Part 9 out of 14
Then followed the second, the third signal.
Two shots were fired at the same time.
The prebendary stood firmly and calmly where he had discharged his
weapon, the same defiant smile playing on his lips, and the same
threatening expression beaming in his eyes.
Prince Charles von Lichtenstein lay on the ground, reddening the
earth with the blood which was rushing from his breast. When Baron
Arnstein bent over him, he raised his eyes with a last look toward
him. "Take her my last love-greetings," he breathed, in a scarcely
audible voice. "Tell her that I--"
His voice gave way, and with the last awful death-rattle a stream of
blood poured from his mouth.
"Hasten to save yourself," shouted Count Palfy to the prebendary,
who had been looking at the dying man from his stand-point with
cold, inquisitive glances. "Flee, for you have killed the prince; he
has already ceased to breathe. Flee! In the shrubbery below you will
find my carriage, which will convey you rapidly to the next post-
"He is dead and I am alive!" said the prebendary, quietly. "It would
not have been worth while to die for the sake of a woman because she
has got another lover. It is much wiser in such cases to kill the
rival, and thus to remove the obstacle separating us from the woman.
But I shall not escape; on the contrary, I shall go to the emperor
myself, and inform him of what has occurred here. We are living in
times of war and carnage, and a soul more or less is, therefore, of
no great importance. Inasmuch as the emperor constantly sends
hundreds of thousands of his innocent and harmless subjects to fight
duels with enemies of whom they do not even know why they are their
enemies, he will deem it but a matter of course that two of his
subjects, who know very well why they are enemies, should fight a
duel, and hence I am sure that his majesty will forgive me. Brave
and intrepid men are not sent to the fortress. I shall not flee!"
Three days had passed since that unfortunate event. Early on this,
the third day, the corpse of the prince had been conveyed to the
tomb of his family; a large and brilliant funeral procession had
accompanied the coffin; even the carriages of the emperor, the
archdukes, and high dignitaries of the state had participated in the
procession, and the Viennese, who for three days had spoken of
nothing else but the tragic end of the young and handsome Prince
Charles von Lichtenstein, derived some satisfaction from the
conviction that they were sharing the sympathy of the imperial
family for the deceased; thousands of them consequently joined the
procession and accompanied the coffin.
But this manifestation of sympathy did not seem sufficient to the
good-hearted and hot-blooded people. They did not merely wish to
show their love for the deceased; they also wanted to manifest their
hatred against the man who had slain him; and, on their return from
the funeral, the people rushed to the Kohlmarkt and gathered with
loud shouts and savage threats in front of the house of the
prebendary, Baron Weichs.
It was reported that the prebendary, whom the people charged with
having assassinated Prince Lichtenstein, was constantly in Vienna;
and as this fact seemed to indicate that the emperor did not intend
to punish his misdeed, the people wanted to take it upon themselves
to chastise him, or to give him at least a proof of the public
"Smash the murderer's windows!" shouted the people, who were
constantly reenforced by fresh crowds appearing on the Kohlmarkt.
And, passing from threats to deeds, hundreds and hundreds of busy
hands tore up the pavement in order to hurl the stones at the house
and windows of the prebendary. And the rattling of the windows, the
loud noise of the stones glancing off on the walls, increased the
rage and exasperation of the people. Soon they were no longer
contented with doing this, but wished to get hold of the malefactor
himself, and to punish him for his crime. The crowd rushed with wild
clamor toward the closed street-door of the baron's house; one among
them quickly climbed on the shoulders of another, in order to tear
down the coat-of-arms of the prebendary, fixed over the entrance,
and thundering applause greeted him when he had accomplished his
purpose. The infuriated men then commenced striking at the door
itself, which offered, however, to all attacks, a firm and
Suddenly a stern, imperious voice shouted: "Stop! Stand back! stand
The people turned around in terror, and discovered only then that a
carriage, surrounded and followed by twenty mounted policemen, was
approaching from the alley on which the principal door of the
prebendary's house was situated. This carriage, with its sinister
escort, could make but slow headway through the dense mass of the
people, who looked inquisitively through the lowered windows into
the interior of the coach. Every one was able to recognize the three
gentlemen who were seated in the carriage, and who were none other
than the prebendary, Baron Weichs, and two of the best known and
most feared high functionaries of the police. The baron's face was
pale and gloomy, but the defiant, impudent smile was still playing
on his thin lips. He looked, with an air of boundless contempt, at
the crowd surging around his carriage and staring at him as if it
wished to read in his pale features the sentence that had been
pronounced against him.
"How inquisitive is the populace!" said the prebendary,
disdainfully. "They are so anxious to find out whether I am now
being conveyed to the place of execution, which would be a most
welcome spectacle for them. You ought to have mercy on this amiable
rabble, gentlemen, and inform them of the evil tidings that I have
unfortunately not been sentenced to be hanged on the gallows, nor to
be broken on the wheel, but only to be imprisoned in a fortress for
ten years, which I shall pass at the beautiful citadel of Komorn."
The two officers only replied to him by silently nodding, and the
carriage passed on. But some compassionate and talkative police
agent had informed the people that the emperor had sentenced the
prebendary, Baron Weichs, to ten years' imprisonment in a fortress,
and that he was at this moment on his way to Komorn. The people
received this intelligence with jubilant shouts, and dispersed
through the city in order to inform their friends and acquaintances
of the welcome news, and then to go home, well satisfied with the
day's amusements and diversions.
And the waves of life closed over the lamentable event, and carried
it down into the abyss of oblivion. A few days passed by, and
another occurrence caused the colloquies concerning the duel of
Prince Lichtenstein and what had brought it about to cease, as some
new subject of conversation took its place.
One heart alone did not console itself so rapidly; one soul alone
bewailed him on comfortless days and restless nights, and paid to
him the tribute of tears and sighs. Since that last meeting with the
prince, Fanny Arnstein had not left her cabinet again; its doors had
been closed against everybody, and she had wept and sighed there
during these three days, without taking a morsel of food.
Vainly had her husband often come to her door in order to implore
her to open it at last, and to take some nourishment. Fanny had
never answered him; and if he had not, constantly and stealthily
returning to her door at night, heard her low sobs and half-loud
wailing, he would have believed that grief had killed her, and that
love had intended to unite her in heaven with him to whom her heart
belonged, as they had been so hopelessly separated on earth.
To-day, after the prince's funeral, the baron again entered the
reception-room adjoining his wife's cabinet, but this time he did
not come alone. A lady, whose face was covered with a large black
veil, accompanied him, and walked at his side to the constantly
The baron knocked at this door, and begged his wife, in words of
heart-felt sympathy, to open it to him.
There was no reply; not a word was heard from the unhappy baroness.
"You see, your highness," whispered the baron, turning to the veiled
lady, "it is as I told you. All prayers are in vain; she does not
leave her room; she will die of grief."
"No, she will not die," said the lady, "she is young, and youth
survives all grief. Let me try if I cannot induce her to admit us."
And she knocked at the door with bold fingers, and exclaimed: "Pray,
Fanny, open the door, and let me come in. It is I, Princess
Eibenberg; it is I, your friend, Marianne Meier; I want to see my
dear Fanny Itzig."
Every thing remained silent; nothing stirred behind that locked
door. Marianne removed her veil, and showed her proud, pale
countenance to the baron.
"Baron," she said, gravely, "at this hour I forgive you the insult
and contempt you hurled at me five years ago on your wedding-day.
Fate has avenged me and punished you cruelly, for I see that you
have suffered a great deal during the last three days. My heart does
not bear you any ill-will now, and I will try to restore your
beautiful and unhappy wife to you, and to console her. But I must
request you to leave this room. I know a charm, by which I shall
decoy Fanny from that room; but in order to do so I must be alone,
and nobody, save herself, must be able to hear me."
"Very well, I will go," said the baron, mournfully. "But permit me
first to ask you to do me a favor. My request will prove to you the
confidence I repose in you. Please do not tell Fanny that you saw me
sad and deeply moved; do not intimate any thing to her about my own
"She will perceive herself, from your pale face and hollow cheeks,
poor baron!" exclaimed Marianne.
"No, she is not accustomed to look at me attentively; it will escape
her," said the baron, sadly, "and I would not have it appear as
though I were suffering by her grief, which I deem but natural and
just. I beg you, therefore, to say nothing about me."
"I shall fulfil your wish," said Marianne. "Fanny will, perhaps,
thank you one day for the delicacy with which you are now behaving
toward her. But go now, so that I may call her."
The baron left the room, and Marianne returned to the door. "Fanny,"
she said, "come to me, or open the door and let me walk in. I have
to deliver to you a message and a letter from Prince Charles von
Now a low cry from the cabinet was heard; the bolt was drawn back,
the door opened, and Baroness Arnstein appeared on the threshold.
Her face was as pale as marble; her eyes, reddened by weeping, lay
deeply in their orbits; her black, dishevelled hair fell down on her
back like a long mourning veil. She was still beautiful and lovely,
but hers was now the beauty of a Magdalen.
"You bring me a message from him?" she asked, in a low, tremulous
voice, and with tearful eyes.
"Yes, Fanny," said Marianne, scarcely able to overcome her own
emotion, "I bring you his last love-greetings. He believed that he
would fall, and on that fatal morning, before repairing to the
duelling-grounds, he paid me a visit. We had long been acquainted
and intimate; both of us had a great, common goal in view; both of
us were pursuing the same paths; this was the origin of our
acquaintance. He knew, too, that I had been a friend of yours from
your childhood, and he therefore intrusted to me his last message to
you. Here, Fanny, this small box contains all the little souvenirs
and love-tokens which he has received from you, and which he deemed
much too precious to destroy or to take into his grave; hence he
requests you to preserve them. They consist of withered flowers
which you once gave him, of a ribbon which you lost, of a few notes
which you wrote to him, and from which the malicious and slanderous
world might perceive the harmless and innocent character of your
intercourse, and, last, of your miniature, painted by the prince
himself, from memory. This casket the prince requests you to accept
as his legacy. It is a set of pearls, an heirloom of his family,
which his dying mother once gave to him in order to adorn with it
his bride on his wedding-day. The prince sends it to you and
implores you to wear it as a souvenir from him, because you were the
bride of his heart. And here, Fanny, here is a letter from him, the
last lines he ever wrote, and they are addressed to you."
The baroness uttered a cry of joy; seizing the paper with passionate
violence, she pressed it to her lips, and knelt down with it.
"I thank Thee, my God, I thank Thee!" she murmured, in a low voice.
"Thou hast sent me this consolation! Thou dost not want me to die of
And now, still remaining on her knees, she slowly unfolded the paper
and read this last glowing farewell, this last tender protestation
of his love, with which the prince took leave of her.
Marianne stood, with folded arms, in a bay window, watching her
friend with grave, sympathetic eyes, and beheld the pallor and
blushes which appeared in quick succession on her cheeks, the
impetuous heaving of her bosom, the tremor of her whole frame, and
the tears pouring down like rivers from Fanny's eyes on the paper,
with a mingled feeling of pity and astonishment.
"It must be beautiful to be able to love in such a manner," she
thought. "Beautiful, too, to be able to suffer thus. Enviable the
women living with their hearts and deriving from them alone their
happiness and grief. Such a lot has not fallen to MY share, and I am
almost afraid that I do not love any thing but myself. My life is
concentrated in my head, and my blood only rushes from the latter to
my heart. Who is more to be pitied, Fanny with the grief of her
love, or I, who will never know such a grief? But she has wept now,
and her tears might finally cause me to weep, too, and to awaken my
love. That must not be, however. One who has to pursue great plans,
like myself, must keep a cool head and a cold heart."
And she approached with quick steps the baroness, who was yet on her
knees, reading and re-reading the farewell letter of the prince.
"Rise from your knees, Fanny," she said, almost imperiously. "You
have paid the tribute of your tears to the departed friend, you have
wept for him for three days; now bury the past in your heart and
think of your future, my poor girl."
"My future?" said Fanny, permitting her friend to raise her gently.
"My future is broken and darkened forever, and there is a cloud on
my name, which will never leave it. Oh, why is there no convent for
the Jewess, no lonely cell whither she might take refuge, with her
unhappiness and disgrace?"
"Do as I have done," said Marianne; "let the whole world be your
convent, and your reception-room the cell in which you do penance,
by compelling men to kneel before you and adore you. instead of
kneeling yourself, and mortifying your flesh. Lay your unhappiness
and your disgrace like a halo around your head, and boldly meet the
world with open eyes and a proud mien. If you were poor and nameless
I should seriously advise you to become a Catholic, and to take
refuge in a convent. But you are rich; you bear a distinguished,
aristocratic name; your husband is able to give sumptuous dinner-
parties; consequently people will pardon his wife for having become
the heroine of an unfortunate romance, and they will take good care
not to turn their backs on nor to point their fingers at you; and
whenever you pass them in the street, not to laugh scornfully and
tell your history in an audible voice. I, my child, formerly had to
bear such contumely and humiliation, and I took a solemn oath at
that time that I would revenge myself upon this world, which
believed it had a right to despise me--that I would revenge myself
by becoming its equal. And I have fulfilled my oath; I am now a
princess and a highness. The proud world that once scorned me now
bows to me; the most virtuous and aristocratic ladies do not deem it
derogatory to their dignity to appear in my reception-room; the most
distinguished princes and cavaliers court the friendship and favor
of the Princess von Eibenberg, nee Marianne Meier. Follow my
example, therefore, Fanny; brave the world, appear in your
reception-room with serene calmness and ease; give even more
sumptuous dinner-parties than heretofore, and the small cloud now
darkening your name will pass by unnoticed. People will come at
first from motives of curiosity, in order to see how you bear your
affliction and how you behave under the eclat produced by the
deplorable occurrence; next they will come because your dinners are
so very excellent, and because this and that princess or countess,
this and that prince, minister, or general, do not disdain to appear
in your reception-room, and thus the whole affair will gradually be
"But my heart will not forget it," said the baroness, mournfully;
"my heart will never cease to weep for him, and when my heart is
weeping, my eyes will not laugh. You have had the courage to conceal
your tears under a smile, and not to suffer your head to be weighed
down by the disgrace and contumely which they tried to heap on it. I
shall have the courage not to conceal my tears, and to walk about,
bending my head under the disgrace and contumely which have
undeservedly fallen to my share. If I were guiltier, I should be
able, perhaps, to brave the world; but having to mourn, not over a
guilty action, but only over a misfortune, I shall weep! Let the
world condemn me for it; I shall not hear its judgment, for I shall
retire into solitude."
"Oh, you foolish woman!" exclaimed Marianne, fervently.
"Yes, foolish, because you believe already at the beginning of your
life that you are done with it. My child, the human heart is much
too weak to be able to bear such a grief for many years. It
gradually grows tired of it and finally drops it, and perceives then
all at once that it is quite empty. Tedium, with its long spider-
legs, will then creep over you and draw its dusty network around and
no one will tear away this network, because nobody will be there to
do this salutary service, for you will have driven people away from
your side and preferred loneliness to their society. Beware of
solitude, or rather learn to be alone in the midst of the world, but
not in the privacy of your deserted boudoir. You have to fulfil a
beautiful and grand mission here in Vienna. You have to emancipate
the Jews--in a manner, however, different from the course I have
pursued. I have proved to the foolish world that a Jewess may very
well be a princess and worthily represent her exalted rank,
notwithstanding her oriental blood and curved nose; but in order to
be able to prove it to the world, I had to give up my religion and
to desert my people. It is your mission to finish the work I have
commenced, and to secure to the Jews a distinguished and undisputed
place in society. You shall be the mediator between the aristocracy
of blood and of pedigree and the aristocracy of money--the mediator
between the Christians and the Jews. You shall give to the Jews here
in Vienna a position such as they are justly entitled to: free,
respected, and emancipated from the degrading yoke of prejudices.
Such is your mission. Go and fulfil it!"
"You are right, Marianne," replied Fanny, with glowing enthusiasm.
"I will fulfil the mission, for it is a grand and sacred one, and it
will comfort and strengthen my heart. The happiness of my life is
gone forever; but I may, perhaps, be happy in my unhappiness, and I
will now try to become so by consoling the unhappy, by assisting the
suffering, and by giving an asylum to the disowned and proscribed.
To dry tears, to distribute alms, and to scatter joy and happiness
around me--that shall be the balm with which I will heal the wounds
of my heart. You are right; I will not retire from the world, but I
will compel it to respect me; I will not flee with my grief into
solitude, but I will remain with it in the midst of society, a
comfort to all sufferers, a refuge to all needing my assistance!"
[Footnote: Fanny von Arnstein kept her word. Her house became the
centre of the most distinguished intellectual life; her hands were
always open and ready to scatter charities and to spread blessings.
She did not, however, give merely with her hands, but also with her
heart, and only thereby she became a true benefactress; for she
added to her gifts that pity and sagacity which know how to
appreciate the true sort of relief. To many people she secured
lasting happiness; to many she opened the road to wealth, and to
some she gave sums which, in themselves, were equivalent to an
independent fortune. Her hospitality equalled her benevolence, and
she exercised it with rare amiability and to a remarkable extent.
Every day numerous guests were received in her house in the city as
well as in her villa, where they enjoyed the advantages of the most
attractive, enlightened, and distinguished society.]
"That is right! I like to hear you talk thus," exclaimed Marianne,
embracing her friend, and tenderly pressing her to her heart. "Now
my fears for you are gone, and I may bid you farewell with a
reassured and comforted heart. My travelling-coach is waiting for
me, and I shall set out in the course of the present hour."
"And where are you going?" asked Fanny, sympathetically.
"That is a secret--a profound political secret," said Marianne,
smiling; "but I will confide it to you as a proof of my love. I go
to Paris for the purpose of delivering to the first consul a letter
from the poor Count de Provence, whom the royalists, and
consequently myself, also call King Louis the Eighteenth of France.
That, Fanny, is the legacy Prince Charles von Lichtenstein has
bequeathed to ME. Through him I became acquainted with some of those
noble emigres who preferred to give up their country and their
possessions, and to wander about foreign lands without a home,
instead of proving faithless to their king, and of obeying that
despotic republic and the tyrant who now lays his iron hand upon
France. It was the Prince von Lichtenstein who, two weeks ago,
brought the Duke d'Enghien to me, and initiated me into the great
plans of the unfortunate Bourbons."
"The Duke d'Enghien was here in Vienna?" asked Fanny, in surprise.
"Yes, he was here; he kept himself concealed in the palace of your
friend Lichtenstein, and only his devoted adherents knew where he
was. The prince belonged to his most enthusiastic followers and
friends. Oh, what plans those two fiery young men conceived in the
safe asylum of my reception-room! what great things did they expect
from the future for the cause of the Bourbons and for France! You
ought to have see Prince Charles von Lichtenstein in such hours,
Fanny; then you would have really understood and boundlessly loved
him. His cheeks, then, were glowing with noble impetuosity; his eyes
flashed fire, and sublime words of soul-stirring eloquence dropped
from his lips. Never has an enemy been hated more ardently than he
hated Bonaparte, the first consul; never has a cause been more
passionately adhered to than the cause of his unhappy fatherland and
that of the exiled Bourbons. If the Count de Provence could boast of
a hundred such defenders as was the Prince von Lichtenstein, he
would have reconstructed the throne of the fleur-de-lis within a
week in Paris. Dry your tears, Fanny, for you are not most to be
pitied. You only lost a lover, but the Bourbons lost a champion and
Germany a true and valorous son; these two are more to be pitied
than you. You may find a hundred other lovers, if such should be
your desire, but the Bourbons have but few champions, and the number
of the true and noble sons of Germany is constantly on the
"And he said nothing to me about his plans and hopes?" exclaimed
Fanny, reproachfully. "He never made me suspect that--"
"That he had not only a heart for love, but also for politics and
for the cause of the fatherland!" interrupted Marianne, smiling. "My
child, he loved with his heart; hence, so long as he was with you,
all the schemes of his head were silent. Still he knew that the
beloved of his heart was able and worthy, too, to be the friend of
his head; and when he took leave of me, he instructed me to initiate
you into all his plans, and to let you participate in his hopes.
Fanny, your friend greets you through my mouth; he wishes to
transfer his love and his hatred, now that he has left us forever to
yourself. As he was a faithful son of his German fatherland, you
shall be its faithful daughter and guardian, and watch over the
welfare of your country, and devote yourself to its service with
your whole strength. As he was an inexorable enemy of that new,
blood-stained France and of her dictator, you shall forswear all
connection with that country, which soon will pour its torrents of
blood and fire over our own unhappy fatherland. You shall do
whatever will serve and be useful to the fatherland, and you shall
abhor, persecute, and combat every menace to subjugate Germany. Your
house shall be open to all German patriots; it shall be closed
against all enemies of Germany, no matter whether they are Germans
or French, or to whatever nation they may belong. Such, Fanny, is
the legacy which Prince Charles von Lichtenstein, the noble German
patriot, has bequeathed to you with his love, and which is to
comfort and strengthen you in your grief."
"I accept this legacy," exclaimed Fanny, radiant with enthusiasm.
"Yes, I accept this legacy and will fulfil it faithfully! To Germany
I will transfer the love which I once devoted to him; I will love
and honor him in each of our German brethren. Like him, I will hate
the enemies of Germany, and never shall my house be opened to them--
never shall they cross its threshold as welcome guests! As I cannot
be a happy wife, I will try to be a faithful daughter of my country,
to love its friends faithfully, and to hate its enemies bitterly!"
"That is right," said Marianne, joyfully. "Now you have received
your best consolation, and the grief of your love will be
transformed into deeds of love. The blessing of your departed friend
will be with you, and the love of your fatherland will reward you
for what you will do for it. And you shall assist our despised and
down-trodden Jews, too, by proving to those who scorn us and
contemptuously treat us as aliens, that we feel like natives and
children of the country in which we were born, and that we do not
seek for our Jerusalem in the distant Orient, but in the fatherland
we share with all other Germans. Let us prove to these Christians
that we also are good patriots, and that we love our fatherland like
them, and are ready to make any sacrifice which it may require from
"Yes, I will prove that I am a good patriot as he was a good
patriot," said Fanny, enthusiastically. "I will hate whatever he
hated; I will love whatever he loved!"
"Amen!" exclaimed Marianne, solemnly. "And now, farewell, Fanny. I
go to fulfil the legacy which Prince von Lichtenstein has bequeathed
to me. He had taken it upon himself to deliver this letter to
Bonaparte, and to see what the Bourbons have to expect from him, and
whether Bonaparte is a Monk or a Cromwell. I fear the latter. The
Bourbons and Lichtenstein hoped for the former. They believed he
would be the Monk of the restoration, and he had only placed himself
so near the throne in order to restore the latter to Louis XVIII.,
as Monk had done in relation to Charles II. Well, we shall see! I
will go now and deliver the letter which Prince Lichtenstein has
intrusted to me. Farewell, Fanny, and remember your legacy!"
"I shall remember it as long as I live," said Fanny, fervently. "And
as I never shall forget my love, I shall never forget my fatherland
either. Both shall live indissolubly united in my heart!" [Footnote:
The history of Baroness Arnstein and the tragic end of Prince
Charles von Lichtenstein do not belong to romance, but to reality,
and created a great sensation at that time. Every one in Vienna knew
that love for Baroness Arnstein had been the cause of the duel and
of the death of the Prince von Lichtenstein, but every one knew also
that Fanny von Arnstein was not to blame for this event; hence the
sympathy and compassion felt for the unhappy lady were universal.
The imperial court and the city took pains to do homage to her and
to manifest their respect for her. But Baroness Arnstein was not to
be consoled by such proofs of public sympathy; the affliction which
had befallen her was too terrible, and she did not endeavor to
conceal her grief. She caused the cabinet in which he had seen her
on the day preceding his death to be hung in black like a death-
room; all the souvenirs and every thing reminding her of him were
preserved in this room. She spent there every anniversary of his
death in deep mourning, and at other times she frequently retired
thither to pray for him. Except herself no one was ever permitted to
enter this cabinet, consecrated as an altar for the religion of her
reminiscences.--Vide Varnhagen von Ense's Miscellanies, vol. i., p.
THE FIRST CONSUL.
"Then you have seen and conversed with our poor, unhappy king?" said
Madame Bonaparte to the beautiful and richly-dressed lady who was
sitting on the sofa at her side, and who was none other than the
Princess Marianne von Eibenberg.
"Yes, madame, I have often had the good fortune to converse long
with him," said the princess, heaving a sigh. "I passed a few weeks
in his neighborhood, and touched by his resignation, his unfaltering
patience, and calm greatness, I offered him my mediation; I wished
to be the messenger whom the poor unfortunate would send out in
order to see whether the shores of his country will never again be
visible to him, and whether the great and intrepid pilot who is now
steering the ship of France with so firm a hand has no room left for
the poor shipwrecked man. The Count de Provence accepted my
services; he gave me a letter which I was to deliver to the First
Consul himself, and I set out for Paris provided with numerous and
most satisfactory recommendations. All these recommendations,
however, were useless; even the intercession of Minister Talleyrand
was in vain; the First Consul refused to grant me an audience."
"He had been told, perhaps, how beautiful and charming a messenger
had been this time sent to him by the Count de Provence," said
Josephine, smiling, "and he was, therefore, afraid of you, madame.
For Bonaparte, the most intrepid hero in battle, is quite timid and
bashful in the presence of beautiful ladies, and not having the
strength to withstand your smiles and prayers, he evades you and
refuses to see you."
"Oh, madame," exclaimed the princess, quickly, "if the First Consul
is unable to resist the smiles of the most beautiful lady, I predict
to you an even more brilliant future; for in that case he will lay
the whole world at your feet to do you homage. He who has remained
at the side of Josephine a hero and a man of iron will, need not
fear the beauty of any other woman."
"You know how to flatter," said Josephine, smiling. "You forget,
however, that we are in a republic here, and that there is no court
with courtiers in the Tuileries, but merely the humble household of
a citizen and general, which, I trust, will soon give way to the
splendor of royalty."
"Do you believe so, madame?" asked the princess, eagerly. "Do you
believe that the hopes which the Count de Provence has built on the
noble and grand spirit of General Bonaparte are not illusory? Oh,
let us be frank and sincere toward each other, for I know you
sympathize with the sufferings of the royal family, and the terrible
misfortunes of the august exiles find an echo in your heart. Hence,
when I did not succeed in obtaining an interview with the First
Consul, and in delivering my letter to him in person, I applied to
you, and the Count de Provence himself authorized me to do so. 'If
Bonaparte refuses to hear you,' he said, 'go to Josephine. Bring her
the greetings of the Count de Provence; remind her of the happy days
of Versailles, where, as Viscountess de Beauharnais, she was always
welcome at the court of my lamented brother. Ask her if she still
remembers how often we joked and laughed together at that time. Ask
her whether my present misfortunes shall last forever, or whether
she, who holds my destiny in her hand, will restore me to mirth and
"Oh!" exclaimed Josephine, bursting into tears, "if I held his
destiny in my hand, he would not have to wait long for his throne
and for happiness. I should be the first to jubilantly welcome him
to France, the first to joyously leave these Tuileries, this royal
palace, the grandeur of which frightens me, and in the walls of
which it always seems to me as though I were a criminal adorning
herself with stolen property, and stretching out her hands toward
the holy of holies. And yet I am innocent of this outrage; my
conscience is clear, and I am able to say that King Louis XVIII. has
no more devoted, faithful, and obedient subject than the wife of the
First Consul of France."
"The king knows it, and depends on you," said the princess.
"Bonaparte's heart is in your hands; you alone are able to move it."
"But do I know, then, whether he has yet a heart or not?" exclaimed
Josephine, passionately. "Do I know, then, if he loves any thing but
his glory? Man cannot serve two gods, and his god is glory. He soars
aloft with the glance of an eagle, and the radiance of the sun does
not dazzle him. Where will he finally rest and build his aerie? I do
not know. As yet no rock has been too lofty for him, no summit too
steep and sufficiently near the sun. I follow his flight with
anxious eyes, but I am unable to restrain him. I can only pray for
him, for myself, and for the unhappy king; I can only pray that the
bold eagle may not finally conclude that the vacant throne will be
an aerie worthy of himself, and occupy it."
"But you believe that he will do so?" asked the princess, quickly.
"Oh, my dear," replied Josephine, with a melancholy smile, "no one
is able to know at the present time, nay, even to conjecture, what
Bonaparte will do; no one, not even myself. His mind is
impenetrable, and he only speaks of what he has done, not of what he
is going to do. His plans lie inscrutable and silent in his breast,
and nobody can boast that he is aware of them. He knows that I am a
royalist at heart, and he often mocks me for it, but more frequently
he is angry with me on this account. Since the French people have
elected him First Consul for life, I see him tremble and frown
whenever I dare to mention our exiled king, and to call him our
master. He has strictly ordered me to receive no stranger unless he
has given me permission to do so, and all friends of mine, whom he
knew to be enthusiastic royalists, have already been banished by
him. I must feign to forget all I owe to friendship and gratitude,
and yet all those cherished reminiscences will never be effaced from
my heart. But I must obey my master; for Bonaparte is no longer only
my husband, but he is also my master. Thus impeded in all her
inclinations, the wife of the First Consul must swallow her grief
and seem ungrateful, although she is not. State it to those who
believe my fate to be an enviable one; state it to the Count de
Provence, who deems my influence greater than it really is. He is,
and always remains for me, the legitimate king of France, and I call
God to witness that I do not long for the crown which is his
legitimate property. I call God to witness that I have improved
every opportunity to promote the interests of the Count de Provence,
and that I have always taken pains to remind Bonaparte of his duty
to his legitimate king. But my success has been insignificant, and
to-day for the first time since a long while I dare again to
entertain a glimmer of hope. Bonaparte knew that I wanted to receive
you to-day, and he did not forbid it, although he had already been
informed that the Princess von Eibenberg was highly esteemed as a
devoted friend at the court of Coblentz, that she had made a journey
to Mitau for the express purpose of seeing the Count de Provence,
that she had been sent by the latter with letters and messages to
Paris, and that the Duke d'Enghien, who some time ago had secretly
been at Vienna, had been every day at your house."
"What! The First Consul is aware of all that?" asked Marianne,
"His spies serve him well," said Josephine, heaving a sigh, "and
Bonaparte has got spies everywhere, even here in the Tuileries, here
in my own rooms--and I should not wonder if he should learn even
within the next quarter of an hour what we have conversed about
here, although it may have seemed to us as though we were alone."
"But if the First Consul learns that the Count de Provence wants to
avail himself of my services for the purpose of promoting his
interests here in Paris, and if he has, nevertheless, permitted you
to receive me, it seems to me a favorable symptom," said Marianne
"Of course, he has some object in view in permitting it," replied
Josephine, sighing, "but who knows what? I am unable to fathom his
intentions; I content myself with loving him, admiring him, and
endeavoring cautiously to lead him back to the path of duty. But
hush!" she interrupted herself all at once, "I hear steps in the
small corridor. It is Bonaparte! He comes hither. He will see that I
have wept, and he will be angry with me!"
And after breathing into her handkerchief in anxious haste,
Josephine pressed it against her eyes, and whispered tremblingly,
"Can it be seen that I have wept?"
Marianne was about replying to her, when quick steps were heard in
the adjoining room. "He is coming," whispered Josephine, and she
rose from the sofa for the purpose of going to meet her husband. He
just opened the door by a quick pressure of his hand and appeared on
the threshold. His eyes swept with a quick glance over the room and
seemed to pierce every corner; a slight cloud covered his expansive
marble forehead; his thin lips were firmly compressed, and did not
show the faintest tinge of a smile.
"Ah, I did not know that there was a visitor with you, Josephine,"
he said, bowing to Marianne, who returned his salutation by a deep
and reverential obeisance, and then fixed her large dark eyes upon
him with an air of admiration.
"My friend," said Josephine, with a fascinating smile, "the Princess
von Eibenberg has been recommended to me by persons of the highest
distinction, and I confess that I am very grateful to those who gave
me an opportunity to make the acquaintance of this beautiful and
agreeable lady. It is true, I hear that the princess is a native of
Germany, but she has got the heart of a Frenchwoman, and speaks our
language better than many of the ladies whom I hear here in the
"Ah, she doubtless speaks that language of ancient France, which
always pleases you so well," exclaimed Bonaparte; and now there
appeared on his finely formed lips a smile, illuminating and
beautifying his face like sunshine. "I suppose, madame," he said,
suddenly turning to Marianne, "you have come hither in order to
bring to my dear Josephine greetings from a cavalier of that ancient
France which has forever fallen to ruins?"
"No, general," said Marianne, whose radiant eyes were constantly and
fearlessly fixed on Bonaparte--"no, general, I have come hither in
order to admire the New France, and never shall I be able to thank
Madame Bonaparte sufficiently for the happiness she has procured me
at this moment. It is the first time in my life that I have been
able to see a great man, a hero!"
"And yet you were in Loudon and Mitau and there saw the Counts
d'Artois and Provence," replied Bonaparte, sitting down in an arm-
chair by Marianne's side, and requesting the ladies by a wave of his
hand to resume their seats on the sofa.
"And in Loudon, in Mitau, in Coblentz, everywhere they admire the
hero who has risen like a new sun with the young century!" said
Marianne, with irresistible grace.
"Those gentlemen of ancient France spoke of me, then?" asked
Bonaparte. "You see, madame, I speak without circumlocution. I am
nothing but a good soldier, and always strike directly at my aim. I
have been told that you have come hither as an emissary of the
Bourbons, and I confess to you that to-day for the first time I feel
grateful to those gentlemen, for they have made a very beautiful
selection. The emissaries sent hither heretofore were less beautiful
and less amiable. Those Bourbons know the foibles of the male heart
better than anybody else, and they want to fascinate me in order to
seduce me afterward the more surely."
"Pardon me, general, they were not so bold as that," said the
princess, smiling. "Let me say that I am not gifted with the magic
power of Armida, nor are you with the sentimental weakness of
"You do not deem me worthy to be compared with Rinaldo?" asked
Bonaparte, casting so glowing a glance on the fair emissary that
Josephine almost regretted having brought this fascinating beauty in
contact with her husband.
"I do not deem Rinaldo worthy to be compared with Bonaparte," said
the princess, with a charming smile. "Rinaldo did not conquer any
countries; he did not cross the bridge of Arcole, holding aloft the
waving colors; he did not see the pyramids of Egypt; he did not
conquer at Marengo!"
"Ah, madame, you seem to have a good memory," exclaimed Bonaparte,
merrily, "and you do not only know ancient France, but are also
quite familiar with her recent history."
"General, it is owing to you that the history of France is that of
the whole world, and that the victories of France signify the defeat
of the remainder of Europe. But you have brought about an even
greater miracle, for those whom you have vanquished do not hate you
for it, but they admire you, and while cursing their own misfortune,
they are astonished at your heroism and surpassing greatness as a
military chieftain. There is no one who does not share this feeling
of admiration, and there is no one who entertains it in a livelier
manner than the two men who have reason to complain most of France,
and who do so least!"
"Ah, you skilfully return to the charge," exclaimed Bonaparte,
smiling. "You would make a good general: you make a short cut on the
field of flattery and so reach the more rapidly the straight road on
which you want to meet the Counts de Provence and Artois in order to
praise them before me."
"No, Bonaparte," said Josephine, hastily, "the princess, on the
contrary, wishes to tell you how those gentlemen praise you, and
with how much admiration they speak of you.--Oh, pray, madame,
repeat to Bonaparte what the Count d'Artois told you the other day,
and mention the honors and distinctions he would like to confer on
"Well, I should really like to know the honors and distinctions
which that little emigre, M. de Bourbon, is able to confer on the
First Consul of France," said Bonaparte, with a sarcastic smile.
"Tell me, madame, what did the Count d'Artois say, and what that
statement of yours is that has filled the ambitious heart of Madame
Bonaparte with so much delight?"
"Oh, you want to mock me, my friend," said Josephine, reproachfully.
"By no means, I am in dead earnest, and should like to know what the
pretenders did say about me. State to us, then, madame, with your
seductive voice, the tempting promises of the Bourbons."
"General, there was no talk of promises, but of the admiration the
Count d'Artois felt for you," said Marianne, almost timidly, and
with downcast eyes. "We conversed about politics in general, and
Madame de Guiche, in her charming innocence, took the liberty to ask
the Count d'Artois how the First Consul of France might be rewarded
in case he should restore the Bourbons."
"Ah, you conversed about this favorite theme of the emigres, about
the restoration question!" said Bonaparte, shrugging his shoulders.
"And what did the prince reply?"
"The Count d'Artois replied: 'In the first place, we should appoint
the first consul Connetable of France, if that would be agreeable to
him. But we should not believe that that would be a sufficient
reward; we should erect on the Place du Carrousel a lofty and
magnificent column to be surmounted by a statue of Bonaparte
crowning the Bourbons!'" [Footnote: Las Cases, "Memorial de Sainte-
Helene," vol. i., p. 337.]
"Is not that a beautiful and sublime idea?" exclaimed Josephine,
joyfully, while the princess searchingly fixed her eyes on
"Yes," he said, calmly, "it is a very sublime idea; but what did you
reply, Josephine, when this was communicated to you?"
"What did I reply?" asked Josephine. "Good Heaven! what should I
"Well," said Bonaparte, whose face now assumed a grave, stern
expression, "you might have replied, for instance, that the pedestal
of this beautiful column would have to be the corpse of the First
Consul." [Footnote: Bonaparte's own words.--Ibid., vol. ii., p.
"Oh, Bonaparte, what a dreadful idea that is!" exclaimed Josephine,
in dismay--"dreadful and withal untrue, for did not the Count
d'Artois say the Bourbons would appoint you Connetable of France?"
"Yes, just as Charles II. of England conferred the title of duke on
Monk. I am no Monk, nor am I a Cromwell. I have not injured a single
hair on the head of the Bourbons, and my hand has not been stained
by a drop of the blood of the unfortunate king who had to atone for
the sins of his predecessors. He had ruined France, I saved her; and
the example of Monk teaches me to be cautious, for the English
people had confided in him, and he gave them a king who made them
unhappy and oppressed them for twenty years, and finally caused a
new revolution; I want to preserve France from the horrors of a new
revolution, hence I do not want to become another Monk."
"And who should dare to compare you with Monk or Cromwell, general?"
exclaimed Marianne. "If there is a man worthy to be compared with
the first consul of France, it is only the great Washington, the
liberator of America."
"Ah, you think so because we are both presiding over a republic,"
replied Bonaparte, with a sarcastic smile. "As I do not want to be a
Monk, it is hoped that I shall be a Washington. Words cost nothing,
and those who utter them so easily do not consider whether the
circumstances of the two nations, the time and occasion may be as
well compared with each other as those two names. If I were in
America, it would be my highest glory to be another Washington, and
I should deserve but little credit for it, after all, for I do not
see how one could reasonably pursue there any other course. But if
Washington had been in France, with its convulsions within and an
invasion from abroad, I should not have deemed it advisable for him
to be himself; if he had insisted upon remaining himself, he would
have been an idol, and only prolonged the misfortunes of France
instead of saving the country."
"You confess, then, that France ought not to remain a republic?"
asked Josephine, joyfully. "You want to restore the monarchy?"
"Wait for the things to come," said Bonaparte, gravely. "To ask me
prematurely to do things incompatible with the present state of
affairs would be foolish; if I should announce or promise them it
would look like charlatanry and boasting, and I am not addicted to
"But you give us hopes, at least, that you will do so one day, when
the time has come, I suppose, my friend?" said Josephine, tenderly.
"You will not let this beautiful lady depart from Paris without a
kind and comforting reply? She will not have entered the Tuileries,
the house of the kings, in order to be obliged to inform on her
return those to whom it justly belongs that there is no longer any
room for them under the roof which their fathers have built. I am
sure, Bonaparte, you will not send such a reply to the legitimate
King of France from HIS OWN rooms."
Josephine, glowing with excitement, had risen from her seat;
stepping close up to Bonaparte, she encircled his neck with her
beautiful arms, and laid her charming head on his shoulder.
"Oh, Josephine, what are you doing?" ejaculated Bonaparte, angrily.
"Will not the princess tell the Count de Provence that the Tuileries
are now inhabited by a downright bourgeois and hen-pecked husband,
who treats his wife sentimentally even in the presence of other
persons, and in return for her caresses has always to comply with
her wishes? And shall we not be laughed at, my child?"
"I should like to see the Titan who would dare to laugh at the First
Consul!" exclaimed Marianne, eagerly. "You would do like Jove; you
would hurl down the audacious scoffer into the abyss with a flash
from your eyes."
Bonaparte fixed so long and glowing a look on the princess that
Marianne blushed, while the jealous heart of Josephine began to
"Bonaparte, state the reply you are going to make to the Count de
Provence," she said, anxious to withdraw his attention from the
contemplation of this fascinating beauty.
"A reply?" asked Bonaparte. "What shall I reply to?"
"General, to this letter, which the Count de Provence has intrusted
to me, and which I have solemnly pledged myself to deliver to you
personally," said Marianne, handing Bonaparte a sealed paper, with
an imploring glance.
Bonaparte did not take it at once, but looked sternly at the two
ladies who stood before him, turning their beautiful and deeply
moved faces toward him with an air of supplication.
"It is a perfect conspiracy, then, ladies? A complete surprise of
the fortress?" he asked. "You want to compel me forcibly to open the
gates of my eyes to you? Do you not know, then, Josephine, that I
have sworn not to accept any letters from the Pretender, in order
not to be obliged to make a harsh reply to him?"
"Keep your oath, then," said Josephine, smiling; "do not accept the
letter, but permit me to do so, and let me read the contents of the
letter to you."
"Oh, women, women!" exclaimed Bonaparte, smiling. "They are born
sophists, and I believe they would be able to outwit the devil
himself! Well, I will comply with your request; take the letter and
read it to me."
Josephine uttered a joyful cry, and took the letter from Marianne's
hands. While she broke the seal and unfolded the paper, Bonaparte
had risen from his arm-chair, and commenced slowly pacing the room.
He knew, perhaps, that Marianne's eyes were fixed upon him with a
searching expression, and her glances were disagreeable to him.
Josephine read as follows:
"Men like you, sir, never inspire suspicion and uneasiness, whatever
their conduct may be. You have accepted the exalted position which
the French people offered to you, and I am grateful to you for so
doing. You know better than anybody else how much strength and power
are required to secure the happiness of a great nation. Save France
from her own fury, and you will have fulfilled the foremost and
greatest desire of my heart; restore her king to her, and future
generations will bless your memory. But you hesitate very long to
give my throne back to me, and I almost fear you will allow the
opportunity to pass by unimproved. Hasten, therefore, and designate
the positions you desire for yourself and for your friends. You will
always be too indispensable to the state for me ever to be able to
discharge the obligations of my ancestors and my own, even by means
of the most influential positions. My character, as well as motives
of sound policy, will induce me to pursue a liberal course. We are
able to secure the happiness of France. I say we, for you cannot
secure the happiness of France without me, and I cannot do any thing
for France without you. General, Europe has fixed her eyes on you,
and immortal glory awaits you." [Footnote: This letter is
historical.--Vide "Memoires d'un Homme d'Etat," vol. vii., p. 393.]
"Always the same strain," muttered Bonaparte, "always the story of
the column surmounted by the statue of the First Consul crowning the
Bourbons, while his bleeding corpse is to be the foundation of the
"He is reflecting," whispered Josephine to the princess. "That
shows, at least, that he has not yet made up his mind to reject the
offer of the Count de Provence."
At this moment Bonaparte turned toward the two ladies and approached
"Are you authorized to receive my reply?" he asked, turning his
gloomy eyes toward the princess.
"I shall feel happy and honored by any message you may be pleased to
intrust to me," said Marianne.
Bonaparte nodded to her.
"Will you permit me to write a letter here, Josephine?" he asked.
Instead of making a reply, Josephine hastened to her desk, in order
to take out some paper, to draw a chair to the table, and then to
hand the pen to Bonaparte, with a fascinating smile. When he
commenced writing, she supported herself in breathless suspense on
the back of his arm-chair and looked over the Consul's shoulder,
while the Princess von Eibenberg, standing not far from them, looked
at both with sparkling eyes.
Bonaparte hastily wrote a few lines, threw the pen aside, and
turning around to Josephine, he handed her the letter.
"There, read it," he said, "and read it aloud, so that the beautiful
emissary of your M. de Bourbon may learn my reply, and know the
contents of the message she is to deliver to him."
Josephine took the paper, and read, in a tremulous voice, frequently
interrupted by her sighs:
"I have received the letter of your royal highness; I have
constantly felt a lively sympathy for you and for the misfortunes of
your family. But your royal highness must not think of coming to
France; you would have to pass over a hundred thousand corpses
before reaching it. In other respects, I shall constantly take pains
to do whatever will be calculated to alleviate your condition and to
make you forget your misfortunes."
"Well, Josephine, you are silent?" asked Bonaparte, when she ceased
reading. "You are dissatisfied with my letter? And you, too, madame,
have a dark shadow on your beautiful face! How could you expect
another answer from me?"
"General, I believe the royal princes really hoped for another
answer," said Marianne, heaving a sigh.
"And what justified such a hope?" asked Bonaparte, sternly "What
have I done to give rise to such chimeras?"
"General, the favorable answer you gave to Prussia--"
"Ah!" said Bonaparte, shrugging his shoulders, "the wind is blowing
in that direction, then? Prussia asked me if she would cause us any
trouble by tolerating the French princes within her boundaries. I
replied in the negative; and when Prussia went further and asked
whether we should feel offended or not, if she paid an annual
pension to the Bourbons, I permitted even that on condition that the
princes remained quiet and did not carry on any intrigues. They
believed, then, that because I suffered distressed persons to be
relieved and an asylum to be granted to the homeless, I should be
ready, also, to make the beggars masters again, and to lay France at
the feet of the exiles!"
"Bonaparte, your words are very harsh and very unjust," exclaimed
"They may be harsh, but they are true," he said, sternly. "I will
not permit them to entertain any illusions concerning myself; hence
I have spoken so long and plainly. It would be harsh and cruel to
hold out hopes to the Bourbons which I shall never fulfil. France is
lost to them, and they will never recover her. State that to the
princes who have sent you to me, madame. Let the Bourbons be on
their guard, for France is wide awake and keeps her eyes and ears
open. I am willing to forgive that little Duke d'Enghien for not
considering me a great general, and for criticising my exploits, but
I should neither forgive him nor either of his uncles in case they
should try to trouble France with their senseless schemes. I know
that the Bourbons have long been trying to find means and ways to
reconquer the sceptre of St. Louis. So long as their schemes are
floating in the air like cobwebs, I forgive them; but if they intend
to act, let them weigh the consequences! He who menaces France is a
traitor, whatever may be his name, and traitors will be punished to
the full extent of the law. State that to the Bourbons, madame;
state it especially to the Duke d'Enghien. And now be kind enough to
deliver my reply to the Count de Provence. When do you intend to
"In a few days, general."
"Oh, that will not do. That poor Count de Provence will be eager to
get a reply," said Bonaparte, "and it would be very cruel not to
transmit it to him as soon as possible. You especially will not wish
to make him wait, and I therefore advise you to set out to-day,
within the next hour! I shall issue orders that horses be kept in
readiness for you; and in order that you may not be detained
anywhere, I shall instruct two officers to escort you to the
frontier. Hasten, therefore, madame; in half an hour everything will
be ready for your departure."
He nodded to her, and left the room.
The two ladies were alone again and looked at each other with
mournful eyes. Marianne's face was pale; a gloomy fire was burning
in her eyes, and a contemptuous smile was visible on her lips.
Josephine seemed greatly embarrassed, and her gentle eyes were
filled with tears.
"I am to be transported beyond the frontier like a criminal!"
ejaculated Marianne at last, in a voice trembling with anger. "I am
to be treated like a dangerous intriguer, and yet I have only
delivered a letter which had been intrusted to me by the king."
"Forgive him," said Josephine, imploringly. "He has been prejudiced
against you, and the numerous plots and conspiracies, which have
already been discovered, cause him to deem rigorous precautions
altogether indispensable. But I beg you especially not to be angry
with me, and pray beseech the Count de Provence not to hold me
responsible for the deplorable message you are to deliver to him. I
have opened my heart to you, and you know it to be filled with the
most faithful devotion and with the most reverential affection for
the unfortunate prince, but I am not strong enough to change his
Just then the door opened; M. de Bourrienne, chief of the cabinet of
the First Consul, made his appearance and approached the princess
with a respectful bow.
"Madame," he said, "the First Consul sends you word that every thing
is ready for your departure, and he has instructed me to conduct you
to your carriage."
Josephine uttered a groan, and, sinking down on a chair, she covered
her face with her handkerchief in order to conceal her tears.
Marianne had now recovered her proud and calm bearing, and a bold
and defiant smile played again on her lips. She approached Josephine
with soft and quiet steps.
"Farewell, madame," she said. "I shall faithfully report to the
Count de Provence every thing I have seen and heard here, and he
will venerate and pity you as I shall always do. May the First
Consul never regret what he is doing now, and may he not be obliged
one day to leave France in the same manner as he compels me to
depart from Paris! Come, sir, accompany me, as it cannot be helped!"
And drawing herself up to her full height and as proud as a queen,
Marianne, princess of Eibenberg, walked toward the door.
Josephine followed her with her tearful eyes, which she then raised
to heaven. "Oh, my God, my God," she whispered, "ordain it in Thy
mercy that my worst forebodings may not be fulfilled! Guide
Bonaparte's heart and prevent him from going on in his ambition,
from stretching out his hand for the crown of the Bourbons, and from
staining his glory with the blood of--Oh, Thou knowest my fears;
Thou knowest what I mean, and what my lips dare not utter. Protect
Bonaparte, and guide his heart!"
TWO GERMAN SAVANTS.
A Post-chaise, drawn by four horses, had just driven up to the hotel
of The German Emperor, the first and most renowned inn in the city
of Frankfort-on-the-Main. The porter rang the door-bell as loudly
and impetuously as he only used to do on the arrival of aristocratic
and wealthy guests. Hence the waiters rushed to the door in the
greatest haste, and even the portly and well-dressed landlord did
not deem it derogatory to his dignity to leave the dining-room, for
the purpose of welcoming the stranger in the post-chaise, drawn by
the four horses.
In this post-chaise he perceived a gentleman of prepossessing and
jovial appearance, and with a handsome and tolerably youthful face.
His large blue eyes looked gayly and boldly into the world; a genial
smile was playing on his broad and rather sensual-looking lips; and
his voice was clear, strong, and sonorous.
"May I find here with you comfortable rooms, and, above all, a good
supper?" he asked the landlord, who, pushing aside his waiters and
the stranger's footman, stepped up to the carriage, in order to open
"Sir," replied the landlord, proudly, "The German Emperor is noted
for its good rooms and excellent table!"
The stranger laughed merrily. "Truly," he said, gayly, "these are
splendid prospects for Germany. If The German Emperor furnishes good
rooms and an excellent table, I am sure Germany would be
unreasonable to ask for any thing else! Well, my dear landlord, give
me, then, good rooms and a supper."
"Do you want rooms on the first or on the second floor?" asked the
landlord, respectfully walking behind the stranger, who had just
entered the hall.
"Of course, on the first floor; Heaven forbid that I should have to
climb two flights of stairs!" replied the stranger. "I like to live
in comfortable and elegant rooms. Give me, therefore, three fine
rooms on the first floor."
"Three rooms!" said the landlord, hesitatingly. "I must observe to
you, sir, that all the rooms on the first floor have been reserved
for the Duke of Baden, who will arrive here to-morrow or day after
to-morrow, and stop at The German Emperor, like all princes coming
to our city. I do not know if I can spare three rooms."
"Oh, you surely can, as the duke will only arrive to-morrow or day
after to-morrow, while I am here to-day," said the stranger.
"Give me the rooms you had intended for the duke; then I shall be
sure to get good ones, and I shall take them at the same price you
will charge him."
The landlord bowed respectfully, and snatched the silver candle-
stick from the hand of the head-waiter, in order to have the honor
of conducting the stranger up-stairs to his rooms. The waiters, who
had stood on both sides of the hall in respectful silence, now
hastily rushed toward the post-chaise, in order to assist the
stranger's footman in unloading the trunks and packages belonging to
"As far as the supper is concerned, pray imagine I were the expected
Duke of Baden, and make your arrangements accordingly," said the
stranger, ascending the staircase. "I particularly enjoy a good
supper. If you have any pheasants to serve up to me, I shall be
content with them; only see to it that they be well larded with
And his voice died away in the large corridor which he was now
walking down, preceded by the landlord, in order to take possession
of the best rooms in the hotel.
The waiters were engaged in unloading the trunks, and improved this
opportunity to inquire of the stranger's footman, clad in a rich
livery, the rank, name, and title of his master.
He told them the gentleman had just arrived from Loudon, where he
had been living for a year; he was now on his way to Vienna, and
would leave Frankfort on the following day.
"This trunk is very heavy," said one of the waiters, vainly trying
to lift from the carriage a small trunk, mounted with strips of
brass, and covered with yellow nails.
"I should think so," said the footman, proudly. "This trunk contains
my master's money and jewelry. There are at least twelve gold
watches, set with diamonds, and as many snuff-boxes. The Queen of
England sent to my master on the day of our departure a magnificent
snuff-box, adorned with the portrait of her majesty, and richly set
with diamonds: and the snuff-box, moreover, was entirely filled with
gold pieces. Come, take hold of the trunk on that side; I shall do
so on this, and we will take it directly up to my master's rooms."
Just as they entered the hall with their precious load, another
carriage drove up to the door. But this time it was only a
miserable, rickety old basket-chaise, drawn by two lean jades with
lowered heads and heaving bellies.
The porter, therefore, did not deem it worth while to ring the bell
for this forlorn-looking vehicle; but he contented himself with
leisurely putting his hands into his pockets, sauntering down to the
chaise, and casting a disdainful glance into its interior.
There was also a single gentleman in it, but his appearance was less
prepossessing and indicative of liberality than that of the former
stranger. The new-comer was a little gentleman, with a pale face and
a sickly form. His mien was grave and care-worn; his dark eyes were
gloomy and stern; his expansive forehead was thoughtful and clouded.
"May I have a room in your hotel?" he asked, in a clear, ringing
"Certainly, sir, as nice and elegant as you may desire," said the
"I do not require it to be nice and elegant," replied the stranger.
"Only a small room with a comfortable bed; that is all I care for."
"It is at your disposal, sir," said the porter; and beckoning the
youngest waiter to assist the stranger in alighting, he added: "Take
the gentleman to one of the smaller rooms on the first floor."
"Oh, no," said the stranger, "I do not ask for a room on the first
floor; I shall be satisfied with one on the second floor. Be kind
enough to pay my fare to the coachman; he gets ten florins. You may
put it down on my bill."
"And will you give me no drink-money?" asked the coachman, angrily.
"The gentleman will assuredly not refuse me drink-money after a
three days' journey?"
"My friend, I did not agree to pay you any thing but those ten
florins," said the stranger. "I will comply with your demand,
however, for you have been an excellent driver."
He handed half a florin to the coachman, and entered the hotel with
"Do you want supper?" asked the waiter, conducting him upstairs.
"Yes, if you please," said the stranger; "but no expensive supper,
merely a cup of tea and some bread and meat."
"A poor devil!" muttered the porter, shrugging his shoulders
disdainfully, and following the stranger with his eyes. "A very poor
devil! only a room on the second floor; tea and bread and meat for
supper! He must be a savant, a professor, or something of that
Meantime the footman and the waiter had carried the heavy trunk,
with the gold and other valuables, up-stairs to the rooms of the
stranger on the first floor. These rooms were really furnished in
the most sumptuous manner, and worthy to be inhabited by guests of
princely rank. Heavy silk and gold hangings covered the walls;
blinds of costly velvet, fringed with gold, veiled the high arched
windows; precious Turkish carpets adorned the floor; gilt furniture,
carved in the most artistic manner and covered with velvet cushions,
added to the splendor and beauty of the rooms.
The stranger lay on one of the magnificent sofas when the trunk with
his valuables was brought in. He ordered the footman with a wave of
his hand to place the trunk before him on the marble table, wrought
by some Florentine artisan, and then he leisurely stretched out his
legs again on the velvet sofa.
Scarcely had the door closed again behind the footman and the
waiter, however, when he hastily rose, and drawing the trunk toward
him, opened it with a small key fastened to his watch-chain.
"I believe I will now at length add up my riches," he said to
himself. "The time of the golden rain, I am afraid is over, at least
for the present; for, in Germany, an author and savant is never
taken for a Danae, and no one wants to be a Jove and lavish a golden
rain upon him. The practical English, who are more sagacious in
every respect, know, too, how to appreciate a writer of merit, and
pay him better for his works. Thank God I was in England! Let us see
now how much we have got."
He plunged his hands into the small trunk and drew them forth filled
with gold pieces.
"How well that sounds!" he said, throwing the gold pieces on the
table, and constantly adding new ones to them. "There is no music of
the spheres to be compared with this sound, and no view is more
charming than the aspect of this pile of gold. How many tender love-
glances, how many sumptuous dinners, how many protestations of
friendship and love-pledges, how many festivals and pleasures do not
flash forth from those gold pieces, as though they were an enchanted
mine! As a good general, I will count my troops, and thus enable
myself to draw up the plans of my battles."
A long pause ensued. Nothing was heard but the music of the gold
pieces, which the traveller arranged in long rows on the marble
table, and the figures which he muttered, while his countenance grew
every moment more radiant.
"Five hundred guineas!" he exclaimed joyfully; "that sum is
equivalent to three thousand three hundred and thirty-three dollars
in Prussian money; there are, besides, two thousand-pound notes in
my wallet, amounting to over thirteen thousand dollars, which,
together with my guineas, will amount to over sixteen thousand
dollars cash. Oh, now I am a rich man! I no longer need deny to
myself any wish, any enjoyment. I can enjoy life, and I WILL enjoy
it. As a stream of enjoyment and delight my days shall roll along,
and to enjoyment glory shall be added, and throughout all Germany my
voice shall resound; in all cabinets it shall reecho, and to the
destinies of nations it shall point out their channel and direction.
For great things I am called, and great things will I accomplish. I
will not allow myself to be used by these lords of the earth as a
journeyman, to whom the masters assign work for scanty pay. Their
equal and peer, I will stand by their side, and they shall recognize
it as a favor which they cannot weigh up with gold, if I take the
word for them and their interests, and win battles for them with my
There was a gentle knock at the door, and quickly he threw his
silken handkerchief over the gold pieces and papers, and closed the
cover of his casket before he gave permission to enter.
It was only a few waiters, who carried a well-spread table, in the
midst of which a splendid pheasant stretched its brownish, shining
limbs, and filled the whole room with the odor of the truffles with
which it was stuffed. By its side shone, in crystal bottles, the
most precious Rhine wine, looking like liquid gold, and a silent,
still undisclosed pie gave a presentiment of a piquant enjoyment.
The traveller sipped the several odors with smiling comfort, and
took his place at the table with the full confidence that he would
be able to fill the next half hour of his life with enjoyment and to
In this confidence he was not disappointed, and when he finally rose
from the table, on which nothing but bones had remained of the
pheasant, and nothing but the bare crust of the pie, his countenance
beamed with satisfaction and delight.
The waiters made haste to remove the table, and the head waiter made
his appearance with the large hotel register, in which he asked the
traveller to enter his name.
He was ready for it, and already took the pen to write his name,
when suddenly he uttered a cry of surprise, and excitedly pointed
with his finger to the last written line of the book.
"Is this gentleman still in your hotel, or has he already left?" he
"No, your honor, this gentleman arrived only an hour ago, and he
will stay here to-night." said the head waiter.
"Oh, what a surprise," said the traveller, starting up. "Come,
please to conduct me at once to this gentleman."
And, with impatient haste, he ran to the door, which the head waiter
opened to him. But upon the threshold he suddenly stopped and seemed
"Pray wait for me here in this hall; I shall follow you
immediately," he said, as he returned to his room, closed its door,
and hastened to the table in order to put his gold and his papers
into the casket and to lock it.
In the mean while, the traveller in the small room of the second
floor had finished his frugal meal, and was now occupied with making
up his account and entering the little travelling expenses of the
last few days into his diary.
"It is after all an expensive journey," he muttered to himself; "I
shall hardly have a few hundred florins left on my arrival at
Berlin. It is true the first quarter of my salary will at once be
paid to me, but one-half of it I have already assigned to my
creditors, and the other half will scarcely suffice to furnish
decently a few rooms. Oh, how much are those to be envied, the
freedom and cheerfulness of whose minds are never disturbed by
A loud knock at the door interrupted him; he hastened to put back
his money into his pocket-book, when the door was hastily opened and
the stranger of the first story appeared in it with a smiling
"Frederick Gentz!" exclaimed the owner of the room, in joyful
"Johannes Muller!" smilingly exclaimed the other, running up to him
with outstretched arms, and tenderly embracing the little man, the
great historian. "What good fortune for me, my friend, that I put up
at this hotel, where I was to have the pleasure of meeting you!
Accidentally I found in the hotel register your name, and at once I
rushed to welcome you."
"And by coming you afford to my heart a true joy," tenderly said
Johannes Muller, "for nothing can afford a greater joy than the
unexpected meeting with a beloved and esteemed friend, and you know
you are both to me."
"I only know that you are both to me!" exclaimed Gentz. "I only know
that during my present journey I am indebted to you for the most
precious hours, for the most sublime enjoyments. I had taken along
for my reading your work on the 'Furstenbund' ('Alliance of
Princes'). I wished to see whether this book which, on its first
appearance, so powerfully affected me, would still have the same
effect upon me after an interval of twenty years. The world since
then has been transformed and changed, I myself not less; and I was
well aware how far my views on many most important topics would
differ from yours. This, indeed, I found to be the case, and yet the
whole reading was for me an uninterrupted current of delight and
admiration. For four weeks I read in my leisure hours nothing but
this book, and I felt my mind consecrated, strengthened, and nerved
again for every thing great and good."
"If you say this," exclaimed Muller, "I have not labored in vain,
although a German author feels sometimes tempted to believe that all
his labors, all his writing and thinking were useless efforts, and
nothing but seed scattered upon barren and sterile soil, and unable
to bear fruit. Oh, my friend, what unfortunate days of humiliation
and disgrace are still in store for Germany! But let us not talk of
this now, but of you. Come, let us seat ourselves side by side upon
this divan. And now tell me of your successes and your glory. The
report of it has reached me, and I have learned with unenvying
delight with what enthusiasm the whole literary and political world
of England has received you, and how the court, the ministers, and
the aristocracy of Loudon have celebrated the great German writer
"It is true I have met in Loudon with much kindness and a flattering
reception," said Gentz, smilingly. "You know a German writer must go
abroad if he lays claim to recognition and reward, for, as the
proverb says, 'The prophet is not without honor, save in his own
country.' I had, therefore, to go to England in order to secure for
my voice, which until then was little heeded, some authority even in
"And now, when you have so eminently succeeded in this, you return I
hope forever to Germany?"
"It almost seems so. I follow a call of the Austrian minister,
Cobenzl, and have been appointed in Vienna as Aulic councillor, with
a salary of four thousand florins."
"And in which ministry will you work?"
"Not in any particular one. I have been engaged for extraordinary
services exclusively, with no other obligation than, as Minister von
Cobenzl expressly writes, to work by my writings for the maintenance
of the government, of morals, and order."
A smile stole over the delicate features of Muller.
"Exactly the same words which the Minister von Thugut said to me two
years ago. And you have had the courage to accept the position?"
"Yes, I have accepted it, because I hope thus to render a service to
the fatherland, and to be of advantage to it. I have forever east
off my Prussianism, and shall henceforth become an Austrian with
body and soul."
"How wonderful are the dispensations of fate! for I must reply to
you that I have cast off forever my Austrianism, and shall
henceforth become a Prussian with body and soul."
"Ah, you go to Prussia! You leave the Austrian service?"
"Yes, forever. I follow a call to Berlin."
"Oh," exclaimed Gentz, "I have not the courage to complain that I
have to do without you in Vienna, for fate in its wisdom has
disposed of both of us, and it will make us available for the great,
sublime cause of Germany. Being both stationed at one place, our
efforts could not be so far reaching, so powerful, and therefore
fate sets you up in the north of Germany, and me in the south, in
order that our voices may resound hither and thither throughout
Germany, and awaken all minds and kindle all energies for the one
grand aim, the delivery and the honor of Germany."
"You still believe, then, in the honor of Germany and the
possibility of its delivery," Muller inquired, with a sigh.
"Yes. I still believe in it," Gentz exclaimed, with enthusiasm; "but
to that end many things must yet be done, many things must be aimed
at and changed. Above all, two things are necessary. In the first
place, the old enmity between Austria and Prussia must disappear,
and both must firmly unite with each other and with England against
France. It is this which I in Vienna and you in Berlin must never
lose sight of--which we must aim at with all the power of our spirit
and of our eloquence; for it is one of the last measures which are
left for maintaining the independence of Europe and for averting the
deluge of evils which break forth more terribly every day. From the
moment when Austria and Prussia shall stand upon one line and move
in one direction, there will be nowhere in Germany particular
interests. All the greater and lesser princes would at once and
without hesitation place themselves under the wings of this powerful
alliance--the well-disposed cheerfully and out of conviction, and
the unpatriotic ones through fear. So much of the constitution as
has been rescued from this last shipwreck, would be safe for the
duration of this alliance; and so much of it as must be altered,
would be altered according to the principles of justice and of the
common weal, and not according to the disgraceful demands of French
and Russian land agents."
"You are right," exclaimed Johannes Muller; "a close alliance of
Austria and Prussia is necessary, and only through it, and through
it alone, the maintenance of the European equilibrium is possible,
but for the present we must lean on the power of Russia and the
resources of England."
"No, no," Gentz exclaimed, vehemently; "no communion with Russia!
Russia is a friend who can never be trusted, for whenever it shall
be her advantage she will at any moment be ready to become the most
bitter enemy of her friends. But really we have had a striking and
terrible example, of this when the Emperor Paul suddenly separated
from Germany and England in order to ally himself with France. But
the union of France and Russia is the most threatening and terrible
combination for the whole remainder of Europe. Of all the wounds
which during the last ten years have been inflicted upon the old
political system, and in particular upon the independence of
Germany, those which were caused by the temporary agreement between
France and Russia were the deepest and most incurable. If this comet
should rise a second time over our heads, the world will go up in
flames. What is to resist the combined power of these two colossuses
unless the united weight and the united bulk of Germany hinders
their embrace? The western colossus has long since broken through
its old barriers; all the outposts are in its power, all the
fortresses which do not belong to it are dismantled, all the points
of military defence are outflanked. From Switzerland and Italy, from
the peaks of the conquered Alps, it may irresistibly pounce upon the
centime of the Austrian monarchy and invade the exposed provinces of
the undefended Prussian kingdom. And now let it please Providence to
elevate upon the Russian throne a prince full of ambition and thirst
of conquest, and the subjugation of Germany, the dissolution of all
the empires still existing, a double universal monarchy would, under
the present circumstances, be the next consequence; and if the
present system, or rather the present hopeless languor should
continue for several more years, this must sooner or later be the
inevitable destiny of Germany."
"There is now for Germany only one enemy," Johannes Muller said,
vehemently, "and this enemy is France--is Bonaparte! A new crisis
approaches; of this I am convinced. Bonaparte will not be satisfied
with the title and the office of a First Consul for life; he will
place a crown upon his head, and threateningly oppose himself with
his sceptre to all monarchies, and they will either have to humble
themselves before him or to unite against him. Therefore, no other,
no possible future enemy, should be thought of at this time, but
only the universal foe and his government, so incompatible with
general tranquillity. Let all the hatred of the nation be poured
down on him, and on him alone, by everywhere spreading the
conviction that nothing interferes with the preservation of peace
throughout the world but his existence." [Footnote: Muller's own
words.--Vide "Memoires d'un Homme d'Etat," vol. vii., p. 58.]
"There is something else I would wish for Germany," said Gentz,
musingly. "I will now reveal to you my innermost thoughts, my
friend, for I am satisfied that our meeting here was a dispensation
of fate. Providence has decreed that we, the intellectual champions
of Germany, should agree here on the plans of our campaign and
concert measures for our joint action. Therefore, you shall descend
with me into the depths of my heart and see the result to which I
have been led by many years' reflection concerning the causes and
progress of the great convulsions of our day, and by my own grief at
the political decay of Germany. The result is the firm belief that
it would be by far better for Germany to be united into one state.
Oh, do not look at me in so surprised and angry a manner! I know
very well, and I have reflected a great deal about it, how salutary
an influence has been exerted by the dismemberment of Germany on the
free development of the individual faculties; I acknowledge that,
considered individually, we might very probably not have reached, in
a great and centralized monarchy, the proud and glorious eminence we
are occupying at the present time, and so far, as a nation, after
all, only consists of individuals, I am unable to perceive exactly
how ours, without anarchy, could have acquired the distinction which
it might boast of if it were a nation! But whenever I think that it
is no nation--whenever I think that France and England, with greatly
inferior faculties and means, have grown up to that true totality of
human life--to that true nationality which nothing is able to
destroy--whenever I think and feel that foreigners, on whom we may
look down from our exalted stand-point, in matters of politics,
trample on our necks, and are allowed to treat us as though we were
their servants, all consolations derived from our grand and
magnificent individuality vanish and leave me alone with my grief.
[Footnote: Gentz's own words.--Vide "Memoires d'un Homme d'Etat,"
vol. vii., p. 20.] I am free to confess to you that I have already
gone so far on the road of those mournful reflections as to consider
it very doubtful whether the whole history of Germany was ever
treated from a correct point of view. I know but too well that the
princes of the house of Austria seldom, if ever, deserved to be the
rulers of Germany; but I do not believe that there are any reasons
why we should exalt at the discomfiture of their plans. It is a
matter of great indifference to me whether a Hapsburg, Bavarian,
Hohenzollern, or Hohenstaufen succeed in bringing the empire under
one hat; I only place myself on an Austrian stand-point because that
house has the best prospects and is under the highest obligations to
accomplish the unity of Germany. Now you know my innermost thoughts;
criticise and correct them, my friend!"
"I will neither criticise nor correct them," said Muller, offering
his hand to Gentz with a tender glance; "I will only exchange views
with you. I imagine, therefore, at this moment, we were pacing, as
we did a year ago, previous to your journey to England, the splendid
hall of the imperial library, where the sixteen statues of the
Hapsburg emperors reminded us of their era. Before which of them
will we place ourselves and say: 'What a pity that you, wise and
noble prince, are not the sole ruler of Germany; you were worthy,
indeed, that the moral and political welfare of the whole nation
should be left to the decision of your will, and that every thing
should be submitted to your power!'"
"It is true," muttered Gentz, mournfully; "in the history of Germany
there is no emperor, king, or prince to whom we might or should talk
in this manner."
"Nor is that the cause of our misfortunes," said Muller; "the want
of one ruler has not produced them, and it is not so bad that we
have not got but one neck, and cannot consequently be struck down at
one blow. The fault, on the contrary, is our own. If we had a single
great man, even though he were neither an emperor nor a king, if he
were only a Maurice of Saxony, a Stadtholder of Holland, he would
attract the nation in times of danger and distress; it would rally
around him and he would stand above it. That we have not such a man
is owing to our deplorable system of education, and to the wrong
direction which our mode of thinking has taken. Every thing with us
has fallen asleep, and we are in a condition of almost hopeless
stagnation. The old poetry of fatherland, honor, and heroism, seems
to be almost extinct among us; we are asleep, and do not even dream.
In order to recover our senses, a conceited tyrant, who will mock us
while plundering our pockets, is an indispensable necessity.
Providence, perhaps, has destined Bonaparte to become the tyrant who
is to awaken Germany from its slumber by means of cruelties; he is,
perhaps, to revive among the Germans love of honor, liberty, and
country; he is, perhaps, to be the scourge that is to torture us, so
that we may overcome our indolence, and that our true national
spirit may be aroused. I hope the tyrant will accomplish this, and
deliver Germany. God knows I would not like to serve him, but to the
liberators of the world I should willingly devote my ideas and my
feelings, nay, my blood. [Footnote: "Memoires d'un Homme d'Etat,"
vol. vii., pp. 39, 40.] Then let us hope, wait, and prepare. Let us
not occupy ourselves with Germany as it might be, perhaps, in its
unity, but with Germany as it CAN be with its confederate system.
The Germans are not qualified, like the English or French, to live
in a single great state. The climate, their organization, that
miserable beer, the insignificant participation in the commerce of
the world, prevent it; the somewhat phlegmatic body of the state
must have an independent life in each of its parts; the circulation
issuing from a single head would be too imperceptible. We must be
satisfied with the glory which a Joseph, a Frederick the Great, and
the enthusiasm of the whole people gave to us, and if the next
struggle should terminate successfully, will give to us to the
greatest extent. [Footnote: Ibid., vol. vii., p. 46.] We must
struggle on for the welfare of the entire people, and the
individuals should unite into one great harmonious whole. Like
myself, you consider concord between Austria and Prussia at present
the only remedy for the ills of Germany; let us, therefore, strive
for it, let us direct our whole strength to this point, to this
"Yes, let us do so!" exclaimed Gentz, enthusiastically. "We are both
destined and able to be the champions of Germany; let us fulfil our
task. No matter how much greater, how much more exalted and
brilliant your name may be than mine, for my part I am proud enough
to believe that I have certain talents which ought to unite our
political efforts. Hence, you cannot and must not reject and neglect
me; you must accept the hand which I offer you for this great and
holy compact, for the welfare of Germany. We must keep up an active
and uninterrupted correspondence with each other, and freely and
unreservedly communicate to each other our views about the great
questions of the day. It seems to me wise, necessary, and truly
patriotic that such men as we should hold timely consultations with
each other as to what should be done, and how, where, and by whom it
should be done. The wholesome influence we may exert, stationed by
fate as one of us is in Berlin, and the other in Vienna, by
faithfully uniting our efforts, will be truly incalculable. Now say,
my friend, will you conclude such a covenant with me? Shall we unite
in our active love for Germany in our active hatred against France?"
"Yes, we will!" exclaimed Johannes Muller, solemnly. "I truly love
and venerate you; I will struggle with you incessantly until we have
reached our common noble goal. Here is my hand, my friend; its grasp
shall be the consecration of our covenant. Perhaps you do not know
me very intimately, but we must believe in each other. All our
studies, all our intellectual strength, our connections, our
friendships, every thing shall be devoted to that one great object,
for the sake of which alone, so long as it may yet be accomplished,
life is not to be disdained." [Footnote: "Memoires d'un Homme
d'Etat," vol. vii., p. 40.]
"Yes, be it so," said Gentz, joyfully. "The covenant is concluded,
and may God bless it for the welfare of Germany!"
THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON.
A new era had dawned for France! On the eighteenth of May, 1804, she
had changed her title and commenced a new epoch of her existence.
On the eighteenth of May, 1804, the French Republic had ceased to
exist, for on that day Bonaparte, the First Consul, had become
Napoleon, the first Emperor of France. There was no more talk of
liberty, equality, and fraternity. France had again a master--a
master who was firmly determined to transform the proud republicans
into obedient subjects, and to restore law and order if necessary by
means of tyranny. Woe to those who wanted to remember old republican
France under the new state of affairs; woe to those who called
Napoleon Bonaparte the assassin of the republic, and wished to
punish him for his criminal conduct! George Cadoudal and Pichegru
had to atone with their lives for such audacious attempts, and
Moreau, Bonaparte's great rival, was banished from his country.
Woe to those, too, who hoped that the old royal throne of the fleur-
de-lis would take the place of the dying republic! the royalists as
well as the republicans were punished as traitors to their country,
and the Duke d'Enghien was executed in the ditch of Vincennes
because he had dared to approach the frontier of his country.
Sentence of death had been passed upon him without a trial, without
judgment and law; and even the tears and prayers of Josephine had
been unable to soften Bonaparte's heart. The son of the Bourbons had
to die the death of a traitor, that the son of the Corsican lawyer
might become Emperor of France.
Europe was no longer strong enough to punish this bloody deed; it
was not even courageous enough to denounce it and to ask the First
Consul, Bonaparte, by virtue of what right he had ordered his
soldiers in the midst of peace to enter a German state in order to
arrest there the guest of a German prince like a common felon, and
to have him executed for a crime which was never proved against him.
The sense of honor and justice seemed entirely extinct in Germany,
and the princes and people of Germany were solely actuated by the
all-absorbing fear lest powerful France might assume a hostile
attitude toward them.
Not a voice, therefore, was raised in Germany in favor of the Duke
d'Enghien, and against a violation of the German territory, directly
conflicting with the existing treaties and the tenets of
international law. The German Diet, upon whom it was incumbent to
maintain the honor and rights of all the German states, received the
news of this bloody deed in silence, and were only too glad that
none of the members of the empire arose in order to complain of the
proceedings of France. It was deemed most prudent to pass over the
matter, and to accept what could not be helped as an accomplished
But from this lazy quiet they were suddenly startled by the warnings
of Russia and Sweden, who, having warranted the maintenance of the
constitution of the German empire, now raised their voices, and
loudly and emphatically pointed out "the danger which would arise
for every single German state if Germany should allow measures to be
taken which threatened her quiet and safety, and if deeds of
violence should be deemed admissible or be passed over without being
duly denounced." [Footnote: Vide Hausser's "History of Germany,"
vol. ii., p. 518.]
A sudden panic seized the German Diet, for these Russian and Swedish
voices rendered further silence out of the question. The Diet were,
therefore, compelled to speak out, to complain, and to demand an
apology and redress, for Russia and Sweden required it, by virtue of
their relation to the empire; foreign powers required the German
Diet, much to its dismay, to maintain and defend the honor of
But the Diet dared not listen to them, for France asked them to be
silent; it threatened to consider any word of censure as a
declaration of war. The ministers of the German princes, greatly
embarrassed by their position between those equally imperious
parties, found a way not to irritate either, and to maintain their
silence and impartiality; they DESERTED! That is to say, the German
Diet, suddenly, and long before the usual time, took a recess, a
long recess, and when the latter had at length expired, the
unpleasant affair was not taken up, and the Diet considered a more
important question of the day. [Footnote: Ibid., p. 525.] This more
important question was to congratulate France on having elected an
emperor, who, as the Austrian minister said, at a meeting of the
Diet, "was so precious to all Europe, and by whose accession to the
throne his colleagues could only feel honored."
The Diet had been silent about the assassination of the Duke
d'Enghien, but they spoke out and proffered their congratulations
when Bonaparte had become emperor, and they pretended to be glad to
hail him as the founder of a new dynasty.
Napoleon Bonaparte, therefore, had now attained his object; he had
reestablished the throne in France; he had placed a crown on his
head. More fortunate than Caesar, he had met with no Brutus at the
steps of his throne, but had ascended it without being hindered,
amidst the acclamations of France, which called him her emperor;
amidst the acclamations of Italy, which called him her king, and had
willingly cast aside her title of Cisalpine Republic in order to
become the kingdom of Lombardy, and to adorn Napoleon at Milan with
the iron crown of the old Lombard sovereigns.
Napoleon had just returned to France from this coronation at Milan,
and repaired to the vast camp at Boulogne, where an army comprising
a hundred and fifty thousand infantry and ninety thousand cavalry,
eager for the fray, were waiting for the word of Napoleon which was
to call them forth to new struggles and new victories.
The immense rows of the soldiers' tents extended far across the
plain and along the sea-shore, and in the centre of this city of
tents, on the spot where lately the traces of a camp of Julius
Caesar had been discovered, there arose the emperor's tent, looking
out on the ocean, on the shore of which the ships and gunboats of
France were moored, while the immense forest of the masts and flags
of the British fleet was to be seen in the distance.
But this forest of British masts did not frighten the French army;
the soldiers, as well as the sailors, were eager for the fray, and
looked with fiery impatience for the moment when the emperor would
at length raise his voice and utter the longed-for words: "On to
England! Let us vanquish England as we have vanquished the whole of
No one doubted that the emperor purposed to utter these words, and
that this camp of Boulogne, this fleet manned with soldiers and
bristling with guns, were solely intended against England, the
hereditary foe of France.
The emperor, however, hesitated to utter those decisive words. He
distributed among the soldiers the first crosses of the Legion of
Honor; he drilled the troops; he accepted the festivals and balls
which the city of Boulogne gave in his honor; he stood for hours on
the sea-shore or on the tower of his barrack, and with his spy-glass
looked out on the sea and over to the English ships; but his lips
did not open to utter the decisive words; the schemes which filled
his breast and clouded his brow were a secret, the solution of which
was looked for with equal impatience by his generals and by his
It was a delightful morning; a cool breeze swept from the sea
through the tents of the camp, and, after the preceding spell of
debilitating hot weather, exerted a most refreshing and invigorating
effect upon the languishing soldiers. The sun which had scorched
every thing for the last few days, was to-day gently veiled by
small, whitish clouds, which, far on the horizon, seemed to arise,
like swans, from the sea toward the sky, and to hasten with
outspread wings toward the sun.
The emperor, whom the warm weather of the last few days had
prevented from riding out, ordered his horse to be brought to him.
He wished to make a trip to the neighboring villages, but no one was
to accompany him except Roustan, his colored servant.
In front of the emperor's barrack there stood, however, all the
generals and staff-officers, all the old comrades of Napoleon, the
men who had shared his campaigns and his glory, who had joyfully
recognized the great chieftain as their emperor and master, and who
wished to do him homage to-day, as they were in the habit of doing
every morning so soon as he left his barrack. Napoleon, however,
saluted them to-day only with a silent wave of his hand and an
affable smile. He seemed pensive and absorbed, and no one dared to
disturb him by a sound, by a word. Amid the solemn stillness of this
brilliant gathering, the emperor walked to his horse, who, less
timid and respectful than the men, greeted his master with a loud
neigh and a nodding of the head, and commenced impatiently stamping
on the ground. [Footnote: Napoleon's favorite horse, who always
manifested in this manner his delight on seeing his illustrious
master.--Constant, vol. ii., p. 81.]
The emperor took the bridle which Roustan handed to him and vaulted
into the saddle. He raised his sparkling eye toward the sky and then
lowered it to the sea with its rocking ships.
"I will review the fleet to-day," said the emperor, turning to his
adjutant-general. "Let orders be issued to the ships forming the
closing line to change position, for I will hold the review in the
open sea. I shall return in two hours; let every thing be in
readiness at that time."
He set spurs to his horse and galloped away, followed by Roustan.
His generals dispersed in order to return to their barracks. The
adjutant-general, however, hastened to Admiral Bruix for the purpose
of delivering the orders of the emperor to him.
The admiral listened to him silently and attentively; and then he
raised his eyes to the sky and scanned it long and searchingly.
"It is impossible," he said, shrugging his shoulders; "the orders of
the emperor cannot be carried out to-day; the review cannot take
place. We shall have a storm to-day, which will prevent the ships
from leaving their moorings."
"Admiral," said the adjutant, respectfully, "I have delivered the
orders of the emperor to you; I have informed you that the emperor
wishes that every thing should be ready for the review on his
return, within two hours. Now you know very well that the wish of
the emperor is always equivalent to an order, and you will make your
"In two hours I shall have the honor personally to state to his
majesty the reasons why I was unable to comply with his orders,
"said Admiral Bruix, with his wonted composure and coolness.
Precisely two hours later the emperor returned from his ride. The
generals and staff-officers, the whole, brilliant suite of the
emperor, stood again in front of his barrack, in order to receive
the returning sovereign.
Napoleon greeted them with a pleasant smile; the ride seemed to have
agreed with him; the cloud had disappeared from his brow; his
cheeks, generally so pale, were suffused with a faint blush, and his
flaming eyes bad a kind glance for every one.
He dismounted with graceful ease, and stepped with kind salutations
into the circle of the generals.
"Well, Leclerc, is every thing ready for the review?" he asked his
General Leclerc approached him respectfully. "Sire," he said,
"Admiral Bruix, to whom I delivered the orders of your majesty,
replied to me that the review could not take place to-day because
there would be a storm."
The emperor frowned, and an angry flash from his eyes met the face
of the adjutant.
"I must have misunderstood you, sir." he said. "What did the admiral
reply when you delivered my orders to him?"
"Sire, he said it was impossible to carry them out, for a storm was
drawing near, and he could not think of ordering the ships to leave
The emperor stamped violently his foot. "Let Admiral Bruix be called
hither at once!" he exclaimed, in a thundering voice, and two
orderlies immediately left the circle and hastened away.
Several minutes elapsed; Napoleon, his arms folded, his threatening
eyes steadfastly turned toward the side on which the admiral would
make his appearance, still stood in front of his barrack, in the
midst of his suite. His eagle eye now discovered the admiral in the
distance, who had just left his boat and stepped ashore. No longer
able to suppress his impatience and anger, Napoleon hastened forward
to meet the admiral, while the gentlemen of his staff followed him
in a long and silent procession.
The emperor and the admiral now stood face to face. Napoleon's eyes
"Admiral," exclaimed the emperor, in an angry voice, "why did not
you carry out my orders?"
The admiral met Napoleon's wrathful glance in a calm though
respectful manner. "Sire," he said, "a terrible storm is drawing
near. Your majesty can see it just as well as I. Do you want to
endanger unnecessarily the lives of so many brave men?"
And as if Nature wanted to confirm the words of the admiral, the
distant roll of thunder was heard, and the atmosphere commenced