possible, and to
repose often from the hardships of the journey. He had, therefore,
travelled every day but a few miles, and stopped several days in
every large city through which he had passed. Vainly had Minister
von Hardenberg and the Russian and Austrian ministers in Berlin sent
courier upon courier after him, in order to induce him to accelerate
Count Haugwitz declared himself unable to travel any faster, because
he was afraid of stating that he was unwilling to do so.
Now, he was unwilling to travel any faster, because the message, of
which he was the bearer, was a most oppressive burden to him, and
because he felt convinced that the energetic genius, by some rapid
and crushing victory, would upset all treaties, change all
standpoints, and thereby render it unnecessary for him to deliver to
him a dispatch of so harsh and hostile a description.
Thanks to his system of delay, Count Haugwitz had succeeded in
obtaining a first interview with Napoleon on the day before the
battle of Austerlitz. But instead of presenting the ominous note to
the emperor, he had contented himself, after the fashion of a
genuine courtier, with offering incense to the great conqueror, and
Napoleon had prevented him from transacting any business by putting
off all negotiations with him until after the great battle.
After the battle of Austerlitz, the emperor had received the envoy
of the King of Prussia at Schonbrunn, and granted him the longed-for
audience. Napoleon greeted him in an angry voice, and reproached him
violently for having affixed his name to the treaty of Potsdam. But
Haugwitz had managed, by his skilful politeness, to appease the
emperor's wrath, and to regain his favor. Since then Count Haugwitz
had been at Schonbrunn every day, and Napoleon had always received
him with especial kindness and affability. For the emperor, who knew
very well that Austria was still hoping for an armed intervention by
Prussia, wished to delay his decision, as to the fate of Prussia at
least, until he had made peace with Austria. Only when he had
trampled Austria under foot, he would think of chastising Prussia
for her recent arrogance, and to humiliate her as he had hitherto
humiliated all his enemies. Hence he had received Count Haugwitz
every day, and succeeded gradually and insensibly in winning him for
his plans. Today, on the 13th of December, Count Haugwitz had
repaired to Schonbrunn to negotiate with Napoleon. He wore his full
court-costume, and was adorned with the grand cordon of the Legion
of Honor, which he had received a year ago, and which the Prussian
minister seemed to wear with especial predilection.
Napoleon received the count in the former drawing-room of Maria
Theresa, which had now become Napoleon's study. On a large round
table in the centre of the room, there lay maps, dotted with
variously colored pins; the green pins designated the route fixed by
Napoleon for the retreat of the Russian army; the dark-yellow pins
surrounded the extreme boundaries of Austria, and according to the
news which Napoleon received from Presburg, and which informed him
of constantly new concessions made by the Austrian
plenipotentiaries, who declared their willingness to cede several
provinces, he changed the position of these pins, which embraced
every day a more contracted space; while the blue pins, designating
the boundaries of Bavaria, advanced farther and farther, and the red
pins, representing the armies of France, seemed to multiply on the
Napoleon, however, was not engaged in studying his maps when Count
Haugwitz entered his room, but he was seated at the desk placed
close to the table with the maps, and seemed to write assiduously.
On the raised back part of this desk the busts of Frederick the
Great and Maria Theresa had been placed. Napoleon sometimes, when he
ceased writing, raised his gloomy eyes to them, and then it seemed
as though these three heads, the two marble busts and the marble
head of Napoleon, bent threateningly toward each other, as though
the flashes bursting from Napoleon's eyes kindled the fire of life
and anger in the marble eyes of the empress and the great king;
their frowning brows seemed to ask him then, by virtue of what right
the son of the Corsican lawyer had taken a seat between their two
crowned heads, and driven the legitimate Emperor of Austria from the
house of his fathers.
When Count Haugwitz entered, Napoleon cast the pen impetuously aside
and rose. He saluted the count, who bowed to him deeply and
respectfully, with a pleasant nod.
"You are there," said the emperor, kindly, "and it is very lucky. I
was extremely impatient to see you."
"Lucky?" asked Count Haugwitz, with the inimitable smile of a well-
bred courtier. "Lucky, sire? It seems to me as though there were
neither luck nor ill-luck in the world, nay; I am now more than ever
convinced of it. Have not I heard men say more than a hundred times,
'He is lucky! he is lucky!' Since I have made the acquaintance of
the great man who owes every thing to himself, I have become
convinced that luck should not be taken into consideration, and that
it is of no consequence."
Napoleon smiled. "You are a most adroit and well-bred cavalier and
courtier," he said, "but it is a rule of wisdom for princes not to
repose any confidence in the words of courtiers and flatterers, but
always to translate them into the opposite sense. Therefore, I
translate your words, too, into the contrary, and then they signify,
'It seems, unfortunately, as though luck had deserted us, and
particularly the third coalition, forever, but still sticks to the
colors of France.'"
"Oh, sire," exclaimed Count Haugwitz, in a tone of grievous
reproach, "can your majesty really doubt my devotion and admiration?