Part 6 out of 8
Ebenstreit shrugged his shoulders. "That means that she would sell
herself at a high price. I beg that you will send for her."
"You will see," said she, calling the old woman, who entered from
the opposite door.
Trude looked about, scowling and grumbling. "Leberecht told me my
mistress called me."
"Why do you then look so furious, and what are you seeking on the
table?" asked Frau von Werrig.
"My money," cried Trude, vehemently. "I thought that you called me
to pay me, and that my wages were all counted out on the table. But
I see there is nothing there, and I fear I shall get none, and be
poor as a church-mouse all my life long. Your honor promised me
positively that, as soon as the wedding was decided upon, you would
pay me every farthing, with interest, and I depended upon it."
"You shall have all, and much more than the general's wife promised
you, if you will be a true and faithful servant to us," said
"That I always have been, and ever shall be," snarled Trude. "No
person can say aught against me. Now, I want my money."
"And obstinate enough you have been too," said her mistress. "Can
you deny that you have not always taken my daughter's part?"
"I do not deny it. I have nursed her from childhood, and I love her
as my own child, and would do any thing to make her happy!"
"Do you believe, Trude," cried the general, "that Marie could be
happy with that poor, starving wretch of a school-master? Has she
not experienced in her own home the misfortune and shame of
"I know it well," sighed the old one, sadly, "and it has converted
me to believe that it would be a great misfortune for Marie to marry
the poor school-master."
"Well, will you then faithfully help us to prevent it?" quickly
"How can I do it?" she sighed, shrugging her shoulder.
"You can persuade my daughter to be reasonable, and yield to that
which she cannot prevent. You are the only one who can make any
impression upon Marie, as she confides in you. Watch her, that in a
moment of passionate desperation she does not commit some rash act.
You can tell us, further, what she says, and warn us of any crazy
plan she might form to carry out her own will."
"That is to say, I must betray my Marie?" cried Trude, angrily.
"No, not betray, but rescue her. Will you do it?" asked Ebenstreit.
"I wish to be paid my wages, my two hundred thalers, that I have
honestly earned, and I will have them."
Ebenstreit took a piece of paper from his pocket. Writing a few
lines with a pencil, he laid it upon the table. "If you will take
this to my cashier after the ceremony to-morrow, he will pay you
four hundred thalers."
"Four hundred thalers in cash," cried Trude, joyfully clapping her
hands. "Shall all that beautiful money be mine, and--No, I do not
believe you," she cried, her face reassuming its gloomy, suspicious
look. "You promise it to me to-day, that I may assist you, and
persuade Marie to the marriage, but to-morrow, when old Trude is of
no more use, you will send me away penniless. Oh, I know how it is.
I have lived long enough to understand the tricks of rich people. I
will see the cash first--only for that will I sell myself."
"The old woman pleases me," said Ebenstreit. "She is practical, and
she is right.--If I promise you the money in an hour, will you
persuade Marie to cease her foolish resistance, and be my wife? Will
you watch over her, and tell us if any thing unusual occurs?"
"Four hundred thalers is a pretty sum," repeated Trude, in a low
voice to herself. "I might buy myself a place in the hospital, and
have enough left to get me a new bed and neat furniture and--"
Here her voice was lost in unintelligible mumbling, and, much
excited, she appeared to count eagerly. With her bony forefinger she
numbered over the fingers of her left hand, as if each were a
fortune that she must verify and examine.
The mother and the banker regarded each other with mocking looks;
the general looked at the money, grumbling: "If I had had four
hundred thalers the last time I played, I could have won back my
money in playing again."
"Old woman," said Ebenstreit, "have you not finished with your
"Yes," she said, with an exultant laugh, "I have done! Four hundred
thalers are not sufficient. I must have five, and if you will give
them to me in cash in an hour, then I will do every thing that you
wish, and persuade Marie to the marriage. I will watch her day and
night, and tell you every thing that she says and does. But I must
have five hundred in cash!"
Ebenstreit turned his dull-blue eyes to Frau von Werrig with a
triumphant smile. "Did you not tell me the old woman could not be
bought? I knew that I was right. You did not offer her money enough;
she will sell herself dear as possible."
"Yes, as dear as she can," laughed Trude--"five hundred is my
"You shall have it in cash in an hour," said Ebenstreit, in a
"So much money," whined the general; "it would have saved me if I
had had it that last time."
"My son-in-law, I must confess you are exceedingly generous,"
remarked the mother.
"No sum would be too great to assure me my bride. Go now, Trude, you
shall have the money in time.--Will you allow me, father, to send
your servant to my office for it?"
"Send Leberecht here, Trude!"
The old woman hurried out of the room, but the door once closed, her
manner changed. One might have supposed a sudden cramp had seized
her, from her distorted face, and twitching and panting, and beating
the air with her clinched fists, and her quivering lips uttering
Approaching footsteps warned her to assume her general manner and
expression, and cease her manipulations. "The ladies and gentlemen
wish you in the parlor," mumbled Trude to the servant descending the
stairs. "But where have you been, and what have you to do up there?"
"I was looking for you, lovely one--nothing more!"
"Well, now you have found me, tell me what you want? I know you were
sneaking about, listening, because you thought I was with Marie. I
understand you better than you think I do. I have found many a
viper, and I am familiar with their aspect. Go! they are waiting for
you, and let me find you again spying about, and I will throw a pail
of water on you!"
With this friendly assurance Trude dismissed Leberecht, and hastened
with youthful activity to the little garret-room, when Marie fell
upon her neck, weeping bitterly.
"Calm yourself--do not weep so--it breaks my heart, my dear child."
"And mine cannot break. I must endure all this anguish and survive
this shame. Help me, my good mother, stand by me! It is impossible
for me to marry that dreadful man. I have sworn constancy to my
beloved Moritz, and I must be firm, or die!"
"Die? then you will kill me!" murmured the old one, "for, if you go,
I must go also. But we will not give up yet, as we are both living;
we will not despair for life. I am going once more to Moritz's
lodgings; it may be he has returned, and will rescue you."
"Oh, do, good Trude; tell him that I have courage and determination
to risk and bear every thing--that I will await him; that nothing
would be too difficult or dangerous to serve to unite me to him!
Tell him that I prefer a life of poverty and want by his side, to
abundance and riches in a splendid palace with that detested
creature--but no, say nothing about it, he knows it well! If he has
returned, tell him all that has happened, and that I am resolved to
brave the utmost, to save myself!"
"I will go, dear child, but I have first my work to do, and enough
of it too--but listen to what they have made me become." Hastily, in
a low voice, she related to Marie the story of her corruption,
excited as before, her limbs shaking and her fists clinched. "They
say we old women resemble cats, but from to-day forth I know that is
a shameful lie! If I had possessed their nature and claws, I should
have sprung at the throat of this rascal, and torn out his windpipe;
but, instead of that, I stood as if delighted with his degrading
proposal! Oh, fie! the good-for-nothing kidnapper would tempt a poor
creature! Let us wait, they will get their reward. He shall pay me
the five hundred thalers, and then this trader of hearts shall
recognize that, however much ill-earned money he may throw away,
love and constancy are hot to be bought. We will teach him a
lesson," and with this, the old servant ceased, gasping for breath.
"Go now, Trude, and learn if he has returned; upon him depends my
happiness, and life even--he is my last hope!"
"I am going, but first I would get the wages of my sin, and play the
hypocrite, and tell a few untruths; then I will go to Moritz's
lodgings, and the baker also. Do not despair; I have a joyful
presentiment that God will have pity upon us and send us aid." Trude
kissed and embraced her child, and scarcely waited an hour, when she
was demanded in the parlor to receive her money.
Herr Ebenstreit was heartily delighted with her zealous impatience,
and handed her ten rolls of gold, reminding her of the conditions.
"I have already consoled her a little, and she begins to change. I
hope every thing will turn for good. Just leave her alone with me."
"But first, I must go and see my aged brother, who will take care of
my money," replied Trude. "He is a safe man and will not spend it."
"Trude," cried the general, "what an old fool! to seek at distance
what is so near you. I will take your money, and give you interest.
Do you hear? I will take care of it!"
"Thank you, general, I'd rather give it to my brother, on account of
the relationship." She slipped out of the room, hid the money in her
bed, and hurriedly left the house.
Scarcely an hour passed ere Trude returned as fleetly as she went.
She cast only a look into the kitchen, and hastened up to Marie's
room. Her success was evident in her happy, smiling face, and coming
home she had repeated to herself, "How happy Marie will be!" almost
the entire way.
She had but closed the door, when the mean little Leberecht glided
from behind the chimney, and crept to listen at the door.
Within was a lively conversation, and twice a shout of joy was heard
and Marie, exultant, cried, "Oh, Trude! dear Trude! all goes well, I
fear nothing now. God has sent me the savior which I implored!"
Leberecht stood, bent over, applying his ear to the keyhole,
listening to every word.
Oh, Trude! if you could only have seen the traitor, glued to the
door, with open eyes and mouth! Could you have seen the eavesdropper
rubbing his hands together, grinning, and listening in breathless
Why cannot you surprise him, Trude, and fulfil your threat to deluge
him and chase him away from your child's door? They forgot the
necessity of prudence, and the possibility of being overheard. At
last it occurred to the old servant, and she tore open the door, but
no one was there--it was deserted and still.
"God be thanked, no one has listened," whispered Trude. "I will go
down and tell them that I hope, if we can stay alone all day, you
will be calmer and more reasonable."
"Do it, Trude; I do not dare to see any one for fear my face will
betray me, and my mother has very sharp eyes. Return soon."
She opened the door, and saw not the eavesdropper and spy, who had
but just time to conceal himself, and stand maliciously grinning at
the retreating figure of the faithful servant.
He slipped lightly from his hiding-place down to his sleeping-room,
in a niche under the stairs. For a long time he reflected, upon his
bedside--his watery blue eyes staring at nothing. "This must be well
considered," he mumbled. "There is, at last, a capital to be won.
Which shall I do first, to grasp a good deal? Shall I wait, or go at
once to Herr Ebenstreit? Very naturally they would both deny it, and
say that I had made up the whole story to gain money. I had better
let the affair go on: they can take a short drive, and when they are
about an hour absent, I will sell my secret at a higher price. Now I
will pretend to be quite harmless, and after supper let the bomb
Evening had set in. The card-table had been arranged, and Leberecht
had rolled his master to it, taking his place behind his chair. The
hour of whist the general impatiently awaited the entire day, and it
was regularly observed. Even in the contract with his adopted son it
had been expressly mentioned as a duty, that he should not only
secure to them yearly income, but also devote an hour to cards every
Herr Ebenstreit regarded it as a tax, which he must observe until
married. The general was much his superior at cards, and, moreover,
played the dummy, and the stake being high, it was quite an income
for the future father-in-law, and regarded by him as the one bright
spot in his daily life.
The cards had been dealt, and Leberecht had assorted the general's,
and placed them in his gouty hand, when Trude entered, exultingly.
"What has happened? What makes you interrupt us?" cried the general.
"Did you not remember that I have told you always not to disturb us
at this hour."
"Yes, general, but I thought good news was never amiss."
"What have you pleasant to tell us?" harshly demanded Frau von
"My young lady's compliments," cried Trude, triumphantly; "she
begins to see that she must yield to her fate, and that it will do
no good to resist any longer. She will be ready for the ceremony at
eleven o'clock to-morrow morning."
The general uttered a cry of joy, and struck the table so violently,
with his hand, that the cards were thrown together.
His wife bowed dignifiedly, and the happy bridegroom gave old Trude
some gold-pieces upon the favorable news.
"Has she, then, been converted by your persuasion?" he asked.
"Through my persuasion and her own good sense. She understands that,
if she cannot marry her dear Moritz, Herr Ebenstreit is the most fit
husband, because he loves her, and is so generous to her old
parents. One thing she would like an answer to--can I accompany her
to her new home?"
"Yes, old woman, it will be very agreeable to have so sensible a
person," said Ebenstreit. "Tell Marie that it gives me pleasure to
fulfil her wish."
"In that case I would repeat that Fraulein begs for indulgence and
forbearance until to-morrow, and would like to remain alone to
"I do not wish, in the least, to see her," said her mother; "she can
do what she likes until then."
"I will tell Marie, and she will rejoice," cried Trude.
"Tell her, from her father, that it is very agreeable to him not to
see her pale, wretched-looking face again till morning.--Now, my
son, pay attention, and you, Trude, do not presume to interrupt us
again. Leberecht, play out my ace of hearts."
The latter, with his eyes cast down, and with a perfectly
indifferent manner, played the card indicated, and Trude left the
room quietly and unobserved.
"Every thing is arranged, my child," said Trude, as she re-entered
Marie's room. "They are playing cards, which always lasts two hours,
then Herr Ebenstreit goes away, and the family will go to bed. You
have eighteen hours, before you will be discovered. Hark! it strikes
seven, and it is already quite dark. When the post-horn sounds, then
it is time."
"Oh, Trude! my dear mother, my heart almost ceases to beat, with
anxiety, and I quake with fear," sighed Marie. "I am conscious that
I have commenced a fearful undertaking!"
"They have driven you to it--it is not your fault," said Trude,
consolingly. "Every human being is free to work out his own good or
bad fortune, and, as our dear Old Fritz says, 'to be happy in the
future world in his own way.' They have sold you for money, and you
only prove to them that you are no slave."
"And I prove also that I am a disobedient daughter," added Marie,
trembling. "At this hour, it weighs like a heavy burden upon my
heart, and the words of Holy Writ burn into my very soul--'Honor thy
father and thy mother, that it may be well with thee.'"
"You have honored them all your life," said Trude, solemnly; "I can
witness it before God and man. You have worked for them without
thanks or love, receiving only contempt. It is also written, 'Thou
shalt leave father and mother, and cleave unto thy husband.' You
still follow the commands of God, and may it bring you happiness and
blessing. My prayers and thoughts go with you, my child! a mother
could not love her offspring more tenderly than I do you."
"No mother could more tenderly and faithfully care for her than you
have for me, Trude," cried Marie, pressing her lovingly to her
breast. "Through you alone is my rescue possible, for you give us
the money to undertake the long journey."
"Not I," she laughed; "it is Herr Ebenstreit, and that makes it the
more amusing; the wicked always set the traps into which they fall
themselves." Suddenly the loud, quivering tones of the post-horn
were heard, "Es ritten drei Reiter zum Thore hinaus."
"He has come!" cried Marie, and her face beamed with delight. "He
calls me! I am coming!--Farewell, dear, peaceful room, where I have
so toiled, wept, and suffered! I shall never see thee again! My
beloved calls me, and I go to follow him even unto death! Pardon me,
O God! Thou seest that I cannot do otherwise! They would force me to
perjury, and I dare not break my oath! I cannot forsake him whom I
love!--When they curse me, Trude, kneel, and implor God to bless me,
who is the Father of love! My conscience does not reproach me. I
have worked for them when they needed it; now their adopted son, to
whom they have sold their name, allows them a yearly rent, and I can
work for myself."
"Hark! there is the post-horn again, you must go," murmured Trude,
struggling to force back her tears.
"Bless me, mother," implored Marie, kneeling.
"God's blessing go with you," she said, laying her hands upon her
head, "and may it render of no avail the curses of men, but permit
you to walk in love and happiness!"
"Amen, amen!" sighed Marie, "now farewell, dear mother, farewell!"
Marie rose, and kissing Trude again, flitted down the stairs, and
out of the house, Trude following, holding her breath and listening
in fearful excitement.
Again resounded the post-horn.
"They are gone," murmured Trude, bowing her head and praying long
The general was particularly fortunate this evening, which caused
him to be unusually cheerful and satisfied. After every rubber he
gathered up the thalers, until he had amassed a most satisfactory
pile. As the clock struck ten, Frau von Werrig declared that they
must finish and go to bed.
The general yielded, with a sigh, to her decision, for he knew, by
long years of experience, that it would be in vain to defy her will.
He shoved his winnings into a leather bag, which he always carried
with him, and gave Leberecht the order to roll away his chair, when
the servant, with a solemn bow, stepped closely to him, and begged
the general to listen to him a moment.
"Well, what have you to say?" he asked.
"I have only one request--that you will permit me to prove that I am
a faithful servant, who looks out for the good of his employers. You
have given Trude five hundred thalers that she might watch over your
daughter. I can show you how well she deserved it, and how
differently your humble servant would have done.--Have the goodness,
Frau yon Werrig, to call Trude to bid Fraulein come down, for you
have something important to communicate to her."
His mistress proudly regarded him and seemed to try to read his
meaning in his smiling, humble face. "And if my daughter comes, what
have you to say?"
"If she comes, then I am a miserable fool and scoundrel, but I beg
you to call Trude."
It was a long time before the old woman appeared, confused and
sleepy, asking--"what they wanted at such a late hour?"
"Go and tell my daughter that I wish to see her at once."
Trude trembled, but composed herself, saying, "There is time enough
to-morrow. Fraulein has been asleep a long time."
"She lies," sneered Leberecht, taking the precaution to protect
himself behind the general's arm-chair. "She knows that she is not
"Oh, you sneak, you rascal," cried Trude, shaking her fist at him,
"how dare you say that I tell a lie? How can such a miserable
creature as you impute to others what you do yourself every time
that you open your mouth?"
"Frau yon Werrig, she is only quarrelling, in order to gain time--
every moment is precious. I beg you to go up-stairs, and see for
yourself, if your daughter is there."
"Fraulein has locked the door so as not to be disturbed."
"Ah," said Leberecht, "Trude has locked it, and has the key in her
"Give up the key," shrieked the general, who in vain tried to rise,
"or I will call the police, and send you to prison."
"Do it, but I will not give it to you."
"Do you not see she has it?" cried Leberecht.
"Oh, you wretch, I will pay you--I will scratch your eyes out, you
"Trude, be quiet," commanded Ebenstreit; "the general orders to give
up the key--do it!"
"Yes, do it at once," shrieked Frau von Werrig, "or I will dismiss
you from my service."
"That you will not have to do, as I shall go myself. I will not give
up the key."
"The door is old, and with a good push one could open it," said
"Come, my son, let us see," said the mother.
They hastened up to the room, while the general scolded, furiously
that he must sit still. Leberecht and Trude cast furious, menacing
glances at each other.
Suddenly a loud crash was heard.
"They have broken open the door!" cried the general.
"I said that it was old and frail--what do you say now, beautiful
The old woman wiped with her hand the drops of perspiration from her
forehead, caused by her anguish. "You are a bad fellow, and God will
punish you for your treason, that you have tormented a noble,
unhappy girl. I saw that you were an eavesdropper, and you know
"She is gone!" shrieked the mother, rushing into the room.
"The room is empty," cried Ebenstreit. "Marie is not there. Tell us,
Leberecht, what you know about it."
"I will, if we can agree about the pay--the old woman bothers me,
and beg the young gentleman to go into the next room with me."
"O Almighty God, have compassion upon my poor little Marie,"
murmured Trude, kneeling, and covering her face.
Ebenstreit in the mean time withdrew to the other room, followed by
"Speak!" commanded his master, "and tell me what you have to say."
Leberecht shrugged his shoulders. "We are two men who have urgent
business with each other. I am not at present a servant and you the
master. I am a man who has an important secret to sell, and you are
the man who would buy it."
"What strange, unheard-of language is this?" said Ebenstreit,
"The language of a man who cannot only deprive the rich banker
Ebenstreit of a lovely wife, but of his title also. You said
yourself, sir, this morning, that it was only valid if you succeeded
in marrying the daughter of General von Leuthen. No none knows where
you can find your bride but me."
"And Trude," said Ebenstreit, quickly.
"You know she will not betray Fraulein, and you have not even tried
to make her."
"You are mistaken; Trude is as easily bought as any one."
"You say that because she has taken five hundred thalers from you.
She has not helped you, and it is useless to ask for your money, as
she has not got it."
"How so? Has she given it away?"
"You provided the money for your bride to run away and marry
elsewhere, as Trude gave it to them."
Ebenstreit stamped his foot with rage, striding backward and forward
in furious excitement, while Leberecht watched him, sardonically
smiling. "Let us come to an end with this business," said
Ebenstreit, stopping before his servant. "You know where Fraulein
can be found, and you wish to sell the secret--tell me your price."
"Three thousand thalers, and a clerkship in your bank, which you
intend to continue under another name."
"You are beside yourself. I am not so foolish as to grant such
"Every hour that you wait I demand a thousand thalers more, and if
you stop to reflect long your betrothed and your title both are
"You are a miserable scamp!" cried Ebenstreit, enraged; "I will
inform the police. There are means enough to force you to give the
"I do not believe it. Trude will not tell you, and I should like to
know what can force me if I will not. The king has done away with
torture, and I have informed you how to make me speak. Three
thousand thalers and a clerkship in your office. Take care! it is
almost eleven o'clock--at midnight I shall demand four thousand."
UNDER THE STARRY HEAVENS.
It was a beautiful, clear, moonlight night. The world reposed in
silence. Mankind with their cares and sorrows, their joys and hopes,
had gone to rest. Over town and village, over highway and forest had
flitted the sweet, consoling angel--Sleep. The sad were soothed, the
heavy-laden were lightened of their burdens, to the despairing were
brought golden dreams, to the weary rest. Sighing and sorrowful, he
turned from those with a sad face whose conscience banished repose,
and, ah! their number was legion. To the wakeful and blissful he
smilingly glanced, breathing a prayer and a blessing; but these were
few and far between--for happiness is a rare guest, and tarries with
mortals but fitfully. As he glided past the joyful couple who, with
watchful love and grateful hearts, sat in the carriage rolling over
the silent, deserted highway, two tears fell from his eyes, and his
starry wings were wider outspread to rush more quickly past.
"Look, my dear Marie, two stars just fell from heaven. They are a
greeting to you, loved one, and they would say they guide us on our
"Oh, Philip, it is a sign of ill-luck! Falling stars betoken
She clung closer to his side, and laid her head upon his shoulder.
He pressed her more lovingly to his heart. "Do not fear, dear Marie;
separation only could cause us unhappiness--we have long borne it,
and now it is forever past. You have given yourself to me for my
own, and I am yours, heart and soul; we speed on through the night
to the morning of the bright, sunny future, never more te be
"Never!" she fervently murmured. "Oh, may God hear our prayer.
Never, never to part! Yet, while the word falls from my lips, a
shudder creeps through my soul."
"Wherefore this despair, dearest? Reflect, no one will be apprised
of our flight till early morning, and then they will not know
whither we have fled. Meanwhile we rush on to Hamburg, where a
packet-ship sails every Wednesday for England; arriving there, we
will first go to Suffolk, to my old friend the vicar of Tunningham.
I was his guest many weeks last year, and he often related to me the
privilege which had been conferred on the parish church for a long
time to perform valid marriages for those to whose union there were
obstacles interposed elsewhere. He will bless the union of our love,
and will accord me the lawful right to call you my own before God
and man. We will not return at once to Germany. I have many
connections and literary friends in London, who will assist me to
worthy occupation. Besides, I closed an agreement some weeks since
with the publisher Nicolai in Berlin for a new work. I will write it
in London; it will be none the less favored coming from a distance."
"My flowers and paintings will also be as well received in as in
Berlin," added Marie, smilingly.
"No, Marie, you shall not work. I shall have the precious care of
providing for you, which will be my pride and happiness. Oh, my
beloved, what a crowning bliss to possess a sweet, dear wife, who is
only rich in imperishable treasures, and poor in external riches!
What delight to toil for her, and feel that there lives in my
intellect the power to grant her every wish, and to compensate her
in the slightest degree the boundless wealth of her affection! To a
loving mind there is no prouder, happier feeling than to be the only
source of support to the wife of his love--to know that she looks to
him for the fulfilment of her slightest wish in life. I thank my
Maker that you are poor, Marie, and that I am permitted to toil for
you. How else could I reward you for all you have sacrificed for
"You cannot suppose, dear Philip, that the riches of my obtrusive
lover would have been any attraction to me. Money could never
compensate for the loss of your love. You are my life, and from you
alone can I receive happiness or unhappiness. At your side I am rich
and joyous, though we may outwardly need; without you I should be
poor with superfluity. I am proud that we in spirit have freed
ourselves from those fictitious externals with which the foolish
burden themselves. Oh, my beloved Philip, my whole soul is exultant
that we are never more to part--no, not even in eternity, for I
believe that love is an undying sentiment, and the soul can never be
darkened by death which is beaming with affection."
"You are right, Marie, love is the immortality of the soul; through
it man is regenerated and soars to the regions of eternal light.
When I recall how desolate and gloomy was my life, how joyless the
days dragged on before I loved you, I almost menaced Heaven that it
created me to wander alone through this desert. The brightest sun's
rays now gild my future, and it seems as if we were alone in
paradise, and that the creation entire glorified my happiness, and
all the voices of Nature shouted a greeting to you, dearest. Oh,
Marie, if I lived a thousand years, my heart would retain its
youthful love and adoration for you, who have saved me from myself,
have freed my soul from the constraining fetters of a sad, joyless
existence. Repose your head upon my heart, and may it rest there
many happy years, and receive in this hour my oath to love, esteem,
and honor you as my most precious treasure! You shall be wife,
child, sister, and friend. My soul shall be frank and open to you;
for you I will strive and toil, and will cherish and foster the
happiness received from you as my most treasured gift. Give me your
She laid it within his own strong, manly hand, gently pressing it.
The large full moon, high above them, lighted up these noble faces,
making the eyes, which were bent upon each other, more radiant.
Swiftly the carriage rolled on, the night-breeze fanning their
cheeks and waving back their raven curls.
Moritz raised their clasped hands, and gazed at the starry heaven.
"We lift them up unto Thee, O God. Thou hast heard my oath, O
Eternal Spirit, who dwellest among the stars; receive it, and bless
the woman I love!"
"Receive also my oath, O my Maker. Regard the man to whom I have
sworn eternal fidelity, bless him, and bless me. Let us live in love
and die in constancy."
Moritz responded, "Amen, my beloved, amen!"
They embraced each other fervently. Onward rolled the carriage
through the tranquil, blissful night. Oh why cannot these steeds
borrow wings from the night-wind? Why cannot the soaring spirit bear
aloft its earthly tenement? With divine joy and heavenly confidence
you gaze at the stars. You smilingly interchange thoughts of the
blissful future, whilst dire misfortune approaches, and will soon
seize you in its poisonous grasp! Do you not hear it? Does not the
echo of swift-prancing steeds ring in your ears? Do you not hear the
shrieking and calling after you?
They listen only to the voice of tenderness speaking in their
hearts, and would that the solemn quiet of this dialogue might not
be broken by a loud word from their lips.
The post-horn sounded! They halted at a lonely house near the
highway. It is the station. Change horses! There is not a light to
be seen. Three times the postilion blew a pealing blast ere they
could awake the inmates. The window was at last opened, and a
sleepy, complaining voice questioned the number of horses and the
distance of the next post.
Slowly they were brought forward, and still more slowly were they
attached to the carriage, and all arranged. What matters it? The
night is lovely, and like a dream it seems to remain under the
starry heavens, spread out like a canopy above them.
Does not your heart tell you that sorrow strides on like the storm?
Do you not hear the voices still shrieking after you?
The postilion mounted his horse, and again the trumpet pealed forth
its merry air, and was answered with a shout of triumph from the
Marie raised her head from Philip's shoulder. "What was it? Did you
not hear it?"
"What, my beloved, what should I hear? Do the stars salute you? Do
the angels greet their sister upon earth?"
"Hark! there it is again! Do you not hear it? Listen! does it not
seem as if one called 'Halt! halt!'"
"Yes, truly, I hear it now also! What can happen, love? Why trouble
ourselves about the outer world and the existence of other beings?"
"I know not, but I am so anxious, my heart almost ceases to beat,
"Halt! halt!" the wind carries forward the shriek, and above their
heads it sounds like the screeching of ravens.
"Strange! For whom are they calling?" Moritz looked back along the
highway. White and clear it lay in the moonlight, but, far in the
distance was a black mass, taking form and shape at every moment!
Horsemen! horsemen! in full speed they come!
"Postilion! drive on! quick! Let the horses gallop! There is a
forest near--drive us to that, that we may hide ourselves in the
thicket! Onward, postilion! we are not thieves or murderers. A
hundred thalers are yours, if you save us!"
The postilion beat his horses! In full chase they followed--more and
more distinctly were heard the curses and yells.
"Oh, God in heaven, have mercy upon us in our need!"
"Faster, postilion!--in mercy, faster!"
"Halt! halt!--in the name of the king, halt!"
This startled the postilion, and he turned to listen, and again a
furious voice yelled, "In the name of the king, halt!"
The postilion drew up. "Forgive me, sir, but I must respect the name
of the king."
Forward galloped the horsemen.
"Philip," whispered Marie, "why do we live--why do we not die?"
He folded her in his arms, and passionately kissed her, perhaps for
the last time. "Marie, be mindful of our oath--constant unto death!"
"Constant unto death!" she repeated.
"Be firm and defy all the storms of life!"
Marie repeated it, with heightened courage.
The horsemen surrounded the carriage, the riders upon panting
steeds! Two officers in uniform sprang to the side, laying their
hands upon Moritz's shoulder. "Conrector Philip Moritz, we arrest
you in the name of the king! You are accused of eloping with a
minor, and we are commanded to transport you to Spandau until
further orders!" Upon the other side two other horsemen halted. The
foremost was Herr Ebenstreit, who laid his hand upon Marie, and saw
not or cared not that she shudderingly shrank away.
"My dear Marie, I come as the ambassador of your parents, and am
fully empowered to lead your back to your father's house."
She answered not, but sat immovable and benumbed with terror, the
tears rolling down her cheeks.
"You arrest me in the name of the king," cried Moritz; I bow to the
law. I beg only to speak to that man," pointing to Ebenstreit, with
contempt. "Sir, dismount, I have important business with you!"
"We have nothing to say to each other," answered Ebenstreit, calmly.
"But I!" cried Moritz, springing forward, furious as a lion, "I have
something to say to you, you rascal, and I will treat you
He savagely tore the whip from the postilion's hand, and struck
Ebenstreit in the face. "Now," cried he, triumphantly, "I have
forced you to give me satisfaction!"
The police swung themselves from their saddles, and Leberecht
quickly dismounted. They clinched Moritz by the feet and hands. It
was a desperate struggle, and Marie gazed at them with folded hands,
praying without words. They seized him and held him fast with
manacles. A shriek, and Marie sank fainting. Moritz's head sank upon
his breast, almost in the agony of death.
"Take him to the next station, my friends," commanded Ebenstreit,
"the carriage is already ordered to remove him to Spandau." He
dismounted, and now took the place by Marie, who still lay in a dead
faint. "Postilion, mount and turn your carriage, I retain you until
the next station. If you drive quickly, there is a louis d'or for
"I will drive as if the devil were after me, sir!" shouted the
postilion, and turned to gallop off, when Ebenstreit ordered him to
halt, and Leberecht to get up on the box.
Then turning to the officers, "Gentlemen," said he, proudly, "you
are witnesses to the ill-treatment and insults of this woman-
stealer. You will certify that the blood flowed down my face."
"I will myself make it known before all men," cried Moritz, with a
contemptuous laugh. "I have insulted you and branded you."
"We will give our evidence," respectfully replied the officers. "As
soon as we have delivered our prisoner at Spandau, we will announce
ourselves to you."
"Then you will receive from me the promised reward of a hundred
thalers. If you hush up the entire adventure, so that it is not
noised about, after three months, still another hundred."
"We will be silent, Herr Ebenstreit."
"I believe you; a hundred thalers is a pretty sum. Forward,
Leberecht, make the postilion push on, that we may arrive in Berlin
before daybreak, and no one know of this abominable affair."
The postilion laughed with delight, at the thought of the louis
d'or. Upon the box sat Leberecht, a smile of malicious triumph upon
his face. "This has been a lucky night," said he; "we have all done
a good business, but I am the most fortunate, with my three thousand
thalers and a fine place. I wish he had waited an hour later, and
then I should have had another thousand!"
Ebenstreit sat with triumphant smile also, by his betrothed. "Money
is the king of the world--with it one can accomplish all things,"
said he to himself; "if I had been a poor fellow, the general would
not have chosen me, nor the king have given me a title, nor could I
have won back my beautiful bride. Money gives position, and I hope
will give me the power to revenge myself for the pain in my face."
He turned menacingly toward Moritz, who saw it not.
With bowed head, speechless, as if numb with the horror of his
misfortune, he rode with fettered hands between the two officers,
incapable of fleeing, as they had even bound a cord around his arms,
each end held fast by one of the riders.
The stars and the moon shone down upon him as brightly beautiful as
an hour previous. Oh, Marie, you were right, falling stars betoken
misfortune! Your star has fallen!
Since that painful night, four weeks had passed, four long ones to
poor old Trude. To her beloved child they had fled in happy
unconsciousness. In the delirium of fever, her thoughts wandered to
her lover, always dwelling upon her hopes and happiness. In the
intervals of reason she asked for him with fearful excitement and
anxiety, then again her mind was clouded, and the cry of anguish was
changed into a smile.
Then came the days of convalescence and the return to consciousness,
and with it the mourning over crushed hopes. Slowly had Trude, the
faithful nurse, who watched by her bedside day and night, answered
her excited questions, and to her little by little the circumstances
of the elopement--how Leberecht had played the eavesdropper and sold
Marie's secret for gold; how he had previously arranged to pursue
them, informing the police, ordering the horses, and sending forward
a courier to provide fresh relays at every station.
Trude depicted the anger of her father and the threats of her mother
to send her to prison. But before she could execute her purpose,
Ebenstreit had brought home the unconscious child, and she herself
had lifted her from the carriage and borne her, with the aid of her
mistress, to her own little attic room.
Marie listened to these relations with a gloomy calmness and a
defiant sorrow. Illness had wrought a peculiar change in her mind,
and hardened the gentle, tender feelings of the young girl. Grief
had steeled her soul, benumbed her heart, and she had risen from her
couch as one born anew to grief and torture. Her present situation
and lost happiness had changed the young, loving, tenderly-sensitive
maiden to the courageous, energetic, and defiant woman, who
recognized a future of self-renunciation, combat, and resignation.
Trude observed these changes with disquietude and care. She wished
Marie would only once complain, or burst into tears. After the first
storm of despair had passed, the tears refused to flow, and her eyes
were bright and undimmed. Only once had profound emotion been
awakened, as Trude asked her if she had forgotten her unhappy lover,
and cared no more to learn his fate. It had the desired effect.
A deathly paleness overspread her delicate, transparent cheek. "I
know how he is," she said, turning away her face, "I realize his
sufferings by my own. We are miserable, lost--and no hope but in
death. Ere this comes, there is a desert to traverse in heat, and
dust, and storm, and frost, alone, without consolation or support.
Hush, Trude! do not seek to revive miserable hopes. I know my fate,
and I will endure it. Tell me what you know about him? Where is he?
Have they accused him? Speak! do not fear to tell me every thing!"
But fearing herself, she threw her handkerchief quickly over her
face, and sat with it covered whilst Trude spoke.
"I know but little of poor, dear Moritz. He has never returned to
his lodgings. A day or two after that night, two officers sealed his
effects, and took away his clothes. His hostess has not the least
suspicion of the mysterious disappearance of her otherwise quiet,
regular lodger. The secret of the elopement has been carefully
guarded, as no one of the neighbors know it, and there is no gossip
about you and Moritz. Those who think he is travelling are not
surprised at his having left without taking leave, as they say he
was accustomed to do so. But," continued Trude, in a lower tone,
"Herr Gedicke looked very sad and grave, as I asked for the
Conrector Moritz. 'He has disappeared,' he sighed, 'and I know not
if we shall ever see him again.' 'Oh, Jemima!' I screamed, 'you do
not think that he has committed a self-injury!' 'No,' said the
director, 'not he himself, he is too honorable a man. Others have
ill-treated him and made him unhappy for life.' It was in vain to
ask further; he knew not or he would not say any thing. I believe
your family know where poor Moritz is, for your mother speaks of him
as one in the penitentiary, and quite triumphantly she told me
yesterday that the king, in his new book of laws, had expressly
condemned the person who elopes with a minor to be sent to the house
of correction for ten years, and then she laughed so cruelly, that I
trembled to hear her."
As Trude related this, she searchingly glanced at Marie to observe
the effect of her words, hoping to see her weep or complain and
that, at last, grief would melt the icy crust around her heart.
But Marie sat motionless and without uttering a sound--not a sigh or
a moan escaped her. After a long silence, when her grief was too
deep for tears, she drew the handkerchief from her face, the pallor
and rigidity of which startled Trude.
She sprang forward, folding her in her arms. "Marie, child of my
heart, do weep, do complain! I know that he loved you dearly, and
deserves that you should mourn for him. Have you no more confidence,
though, in your old Trude? Is she no longer worthy to share your
Marie laid her languid head upon the bosom of her faithful nurse; a
long-drawn, piercing cry of anguish was her response, she trembled
violently, and the tears ran down her cheeks.
Trude raised her eyes to heaven, murmuring, "I thank thee, O Lord!
Her heart is not dead! It lives, for it suffers!"
"It suffers," groaned Marie, "the anguish of death."
This passionate outburst of feeling was of but short duration. Her
tears were dried, and her quivering face assumed its usually calm
"Trude," said she, gently, continuing to repose upon her bosom, "I
am so wretched that words cannot express it or tears soothe it. If I
should give myself up to sorrow and mourning I should die, and that
cannot be, for I must live to wait for him--to rescue him. How I
know not yet; my thoughts and resolutions are so confused that they
flicker like the ignes fatui. I will force my mind to be calm, and
these wandering lights shall unite in one glowing flame to destroy
the walls and obstructions which confine him. He is a prisoner; I
feel it in my heart, and I must live to free him. This is my task,
and I will accomplish it; therefore I would be composed, and strong
in myself. Wonder not that I weep or complain no more, and do not
refer to my misfortune. I should die if I did not suppress this
anguish, and I would become strong and active. Seek not to enfeeble
me, but aid me to harden myself; refrain from complaint, that I may
be silent. I think only of him, and I ask nothing further than to
yield my life to free him. Let us never speak of it again, for I
feel that all the firmness which I had gained has been swept from me
in this giving way, and that I must begin anew."
From this hour she commenced to build, and rose upon her grief as on
a column which projects toward heaven; leaned upon it, and received,
as Brisaeus from the earth, the power of life and action. She had
already so conquered herself as to be able to leave her own quiet
room, and descend to that of her parents. There she would sit calmly
for hours, listening attentively to the conversation, hoping to
catch some word that might give her a clew.
They avoided every exciting topic, and were milder and more
thoughtful for her. Even her mother made no reproaches, and never
alluded to the past, because she feared to delay her recovery, and
remove the longed-for goal in hindering the marriage with
Ebenstreit. The latter carefully avoided troubling her by his
presence; when he heard Marie's step in the anteroom, who descended
at a certain hour every day, he withdrew by the other entrance.
"Who goes out every time I come in?" asked Marie, one day as she
appeared in the sitting-room.
The general coughed with embarrassment, and glanced anxiously at his
wife, whose eyes rested upon her daughter with a cold, searching
expression. Their eyes met, and were riveted upon each other. A
cold, cruel smile played around the thin, bloodless lips of the
mother as she recognized the defiance and firmness in her child, and
felt that she had recovered.
"It is your betrothed," she answered, "our dear Ebenstreit--a good,
generous, and self-sacrificing son, for whom we thank God every day,
who wishes to spare you the annoyance of seeing him."
"He need not inconvenience himself on my account. Nothing excites or
wounds my feelings now. It would be a pity for your heartless,
thankless daughter to deprive you of the society of your dear son.
Let him remain; it is not necessary for us to notice one another."
Her parents regarded each other astonished, and, as she ceased, they
still listened to the dying tones of her voice, which sounded so
strangely to them. "She is much changed," mumbled the general to
himself. "She does not seem the same person, she is so haughty and
majestic. She might well inspire fear."
The following day, as Marie entered the room, Ebenstreit was there.
He approached her, extending both hands smiling, and greeting her
with tender words, rejoicing at her recovery.
She took no notice of his friendly demonstrations, but coldly and
harshly regarded his smiling face, and particularly the broad,
blood-red scar which ran from forehead to chin. Then suddenly her
face lighted up, and an expression of savage triumph shot from her
eyes. "How disfigured you look," she cried exultingly. "Where did
you get that scar?"
"You know well, Marie," he murmured, gloomily.
"Yes," she cried, triumphantly. "I know it. He branded you, and you
will wear this mark before God and man as long as you live."
"You are very cruel to remind me of it, Marie," he softly whispered.
She laughed aloud so wild and savagely, that even her mother was
startled. "Cruel--I cruel!" she cried. "Ah, sir, it becomes you
indeed to accuse me of it!"
Trude entered at this instant, pale and excited.
"What is the matter?"
"There is some one here who wishes to speak with you, Marie; he has
something very important to tell you."
"How dare you announce any one without my permission?" cried Frau
"Silence, mother!--if I may be allowed, let us hear who it is.--
Speak, dear Trude, who is it?"
"It is the Director Gedicke from the Gray Cloister," said Trude,
with quivering voice.
Marie was startled--a glowing red overspread her cheeks, and she was
obliged to lean against a chair for support.
"I forbid you to receive him," said her mother.
She suddenly ceased, and stared at the door, which opened at that
moment, the tall, dignified form of a venerable old man appearing.
"Pardon me, sir," said he, with a cold, reserved manner, "if I enter
before I receive permission. The command of the king, to which I
believe we all yield without resistance, empowers me to do so."
"How, sir, you come by the king's order?" asked the general, who
rose with difficulty. "Has his majesty given you a message for
General von Leuthen?"
"No, general, I come with a communication from his majesty to
Fraulein von Leuthen, the betrothed of Herr Ebenstreit, and the
order runs to deliver the same personally and without witnesses."
"Professor," cried the mother, shrugging her shoulders, "you mistake
us for very innocent people, if you suppose we believe this silly
invention, and that you can gain a secret conversation by a ruse
with our daughter. You are the director of the gymnasium, and
naturally the friend of Conrector Moritz. In his name you will
speak, and bring a secret message. Very sly, indeed, very sly, but
it will not succeed."
For response, the director drew two large folded documents from his
pocket, approaching the general. "Do you recognize this seal?" he
"Yes," solemnly answered the general; "it is the royal seal from the
king's private cabinet."
"Read the address upon this, and the unopened letter."
"Truly, the latter is directed to my daughter, and the other to
Herr Gedicke opened the letter, asking the general if he could
recognize the king's handwriting.
"Yes," he answered, "I know it well."
"Have the goodness to read the lines upon the margin," mid the
professor, unfolding the letter, so that he could only read those
The general read: "Professor Gedicke shall go himself to Fraulein
von Leuthen, and bring her to reason, reading the document to her
without witnesses. I wish this affair to come to an end. Teach
Mamselle mores! mores! mores! "FREDERICK."
"You have heard the royal command, ladies and gentlemen; will you
respect it?" said the professor, turning around with an air of proud
"My dear son-in-law," said the general, solemnly, "it is a royal
command; give me your arm, as you know I am feeble; and you, my
wife, take my other arm, and we will go into the next room. Hush!
not a word--we have only to obey, and not reason."
He seized his wife's hand hastily and firmly, that she should not
slip away, and winked to Ebenstreit, upon whose support he crossed
the room, drawing his wife with him, and pushing open the door of
the next with his foot.
Marie had stood during the whole transaction pale and rigid in the
centre of the room, looking haughty and defiant as long as her
parents and Herr Ebenstreit were present. Now, as the door closed,
life and action were visible in this marble form; she rushed to the
old gentleman, scarce respiring, and looking up at his dignified,
sad face, asked: "Is he living? Tell me only this, or is he ill?"
"Yes, he lives, he does not suffer from bodily ills, but the
sickness of the soul."
"And do not I also?" asked she, with quivering voice. "Oh! I know
what he suffers, as we are wretched from the same cause. But tell
me, have you seen him?"
"Yes, Fraulein, I have."
"Where is he? Where did you see him?"
Marie grew paler, and retreated, shuddering. The director continued:
"In a dark, damp prison at Spandau. The poor fellow has been there
for two months without air, light, or occupation, and his only
society is his own revengeful thoughts and angry love-complaints."
Marie gave one hollow moan, covering her corpse-like face with her
"In this abode of torture, in this dwelling of the damned, he must
remain ten long years, if death does not release him?"
"What did you say?" she groaned. "Ten long years? Have they
"Yes, he was guilty of a great crime--eloping with a minor--who,
with the king's consent, and that of her parents, was betrothed to
another. Read the sentence of the court, which was forwarded to me
as the head of the college where Moritz was employed. See, here is
the king's signature, which affirms the sentence, rendering it
legal, and here upon the margin are the lines your father read."
Trembling, Marie perused the contents. "Ten years in the house of
correction!" she murmured. "On my account condemned to a living
death! No, no, it is impossible! It cannot be! Ten years of the best
part of life! He condemned as a criminal! I will go to the king. I
will throw myself at his feet, imploring for mercy. I am the guilty
one--I alone! They should judge me, and send me to the penitentiary!
I will go to the king! He must and will hear me!"
"He will not," sighed the director. "Listen to me, poor child! As I
heard the sentence, I felt it my duty to summon all my powers to
rescue Moritz, for I love him as a son, and had set my hopes upon
"I thank you for this kind word," said Marie, seizing the hand of
the old man, and pressing it to her lips.
"I went immediately to Minister von Herzberg, and, upon his advice,
as he explained to me the king might lighten his punishment, I
betook myself to Frederick's winter-quarters at Breslau."
"You noble, generous man, I shall love you for it as long as I live.
Did you speak with the king?"
"Yes, and every thing that my heart or mind could inspire, to excuse
and justify my unhappy friend, I have said--but all in vain. The
king was much embittered, because he had had the grace to grant him
an audience, and explain the impossibility of the fulfilment of his
petition. I did not cease begging and imploring, until I softened
the generous heart of the king."
"Has he pardoned Moritz?" Marie asked, with brightening hopes.
"Under certain conditions he will allow that he should escape
secretly from prison. They are formally written, and if Moritz
consents and binds himself by oath, he will not only be freed, but
provided with means to go to England, and receive immediately an
appointment as translator to the Prussian embassy at London."
"What are the conditions, sir?"
"They are, first, that Moritz shall by oath renounce every wish and
thought of uniting himself with Fraulein yon Leuthen; secondly, that
before he leaves the prison, he shall write to the young lady, in
which he shall solemnly release her, and enjoin it upon her as a
duty to accept the hand of the man to whom her parents have
betrothed her. These were the conditions, and the king commanded me
to go to Spandau, and with sensible representations, to confer with
Moritz, and persuade him to accept them, and assure himself of
freedom, and an honorable future, free from care."
"You saw Moritz?"
"Did you communicate the conditions?"
"He refused, with rage and indignation!"
"He refused?" cried Marie, joyfully. "Oh, my dear Philip, I thank
you. You love me truly and faithfully. Your glorious example shall
inspire me to be as firm as you."
"Unhappy child, you know not what you are saying!" cried the
director, sadly. "If you really love him, you could not follow his
example. Read what the king has written."
She took, in breathless silence, the document, and broke the seal,
unfolding the paper, but her hand shook it so violently, that she
could not distinguish the words.
She returned it to the director. "Read it, I cannot," she said, and
sank kneeling, looking up to the old man with unspeakable anguish,
and listening to every word that fell from his lips. It ran thus:
"His majesty announces to Mademoiselle Marie von Leuthen that he is
exceedingly indignant at her improper and undutiful conduct, which
does not at all become a maiden loving of honor, and particularly a
noble one. His majesty ennobled her father for a brave deed, and he
is angry that the daughter should bring shame upon the title, in
giving way, not only to a passion which is beneath her, but is so
little mindful of morality as to flee from the paternal house, at
night, in an improper manner, with a man whose wife, according to
the command of the king and the will of her father, she could never
be. If his majesty did not respect the former service of her father,
and the new title, he would send the daughter to the house of
correction, and punish her according to the law. But he will leave
her to the reproaches of conscience, and let the weight of the law
fall upon her partner in guilt, Philip Moritz. He is rightly
sentenced to ten years in the house of correction, and he will not
be released one year or one day from the same, as he is guilty of a
great crime, and his sentence is just."
"Just!" shrieked Marie, in anguish--"ten years just?"
The director continued to read: "His majesty will propose a last
opportunity to the obstinate and inconsiderate young lady to
reinstate her own honor, and release at the same time Conrector
Moritz. His majesty has personal knowledge of the latter, and
respects his scholarly attainments and capability and would bring an
end to this affair for the general good. If mademoiselle, as becomes
an honorable young woman, and an obedient daughter, follows the
wishes of her father, and without delay marries Herr Ebenstreit, and
leads a respectable life with him, the same hour of the ceremony
Conrector Moritz shall be released, and a fit position be created
for him. This is the final decision of the king. If the daughter
does not submit in perfect obedience, she will burden her conscience
with a great crime, and thank herself for Moritz's unfortunate fate.
His majesty will be immediately informed of her decision. If she
listens to reason, to morality, and affection, she will submit to
the proposition which Director Gedicke is commissioned to make known
to her, and announce to her parents in his presence that she will
obediently follow their commands, Conrector Moritz will be at once
set at liberty; otherwise he will be sent to Brandenburg to the
house of correction. This is the unalterable will of the king.
Signed, in the name of the king, "FREDERICK."
"Now decide, my child," continued the director, after a solemn
pause. "I know nothing to add to this royal writing. If it has not
itself spoken to your heart, your reason and your honor, words are
"O God, it is cruel--it is terrible!" cried Marie. "Shall I break my
oath of constancy, becoming faithless, and suffer him to curse me,
for he will never pardon me, but despise me!"
She sprang up like a tigress, with her eyes flashing. "Oh," cried
she, "he may even believe that I have been enticed by riches, by a
brilliant future! No--no! I cannot consent! May God have mercy on me
if the king will not! I will not break my oath! No one but Moritz
shall ever be my husband!"
"Unhappy girl," cried the old man, sadly, "I will give you one last
inducement. I know not whether you have any knowledge of Moritz's
past life, so tried and painful, which has made him easily excited
and eccentric. A danger menaces him worse than imprisonment or
death. His unaccustomed life, and the solitude of his dark, damp
prison, is causing a fearful excitement in him. He is habituated to
intellectual occupation. When he is obliged to put on the prisoner's
jacket in the house of correction and spin wool, it will not kill
him--it will make him mad!"
A piercing cry was Marie's answer. "That is not true--it is
impossible. He crazy!--you only say that to compel me to do what you
will. His bright mind could not be obscured through the severest
"You do not believe me? You think that an old man, with gray hair,
and one foot in the grave, and who loves Moritz, could tell you a
shameful untruth! I swear to you by the heads of my children, by all
that is holy, that Moritz already suffers from an excitement of the
brain; and if he does not soon have liberty and mental occupation,
it is almost certain that he will become insane."
Almost convulsed with anguish, Marie seized the old man's hand with
fierce passion. "He shall not be crazed," she shrieked. "He shall
not suffer--he shall not be imprisoned and buried in the house of
correction on my account. I will rescue him--I and my love! I am
prepared to do what the king commands! I will--marry the man--which-
-my parents have chosen. But--tell me, will he then be free?"
"To-day even--in three hours, my poor child!"
"Free! And I shall have saved him! Tell me what I have to do. What
is the king's will?"
"First sign this document," said the director, as he drew a second
paper. "It runs thus: 'I, Marie von Leuthen, that of my own free
will and consent I will renounce every other engagement, and will
marry Herr Ebenstreit von and be a faithful wife to him. I witness
with my signature the same.'"
"Give it to me quickly," she gasped. "I will sign it! He must be
free! He shall not go mad!"
She rapidly signed the paper. "Here is my sentence of death! But he
will live! Take it!"
"My child," cried the old man, deeply agitated, "God will be mindful
of this sacrifice, and in the hour of death it will beam brightly
upon you. You have by this act rescued a noble and excellent being,
and when he wins fame from science and art he will owe to you alone
"He shall not thank me!" she whispered. "He shall live and--if he
can be happy!--this is all that I ask for! What is there further to
"To announce to your parents in my presence that you will marry Herr
Ebenstreit, and let the ceremony take place as soon as possible."
"You swear that he shall then be released? You are an old man--
reflect well; you swear to me that as soon as the marriage takes
place, Philip Moritz will be free this very day and that he will be
reinstated in an honorable, active occupation?"
"I swear it to you upon my word of honor, by my hope of reward from
"I believe you. Call my parents. But first--you are a father, and
love your children well. I have never had a father who loved me, or
ever laid his hand upon my head to bless me. You say that you love
Moritz as a son! Oh, love me for a moment as your daughter, and
The old man folded her in his arms, tears streaming down his cheeks.
"God bless you, my daughter, as I bless you!"
"I dare not tarry," she shuddered. "Let my parents enter."
Slowly the venerable man traversed the room. Marie pressed her hands
to her heart, looking to heaven. As the door opened, and the general
entered, leaning upon Ebenstreit's arm, followed by his wife, Marie
approached them with a haughty, determined manner, who regarded her
"Father," she said, slowly and calmly, "I am ready to follow your
wishes. Send for the clergyman: I consent to marry this man to-day,
upon one condition."
"Make it known, my dear Marie. Name your condition. I will joyfully
fulfil it," said Ebenstreit.
"I demand that we leave to-day for the East, to go to Egypt--
Palestine--and remain away from this place for years. Are you agreed
"To all that which my dear Marie wishes."
"You can now weave the bridal-wreath in my hair, mother. I consent
to the marriage."
Three hours later the preparations were completed. Every thing had
awaited this for three months.
In the sitting-room, the decorators had quickly built a marriage-
altar, and ornamented the walls with garlands of flowers, with
festoons of gauze and silk, with flags and standards. The mother
wore the costly silk which her rich son-in-law had honored her with
for the occasion, and also adorned herself with the gold ornaments
which were equally his gift. The father wore his gold-embroidered
uniform, and imagined himself a stately figure, as the gout left him
the use of his limbs this day.
The invited witnesses began to assemble. Just then Ebenstreit von
Leuthen drove up in the handsome travelling-carriage, which was a
wedding-gift to his wife, and excited the admiration of the numerous
Old Trude, in her simple dark Sunday dress, had awaited the
appearance of the bridegroom, and went to announce his arrival to
Marie was in her little garret-room, so unlike in its present
appearance to its former simplicity and comfort--as unlike as the
occupant to the rosy, smiling young girl, who, yonder by the little
brown table in the window-niche, taught her pupils, or with busy,
skilful hands made the loveliest flowers, the income of which she
gave to her parents, joyfully and although she never received thanks
or recognition for the same. Now the same little table was covered
with morocco cases, whose half-open covers revealed brilliant
ornaments, laces, and sweet perfumes; superb silk dresses, cloaks,
and shawls, ornamented with lace, lay about upon the bed and chairs.
Herr Ebenstreit von Leuthen had truly given his bride a princely
dowry, and her mother had spread the things around room.
Since Marie gave her consent to the marriage, she had followed out
their wishes without opposition. She wore a white satin dress,
covered with gold lace, her arms, neck, and ears, adorned with
diamonds. The coiffeur had powdered and arranged her hair, without
her ever casting a glance into the Psyche-mirror which her betrothed
had had the gallantry to send to her room. She let him arrange the
costly bridal veil; but when he would place the crown of myrtle, she
waved him back.
"Your work is finished," she said; "my mother will place that, I
As Trude entered, Marie was standing in the centre of the room,
regarding it with sinister, angry looks.
"There you are, Trude," she said, "I am glad to see you a moment
alone, for I have something to tell you. I have spoken with my
future husband, demanding that you live with me as long as I live.
Immediately after the ceremony you will go to my future home and
remain there as house-keeper during my absence."
Sadly the old woman shook her head. "No, that is too important a
place for me. I will not lead a lazy life, and play the fine woman.
I was made to work with my hands."
"Do what you will in the house," answered Marie. "Only promise me
that you will not leave me, and when I return that I shall find you
there. If you leave me, I will never come back. Promise me!"
"Then I will promise you, my poor child," sighed Trude.
Marie laughed scornfully. "You call me poor--do you not see I am
rich? I carry a fortune about my neck. Go, do not bewail me--I am
"Marie, do not laugh so, it makes me feel badly," whispered the old
woman. "I came to tell you the bridegroom and the clergyman are
"The time has arrived for the marriage of the rich and happy bride.
Go, Trude, beg my mother to come up and adorn me with the myrtle-
"Dear Marie, can I not do it?" asked Trude, with quivering voice.
"No, not you; touch not the fatal wreath! You have no part in that!
Call my mother--it is time!"
Trude turned sadly toward the door, Marie glancing after her, and
calling her back with gentle tone.
"Trude, my dear, faithful mother, kiss me once more." She threw her
arms around Marie's neck and imprinted a loving kiss upon her
forehead, weeping. "Now go, Trude--we must not give way; you know
me; you well understand my feelings, and see into my heart."
The old woman went out, drying her eyes. Marie uttered her last
farewell. "With you the past goes forth, with you my youth and hope!
When the door again opens, my future enters a strange, fearful life.
Woe to those who have prepared it for me--woe to those who have so
cruelly treated me! They will yet see what they have done. The good
angel is extinct within me. Wicked demons will now assume their over
me. I will have no pity--I will revenge myself; that I swear to
Her mother rustled in, clothed in her splendid wedding-garments.
"Did you send for me, dear Marie?" she whispered.
"Yes, mother--I beg you to put on my myrtle-wreath."
"How! have you no endearment for me?" she asked, smilingly. "Why do
you say 'you' instead of 'thou?'"
"It is better so, mother," she coldly answered. "Will you adorn me
with the bridal-wreath?"
"Willingly, my dear child; it is very beautiful and becoming."
"Do you realize, mother, what you are doing? You place the wreath to
consecrate me to an inconsolably unhappy life with the man that I
hate and despise!"
"My dear child, I know that you think so to-day; but you will soon
change, and find that wealth is a supportable misfortune."
"Mother, one day you will recall these words. Crown me for the hated
bridal. The sacrifice is prepared!"
THE VISIBLES AND THE INVISIBLES.
The war terminated, the hostile armies returned to their different
German countries. Frederick the Great had gained his point, forcing
Austria to renounce the possession of Bavaria. The Prince of
Zweibruecken had been solemnly recognized by him as the rightful
heir to the electorate, and the lawful ruler and possessor of
Bavaria. The Emperor Joseph had submitted with profound regret and
bitter animosity to the will of his mother, the reigning empress,
and consented to the peace negotiations of Baron von Thugut. Having
signed the document of the same, in his quality of co-regent, he
angrily threw aside the pen, casting a furious glance at the hard,
impenetrable face of Thugut, saying: "Tell her majesty that I have
accomplished my last act as co-regent, and I now abdicate. From
henceforth I will still lie her obedient son, but no submissive
joint ruler, to only follow devotedly her imperial will. Therefore I
resign, and never will trouble myself in future about the acts of
the government." The emperor kept his word. He retired, piqued, into
solitude, wounded in the depths of his soul, and afterward
travelled, leaving the government entirely to the empress and her
Bavaria was rescued! It owed its existence to the watchfulness,
sagacity, and disinterested aid of Prussia's great king. The Elector
Maximilian vowed in his delight that he, as well as his successors
and heirs, would never forget that Bavaria must ascribe its
continuance to Prussia alone, and therefore the gratitude of the
princes of this electorate could not and never would be extinguished
toward the royal house of Prussia. Frederick received these
overflowing acknowledgments with the calmness of a philosopher and
the smile of a skeptic. He understood mankind sufficiently to know
what to expect from their oaths; to know that in the course of time
there is nothing more oppressive and intolerable than gratitude,
that it soon becomes a burden which they would gladly throw off
their bent shoulders at any price, and become the enemy of him to
whom they had sworn eternal thankfulness. Frederick regarded these
oaths of Bavaria not as a security for the future, but as a payment
on account of the past.
"I did not go forth to render the Bavarian princes indebted to me,"
said he, to his only confidante, Count Herzberg, as he brought to
him, at Sans-Souci, the renewed expression of thanks of the prince
elector. "I would only protect Germany against Austria's grasp, and
preserve the equilibrium of the German empire. Believe me, the house
of Hapsburg is a dangerous enemy for the little German
principalities, and if my successor does not bear it in mind, and
guard himself against their flatteries and cat's-paws, Austria will
fleece him as the cat the mouse who is enticed by the odor of the
bacon. Prussia shall be neither a mouse in the German empire, nor
serve as a roast for Austria. But she shall be a well-trained
shepherd's dog for the dear, patient herd, and take care that none
go astray and are lost."
"Your majesty has drawn an unfortunate character for the future of
our country," sighed Herzberg, thoughtfully, "and I must grant that
it is sketched with severe but correct outlines so it follows that
poor Germany has many combats and hardships in store."
"What do you mean?" asked the king. "What characteristic did I
"Your majesty pointed out Austria as the cat watching for prey in
Germany. Prussia, on the contrary, as the shepherd's dog, which
should watch the native herd, and occasionally bite those who wander
from the flock. The comparison is apt, and clearly exposes the
natural hostility of the two nations. Nature has placed the cat and
the dog in eternal enmity, and there is no compromise to be thought
of, to say nothing of friendship. There may, now and then, be a
truce; the cat may draw in her claws, and the dog may cease to howl
and growl, but the combat will renew itself, and never end, but in
the death of one party, and the victorious triumph of the other."
"You are right," said the king, nodding slightly. "From this natural
hostility will proceed many combats and storms for our land, and
much blood will be shed on its account. Let us look to the future,
and try to ward off the coming evil, in erecting high barriers
against the cat-like springs of the enemy. I will think out a
security for Germany. But first, mon cher ami, we have to care for
our own country and people. The war has greatly injured my poor
subjects. Industry is prostrated and prosperity disturbed. We must
seek new sources of acquisition, and sustain those which are
exhausted. For this, we must think of fresh taxes, and other sources
"Sire," said Herzberg, shrugging his shoulders, "the taxes are
already so heavy that it will be difficult to increase them."
"You are greatly mistaken," cried the king, with increased
animation. "I will impose a tax upon those things which are now
exempt, and establish a capable administration for the purpose.
Bread, flour, meat, and beer, the sustenance of the poor, shall
remain as they are, for I will not that they shall pay more. But
tobacco, coffee, and tea, are superfluous things, which the
prosperous and rich consume. Whoever will smoke, and drink tea or
coffee, can and shall pay for being a gourmand!"
"I beg pardon, but it is just these taxes which will create the
greatest discontent," answered Herzberg. "Your majesty will remember
that the duty on coffee was complained of and criticised by every
one, and the poor people grumbled more than all. In spite of the
resistance of government, coffee has become, more and more, a means
of nourishment and refreshment for the lower class."
"I will teach them to renounce it," cried the king, striking the
table violently with his staff "I will not suffer so much money to
go out of the country for this abominable beverage! My people shall
re-learn to drink their beer, instead of this infamous stuff, as I
had to do when a young man. What was good enough for the crown
prince of Prussia, will to-day suffice for his subjects. I tell you,
Herzberg, I will teach them to drink their beer, or pay dearly for
this bad, foreign stuff. Then we will see which will conquer,
Prussian beer or foreign coffee."
"It is possible that the former will be victorious on account of
their poverty and the high duties; but in any case the people will
be discontented, and grumble against your majesty."
"Do you suppose that I care for that?" asked the king, with a quick,
fiery glance at the calm, earnest face of his confidant. "Do you
think that I care for the applause of the people, or trouble myself
about their complaints? I regard their shouting or their grumbling
about as much as the humming or buzzing of a fly upon the wall. If
it dares to light upon my nose, I brush it off; and if I can, I
catch it. Beyond that, it is its nature to hum and buzz. Herzberg,
you understand that if a ruler should listen to the praises or
discontent of his subjects, he would soon be a lost man, and would
not know his own mind. The people are changeable as the weather; to-
morrow they crush under their feet what to-day they bore aloft, and
praise one day what they stone the next. Do not talk to me about the
people! I know this childish, foolish mass, and he is lost who
counts upon their favor. It is all the same to me whether they like
or hate me. I shall always do my duty to my subjects according to
the best of my knowledge and ability, as it becomes an honorable and
faithful officer. As the chief and most responsible servant of my
kingdom, I should be mindful to increase her income and diminish her
expenses--to lay taxes upon the rich, and lighten them for the poor.
This is my task, and I will fulfil it so long as I live!"
"Oh," cried Herzberg, with enthusiasm, "would that the entire nation
might hear these words, and engrave them upon their hearts!"
"Why that, mon cher?" asked Frederick, shrugging his shoulders. "I
do not ask to be deified; my subjects are perfectly welcome to
discuss my acts, so long as they pay me punctually, and order and
quiet are respected and preserved."
"All that is done," said Herzberg, joyfully. "The machine of state
is so well arranged, that she has fulfilled her duty during the war,
and will soon reestablish prosperity."
"Particularly," cried the king, "if we rightly understand the art of
agriculture. In the end every thing depends upon him who best
cultivates his field. This is the highest art, for without it there
would be no merchants, courtiers, kings, poets, or philosophers. The
productions of the earth are the truest riches. He who improves his
ground, brings waste land under the plough, drains the swamps, makes
the most glorious conquests over barbarism."
"And those are also conquerors, sire," said Herzberg, smiling, "who
drain the mental swamps, and improve the waste mental ground. Such
are those who increase the schools and instruct the people. I have
caused the school authorities to report to me, according to your
majesty's command. A happy progress has been noticed everywhere.
Cultivation and education are advancing; and since our teachers have
adopted the principles of Rousseau, a more humane spirit is
perceptible throughout our schools."
"What principle do we owe to Jean Jacques?" asked the king.
"Sire, the principle that man is good by nature!"
"Ah, mon cher, who says that knows but little of the abominable race
to which we belong!" [Footnote: The king's words.--See "Prussia."
vol. iv., p. 221.]
"Do you not believe in this doctrine?" asked Herzberg.
The king raised his large blue eyes musingly to the busts placed
upon the bookcases, and around the walls. They lingered long upon
those of Homer, Plato, and D'Alembert; then turned to that of
Voltaire, with its satyr-like face. "No, I do not believe it," he
sadly responded. "Mankind is an ignoble race; still one must love
them, for among the wicked are always some worthy ones, whose light
beams so brightly clear, that they change night into day. During my
life I have learned to know many base, miserable creatures, but I
have become reconciled to them, as I have also found some who were
virtuous and excellent--some who were noble and beautiful, as the
grains of wheat among the chaff. You belong to the latter, my
Herzberg; and as in heaven many unjust will be forgiven for one just
person, so will I upon earth forgive on your account the Trencks,
Schaffgotschs, Goernes, Voltaires, Wallraves, Glasows, Dahsens, and
all the traitors, poisoners, and perfidious ones, as they may be
called. Remain by my side and sustain me, to prevent many a wicked
thing and bring to pass much that is good. I shall always be
grateful to you in my heart for it; that you can depend upon even if
my weather-beaten face looks ill-humored, and my voice is peevish.
Remember that I am a fretful old man, who is daily wasting away,
approaching that bourne from which no traveller has ever returned."
"God grant that your majesty may be far removed from this bourne!"
said Herzberg, with emotion. "And He may grant it on account of your
subjects, who are so much in need of your care and government."
"There is no one upon earth who could not be replaced," said the
king, shaking his head. "When I am gone, they will shout to my
successor. I trust my subjects will exchange a good ruler for their
fretful old king. I have been very well satisfied with him during
the campaign, and he has shown ability in the diplomatic mission to
St. Petersburg. He has proved himself a soldier and a diplomat, and
I hope he will become a great king. Herzberg, why do you not answer
me, but cast down your eyes? What does your silence mean?"
"Nothing at all--truly nothing! The crown prince has a noble,
generous heart, a good understanding; only--"
"Why hesitate, Herzberg? Go on--what is your 'only?'"
"I would only say that the crown prince must beware and. not be
governed by others."
"Oh, you mean that he will be ruled by mistresses and favorites?"
"I do fear it, your majesty! You well know that the crown princes
are generally the antipodes of those ascendant to the throne. If the
ruler has only an enlightened mind, and is free from prejudices, so-
"Is his crown prince an obscurer," added quickly the king, "having
the more prejudices, and is capable of being ruled by mystics and
exorcists. Is not that your meaning?"
Count Herzberg nodded. The king continued with animation: "Some one
has told me of a new friend who returned from the war with the
prince, and who belongs to the Rosicrucians and exhorters, and hopes
to find many adherents here for such deceptions. Is it true?"
"Yes, sire. It is Colonel Bischofswerder, a Rosicrucian and
necromancer and of course of very pleasant address. He has indeed
already gained much power over the impressible mind of Frederick
William, and his importance is greatly on the increase."
"What does the crown prince's mistress say to it? Is she not
"Of which one does your majesty speak?"
The king started, and his eyes flashed. "What!" he cried with
vehemence, "is there a question of several? Has the crown prince
others besides Wilhelmine Enke, whom I have tolerated?"
"Sire, unfortunately, the prince has not a very faithful heart.
Besides, it is Bischofswerder's plan, as I suppose, to separate him
from Wilhelmine, who will not subordinate herself to him, and who
even dares to mock the necromancers and visionaries, and oppose them
to the crown prince."
"Does Enke do that?" asked the king.
"Yes, sire," answered Herzberg, as the king rose and slowly paced
the room. "And one must acknowledge that in that she does well and
nobly. Otherwise one cannot reproach her. She leads a quiet, retired
life, very seldom leaving her beautiful villa at Charlottenburg, but
devotes herself to the education of her children. She is surrounded
with highly-educated men, savants, poets, and artists, who indeed
all belong to the enlightened, the so-called Illuminati, and which
are a thorn in the eye to Colonel Bischofswerder. Your majesty will
perceive that I have some good informants in this circle, and the
latest news they bring me is that the bad influence is upon the
increase. The Rosicrucians reproach the prince for his immoral
connection with Wilhelmine Enke, as they would replace her by one
who gives herself up to them."
"That shall not take place," cried the king. "No, we will not suffer
that; and particularly when we are forced to recognize such
abominable connections, we should endeavor to choose the most
desirable. I cannot permit that this person, who has at least heart
and understanding, should be pushed aside by Bischofswerder. My
nephew shall retain her, and she shall drive away the Rosicrucians
with all their deviltries. Herzberg, go and tell the crown prince,
from me, that I order--"
His majesty suddenly stopped, and looked at Herzberg with surprise,
who was smiling.
"Why do you laugh, Herzberg?"
"I was not laughing, sire. If my lip quivered against my will, it
was because I stupidly and foolishly dared to finish the broken
"Well, how did you manage to conclude it?"
"Sire, your majesty said, 'Tell the crown prince that I order him'--
and there you ceased. I added 'order him to love Wilhelmine Enke,
and be faithful to her.' I beg pardon for my mistake. I should have
known that your majesty could never command the execution of that
which is not to be forced; that my great king recognizes, as well as
I, that love is not compulsory, or fidelity either. Pardon me for my
impertinence, and tell me the order which I shall take to the crown
prince from my beloved king and master."
The king stepped close up to the minister, and gazed with a half-
sad, half-tender expression in the noble and gentle face of
Herzberg, and in the sensible brown eyes, which sank not beneath the
fiery glance of Frederick. Then, slowly raising his hand from the
staff, he menaced him with his long, bony forefinger.
"Herzberg, you are a rogue, and will teach me morals. Indeed, you
are right--love is not compulsory, but one can sometimes aid it. Say
nothing to the prince. The interior of his house must, indeed, be
left to himself, but we will keep our eyes open and be watchful. Do
so also, Herzberg, and if you discover any thing, tell me; and if
Wilhelmine Enke needs assistance against the infamous Rosicrucians,
and with her aid this mystic rabble can be suppressed, inform me,
and I am ready to send her succor. Ah! Herzberg, is it not a
melancholy fact that one must fight his way through so much
wickedness to obtain so little that is good? My whole life has
passed in toil and trouble; I have grown old before my time, and
would rest from my labors, and harvest in the last few years, what I
have sown in a lifetime. Is it not sad that I hope for no fruit, and
that the seed that I have scattered will be trodden under foot by my
successor? I must gaze at the future without joy, without
The king turned to the window, perhaps to hide the tears which stood
in his eyes. Herzberg did not presume to interrupt the sad silence,
but gazed with an expression of the deepest sympathy at the little
bent form, in the threadbare coat. Grief filled his heart at the
thought that this head was not only bowed down by the weight of
years and well-deserved laurels, but also from its many cares and
griefs, and hopeless peering into the future.
The king turned again, and his eyes were bright and un-dimmed. "We
must never lose courage," said he, "and we must have a reserve corps
in life as well as upon the field of battle. For the world resembles
the latter, and the former is a continual war, in which we must not
be discouraged nor cast down, if there is not hope in our souls. I
will cling to As you have said, and I have also found it true, that
crown prince is a good and brave man, and possesses a keen
understanding, we may succeed in bringing him from the erroneous
ways in which his youth, levity, and the counsels of wicked friends
have led him. We will try with kindness and friendliness, as I
believe these have more effect upon him. Let us not even scorn to
aid Wilhelmine in so far as is compatible with honor. If a mistress
is necessary to the happiness of the prince, this one seems the most
worthy of all to encourage. Beyond the clouds the stars are still
shining, and it appears to me as if I see in perspective in the
heaven of Prussia's future, a star which promises a bright light
with years. Do you not think with me, the little Prince Frederick
William is a rising star?"
"Yes, your majesty," answered Herzberg, joyfully, "He is a splendid
little boy, of simple and innocent heart, and bright, vigorous mind,
modest and unpretending."
"You see," cried the king, evidently cheered, "there is one star and
we will watch over it, that it is not obscured. I must see the
prince oftener. He shall visit me every month and his governors and
teachers shall report to me every quarter. We will watch over his
education, and train him to be a good king for the future, and guard
ourselves against being pusillanimous, foolish, and fretful, and not
be discouraged in life. I have entered my last lustrum, or five
years. Hush! do not dispute it, but believe me! My physique is worn
out, and the mental grows dull, and although I live and move about,
I am half in the grave. There are two coffins in this room, which
contain the greater part of my past. Look around, do you not see
"No," said Herzberg, as he glanced at the different articles of
furniture, "I see none."
"Look upon the table by the window--what do you there see?"
"Your majesty, there is an instrument-case and a sword-sheath."
"They are the ones I refer to. In the case lies my flute, that is to
say, my youth, love, poesy, and art, are encoffined there. In the
sheath is my sword, which is my manhood, energy, laurels, and fame.
I will never play the flute or draw the sword again. All that is
"But there still remains for the great king a noble work to
perfect," cried Herzberg. "Youth has flown, and the war-songs are
hushed. The poet and hero will change to the lawgiver. Sire, you
have made Prussia great and powerful externally; there remains a
greater work, to make her the same within. You have added new
provinces, give them now a new code of laws. You will no longer
unsheath the sword of the hero; then raise that of justice high
above your subjects!"
"I will," cried the king, with beaming eyes. "You have rightly
seized and comprehended what alone seems to me worthy of will and
execution. There shall be but one law for the high and the low, the
poor and the rich. The distinguished Chancellor Carmer shall
immediately go to work upon it, and you shall aid him. The necessity
of such a reform we have lately felt in the Arnold process, where
the judge decided in favor of the rich, and wronged the poor man.
How could the judge sustain Count Schmettau against the miller
Arnold, who had been deprived of the water for his mill, when it was
so evident that it was unjust?"
"I beg pardon, majesty, but I believe the judge obeyed the very
letter of the law, and--"
"Then this law must be annulled," interrupted the king. "This is why
I revoked the judge's sentence, and sent the obstinate fellows to
the fortress, sustaining the miller in his right deposing the
arrogant Chancellor Furst. I had long resolved upon it, for I knew
that he was a haughty fellow, who let the poor crowd his anteroom,
and listened to the flattery of the high-born rabble who courted
him. I only waited an occasion to bow his haughty head. This
offered, and I availed myself of it, voila tout. It is to be hoped
that it will be good example for all courts of justice. They will
remember that the least peasant and beggar is a human being as much
as the king, and that justice should be accorded to if they do not,
they will have to deal with me. If a college of justice practises
injustice, it is more dangerous than a band of robbers; for one can
protect himself from the latter but the former are rascals wearing
the mantle of justice, to exercise their own evil passions, from
whom no man can protect himself, and they are the greatest
scoundrels in the world and deserve a double punishment. I therefore
deposed the unjust judge, and sent him to the fortress at Spandau,
that all might take warning by his fate." [Footnote: The king's own
words.--Seo "Prussia, Frederick the Great," vol. iv.]
"This Arnold trial belongs to history," said Herzberg. "The lawyers
will refer to it after the lapse of centuries, and the poor and the
oppressed will recall and bless the thoughtfulness of the great
king, who would open just as wide a gate for them to enter the