Part 5 out of 13
fulfilled? The family of Mazarin have, one and all, been given over
to persecution and injustice, and that by a sovereign who--"
"Prince," cried Louis, "you forget that you address your king!"
"My king! when has your conduct ever been to me that of a king, and
therefore of a father? I know that my uncle was once king of the
King of France; and by the God above us! he was a gracious monarch,
for he left to his successor a prosperous kingdom and an overflowing
"Which was not fuller than his own private purse," retorted Louis.
"The cardinal named you his heir, sire--why did you not accept the
"Because I would not enrich myself at the expense of his family,"
replied Louis, haughtily.
"Because you knew very well that what you affected to relinquish,
that the world might admire your magnanimity, you intended to take
back by piecemeal. And to do this, you have persecuted the unhappy
family of your best friend with au ingenuity of malice that is
beneath the dignity not only of your station, but of your manhood!"
"Sire," cried Madame de Maintenon, hastening to the king, "I beseech
you, drive from your presence this insolent madman."
"Let him speak," said Louis, in a voice of suppressed rage. "I wish
to see how far he will carry his presumption."
"Sire, it reaches past your crown, as far as the judgment-seat of
God, where it stands as your accuser. Sire, what have we done to
merit your aversion? My mother--that you allowed your minions to
traduce and drive her into exile? My father--who fought and bled for
you, that you offered him public insult, and so wounded his proud
spirit, that he died from the effects of your cruelty? My sisters--
that you have robbed them of their patrimony! And I!--what have I
done that you should hold me up to the mockery of your court, and
deny me the paltry boon of a petty commission in your army? I had
forgiven your public affronts, so unworthy of a king and a
gentleman; and I had offered my hand and sword to your majesty as
proofs of my loyalty and superiority to resentment. As a kinsman and
your subject you have repulsed me: for the future, know me as an
alien and enemy."
The king laughed scornfully. "Puny braggart, what care I for your
"Time will show, sire; and, as truly as a lion once owed his life to
a mouse, your majesty will repent of your injustice to me."
"I never repent," returned the king, hastily.
"A day of repentance must come for all who have sinned, and it must
dawn for you. Beware lest it come so late that the prayers of yonder
sanctimonious marquise avail you nothing."
"By heavens!" cried the king, starting from his seat and clutching
his bell, "my patience is exhausted. This arch-traitor shall--"
But Madame de Maintenon was at his side in a moment.
"Sire," said she, beseechingly, "in the name of the love and loyalty
I bear my sovereign, pardon this misguided youth. Remember that the
highest prerogative of power is the exercise of mercy. I, for my
part, forgive him freely, and I thank God that I am here to mediate
between him and your majesty's just anger."
"You are an angel," cried Louis, clasping her hand in his own, and
covering them with kisses. "You are an angel whom God has sent for
my happiness in this world and the next." And turning to Eugene with
a lofty gesture, he said: "Go, young man. Madame de Maintenon's
magnanimity has earned your pardon. Go--that I may forget you and
"Sire," replied Eugene with emphasis, "I do not intend that you
shall forget me. In your pride of power, you have likened yourself
to a god, but, great as you are, you shall rue the day on which
Eugene of Savoy turned his back upon your kingdom!"
"So you persist in believing yourself to be a man, do you?"
"Yes, sire; such is my conviction. I aim at renown, and, in spite of
my enemies, of my poverty, and of my friendless condition, I have
strength and energy to attain it. I am no longer a subject of
France. I bid farewell to my country forever."
With a slight inclination of his head, and without waiting for
permission, he turned his back, and left the room.
Louis gazed upon his receding figure, with an expression so strange,
that Madame de Maintenon in great alarm flew to his side. His eyes
were fixed, and great drops of sweat stood out upon his forehead.
The marquise wiped them away with her handkerchief, all the while
whispering words of tender encouragement.
Louis shivered, and seemed like one awakening from a dream. His
eyelids fell, the strained eyeballs moved, and he tried to smile.
"Dearest friend," said he, "I know not what has happened; but, as
the Prince of Savoy disappeared from my sight, a voice seemed to
speak to my soul, and say that his threats had been prophetic, and
that I would dearly rue the day on which the nephew of Mazarin had
left me in anger. Can such things be? or am I the sport of--"
"Sire, sovereign, beloved," cried the marquise, kneeling and
clasping his knees in her arms, "give no heed to this mocking voice.
'Tis but a temptation of the Evil One. Let us pray together."
"Yes, let us pray. Send for Pere la Chaise, and let us away to the
Prince Eugene, meanwhile, was on his way to visit the Duchess of
Orleans. She met him with unaffected cordiality, and gave him a
"Indeed," said she, extending both her hands, "I am rejoiced to see
you again. I made you many a visit of inquiry during your illness;
and it pained me deeply to hear from your grandmother that no effort
of those who love you had so far prevailed upon you to leave your
room. I am glad to see that your heart is returning to us, for you
know that I am foremost in the rank of your friends."
"I know it, gracious lady," said Eugene, feelingly, "and for that
reason I am here."
"And although you are pale, you are looking well. You have a brave
spirit, Eugene, and have met your sorrow like a man."
"Yes. Suffering has made a man of me, and he that has received its
chrism with courage has overcome grief. I have come to give your
highness a proof of my fortitude. I"--but he paused, and his face
grew of a deadly pallor, while a convulsive sigh was upheaved from
"Speak, poor boy," said the duchess, compassionately.
"I wanted to ask if your highness has news from the Marchioness de
Bonaletta?" resumed he, with an effort.
"Yes," replied the duchess, mournfully.
"Has she written to you?" was the hurried rejoinder.
The duchess shook her head. "She has not, and thereby I judge that
she is closely watched. For, if my darling were free to do so, she
would long ago have poured her sorrows into my heart. Sometimes I
feel her soft arms twining about my neck, and hear her voice, as, in
the simplicity of her trust, she said to me one day: 'Pray for me,
that I may never love, for if I should, I would forsake every thing
for the man of my choice--even yourself, my best friend.'"
"She spoke thus?" cried Eugene, brightening.
"She did; and, not long after, she glided up to me, and, giving me a
kiss, said: 'I have found him, I have found him--him whom I shall
love throughout all eternity.' 'Gracious Heavens!' I exclaimed, 'it
is not Prince Eugene!' whereupon she kissed me again, and said, 'But
it is he; and I shall love him forever!'"
"Ah! I thought I had been stronger!" murmured Eugene, his eyes
filling with tears. "I had armed myself against misfortune, but the
memory of her love unmans me."
"Poor Eugene! I have been thoughtlessly cruel: forgive me, for you
are the first one to whom I have dared, as yet, to mention her name.
Let me not probe your wounds further, but tell you at once what I
know. I have heard from Laura through the medium of her father only.
The day after her shameful immolation, he communicated his
daughter's marriage to the king; and, the evening after, gave a
grand ball in honor of the event. He excused her absence, and the
secrecy attending her wedding, by saying that her betrothed having
been suddenly summoned away, he had yielded to the solicitation of
the lovers, and had consented to have them married without
"Liar and deceiver!" cried Eugene, gnashing his teeth.
"Ay, indeed, liar and deceiver!" echoed the duchess. "And I had to
sit there, and hear him congratulated; and listen to the flattering
comments of his guests, every one of whom knew that not a word of
truth was being spoken on either side. Of course I had no choice
whether to absent myself or not; I was ordered to appear, and to
confirm the lie. And once or twice, when my face unconsciously
expressed my indignation, my husband was at hand to remind me that
my lady of the bedchamber had married with my consent and
approbation! The day after, Louvois distributed largesses among his
household, and bestowed princely sums upon the poor, all in honor of
the happy event! For a whole week I could neither eat nor sleep for
grief and anger. I can never recover from this blow. If you had
robbed me of Laura, I could have forgotten my own loss in her gain;
but to know that she is chained to the galley of an unhappy marriage
almost breaks my heart!"
"She is not chained to that galley," said Eugene; "the oath she took
was not to the man whom the world calls her husband--it was pledged
to me. But do not fear that I will lay claim to her, duchess. Far be
it from me to take one step that could endanger her safety, or
unsettle her convictions. If she considers the oath binding which
she took to one man, supposing him to be another, I will bear my
fate with resignation; but if she scorns the lie that calls her his
wife, she will find means to let me know it; and, let her summons
come when it may, I shall be ready to obey it. Let her heart seek
mine, and I will take care that renown shall tell her where to find
"I feared as much," said the duchess. "I knew that you would not
remain at this false, corrupt court. Whither do you travel?"
"I shall follow my brother. Your highness knows that he was banished
for having married the girl whom he loved, whose only fault was her
obscure birth. He is in the service of the Emperor of Austria; and,
if his imperial majesty will accept of me, I, too, will join the
"And you will live to replace the lost myrtles of your love with the
laurels of fame."
"God grant that you may be a true prophetess! And now, your
highness, I have one more favor to ask. May I visit the room in
which I saw her last?"
"Come. We can take a turn in the park, and enter the pavilion as if
by accident. Every thing is just as she left it."
Accompanied by two maids of honor, and followed at a distance by two
lackeys, they descended to the gardens. For a time they confined
their stroll to the principal walks; but when they had reached the
pathway that led to the pavilion, the duchess, turning to her maids
of honor, requested them to await her at the intersection of the
avenues, and continued her way with the prince. Not a word was
spoken on either side until they had ascended the steps leading to
the room where, in one short hour, Eugene had seen the birth and
death of his ephemeral happiness.
He opened the door; then, standing on the threshold, gazed
mournfully around him. Not an object in the room was missing. There,
in the embrasure of the window, stood her harp; there, on the table,
lay her books and drawings; and there, alas! hung the silver
chandelier whose solitary light was to have guided him to his
bridal. Every thing was there, as before, and yet nothing remained,
for she, who had been the soul of the habitation, had left it
And now, as his wandering gaze rested upon the arm-chair where,
kneeling at her feet, he had received the intoxicating confession of
her love, he started forward, and, burying his face in its cushions,
The duchess, meanwhile, had remained outside on the perron. She
would not invade the sanctity of Eugene's grief by her presence, for
she felt that, in a moment of such supreme agony, the soul would be
alone with its Maker.
Presently she heard the door open and Eugene joined her on the
balcony. For a while he looked at her in silence; then his lips
began to move, and she caught these words, uttered almost inaudibly:
"I am about to go. Will you grant me one more request?"
"Yes--what is it?"
"You told me that, when she confided to you her love for me, she put
her arms around your neck, and kissed you. May I have that kiss from
your lips, dear duchess?"
Instead of a reply, Elizabeth embraced the poor youth. "God bless
you, Eugene!" said she, fondly. "Go forth, into the world to fight
the battle of life, and win it."
A PAGE FROM HISTORY.
The year 1683 was full of significance for Austria. It was a period
of victory and defeat, of triumph and humiliation. Austria's wounds
were many and dangerous, but her cure was rapid. In the spring of
this momentous year she was threatened simultaneously from the East
and the West, and she had every reason to fear that she would be
similarly assailed from her northern and southern frontiers.
Her troubles originated, as they had often done before, with
Hungary--that land of haughty Magyars and enthusiastic patriots.
Leopold I. ascended the throne in 1658, and from that time forward
every year of his reign had been marked by intestine wars.
Sometimes, by force of numbers, the rebellious Hungarians were, for
a time, held in subjection; but the fire of patriotism, though
smothered, was never extinguished in their hearts. Deep buried under
the ashes of many a deluded hope, it lived on, until some friendly
breath of encouragement fanned it to activity, and its flames leaped
upward, and defied the emperor anew.
Hungary would not submit to be considered as a provincial dependency
on Austria. She claimed the constitutional rights guaranteed to her
from time immemorial, and recorded in the golden bull of King
Andreas. In 1654 the Emperor Ferdinand had promised, both for
himself and his successors, that this constitution should be held
inviolate; that all foreign troops should be withdrawn from Hungary,
while no Hungarians should be called upon to fight elsewhere than on
their native soil; that the crown lands were to be inalienable; all
offices bestowed upon native-born Hungarians; Protestants secured in
the exercise of their religion; and no war undertaken, nor treaty
concluded, with any foreign power, without the consent of the
The Emperor Leopold had promised to ratify the constitution. But, in
1664, Austria declared war against Turkey, and called for money and
troops from Hungary. The Magyars, not having been consulted as to
the expediency of the war, refused to have any thing to do with it.
With the help of France, peace was made with the Porte; and, as soon
as his foreign difficulties were settled, Leopold bethought himself
of his turbulent Hungarians at home. Austrian troops were marched
into Hungary, and the Protestant Magyars, in the enjoyment of high
offices, were superseded by Catholics.
The indignation of the Hungarians knew no bounds. They took up arms,
and swore never to lay them down until they had freed their native
land. The revolution broke out in 1670; and such was the fanaticism
of the patriots, that their banners bore the cross as their emblem,
and every soldier wore a cross upon his shoulder. By this sign they
swore eternal enmity to the detested Austrian lancers; and, however
they might be outnumbered, they hoped in God, and rushed by
thousands to fill up the ranks whence thousands had fallen.
Undaunted by reverses, undismayed by danger, new armies of warriors
seemed to spring from the blood of the slain. Nor were the brave
Hungarians without sympathy in their struggle for freedom; they had
allies both powerful and efficient.
Two of their ablest generals. Zriny and Frangipany, had fallen into
the hands of the Austrians, and had perished ignominiously on the
scaffold; and another hero, Count Tokoly, had fallen at the siege of
Arva. But his son survived, a boy who had been rescued from the
enemy and conveyed to Transylvania. There he was taught to hate the
oppressors of his country; and no sooner was he of an age to serve,
than he entered the army. He brought with him succor from Prince
Apafy, of Transylvania, and the promise of aid from the Porte. Fired
by the enthusiasm of young Emerich Tokoly, the Hungarians renewed
the contest with Leopold, and fortune so favored their youthful
leader, that he conquered Upper Hungary, marched to Presburg, drove
out the Austrians, and called an imperial Diet to consult as to the
propriety of deposing the Emperor Leopold from the throne of
But Emerich did not tarry at Presburg to attend the Diet. He marched
on to Buda to confer with Kara Mustapha, the grand-vizier of
Mohammed IV., on the affairs of Hungary. The victories of the young
hero had more effect upon Mustapha than any amount of pleading could
have done; he was therefore prepared to receive him favorably.
Mustapha was ambitious, covetous, and vindictive; he had latterly
felt some uneasiness as to the security of his own influence with
the Sultan, and he burned to reinstate himself by gaining a victory
or two over the Austrians. Moreover, he thought of the booty which
would follow each victory; and, in the hope of retrieving his defeat
at St. Gotthard's, he concluded a treaty with Count Emerich, which
was specially directed against Austria. He promised, in the Sultan's
name, arms, money, and men; and, as an earnest of the friendship of
his new ally, Emerich was declared King of Hungary.
Under the ruined walls of the fortress of Fulek, which Emerich had
taken from the enemy, Mustapha handed him the diploma of royalty
which had been drawn up in Constantinople; at the same time
bestowing upon him the rank of a Turkish general, and presenting him
with a standard and a horsetail.
The newly-appointed king pledged himself, in return, to consider the
Sultan as his lord-paramount, and to pay him a yearly tribute of
forty thousand florins. He was so elated with his title, and so
desirous of humiliating Austria, that, to free himself from the
emperor, he consented to become a vassal of the Porte. He signed the
treaty, whereupon Kara Mustapha rejected the proposals of alliance
which Leopold was making, and began to dream of extending the
dominion of the Crescent, and of founding a Moslem empire in the
West, whose capital should be Vienna. He dismissed the Austrian
ambassadors with cold indifference, and promised the Sultan that the
green banner of the Prophet should carry terror and devastation into
the very heart of Austria. This was the danger which threatened the
emperor from the East. He had equally powerful enemies in the West.
Hungary had sent ambassadors to the court of Louis XIV. These
ambassadors had been received in Paris as the accredited envoys of
an independent and recognized kingdom; and King Louis, a son of the
Catholic Church, had carried his hatred to Austria so far, that he
entered into a secret alliance with the unbelieving Porte, and
promised assistance to the Protestant rebels of Hungary. This
assistance he sent at once in the form of money and arms. French
officers were dispatched to Hungary, to join the insurgents and
discipline their soldiers. And, while Louis was secretly upholding
Turkey and Hungary, he was calling councils at home to establish
claims to a portion of the imperial dominions of Austria.
These juridical councils were established at Metz and Brisach, and
they had instructions from Louis to reannex to his crown all the
domains which had ever been held in fief by any of his predecessors,
however remote. They began by summoning the lords of the Trois-
Eveches to acknowledge their vassalage to France; and they went on
to cite before their tribunal the Elector Palatine, the King of
Spain, and the King of Sweden; all and each of whom were called upon
to do homage to the king, or have their possessions sequestrated.
All Europe was aghast at these monstrous pretensions, but nobody
ventured to put them down, for Louis had a standing army of one
hundred and forty thousand men, while the German empire, still
suffering from its losses in the Thirty Years' War, could scarcely
put into the field one-third of this number.
So that, without the drawing of a sword, Louis was suffered to
possess himself of the important city of Strasburg, and subsequently
of all Alsatia. Finally he claimed the cloister of Wasserburg and
the province of Germersheim, and pushed his greed and arrogance to
such a height, that Germany at last awakened from her lethargy, and
found resolution enough to protest against the aggressions of this
royal robber. Louis, in return, proposed to call a universal council
at Frankfort, and have his claims investigated. This was agreed to,
and each sovereign sent his plenipotentiaries. Meanwhile the King of
France kept possession of all the lands in dispute, and stationed
his troops at Strasburg, and at every other town in Alsatia.
Here was danger enough for the Emperor Leopold, from the west;
while, north and south, his horizon darkened also. The ambitious
Victor Amadeus, seeing that Austria was encompassed by enemies, now
bethought himself of annexing Lombardy to his dominions, while there
was every reason to fear that the bold and enterprising Peter the
Great would extend his frontiers to the Baltic Sea, and, with quite
as much right as Louis ever had to Strasburg, declare Dantzic to be
a part of his Russian territories.
THE EMPEROR LEOPOLD I.
The Emperor Leopold had just returned from early mass. Throughout
the services, and during the excellent sermon of his celebrated
court-preacher Father Abraham, the face of his imperial majesty had
worn a troubled aspect; it had not even brightened at the appearance
of the Empress Eleonora. But when, in his cabinet, he saw his
professor of music, Herr Kircher, Leopold smiled, and his brow
cleared at once. The professor was occupied in putting a new string
to the emperor's spinet, which the evening before had been broken by
his majesty at a concert; and, having his back turned to the door,
was not aware of the emperor's entrance until the latter laid his
hand upon Kircher's shoulder.
The musician would have risen, but Leopold gently forced him back
into his seat, observing that it was unbecoming in a teacher to rise
at the entrance of his pupil.
"Of his pupil, your majesty, to whom there remains nothing for a
teacher to teach; for in good sooth, if your majesty felt disposed,
you are competent to fill the chair of a musical professorship, or
to become the maestro of your own imperial chapel."
"I prefer my own position," replied Leopold, laughing, "although
there are times when the berth of an emperor is not an easy one. But
when as at present I am here with you, then I am truly happy, for
your conversation and music awaken in me pleasant thoughts and noble
aspirations. Let me enjoy the hour, for indeed, Kircher, I need
The emperor sighed, and sank slowly into an arm-chair, where, taking
off his plumed hat, he threw it wearily down on a tabouret close by.
"Has your majesty any cause for vexation?" asked Kircher.
"Not for vexation, but much for sorrow," returned Leopold. "Let me
forget it, and if you have no objection, take up that piece of music
on the table, and give me your opinion of it."
Professor Kircher obeyed at once. "Your majesty has been composing,
I perceive, and your composition is in strict accordance with the
rules of counterpoint."
"I have translated my sorrows into music," returned Leopold. "I
could not sleep last night, and there was running through my head
the words of a sad and beautiful Latin poem. I rose from my bed, and
treading softly so as not to disturb the empress, I came hither, and
set the poem to music. It gave me indescribable pleasure, and I wish
you would try it, that I may know whether my interpretation has
meaning for others as well as for myself."
"My voice will not do it justice, your majesty; let me call Vittorio
Carambini to sing it, while I accompany him."
"No," returned Leopold. "Carambini's voice would so beautify my
composition, that I would not recognize it. I prefer to hear it from
you. So sit you down, dear Kircher, and begin."
Kircher made no further opposition, and commenced the prelude. The
emperor leaned back his head, and closed his eyes, as he was
accustomed to do, when listening attentively. Reclining among the
purple-velvet cushions of his luxurious arm-chair, Leopold presented
a handsome picture of imperial comeliness. His fine figure was set
off to advantage by his close-fitting Spanish doublet of black
velvet; his short Spanish cloak, looped up with large diamond
solitaires, fell in graceful folds from his shoulders, gently
stirring with its golden fringe the feathers of his hat that lay
beside him. The pale, regular features of the emperor harmonized
with the splendid costume which, from the days of Charles V., had
been in fashion at the imperial court of Vienna. Leopold had made
one modification, however, in his dress. In spite of his dislike to
the King of France, and all things French, he wore the long curled
wig which Louis XIV. had brought into vogue.
His whole attention was absorbed by Kircher, who, with a wig similar
in fashion, but more modest in dimensions, sat playing and singing
the "Schmerz-Lied." He sang with great feeling, and he, as well as
the composer, felt the power and beauty of the music.
It died away in gentle sighs, and there was a pause. Then the
emperor in a low voice said, "Thank you, Kircher; you have given me
"Your majesty, it is I who should thank you. Your composition is a
masterpiece; and, instead of criticising my miserable performance,
you praise it."
"Do you really like it, then?"
"Like it! It evinces genius, which is something more than a
conformity to musical rules. It is a gift from Heaven, whence surely
all musical inspiration descends. The man that could listen to your
'Schmerz-Lied' without emotion has no soul; and, to him that could
hear it with eyes undimmed, God has denied the gift of tears."
"Kircher." said the emperor, with a delighted smile, "I thank you a
thousand times for your approbation. It emboldens me to confess that
I felt tears in my eyes while you sang. To you, a musician, I may
say as much; for you know that, to write a song of sorrow, a man
must have known sorrow himself. I fear that my 'Schmerz-Lied' will
have to give place to embateria, and our spinet to the discordant
"And will it come to open war with the Porte?" asked Kircher, sadly.
"I fear as much," sighed the emperor. "Is it not singular that I, a
man of peace, and lover of art, should be forever compelled to be at
war with the world? And is it not hard that a potentate should be
continually forced into measures which he abhors, and stand before
his fellow-creatures in a character that is not his own? History
will depict me as a heartless and bloodthirsty monarch, while no man
has ever more deprecated the shedding of blood than I. My only
comfort is, that, if my poor subjects suffer, it is 'ad majorem Dei
And Leopold, who was not only a disciple but a lay member of the
order of Jesuits, bent his head, and made the sign of the cross.
"Your majesty alludes to the bloodshed in Hungary?"
"Yes," said Leopold, mournfully; "for I love those poor Hungarians,
though they be heretics and rebels, and I long for the rising of the
sun of peace upon their unhappy land. O Kircher, if we could but be
at peace abroad and at home, how happily would our days glide by! My
court should be the paradise of poetry and love, the home of art,
and the temple of all wisdom and science."
"Your majesty is already the patron of all the arts; and artists are
proud to hail you as their brother. Are you not both a composer of
music and a performer? Do you not rival Hermann, Schildbach, and
Hamilton, in painting? And did you not astonish Fisher von Erlach
with the suggestions you offered him in the planning of the palace
of Schonbrunn? And in all your majesty's dominions, is there a
bolder horseman, a more valiant sportsman, a more graceful dancer
"To hear you, Kircher," said Leopold, laughing, "one would suppose
that you were describing the attributes of Phoebus-Apollo."
"And so I am," laughed Kircher; "for out of the letters of your
majesty's name, Leopoldus A, did not Sigismund von Birken compose
the anagram, 'Deus Apollo?'"
"It is very easy to make anagrams by misplacing a few letters, my
dear Kircher; but to convert a poor terrene German emperor into a
Magnus-Apollo, would require the upheaval of mountains by Titan
hands, from now until the millennium. I would be content to be
myself, were I regarded as a beneficent and peace-loving monarch.
Consilio et Industria is the motto of my choice--a motto, which,
though inappropriate to a god, is pertinent as the device of a
Leopold. I would wish to govern with judgment, and labor
industriously for the welfare of my people, accepting with Christian
resignation whatever it pleases my Maker to apportion. All I ask of
Providence is some little leisure for the cultivation of my favorite
art. From music I derive such indescribable enjoyment, that, if I
could, I would die within hearing of its delicious melody. And,
since I have said so much, Kircher, I will go on to request of you,
that when my end draws near, you will attend to the fulfilment of my
"A melancholy duty you assign to me, gracious sovereign," sighed
Kircher. "But if I outlive you, it shall be lovingly performed. Let
us hope, however, for Austria's sake, that you will survive me by
"Life and death are in the hands of God," returned Leopold,
reverently. "And now let us speak of matters less serious. Here is
the score of a new opera, lately sent to me from Rome. It is called
'La Principessa Fidele,' and is composed by Scarlatti, who, as you
know, is winning a great reputation."
"Yes," growled Kircher. "he is winning reputation by tickling the
ears with soft strains which convey no meaning to the heart."
"Well, well, maestro, let us hear, before we decide," replied
Kircher placed the score upon the desk of the spinet, and began to
play. The emperor threw himself back again into his arm-chair, and,
closing his eyes, listened with an expression of great satisfaction.
But his pleasure was of short duration. Scarcely had Kircher
finished the first grand aria, before the door opened, and the
chamberlain of the day presented himself. Leopold frowned, and,
raising his head, asked somewhat impatiently, "Well,--what is it?"
"The members of your imperial majesty's council of war are in the
anteroom, and solicit an audience."
"Ask them to assemble in the small council-chamber, and I will join
them in a moment." Then, turning to Kircher, the emperor shook his
head. "Something unusual must have happened for the council to
assemble at such an early hour. You see, Kircher, that in these
troublous times an emperor can have no leisure hours; and, however I
may yearn to remain, I must leave you."
"Shall I return to-morrow morning?" asked Kircher.
"Happy is the man who can dispose of the morrow," sighed Leopold.
"It is more than an Emperor of Germany dare do. I must first
ascertain what news my council bring me; but, under any
circumstances, come, Kircher; for if I am not here, some distant
strain of your music may reach my ear to lighten my cares of state."
Resuming his hat, the emperor left the cabinet, and joined his
ministers in the council-chamber.
THE COUNCIL OF WAR.
The president, vice-president, and three members of the council,
awaited the entrance of the emperor. The president, the Margrave of
Baden, stood in the embrasure of a window, engaged in a whispered
conversation with the vice-president, General Count von Starhemberg,
whose eyes were continually wandering to the spot where the Duke of
Lorraine was profoundly engaged in the contemplation of a full-
length portrait of Charles V. Beyond, in the recess of another
window, stood the Counts von Kinsky and Portia, conversing in low
but earnest tones; both from time to time glancing at the Duke of
Lorraine with an expression of aversion which neither attempted to
disguise from the other.
"Do you think his majesty will bestow the chief command upon his
brother-in-law?" asked General Count Portia.
"Yes," replied Count Kinsky, with a shrug. "The emperor is so
inordinately fond of the Duke of Lorraine that he fancies him
endowed with military genius."
"General," whispered the Margrave of Baden to Count Starhemberg, "I
wish to say something to you in private. Can I rely upon your
"Your highness does me honor," was the reply, "and I promise
absolute silence as regards any thing you may be pleased to
"Then I will go to the point at once. The Duke of Lorraine must not
have the command of the Austrian army. Do you sustain me?"
"Ah! Your highness, too, hates him."
The margrave smiled. "My dear general, that little word 'too '
proves that we are of one mind. Yes, I hate the Duke of Lorraine,
not per se, nor for any evil quality that I know of. I hate him as
one dangerous to the welfare of the state, and too influential with
its ruler, the emperor. Though he has the reputation of being a
great general, he longs for peace and retirement among his books and
maps at home; and he would rather submit to be humbled by foreign
powers than declare war against their aggressions, however insolent.
In other words, he hates bloodshed, and, if he is a soldier, he is
one that loves the pen far more than he does the sword."
"Your highness is right," returned Count Starhemberg; "the duke is
no soldier, and his appointment to the chief command of her armies
would be a misfortune for Austria. And, worse yet, he is so
opiniated that he never will listen to advice."
"Therefore we must work together to avert his appointment. We need a
young commander, brave, ambitious, and eager for renown."
"Like Prince Louis of Baden?" asked Von Starhemberg, smiling.
"Yes, like Prince Louis of Baden," said the margrave, emphatically.
"He is quite as brave and skilful as the duke; but he is modest, is
willing to listen to advice, and to be guided by the experience of
good counsellors. Instead of ruling the war department, he will be
ruled by it, and thus we will have unanimity both in field and
council. It is to your interest, therefore, to defeat the Duke of
Lorraine, and secure the appointment of my nephew."
"Your highness can count on me; but I am not very sanguine of
"It may be easier of accomplishment than you think; at all events
let us make the attempt. We must represent war as inevitable; and,
having given an account of the formidable preparations making by the
enemy, we must counterbalance it all by a glowing exposition of our
own strength and resources. This will arouse the duke's spirit of
opposition, and he will forthwith discourse on the horrors of war. I
will take advantage of his disinclination to fight, to suggest that,
with such sentiments, he had better not aspire to command our
armies. In your quality of vice-president you come forward to
sustain my--Chut! Here comes the emperor."
All the members of the council bowed low, except the Duke of
Lorraine, who, having his back to the door, had not perceived the
entrance of the emperor. Leopold crossed the room, and the thickness
of the carpet so muffled his footfall that he had his hand on his
brother-in-law's shoulder before the latter had become aware of his
"What are you thinking of?" asked he, with an affable smile. "You
appear to be absorbed in admiration of our great ancestor."
"Yes, your majesty," replied the duke. "I was admiring the beauty of
his noble countenance, and thinking of the pride you must feel when
you remember that you are his descendant, and that his blood flows
in your veins."
Leopold bent his head in token of assent. "You are right; I AM proud
of my descent. Such an ancestry as mine should inspire a man to
noble deeds; and if I encourage pride of birth in my subjects, it is
because I believe it to be an incentive to virtue and honor.
Remembering, then, with mingled gratulation and humility, that we
are the posterity of Charles V., let us determine to-day to act in a
manner worthy of our great progenitor; for, by your haste to
assemble here this morning, I judge that we have weighty matters to
discuss. Be seated, and let us proceed to business."
So saying, the emperor glided into his arm-chair, which stood behind
a semicircular table, immediately under the portrait of Charles V.,
and his five counsellors occupied the tabourets around.
"And now, my lords," exclaimed Leopold, "let me hear what it is that
brings you hither at an hour so unusual."
"Dispatches from General Count Caprara, your majesty," replied the
Margrave Herman of Baden.
"And from France and Poland, likewise," added the Duke of Lorraine.
"Let us hear from General Caprara. We sent him to Turkey to make a
last effort at pacification. Our propositions, through him, were
such as must have proved to the Porte our earnest longing for peace.
Why did the general not present his dispatches in person?"
"Your majesty, it is out of his power to do so," was the reply.
"Your majesty's proposals were haughtily rejected, and, in their
stead, conditions were made which the general could not accept. The
grand-vizier was so incensed, that he arrested your envoy, and
forced him to accompany the Turkish embassy back to Constantinople.
He then marched his army to our frontiers, carrying along your
majesty's legation as prisoners of war. At Belgrade one of the
secretaries managed to make his escape, and to conceal on his person
the letters and documents of the general, which he has ridden day
and night to deliver into your majesty's hands."
"What is the purport of these documents?" said Leopold, who had
listened with perfect calmness to this extraordinary recital.
"First, your majesty, they contain an account of the general's peace
negotiations. They were all rejected, and the grand-vizier has
refused to renew the truce which has just expired. He requires new
"Name them," said Leopold.
The margrave drew from his portfolio a document, and began to read.
"Austria shall pay yearly tribute to the Porte. She shall raze every
fortress she has erected on the Turkish frontier. She shall
recognize Count Tokoly as King of Hungary. She shall deliver to him
the island of Schutt, the fortress of Comorn, and all other
strongholds in Hungary, and place him on an equal footing with the
Prince of Transylvania."
"Which means neither more nor less than a declaration of war," cried
the emperor; "and General Caprara would have been a traitor had he
listened to such insulting proposals. My patience with this arrogant
Moslem is exhausted, and further forbearance would be a disgrace. We
have no alternative; we must go to war, trusting in God to defend
the right. Our cause is a holy one; and perhaps, with the blessing
of Heaven, it may be granted us to drive the infidel from Europe
forever. Go on, margrave. What other news have you?"
"Important information, your majesty, as to the strength of the
enemy's forces. The Sultan, at Belgrade, reviewed an army of two
hundred thousand men, all fully equipped, and anxious to retrieve
their losses at St. Gotthard. They have carried their fanaticism to
such an extent that they talk of planting the Crescent where the
Cross now looms from the towers of St. Stephen's in Vienna. Kara
Mustapha himself told General Caprara that, in a few weeks from now,
a Sultan of the West would seat himself on the throne of the
Emperors of Germany."
"God will punish his blasphemous boasting," returned Leopold. "God
will not suffer the Christian to perish before the might of the
Paynim. The die is cast for war, for war! At least, such is my
conviction: but if any one here be of opposite mind, let him speak
boldly. Freedom of speech in this chamber is not only his right, but
his solemn duty."
"War! war!" echoed the councillors, four of them vociferously, the
Duke of Lorraine deliberately, and so slowly that his voice came as
an echo of the words that were spoken by his colleagues.
The emperor was a little surprised. "Your highness is then of our
opinion?" asked he.
"I am, your majesty. War is inevitable, and we must risk our meagre
forces against the two hundred thousand men of the Sultan."
"True, we are not so numerous as the enemy," observed the Margrave
of Baden, "but our men are as well equipped and as enthusiastic as
those of the Porte, and, under the leadership of such a hero as the
Duke of Lorraine, we are certain of victory."
The duke shook his head. "The greatest general that ever led an army
into battle cannot hope for victory, when, to forces immensely
superior to his own, he opposes troops neither well armed nor well
"Happily," replied the margrave, "this is not the case with our men.
Without counting the auxiliaries that will be furnished by the
princes of the empire, we shall oppose a hundred thousand men to the
Turks. Moreover, we have been preparing for war, and for several
months have taken measures to arm our troops and provision them for
"Permit me to dispute your last assertion," replied the duke, whose
mild countenance kindled, and whose soft eyes began to glow. "It is
my duty to speak the truth to his majesty, and I shall do it
fearlessly. No, my liege, we have NOT a hundred thousand men, and
our soldiers are ill equipped and ill provided. As regards the
auxiliaries of the princes of the German empire, your majesty knows
that their deputies have been in Frankfort for months without having
yet held one single council to deliberate on the expediency of
sending or not sending re-enforcements to our army. I grieve to say
so, but the truth must be spoken. We have an insignificant army,
which, of itself, is inadequate to repel the Turkish hordes; and,
should they march to Vienna, our capital must fall, for I regret to
say that no measures have been taken for its defence. There are but
ten guns on the bastions; the trenches are so dry that they can be
crossed by foot-passengers, and the garrison consists of our
ordinary city guard, and one thousand troops of the line. For Vienna
to withstand a siege in this defenceless condition is impossible;
and, should the Turks be allowed to march hither, your majesty would
have to surrender."
"Your majesty," interrupted Count Starhemberg, vehemently, "leave to
me the defence of Vienna, and I swear that, sooner than deliver your
capital to the Turks, I will perish under its ruins."
"And I," added the margrave. "solemnly adjure your majesty not to
confide the chief command of your forces to the Duke of Lorraine,
for it is evident that he does not desire so perilous an
appointment. His highness has no confidence in our ability to
prosecute the war successfully; and no general can lead his soldiers
to victory who beforehand is convinced that they are destined to
"No general can lead his soldiers to victory who refuses to
contemplate the possibilities of defeat," exclaimed the Duke of
Lorraine, whose handsome face began to show traces of anger. "To
estimate his strength at its real value, he must at least learn
something of the size and condition of his army. It is the duty of a
commander-in-chief to see with his own eyes, and decide from his own
observation; for him, the men and stores that are exhibited to view
on the green cloth of a table within the walls of a council-chamber
have no significance whatever."
"Does your highness accuse me of an intention to deceive his
majesty?" cried the margrave, haughtily. "Do you--"
"Peace, gentlemen, peace!" interrupted the emperor. "We are here to
war with the stranger, not with our own flesh and blood. Every man
present shall speak his mind without censure from his colleagues;
and he who prevaricates is no true subject of mine. You are all free
to discuss our difficulties; it remains for me to decide in what
manner they shall be met. I beg to recall this fact to Count
Starhemberg, who unsolicited has offered to take upon himself the
defence of Vienna. My heartfelt thanks are due to the Duke of
Lorraine for his frank exposition of our disabilities; he is now, as
ever, the champion of truth and right. Has the Margrave of Baden any
further dispatches to lay before us?"
"No, your majesty," answered the margrave, pale with anger.
"Then let us have those of his highness of Lorraine," returned
Leopold, with an affectionate glance at his brother-in-law.
"I have couriers, your majesty, from Count von Mansfeld and from
Count von Waldstein."
"Let us hear the news from Paris first," replied Leopold, slightly
frowning. "Let us hear from our hereditary foe, who, under pretence
of coming to our rescue, pillages our property while the house is on
fire. We know full well that this fair-spoken Louis is in secret
league with our foes at home and abroad, and we confess that when he
invited us to be sponsor to his grandson, we accepted the honor with
an ill grace. By-the-by, has the young dauphin been baptized?"
"Yes, your majesty, and Count von Mansfeld was your imperial
majesty's proxy. After the ceremony the king held a long and
gracious conversation with your majesty's representative, in which
he expressed his great sympathy with your majesty, and requested
Count Mansfeld to say that he remembered you night and morning in
"The King of France will deceive neither the Lord of heaven nor His
servant the ruler of Austria, with his prayers," exclaimed Leopold,
with some show of warmth. "He merely means to say that he intends to
give us nothing more substantial. Would he but content himself with
cold neutrality, we would be willing to accept his prayers instead
of his works. But while he prays for us, he gives aid and comfort to
our enemies, who are less our enemies than such a sanctimonious
friend. But, enough of the King of France! To such an offensive
message I have no answer to return."
"Count von Mansfeld left Paris at once, your majesty, and proceeded
to Spain to urge the claims of his imperial highness, the Archduke
Charles, to the Spanish succession."
"Now let us hear from Count von Waldstein and Warsaw."
"Count von Waldstein was received with distinguished consideration.
The King of Poland, at least, is your imperial majesty's friend. You
remember that his wife is a French woman?"
"Yes," replied Leopold, shaking his head, "and a woman whose birth
is not illustrious enough for her station."
"She is, nevertheless, Queen of Poland, my liege, and is recognized
as such by the Poles. When the grandson of the King of France was
born, he purposely sent notification of the event to the King of
Poland, ignoring in his dispatches the queen. This omission of a
courtesy, customary among royal heads, offended the queen; and to
her resentment we are to attribute the gracious reception given to
our ambassador. My liege, our alliance with Poland is a fixed fact.
A treaty has been concluded, by which John Sobiesky pledges himself
to sustain Austria against Turkey, furnishing at once forty thousand
men who are ready for action as soon as needed."
"To what are we pledged in return for this?" asked Leopold.
"Merely to furnish on our part sixty thousand men, and to consult
with his majesty as to our operations."
"To consult with him!" repeated the emperor. "This looks as though
he expected to take part in our plans for the prosecution of this
war, instead of recognizing us as commander-in-chief."
"To exact such recognition from him would be unseemly," replied the
duke. "The King of Poland is a great captain as well as a crowned
head; and it would ill become us to dictate to a warrior, from whom
we should all regard it as a privilege to receive advice. Moreover,
as a crowned head, John Sobiesky is entitled to the first rank in
the field as well as in the cabinet."
"He is nothing more than an elected ruler," observed Leopold, with a
shrug. "For want of a better alliance, I must content myself with
that of John Sobiesky; but I put the question to you--suppose he
were to come to Vienna, how should I receive or entertain an elected
"With open arms, if he come to deliver us from our foes," [Footnote:
The duke's own words.--See Armath, "Prince Eugene of Savoy," vol.
i.] was the prompt reply. "Welcome are all who visit us as true
friends, but doubly welcome those who come in time of need. The King
of Poland has been the first prince to respond to our offers of
alliance, the first to co-operate with us in our struggle with the
"But he will not be the last," interposed the Margrave of Baden. "I,
too, have good news for you, my liege. The Elector of Bavaria, to
whom I wrote for aid in your majesty's approaching troubles, has
promised not only a considerable body of troops, but offers to
command them in person. The Elector of Saxony, too, I think, will
co-operate with us. The council of the states of the German empire
also are in session at Frankfort, to consult as to the expediency of
joining your majesty's standard."
"And before the electors equip their men, and the council make up
their mind, the Turks will have marched to Vienna, unless we make a
junction with the King of Poland and intercept them on their way.
Each day of delay increases the peril, for they are already on this
side of Belgrade. Unless we can oppose them now, we are lost, and
all Bavaria, Saxony, and the states of the empire, cannot avert our
"Then, in God's name, let us act at once," cried the emperor, rising
from his seat. "President of the war department, let your troops be
in readiness to march, and see that our men are equipped and
"Your majesty's commands shall be obeyed."
"Duke of Lorraine," continued Leopold, "I appoint you to the chief
command of my forces. Go forth, and, with the blessing of God, do
battle for Christendom and Germany."
"I accept, your majesty," returned the duke, solemnly bending his
head. "Victory is in the hands of Almighty God; but bravery,
loyalty, and struggle unto death, I promise, on behalf of your
"Count Rudiger von Starhemberg," resumed the emperor, "your petition
is granted. To you I commit the defence of my capital."
"Thanks, your majesty," exclaimed Von Starhemberg fervently. "I will
defend it with the last drop of my blood; and if Vienna fall into
the hands of the infidel, he shall find nothing left of her
stateliness, save a heap of ruins and the lifeless bodies of her
"To you, Counts Portia and Kinsky, I commit the direction of the war
department, in conjunction with your colleague, the Margrave of
Baden. Let couriers be dispatched to all the European courts with
information of our declaration of war against the Porte. Let it be
announced to the world that, for the good of Christendom, Leopold
has grasped the sword; and, in this new crusade, may he confound the
unbelieving Turk, and glorify the standard of the Christian, in the
name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And may the
Blessed Virgin, the Mother of Christ, vouchsafe her protection and
THE PLAINS OF KITSEE.
On the first of May, 1683, the Emperor Leopold reviewed his troops
on the plains of Kitsee, not far from Preshurg, To this review, all
who had promised to sustain Austria were invited. Her appeals had at
last roused the German princes to action; but they had been so
dilatory in their councils, that not one of them was prepared for
The army assembled on the plains of Kitsee was not numerous. There
were thirty-three thousand men in all, who, with their faded
uniforms and defective weapons, made no great show.
The emperor, as he emerged from his tent, looked discouraged.
Sternly he rode forth on his richly-caparisoned gray horse, and,
when his men greeted him with enthusiastic shouts, he bowed his head
in silence, and sighed heavily.
He turned to Charles of Lorraine, who rode a few paces behind him,
"Come hither, Carl." The duke obeyed at once, and at one bound was
at the emperor's side. "Tell me, Carl," said he, anxiously, "how
many infantry are there here?"
"Twenty-two thousand, your majesty."
"Twelve thousand mounted troops."
"About what may be the strength of the enemy?"
"Your majesty, our scouts report that the combined forces of Turkey
and Hungary amount to more than two hundred thousand."
Leopold raised his eyes to the calm, self-possessed face of his
brother-in-law. "You say that, as quietly as if it were a pleasant
piece of news; and yet methinks we are in a critical position."
"Your majesty, I have known this for so long a time that I am
accustomed to contemplate it with equanimity. Before our decision
was made, I was timid and irresolute; but since the die is cast, I
am bold and self-reliant, for I know that I will either conquer or
"You think success then a possibility! With thirty-three thousand
men, you hope to repulse two hundred thousand?"
"The King of Poland adds forty thousand to our number, the Electors
of Bavaria and Saxony are making preparations to re-enforce us, and
the other princes of Germany will soon follow their example. The
Moslem has put out all his strength for one decisive blow; the
longer we avoid an engagement the weaker he grows; while time to us
brings accession of numbers, and lessens his chance for reaching
The emperor shook his head. "That you are a hero, Carl, I confess:
this hour proves you one. But I cannot share your hopefulness. When
I look around me at all these men, and think that they are death-
doomed, my heart grows faint, and my eyes dim."
"Do not think so much of the number of your troops, sire; look at
their countenances. See those stern, resolute faces, and those fiery
eyes. Every man of them chafes to march against the infidel--"
"Hurrah for our emperor!" cried out a lusty voice, close by. "Hurrah
for our general, Charles of Lorraine!"
"Ah, Christopher III, are you there?" cried the duke, cordially.
"Yes, your highness," replied the cuirassier, while his horse
stepped a few paces in front of the ranks. "Yes, your highness, I am
here to fight the infidel with a will as good as I had at St.
Gotthard's twenty years ago. That was a glorious day; and I thank
God that I am alive to see your highness win another victory as
great over the insolent Turk."
"You think, then, that we will be victorious, Christopher?"
"Ay, indeed, your highness, for God is with us."
"Bravely spoken," said the emperor, gazing with visible satisfaction
at the wrinkled face and snow-white beard of the old cuirassier.
The Duke of Lorraine signed to him to advance. "Your majesty," said
he to Leopold, "allow me to present one of your bravest soldiers,
Christopher III. In all the army there is not a man as old as his
youngest son, and I venture to say that he is the oldest man in
Europe under arms."
"That is a broad assertion," replied Leopold. "How old may you be,
"Last Thursday I was a hundred and nine years old, please your
imperial majesty," said Christopher, bowing to his saddle-bow.
"A hundred and nine years old!" cried Leopold, incredulously. "Nay--
that is impossible. No man of that age could sit a horse or carry a
sword as you do."
"Your majesty, it is said in Holy Writ, that, when our fore-fathers
were five hundred years old, they were young and lusty; and I can
assure my emperor, that when once I am on my horse, with my sabre in
hand, I will fight with the best lad of twenty years. I mount rather
stiffly, because of a wound I received at Leipsic when we had the
ill-luck to be defeated by Gustavus Adolphus."
"Why, man, do you mean to say that fifty-two years ago you were in
"Yes, sire; and there I received the wound from which I still suffer
to-day. The battle of Leipsic was far from being my first: it may
have been the twentieth, but I am not quite sure. When first I
entered the service, I used to mark our battles with a red cross
when we were victorious, and a black one when we were unfortunate;
but, after I had been in the army for twenty years, I stopped. There
were too many fights to record."
"But you can remember your first battle, can you not?"
"Certainly, sire. I began, as I am likely to end, by fighting the
Porte; and we defeated him then, as we assuredly intend to do now."
"When was it?" asked Leopold, with interest.
"Eighty years ago, sire, when the Hungarians and Turks made war upon
the Emperor Rudolph the Second. Yes, even then, the dogs were after
Vienna, and those mutinous Hungarians were giving trouble to your
majesty's forefathers. The Emperor Mathias, who succeeded his
brother, made a treaty with them for twenty years, for we had as
much on our hands as we could manage, with the rebels of Bohemia.
They rose again and again under the three Ferdinands, but we brought
them down at last. I have served under six emperors, and all have
vanquished their enemies, even as my last gracious sovereign Leopold
shall do. Long live our Leopold, the conqueror of the Turks!"
"Long live our Leopold!" shouted the cuirassiers, delighted with the
condescension of the emperor to Christopher. The shout was taken up
by the other troops, until it resounded like rolling thunder along
the plains of Kitsee.
The emperor greeted his army with something like a reflection of
their enthusiasm, and then returned to Christopher.
"Christopher," said he, "you have served under six emperors, and
have done more than your duty toward Austria. I give you your
discharge, for he who has worked faithfully all day has a right to
rest when night sets in. I appoint you castellan of my palace at
Innspruck; and, in addition to your salary, bestow upon you a
pension of four hundred florins."
"Thank your majesty, but indeed I cannot go," replied the old man,
resolutely. "I hardly think the Turkish hounds will ever get as far
as Innspruck, so I must e'en go forward with the army to fight them
wherever they are to be met. My night has not yet set in, sire."
"What!" cried Leopold, laughing, "you refuse?"
"Yes, your majesty. I crave neither pension nor sinecure. I intend
to follow the army, and, if God calls me hence, then I shall be
willing to rest; but before I go I hope to mow down a few Turks'
heads to take to St. Peter, for him to use as balls when he plays
ninepins. But, if your imperial majesty will grant it, you might do
me a favor."
"What is it, my brave cuirassier? tell me."
"Your majesty, will you allow me to present my sons, grandsons,
great-grandsons, and great-great-grandsons? They are all in my
"The Eleventh Cuirassiers of Herberstein, your majesty," added the
Duke of Lorraine.
"Ah," cried the emperor, in a voice intended to be heard by all the
men, "that is an old and renowned regiment. Were you in it,
Christopher, when it was commanded by the great Dampierre in 16l9?"
"Yes, your majesty, I was the first man enrolled. I was there when
the regiment rescued the Emperor Ferdinand from a body of
insurgents, who had surrounded his imperial palace, and were trying
to compel him to abdicate. Just as they were forcing the gates, the
trumpets of Dampierre sounded an alarm, and the emperor was saved.
The cuirassiers galloped into the midst of the insurgents, and
dispersed them like so many cats."
"And to reward their loyalty and opportune aid," cried the emperor,
"Ferdinand conferred upon the Eleventh Cuirassiers the privilege of
riding through Vienna, trumpet sounding and colors flying, and of
pitching their tents on the Burgplatz." [Footnote: This is
historical, and in 1819, on the two hundredth anniversary of the
rescue, the privilege was extended to the present time.--See
"Hurrah! Hurrah! The emperor knows our history," shouted Christopher
"Hurrah! Hurrah!" echoed the regiment, and once more through the
plains of Kitsee rang the jubilant cry, "Long live Leopold! Long
live our emperor!"
"And now," said the emperor, when the shouts had died away, "now let
me see your children, my brave veteran.--Baron Dupin," added
Leopold, addressing himself to the colonel of the regiment, "will
you permit them to step out of their ranks?"
Baron Dupin bowed, and, riding to the front with drawn sword, he
called out: "All the descendants of Christopher Ill--forward!"
There was a general movement among the cuirassiers, and fifty-four
men rode up, and clustered around their common ancestor. There were
bronzed faces with white beards--others with gray; there were men in
the prime of life, and others in the flower; there were youths
approaching manhood, and lads that had scarcely emerged from
childhood; but from peeping bud to fruit that was about to fall,
they one and all resembled their parent stem; every mother's son of
them had Christopher Ill's aquiline nose, and large, sparkling eyes.
"Your majesty perceives," said the old man, looking proudly around
him, "that if I have sabred many a Turk's head, I have replaced each
one by that of a Christian; so that I owe nothing to humanity for
the damage my sword has done.--Now, boys, cry out, 'Long live the
So the boys, young and old, echoed the shout; the regiment took it
up, and for the third time Leopold's heart was cheered by the
enthusiastic affection of the army.
"Well, Christopher," said he, gayly, "although you reject my pension
for yourself, you will not, I hope, reject it for your sons. Let it
be divided between them, and long may you live to see them enjoy
With these words, the emperor raised his hat, and waving it in token
of adieu, he returned to his tent, far happier than he had left it
some hours before.
"Carl," said he to the Duke of Lorraine, "I thank you for presenting
Christopher III to my notice. That old man's spirit is catching, and
I feel the pleasant infection. I recognize the might of bravery, and
it seems as if my small army had doubled its numbers. This veteran,
who in his person unites the history of six of my predecessors, has
taught me that individuals are nothing in the sight of God. Six
emperors have succumbed to the immutable laws of Nature, but the
house of Hapsburg is still erect. What, then, if I meet with
reverses? The Lord has given me a son, who, if I should be
unfortunate, will prop up our dynasty, and avenge his father's
"We will try to leave him none to avenge, sire. Your men are full of
loyalty, and God will preserve your majesty's life until your son is
fit to be your successor."
"His holy will be done!" said Leopold, crossing himself; then,
having given orders for an advance upon the fortress of Neuhausel,
he changed his dress preparatory to starting for Vienna.
He had just been equipped in his black travelling-suit when Prince
Louis of Baden entered the tent, followed by a young man whose
simple costume presented a striking contrast to the magnificence of
the uniforms around. He wore a brown coat buttoned up to the throat,
leaving visible merely the ends of his cravat of costly Venetian
lace. Ruffles of the same encircled his white hands, which, it was
easy to see, had never been hardened by work, or browned by the sun.
His face, though youthful, bore traces of thought and suffering; and
his bearing was self-possessed, although every eye was upon him.
"Whom bring you hither?" inquired Leopold, with a smile.
"Your majesty, I bring nothing but a young Savoyard: nevertheless I
predict that, one of these days, he will be one of the great
generals of the world." [Footnote: The Margrave of Baden's own
words.--See Arinatli, "Prince Eugene," vol. i., p. 23.]
"I am not so presumptuous as to expect that I will ever rival Prince
Louis of Baden or Charles of Lorraine," said Eugene. "All I have to
ask of your majesty is the favor of being allowed to serve under
There was a pause. Everybody looked in amazement at the bold being
who, all court etiquette disregarding, had ventured to address the
emperor without being spoken to by his majesty; but he was perfectly
unconscious of his blunder. He looked so frank, so modest, and yet
so unembarrassed, that the emperor was disarmed, and a smile
nickered over his pleasant face.
"I see that he is a stranger," was Leopold's deprecatory remark.
"Present him, your highness, that I may welcome him to Austria."
The prince, taking the young man by the hand, led him up to the
"Sire, I have the honor to present you my kinsman, Prince Eugene of
Savoy. He has come to Austria to join his brother, and like him, to
serve under the Austrian flag."
"Prince Eugene of Savoy, you are welcome to Austria," said Leopold,
Eugene answered the salutation by a low bow, and then calmly raised
his head. But Prince Louis of Baden whispered in his ear, "The
Spanish genuflection--quick! bend the knee!"
Eugene looked surprised, for he had not understood the warning. But
the emperor had overheard, and came once more to the rescue.
"Never mind the Spanish genuflection," interposed he, with a good-
natured laugh. "The prince is not my subject; he has been educated
in France, where people know little or nothing of the customs and
usages of our court."
But scarcely were the words out of Leopold's mouth before Eugene had
approached his arm-chair, and had fallen on one knee.
"Sire," said he, in his soft, melodious voice, whose tones went
straight to the emperor's heart, "allow me to consider myself as
your subject, and to render you homage according to the usages of
your majesty's court. It is my misfortune to have been educated in
France, and thereby to have lost twenty years of my life."
"Why lost?" inquired Leopold. "What was wanting in France to make
"Every thing, sire!" cried Eugene, warmly. "And the only thing I did
not want was thrust upon me."
"What was that?"
"The tonsure, sire. I begged the King of France for an insignificant
commission in his army; I was scornfully repulsed. And now that I
have shaken the dust of his dominions from my feet, I never wish to
return thither unless--"
"Well," said the emperor, as Eugene paused. "Finish your sentence.
Eugene raised his magnificent eyes until they met those of the
emperor. Then, in a calm voice, he continued:
"Unless I could do so as his majesty's victorious enemy." [Footnote:
Eugene's own words.--See Rene, "Mazarin's Nieces."]
"Your majesty sees that he is the stuff of which heroes are made,"
observed Louis of Baden.
"You do not love France?" said Leopold.
"Sire, my family and I have suffered persecution at the hands of the
French monarch, and I yearn for satisfaction. Your majesty sees how
unfit I am to be a priest, for I cannot love my enemies, nor do good
to those who despitefully use we."
"Let us hope that you will learn this lesson later. Meanwhile you
seem more fitted for the career of a soldier than the vocation of a
churchman. Your appearance here reminds me of my own youth. I, too,
was destined for the priesthood, and wore the garb of an abbe. I was
a younger son, and nothing but an appendage to royalty. But it
pleased God of His servant to make a sovereign, and to send as His
messenger, death. My brother Ferdinand, the hope of Austria, died,
and I stepped forth from my insignificance to become the heir to a
mighty empire. Your brother Louis has frequently mentioned you to
me, and from him I learned that at the French court you were known
as 'the little abbe!' If of me, who was once a novice, Almighty God
has made an emperor--of you, little abbe, He may make a great
"Sire, my fate is in His hands; but all that lies in my own, I will
do to serve your majesty as your loyal subject, hoping to follow
from afar in the footsteps of the distinguished models before me."
At the same time, Eugene bowed low to the Duke of Lorraine.
"Will you take him as your pupil?" asked Leopold of his brother-in-
law. "No one in Austria can teach him better how to win laurels."
"With your majesty's permission, I accept the task," replied the
duke. "But he must expect to find me a hard master, and, as my pupil
in war, to have little leisure for aught else."
"You see," said Leopold, gayly, "what a miserable lot you have
chosen for yourself. You have fallen from Scylla into Charybdis, my
"I have my Ulysses, your majesty, in his highness of Lorraine. I
give myself up to his sage guidance."
"If Prince Eugene is as ready with his sword as with his tongue, my
enemies will have to look out, methinks," cried Leopold. "So take
him along, Duke of Lorraine, and of the little abbe of the King of
France make a great captain for the Emperor of Austria."
"With your majesty's permission, I will confer upon him the rank of
colonel, and the first vacancy that occurs. Until then, prince, you
can accompany me as a volunteer."
"As a volunteer for life, your highness," replied Eugene; "and,
although I have already to thank his majesty for much gracious
encouragement, I feel more grateful to him for placing me under your
highness's orders, than for any other of the favors he has so kindly
bestowed upon me to-day."
"I am glad to know it," returned the emperor. "Follow your leader,
then, my young friend; and see that, although you have relinquished
the priesthood, you hold fast to Christianity. We part for a time,
but we shall meet again before long. Let us hope that it may be to
give thanks to God for victory and peace."
The emperor then rose, and, followed by his officers, left the tent.
His carriage stood without, and in a few moments, amid the
respectful greetings of his staff, and the hurrahs of the army, he
disappeared from the plains of Kitsee.
The Duke of Lorraine signed to Eugene to follow him. Laying his hand
gently upon the prince's shoulder, he said: "Young man, you have
requested me to be your instructor, and I have accepted the office,
for you please me, and my heart inclines toward you. Let me then
begin at once. I wish to give you some advice."
"I am all attention, your highness."
"Weigh well your words, before you give them utterance. You will
find enemies in the Austrian ranks, as well as in those of the
Turkish army. You have already gained a few; and by-and-by, if you
are not careful, you will have as many as myself."
"What can I have done, your highness, during the half hour I have
spent in his majesty's tent, to provoke enmity from the strangers
around me? That you should have enemies, I comprehend; for
distinction always calls forth envy. But I, an unknown youth! who
could envy me?"
"Those who saw how graciously you were welcomed by the Emperor of
Austria. But that is not all. You have offended your kinsman, Louis
of Baden. It was he who presented you to the king. He is a brave and
distinguished officer, and deserved all the compliments you bestowed
upon me. Believe me, if you know your own interest, you will select
him for your model and master in the art of war. He will be
flattered at your preference, and will serve you efficiently. His
friendship is worth having."
"I love Louis of Baden from my heart," said Eugene; "and, AFTER your
highness, he has the first place in my consideration and esteem."
"After me, say you? Give him the first place, and he will procure
you rapid advancement. For myself, I am unpopular, and if you love
or respect me, do so in secret. You will not long have been an
Austrian officer before you make the discovery that it is not
politic to praise Charles of Lorraine."
THE BAPTISM OF BLOOD.
War had begun. Kara Mustapha advanced into Austria, looking neither
to the right nor the left, marching onward, onward to Vienna. Such
obstacles as he encountered on his way he removed by the might and
strength of his forces, as an elephant lifts his ponderous foot to
crush a pigmy lying in his path. His march was through burning
villages and devastated fields; the glare of his torch illumined the
sky, the blood of his victims reddened the earth. Austria's
desponding hopes were concentrated upon the Duke of Lorraine; for
the King of Poland had not arrived, and the Elector of Bavaria was
The army of the allied enemies increased daily, while that of the
Austrians was decimated partly by contagious diseases, partly by a
division of their forces, for the defence of the only fortress which
was in a condition to arrest the advance of the Turks.
The duke's army, which now numbered twenty-three thousand men, was
encamped in front of the fortress of Raab; for here the Turks would
make their first attack, and to possess Raab was to hold the key of
Upper Hungary and Central Austria. The army had halted there in the
course of the afternoon, but, as night approached, the hum of action
gradually ceased, and gloomy silence reigned throughout. No groups
of merry soldiers gathered round the camp-fires with laugh, or jest,
or mirthful song. Some slept from exhaustion and discouragement,
others sat mournfully gazing toward the east, which, unlike the dark
horizon around, was lit up with a fiery glow, that marked the
advance of the ferocious invaders. In one tent pitched on a hillock
that overlooked the camp-ground, a faint light shone through the
crevices of the curtain; and this glimmering spark was the only sign
of life that was to be seen. The rest of the camp was in utter
The tent whence beamed this solitary light was that of the
commander-in-chief, to whom his scouts had just brought intelligence
which necessitated prompt action. He had sent for General Caprara
and Prince Louis of Baden; and when his interview with them Was at
an end, he dispatched his adjutant for Prince Eugene of Savoy.
In a few moments Eugene raised the hangings of the tent and silently
saluted his commander. The latter seemed not to have perceived his
entrance. He stood before a table, leaning over a map on which he
was tracing and retracing lines with his fingers. Eugene stepped
closer, and followed the motions of the duke with his eyes. He
seemed to understand them; for his countenance expressed anxiety and
A long pause ensued, after which the duke raised his head and spoke:
"You have been here for some time?"
"Yes, your highness; I came as soon as I received your orders."
"I saw the shadow of your head on the map. You were watching my
fingers attentively. I was glad to see that you were interested.
What did you infer from your inspection of the map?"
"I will try to tell your highness as well as I can," was the modest
reply. "You began by drawing a line from Stuhlweissenhurg with three
fingers. This represented the Turkish army, composed of three
columns. Your forefinger represented the left wing, your third the
right wing, and your middle finger the main body of the army. The
two wings were then detached, and made a circuitous march to capture
the fortress of Wesgrim. They again joined the main army, and I saw,
with astonishment, that the consolidated forces had flanked Raab,
Comorn, and Leopoldstadt, had passed by the shores of the Neusidler
Sea, and were now encamped on the banks of the Leitha."
"You have guessed most accurately," cried the duke, who had listened
in amazement to Eugene's reply.
"It was not difficult to do," remarked the latter. "Since I have had
the honor of serving under your highness, I have studied this map
daily. I know every thicket, every forest, every stream laid down
upon it. The whole country which it comprises is as familiar to me
as if I surveyed it all at a glance. It is not, then, surprising
that I should understand the movements of your highness's fingers."
"You think it quite natural--I consider it extraordinary. But you
have raised my curiosity to know whether you also were able to
interpret what followed."
"After accompanying the enemy to the banks of the Leitha, your
highness stopped, raised your hand, and laid your finger upon the
fortress of Raab. This, of course, denotes the position of our own
army, and the direction in which we are to move."
"Move? We came here to defend this stronghold."
"We have been flanked, and have nothing to gain by a defence of
Raab. With your finger, then, upon Raab, you were deliberating as to
the route we are to take; since it is evident that, if we are not
prompt, we will be cut off from Vienna. You made two divisions of
your army. One finger traced a line across the island of Schutt to
Presburg, and thence to Vienna; this, I presume, denotes the march
of the infantry. The other finger, on the left bank of the Danube,
drew a line from Wieselburg to Hamburg, and this route would be for
our cavalry--it is too rough for foot-soldiers."
The duke listened with growing interest, and when Eugene ceased, he
put his arm affectionately around the neck of the young officer, and
exclaimed, "I congratulate you, Eugene. You will be a great captain.
You will be a better general than I. Let us hope that you will also
be a more fortunate one--that you will complete what I have begun--
avenge Austria's wrongs on France, and restore her to her place as
one of the four great powers. You have not only the instincts of a
soldier, but the quickness and penetration which constitute military
genius. My pupil, I think, will ere long become my master."
"Ah!" replied Eugene, "unless you keep me as a pupil, I shall never
become a master."
"The little that I know you shall learn from me, Eugene. I have
predicted for you a glorious career, and, as far as lies in my
power, I will contribute to your success. But success is as much the
fruit of policy as of genius. You must not proclaim your preference
for me to the world; it will impede your advancement. To obtain
promotion you must be an ostensible adherent of my enemies; and for
this reason I shall give you some command near the persons of
General Caprara and Louis of Baden."
"Your highness, Louis of Baden is not--"
"My enemy, you would say? Believe me, I know human nature better
than you do; but I have no resentment against Louis on account of
his animosity. He is young, ambitious, and capable; it is therefore
but natural that he should covet my position. He will obtain it, for
all my enemies will give him their suffrages, and chief among them
all is the Margrave Herman. I, on the contrary, have but one friend-
"But the emperor is a host within himself," cried Eugene.
"If you think so, it is because you are unacquainted with the
intrigues of the Austrian court. The privy council has more power
than Leopold; and the veritable ruler of Austria is the minister of
war, who, from his green-covered table, plans our battles and
commands our armies. What do you suppose are my instructions from
the war department? I must first, with my thirty-three thousand men,
hold the entire Turkish army in check; I must garrison Raab, Comorn,
and Leopoldstadt; I must defend fifty miles of frontier between the
pass of Jublunkau and Pettau; I must oppose the passage of the enemy
to Vienna; and having accomplished all these impossibilities, I must
end by giving him battle wherever and whenever I meet him."
[Footnote: Kausler, "Life of Eugene of Savoy."]
"Impossible, indeed!" cried Eugene, indignantly.
"And, for that very reason, assigned to me as my duty. For, as I
shall certainly not accomplish it, there will be an outcry at my
incapacity, and a pretext for my removal. I shall fulfil my
obligations nevertheless, as conscientiously to foes as to friends.
I have borne arms for the emperor against France, Sweden, Hungary,
and Turkey; if it serve his interests or those of Austria, I am
ready to struggle with his enemies at home; but, if my championship
is to be dangerous to my sovereign or to my country, I shall resign
without a protest. As for you, my son, the path of glory is open to
you; perhaps before another sun has set, you may flesh your maiden
sword in the blood of the infidel. You have anticipated my
intentions. We are about to march to Vienna. Do you hear the signal?
The men are being awakened; and in one hour we must be on our way. I
sent for you to bid you farewell. So far, you have been attached to
my person, and I have learned to esteem and love you. But the
opportunity for you to distinguish yourself is at hand, and I must
no longer retain you by me. I assign you to your brother's regiment
of dragoons. It belongs to the brigade of Prince Louis, and the
division of General Caprara. I part from you reluctantly, but I do
it for your own good; and I hope soon to make honorable mention of
my favorite officer to the emperor."
"My dear lord," answered Eugene, in a voice that trembled with
emotion, "I will do all that I can to deserve your approval. I care
for naught else in this world; and if after a battle you say that
you are satisfied with me, I shall be richly rewarded for any peril,
At this moment the curtain of the tent was drawn aside, and the
duke's staff entered. He waved his hand in token of adieu to Eugene,
at the same time saying:
"And now, colonel, Prince of Savoy, you will join your brother's
regiment. It has received its orders, and is in readiness to
Eugene bowed low and left the tent.
The Austrian camp was now alive and in motion, but the men were
spiritless and taciturn. Conscious of the immense superiority of the
enemy, they advanced to meet him with more of resignation than of
hope. Not only were they out-numbered, but their foe was one whose
every step was marked by incendiarism and murder. The zest, the
incentive to gallantry, was gone; and, believing that they were
going forth to death, they went like victims to an inevitable doom.
Far different were the feelings with which Eugene mounted his horse,
and crossed the field to join the division of General Caprara. He
found Prince Louis of Savoy already in the saddle, awaiting his
arrival. The brothers greeted each other with fondest affection.
"Dear Eugene," said Louis, "my heart is joyous, since I know that we
are to go in company. How sweet and home-like it is to have you with
me! By-and-by, we shall see you cutting off Turks' heads as if they
"For each one that I send to his account, I mean to claim a kiss
from my beautiful sister-in-law."
"You are welcome if you can get them," laughed Louis. "But Urania is
not prodigal of her kisses, Eugene; I never was able to obtain a
single one until she became my wife. But let us not speak of her.
Love is any thing but an incentive to valor; and just now I almost
envy you who have never loved. If you intend to be a soldier, twine
no myrtle with your laurels until you shall have attained renown."
Eugene's brow darkened, and a gleam of anguish shot athwart his
countenance. "I shall never," began he--
But just at that moment the trumpet's peal was heard, and Prince
Louis, galloping off, gave the word of command to move on.
And now was heard the roll of the drum, the clang of arms, the stamp
of horses, and the measured tread of men. The infantry took the
left, the cavalry the right bank of the Danube. When morning dawned,
the camp lay far behind them, but the road was long that led to
The two Princes of Savoy rode together. Little had been said by
either one, but whenever their eyes met, each read in the glance of
the other that he was dearly loved, and then they smiled, and
relapsed into silence. After riding in this way for several miles,
Prince Louis spoke.
"I wish to ask you something, Eugene. But promise not to ridicule
"I promise, with all my heart."
"Then tell me--do you believe in dreams and presentiments?"
Eugene reflected for a while and then said, "Yes--you know that our
family have every reason to believe in dreams. Mine have often been
realized; and often too, I must confess, that they have deceived me-
-but still I am a believer."
"Well, then," said his brother, "I shall meet my death to-day."
Eugene shuddered. "Meet your death!" exclaimed he. "This is a grim
jest, dear Louis."
"No jest, brother; a serious prediction. Last night I saw myself
mortally wounded, and I heard the wailing of my wife and children,
when the news of my death was brought to them. It was so vivid that
it awakened me. Dear Eugene, if I fall, be a brother to my Urania, a
father to my children."
"I will, I will, Louis, but God forbid that they should need
protection from me! Were you to die, I should lose my only friend,
for whom have I to love in this world besides yourself, dear
"Nay, Eugene," returned Louis, "I cannot be your only or your
dearest friend, for you do not trust me. From our cousins, the
Princes de Conti, I learned that you had endured some great sorrow
at the hands of Louvois, the French minister of war. I have waited
for you to confide your troubles to me, but--Great God! What is the
Eugene had reined in his horse with such force, that it seemed to be
falling back upon its haunches. His face was deadly pale, and his
hand raised imploringly.
"My head reels," murmured he, in return. "I dare not think of the
past, much less speak of it. Dear, dear brother, do not exact it of
me. Be content to know that, for three days of my life, I was happy
beyond the power of man to express--but for three days only. What
followed almost cost me my reason; and the mere mention of my
misfortune unsettles it to-day. Give me your hand, and let us drop
this subject forever, Louis. I have no past; futurity is everything
"So be it," replied Louis, grasping his brother's hand with fervor.
"From this day we are comrades for life!"
Their hands remained clasped for a few seconds: then, as by a
simultaneous impulse, the brothers struck spurs into their horses'
flanks, and galloped swiftly onward. The troops were allowed to halt
but once during the day; they went on and on until sunset, when they
arrived within sight of the market-town of Petronelle. Between the
city and the tired troopers was a wide plain, whose uniformity was
broken here and there by the ruins of ancient Roman fortifications.
Suddenly there was a cry, a clash of swords, and a clang of trumpets
uttering strange sounds; and, as the regiment of the Princes of
Savoy was defiling along a passage between the ruins, a troop of
Tartars that had been in ambuscade behind, sprang out, uttering the
most hideous yells.
"Forward!" cried Prince Louis, brandishing his sword.
"Forward!" echoed Eugene, joyfully, spurring his horse into their
very midst. For a while the brothers fought side by side, Louis with
calm intrepidity, Eugene with the instinct, the enthusiasm, the
inspiration of genius. His sword mowed down the Tartars as the
reaper's scythe sweeps away the grass; but unhappily the attack had
been so sudden, and the cries which had accompanied it so frightful,
that the Austrians became panic-stricken, and their ranks
In vain the elder Prince of Savoy tried to rally them; in vain
Eugene, followed by a few veterans, called upon them to charge; his
reckless gallantry availed him nothing. Finally his arm with its
unsheathed sword, dropped discouraged at his side.
"Lost, lost!" cried he to his brother. "Lost and disgraced!"
"Yes, by Heaven, they are flying!" was the despairing reply. But as
he spoke the words, he saw that he was in error. The galloping
horses were coming nearer and nearer, and now they saw that re-
enforcement was at hand. The Duke of Lorraine with his cavalry was
flying to their rescue, and the fight was resumed. The dragoons,
encouraged by the sight of their Commander-in-chief, now charged the
Tartars, and they in their turn began to fly.
Prince Louis was eager to pursue them, and, calling his men, the
chase began. His horse outstripped the others, and unhappily was so
conspicuous a mark, that the arrow of a Calmuck, hidden behind the
ruins of a triumphal arch, pierced his breast. Maddened by pain, the
animal leaped so high in the air that his rider was thrown to the
ground; and while the horse rushed on, his master was trodden down
by his own dragoons, who, in the eagerness of pursuit, trampled
their unfortunate commander to death.
The enemy had been repulsed, and the troops were in better spirits.
Eugene rode from rank to rank, repeating the same words, "Where is
my brother? Where is the Prince of Savoy?"
Not a man there could answer his questions, for not one had seen his
leader fall. At length, it was remembered that a wounded horse had
been seen madly rushing over the plain, but the excited troopers had
given no heed to the circumstance; it was an occurrence too common
in an engagement, to arrest them for a moment from their pursuit of
Eugene's heart was bounding with joy, and he had been seeking his
brother to give and receive congratulations. His countenance, which
had been glowing with pride, became suddenly disturbed; his flashing
eyes grew dull and leaden, and so for one moment he sat, stricken
and motionless. But he started from his lethargy, and crying out to
his men, "Follow me!" they galloped away to the spot where the dying
and the dead were heaped together near the ruined arch where the
Tartars had been concealed.
In an instant the unfortunate youth saw the body of his brother. He
flung himself from his horse, and knelt down by his side. Gracious
Heaven! was that bruised and shapeless mass all that remained of the
comeliness and grace of Louis of Savoy!
Eugene bent down, and, lovingly as a mother lifts her newborn
infant, he raised his brother's mangled head, and rested it upon his
arm. The hot tears that fell upon that poor, bleeding face, awoke
the small remnant of life that was pulsating in the dying prince's
heart, and his filmy eyes unclosed. Their light was almost
extinguished, but Eugene saw that he was recognized, for the feeble
spark kindled, and the pale lips fluttered.
"My dream!" were the words he uttered, "my dream!"
"No, no!" cried Eugene, in piercing tones of anguish, while with his
trembling hand he stroked his brother's hair and wiped the death-dew
from his brow.
"Eugene," murmured Louis, "my wife--my chil--"
"Oh! they shall be mine--mine, beloved," was the passionate reply.
"Kiss me, brother, and--bear the kiss to my Urania."
Eugene stifled his sobs, and kissed the pale, cold lips. A shudder
crossed the frame of the dying man, a torrent of blood gushed from
his lips, and moving his head so that it rested close to his
brother's heart, he expired.
With a groan, Eugene fell upon his lifeless body. How long he had
lain there he knew not, when he felt a gentle touch upon his
shoulder. He looked up, and beheld the Duke of Lorraine.
"Prince Eugene," said he, "war has claimed from you a terrible
sacrifice. You have lost a brother whom you most tenderly loved. But
a soldier must conquer grief; and who more than he should remember
that death, however painful, cancels all human woes?"
Eugene rose slowly to his feet, and raised his hand all purple with
his brother's gore. "See," said he, "my brother has given me the
baptism of war, and now I dedicate myself to strife. This blood-
besprinkled hand shall smite the Turk, shall ruin his fields, shall
devastate his towns.--Ah, Louis! Ambition has hitherto been my
incentive to glory, but revenge is stronger than ambition, and
revenge shall lift me to greatness!"
The setting sun poured down a stream of light upon the speaker, who,
small, delicate, and insignificant, seemed transfigured into the
genius of war. The dragoons around looked upon him with awe; and,
long years after, they were accustomed to relate the circumstance of
Prince Louis's death, and Prince Eugene's vow.
"The Turks, the Turks! The Tartars are coming! The Duke of Lorraine
has been defeated! We are lost!"
Such were the cries in Vienna, on the morning of the 8th of July,
1683. A courier from the Duke of Lorraine had brought news of the
unfortunate skirmish near Petronelle, and had warned the emperor of
the approach of the enemy. Leopold had acted upon the information at
once, and preparations were making by the royal family to evacuate
This fact was no sooner known throughout the city, than thousands of
its inhabitants prepared to follow. If the emperor deserted his
capital, it was because he knew that it must fall; and those who
loved their lives were determined to fly. From palace to hut there
was but one common feeling--a frenzied desire to go elsewhere--
anywhere rather than remain to be butchered by the infidel.
Whosoever possessed a carriage, a wagon, a cart, was an object of
greater envy than he who counted his treasures by millions.
Incredible prices were offered and received for the roughest of
conveyances. Before every house stood vehicles of every kind,
crowded with fugitives, upon whom the poorer classes gazed with
longing eyes; many of them, by dint of tears and prayers, obtaining
liberty to hang on the wagons as they drove away.
And now amid the throng arose a cry. "The emperor! the emperor!"
Yes--he sat in his imperial carriage, pale, mournful, silent. And at
his side, sorrowful as he, was the Empress Eleanor. Behind them, in
another carriage, came the aja, with the crown prince of Austria in
her arms. Alas! not even for that innocent babe was there safety to
be found in the doomed city.
The people, like madmen, rushed through the streets behind the
imperial cortege. Whither their sovereign went, they determined to
follow; for with him, they fancied, they would find refuge from the
The retinue of the emperor took the way toward the Danube, and the
long train of carriages thundered over its wide bridge. At intervals
the people shouted:
"Follow his imperial majesty! Whither our sovereign travels, we must
go for safety!" And for six hours the bridge was thronged with
passengers; some in vehicles, some clinging to vehicles; ladies and
lackeys together in rumbles, or together hanging to the carriage-
doors. Never in his life had such a cortege followed the Emperor of
Austria; and certainly a procession more mournful had never
accompanied a sovereign before. Leopold's destination was Linz; but
the way was tedious, the roads sandy, and the sun's rays scorching.
Poor horses! they were white with sweat; but still the drivers urged
them on, for relays there were none. Terror had almost depopulated
the country. Toward nightfall the fugitives were compelled to halt,
for their tired animals were too stiff to travel farther, and
themselves were weary and hungry.
They had reached a small village, where Leopold gave orders to have
beds and supper prepared for his pale and worn-out empress.
"Ah, yes!" sighed she, "I am hungry and sleepy."
But from some mismanagement, the wagons containing the beds and
provisions of the imperial family had either stopped on the way, or
had never left Vienna.
The poor empress folded her hands and began to pray. The emperor
bowed his head. "My house is sorely in need," said he, sadly, "but
we are all in the hands of Almighty God. Whithersoever it be His
will to exile us, I am ready to go; and may His holy will be done!"