Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Old Fritz and the New Era by Louise Muhlbach

Part 8 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

"And was there no one else to think of, my child?"

"Yes," she gently murmured, "I thought of him. Tell me all you know
about him, and hide nothing from me in this hour."

"I thought you would ask me, and I went to Director Gedicke
yesterday, to inform myself."

"What did you hear? Tell me the most important. Does he live? Is he
restored to health?"

"He lives, but, for one year, he was so wretched that he could not
teach; now he is better. Herr Gedicke went himself to Spandau,
immediately after the wedding, and brought him back with him,
relating as forbearingly and carefully as possible the circumstances
of your marriage, and of your sacrificing yourself for him alone."

"How did he receive it? What did he say?"

"Nothing. His eyes were fixed, and his lips uttered not a sound.
This lasted for weeks, and suddenly he became excited, enraged, and
they were obliged to bind him to keep him from injuring himself."

"Tell me no more, cried Marie, shuddering. "I thought myself
stronger, nay, heartless, and yet it seems as if a hand of iron were
tearing, rending my soul!"

"That is well," said Trude, gently; "you must awaken from this
hardened indifference; giving way to your grief in tears will soften
your heart, and it will again be penetrated with the love of God and
mankind. I will tell you every thing; you ought to know how poor,
dear Moritz suffered. After he vented his rage he became melancholy,
and withdrew to Halle in solitude, living in a hay-loft. His
favorite books and an old piano were his only companions; no one
presumed to intrude him, and they even conveyed his food secretly to
him, shoving it through a door. He talked aloud to himself for hours
long, and at night sang so touchingly, accompanying himself upon the
piano, that those who listened wept."

Marie wept also--scalding tears trickled through her fingers as she
lay upon the floor.

Trude continued: "Moritz lived in this way one year; his friends
knew how he was suffering, and they proved in their deeds how much
they loved and esteemed him. The teachers at the Gymnasium divided
his hours of instruction among them, that he should not forfeit his
place and lose his salary. Even the king showed great sympathy for
him, sending to inquire for him. Herr Gedicke visited him frequently
at Halle; and once when about to mount the ladder to the hay-loft he
met Moritz descending, carefully dressed, in a reasonable, gentle
mood, and then he returned with him to Berlin. There was great
rejoicing in the college over his return, and they feted him,
witnessing so much love for him that it was really touching. He has
been promoted to professor, and at the express command of the king
he teaches the young Prince Frederick William in Latin and Greek.
Oh, he is so much esteemed and--"

"And is married I hope," murmured Marie. "Is he not happily married,

"No. Herr Gedicke says he could marry a wealthy girl, for he is a
great favorite, and is invited into the most distinguished society.
He repels every one, and has become a woman-hater."

"He hates them--does that mean that he hates me?"

"Yes, he thoroughly scorns and despises you; so much so that Herr
Gedicke says you should know of it, and keep out of his way. He has
sworn to publicly show his contempt for you, and therefore his
friends wish you to be apprised of it, and not encounter him in

"It is well, I thank you," said Marie, rising; "I will act
accordingly. Kiss me once more, my dear mother, and let me repose my
weary head upon your bosom. Ah, Trude, what a sorrow life is!"

"You will yet learn to love it again, Marie."

"If I thought that I could sink so low, I would kill myself this
very hour. I know myself better, and only for revenge do I live.
Hush! say nothing more. Look at me! I am cursed, and there in those
gaudy rooms in my purgatory; here is my paradise, and here the
wicked demon may dare to change into the sad, wretched wife, who
mourns the happy days already flown, and weeps the inconsolable
future. Oft will I come here in the night when those sleep who think
me so proud and happy, and you alone shall behold me as I am. Now I
must back to purgatory.--Farewell!"

A half hour later a splendid carriage drove from the house of Herr
Ebenstreit von Leuthen. The people upon the street stood in
wondering admiration of the beautiful Arab horses with the costly
silver-mounted harness, and sought to catch a glimpse of the
occupants of the carriage, an insignificant, meagre, blond-haired
man, who appeared like a servant beside the lovely pale wife, though
proud and indifferent, who kept her eyes fixed steadily before her.

The chasseur, with his waving plumes, sat upon the box beside the
rich-liveried coachman.

As the married couple returned from their drive, having left their
cards at the most distinguished houses in Berlin, the baroness
handed the list of guests to he invited to the baron to examine. He
glanced hastily over it, assuring her that every thing should be
directed as she desired, deferring all to her superior knowledge.
Suddenly he seemed confused, even frightened. "What is the matter?
What were you about to remark?" asked Marie, indifferently.

"I was in error. I have, without doubt, read it wrong. I beg pardon
for a foolish blunder, but will you tell me this name?"

Marie bent forward to look at the paper which her husband handed
her, and, pointing with her finger, read "Professor Philip Moritz."

"Do you intend to invite him?" asked Ebenstreit, quite alarmed.

"Why should I not? He belongs to the circle of friends and
acquaintances, and it is natural that I should include him.
Moreover, there is not a little gossip, and it is necessary to
silence it. If you are not of my opinion, strike out the name."

"Not at all, dearest. On the contrary, you are perfectly right, and
I admire you for it."

"Then give the list to the butler, for it is quite time that the
invitations were given out."



The evening of the soiree had arrived. In quick succession drove the
carriages up the broad entrance to the mansion of Herr Ebenstreit,
The curious street public pressed in compact masses near the gate to
peep in, or at least catch a fugitive glance of the ladies alighting
from their carriages, who were received by the butler at the foot of
the carpeted steps. A host of gold-bespangled footmen lined the
entrance upon each side, which was ornamented with the most
exquisite hot-house plants, filling the air with perfume.

Two tall, stately footmen, with broad gold shoulder-bands and large
gilt batons, stood at the door of the anteroom, which was
brilliantly illuminated with chandeliers and side-lights, reflected
in the numerous mirrors. The anteroom led into the reception-room by
wide folding-doors, where the names were given to the usher, who
announced them in a stentorian voice in the drawing-room. There
stood the Baron von Ebenstreit to receive the guests, all smiles,
and with bustling assiduity accompany them to the adjoining drawing-
room to present them to the baroness.

Among the select company were conspicuous the most distinguished
names of the aristocracy. Generals and staff-officers, countesses
and baronesses were crowded together, with the ladies of the
financial world, near ministers and counsellors in this gorgeous
saloon, which was the delight and admiration of the envious, and
excited the tongues of the slanderous. Those acquainted gathered in
the window-niches and cosy corners, maliciously criticising the
motley crowd, and eminently consoled with the sure prospect of the
ruin of the late banker, surrounding himself with such unbecoming
splendor and luxury, the bad taste of his arrogant, overdressed, and
extravagant wife.

"Have you noticed her parure of diamonds?" whispered the Countess
Moltke to Fran von Morien. "If they are real, then she wears an
estate upon her shoulders."

"The family estate of Von Leuthen," laughingly replied Frau von
Morien. "You know, I suppose, that the father of General von Leuthen
was a brick-burner, and he may have succeeded in changing a few
bricks into diamonds."

"You are wicked, sweet one," replied the countess, smiling. "One
must acknowledge that her toilet is charming. I have never seen its
equal. The gold lace over the rose-colored satin is superb,"

"Yes, and the mingling of straw feathers, diamonds, flowers, lace,
and birds is truly ridiculous in her head-dress."

"It must have been copied exactly from the one which the Queen Marie
Antoinette wore at the ball at Versailles a fortnight since. The
baroness was present at this court ball with her greyhound of a
husband, and created quite a sensation with her costly recherchee
toilet, as the French ambassador told us yesterday."

"Certainly not by her manner," said Frau von Morien. "She is
insupportably arrogant and self-sufficient. What do you think of
this pretentious manner of announcing our names as if we were at an
auction where they sold titles?"

"It is a very good French custom," remarked the countess. "But it
does not become a lady of doubtful nobility and uncertain position,
to introduce foreign customs here. She should leave this to others,
and modestly accept those already in use by us."

"One remarks the puffed-up parvenue," whispered Frau von Morien.
"Every thing smells of the varnish upon the newly-painted coat-of-

"Hush, my friend! I there comes the baroness leaning upon the arm of
the French ambassador. She is indeed imposing in appearance, and one
could mistake her for a queen."

"Could any one ever suppose that this queen once made flowers to
sell? Come, countess, I have just thought of a charming scene to
revenge myself upon this arrogant personage."

Giving her arm to the countess, she approached her hostess leaning
upon the arm of the Marquis de Treves, the French ambassador, as
they were standing beneath the immense chandelier of rock crystal,
which sparkled above them like a crown of stars, causing her
diamonds to look as if in one blaze of different hues.

"Oh, permit us to sun ourselves in your rays, ma toute belle," said
the Countess Moltke. "One could well fancy themselves in a fairy
palace, so enchanting is everything here."

"And the baroness's appearance confirms this impression," remarked
the gallant Frenchman. "Fancy could not well paint a more lovely
fairy in one's happiest dreams."

"Yes, truly I wander around as if in an enchanted scene. I feel as
if I must seize myself by the head and be well shaken, to convince
myself that I am really awake and not dreaming a chapter from
Aladdin. I made the effort, but felt the wreath of roses in my hair,

"And that convinced you of your wakefulness," said the baroness, a
little haughtily. Turning to the ambassador, she added: "Do you
observe, monsieur le marquis, what a delicate attention this lady
shows me in wearing a wreath of flowers which I manufactured?"

"Comment! The baroness is truly a fairy! She causes flowers to grow
at her pleasure, and vies with Nature. It seems impossible. I can
scarcely believe it."

"And yet it is true," said Frau von Morien. "The baroness, indeed,
fabricated these roses three years since, when she had the kindness
to work for me. You will acknowledge that I have kept them well?"

"It was no kindness of mine, but a necessity," said the baroness,
"and I must confess that I would not have undertaken so troublesome
a piece of work from pure goodness or pleasure. You will remember
that I was very poor before my marriage, and as Frau von Morien was
one of my customers, it is very natural that she possesses my
flowers. She gave me many orders, and paid me a very small price,
for she is very practical and prudent, and understands bargaining
and cheapening, and when one is poor they are obliged to yield to
the shameless parsimony of the rich. I thank you, my dear
benefactress, for the honor you have shown me in wearing my flowers,
for it has been a pleasant occasion to explain ourselves and
recognize each other. Have the kindness to recall other remembrances
of the past."

"I do not remember possessing any other souvenirs," replied the
countess, confused.

Have you forgotten that I gave French lessons to your niece, the
present Frau von Hohenthal? She came to me three times weekly,
because the lessons were a few groschen cheaper at the house."

At this instant the usher announced in a loud voice, "Professor
Philip Moritz."

A gentleman of slight proportions, in an elegant fashionable dress,
appeared and remained standing in the doorway, his large black eyes
wandering searchingly through the drawing-room. Herr von Ebenstreit
approached, extending him his hand, uttering a few unintelligible
words, which his guest appeared not to notice, but, slightly
inclining, asked if he would present him to the lady of the house.

"Have the kindness to follow me," said Ebenstreit, leading Moritz
through the circle of jesting, slandering ladies and gentlemen, to
the centre of the room, where Marie was still standing with the
French ambassador and the two ladies.

"My dear," said her husband, "I have brought you an old
acquaintance, Professor Moritz."

As Ebenstreit would retreat, Moritz commanded him to remain, placing
his white-gloved hand upon his arm, and holding him fast. "I would
ask you one question before I speak with the baroness."

Moritz spoke so loud, and in such a strange, harsh, and repulsive
manner, that every one turned astonished, asking himself what it
meant. Conversation was hushed, and the curious pressed toward the
peculiar group in the centre to the baroness, who regarded her
husband perfectly composed, and the pale man, with the flashing
eyes, the glance of which pierced her like daggers.

A breathless silence reigned, broken only by Ebenstreit's trembling
voice. "What is it, professor? How can I serve you?"

"Tell me who you are?" replied Moritz, with a gruff laugh.

"I am the Baron Ebenstreit von Leuthen!"

"And the scar which you bear upon your face, is it not the mark of a
whip, with which I lashed a certain Herr Ebenstreit three years
since, who prevented my eloping with my betrothed? I challenged him
to fight a duel, but the coward refused me satisfaction, and then I
struck him in the face, causing the blood to flow. Answer me--are
you this gentleman?"

Not a sound interrupted the fearfully long pause which followed.
Every one turned astonished to Ebenstreit, who, pale as death, was
powerless to utter a word, but stood staring at his opponent.

"Why do you not answer me?" cried Moritz, stamping his foot. "Are
you the coward? Was this red scar caused by the whip-lash?"

Another long pause ensued, and a distinctly audible voice was heard,
saying, "Yes, it is he!"

"Who replied to me?" asked Moritz, turning his angry glance away
from Ebenstreit.

"I," said Marie. "I reply for my husband!"

"You? Are you the wife of this man?" thundered Moritz.

"I am," Marie answered.

"Is this invitation directed to me from you?" he continued, drawing
a paper from his pocket. "Did you permit yourself to invite me to
your house?"

"Yes, I did," she calmly answered.

"And by what right, madame? This is the question I wish answered,
and I came here for that purpose."

"I invited you because I desired to see you."

"Shameless one!" cried Moritz, furious.

"Sir," cried the ambassador, placing himself before Moritz, defying
his anger, "you forget that you are speaking to a lady. As her
husband is silent, I declare myself her knight, and I will not
suffer her to be injured by word or look.

"How can you hinder me?" cried Moritz, with scorn. "What will you do
if I dash this paper at her feet, and forbid her to ever write my
name again?" Making a ball of it, he suited the action to the word,
casting a defiant look at the marquis.

"I shall order the footmen to thrust you out of the house. Here,
servants, remove this man; he is an escaped lunatic, undoubtedly."

Two footmen pressed forward through the circle which crowded around

"Whoever touches me, death to him!" thundered Moritz, laying his
hand upon a small sword at his side.

"Let no one dare lay a hand on this gentleman," cried Marie, with a
commanding wave of her hand to the lackeys. "I beseech you, marquis,
and you, honored guests, to quietly await the conclusion of this
scene, and to permit Herr Moritz to finish speaking."

"Do you mean to defy me, madame?" muttered Moritz, gnashing his
teeth. "You perhaps count upon my magnanimity to keep silent, and
not disclose the secrets of the past to this aristocratic assembly.
I stand here as its accusing spirit, and condemn you as a shameless
perjurer.--I will ask you who are here rendering homage to this
woman, if you know who she is, and of what she has been guilty? As a
young girl she was as sweet and innocent as an angel, and seemed
more like a divine revelation. To think of her, inspired and
elevated one's thoughts, and heaven was mirrored in her eyes. She
was poor, and yet so infinitely rich, that if a king had laid all
his treasures at her feet, as the gift of his love, he would receive
more than he gave, for in her heart reposed the wealth of the whole
human race. Oh! I could weep tears of blood in reflecting upon what
she was, and what she has become. Smile and mock, ladies and
gentlemen; my brain is crazed, and I weep for my lost angel."

Moritz dashed his hands to his face, and stood swaying backward and
forward, sobbing.

Sighs and regrets were heard in the room. The ladies pressed their
handkerchiefs to their eyes; others regarded with lively sympathy
the handsome young man, who deeply interested them, and gazed
reproachfully at the young baroness, expecting her to be crushed
with these reproaches and tears, but who, on the contrary, stood
with proud composure, her face beaming with joy, gazing at Moritz.

"It is past--my last tear is shed, and my last wail has been
uttered," cried Philip, uncovering his face. "My angel has changed
into a despicable woman. I loved her as the wretched, disconsolate
being adores the one who reveals paradise to him; and she fooled me
into the belief that she loved me. We exchanged vows of eternal
constancy and affection, and promised each other to bear joyfully
every ill in life, and never separate until death. I should have
doubted myself, rather than she who stood above me, like a divine
revelation. I wished to win her by toil and industry, by my
intellect, and the fame by which I could render my name illustrious.
It was, indeed, nothing in the eyes of her grasping parents; they
repulsed me with scorn and pride, but Marie encouraged me to perfect
confidence in her affection. Whilst I wandered on foot to Silesia,
like a poor pilgrim toward happiness, to humble myself before the
king, to beg and combat for my angel, there came temptation, sin,
and vulgarity, in the form of this pale, cowed-down man, who stands
beside my betrothed gasping with rage. The temptation of riches
changed my angel into a demon, a miserable woman bartered for gold!
She betrayed her love, yielding it up for filthy lucre, crushing her
nobler nature in the dust, and driving over it, as did Tullia the
dead body of her father. She sold herself for riches, before which
you all kneel, as if worshipping the golden calf! After selling her
soul to a man whom she despised, even if he were not rich, she has
had the boldness to summon me, the down-trodden and half-crazed
victim, to her gilded palace, as if I were a slave to be attached to
her triumphal car. I am a free man, and have come here only to hurl
contempt in her face, to brand her before you all as a perjurer and
a traitress, whom I never will pardon, but will curse with my latest
breath! Now I have relieved my heart of its burden, I command this
woman to deny what I have said, if she can."

With a dictatorial wave of the hand, he pointed excitedly Marie. A
deathlike stillness reigned. Even the lights seemed to grow dim, and
every one was oppressed as if by excessive sultriness.

Again Moritz commanded Marie to acknowledge the truth of his
accusations before the honored assembly.

She encountered his angry glance with calmness, and a smile was
perceptible upon her lip. Yes, said she, I acknowledge that I am a
perjurer and a traitor. I have sold myself for riches, and yielded
my peace of soul and my love for mammon. I might justify myself, but
I refrain from it, and will only say that you have told the truth!
One day you will cease to curse me, and, perhaps a tear of pity will
glisten in the eye now flashing with scorn and anger. The poor wife
who lies in the dust implores for the last blessing of your love!"

"Marie!" he cried, with heart-rending anguish, "oh, Marie!" and
rushed toward her, kneeling before her, and clinging to her,
pressing a kiss upon her hand and weeping aloud. Only for a moment
did he give way, and then sprang up wildly, rushing through the
crowd, out of the room.

A fearful silence ensued. No one had the courage to break it. Every
one hoped that Marie, through a simulated fainting, would end the
painful scene, and give the guests an opportunity to withdraw. No
such thoughtfulness for her friends occurred to her.

She turned to the Marquis de Treves, who stood pale and deeply
agitated behind her, and burst into a loud laugh.

"How pale you are! Have you taken this comedy for truth? Did you
think this theatrical performance was a reality? You have forgotten
what I told you a month since in Paris, that I had a native talent
for acting. You would contest the matter with me, and I bet you that
I could introduce an impromptu scene in my house, with such artistic
skill, that you would be quite deceived."

"Indeed I do recall it; how could I have forgotten it?" replied the
marquis, with the ready tact of the diplomat.

"Have I won?" asked Marie, smiling.

"You have played your role, baroness, like an artiste of consummate
talent, and to-morrow I shall have the honor to cancel the debt in
your favor."

"Now, then, give me your arm, marquis, and conduct me to the
dancing-room, and you, worthy guests, follow us," said. Marie,
leading the way.

The merry music even was not sufficient to dissipate the awkward
oppression, and by midnight the guests had taken leave, and Marie
stood under the chandelier, pale and rigid, opposite her husband. He
had summoned courage to bewail the terrible scene, weeping and
mourning over her cruelty and his shame. Marie, with chilling
indifference, regarded him without one visible trace of pity.

"You realized what you were doing when you imposed the scorn of this
marriage upon me," she said. "I have never deceived you with vain
hopes! You have sown dragons' teeth, and warriors have sprung up to
revenge me upon you. Serve yourself of your riches to fight the
combatants. See if you can bargain for a quiet conscience as easily
as you purchased me! My soul is free though, and it hovers over you
as the spirit of revenge.--Beware!"

She slowly turned and quitted the room. Her diamonds sparkled and
blazed in the myriads of lights. The large mirrors reflected the
image of a haughty woman, who swept proudly past like a goddess of

Ebenstreit stood gazing after her. He had a horror of the lonely
still room, so gorgeous and brilliantly illuminated--a shudder crept
over him, and he sank, weeping bitterly.

In the little room, the buried happiness of the past, Marie knelt,
with outstretched arms, imploring heaven for mercy. "I thank Thee,
Heavenly Father, that I have been permitted to see him again! My
sacrifice was not in vain--he lives! He is free, and his mind is
clear and bright. I thank Thee that he still loves me. His anger is
but love!"



The joy which Bischofswerder said, reigned in heaven and upon earth
over the return of the crown prince to the path of virtue, in having
forsaken Wilhelmine Enke, was of but short duration.

The Invisibles and the pious Rosicrucians soon learned that
sagacious and cunning woman defied the spirits and abjured the

Since the night of his communion with the departed, Frederick
William had never visited Charlottenburg--never seen the house which
contained all that he held most dear; he had returned Wilhelmine's
letters unopened, and had even had the courage to refuse himself to
the children, who came to see him.

If he had been left to consult his own heart, he would not probably
have had sufficient resolution to have done this; Bischofswerder and
Woellner never left him for a moment, as they said the Invisible
Fathers had commanded them to tarry with the much-loved brother in
these first days of trial and temptation, and to elevate and gladden
him with edifying conversations and scientific investigations.

The prayers and exhortations were the duty of Woellner, who, besides
this, continued his daily discourses upon the administration of
government, preparing the prince for the important command of the
royal regiments, which they hoped favorable destiny would soon grant

The scientific researches were the part of Bischofswerder, and he
entered upon his duties with the zeal and pleasure of an inquiring
mind, itself hopeful and believing.

In the cabinet arranged in the new palace at Potsdam, the prince and
his dear Bischofswerder worked daily, many hours, to discover the
great hope of the alchemist--the philosopher's stone. Not finding
it, unfortunately, they brewed all sorts of miraculous drinks, which
were welcome to the prince as the elixir of eternal youth and
constant love. In the evenings they communed with the spirits of the
distinguished departed, which, moved at the earnest prayers of
Woellner, and the fervent exhortation of the crown prince, always
had the goodness to appear, and witness their satisfaction for their
much-loved son, as they called him, for continuing brave and
faithful, and not falling into the unholy snares of the seductress.

The crown prince, however, experienced not the least self-
contentment. Each day renewed the yearning for the beloved of his
youth and for his children, for which those of his wife were no
compensation--neither the silent, awkward Prince Frederick William,
nor his crying little brother. In his dreams he saw Wilhelmine
dissolved in tears, calling upon him in most tender accents, and
when he awoke, it was to an inconsolable grief. He wept with heart-
felt sorrow; his oath alone kept him from hastening to her; it bound
him, and fettered his earnest wish to see her, making him sad and

The spirits had no pity nor mercy upon him. His two confidants
encouraged his virtue and piety from morning till night, exalting
his excited fancy with their marvellous relations and apparitions.

One day as they were on the point of commencing the morning prayers
to the Invisibles, a royal footman appeared, with the command to
betake themselves to Sans-Souci, where the king awaited them.

A royal carriage was in attendance to convey them. There was no
alternative but obedience.

"Perhaps Fate destines us to become martyrs to the holy cause," said
Woellner, devoutly folding his hands.

"We may never enjoy the happiness of seeing our dear brothers of the
confederacy again," sighed Bischofswerder. "Our spirits will always
be with you, my prince, and the Invisible Fathers will protect you
in all your ways."

The crown prince, deeply moved, separated from his friends with
tears in his eyes; but as the carriage rolled away he felt relieved
as of an oppressive burden, and breathed more freely.

At the same time a footman entered, bearing upon a golden salver a
letter for the prince. Unobserved and free to act, he read it, and
as he sat musingly thinking over its contents, so tender and
affectionate, he re-read it, and rising, made a bold resolve, his
face beaming with happiness, to order his carriage, which he did,
and in a few moments more drove at full speed away from the palace.

Bischofswerder and Woellner, in the mean time, arrived at Sans-
Souci. The footman awaiting them conducted them at once through the
picture-gallery, into the little corridor leading to the king's
cabinet, and there left them to announce them to his majesty. Both
gentlemen heard their names called in a loud voice, and the response
of the king: "Let them wait in the little corridor until I permit
them to enter."

The footman returned and with subdued voice made known the royal
command, and departed, carefully closing the door.

There was no seat in the narrow, little corridor, and the air was
close and oppressive.

They could hear voices in mingled conversation; sometimes it seemed
as if the king were communicating commands; again, as if he dictated
in a suppressed voice. The Rosicrucians knew very well it was the
hour of the cabinet council, and they waited patiently and
steadfastly, but as their watches revealed the fact that three hours
had passed, and every noise was hushed, they concluded they were
forgotten, and resolved to remind the lackey of their presence.

"Indeed, this standing is quite insupportable," whispered Woellner.

They both slipped to the entrance and tried the bronze knob, but
although it turned, the door opened not, and was evidently fastened
upon the outside. They looked alarmed at each other, asking what it
could mean. "Can it be intentional? Are we imprisoned here? We must
be resigned, although it is a severe experience." At last, patience
exhausted, they resolved to bear it no longer, and tapped gently at
the door of the king. The loud bark of a dog was their only
response, and again all was still.

"Evidently there is no one there," sighed Bischofswerder. "It is the
hour of dining of the king."

"I wish it were ours also," whined Woellner. "I confess I yearn for
bodily nourishment, and my legs sink under me."

"I am fearfully hungry," groaned Bischofswerder; "besides, the air
is suffocating. I am resolved to go to extremes, and make a noise."

He rushed like a caged boar from one door to the other, shrieking
for the lackey to open the door; but as before, a loud bark was the
only response.

"The Lord has forsaken us," whimpered Woellner. "The sublime Fathers
have turned their faces away from us. We will pray for mercy and beg
for a release!" and he sank upon his knees.

"What will that avail us here, where neither prayers nor devotion
are heeded? Only energy and determination will aid us at Sans-Souci.
Come, let us thump and bang until they set us free!" cried
Bischofswerder, peevishly.

Their hands were lame, and their voices hoarse with their exertions;
and no longer able to stand, they sank down upon the floor hungry
and exhausted, almost weeping with rage and despair.

At last, after long hours of misery, they heard a noise in the
adjoining room. The king had again entered his cabinet. The door
opened, and the lackey motioned to the two gentlemen to enter. They
rose with difficulty and staggered into the room, the door being
closed behind them.

His majesty was seated in his arm-chair, with his three-cornered hat
on, leaning his chin upon his hands, crossed upon his staff. He
fixed his great blue eyes, with a searching glance, upon the two
Rosicrucians; then turned to his minister, Herzberg, who was seated
at the table covered with documents.

"These are, then, the two great props of the Rosicrucians?" asked
Frederick--"the two charlatans whom they have told me make hell hot
for the crown prince, continually lighting it up with their prayers
and litanies."

"Your majesty, answered Herzberg, smiling, "these gentlemen are
Colonel Bischofswerder and the councillor of the exchequer,
Woellner, whom your majesty has commanded to appear before you."

"You are the two gentlemen who work miracles, and have the
effrontery to summon the spirit of our ancestor, the great elector,
and the Emperor Marcus Aurelius?"

"Sire," stammered Bischofswerder, "we have tried to summon spirits."

"And I too," cried the king, "only they will not come; therefore I
wished to see the enchanters, and would like to purchase the

"Pardon me, most gracious sire," said Woellner, humbly, "you must
first be received in the holy order of the Rosicrucians."

"Thanks," cried the king, "I am not ready for the like follies, and
whilst I live the Invisibles must take heed not to become too
visible, or they will be taken care of. I will not permit Prussia to
retrograde. It has cost too much trouble to "enlighten the people,
bring them to reason, and banish hypocrisy. Say to the Rosicrucians
that they shall leave the crown prince in peace, or I will chase
them to the devil, who will receive them with open arms! It could do
no harm to appeal to the prince's conscience to lead an honorable
life, and direct his thoughts more to study than to love, but you
shall not make a hypocrite of him and misuse his natural good-
nature. If the Rosicrucians try to force the prince and rule him, I
will show them that I am master, and will no longer suffer their
absurdities, but will break up the whole nest of them! I have been
much, annoyed at the deep despondency of the crown prince. You shall
not represent to him that baseness and virtue are the same, and that
he is the latter when he betrays those to whom he has sworn fidelity
and affection. An honorable man must, above all, he cognizant of
benefits, and not forsake those who have sacrificed their honor and
love to him, and have proved their fidelity. Have you understood me,

"It will be my holy duty to follow strictly your majesty's
commands," said Bischofswerder.

"And I also will strive to promote the will of my king," asserted

"It will be necessary to do so, or you two gentlemen may find
yourselves at Spandau. I would say to you once for all, I will not
suffer any sects; every one can worship God in his own way. No one
shall have the arrogant presumption to declare himself one of the
elect. We are all sinners. The Rosicrucians are not better than the
Illuminati or Freemasons, and none are more worthy than the tailor
and cobbler who does his duty. Adieu!"

The king nodded quickly and pointed to the door out of which the two
brothers were about to disappear, when he called them back.

"If the prince is not at the palace on your return, I advise you not
to pursue him, but reflect that the Invisibles may have summoned him
to a communion of spirits; I believe, too, that I kept you waiting;
but without doubt you were comforted by the Fathers, who bore you
away upon their wings, and gave you food and drink! Those who are
protected by the spirits, and can summon them at pleasure, can never
want. If you are hungry, call up the departed Lucullus, that he may
provide for you to eat; and if you have no earthly seat, summon
Semiramis that she may send you her hanging gardens for the quiet
repose of the elect! I am rejoiced that you have enjoyed such
celestial refreshments in the corridor. Adieu!"

The king gazed sadly after them. Approaching Herzberg, he said: "I
felt, as I looked at the two rogues, that it was a pity to grow old.
Did you think that I would let them off so easily?"

"Sire, I really do not understand you," replied Herzberg, shrugging
his shoulders. "I know not, in your most active youthful days, how
you could have done otherwise."

"I will tell you that, if I were not an old man, void of decision
and energy, I would have had these fellows taken to Spandau for
life!" said the king, striking the table with his staff.

"Your majesty does yourself injustice," said Herzberg, smiling. "You
were ever a just monarch in your most ardent youth, and never set
aside the law. These men were not guilty of any positive crime."

"They are daily and hourly guilty of enticing away from me the crown
prince, and making the future ruler of my country an obscurer, a
necromancer, and at the same time a libertine! I was obliged to
overlook his youthful preference for Wilhelmine Enke, and wink at
this amour, for I know that crown prince is human, and his
affections are to be consulted. If he cannot love the wife which
diplomacy chooses for him, then he must be permitted the chosen one
of his heart to console him for the forced marriage. At the same
time this person was passable, and without the usual fault of such
creatures, a desire to rule and mingle in politics. She seems to be
unambitious and unpretentious. These Rosicrucians would banish her
by increasing the number of favorites, that they may rule him, and
make the future King of Prussia a complete tool in their hands. They
excite his mind, which is not too well balanced, and rob him by
their witchcraft of the intellect that he has. They promise him to
find the philosopher's stone, and make a fool of him. Am I not

"I must acknowledge that you are," sighed Herzberg.

"And admit also that it would be just to send these in, famous
fellows as criminals to Spandau."

"Sire, unfortunately, there are crimes and offences which the law
does not reach, and which cannot be judged."

"When I was young," said the king, "I tore up and stamped upon every
weed that I found in my garden. Shall I now let these two grow and
infect the air, because the law gives me no right to crush them?
Formerly I would have torn them leaf from leaf, but now I am old and
useless, my hand is weak, and lacks the strength to uproot them,
therefore I suffer them to stand, and all the other abominable
things which these rogues bring to pass. A cloud is rising, from
which a storm will one day burst over Prussia; but I cannot
dissipate it, for the little strength and breath that remains I have
need of for the government; and, moreover, I have no superfluous
time for the future, but must live and work only for the present."

"But the blessing of your exertions will be felt in the future. The
deeds of a great man are not extinguished with his death, but shine
like a star, disseminating light beyond his grave!"

"This light is just what the Rosicrucians will take care to
extinguish like a tallow candle with too long a wick, and it is good
fortune that the astronomers have awarded me a little glorification
in the heavens, and accorded me a star, for the Rosicrucians would
not let it shine here below. I must console myself with this, and
recall that when it is dark and lowering here, I have a star above
in the sky!"

"This star is Frederick's honor," cried Herzberg. "It will beam upon
future generations, and become the guiding light of the sons and
nephews of your house, and they will learn to be as sagacious and
wise as the Great Frederick."

"There you have made a great error, Herzberg," replied the king,
quickly. "Future generations are newer taught by the past--
grandchildren think themselves wiser than their grandparents. The
greatest of heroes is forgotten, and his deeds buried in the dust of
ages. You have given me a glorious title of honor, and I know how
little I deserve it."

"A title which will be confirmed in centuries to come, for every
history will speak of Frederick the Second as Frederick Great."

"In history it may be, but the people will speak of me as 'Old
Fritz'--that will be on the lips of those who love me, and
expression of endearment; on the lips of those who hate me, one of
disaffection. I am, indeed, 'Old Fritz,' which the Bischofswerders
and Woellners also call me, and try to make the crown prince believe
that I have outlived my period, and do not understand or esteem the
modern time. In their eyes I am a dismantled ship of state, which
the storms of life have rendered unseaworthy. They would refit the
vessel, and give it a new flag, sending Old Fritz, the helmsman, to
the devil! The day of my death they will hoist this flag, with
'Modern Time' inscribed upon it in large letters. I shall then be
united in Elysium with Voltaire, Jordan, Suhm, and all my other
friends, as we were wont to be at Sans-Souci, and look down with a
pitying smile upon the Modern Time and Old Folly!--Vale!"



Both Bischofswerder and Woellner hastened to avail themselves of the
commanding "adieu," and quit the royal presence. Without, the
carriage was ready to reconvey them to the new palace. They were so
exhausted that neither of them uttered a word, the last injunctions
of the king ringing in their ears.

Silently they alighted upon arriving, but as the footman came out to
meet them they asked, simultaneously, if his royal highness had

"His highness is not here, having departed immediately after the two
gentlemen, and is not yet returned," he answered.

"You may serve us something to eat as quickly as possible in the
little dining-room. Let it be ready in a quarter of an hour,"
commanded Bischofswerder.

"Now that we are alone, what do you think of this affair?" asked

"I cannot vouchsafe a reply until I have eaten a pheasant's wing,
and drunken my champagne," replied Bischofswerder.

He kept his word, preserving a solemn silence until a good half of
the bird had disappeared, and many glasses of iced champagne.

Then Bischofswerder leaned back in his comfortable armchair with
infinite ease, whilst his friend occupied himself with the most
pious zeal with the pheasant, rejoicing at this revelation of the
Invisibles. Bischofswerder let him enjoy it, and ordered the footman
to serve the dessert and withdraw.

"Now I am prepared to reply to you, my dear friend, that we are
alone. I believe the king would have sent us to Spandau at once if
we had opposed his free-thinking opinions."

"I am convinced of it," sighed Woellner, eyeing the remains of the
bird with a melancholy glance. "We shall have much to endure for the
holy cause which we serve."

"That is to say, we will have much to suffer if we, in fanatical
indiscretion, do not submit to circumstances," said Bischofswerder.

"You cannot traduce the sublime Fathers!" cried Woellner;--"for the
body's security, we cannot endanger the salvation of our souls, and,
like Peter, deny our master."

"No, my much-loved and noble friend. But we must be wise as
serpents, and our duty to the holy order is to preserve its useful
tools that they may not be lost. You will agree with me in this?"

"Indeed, I do admit it," replied Wollner, pathetically.

"Further, you will acknowledge that we are very useful, and I might
say indispensable tools of the Sublime Order of the Rosicrucians and
the Invisible Fathers of the Order of Jesus? It is our task to
secure an abiding-place to the proscribed and, cursed, to plough and
sow the field, which will yield good fruit for humanity entire, and
particularly our order, when the crown prince ascends the throne. We
will here erect a kingdom of the future, and it is all-important to
lay so secure a corner-stone in the heart of his highness that
nothing can shake or dislodge it. Who could perfect this work if we
were not here? Who would dare to undertake the difficult task if we
should fail? Who would carry on a secret and continued warfare with
this artful and powerful seductress if we were conquered?"

"No one would do it," sighed Woellner, "no one would sacrifice
themselves like Samson for this Delilah."

"We will together be the Samson," replied Bischofswerder, drawing a
glass of sparkling champagne. "We will be the Samson which the
Philistines drove out, but this woman shall not practise the arts of
Delilah upon us in putting our eyes out or cutting off our hair.
Against two Samsons the most artful and beautiful Delilah is not
wary enough; and if we cannot conquer her, we must resort to other

"What may they be, dear brother?"

"We must compromise the matter."

Woellner sprang up, and a flush of anger or from champagne
overspread his face "Compromise with the sinful creature!" he cried,
impetuously. "Make peace with the seductress, who leads the prince
from the path of virtue!"

"Yes, we must be on friendly terms with this woman, who could
greatly injure us as an enemy, and aid us infinitely as a friend.
This is my intention, and I am the more convinced that we must
accept this middle course, as she is protected by the king."

"Because he knows from his spies that she mingles with the
Illuminati and the Freemasons, and that she is our opponent," said

"The more the reason, my noble zealot, to win her friendship, who
will have validity and power until the crown prince reigns, and this
old godless freethinker of a king is in his gravel Then Prussia will
commence a new era, and we shall be lords, and guide the machine of
state. For such lofty aims one ought to be ready to compromise with
his Satanic majesty even. Then why not with this little she-devil,
whose power is fading every year with her youth and beauty?"

"It is quite true, we should be mindful of the device of our
Invisible Fathers. The end sanctifies the means," sighed Woellner.

"I believe it to be indispensable, and you will grant that I am
right. Do you not see that the prince has availed himself of our
absence to go there, and has not yet returned?"

"What!" shrieked Woellner, clasping his hands--" you do not mean

"That Rinaldo has returned to the enchanted garden of Armida."

"Oh, let us hasten to release him at once, and revue his soul from
perdition!" cried Woellner, springing up.

"On the contrary, let us await him here without a word of reproach
upon his return. This will touch his tender heart which we must work
upon, if we would get him into our power, for to us he must belong.
Fill our glasses with the sparkling wine, and drink to the contract
with Wilhelmine Enke."

Just as merrily they quaffed the champagne in the little cosy
dining-room at Charlottenburg, where the prince and Wilhelmine were
rejoicing over a reconciliation, no one being present but the two
children. Their joyous laugh and innocent jests delighted the
father, and the beaming eyes, sweet smile, and witty conversation of
his favorite, filled his heart with pleasure.

Not a word of reproach escaped her, but exultant and joyous she
hastened with outstretched arms to meet him, kissing away all his
attempts to implore pardon, and thanking him that he had returned to

At first the prince gave himself up to the joy of the reunion with
his beloved Wilhelmine sad children; but now, as the first outburst
had passed, the quiet, happy dinner being finished, and they had
returned to the sitting-room, a tinge of melancholy earnestness
overshadowed his amiable face.

Wilhelmine threw her arms gently around his neck as she sat beside
him upon the divan, and looked up to him with a tender questioning
glance. "Your thoughts are veiled, dearest; will you not confide to
me that which lies concealed there?"

"Ah, Wilhelmine, it is a mourning veil, and hides the sorrow of

"I do not understand you, Frederick," she smilingly replied. "Who
could compel you to an abnegation which would cause you grief?"

"Listen to me, Wilhelmine, and understand that I am suffering from
circumstances--an oath taken in the pressure of the moment. Try to
comprehend me, my dear child."

Drawing her closer to him, he faithfully related to her the night of
the communion of the spirits, and his consequent oath.

"Is that all, my dear?" she replied, smiling, as he finished.

"What do you mean?" he asked, astonished.

"Nothing more than I would know if you have only sworn to renounce
Wilhelmine Enke!"

"What could I have done more prejudicial to you?" he cried, not a
little irritated.

"Surely you could not injure or grieve me more, and therefore I am
not a little surprised that the pious Fathers could so carelessly
word their oaths. You have sworn to renounce your affection to and
separate from Wilhelmine Enke; so it follows that the Invisibles
only demand that you give up my name, not myself, and that is easily
changed, and my dear prince will not become a perjurer."

"I do not quite understand you; but I perceive by the arch
expression of your face that you have conceived a lucky escape for
your unhappy Frederick William. Explain to me, dearest, your

"I must change my name by marrying some one!" she whispered.

"Marry! and I give you to another? I will never consent to that," he
cried, alarmed.

"Not to a husband, only a name," said she. "These Rosicrucians are
such extraordinarily virtuous and pure beings, loving you so
infinitely and disinterestedly, that it grieves them that my love
for you does not shun the light, and throw over itself the mantle of
hypocritical virtue! We will yield to the zealous purity of the
Rosicrucians," continued Wilhelmine, her eyes sparkling, "and wrap
this Wilhelmine Enke in a mantle of virtue by giving her a husband;
and then, when she walks out with her children the passers-by will
not have to blush with shame, and cry, 'There goes the miss with her
children!' I have conceived and planned during this long and painful
separation, and I am resolved to submit humbly to the pious Fathers,
who are so zealously watchful for the salvation of your soul and my
good fame."

"That is to say, you are determined to snap your fingers at them!
Your plan is a good one, but you will find no one to aid you in a
sham marriage!"

"I have already found one," whispered Wilhelmine, smiling. "Your
valet de chambre Rietz is willing to stand with me in a sham

"My body-servant!"

"Yes, Frederick William! You will confess that I am not ambitious,
and only consent to it to secure our happiness from the persecution
of these virtuous men. Here is the contract," said she, drawing from
her dress-pocket a paper, which she unfolded. "He promises to give
me his name, and regard me as a stranger always, for the sum of four
hundred thalers annually, with the promise of promotion to
confidential servant when the noble crown prince shall ascend the
throne. [Footnote: Historical.--See F Forster, "Latest Prussian
History," vol. 1., p. 74] Will you sign it?"

"I will do any thing that will grant me your affection, in spite of
my unhappy oath. Give me the paper. I will sign it. When is the

"The moment that you, my dear lord and master, have inscribed your
name," said Wilhelmine, handing him the pen, and pointing to the

The prince wrote the desired signature, quickly throwing the pen
across the room, shouting, "Long live Wilhelmine Rietz, who has
rescued me from perjury and sin! Come to my arms, outstretched to
press to my heart the most beautiful, most intelligent, and most
diplomatic of women!"

Two days later it was related in Berlin that Wilhelmine Enke had
married the princely valet de chambre Rietz, the crown prince being
present at the ceremony, which took place at a small village near

Under the head of marriages, the Berlin newspapers announced
"Wilhelmine Enke to Carl Rietz."

"Ah, my Rosicrucians," cried Wilhelmine, laughingly, as she read
this notice, a mischievous triumph sparkling in her eyes; "ah, my
heroes in virtue, for once you are outwitted, and I am victorious! I
would like to witness their surprise. How they will laugh and swear
over it! The favorite of a prince married to a valet de chambre!
Wait until the prince becomes a king, then Wilhelmine Rietz will
develop into a beautiful butterfly, and the wife of the valet de
chambre will become a countess--nay, a princess. The Great Kophta
has promised it, and he shall keep his word. I wear his ring, which
sparkles and glistens, although the jeweller declares the diamond
has been exchanged for a false stone. No matter, if it only shines
like the real one. Every thing earthly is deception, falsehood, and
glitter. Every one is storming and pressing on in savage eagerness
toward fortune, honor, and fame! I will have my part in it. The
storm and pressure of the world rage in my own heart. The fire of
ambition is lighted in my soul, and the insatiable thirst for
fortune consumes me. Blaze and burn until the day that Frederick
William ascends the throne; then the low-born daughter of the
trumpeter will become the high-born countess. The false stone will
change to the sparkling diamond and Cagliostro shall then serve me."



Since the soiree at the house of the rich banker, Ebenstreit, an
entire winter had passed in pleasures and fetes. The position of
Baron Ebenstreit von Leuthen had been recognized in aristocratic
society, thanks to his dinners, soirees, balls, fetes, and
particularly to his lovely, spirited, and proud wife. Herr
Ebenstreit von Leuthen had reached the acme of his ambition; his
house was the resort of the most distinguished society; the
extravagance and superb arrangements of his dinners and fetes were
the theme of every tongue. This excessive admiration flattered the
vain, ambitious parvenu extremely, and it was the happiest day of
his life when Prince Henry of Prussia, brother of Frederick the
Great, did him the unspeakable honor to dine with him. This
gratifying day he owed to his wife, and, as he said, it ought to be
kept as the greatest triumph of money over prejudice and etiquette--
the day upon which a royal prince recognized the rich and newly-
created noble as his equal. Ebenstreit's entrance into the highest
circle of aristocracy was due to the management and tone of the
world of his wife, who understood the elegancies of life, passing as
an example and ideal of an elegant woman, of which her husband was
very proud. He lauded his original and crafty idea of devoting his
money to such a satisfactory purchase as a sensible and ladylike
wife, although the union was not a happy one, and, in the proper
acceptation of the word, no marriage at all.

Whilst all were entertained at the fetes, and envied the splendor
and wealth of Baron von Ebenstreit, there were many sinister remarks
as to the possibility of sustaining this expenditure upon such a
grand scale. It was whispered about that the banking-house,
conducted under another name, had lost in extensive speculations,
and that the baron lived upon his principal instead of his interest.
The business community declared that the firm entered into the most
daring and senseless undertakings, and that it must go to ruin. The
old book-keeper, Splittgerber, who had for many years conducted the
business, had been pensioned by the baron, and commenced for
himself. His successor had once ventured to warn the nobleman, and
represent to him the danger which threatened him, for which he was
immediately dismissed, and the fact communicated to the entire
house, at a special assemblage of the clerks for the purpose, with
the warning of a like fate for every subordinate who should presume
to criticise the acts of the principals, or proffer advice to them.
Since this no one had ventured to repeat the offence, but every
member of the house occupied himself in drawing a profit from the
general and daily increasing confusion, and save something from the
wreck which would inevitably ensue. The baron, with pretentious
unconcern, dazzled by his unusual honors, permitted his business
affairs to take their course with smiling unconcern, and when
unsuccessful, to hide the mistakes of the banker under the pomp of
the baron.

Marie, indulging in the style of a great lady, appeared not to
notice or trouble herself at all about these things. She entertained
most luxuriantly, and spent enormous sums upon her toilet, changed
the costly livery of her numerous retinue of servants every month,
as well as the furniture of the drawing-rooms; and presented with
generous liberality her superfluous ornaments, dresses, and
furniture to her dear high-born friends, who greedily accepted them,
and were overflowing in their tender protestations and gratitude,
whilst they in secret revolted at the presumption of the arrogant
woman, who permitted herself to send them her cast-off things.

They rejoiced to receive them, however, and reappeared in her
splendid drawing-rooms, enduring the pride and neglect of the
baroness, and calling her their dear friend, whom they in secret
envied and hated.

Did Marie know this, or did she let herself be deceived by these
friendly protestations? Occasionally, when her friends embraced and
kissed her, a languid smile flitted over her haughty face; and once
as she wandered through the suite of rooms, awaiting her guests, she
caught the reflection of a beautiful woman in the costly Venetian
mirrors, sparkling with diamonds and wearing a silver-embroidered
dress with a train. She gazed at this woman with an expression of
ineffable scorn, and whispered to her: "Suffer yet awhile, you shall
soon be released. This miserable trash will disappear. Only be firm-
-I hear already the cracking of the house which will soon fall a
wreck at your feet!"

Others heard it also. As preparations were being made for a grand
dinner, with which the Baron and Baroness von Ebenstreit would close
the season, the former head bookkeeper of the baron appeared at the
palace, demanding, with anxious mien, to see the principal.

Just at the moment the baron and his wife were in the large
reception-room, which the decorator was splendidly arranging, under
the direction of the baroness, with flowers, festoons, columns, and
statues. Ebenstreit was watching admiringly the tasteful and costly
display as the footman announced the former book-keeper and present
banker, Splittgerber.

"He must come at another time," cried Ebenstreit, impatiently, "I am
busy now; I--"

"Excuse me, baron," replied an earnest, gentle voice behind him,
"that I have followed the lackey and entered unbidden. I come on
urgent business, and I must indeed speak with you instantly!"

"Be brief then, at least," cried Ebenstreit, peevishly. "You see
that my wife is here, and we are very busy arranging for a grand
dinner to-day."

Herr Splittgerber, instead of replying, cast a peculiarly sad,
searching glance through the beautifully-adorned room, and at the
two lackeys, who stood on each side of the wide folding-doors.

"Permit that these servants withdraw, and order them to close the
doors," said the book-keeper, almost commandingly. Ebenstreit,
overruled by the solemn earnestness, obeyed against his will.

"Would you like me to leave also, sir?" said Marie, with a calm,
haughty manner. "You have only to ask it and the baron will,
undoubtedly, accord your request."

"On the contrary, I beg you to remain," quietly replied
Splittgerber, "for what I have to say concerns you and your husband

"Now, then, I beg you to say it quickly," cried Ebenstreit,
impatiently; "I repeat, that we are very busy with preparing for to-
day's festival."

"You will not give any fete to-day," said Splittgerber, solemnly.

Ebenstreit, cringing and frightened, gazed at the old man who looked
sadly at him.

The baroness laughed aloud, sneeringly. "My dear sir, your tone and
manner remind me of the wicked spirit at the horrible moment in the
story when be comes to demand the bartered soul, and the enchanted
castle falls a wreck!"

"Your comparison is an apt one, baroness," sighed the old man.--"I
came to you, baron, because I loved your father. I have served your
house thirty years, and amassed the little I had to commence
business with in your service. Moreover, when you so suddenly
dismissed me, you not only gave me my salary as a pension, but you
funded the annuity with a considerable sum, which makes me, through
your house, independent in means."

"You may thank my wife for that. She demanded, when I dismissed you,
that I should compensate you with the liberality of a true

"Oh, would that you had not done it, baroness!" cried Splittgerber--
"would that you had permitted the old faithful pioneer in the
business to remain by your husband! He might have warded off this
misfortune and saved you by his experience and advice."

"For this very reason I demanded your removal. You permitted
yourself to proffer advice which I felt did not become you," replied
Marie, with a strange smile of triumph.

"And, I repeat, would that you had not done it!" sighed the old man.
"I came to warn you, to conjure you, to save yourselves--to flee
while there is yet time."

"Oh, mercy! what has happened?" cried Ebenstreit, terrified.

"The banking-house of Ebenstreit, founded under the name of Ludwig,
associated with Ehlert of Amsterdam, four months since, to buy and
load ships for the Calcutta market. Herr Ebenstreit gathered
together the last wrecks of his fortune remaining from his ruinous
speculations, to win enormously in this investment. Besides, he
indorsed the notes of the Amsterdam house for the sum of eighty
thousand dollars, which has been drawn, so that their notes are
protested there. Herr Ebenstreit will have to pay this sum!"

"What else?" asked Ebenstreit, almost breathless.

"The house of Ehlert, in Amsterdam, has failed; the principal has
fled with the coffers; the notes for eighty thousand dollars were
protested, and you, baron, must pay this sum to-day, or declare
yourself a bankrupt, and go to prison for debt."

Instantaneously a suppressed cry and a laugh were heard. Ebenstreit
sank upon a seat, concealing his pallid face with his hands, while
Marie stood at his side, her face beaming with joy.

"I am lost, I do not possess the eighth part of that sum! I cannot
pay it. I must submit, for there are no further means to prevent

"No," replied Marie, with haughty tranquillity, "you have no further
means to prevent it. The rich banker Ebenstreit will leave this
house, no longer his own, to enter the debtor's prison poor as a
beggar--nay, worse, a defrauder!"

"Oh, how cruel you are!" groaned Ebenstreit.

"Did you say, baroness, that this house is no longer his?" asked
Splittgerber, alarmed.

"No," she triumphantly cried. "It belongs to me, and all that is in
it--the pictures, statues, silver, diamonds, and pearls. Oh, I am
still a rich woman!"

"And do you mean to retain this wealth if your husband becomes
bankrupt? Do you not possess a common interest?" asked Splittgerber.

"No, thank Heaven, the community of interest was given up a year
since," cried Ebenstreit, joyfully. "Baroness von Ebenstreit is the
lawful possessor of this house and furniture. I was not so
indiscreet as you supposed. I have at least secured this to my wife,
and she will be a rich woman even if I fail, and will not let me
starve. I shall divide about ten per cent with my creditors, but my
wife will be rich enough for us both."

"This gives me to understand that you intend to make a fraudulent
bankruptcy. You have settled every thing upon your wife to save
yourself from the unhappy consequences of your failure. You will
still be a rich man if your wife should sell her house, works of
art, diamonds, gold and silver service, and equipages."

"Yes, indeed, a very rich man," said Marie. "In the last few weeks I
have had my property estimated, and it would at least bring three
hundred thousand dollars."

"If the baron only possessed this, he could pay his creditors, and
have a small amount over, sufficient to live upon economically and
genteelly. But you would rather enjoy splendor, and are not
particular about living honorably. You will undoubtedly sell your
property, and go to Paris, to revel in luxury and pleasure, while
your defrauded creditors may, through you come to poverty and want.-
-Baron, I now see that your wife did well to bring about my removal.
I should have, above all things, given you the unwelcome advice to
sustain your honor unblemished, and dispose of your costly
surroundings for the benefit of your creditors, that when you die it
may be with a clear conscience. You prefer a life of luxury and
ease, rocking your conscience to sleep until God will rouse it to a
fearful awaking. But do as you like. I came here to offer you
assistance, thinking that you would dispose of this property, and
after paying your creditors have sufficient to live upon. Then I
could be permitted to prove my fidelity to you. I now see that I was
a fool. Yet in parting I will still beg of you to avoid the
unfavorable impression of this dinner. The bill of exchange will be
presented at four o'clock, and the bearer will not be satisfied with
the excuse of your non-payment on account of dinner-company. You
will be obliged to settle at once or be arrested. I have learned
this from your chief creditor, and I begged him to have forbearance
for you. I shall now justify him in showing you none, as you do not
deserve it!--Farewell!"

The old book-keeper turned with a slight nod, and strode away
through the drawing-room.

"Have you nothing to say to him? Will you let him go thus?" asked
Marie, impetuously.

"Nothing at all. What should I say?" he replied, shrugging his

"Then I will speak with him." Marie called loudly after
Splittgerber, saying, "I have a word to speak to you."

The book-keeper remained standing near the door, and turning with
downcast face, demanded of Marie what she wished.

"I have something to tell you," she replied, with her usual
tranquil, proud demeanor, approaching Splittgerber, who regarded her
with severity and contempt, which she met with a gentle, friendly
expression, a sweet smile hovering on her lips.

Marie came close up to the old man, who awaited her with haughty
defiance, and never advanced one step to meet her--a lady splendidly
bedecked with diamonds and gold-embroidered satin. She whispered a
few words in his ear. He started, and, astonished, looked into her
face, as if questioning what he heard. She nodded, smiling, and bent
again to say a few words.

Suddenly Splittgerber seemed metamorphosed. His gloomy face
brightened a little, and his insolent glance was changed to one of
deep emotion, Bowing profoundly as he held the baroness's proffered
hand to take leave, he pressed it most respectfully to his lips.

"You will return in an hour?" Marie asked.

"Yes; I shall seek the gentlemen, and bring them with me," he
graciously replied.

"Thanks; I will then await you."

Splittgerber departed, and Marie returned to Ebenstreit who, amazed,
muttered some unintelligible words, having listened to her
mysterious conversation with the old book-keeper.

"Now to you, sir!" said she, her whole tone and manner changing to
harsh command; "the hour for settling our accounts has arrived--the
hour that I have awaited, purchasing it by four years of torture,
self-contempt, and despair. This comedy is at an end. I will buy of
you my freedom. Do you hear me? I will cast off these galley-chains.
I will be free!"

"Oh, Marie!" he cried, retreating in terror, "with what fearful
detestation you regard me!"

"Do you wonder at it? Have I ever concealed this hate from you, or
ever given you hope to believe that a reconciliation would be
possible between us?"

"No, truly you have not, but now you will forgive me, for you know
how I love you, and have provided for your future. You will remain
rich, and I shall be poor."

Marie regarded him with unspeakable contempt. "You are more
despicable than I thought you were. You do not deserve forbearance
or pity, for you are a dishonorable bankrupt, who cares not how much
others may suffer, provided his future is secured. I will not,
however, suffer the name which I have borne against my will, to be
defamed and become a mark for scorn. I will compel you to remain an
honest man, and be just to your creditors. I propose to pay the
bills of exchange, which will be presented to you to-day, provided
you will consent to my conditions."

"Oh, Marie, you are an angel!" he cried, rushing toward her and
kneeling at her feet, "I will do all that you wish, and consent to
every thing you propose."

"Will you swear it?" she coldly replied.

"I swear that I accept your conditions."

"Bring the writing-materials from the window-niche, and seat
yourself by this table."

Ebenstreit brought them, and seated himself by the Florentine mosaic
table, near which Marie was standing.

She drew from her pocket a paper, which she unfolded and placed
before him to sign. "Sign this with your full name, and add, 'With
my own free will and consent,'" she commandingly ordered him.

"But you will first make known to me the contents?"

"You have sworn to sign it," she said, "and unless you accept my
conditions, you are welcome to be incarcerated for life in the
debtor's prison. You have only to choose. If you decide in the
negative, I will exert myself that your creditors do not free you. I
should trust in the justice of God having sent you there, and that
man in miserable pity should not act against His will in freeing
you. Now decide; will you sign the paper, or go to prison as a
dishonorable bankrupt?"

He hastily seized the pen and wrote his name, handing the paper to
Marie, sighing.

"You have forgotten to add the clause, 'With my own free will and
consent,'" she replied, hastily glancing at it, letting the paper
drop like a wilted leaf, and her eyes flashing with scorn.

Ebenstreit saw it, and as he again handed her the paper, he
exclaimed, "I read in your eyes the intense hate you bear me."

"Yes," she replied, composedly, "not only hate, but scorn. Hush! no
response. You knew it long before I was forced to stand at the altar
with you. I warned you not to unite yourself to me, and you had the
impious audacity to defy me with your riches. The seed of hate which
you then sowed, you may to-day reap the fruits of. You shall
recognize now that money is miserable trash, and that when deprived
of it you will never win sympathy from your so-called friends, but
they will turn from you with contempt, when you crave their pity or

"I think that you exaggerate, dearest," said Ebenstreit, fawningly.
"You have many devoted friends among the ladies, and I can well say
that I have found, among the distinguished gentlemen who visit our
house, many noble, excellent ones who have met me with a warmth of

"Because they would borrow money of the rich man," interrupted

"Of course my coffers have always been accessible to my dear
friends, and I prized the honor of proving my friendship by my

"You will realize to-day how they prove their gratitude to you for
it. Go, receive the good friends whom you have invited. It is time
that they were here, and I perceive the carriages are approaching,"

Marie motioned to the door, with a dictatorial wave of her hand, and
Ebenstreit betook himself to the reception-room. Just as he crossed
the threshold, the usher announced "Herr Gedicke! Ebenstreit greeted
him hastily in passing, and the old man went on to meet the
baroness, who was hastening toward him.

"You have most graciously invited me to your house to-day, and you
will excuse me that my earnest wish to see you has brought me
earlier than any other guest."

"I begged you to come a quarter of an hour sooner, for I would
gladly speak with you alone a few moments,"

"I thought so, and hastened up here."

"Did not my old Trude go to see you some days since?" asked Marie,

"She did, and you can well understand that I was much affected and
surprised at her visit. I thought that you had forgotten me,
baroness, and that every souvenir of the past had fled from your
memory. I now see that your noble, faithful heart can never forget,
and therefore has never ceased to suffer, which I ought to regret,
for your sake, but for my own it pleased me to receive your kind

Marie pressed her hand to her eyes and sighed audibly. "Pray do not
speak so gently to me--it enervates me, and I would force myself to
endure to-day. Only tell me, did Trude communicate to you my wishes,
and will it be possible for you to fulfil them?"

"Your brave, good friend brought me a thousand dollars, praying me
to convey this to Herr Moritz in order to defray the expenses of a
journey to Italy."

"Have you accomplished it, and in such a manner that he does not
suspect the source from whence it came? He would not receive it if
he had the least suspicion of it. I have seen him secretly several
times as he passed to and fro from the Gymnasium, and he appeared to
me to grow paler and more languid every day."

"It is true that since you have come back he has changed. The old
melancholy seems to have returned."

"He needs distraction; he must go away and forget me. It has always
been his earnest wish to travel in Italy. You must tell him that you
have succeeded in getting the money for him."

"I bethought myself of Moritz's publisher, represented to him how
necessary it was for the health of Professor Moritz to travel,
begged of him to order a work upon Italy, and particularly the works
of art of Rome, and propose to Moritz the acceptance of the money
for that object, as he was quite too proud to receive it as a

"That was an excellent idea," cried Marie. "Has it been

"Yes, as Herr Maurer made the proposal, and Moritz replied, sighing,
that he had not the means for such a journey, the publisher
immediately offered him half of the remuneration in advance;
consequently he starts to-morrow for Italy, unknowing of the
thousand dollars being your gift." [Footnote: This work, which was
published after his return, still excites the highest interest, and
is entitled "Travels of a German in Italy during 1786 and 1787.--
Letters of Philip Carl Moritz," 8 vols., Berlin, published by
Frederick Maurer.]

"How much I thank you!" she joyfully cried. "Moritz is saved; he
will now recover, and forget all his grief in studying the objects
of interest in the Eternal City."

"Do you really believe that?" asked Herr Gedicke. "Were you not also
in Italy?"

"I was indeed there two years, but it was very different with me. It
is difficult to forget you are a slave, when listening all the while
to the clanking of your chains."

"My poor child, I read with sorrow the history of the past years in
your grief-stricken face. It is the first time we have met since
your marriage."

"See what these years have made of me!--a miserable wife, whom the
world esteems, but who recoils from herself. My heart has changed to
stone, and I feel metamorphosed. The sight of you recalls that
fearful hour, melting my heart and causing the tears to flow. At
that time you blessed me, my friend and father. Oh, grant me your
blessing again in this hour of sorrow! I implore you for it, before
an important decision! I long for the sympathy of a noble soul!"

"I know not, my child, with what grief this hour may be laden for
you; but I lay my hand again upon your head, imploring God in His
divine mercy to sustain you!"

"Countess von Moltke and Frau von Morien!" announced the usher. In
brilliant toilets the ladies rustled in, hastening toward the
baroness, who had now regained her wonted composure, and received
them in her usual stately manner.

"How perfectly charming you look to-night!" cried Countess Moltke.
"To me you are ever the impersonation of the goddess of wealth and
beauty strewing everywhere with lavish generosity your gifts, and
turning every thing to gold with your touch."

"But whose heart has remained tender and gentle," added Frau von
Morien.--"You are indeed a goddess, always enhancing the pleasures
of others. To-day I wear the beautiful bracelet which you sent me
because I admired it."

"And I, ma toute belle," cried the countess, "have adorned myself
with this superb gold brocade which you so kindly had sent from
Paris for me."

"You have forgotten, countess, that you begged of me to give the
order for you."

"Ah, that is true! Then I am your debtor."

"If you are not too proud to receive it as a present?"

"Oh, most certainly not; on the contrary, I thank you, my dear.--
Tell me, my dear Morien, is not this woman an angel?"

At this instant the French ambassador, Marquis Treves, appeared
among the numerous guests, whom the baroness stepped quickly forward
to welcome, withdrawing with him into the window-niche.

"Welcome, marquis," she said, quickly, in a low voice, "Have you
brought me the promised papers?"

Drawing a sealed packet from his coat-pocket, he handed it to the
baroness with a low bow, saying: "I would draw your attention to the
fact once more, dear madam, that I have abided by the price named by
yourself, in making this sale, although I am still of the opinion
that it is below its value."

"The sum is sufficient for my wants, and I rated its value according
as it is taxed."

"There are a hundred thousand dollars in bills of exchange, payable
at the French embassy at any moment," said the marquis.

"I thank you, sir, for this proof of friendly attention; and as it
may be the last time we meet, I would assure you that I shall always
remember your many and thoughtful kindnesses."

"You speak, baroness, as if you would forsake the circle of which
you are the brightest ornament."

"No, the friends will forsake me," she replied, with a peculiar
smile. "Ere an hour shall pass not one of all these numerous guests
will remain here.--Ah, there comes the decision! See there,

The usher announced "Banker Splittgerber." The old man entered
followed by two men of not very presentable appearance, and whose
toilet was but little in keeping with the brilliantly-decorated room
and the aristocratic guests.

Never heeding the sneers nor contemptuous smiles, the faithful book-
keeper wound his way, through the crowd of elegantly dressed ladies
and gentlemen, accompanied by the two men, up to Ebenstreit, who,
with instinctive politeness, had placed himself near Marie.

"Gentlemen," said Splittgerber, in a loud voice, "this is Baron
Ebenstreit von Leuthen, principal of the banking-house Ludwig."

The two gentlemen approached, one of them saying, "They sent us here
from your office."

"This is not the place for business," replied Ebenstreit. "Follow

"No, gentlemen, remain here," cried Marie. "Our guests present are
such intimate, devoted friends that we have nothing to conceal from
them; but on the contrary, I am convinced they will only be too
happy of the occasion to prove their friendship, of which they have
so often assured us.--These gentlemen demand the payment of a bill
of exchange for eighty thousand dollars. Take my portfolio,
Ebenstreit; there is a pencil in it. Go around and make a
collection; undoubtedly the entire sum will be soon noted down."

Ebenstreit approached the Baron von Frankenstein, saying: "Pardon me
if I recall to your memory the sum of one thousand louis d'ors, due
for four black horses three months since."

"My dear sir," cried the baron, "this is a strange manner to collect
one's debts. We were invited to a feast, and a pistol is pointed at
us, demanding our debts to be cancelled!"

"How strange! How ridiculous!" heard one here and there among the
guests, as they, with one accord, pressed toward the door to make
their exit, which they found fastened.

"Remain," cried Marie, with stately dignity. "I wish you honored
guests to be witness of this scene in the hour of justification, as
you were also present at the one when one of the noblest and best of
men cursed me.--Banker Splittgerber, take these bills of exchange
for one hundred thousand dollars. Pay these gentlemen, and devote
the remainder to the other debts as far as it will go."

As the three men withdrew by a side-drier, Marie exclaimed: "I will
now explain to you that Baron von Leuthen is ruined--poor as a
beggar when he will not work."

"Marie," cried Ebenstreit, terrified, rushing toward her, and
seizing her by the arm. "Marie--"

She threw off his hand from her in anger. "Do not touch me, sir, and
do not presume either to address me with any endearments. You have
yourself said that our marriage was not a veritable one, but was
like the union of associates in business, and now I would inform you
it is dissolved: the one is a bankrupt; the other a woman whom you
cursed, and who reclaims of you four years of shame and degradation.
You wonder at my speaking thus, but you do not know this man, my

As she spoke, a door opened at the farther end of the room, and
Trude entered in her simple dress, followed by Philip Moritz.
Unobserved the two glided behind the charming grotto which had been
arranged with flowers and wreaths in one of the niches. Every eye
was turned upon the pale, stately beauty, erect in the centre of the

"Stay here, for no one can see us," whispered Trude. "I could not
bear to have you leave Berlin without hearing the justification of
my dear Marie, and may God pardon me for letting you come here
unbeknown to her! Listen, and pray to Him to forgive you the great
injustice that you have done her. Be quiet, that no one may see you,
and Marie be angry with her old Trude."

"Yes," continued Marie, with chilling contempt, "you should know
this man before whom you have all bowed, pressed the hand, and
called your friend, because he was rich, and, thanks to his wealth
alone, became a titled man--a baron, buying the hand of a poor but
noble maiden, whom he knew despised him, and passionately loved
another, having sworn eternal constancy to him. I am that young
girl. I begged, nay implored him, not to pursue me, but he was void
of pity, mocked my tears, and said he could buy my love, and my
heart would at last be touched by the influence of his wealth. I
should have preferred to die, but Fate ordered that the one I loved,
by my fault, should by imprisonment atone our brief dream of bliss.
I could only save him by accepting this man; these were the
conditions. I became his wife before the world, and took my oath in
his presence to revenge myself, and after four years I shall
accomplish it. I have spent his money, and of the rich man made a
beggar. God be praised, I can now revenge myself in freeing myself!"

"Free yourself? It is not true! You are my wife still," replied
Ebenstreit, alarmed.

A radiant smile flitted over Marie's face as she defied Ebenstreit
with the law of the Great Frederick, who had decided that every
unhappy couple without offspring could separate by their own free
will and consent, having signed a paper to that effect.

"Is that the paper which you have made me sign?" cried Ebenstreit,

"Yes, drawn up by my notary, and both of our names are signed to

"It is a fraud!" cried Ebenstreit. "I will protest against it."

"Do it, and you will find it a vain effort. I promised to pay your
debt if you would put your name to the document then placed before
you, which you did. Ask the Marquis Treves how I paid your debts: he
will answer you that he has given me the money."

"I had the honor to pay to the baroness one hundred thousand
dollars, as she rightly informs you."

"Yes," continued Marie, "the marquis is the present possessor of
this house and all that it contains--furniture, statues, and
pictures; also the equipages and silver. To my mother I sent my
diamonds, costly laces, and dresses, to indemnify her for the
annuity which Herr von Ebenstreit settled upon her as purchase-money
which he cannot pay, now that he is ruined."

"Marquis," cried Ebenstreit, pale with anger, "have you really
bought this house and its contents?"

"I have done so, and the one hundred thousand dollars the baroness
has paid over to Herr Splittgerber."

"Oh! I am ruined," groaned Ebenstreit--" I am lost!" and, covering
his face with his hands, he rushed from the room.

Marie gazed at him with a sad expression, saying: "Ladies and
gentlemen, you now know to whom this house belongs. You can no
longer say that I am the daughter whom the late General von Leuthen
sold to a rich man. I am free!"

At this moment a side-door opened, and Frau von Leuthen was heard
saying to old Trude: "Let me in! it is in vain to hold me back. I
will have an explanation from my daughter, and learn what all this
means." As she pushed herself into the room, she exclaimed: "Ah, it
is a fete day! There is the baroness in all her glory and splendor.
She is not crazed, as I feared this morning, when she sent me all
her ornaments and fine dresses and laces, with a note, sealed with
black, inscribed upon it, 'Will Of the Baroness Ebenstreit von
Leuthen.' I opened it, and read: 'I give to my mother my precious
ornaments, laces, and dresses, to secure to her the pension which
she has lost.--Marie. 'I came here to learn if my daughter were
dead, and what the conclusion of this lost pension may be, and I

"You find the confirmation of all that I wrote to you," replied
Marie, coldly. "Baron Ebenstreit von Leuthen is ruined. I have
secured to you, in the sum which my jewels and laces will bring you,
the annuity, so that you have not lost the money promised you for
your daughter, and the marriage you have arranged has at least borne
good fruit to you."

"You are a cruel, ungrateful child," cried the mother. "I have long
known it, and rejected you from my heart, and from all shame I will
yet protect the name you bear. I have just seen a sign in the
Friedrich-strasse, 'Flower manufactory of Marie von Leuthen.' What
does this mean? Terrified, I stared speechless at these fearful
words, and at the busy workmen preparing the house."

"I will explain it to you," cried Marie, with radiant mien. "I have
again become the flower-maker, and beg your favor, Countess von
Moltke, Frau von Morien, and all the other ladies. I am free, and no
longer the wife of a hated husband--no longer the distinguished and
wealthy woman. All delusion and mockery have vanished. The costly
dress and jewels that I now wear I will cast of from me as the last
souvenir of the past."

Unclasping the diamond necklace and bracelets, she handed them to
her mother, saying: "Take them, and also this dress, the last finery
I possess." She unloosed the band, and the long white satin train
fell at her feet. Emerging from it as from a silvery cloud, she
stood before them in a simple white dress, as she was clothed in her
girlhood. "Take them all," she joyfully cried. "Take them, mother,
it is all past. I am now myself again. Farewell, witnesses of this
scene! I now quit your circle; and you, my mother, I forgive you;
may the thoughts of your unhappy child never trouble you, waking or
sleeping; may you forget that your daughter lives, and is wretched.
Revenge has not softened my grief, or removed your curse from my

"I will lift it off your brow, Marie!" cried Moritz, suddenly
appearing from the window-niche, with beaming face and outstretched
arms, approaching Marie, whom surprised and alarmed, retreated. "Oh,
noble, courageous woman, forgive me that I have been an unbidden
witness to this scene, though by this means I now clearly recognize
your strength of mind, and elevation of soul, and the wrong that I
have committed in doubting and cursing you during these four years
of gloom and despair. I bow before you, Marie, and implore you, upon
my knees, to forgive me all the cruel, harsh words that I have
uttered--that I have dared as a wretched fool to doubt you in this
long night of despair. The day is dawning again upon us; a new sun
will yet cheer us with its rays. Do not turn from me, but look at
me, and grant me forgiveness.--My dear friend and father, speak for
me, for you know what I have suffered. Beg of her to forgive me."

"Marie," said the venerable old man, approaching her, gently putting
his arm around her, "God has willed that you, my poor, long-tried
child, should pass through a season of extreme sorrow. You are now
released, and all that belonged to you has vanished!"

As he spoke, he signed to the guests to withdraw. Many had already
escaped the painful scene by the side-door. Marie was now alone in
the magnificent apartment, with Herr Gedicke and Moritz. She still
stood, with concealed face, in the centre of the room.

"Oh, Marie," implored Moritz, "hide not your dear face from me! Read
in mine the deep grief of the past and the bliss of the future. I
thank God that this unnatural union is severed, and that you are
free. Be courageous to the end!" Moritz impetuously drew her hand
away, revealing her tearful countenance, as her head sank. upon his
shoulder. "Can you not forgive me, Marie?" he cried, with deep
emotion. "We have both wandered through a waste of grief, and now
approach life radiant with happiness. Oh, speak to me, Marie; can
you not love me and forgive me?"

She gazed into his eyes, and in their depths read that which
gradually softened her hardened features, and caused a smile to play
upon her lip. "I love you dearly, devotedly; let this be our parting
word. Go forth into the world, Moritz; my affection will follow you
whithersoever you wander, and my soul will be true to you through
all eternity, though we are forever separated. The poor wife, with
her dismal retrospections, must not cast a shadow upon your future.
Go, my beloved--Italy awaits you, and art will console you!"

"Follow me, dear Marie; only by your side am I happy. You are free
and independent," cried Moritz.

"Oh, father," cried Marie, leaning upon the venerable old man,
"explain to him that I am still the wife of that hated man!"

"She is right, Philip; do not urge her further. She must first be
legally separated, and this weary heart must have time to recover
its wonted calm. Go to Italy, and confide your future and happiness
to my care. Marie has lost a mother, but she shall find a father in
me. I will watch over her until your return."

Just then the door opened, and Trude entered. "Every thing is ready;
all the things which used to stand in the little garret-room are
packed and sent to the manufactory. Shall we go, too, dear child?"

"Yes," she cried, embracing the faithful old woman. "Farewell,
Philip--Italy calls you!"

"I will go, but when I return will you not be my wife?"

Marie gazed at Moritz, radiant with happiness, saying: "The answer
is engraven upon my heart. Return, and then I will joyfully respond
to your love before God and man!"

Book of the day: