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Full text of "The works of Robert Louis Stevenson"

National Library of Scotland 
*B000297145* 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

National Library of Scotland 



http://www.archive.org/details/princeotto01stev 



This Edinburgh Edition consists of 

one thousand and thirty-five copies 

all numbered 






Vol. IX. of issue : July 1895 



THE WORKS OF 

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON 

EDINBURGH EDITION 



THE WORKS OF 

ROBERT LOUIS 
STEVENSON 



ROMANCES 

VOLUME II 



EDINBURGH 

PRINTED BY T. AND A. CONSTABLE FOR 

LONGMANS GREEN AND CO : CASSELL AND CO. 

SEELEY AND CO : CHAS. SCRIBNER'S SONS 

AND SOLD BY CHATTO AND WINDUS 

PICCADILLY : LONDON 

1895 



PRINCE 
OTTO 



First Edition: Longmans and Co. , 1885. 

Originally miblished, 'Longman's Maga 
zine,' April to October 1885. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Dedication . . • • . xv 



BOOK I 

PRINCE ERRANT 

i. In which the Prince departs on an 

Adventure 3 

ii. In which the Prince plays Haroun-al- 

Raschid .... 9 

in. In which the Prince comforts Age and 
Beauty and delivers a Lecture on 
Discretion in Love . . .22 

iv. In which the Prince collects Opinions 

by the way . . • .36 



XI 



PRINCE OTTO 

BOOK II 
OF LOVE AND POLITICS 

PAGE 

I. What happened in the Library . . 55 

II. 'On the Court of Griinewald,' being a 

Portion of the Traveller's Manuscript 70 

in. The Prince and the English Traveller . 79 

iv. While the Prince is in the Ante-room ... 89 

v. ... Gondremark is in my Lady's 

Chamber . . . .96 

vi. The Prince delivers a Lecture on 
Marriage, with Practical Illustrations 
of Divorce .... 105 

vii. The Prince dissolves the Council . 117 

viii. The Party of War takes action . .129 

ix. The Price of the River Farm ; in which 

Vainglory goes before a Fall . . 138 

x. Gotthold's Revised Opinion ; and the 

Fall completed . . .153 

xi. Providence Von Rosen : Act the First 

— She beguiles the Baron . .164 

xii 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

xii. Providence Von Rosen : Act the Second 

— She informs the Prince . . 172 

xiii. Providence Von Rosen : Act the Third 

— She enlightens Seraphina . . 185 

xiv. Relates the Cause and Outbreak of the 

Revolution . . . .194 



BOOK III 

FORTUNATE MISFORTUNE 

I. Princess Cinderella . . . 209 

ii. Treats of a Christian Virtue . .231 

in. Providence Von Rosen : Act the Last 

— In which she gallops off . . 239 

iv. Babes in the Wood . . . 250 

bibliographical postscript, to complete 

the story .... 260 



Xlll 



TO NELLY VAN BE GRIFT 

(MRS. ADULFO SANCHEZ, OF MONTEREY) 

At last, after so many years, I have the pleasure of re-introduc- 
ing you to Prince Otto, whom you will remember a very little 
fellow, no bigger, in fact, than a few sheets of memoranda written 
for me by your hind hand. The sight of his name will carry 
you bade to an old wooden house embowered in creepers ; a house 
that was far gone in the respectable stages of antiquity, and 
seemed indissoluble from the green garden in which it stood, and 
that yet was a sea-traveller in its younger days, and had come 
round the Horn piecemeal in the belly of a ship, and might have 
heard the seamen stamping and shouting and the note of the 
boatswain's whistle. It will recall to you the nondescript in- 
habitants, now so widely scattered : — the two horses, the dog, and 
the four cats, some of them still looking in your face as you read 
these lines; — the poor lady, so unfortunately married to an 
author ;—the China boy, by this time, perhaps, baiting his line 
by the banks of a river in the Flowery Land ; — and in par- 
ticular the Scot who was then sick apparently unto death, and 
whom you did so much to cheer and keep in good behaviour. 
You may remember that he was full of ambitions and designs: 

xv 



DEDICATION 

so soon as he had his health again completely, you may re- 
member the fortune he was to earn, the journeys he was to go 
upon, the delights he was to enjoy and confer, and (among other 
matters) the masterpiece he was to make of Prince Otto ! 

Well, we will not give in that we arejinally beaten. We read 
together in those days the story of Braddock, and how, as he 
was carried dying from the scene of his defeat, he promised him- 
self to do better another time : a story that will always touch a 
brave heart, and a dying speech worthy of a more fortunate 
commander. I try to be of BraddocWs mind. I stilly mean to 
get my health again ; I still purpose, by hook or crook, this book 
or the next, to launch a masterpiece ; and I still intend — some- 
how, some time or other — to see your face and to hold your 
hand. 

Meanwhile, this little paper traveller goes forth instead, 
crosses the great seas and the long plains and the dark moun- 
tains, and comes at last to your door in Monterey, charged with 
tender greetings. Pray you, take him in. He comes from a 
house where (even as in your own) there are gathered together 
some of the wafs of our company at Oakland; a house— for all 
its outlandish Gaelic name and distant station — where you are 
well beloved. 

R L.S. 
Skerryvore, Bournemouth. 



xvi 



BOOK I 
PRINCE ERRANT 



9-a 



CHAPTER I 

IN WHICH THE PRINCE DEPARTS ON AN ADVENTURE 

You shall seek in vain upon the map of Europe for 
the bygone state of Griinewald. An independent 
principality, an infinitesimal member of the German 
Empire, she played, for several centuries, her part 
in the discord of Europe ; and, at last, in the ripe- 
ness of time and at the spiriting of several bald 
diplomatists, vanished like a morning ghost. Less 
fortunate than Poland, she left not a regret behind 
her; and the very memory of her boundaries has 
faded. 

It was a patch of hilly country covered with thick 
wood. Many streams took their beginning in the 
glens of Griinewald, turning mills for the inhabitants. 
There was one town, Mittwalden, and many brown, 
wooden hamlets, climbing roof above roof, along the 
steep bottom of dells, and communicating by covered 
bridges over the larger of the torrents. The hum 
of watermills, the splash of running water, the clean 
odour of pine sawdust, the sound and smell of the 
pleasant wind among the innumerable army of the 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

mountain pines, the dropping fire of huntsmen, the 
dull stroke of the wood-axe, intolerable roads, fresh 
trout for supper in the clean bare chamber of an inn, 
and the song of birds and the music of the village- 
bells — these were the recollections of the Grunewald 
tourist. 

North and east the foothills of Grunewald sank 
with varying profile into a vast plain. On these 
sides many small states bordered with the princi- 
pality, Gerolstein, an extinct grand duchy, among 
the number. On the south it marched with the com- 
paratively powerful kingdom of Seaboard Bohemia, 
celebrated for its flowers and mountain bears, and 
inhabited by a people of singular simplicity and 
tenderness of heart. Several intermarriages had, in 
the course of centuries, united the crowned families 
of Grunewald and Maritime Bohemia ; and the last 
Prince of Grunewald, whose history I purpose to 
relate, drew his descent through Perdita, the only 
daughter of King Florizel the First of Bohemia. 
That these intermarriages had in some degree 
mitigated the rough, manly stock of the first 
Griinewalds, was an opinion widely held within the 
borders of the principality. The charcoal burner, 
the mountain sawyer, the wielder of the broad axe 
among the congregated pines of Grunewald, proud 
of their hard hands, proud of their shrewd ignorance 
and almost savage lore, looked with an unfeigned 
contempt on the soft character and manners of the 
sovereign race. 

The precise year of grace in which this tale begins 
4 



DEPARTS ON AN ADVENTURE 

shall be left to the conjecture of the reader. But 
for the season of the year (which, in such a story, is 
the more important of the two), it was already so far 
forward in the spring, that when mountain people 
heard horns echoing all day about the north-west 
corner of the principality, they told themselves that 
Prince Otto and his hunt were up and out for the 
last time till the return of autumn. 

At this point the borders of Griinewald descend 
somewhat steeply, here and there breaking into 
crags ; and this shaggy and trackless country stands 
in a bold contrast to the cultivated plain below. It 
was traversed at that period by two roads alone ; 
one, the imperial highway, bound to Brandenau in 
Gerolstein, descended the slope obliquely and by the 
easiest gradients. The other ran like a fillet across 
the very forehead of the hills, dipping into savage 
gorges, and wetted by the spray of tiny waterfalls. 
Once it passed beside a certain tower or castle, built 
sheer upon the margin of a formidable cliff, and 
commanding a vast prospect of the skirts of Griine- 
wald and the busy plains of Gerolstein. The 
Felsenburg (so this tower was called) served now as 
a prison, now as a hunting-seat ; and for all it stood 
so lonesome to the naked eye, with the aid of a good 
glass the burghers of Brandenau could count its 
windows from the lime-tree terrace where they 
walked at night. 

In the wedge of forest hillside enclosed between 
the roads, the horns continued all day long to scatter 
tumult; and at length, as the sun began to draw 

5 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

near to the horizon of the plain, a rousing triumph 
announced the slaughter of the quarry. The first 
and second huntsman had drawn somewhat aside, 
and from the summit of a knoll gazed down before 
them on the drooping shoulders of the hill and across 
the expanse of plain. They covered their eyes, for 
the sun was in their faces. The glory of its going 
down was somewhat pale. Through the confused 
tracery of many thousands of naked poplars, the 
smoke of so many houses, and the evening steam 
ascending from the fields, the sails of a windmill on 
a gentle eminence moved very conspicuously, like a 
donkey's ears. And hard by, like an open gash, the 
imperial high-road ran straight sunward, an artery 
of travel. 

There is one of nature's spiritual ditties, that has 
not yet been set to words or human music : ' The 
Invitation to the Road ' ; an air continually sounding 
in the ears of gipsies, and to whose inspiration our 
nomadic fathers journeyed all their days. The hour, 
the season, and the scene, all were in delicate 
accordance. The air was full of birds of passage, 
steering westward and northward over Grtinewald, 
an army of specks to the up-looking eye. And 
below, the great practicable road was bound for the 
same quarter. 

But to the two horsemen on the knoll this spiritual 
ditty was unheard. They were, indeed, in some 
concern of mind, scanning every fold of the subjacent 
forest, and betraying both anger and dismay in their 
impatient gestures. 
6 



DEPARTS ON AN ADVENTURE 

* I do not see him, Kuno,' said the first hunts- 
man, 'nowhere — not a trace, not a hair of the 
mare's tail ! No, sir, he 's off ; broke cover and got 
away. Why, for twopence I would hunt him with 
the dogs ! ' 

'Mayhap he's gone home,' said Kuno, but with- 
out conviction. 

* Home ! ' sneered the other. * I give him twelve 
days to get home. No, it 's begun again ; it 's as it 
was three years ago, before he married ; a disgrace ! 
Hereditary prince, hereditary fool ! There goes the 
government over the borders on a grey mare. 
What 's that ? No, nothing — no, I tell you, on my 
word, I set more store by a good gelding or an 
English dog. That for your Otto ! ' 

' He 's not my Otto,' growled Kuno. 

* Then I don't know whose he is,' was the retort. 
'You would put your hand in the fire for him 

to-morrow,' said Kuno, facing round. 

' Me ! ' cried the huntsman. ' I would see him 
hanged ! I 'm a Griinewald patriot — enrolled, and 
have my medal too ; and I would help a prince ! 
I 'm for liberty and Gondremark.' 

' Well, it 's all one,' said Kuno. ' If anybody said 
what you said, you would have his blood, and you 
know it' 

'You have him on the brain,' retorted his com- 
panion. — ' There he goes ! ' he cried, the next 
moment. 

And sure enough, about a mile down the moun- 
tain, a rider on a white horse was seen to flit rapidly 

7 



DEPARTS ON AN ADVENTURE 

across a heathy open and vanish among the trees on 
the farther side. 

'In ten minutes he'll be over the border into 
Gerolstein,' said Kuno. * It's past cure.' 

' Well, if he founders that mare, I '11 never forgive 
him,' added the other, gathering his reins. 

And as they turned down from the knoll to rejoin 
their comrades, the sun dipped and disappeared, and 
the woods fell instantly into the gravity and grey- 
ness of the early night. 



CHAPTER II 

IN WHICH THE PRINCE PLAYS HAROUN-AL-RASCHID 

The night fell upon the Prince while he was thread- 
ing green tracks in the lower valleys of the wood ; 
and though the stars came out overhead and displayed 
the interminable order of the pine-tree pyramids, 
regular and dark like cypresses, their light was of 
small service to a traveller in such lonely paths, and 
from thenceforth he rode at random. The austere 
face of nature, the uncertain issue of his course, the 
open sky and the free air, delighted him like wine ; 
and the hoarse chafing of a river on his left sounded 
in his ears agreeably. 

It was past eight at night before his toil was 
rewarded and he issued at last out of the forest on 
the firm white high-road. It lay downhill before 
him with a sweeping eastward trend, faintly bright 
between the thickets ; and Otto paused and gazed 
upon it. So it ran, league after league, still joining 
others, to the farthest ends of Europe, there skirting 
the sea-surge, here gleaming in the lights of cities ; 
and the innumerable army of tramps and travellers 

9 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

moved upon it in all lands as by a common impulse, 
and were now in all places drawing near to the inn 
door and the night's rest. The pictures swarmed 
and vanished in his brain ; a surge of temptation, a 
beat of all his blood, went over him, to set spur to 
the mare and to go on into the unknown for ever. 
And then it passed away ; hunger and fatigue, and 
that habit of middling actions which we call common 
sense, resumed their empire ; and in that changed 
mood his eye lighted upon two bright windows on 
his left hand, between the road and river. 

He turned off by a by-road, and in a few minutes 
he was knocking with his whip on the door of a large 
farmhouse, and a chorus of dogs from the farmyard 
were making angry answer. A very tall, old, white- 
headed man came, shading a candle, at the summons. 
He had been of great strength in his time, and of a 
handsome countenance ; but now he was fallen 
away, his teeth were quite gone, and his voice when 
he spoke was broken and falsetto. 

' You will pardon me,' said Otto. ' I am a traveller 
and have entirely lost my way.' 

' Sir,' said the old man, in a very stately, shaky 
manner, 'you are at the River Farm, and I am 
Killian Gottesheim, at your disposal. We are here, 
sir, at about an equal distance from Mittwalden in 
Griinewald and Brandenau in Gerolstein : six leagues 
to either, and the road excellent ; but there is not a 
wine-bush, not a carter's alehouse, anywhere between. 
You will have to accept my hospitality for the 
night ; rough hospitality, to which I make you freely 
10 



PLAYS HAROUN-AL-RASCHID 

welcome ; for, sir,' he added, with a bow, ' it is God 
who sends the guest.' 

' Amen. And I most heartily thank you,' replied 
Otto, bowing in his turn. 

'Fritz,' said the old man, turning towards the 
interior, 'lead round this gentleman's horse; and 
you, sir, condescend to enter.' 

Otto entered a chamber occupying the greater 
part of the ground-floor of the building. It had 
probably once been divided ; for the farther end was 
raised by a long step above the nearer, and the 
blazing fire and the white supper-table seemed to 
stand upon a dais. All around were dark, brass- 
mounted cabinets and cupboards ; dark shelves 
carrying ancient country crockery ; guns and antlers 
and broadside ballads on the wall ; a tall old clock 
with roses on the dial ; and down in one corner 
the comfortable promise of a wine-barrel. It was 
homely, elegant, and quaint. 

A powerful youth hurried out to attend on the 
grey mare ; and when Mr. Killian Gottesheim had 
presented him to his daughter Ottilia, Otto followed 
to the stable as became, not perhaps the Prince, but 
the good horseman. When he returned, a smoking 
omelette and some slices of home-cured ham were 
waiting him ; these were followed by a ragout and a 
cheese ; and it was not until his guest had entirely 
satisfied his hunger, and the whole party drew about 
the fire over the wine-jug, that Killian Gottesheim's 
elaborate courtesy permitted him to address a ques- 
tion to the Prince. 

ii 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

' You have perhaps ridden far, sir ? ' he inquired. 

' I have, as you say, ridden far,' replied Otto ; 
' and, as you have seen, I was prepared to do justice 
to your daughter's cookery.' 

' Possibly, sir, from the direction of Brandenau ? ' 
continued Killian. 

' Precisely : and I should have slept to-night, had 
I not wandered, in Mittwalden,' answered the Prince, 
weaving in a patch of truth, according to the habit 
of all liars. 

' Business leads you to Mittwalden ? ' was the next 
question. 

( Mere curiosity,' said Otto. ' I have never yet 
visited the principality of Griinewald.' 

' A pleasant state, sir,' piped the old man, nodding, 
' a very pleasant state, and a fine race, both pines 
and people. We reckon ourselves part Griine- 
walders here, lying so near the borders ; and the 
river there is all good Griinewald water, every drop 
of it. Yes, sir, a fine state. A man of Griinewald 
now will swing me an axe over his head that many 
a man of Gerolstein could hardly lift ; and the pines, 
why, deary me, there must be more pines in that 
little state, sir, than people in this whole big world. 
Tis twenty years now since I crossed the marshes, 
for we grow home-keepers in old age ; but I mind it 
as if it was yesterday. Up and down, the road keeps 
right on from here to Mittwalden ; and nothing all 
the way but the good green pine-trees, big and 
little, and water-power ! water-power at every step, 
sir. We once sold a bit of forest, up there beside 
12 



PLAYS HAROUN-AL-RASCHID 

the high-road ; and the sight of minted money that 
we got for it has set me ciphering ever since what 
all the pines in Griinewald would amount to.' 

* I suppose you see nothing of the Prince ? ' in- 
quired Otto. 

'No,' said the young man, speaking for the first 
time, 'nor want to.' 

' Why so ? is he so much disliked ? ' asked Otto. 

' Not what you might call disliked,' replied the old 
gentleman, 'but despised, sir.' 

' Indeed,' said the Prince somewhat faintly. 

' Yes, sir, despised,' nodded Killian, filling a long 
pipe, ' and, to my way of thinking, justly despised. 
Here is a man with great opportunities, and what 
does he do with them ? He hunts, and he dresses 
very prettily — which is a thing to be ashamed of in 
a man — and he acts plays ; and if he does aught else, 
the news of it has not come here.' 

'Yet these are all innocent,' said Otto. 'What 
would you have him do — make war ? ' 

' No, sir,' replied the old man. ' But here it is : I 
have been fifty years upon this River Farm, and 
wrought in it, day in, day out ; I have ploughed and 
sowed and reaped, and risen early, and waked late ; 
and this is the upshot : that all these years it has 
supported me and my family ; and been the best 
friend that ever I had, set aside my wife ; and now, 
when my time comes, I leave it a better farm than 
when I found it. So it is, if a man works hearty in 
the order of nature, he gets bread and he receives 
comfort, and whatever he touches breeds. And it 

13 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

humbly appears to me, if that Prince was to labour 
on his throne, as I have laboured and wrought in my 
farm, he would find both an increase and a blessing.' 

' I believe with you, sir,' Otto said ; 'and yet the 
parallel is inexact. For the farmer's life is natural 
and simple ; but the prince's is both artificial and 
complicated. It is easy to do right in the one, and 
exceedingly difficult not to do wrong in the other. 
If your crop is blighted, you can take off your 
bonnet and say, " God's will be done " ; but if the 
prince meets with a reverse, he may have to blame 
himself for the attempt. And perhaps, if all the 
kings in Europe were to confine themselves to 
innocent amusement, the subjects would be the 
better off.' 

* Ay,' said the young man Fritz, ' you are in the 
right of it there. That was a true word spoken. 
And I see you are like me, a good patriot and an 
enemy to princes.' 

Otto was somewhat abashed at this deduction, 
and he made haste to change his ground. 'But,' 
said he, 'you surprise me by what you say of this 
Prince Otto. I have heard him, I must own, more 
favourably painted. I was told he was, in his heart, 
a good fellow, and the enemy of no one but himself 

' And so he is, sir,' said the girl, ' a very handsome, 
pleasant prince ; and we know some who would shed 
their blood for him.' 

' O ! Kuno ! ' said Fritz. ' An ignoramus ! ' 

' Ay, Kuno, to be sure,' quavered the old farmer. 
'■ Well, since this gentleman is a stranger to these 
14 



PLAYS HAROUN-AL-RASCHID 

parts, and curious about the Prince, I do believe 
that story might divert him. This Kuno, you must 
know, sir, is one of the hunt servants, and a most 
ignorant, intemperate man : a right Griinewalder, as 
we say in Gerolstein. We know him well, in this 
house ; for he has come as far as here after his stray 
dogs ; and I make all welcome, sir, without account 
of state or nation. And indeed, between Gerolstein 
and Griinewald the peace has held so long that the 
roads stand open like my door ; and a man will 
make no more of the frontier than the very birds 
themselves.' 

' Ay,' said Otto, ' it has been a long peace — a peace 
of centuries.' 

' Centuries, as you say,' returned Killian : * the 
more the pity that it should not be for ever. Well, 
sir, this Kuno was one day in fault, and Otto, who 
has a quick temper, up with his whip and thrashed 
him, they do say, soundly. Kuno took it as best he 
could, but at last he broke out, and dared the Prince 
to throw his whip away and wrestle like a man ; for 
we are all great at wrestling in these parts, and it 's 
so that we generally settle our disputes. Well, sir, 
the Prince did so ; and, being a weakly creature, 
found the tables turned ; for the man whom he had 
just been thrashing like a negro slave, lifted him 
with a back grip and threw him heels overhead.' 

' He broke his bridle-arm,' cried Fritz — ' and some 
say his nose. Serve him right, say I ! Man to man, 
which is the better at that ? ' 

' And then ? ' asked Otto. 

15 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

' O, then Kuno carried him home ; and they were 
the best of friends from that day forth. I don't say 
it's a discreditable story, you observe,' continued 
Mr. Gottesheim ; ' but it 's droll, and that 's the fact, 
A man should think before he strikes ; for, as my 
nephew says, man to man was the old valuation.' 

' Now, if you were to ask me,' said Otto, ' I should 
perhaps surprise you. I think it was the Prince that 
conquered.' 

* And, sir, you would be right,' replied Killian, 
seriously. ' In the eyes of God, I do not question 
but you would be right ; but men, sir, look at these 
things differently, and they laugh.' 

' They made a song of it,' observed Fritz. * How 
does it go ? Ta-tum-ta-ra . . .' 

' Well,' interrupted Otto, who had no great anxiety 
to hear the song, ' the Prince is young ; he may yet 
mend.' 

'Not so young, by your leave,' cried Fritz. 'A 
man of forty.' 

' Thirty-six,' corrected Mr. Gottesheim. 

'O,' cried Ottilia, in obvious disillusion, 'a man 
of middle age ! And they said he was so handsome 
when he was young ! ' 

' And bald, too,' added Fritz. 

Otto passed his hand among his locks. At that 
moment he was far from happy, and even the tedious 
evenings at Mittwalden Palace began to smile upon 
him by comparison. 

'O, six-and-thirty ! ' he protested. 'A man is not 
yet old at six-and-thirty. I am that age myself.' 
16 



PLAYS HAROUN-AL-RASCHID 

' I should have taken you for more, sir,' piped the 
old farmer. * But if that be so, you are of an age 
with Master Ottekin, as people call him ; and, I 
would wager a crown, have done more service in 
your time. Though it seems young by comparison 
with men of a great age like me, yet it 's some way 
through life for all that ; and the mere fools and 
fiddlers are beginning to grow weary and to look old. 
Yes, sir, by six-and-thirty, if a man be a follower 
of God's laws, he should have made himself a home 
and a good name to live by ; he should have got a 
wife and a blessing on his marriage ; and his works, 
as the Word says, should begin to follow him.' 

' Ah, well, the Prince is married,' cried Fritz, with 
a coarse burst of laughter. 

' That seems to entertain you, sir,' said Otto. 

' Ay,' said the young boor. ' Did you not know 
that ? I thought all Europe knew it ! ' And he 
added a pantomime of a nature to explain his accusa- 
tion to the dullest. 

'Ah, sir,' said Mr. Gottesheim, 'it is very plain 
that you are not from hereabouts ! But the truth is, 
that the whole princely family and Court are rips 
and rascals, not one to mend another. They live, 
sir, in idleness and — what most commonly follows it 
— corruption. The Princess has a lover; a Baron, 
as he calls himself, from East Prussia; and the 
Prince is so little of a man, sir, that he holds the 
candle. Nor is that the worst of it, for this 
foreigner and his paramour are suffered to transact 
the State affairs, while the Prince takes the salary 
9— b 17 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

and leaves all things to go to wrack. There will 
follow upon this some manifest judgment which, 
though I am old, I may survive to see.' 

' Good man, you are in the wrong about Gondre- 
mark,' said Fritz, showing a greatly increased anima- 
tion ; ' but for all the rest, you speak the God's truth 
like a good patriot. As for the Prince, if he would 
take and strangle his wife, I would forgive him yet.' 

' Nay, Fritz,' said the old man, ' that would be to 
add iniquity to evil. For you perceive, sir,' he con- 
tinued, once more addressing himself to the unfortu- 
nate Prince, 'this Otto has himself to thank for 
these disorders. He has his young wife and his 
principality, and he has sworn to cherish both.' 

' Sworn at the altar ! ' echoed Fritz. ' But put 
your faith in princes ! ' 

' Well, sir, he leaves them both to an adventurer 
from East Prussia,' pursued the farmer; 'leaves 
the girl to be seduced and to go on from bad to 
worse, till her name 's become a tap-room by-word, 
and she not yet twenty ; leaves the country to be 
overtaxed, and bullied with armaments, and jockied 
into war ' 

' War ! ' cried Otto. 

' So they say, sir ; those that watch their ongoings, 
say to war,' asseverated Killian. ' Well, sir, that is 
very sad ; it is a sad thing for this poor, wicked girl 
to go down to hell with people's curses ; it 's a sad 
thing for a tight little happy country to be miscon- 
ducted; but whoever may complain, I humbly 
conceive, sir, that this Otto cannot. What he has 
18 



PLAYS HAROUN-AL-RASCHID 

worked for, that he has got; and may God have 
pity on his soul, for a great and a silly sinner's ! ' 

' He has broke his oath ; then he is a perjurer. 
He takes the money and leaves the work; why, 
then plainly he 's a thief. A cuckold he was before, 
and a fool by birth. Better me that ! ' cried Fritz, 
and snapped his fingers. 

' And now, sir, you will see a little,' continued the 
farmer, ' why we think so poorly of this Prince Otto. 
There's such a thing as a man being pious and 
honest in the private way ; and there is such a 
thing, sir, as a public virtue ; but when a man has 
neither, the Lord lighten him ! Even this Gondre- 
mark, that Fritz here thinks so much of ' 

'Ay,' interrupted Fritz, ' Gondremark 's the man 
for me. I would we had his like in Gerolstein.' 

' He is a bad man,' said the old farmer, shaking 
his head ; ' and there was never good begun by the 
breach of God's commandments. But so far I will 
go with you : he is a man that works for what he 
has.' 

' I tell you he 's the hope of Griinewald,' cried 
Fritz. ' He doesn't suit some of your high-and-dry, 
old, ancient ideas ; but he 's a downright modern 
man — a man of the new lights and the progress of 
the age. He does some things wrong ; so they all 
do ; but he has the people's interests next his heart ; 
and you mark me — you, sir, who are a Liberal, and 
the enemy of all their governments, you please to 
mark my words — the day will come in Griinewald, 
when they take out that yellow-headed skulk of a 

19 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

Prince and that dough-faced Messalina of a Princess, 
march 'em back foremost over the borders, and pro- 
claim the Baron Gondremark first President. I Ve 
heard them say it in a speech. I was at a meeting 
once at Brandenau, and the Mittwalden delegates 
spoke up for fifteen thousand. Fifteen thousand, all 
brigaded, and each man with a medal round his neck 
to rally by. That 's all Gondremark.' 

' Ay, sir, you see what it leads to : wild talk to- 
day, and wilder doings to-morrow,' said the old man. 
* For there is one thing certain : that this Gondre- 
mark has one foot in the Court backstairs, and the 
other in the Masons' lodges. He gives himself out, 
sir, for what nowadays they call a patriot : a man 
from East Prussia ! ' 

' Give himself out ! ' cried Fritz. ' He is ! He is 
to lay by his title as soon as the Republic is 
declared ; I heard it in a speech.' 

' Lay by Baron to take up President ? ' returned 
Killian. 'King Log, King Stork. But you'll live 
longer than I, and you will see the fruits of it.' 

' Father,' whispered Ottilia, pulling at the speaker's 
coat, ' surely the gentleman is ill.' 

6 I beg your pardon,' cried the farmer, re-waking to 
hospitable thoughts ; ' can I offer you anything ? ' 

' I thank you. I am very weary,' answered Otto. 
' I have presumed upon my strength. If you would 
show me to a bed, I should be grateful.' 

' Ottilia, a candle ! ' said the old man. ' Indeed, 
sir, you look paley. A little cordial water ? No ? 
Then follow me, I beseech you, and I will bring you 
20 



PLAYS HAROUN-AL-RASCHID 

to the stranger's bed. You are not the first by many 
who has slept well below my roof,' continued the old 
gentleman, mounting the stairs before his guest; 
' for good food, honest wine, a grateful conscience, 
and a little pleasant chat before a man retires, are 
worth all the possets and apothecary's drugs. See, 
sir,' and here he opened a door and ushered Otto into 
a little whitewashed sleeping-room, ' here you are in 
port. It is small, but it is airy, and the sheets are 
clean and kept in lavender. The window, too, looks 
out above the river, and there 's no music like a little 
river's. It plays the same tune (and that 's the 
favourite) over and over again, and yet does not 
weary of it like men fiddlers. It takes the mind out 
of doors ; and though we should be grateful for good 
houses, there is, after all, no house like God's out-of- 
doors. And lastly, sir, it quiets a man down like 
saying his prayers. So here, sir, I take my kind 
leave of you until to-morrow ; and it is my prayerful 
wish that you may slumber like a prince.' 

And the old man, with the twentieth courteous 
inclination, left his guest alone. 



21 



CHAPTER III 

IN WHICH THE PRINCE COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY 
AND DELIVERS A LECTURE ON DISCRETION IN LOVE 

The Prince was early abroad : in the time of the first 
chorus of birds, of the pure and quiet air, of the 
slanting sunlight and the mile-long shadows. To 
one who had passed a miserable night, the freshness 
of that hour was tonic and reviving ; to steal a march 
upon his slumbering fellows, to be the Adam of the 
coming day, composed and fortified his spirits ; and 
the Prince, breathing deep and pausing as he went, 
walked in the wet fields beside his shadow, and was 
glad. 

A trellised path led down into the valley of the 
brook, and he turned to follow it. The stream was 
a break-neck, boiling highland river. Hard by the 
farm, it leaped a little precipice in a thick grey- 
mare's tail of twisted filaments, and then lay and 
worked and bubbled in a lynn. Into the middle of 
this quaking pool a rock protruded, shelving to a 
cape ; and thither Otto scrambled and sat down to 
ponder. 
22 



THE PRINCE COMFORTS AGE 

Soon the sun struck through the screen of branches 
and thin early leaves that made a hanging bower 
above the fall ; and the golden lights and flitting 
shadows fell upon and marbled the surface of that 
seething pot; and rays plunged deep among the 
turning waters ; and a spark, as bright as a diamond, 
lit upon the swaying eddy. It began to grow warm 
where Otto lingered, warm and heady ; the lights 
swam, weaving their maze across the shaken pool; 
on the impending rock, reflections danced like 
butterflies ; and the air was fanned by the waterfall 
as by a swinging curtain. 

Otto, who was weary with tossing and beset with 
horrid phantoms of remorse and jealousy, instantly 
fell dead in love with that sun-chequered, echoing 
corner. Holding his feet, he stared out of a drowsy 
trance, wondering, admiring, musing, losing his way 
among uncertain thoughts. There is nothing that 
so apes the external bearing of free will as that un- 
conscious bustle, obscurely following liquid laws, 
with which a river contends among obstructions. 
It seems the very play of man and destiny, and as 
Otto pored on these recurrent changes, he grew, by 
equal steps, the sleepier and the more profound. 
Eddy and Prince were alike jostled in their purpose, 
alike anchored by intangible influences in one corner 
of the world. Eddy and Prince were alike useless, 
starkly useless, in the cosmology of men. Eddy and 
Prince — Prince and Eddy. 

It is probable he had been some while asleep when 
a voice recalled him from oblivion. 'Sir,' it was 

23 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

saying; and looking round, he saw Mr. Killian's 
daughter, terrified by her boldness and making 
bashful signals from the shore. She was a plain, 
honest lass, healthy and happy and good, and with 
that sort of beauty that comes of happiness and 
health. But her confusion lent her for the moment 
an additional charm. 

* Good-morning,' said Otto, rising and moving 
towards her. * I arose early and was in a dream.' 

* O, sir ! ' she cried, ' I wish to beg of you to spare 
my father ; for I assure your Highness, if he had 
known who you was, he would have bitten his 
tongue out sooner. And Fritz, too — how he went 
on ! But I had a notion ; and this morning I went 
straight down into the stable, and there was your 
Highness's crown upon the stirrup-irons ! But, O, 
sir, I made certain you would spare them ; for they 
were as innocent as lambs.' 

' My dear,' said Otto, both amused and gratified, 
' you do not understand. It is I who am in the 
wrong ; for I had no business to conceal my name 
and lead on these gentlemen to speak of me. And 
it is I who have to beg of you that you will keep 
my secret and not betray the discourtesy of which I 
was guilty. As for any fear of me, your friends are 
safe in Gerolstein ; and even in my own territory, 
you must be well aware I have no power.' 

* O, sir,' she said, curtseying, ' I would not say 
that : the huntsmen would all die for you.' 

' Happy Prince ! ' said Otto. ' But although you 
are too courteous to avow the knowledge, you have 
24 



COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY 

had many opportunities of learning that I am a vain 
show. Only last night we heard it very clearly 
stated. You see the shadow flitting on this hard 
rock. Prince Otto, I am afraid, is but the moving 
shadow, and the name of the rock is Gondremark. 
Ah ! if your friends had fallen foul of Gondremark ! 
But happily the younger of the two admires him. 
And as for the old gentleman your father, he is a 
wise man and an excellent talker, and I would take 
a long wager he is honest.' 

* O, Cor honest, your Highness, that he is ! ' ex- 
claimed the girl. 'And Fritz is as honest as he. 
And as for all they said, it was just talk and non- 
sense. When countryfolk get gossiping, they go 
on, I do assure you, for the fun ; they don't as much 
as think of what they say. If you went to the next 
farm, it 's my belief you would hear as much against 
my father.' 

'Nay, nay,' said Otto, 'there you go too fast. 
For all that was said against Prince Otto ' 

' O, it was shameful ! ' cried the girl. 

'Not shameful — true,' returned Otto. 'O, yes 
— true. I am all they said of me — all that and 
worse.' 

' I never ! ' cried Ottilia. ' Is that how you do ? 
Well, you would never be a soldier. Now, if any 
one accuses me, I get up and give it them. O, I 
defend myself. I wouldn't take a fault at another 
person's hands, no, not if I had it on my forehead. 
And that 's what you must do, if you mean to live it 
out. But, indeed, I never heard such nonsense. I 

25 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

should think you was ashamed of yourself! You 're 
bald then, I suppose ? ' 

'O, no,' said Otto, fairly laughing. 'There I 
acquit myself : not bald 1 ' 

' Well, and good ? ' pursued the girl. ' Come now, 
you know you are good, and I '11 make you say so. 
. . . Your Highness, I beg your humble pardon. 
But there's no disrespect intended. And anyhow, 
you know you are.' 

' Why, now, what am I to say ? ' replied Otto. 
' You are a cook, and excellently well you do it ; 
I embrace the chance of thanking you for the ragout. 
Well now, have you not seen good food so bedevilled 
by unskilful cookery that no one could be brought to 
eat the pudding ? That is me, my dear. I am full 
of good ingredients, but the dish is worthless. I am 
— I give it you in one word — sugar in the salad.' 

' Well, I don't care, you 're good,' reiterated 
Ottilia, a little flushed by having failed to under- 
stand. 

' I will tell you one thing,' replied Otto : ' You 
are ! ' 

'Ah, well, that's what they all said of you,' 
moralised the girl ; ' such a tongue to come round 
— such a flattering tongue ! ' 

' O, you forget, I am a man of middle age,' the 
Prince chuckled. 

'Well, to speak to you, I should think you was a 

boy ; and Prince or no Prince, if you came worrying 

where I was cooking, I would pin a napkin to your 

tails. . . . And, O Lord, I declare I hope your High- 

26 



COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY 

ness will forgive me,' the girl added. ' I can't keep 
it in my mind.' 

'No more can I,' cried Otto. 'That is just what 
they complain of ! ' 

They made a loverly-looking couple ; only the 
heavy pouring of that horse-tail of water made them 
raise their voices above lovers' pitch. But to a 
jealous onlooker from above, their mirth and close 
proximity might easily give umbrage ; and a rough 
voice out of a tuft of brambles began calling on 
Ottilia by name. She changed colour at that. ' It 
is Fritz,' she said. ' I must go.' 

' Go, my dear, and I need not bid you go in peace, 
for I think you have discovered that I am not for- 
midable at close quarters,' said the Prince, and made 
her a fine gesture of dismissal. 

So Ottilia skipped up the bank, and disappeared 
into the thicket, stopping once for a single blush- 
ing bob — blushing, because she had in the interval 
once more forgotten and remembered the stranger's 
quality. 

Otto returned to his rock promontory ; but his 
humour had in the meantime changed. The sun 
now shone more fairly on the pool ; and over its 
brown, welling surface, the blue of heaven and the 
golden green of the spring foliage danced in fleeting 
arabesque. The eddies laughed and brightened with 
essential colour. And the beauty of the dell began 
to rankle in the Prince's mind ; it was so near to his 
own borders, yet without. He had never had much 
of the joy of possessorship in any of the thousand 

27 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

and one beautiful and curious things that were his ; 
and now he was conscious of envy for what was 
another's. It was, indeed, a smiling, dilettante sort 
of envy ; but yet there it was : the passion of Ahab 
for the vineyard, done in little ; and he was relieved 
when Mr. Killian appeared upon the scene. 

' I hope, sir, that you have slept well under my 
plain roof,' said the old farmer. 

' I am admiring this sweet spot that you are privi- 
leged to dwell in,' replied Otto, evading the inquiry. 

'It is rustic,' returned Mr. Gottesheim, looking 
around him with complacency, ' a very rustic corner ; 
and some of the land to the west is most excellent 
fat land, excellent deep soil. You should see my 
wheat in the ten-acre field. There is not a farm in 
Griinewald, no, nor many in Gerolstein, to match 
the River Farm. Some sixty — I keep thinking when 
I sow- — some sixty, and some seventy, and some an 
hundredfold ; and my own place, six score ! But 
that, sir, is partly the farming.' 

' And the stream has fish ? ' asked Otto. 

'A fish-pond,' said the farmer. 'Ay, it is a 
pleasant bit. It is pleasant even here, if one had 
time, with the brook drumming in that black pool, 
and the green things hanging all about the rocks, 
and, dear heart, to see the very pebbles ! all turned 
to gold and precious stones ! But you have come to 
that time of life, sir, when, if you will excuse me, 
you must look to have the rheumatism set in. 
Thirty to forty is, as one may say, their seed-time. 
And this is a damp cold corner for the early morn- 
28 



COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY 

ing and an empty stomach. If I might humbly 
advise you, sir, I would be moving.' 

' With all my heart,' said Otto gravely. ' And 
so you have lived your life here ? ' he added, as they 
turned to go. 

* Here I was born,' replied the farmer, ' and here 
I wish I could say I was to die. But fortune, sir, 
fortune turns the wheel. They say she is blind, but 
we will hope she only sees a little farther on. My 
grandfather and my father and I, we have all tilled 
these acres, my furrow following theirs. All the 
three names are on the garden bench, two Killians 
and one Johann. Yes, sir, good men have prepared 
themselves for the great change in my old garden. 
Well do I mind my father, in a woollen night-cap, 
the good soul, going round and round to see the 
last of it. " Killian," said he, "do you see the 
smoke of my tobacco ? Why," said he, " that is 
man's life." It was his last pipe, and I believe he 
knew it ; and it was a strange thing, without doubt, 
to leave the trees that he had planted, and the son 
that he had begotten, ay, sir, and even the old pipe 
with the Turk's head that he had smoked since he 
was a lad and went a-courting. But here we have 
no continuing city ; and as for the eternal, it 's a 
comfortable thought that we have other merits than 
our own. And yet you would hardly think how 
sore it goes against the grain with me, to die in a 
strange bed.' 

* And must you do so ? For what reason ? ' Otto 
asked. 

29 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

' The reason ? The place is to be sold : three 
thousand crowns,' replied Mr. Gottesheim. ' Had it 
been a third of that, I may say without boasting 
that, what with my credit and my savings, I could 
have met the sum. But at three thousand, unless I 
have singular good fortune and the new proprietor 
continues me in office, there is nothing left me but 
to budge.' 

Otto's fancy for the place redoubled at the news, 
and became joined with other feelings. If all he 
heard were true, Griinewald was growing very hot 
for a sovereign Prince ; it might be well to have a 
refuge; and if so, what more delightful hermitage 
could man imagine ? Mr. Gottesheim, besides, had 
touched his sympathies. Every man loves in his soul 
to play the part of the stage deity. And to step 
down to the aid of the old farmer, who had so 
roughly handled him in talk, was the ideal of a Fair 
Revenge. Otto's thoughts brightened at the pro- 
spect, and he began to regard himself with a renewed 
respect. 

* I can find you, I believe, a purchaser,' he said, 
'and one who would continue to avail himself of 
your skill.' 

' Can you, sir, indeed ? ' said the old man. ' Well, 
I shall be heartily obliged ; for I begin to find a man 
may practise resignation all his days, as he takes 
physic, and not come to like it in the end.' 

'If you will have the papers drawn you may even 
burthen the purchase with your interest,' said Otto. 
' Let it be assured to you through life.' 
30 



COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY 

' Your friend, sir,' insinuated Killian, ' would not, 
perhaps, care to make the interest reversible ? Fritz 
is a good lad.' 

' Fritz is young,' said the Prince dryly ; ' he must 
earn consideration, not inherit.' 

' He has long worked upon the place, sir,' insisted 
Mr. Gottesheim ; ' and at my great age, for I am 
seventy-eight come harvest, it would be a trouble- 
some thought to the proprietor how to fill my shoes. 
It would be a care spared to assure yourself of Fritz. 
And I believe he might be tempted by a per- 
manency.' 

'The young man has unsettled views,' returned 
Otto. 

' Possibly the purchaser ' began Killian. 

A little spot of anger burned in Otto's cheek. ' I 
am the purchaser,' he said. 

' It was what I might have guessed,' replied the 
farmer, bowing with an aged, obsequious dignity. 
'You have made an old man very happy; and I 
may say, indeed, that I have entertained an angel 
unawares. Sir, the great people of this world — and 
by that I mean those who are great in station — if 
they had only hearts like yours, how they would 
make the fires burn and the poor sing ! ' 

'I would not judge them hardly, sir,' said Otto. 
'We all have our frailties.' 

'Truly, sir,' said Mr. Gottesheim, with unction. 
'And by what name, sir, am I to address my 
generous landlord ? ' 

The double recollection of an English traveller, 

3i 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

whom he had received the week before at court, and 
of an old English rogue called Transome, whom 
he had known in youth, came pertinently to the 
Prince's help. 'Transome,' he answered, 'is my 
name. I am an English traveller. It is, to-day, 
Tuesday. On Thursday, before noon, the money 
shall be ready. Let us meet, if you please, in Mitt- 
walden, at the "Morning Star."' 

' I am, in all things lawful, your servant to com- 
mand,' replied the farmer. ' An Englishman ! You 
are a great race of travellers. And has your lordship 
some experience of land ? ' 

'I have had some interest of the kind before,' 
returned the Prince ; ' not in Gerolstein, indeed. 
But fortune, as you say, turns the wheel, and I 
desire to be beforehand with her revolutions.' 

'Very right, sir, I am sure,' said Mr. Killian. 

They had been strolling with deliberation ; but 
they were now drawing near to the farmhouse, 
mounting by the trellised pathway to the level of 
the meadow. A little before them, the sound of 
voices had been some while audible, and now grew 
louder and more distinct with every step of their 
advance. Presently, when they emerged upon the 
top of the bank, they beheld Fritz and Ottilia some 
way off; he, very black and bloodshot, emphasizing 
his hoarse speech with the smacking of his fist 
against his palm ; she, standing a little way off in 
blowsy, voluble distress. 

' Dear me ! ' said Mr. Gottesheim, and made as if 
he would turn aside. 
32 



COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY 

But Otto went straight towards the lovers, in 
whose dissension he believed himself to have a share. 
And, indeed, as soon as he had seen the Prince, 
Fritz had stood tragic, as if awaiting and defying his 
approach. 

' O, here you are ! ' he cried, as soon as they were 
near enough for easy speech. 'You are a man 
at least, and must reply. What were you after? 
Why were you two skulking in the bush ? God ! ' 
he broke out, turning again upon Ottilia, ' to think 
that I should waste my heart on you ! ' 

' I beg your pardon,' Otto cut in. ' You were 
addressing me. In virtue of what circumstance am 
I to render you an account of this young lady's 
conduct ? Are you her father ? her brother ? her 
husband ? ' 

'O, sir, you know as well as I,' returned the 
peasant. 'We keep company, she and I. I love 
her, and she is by way of loving me ; but all shall be 
above-board, I would have her to know. I have a 
good pride of my own.' 

' Why, I perceive I must explain to you what 
love is,' said Otto. ' Its measure is kindness. It is 
very possible that you are proud ; but she, too, may 
have some self-esteem ; I do not speak for myself. 
And perhaps, if your own doings were so curi- 
ously examined, you might find it inconvenient to 
reply.' 

'These are all set-offs,' said the young man. 
' You know very well that a man is a man, and a 
woman only a woman. That holds good all over, 
9— c 33 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

up and down. I ask you a question, I ask it again, 
and here I stand.' He drew a mark and toed it. 

' When you have studied liberal doctrines some- 
what deeper,' said the Prince, 'you will perhaps 
change your note. You are a man of false weights 
and measures, my young friend. You have one 
scale for women, another for men ; one for princes, 
and one for farmer-folk. On the prince who neglects 
his wife you can be most severe. But what of the 
lover who insults his mistress ? You use the name 
of love. I should think this lady might very fairly 
ask to be delivered from love of such a nature. For 
if I, a stranger, had been one-tenth part so gross and 
so discourteous, you would most righteously have 
broke my head. It would have been in your part, 
as lover, to protect her from such insolence. Pro- 
tect her first, then, from yourself.' 

' Ay,' quoth Mr. Gottesheim, who had been look- 
ing on with his hands behind his tall old back, ' ay, 
that's Scripture truth.' 

Fritz was staggered, not only by the Prince's 
imperturbable superiority of manner, but by a glim- 
mering consciousness that he himself was in the 
wrong. The appeal to liberal doctrines had, besides, 
unmanned him. 

' Well,' said he, ' if I was rude, I '11 own to it. I 
meant no ill, and did nothing out of my just rights ; 
but I am above all these old vulgar notions too ; and 
if I spoke sharp, I '11 ask her pardon.' 

* Freely granted, Fritz,' said Ottilia. 

' But all this doesn't answer me,' cried Fritz. * I 
34 



COMFORTS AGE AND BEAUTY 

ask what you two spoke about. She says she pro- 
mised not to tell ; well, then, I mean to know. 
Civility is civility ; but I '11 be no man's gull. I 
have a right to common justice, if I do keep 
company ! ' 

'If you will ask Mr. Gottesheim,' replied Otto, 
' you will find I have not spent my hours in idleness. 
I have, since I arose this morning, agreed to buy 
the farm. So far I will go to satisfy a curiosity 
which I condemn.' 

'O, well, if there was business, that's another 
matter,' returned Fritz. ' Though it beats me why 
you could not tell. But, of course, if the gentleman 
is to buy the farm, I suppose there would naturally 
be an end.' 

'To be sure,' said Mr. Gottesheim, with a strong 
accent of conviction. 

But Ottilia was much braver. 'There now ! ' she 
cried in triumph. ' What did I tell you ? I told 
you I was fighting your battles. Now you see ! 
Think shame of your suspicious temper ! You 
should go down upon your bended knees both to 
that gentleman and me.' 



35 



CHAPTER IV 

IN WHICH THE PRINCE COLLECTS OPINIONS 
BY THE WAY 

A little before noon, Otto, by a triumph of 
manoeuvring, effected his escape. He was quit in 
this way of the ponderous gratitude of Mr. Killian, 
and of the confidential gratitude of poor Ottilia ; 
but of Fritz he was not quit so readily. That young 
politician, brimming with mysterious glances, offered 
to lend his convoy as far as to the high-road ; and 
Otto, in fear of some residuary jealousy, and for the 
girl's sake, had not the courage to gainsay him ; but 
he regarded his companion with uneasy glances, and 
devoutly wished the business at an end. For some 
time Fritz walked by the mare in silence ; and they 
had already traversed more than half the proposed 
distance when, with something of a blush, he looked 
up and opened fire. 

' Are you not,' he asked, ' what they call a 
socialist ? ' 

' Why, no,' returned Otto, ' not precisely what 
they call so. Why do you ask ? ' 
36 



THE PRINCE COLLECTS OPINIONS 

* I will tell you why,' said the young man. * I 
saw from the first that you were a red progressional, 
and nothing but the fear of old Killian kept you back. 
And there, sir, you were right : old men are always 
cowards. But nowadays, you see, there are so many 
groups : you can never tell how far the likeliest 
kind of man may be prepared to go ; and I was 
never sure you were one of the strong thinkers, till 
you hinted about women and free love.' 

' Indeed ! ' cried Otto, * I never said a word of such 
a thing.' 

■ Not you ! ' cried Fritz. * Never a word to com- 
promise ! You was sowing seed : ground-bait, our 
president calls it. But it 's hard to deceive me, for I 
know all the agitators and their ways, and all the 
doctrines ; and between you and me,' lowering his 
voice, ' I am myself affiliated. O yes, I am a secret 
society man, and here is my medal.' And drawing 
out a green ribbon that he wore about his neck, he 
held up, for Otto's inspection, a pewter medal bear- 
ing the imprint of a Phoenix and the legend 
Libertas. ' And so now you see you may trust me,' 
added Fritz. * I am none of your ale-house talkers ; 
I am a convinced revolutionary.' And he looked 
meltingly upon Otto. 

* I see,' replied the Prince ; ' that is very gratify- 
ing. Well, sir, the great thing for the good of one's 
country is, first of all, to be a good man. All 
springs from there. For my part, although you are 
right in thinking that I have to do with politics, I 
am unfit by intellect and temper for a leading role. 

37 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

I was intended, I fear, for a subaltern. Yet we 
have all something to command, Mr. Fritz, if it be 
only our own temper ; and a man about to marry 
must look closely to himself. The husband's, like 
the prince's, is a very artificial standing ; and it is 
hard to be kind in either. Do you follow that ? ' 

'O yes, I follow that,' replied the young man, 
sadly chop-fallen over the nature of the information 
he had elicited ; and then brightening up : 'Is it,' 
he ventured, 'is it for an arsenal that you have 
bought the farm ? ' 

' We '11 see about that,' the Prince answered, 
laughing. ' You must not be too zealous. And in 
the meantime, if I were you, I would say nothing on 
the subject' 

' O, trust me, sir, for that,' cried Fritz, as he 
pocketed a crown. ' And you 've let nothing out ; 
for I suspected — I might say I knew it — from the 
first. And mind you, when a guide is required,' he 
added, ' I know all the forest paths. ' 

Otto rode away, chuckling. This talk with Fritz 
had vastly entertained him ; nor was he altogether 
discontented with his bearing at the farm ; men, he 
was able to tell himself, had behaved worse under 
smaller provocation. And, to harmonise all, the 
road and the April air were both delightful to his 
soul. 

Up and down, and to and fro, ever mounting 
through the wooded foot-hills, the broad, white high- 
road wound onward into Grunewald. On either 
hand the pines stood coolly rooted — green moss 
38 



COLLECTS OPINIONS 

prospering, springs welling forth between their 
knuckled spurs ; and though some were broad and 
stalwart, and others spiry and slender, yet all stood 
firm in the same attitude and with the same expres- 
sion, like a silent army presenting arms. 

The road lay all the way apart from towns and 
villages, which it left on either hand. Here and 
there, indeed, in the bottom of green glens, the 
Prince could spy a few congregated roofs, or perhaps 
above him, on a shoulder, the solitary cabin of a 
woodman. But the highway was an international 
undertaking, and with its face set for distant cities, 
scorned the little life of Griinewald. Hence it was 
exceeding solitary. Near the frontier Otto met a 
detachment of his own troops marching in the hot 
dust; and he was recognised and somewhat feebly 
cheered as he rode by. But from that time forth 
and for a long while he was alone with the great 
woods. 

Gradually the spell of pleasure relaxed ; his own 
thoughts returned, like stinging insects, in a cloud ; 
and the talk of the night before, like a shower of 
buffets, fell upon his memory. He looked east and 
west for any comforter ; and presently he was aware 
of a cross-road coming steeply down hill, and a 
horseman cautiously descending. A human voice 
or presence, like a spring in the desert, was now 
welcome in itself, and Otto drew bridle to await the 
coming of this stranger. He proved to be a very 
red-faced, thick-lipped countryman, with a pair of 
fat saddle-bags and a stone bottle at his waist ; who, 

39 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

as soon as the Prince hailed him, jovially, if some- 
what thickly, answered. At the same time he gave 
a beery yaw in the saddle. It was clear his bottle 
was no longer full. 

' Do you ride towards Mittwalden ? ' asked the 
Prince. 

'As far as the cross-road to Tannenbrunn,' the 
man replied. ' Will you bear company ? ' 

' With pleasure. I have even waited for you on 
the chance,' answered Otto. 

By this time they were close alongside ; and the 
man, with the country-folk instinct, turned his cloudy 
vision first of all on his companion's mount. ' The 
devil ! ' he cried. ' You ride a bonny mare, friend ! ' 
And then his curiosity being satisfied about the 
essential, he turned his attention to that merely 
secondary matter, his companion's face. He started. 
' The Prince ! ' he cried, saluting, with another yaw 
that came near dismounting him. ' I beg your 
pardon, your Highness, not to have reco'nised you 
at once.' 

The Prince was vexed out of his self-possession. 
' Since you know me,' he said, ' it is unnecessary we 
should ride together. I will precede you, if you 
please.' And he was about to set spur to the grey 
mare, when the half-drunken fellow, reaching over, 
laid his hand upon the rein. 

'Hark you,' he said, 'prince or no prince, that is 

not how one man should conduct himself with 

another. What ! You '11 ride with me incog, and 

set me talking ! But if I know you, you 11 preshede 

40 



COLLECTS OPINIONS 

me, if you please ! Spy ! ' And the fellow, crim- 
son with drink and injured vanity, almost spat the 
word into the Prince's face. 

A horrid confusion came over Otto. He per- 
ceived that he had acted rudely, grossly presuming 
on his station. And perhaps a little shiver of 
physical alarm mingled with his remorse, for the 
fellow was very powerful, and not more than half in 
the possession of his senses. ' Take your hand from 
my rein,' he said, with a sufficient assumption of 
command ; and when the man, rather to his wonder, 
had obeyed : 'You should understand, sir,' he added, 
' that while I might be glad to ride with you as one 
person of sagacity with another, and so receive your 
true opinions, it would amuse me very little to hear 
the empty compliments you would address to me as 
Prince.' 

* You think I would lie, do you ? ' cried the man 
with the bottle, purpling deeper. 

' I know you would,' returned Otto, entering 
entirely into his self-possession. 'You would not 
even show me the medal you wear about your neck.' 
For he had caught a glimpse of a green ribbon at 
the fellow's throat. 

The change was instantaneous : the red face 
became mottled with yellow ; a thick-fingered, 
tottering hand made a clutch at the tell-tale ribbon. 
' Medal ! ' the man cried, wonderfully sobered. ' I 
have no medal.' 

' Pardon me,' said the Prince. ' I will even tell 
you what that medal bears : a Phoenix burning, 

4i 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

with the word Libertas.' The medallist remaining 
speechless, 'You are a pretty fellow,' continued 
Otto, smiling, 'to complain of incivility from the 
man whom you conspire to murder.' 

' Murder ! ' protested the man. ' Nay, never that ; 
nothing criminal for me ! ' 

'You are strangely misinformed,' said Otto. 
' Conspiracy itself is criminal, and ensures the pain 
of death. Nay, sir, death it is ; I will guarantee my 
accuracy. Not that you need be so deplorably 
affected, for I am no officer. But those who mingle 
with politics should look at both sides of the medal.' 

'Your Highness . . .'began the knight of the 
bottle. 

' Nonsense ! you are a Republican,' cried Otto ; 
' what have you to do with highnesses ? But let us 
continue to ride forward. Since you so much desire 
it, I cannot find it in my heart to deprive you of my 
company. And for that matter, I have a question 
to address to you. Why, being so great a body of 
men — for you are a great body — fifteen thousand, I 
have heard, but that will be understated ; am I 
right ? ' 

The man gurgled in his throat. 

'Why, then, being so considerable a party,' re- 
sumed Otto, ' do you not come before me boldly 
with your wants ? — what do I say ? with your com- 
mands ? Have I the name of being passionately 
devoted to my throne ? I can scarce suppose it. 
Come, then ; show me your majority, and I will 
instantly resign. Tell this to your friends ; assure 
42 



COLLECTS OPINIONS 

them from me of my docility ; assure them that, 
however they conceive of my deficiencies, they 
cannot suppose me more unfit to be a ruler than I 
do myself. I am one of the worst princes in 
Europe ; will they improve on that ? ' 

' Far be it from me . . .' the man began. 

' See, now, if you will not defend my government !' 
cried Otto. ' If I were you, I would leave con- 
spiracies. You are as little fit to be a conspirator 
as I to be a king.' 

* One thing I will say out,' said the man. ' It is 
not so much you that we complain of, it's your 
lady.' 

' Not a word, sir,' said the Prince ; and then after 
a moment's pause, and in tones of some anger and 
contempt : * I once more advise you to have done 
with politics,' he added ; ' and when next I see you, 
let me see you sober. A morning drunkard is the 
last man to sit on judgment even upon the worst 
of princes. ' 

' I have had a drop, but I had not been drinking,' 
the man replied, triumphing in a sound distinction. 
' And if I had, what then ? Nobody hangs by me. 
But my mill is standing idle, and I blame it on 
your wife. Am I alone in that? Go round and 
ask. Where are the mills ? Where are the young 
men that should be working ? Where is the cur- 
rency ? All paralysed. No, sir, it is not equal ; 
for I suffer for your faults — I pay for them, by 
George, out of a poor man's pocket. And what 
have you to do with mine ? Drunk or sober, I can 

43 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

see my country going to hell, and I can see whose 
fault it is. And so now, I 've said my say, and you 
may drag me to a stinking dungeon ; what care I ? 
I 've spoke the truth, and so 1 11 hold hard, and not 
intrude upon your Highness's society.' 

And the miller reined up and, clumsily enough, 
saluted. 

' You will observe, I have not asked your name,' 
said Otto. ' I wish you a good ride,' and he rode 
on hard. But let him ride as he pleased, this in- 
terview with the miller was a chokepear, which he 
could not swallow. He had begun by receiving a 
reproof in manners, and ended by sustaining a defeat 
in logic, both from a man whom he despised. All 
his old thoughts returned with fresher venom. And 
by three in the afternoon, coming to the cross-roads 
for Beckstein, Otto decided to turn aside and dine 
there leisurely. Nothing at least could be worse 
than to go on as he was going. 

In the inn at Beckstein he remarked, immediately 
upon his entrance, an intelligent young gentleman 
dining, with a book in front of him. He had his 
own place laid close to the reader, and with a proper 
apology, broke ground by asking what he read. 

' I am perusing,' answered the young gentleman, 
' the last work of the Herr Doctor Hohenstockwitz, 
cousin and librarian of your Prince here in Griine- 
wald — a man of great erudition and some lambencies 
of wit.' 

' I am acquainted,' said Otto, ' with the Herr 
Doctor, though not yet with his work.' 
44 



COLLECTS OPINIONS 

* Two privileges that I must envy you,' replied the 
young man politely : ' an honour in hand, a pleasure 
in the bush.' 

' The Herr Doctor is a man much respected, I 
believe, for his attainments ? ' asked the Prince. 

* He is, sir, a remarkable instance of the force of 
intellect,' replied the reader. 'Who of our young 
men know anything of his cousin, all-reigning Prince 
although he be ? Who but has heard of Doctor 
Gotthold ? But intellectual merit, alone of all dis- 
tinctions, has its base in nature.' 

' I have the gratification of addressing a student — 
perhaps an author ? ' Otto suggested. 

The young man somewhat flushed. ' I have some 
claim to both distinctions, sir, as you suppose,' said 
he ; ' there is my card. I am the licentiate Roederer, 
author of several works on the theory and practice 
of politics.' 

' You immensely interest me,' said the Prince ; 
' the more so as I gather that here in Grunewald we 
are on the brink of revolution. Pray, since these 
have been your special studies, would you augur 
hopefully of such a movement ? ' 

' I perceive,' said the young author, with a certain 
vinegary twitch, ' that you are unacquainted with 
my opuscula. I am a convinced authoritarian. I 
share none of those illusory, Utopian fancies with 
which empirics blind themselves and exasperate the 
ignorant. The day of these ideas is, believe me, 
past, or at least passing.' 

' When I look about me ' began Otto. 

45 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

'When you look about you,' interrupted the 
licentiate, ' you behold the ignorant. But in the 
laboratory of opinion, beside the studious lamp, we 
begin already to discard these figments. We begin 
to return to nature's order, to what I might call, if 
I were to borrow from the language of therapeutics, 
the expectant treatment of abuses. You will not 
misunderstand me,' he continued : ' a country in the 
condition in which we find Grunewald, a prince such 
as your Prince Otto, we must explicitly condemn ; 
they are behind the age. But I would look for a 
remedy not to brute convulsions, but to the natural 
supervenience of a more able sovereign. I should 
amuse you, perhaps,' added the licentiate, with a 
smile, ' I think I should amuse you if I were to 
explain my notion of a prince. We who have 
studied in the closet, no longer, in this age, propose 
ourselves for active service. The paths, we have 
perceived, are incompatible. I would not have a 
student on the throne, though I would have one 
near by for an adviser. I would set forward as 
prince a man of a good, medium understanding, 
lively rather than deep ; a man of courtly manner, 
possessed of the double art to ingratiate and to 
command ; receptive, accommodating, seductive. I 
have been observing you since your first entrance. 
Well, sir, were I a subject of Grunewald I should 
pray heaven to set upon the seat of government just 
such another as yourself.' 

* The devil you would ! ' exclaimed the Prince. 

The licentiate Roederer laughed most heartily. 
46 



COLLECTS OPINIONS 

* I thought I should astonish you,' he said. ' These 
are not the ideas of the masses.' 

* They are not, I can assure you,' Otto said. 

* Or rather,' distinguished the licentiate, ' not to- 
day. The time will come, however, when these 
ideas shall prevail.' 

* You will permit me, sir, to doubt it,' said Otto. 

* Modesty is always admirable,' chuckled the 
theorist. ' But yet I assure you, a man like you, 
with such a man as, say, Doctor Gotthold at your 
elbow, would be, for all practical issues, my ideal 
ruler.' 

At this rate the hours sped pleasantly for Otto. 
But the licentiate unfortunately slept that night at 
Beckstein, where he was, being dainty in the saddle 
and given to half stages. And to find a convoy to 
Mittwalden, and thus mitigate the company of his 
own thoughts, the Prince had to make favour with 
a certain party of wood merchants from various states 
of the empire, who had been drinking together some- 
what noisily at the far end of the apartment. 

The night had already fallen when they took the 
saddle. The merchants were very loud and mirth- 
ful ; each had a face like a nor' west moon ; and they 
played pranks with each others' horses, and mingled 
songs and choruses, and alternately remembered and 
forgot the companion of their ride. Otto thus com- 
bined society and solitude, hearkening now to their 
chattering and empty talk, now to the voices of the 
encircling forest. The starlit dark, the faint wood 
airs, the clank of the horse-shoes making broken 

47 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

music, accorded together and attuned his mind. 
And he was still in a most equal temper when the 
party reached the top of that long hill that overlooks 
Mittwalden. 

Down in the bottom of a bowl of forest, the lights 
of the little formal town glittered in a pattern, street 
crossing street ; away by itself on the right, the 
palace was glowing like a factory. 

Although he knew not Otto, one of the wood 
merchants was a native of the state. ' There,' said 
he, pointing to the palace with his whip, 'there is 
Jezebel's inn.' 

' What, do you call it that? ' cried another, laughing. 

' Ay, that 's what they call it,' returned the Griine- 
walder ; and he broke into a song, which the rest, 
as people well acquainted with the words and air, 
instantly took up in chorus. Her Serene Highness 
Amalia Seraphina, Princess of Griinewald, was the 
heroine, Gondremark the hero of this ballad. Shame 
hissed in Otto's ears. He reined up short and sat 
stunned in the saddle ; and the singers continued to 
descend the hill without him. 

The song went to a rough, swashing, popular air ; 
and long after the words became inaudible the swing 
of the music, rising and falling, echoed insult in the 
Prince's brain. He fled the sounds. Hard by him 
on his right a road struck towards the palace, and 
he followed it through the thick shadows and branch- 
ing alleys of the park. It was a busy place on a 
fine summer's afternoon, when the court and burghers 
met and saluted ; but at that hour of the night in 
48 



COLLECTS OPINIONS 

the early spring it was deserted to the roosting birds. 
Hares rustled among the covert ; here and there a 
statue stood glimmering, with its eternal gesture ; 
here and there the echo of an imitation temple 
clattered ghostly to the trampling of the mare. Ten 
minutes brought him to the upper end of his own 
home garden, where the small stables opened, over a 
bridge, upon the park. The yard clock was striking 
the hour of ten ; so was the big bell in the palace 
bell-tower ; and, farther off, the belfries of the town. 
About the stable all else was silent but the stamping 
of stalled horses and the rattle of halters. Otto 
dismounted ; and as he did so a memory came back 
to him : a whisper of dishonest grooms and stolen 
corn, once heard, long forgotten, and now recurring 
in the nick of opportunity. He crossed the bridge, 
and, going up to a window, knocked six or seven 
heavy blows in a particular cadence, and, as he did 
so, smiled. Presently a wicket was opened in the 
gate, and a man's head appeared in the dim starlight. 

* Nothing to-night,' said a voice. 

' Bring a lantern,' said the Prince. 

' Dear heart a' mercy ! ' cried the groom. * Who 's 
that ? ' 

' It is I, the Prince,' replied Otto. ' Bring a lan- 
tern, take in the mare, and let me through into the 
garden.' 

The man remained silent for a while, his head still 
projecting through the wicket. 

'*■ His Highness ! ' he said at last. * And why did 
your Highness knock so strange ? ' 

9— d 49 



IN WHICH THE PRINCE 

'It is a superstition in Mittwalden,' answered 
Otto, ' that it cheapens corn.' 

With a sound like a sob the groom fled. He was 
very white when he returned, even by the light of 
the lantern ; and his hand trembled as he undid the 
fastenings and took the mare. 

' Your Highness,' he began at last, ' for God's 
sake . . .' And there he paused, oppressed with 
guilt. 

' For God's sake, what ? ' asked Otto cheerfully. 
' For God's sake let us have cheaper corn, say I. 
Good-night ! ' And he strode off into the garden, 
leaving the groom petrified once more. 

The garden descended by a succession of stone 
terraces to the level of the fish-pond. On the far 
side the ground rose again, and was crowned by the 
confused roofs and gables of the palace. The 
modern pillared front, the ball-room, the great library, 
the princely apartments, the busy and illuminated 
quarters of that great house, all faced the town. 
The garden side was much older ; and here it was 
almost dark ; only a few windows quietly lighted 
at various elevations. The great square tower rose 
thinning by stages like a telescope ; and on the top 
of all the flag hung motionless. 

The garden, as it now lay in the dusk and glimmer 
of the starshine, breathed of April violets. Under 
night's cavern arch the shrubs obscurely bustled. 
Through the plotted terraces and down the marble 
stairs the Prince rapidly descended, fleeing before 
uncomfortable thoughts. But, alas ! from these 
50 



COLLECTS OPINIONS 

there is no city of refuge. And now, when he was 
about midway of the descent, distant strains of 
music began to fall upon his ear from the ball-room, 
where the court was dancing. They reached him 
faint and broken, but they touched the keys of 
memory ; and through and above them, Otto heard 
the ranting melody of the wood-merchants' song. 
Mere blackness seized upon his mind. Here he was 
coming home ; the wife was dancing, the husband 
had been playing a trick upon a lackey ; and mean- 
while, all about them, they were a by-word to their 
subjects. Such a prince, such a husband, such a 
man, as this Otto had become ! And he sped the 
faster onward. 

Some way below he came unexpectedly upon a 
sentry ; yet a little farther, and he was challenged 
by a second ; and as he crossed the bridge over the 
fish-pond an officer making the rounds stopped him 
once more. The parade of watch was more than 
usual ; but curiosity was dead in Otto's mind, and 
he only chafed at the interruption. The porter of 
the back postern admitted him, and started to be- 
hold him so disordered. Thence, hasting by private 
stairs and passages, he came at length unseen to his 
own chamber, tore off his clothes, and threw himself 
upon his bed in the dark. The music of the ball- 
room still continued to a very lively measure ; and 
still, behind that, he heard in spirit the chorus of the 
merchants clanking down the hill. 



5i 



BOOK II 
OF LOVE AND POLITICS 



CHAPTER I 

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE LIBRARY 

At a quarter before six on the following morning 
Doctor Gotthold was already at his desk in the 
library ; and with a small cup of black coffee at his 
elbow, and an eye occasionally wandering to the 
busts and the long array of many-coloured books, 
was quietly reviewing the labours of the day before. 
He was a man of about forty, flaxen-haired, with 
refined features a little worn, and bright eyes some- 
what faded. Early to bed and early to rise, his life 
was devoted to two things : erudition and Rhine 
wine. An ancient friendship existed latent between 
him and Otto ; they rarely met, but when they did 
it was to take up at once the thread of their sus- 
pended intimacy. Gotthold, the virgin priest of 
knowledge, had envied his cousin, for half a day, 
when he was married ; he had never envied him his 
throne. 

Reading was not a popular diversion at the court 
of Griinewald ; and that great, pleasant, sunshiny 
gallery of books and statues was, in practice, Gott- 

55 



WHAT HAPPENED 

hold's private cabinet. On this particular Wednes- 
day morning, however, he had not been long about 
his manuscript when a door opened and the Prince 
stepped into the apartment. The doctor watched 
him as he drew near, receiving, from each of the 
embayed windows in succession, a flush of morning 
sun ; and Otto looked so gay, and walked so airily, 
he was so well dressed and brushed and frizzled, so 
point-device, and of such a sovereign elegance, that 
the heart of his cousin the recluse was rather moved 
against him. 

'Good-morning, Gotthold,' said Otto, dropping 
in a chair. 

' Good-morning, Otto,' returned the librarian. 
' You are an early bird. Is this an accident, or do 
you begin reforming ? ' 

' It is about time, I fancy,' answered the Prince. 

' I cannot imagine,' said the Doctor. ' I am too 
sceptical to be an ethical adviser ; and as for good 
resolutions, I believed in them when I was young. 
They are the colours of hope's rainbow.' 

' If you come to think of it,' said Otto, ' I am not 
a popular sovereign.' And with a look he changed 
his statement to a question. 

' Popular ? Well, there I would distinguish,' 
answered Gotthold, leaning back and joining the 
tips of his fingers. ' There are various kinds of 
popularity : the bookish, which is perfectly imper- 
sonal, as unreal as the nightmare ; the politician's, a 
mixed variety ; and yours, which is the most per- 
sonal of all. Women take to you ; footmen adore 
56 



IN THE LIBRARY 

you ; it is as natural to like you as to pat a dog ; 
and were you a saw-miller you would be the most 
popular citizen in Griinewald. As a prince — well, 
you are in the wrong trade. It is perhaps philoso- 
phical to recognise it as you do.' 

' Perhaps philosophical ? ' repeated Otto. 

1 Yes, perhaps. I would not be dogmatic,' answered 
Gotthold. 

* Perhaps philosophical, and certainly not virtuous,' 
Otto resumed. 

'Not of a Roman virtue,' chuckled the re- 
cluse. 

Otto drew his chair nearer to the table, leaned 
upon it with his elbow, and looked his cousin 
squarely in the face. 'In short,' he asked, 'not 
manly ? ' 

'Well,' Gotthold hesitated, 'not manly, if you 
will.' And then, with a laugh, 'I did not know 
that you gave yourself out to be manly,' he added. 
'It was one of the points that I inclined to like 
about you ; inclined, I believe, to admire. The 
names of virtues exercise a charm on most of us ; 
we must lay claim to all of them, however incom- 
patible ; we must all be both daring and prudent ; 
we must all vaunt our pride and go to the stake for 
our humility. Not so you. Without compromise 
you were yourself: a pretty sight. I have always 
said it : none so void of all pretence as Otto.' 

' Pretence and effort both ! ' cried Otto. ' A dead 
dog in a canal is more alive. And the question, 
Gotthold, the question that I have to face is this : 

57 



WHAT HAPPENED 

Can I not, with effort and self-denial, can I not 
become a tolerable sovereign ? ' 

' Never,' replied Gotthold. ' Dismiss the notion. 
And besides, dear child, you would not try.' 

' Nay, Gotthold, I am not to be put by,' said Otto. 
'■■If I am constitutionally unfit to be a sovereign, 
what am I doing with this money, with this palace, 
with these guards ? And I — a thief — am to execute 
the law on others ? ' 

' I admit the difficulty,' said Gotthold. 

' Well, can I not try ? ' continued Otto. ' Am I 
not bound to try ? And with the advice and help of 
such a man as you -' 

' Me ! ' cried the librarian. ' Now, God forbid ! ' 

Otto, though he was in no very smiling humour, 
could not forbear to smile. 'Yet I was told last 
night,' he laughed, 'that with a man like me to 
impersonate, and a man like you to touch the 
springs, a very possible government could be com- 
posed.' 

' Now I wonder in what diseased imagination,' 
Gotthold said, 'that preposterous monster saw the 
light of day ? ' 

' It was one of your own trade — a writer : one 
Roederer,' said Otto. 

' Roederer! an ignorant puppy!' cried the librarian. 

'You are ungrateful,' said Otto. 'He is one of 
your professed admirers.' 

'Is he ? ' cried Gotthold, obviously impressed. 
' Come, that is a good account of the young man. 
I must read his stuff again. It is the rather to his 
58 



IN THE LIBRARY 

credit, as our views are opposite. The east and west 
are not more opposite. Can I have converted him ? 
But no ; the incident belongs to Fairyland.' 

' You are not then,' asked the Prince, * an authori- 
tarian ? ' 

' I ? God bless me, no ! ' said Gotthold. ' I am a 
red, dear child.' 

* That brings me then to my next point, and by a 
natural transition. If I am so clearly unfitted for 
my post,' the Prince asked : ' If my friends admit it, 
if my subjects clamour for my downfall, if revolution 
is preparing at this hour, must I not go forth to meet 
the inevitable ? should I not save these horrors and 
be done with these absurdities ? in a word, should I 
not abdicate? O, believe me, I feel the ridicule, 
the vast abuse of language,' he added, wincing, 'but 
even a principulus like me cannot resign ; he must 
make a great gesture, and come buskined forth, and 
abdicate.' 

'Ay,' said Gotthold, 'or else stay where he is. 
What gnat has bitten you to-day ? Do you not 
know that you are touching, with lay hands, the 
very holiest inwards of philosophy, where madness 
dwells ? Ay, Otto, madness ; for in the serene 
temples of the wise, the inmost shrine, which we 
carefully keep locked, is full of spiders' webs. All 
men, all, are fundamentally useless ; nature tolerates, 
she does not need, she does not use them : sterile 
flowers ! All — down to the fellow swinking in a 
byre, whom fools point out for the exception — all 
are useless ; all weave ropes of sand ; or, like a 

59 



WHAT HAPPENED 

child that has breathed on a window, write and 
obliterate, write and obliterate, idle words ! Talk 
of it no more. That way, I tell you, madness lies.' 
The speaker rose from his chair and then sat down 
again. He laughed a little laugh, and then, chang- 
ing his tone, resumed : ' Yes, dear child, we are not 
here to do battle with giants ; we are here to be 
happy like the flowers, if we can be. It is because 
you could, that I have always secretly admired you. 
Cling to that trade ; believe me, it is the right one. 
Be happy, be idle, be airy. To the devil with all 
casuistry ! and leave the state to Gondremark, as 
heretofore. He does it well enough, they say ; and 
his vanity enjoys the situation.' 

' Gotthold,' cried Otto, ' what is this to me ? Use- 
less is not the question ; I cannot rest at uselessness ; 
I must be useful or I must be noxious — one or other. 
I grant you the whole thing, prince and principality 
alike, is pure absurdity, a stroke of satire ; and that 
a banker or the man who keeps an inn has graver 
duties. But now, when I have washed my hands of 
it three years, and left all — labour, responsibility, 
and honour and enjoyment too, if there be any — to 
Gondremark and to — Seraphina— — ' He hesitated 
at the name, and Gotthold glanced aside. * Well,' 
the Prince continued, ' what has come of it ? Taxes, 
army, cannon— why, it 's like a box of lead soldiers ! 
And the people sick at the folly of it, and fired with 
the injustice ! And war, too — I hear of war — war in 
this teapot ! What a complication of absurdity and 
disgrace ! And when the inevitable end arrives — 
60 



IN THE LIBRARY 

the revolution — who will be to blame in the sight of 
God, who will be gibbeted in public opinion ? I ! 
Prince Puppet ! ' 

' I thought you had despised public opinion,' said 
Gotthold. 

' I did,' said Otto sombrely, ' but now I do not. 
I am growing old. And then, Gotthold, there is 
Seraphina. She is loathed in this country that I 
brought her to and suffered her to spoil. Yes, I 
gave it her as a plaything, and she has broken it : a 
fine Prince, an admirable Princess ! Even her life — 
I ask you, Gotthold, is her life safe ? ' 

' It is safe enough to-day,' replied the librarian ; 
' but since you ask me seriously, I would not answer 
for to-morrow. She is ill-advised.' 

' And by whom ? By this Gondremark, to whom 
you counsel me to leave my country,' cried the 
Prince. ' Rare advice ! The course that I have 
been following all these years, to come at last to 
this. O, ill-advised ! if that were all ! See now, 
there is no sense in beating about the bush between 
two men : you know what scandal says of her ? ' 

Gotthold, with pursed lips, silently nodded. 

' Well, come, you are not very cheering as to my 
conduct as the Prince ; have I even done my duty 
as a husband ? ' Otto asked. 

'Nay, nay,' said Gotthold earnestly and eagerly, 
'this is another chapter. I am an old celibate, 
an old monk. I cannot advise you in your mar- 
riage.' 

' Nor do I require advice,' said Otto, rising. ' All 

61 



WHAT HAPPENED 

of this must cease. ' And he began to walk to and 
fro with his hands behind his back. 

' Well, Otto, may God guide you ! ' said Gotthold, 
after a considerable silence. 'I cannot.' 

' From what does all this spring ? ' said the Prince, 
stopping in his walk. 'What am I to call it? 
Diffidence ? The fear of ridicule ? Inverted vanity ? 
What matter names, if it has brought me to this ? 
I could never bear to be bustling about nothing ; I 
was ashamed of this toy kingdom from the first ; I 
could not tolerate that people should fancy I believed 
in a thing so patently absurd ! I would do nothing 
that cannot be done smiling. I have a sense of 
humour, forsooth ! I must know better than my 
Maker. And it was the same thing in my marriage,' 
he added more hoarsely. * I did not believe this 
girl could care for me ; I must not intrude ; I must 
preserve the foppery of my indifference. What an 
impotent picture 1 ' 

* Ay, we have the same blood,' moralised Gotthold. 
' You are drawing, with fine strokes, the character of 
the born sceptic' 

' Sceptic ? — coward ! ' cried Otto. ' Coward is 
the word. A springless, putty-hearted, cowering 
coward ! ' 

And as the Prince rapped out the words in tones 
of unusual vigour, a little, stout old gentleman, 
opening a door behind Gotthold, received them 
fairly in the face. With his parrot's beak for a 
nose, his pursed mouth, his little goggling eyes, 
he was the picture of formality ; and in ordinary 
62 



IN THE LIBRARY 

circumstances, strutting behind the drum of his 
corporation, he impressed the beholder with a cer- 
tain air of frozen dignity and wisdom. But at the 
smallest contrariety, his trembling hands and dis- 
connected gestures betrayed the weakness at the 
root. And now, when he was thus surprisingly 
received in that library of Mittwalden Palace, which 
was the customary haunt of silence, his hands went 
up into the air as if he had been shot, and he cried 
aloud with the scream of an old woman. 

' O ! ' he gasped, recovering, ' Your Highness ! I 
beg ten thousand pardons. But your Highness at 
such an hour in the library ! — a circumstance so 
unusual as your Highness's presence was a thing I 
could not, be expected to foresee.' 

* There is no harm done, Herr Cancellarius,' said 
Otto. 

' I came upon the errand of a moment : some 
papers I left over-night with the Herr Doctor,' said 
the Chancellor of Grunewald. — ' Herr Doctor, if 
you will kindly give me them, I will intrude no 
longer.' 

Gotthold unlocked a drawer and handed a bundle 
of manuscript to the old gentleman, who prepared, 
with fitting salutations, to take his departure. 

' Herr Greisengesang, since we have met,' said 
Otto, 'let us talk.' 

' I am honoured by his Highness's commands,' 
replied the Chancellor. 

' All has been quiet since I left ? ' asked the Prince, 
resuming his seat. 

63 



WHAT HAPPENED 

'The usual business, your Highness,' answered 
Greisengesang ; ' punctual trifles : huge, indeed, if 
neglected, but trifles when discharged. Your High- 
ness is most zealously obeyed.' 

' Obeyed, Herr Cancellarius ? ' returned the Prince. 
'And when have I obliged you with an order? He- 
placed, let us rather say. But to touch upon these 
trifles ; instance me a few.' 

'The routine of government, from which your 
Highness has so wisely dissociated his leisure . . .' 
began Greisengesang. 

' We will leave my leisure, sir,' said Otto. 
'Approach the facts.' 

'The routine of business was proceeded with,' 
replied the official, now visibly twittering. 

' It is very strange, Herr Cancellarius, that you 
should so persistently avoid my questions,' said the 
Prince. 'You tempt me to suppose a purpose in 
your dulness. I have asked you whether all was 
quiet ; do me the pleasure to reply.' 

' Perfectly — O, perfectly quiet,' jerked the ancient 
puppet, with every signal of untruth. 

* I make a note of these words,' said the Prince 
gravely. 'You assure me, your sovereign, that 
since the date of my departure nothing has occurred 
of which you owe me an account.' 

' I take your Highness, I take the Herr Doctor to 
witness,' cried Greisengesang, 'that I have had no 
such expression.' 

' Halt ! ' said the Prince ; and then, after a pause : 
' Herr Greisengesang, you are an old man, and you 
64 



IN THE LIBRARY 

served my father before you served me,' he added. 
' It consists neither with your dignity nor mine that 
you should babble excuses and stumble^, possibly 
upon untruths. Collect your thoughts ; and then 
categorically inform me of all you have been charged 
to hide.' 

Gotthold, stooping very low over his desk, 
appeared to have resumed his labours ; but his 
shoulders heaved with subterranean merriment. 
The Prince waited, drawing his handkerchief 
quietly through his fingers. 

'Your Highness, in this informal manner,' said 
the old gentleman at last, 'and being unavoidably 
deprived of documents, it would be difficult, it 
would be impossible, to do justice to the somewhat 
grave occurrences which have transpired.' 

'I will not criticise your attitude,' replied the 
Prince. 'I desire that, between you and me, all 
should be done gently ; for I have not forgotten, 
my old friend, that you were kind to me from the 
first, and for a period of years a faithful servant. 
I will thus dismiss the matters on which you waive 
immediate inquiry. But you have certain papers 
actually in your hand. Come, Herr Greisengesang, 
there is at least one point for which you have au- 
thority. Enlighten me on that.' 

' On that ? ' cried the old gentleman. ' O, that is 
a trifle ; a matter, your Highness, of police ; a detail 
of a purely administrative order. These are simply 
a selection of the papers seized upon the English 
traveller.' 

9— E 65 



WHAT HAPPENED 

' Seized ? ' echoed Otto. ' In what sense ? Ex- 
plain yourself.' 

■ Sir Jghn Crabtree,' interposed Gotthold, looking 
up, ' was arrested yesterday evening.' 

' Is this so, Herr Cancellarius ? ' demanded Otto 
sternly. 

'It was judged right, your Highness,' protested 
Greisengesang. ' The decree was in due form, in- 
vested with your Highness's authority by procura- 
tion. I am but an agent ; I had no status to 
prevent the measure.' 

' This man, my guest, has been arrested,' said the 
Prince. ' On what grounds, sir ? With what colour 
of pretence ? ' 

The Chancellor stammered. 

'Your Highness will perhaps find the reason in 
these documents,' said Gotthold, pointing with the 
tail of his pen. 

Otto thanked his cousin with a look. ' Give them 
to me,' he said, addressing the Chancellor. 

But that gentleman visibly hesitated to obey. 
'Baron von Gondremark,' he said, 'has made the 
affair his own. I am in this case a mere messenger ; 
and as such, I am not clothed with any capacity to 
communicate the documents I carry. Herr Doctor, 
I am convinced you will not fail to bear me out.' 

' I have heard a great deal of nonsense,' said Gott- 
hold, ' and most of it from you ; but this beats all.' 

' Come, sir,' said Otto, rising, ' the papers. I com- 
mand.' 

Herr Greisengesang instantly gave way. 
66 



IN THE LIBRARY 

'With your Highness's permission,' he said, 'and 
laying at his feet my most submiss apologies, 1 will 
now hasten to attend his further orders in the 
Chancery.' 

'Herr Cancellarius, do you see this chair?' said 
Otto. ' There is where you shall attend my further 
orders. O, now, no more ! ' he cried, with a ges- 
ture, as the old man opened his lips. 'You have 
sufficiently marked your zeal to your employer ; and 
I begin to weary of a moderation you abuse.' 

The Chancellor moved to the appointed chair and 
took his seat in silence. 

' And now,' said Otto, opening the roll, ' what is 
all this ? it looks like the manuscript of a book.' 

' It is,' said Gotthold, ' the manuscript of a book 
of travels.' 

' You have read it, Doctor Hohenstockwitz ? ' 
asked the Prince. 

' Nay, I but saw the title-page,' replied Gotthold. 
' But the roll was given to me open, and I heard no 
word of any secrecy.' 

Otto dealt the Chancellor an angry glance. 

' I see,' he went on. ' The papers of an author 
seized at this date of the world's history, in a state 
so petty and so ignorant as Griinewald, here is indeed 
an ignominious folly. Sir,' to the Chancellor, ' I 
marvel to find you in so scurvy an employment. 
On your conduct to your Prince I will not dwell ; 
but to descend to be a spy ! For what else can it 
be called ? To seize the papers of this gentleman, 
the private papers of a stranger, the toil of a life, 

6? 



WHAT HAPPENED 

perhaps — to open, and to read them. And what 
have we to do with books ? The Herr Doctor might 
perhaps be asked for his advice ; but we have no 
index eocpur gator ius in Griinewald. Had we but 
that, we should be the most absolute parody and 
farce upon this tawdry earth.' 

Yet, even while Otto spoke, he had continued to 
unfold the roll ; and now, when it lay fully open, 
his eye rested on the title-page, elaborately written 
in red ink. It ran thus : 

MEMOIRS 

OF A VISIT TO THE VARIOUS 

COURTS OF EUROPE, 

BY 

SIR JOHN CRABTREE, BARONET. 

Below was a list of chapters, each bearing the 
name of one of the European Courts ; and among 
these the nineteenth and the last upon the list was 
dedicated to Griinewald. 

6 Ah ! The Court of Griinewald ! ' said Otto, ' that 
should be droll reading.' And his curiosity itched 
for it. 

'A methodical dog, this English Baronet,' said 
Gotthold. 'Each chapter written and finished on 
the spot. I shall look for his work when it appears.' 

' It would be odd, now, just to glance at it,' said 
Otto, wavering. 

Gotthold's brow darkened, and he looked out of 
window. 
68 



IN THE LIBRARY 

But though the Prince understood the reproof, his 
weakness prevailed. ' I will,' he said, with an uneasy 
laugh, ' I will, I think, just glance at it' 

So saying, he resumed his seat and spread the 
traveller's manuscript upon the table. 



69 



CHAPTER II 

' ON THE COURT OF GRUNEWALD,' BEING A PORTION 
OF THE TRAVELLER'S MANUSCRIPT 

It may well be asked (it was thus the English 
traveller began his nineteenth chapter) why I should 
have chosen Griinewald out of so many other states 
equally petty, formal, dull, and corrupt. Accident, 
indeed, decided, and not I ; but I have seen no 
reason to regret my visit. The spectacle of this 
small society macerating in its own abuses was not 
perhaps instructive, but I have found it exceedingly 
diverting. 

The reigning Prince, Otto Johann Friedrich, a 
young man of imperfect education, questionable 
valour, and no scintilla of capacity, has fallen into 
entire public contempt. It was with difficulty that 
I obtained an interview, for he is frequently absent 
from a court where his presence is unheeded, and 
where his only role is to be a cloak for the amours 
of his wife. At last, however, on the third occasion 
when I visited the palace, I found this sovereign in 
the exercise of his inglorious function, with the wife 
70 



' ON THE COURT OF GRUNEWALD ' 

on one hand and the lover on the other. He is not 
ill-looking ; he has hair of a ruddy gold, which natur- 
ally curls, and his eyes are dark, a combination which 
I always regard as the mark of some congenital 
deficiency, physical or moral ; his features are 
irregular but pleasing; the nose perhaps a little 
short, and the mouth a little womanish ; his address 
is excellent, and he can express himself with point. 
But to pierce below these externals is to come on a 
vacuity of any sterling quality, a deliquescence of 
the moral nature, a frivolity and inconsequence of 
purpose that mark the nearly perfect fruit of a 
decadent age. He has a worthless smattering of 
many subjects, but a grasp of none. ' I soon weary 
of a pursuit,' he said to me, laughing ; it would 
almost appear as if he took a pride in his incapacity 
and lack of moral courage. The results of his dilet- 
tanteism are to be seen in every field ; he is a bad 
fencer, a second-rate horseman, dancer, shot ; he 
sings — I have heard him — and he sings like a child ; 
he writes intolerable verses in more than doubtful 
French ; he acts like the common amateur ; and in 
short there is no end to the number of the things 
that he does, and does badly. His one manly taste 
is for the chase. In sum, he is but a plexus of 
weaknesses ; the singing chambermaid of the stage, 
tricked out in man's apparel and mounted on a 
circus horse. I have seen this poor phantom of a 
prince riding out alone or with a few huntsmen, 
disregarded by all, and I have been even grieved for 
the bearer of so futile and melancholy an existence. 

7i 



'ON THE COURT 

The last Merovingians may have looked not other- 
wise. 

The Princess Amalia Seraphina, a daughter of 
the Grand-Ducal house of Toggenburg-Tannhauser, 
would be equally inconsiderable if she were not a 
cutting instrument in the hands of an ambitious 
man. She is much younger than the Prince, a girl 
of two-and-twenty, sick with vanity, superficially 
clever, and fundamentally a fool. She has a red- 
brown rolling eye, too large for her face, and with 
sparks of both levity and ferocity ; her forehead is 
high and narrow, her figure thin and a little stooping. 
Her manners, her conversation, which she interlards 
with French, her very tastes and ambitions, are 
alike assumed, and the assumption is ungracefully 
apparent : Hoyden playing Cleopatra. I should 
judge her to be incapable of truth. In private life 
a girl of this description embroils the peace of 
families, walks attended by a troop of scowling 
swains, and passes, once at least, through the divorce 
court ; it is a common and, except to the cynic, an 
uninteresting type. On the throne, however, and in 
the hands of a man like Gondremark, she may 
become the authoress of serious public evils. 

Gondremark, the true ruler of this unfortunate 
country, is a more complex study. His position in 
Griinewald, to which he is a foreigner, is eminently 
false; and that he should maintain it as he does, 
a very miracle of impudence and dexterity. His 
speech, his face, his policy, are all double : heads and 
tails. Which of the two extremes may be his actual 
72 



OF GRUNEWALD' 

design he were a bold man who should offer to 
decide. Yet I will hazard the guess that he follows 
both experimentally, and awaits, at the hand of 
destiny, one of those directing hints of which she is 
so lavish to the wise. 

On the one hand, as Maire du Palais to the in- 
competent Otto, and using the love-sick Princess 
for a tool and mouthpiece, he pursues a policy of 
arbitrary power and territorial aggrandisement. He 
has called out the whole capable male population of 
the state to military service ; he has bought cannon ; 
he has tempted away promising officers from foreign 
armies ; and he now begins, in his international 
relations, to assume the swaggering port and the 
vague threatful language of a bully. The idea of 
extending Griinewald may appear absurd, but the 
little state is advantageously placed, its neighbours 
are all defenceless ; and if at any moment the 
jealousies of the greater courts should neutralise each 
other, an active policy might double the principality 
both in population and extent. Certainly at least 
the scheme is entertained in the court of Mittwalden ; 
nor do I myself regard it as entirely desperate. The 
margravate of Brandenburg has grown from as 
small beginnings to a formidable power ; and though 
it is late in the day to try adventurous policies, and 
the age of war seems ended, Fortune, we must not 
forget, still blindly turns her wheel for men and 
nations. Concurrently with, and tributary to, these 
warlike preparations, crushing taxes have been levied, 
journals have been suppressed, and the country, 

73 



'ON THE COURT 

which three years ago was prosperous and happy, 
now stagnates in a forced inaction, gold has become 
a curiosity, and the mills stand idle on the mountain 
streams. 

On the other hand, in his second capacity of 
popular tribune, Gondremark is the incarnation of 
the free lodges, and sits at the centre of an organised 
conspiracy against the state. To any such move- 
ment my sympathies were early acquired, and I 
would not willingly let fall a word that might 
embarrass or retard the revolution. But to show 
that I speak of knowledge, and not as the reporter 
of mere gossip, I may mention that I have myself 
been present at a meeting where the details of a 
republican Constitution were minutely debated and 
arranged ; and I may add that Gondremark was 
throughout referred to by the speakers as their 
captain in action and the arbiter of their disputes. 
He has taught his dupes (for so I must regard them) 
that his power of resistance to the Princess is 
limited, and at each fresh stretch of authority per- 
suades them, with specious reasons, to postpone the 
hour of insurrection. Thus (to give some instances 
of his astute diplomacy) he salved over the decree 
enforcing military service, under the plea that to 
be well drilled and exercised in arms was even a 
necessary preparation for revolt. And the other 
day, when it began to be rumoured abroad that a 
war was being forced on a reluctant neighbour, the 
Grand Duke of Gerolstein, and I made sure it would 
be the signal for an instant rising, I was struck 
74 



OF GRUNEWALD' 

dumb with wonder to find that even this had been 
prepared and was to be accepted. I went from one 
to another in the Liberal camp, and all were in the 
same story, all had been drilled and schooled and 
fitted out with vacuous argument. 'The lads had 
better see some real fighting,' they said ; ' and besides, 
it will be as well to capture Gerolstein : we can then 
extend to our neighbours the blessing of liberty on 
the same day that we snatch it for ourselves ; and 
the republic will be all the stronger to resist, if the 
kings of Europe should band themselves together to 
reduce it.' I know not which of the two I should 
admire the more : the simplicity of the multitude or 
the audacity of the adventurer. But such are the 
subtleties, such the quibbling reasons, with which he 
blinds and leads this people. How long a course so 
tortuous can be pursued with safety I am incapable 
of guessing ; not long, one would suppose ; and yet 
this singular man has been treading the mazes for 
five years, and his favour at court and his popularity 
among the lodges still endure unbroken. 

I have the privilege of slightly knowing him. 
Heavily and somewhat clumsily built, of a vast, 
disjointed, rambling frame, he can still pull himself 
together, and figure, not without admiration, in the 
saloon or the ball-room. His hue and temperament 
are plentifully bilious ; he has a saturnine eye ; his 
cheek is of a dark blue where he has been shaven. 
Essentially he is to be numbered among the man- 
haters, a convinced contemner of his fellows. Yet 
he is himself of a commonplace ambition and 

75 



'ON THE COURT 

greedy of applause. In talk, he is remarkable for a 
thirst of information, loving rather to hear than to 
communicate ; for sound and studious views ; and, 
judging by the extreme short-sightedness of common 
politicians, for a remarkable prevision of events. 
All this, however, without grace, pleasantry, or 
charm, heavily set forth, with a dull countenance. 
In our numerous conversations, although he has 
always heard me with deference, I have been con- 
scious throughout of a sort of ponderous finessing 
hard to tolerate. He produces none of the effect of 
a gentleman ; devoid not merely of pleasantry, but 
of all attention or communicative warmth of bearing. 
No gentleman, besides, would so parade his amours 
with the Princess ; still less repay the Prince for his 
long-suffering with a studied insolence of demeanour 
and the fabrication of insulting nicknames, such as 
Prince Featherhead, which run from ear to ear and 
create a laugh throughout the country. Gondremark 
has thus some of the clumsier characters of the self- 
made man, combined with an inordinate, almost a 
besotted, pride of intellect and birth. Heavy, bilious, 
selfish, inornate, he sits upon this court and country 
like an incubus. 

But it is probable that he preserves softer gifts for 
necessary purposes. Indeed, it is certain, although 
he vouchsafed none of it to me, that this cold and 
stolid politician possesses to a great degree the art 
of ingratiation, and can be all things to all men. 
Hence there has probably sprung up the idle legend 
that in private life he is a gross romping voluptuary. 
76 






OF GRUNEWALD' 

Nothing, at least, can well be more surprising than 
the terms of his connection with the Princess. Older 
than her husband, certainly uglier, and, according to 
the feeble ideas common among women, in every 
particular less pleasing, he has not only seized the 
complete command of all her thought and action, 
but has imposed on her in public a humiliating part. 
I do not here refer to the complete sacrifice of every 
rag of her reputation ; for to many women these 
extremities are in themselves attractive. But there 
is about the court a certain lady of a dishevelled 
reputation, a Countess von Rosen, wife or widow of 
a cloudy count, no longer in her second youth, and 
already bereft of some of her attractions, who 
unequivocally occupies the station of the Baron's 
mistress. I had thought, at first, that she was but 
a hired accomplice, a mere blind or buffer for the 
more important sinner. A few hours' acquaintance 
with Madame von Rosen for ever dispelled the 
illusion. She is one rather to make than to prevent 
a scandal, and she values none of those bribes — 
money, honours, or employment — with which the 
situation might be gilded. Indeed, as a person 
frankly bad, she pleased me, in the court of Griine- 
wald, like a piece of nature. 

The power of this man over the Princess is, 
therefore, without bounds. She has sacrificed to the 
adoration with which he has inspired her not only 
her marriage vow and every shred of public decency, 
but that vice of jealousy which is so much dearer to 
the female sex than either intrinsic honour or out- 

77 



<ON THE COURT OF GRUNEWALD' 

ward consideration. Nay, more : a young, although 
not a very attractive woman, and a princess both by 
birth and fact, she submits to the triumphant rivalry 
of one who might be her mother as to years, and 
who is so manifestly her inferior in station. This is 
one of the mysteries of the human heart. But the 
rage of illicit love, when it is once indulged, appears 
to grow by feeding ; and to a person of the charac- 
ter and temperament of this unfortunate young lady, 
almost any depth of degradation is within the reach 
of possibility. 



78 



CHAPTER III 

THE PRINCE AND THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER 

So far Otto read, with waxing indignation ; and here 
his fury overflowed. He tossed the roll upon the 
table and stood up. ' This man,' he said, ' is a devil. 
A filthy imagination, an ear greedy of evil, a pon- 
derous malignity of thought and language : I grow 
like him by the reading ! Chancellor, where is this 
fellow lodged ? ' 

'He was committed to the Flag Tower,' replied 
Greisengesang, 'in the Gamiani apartment.' 

' Lead me to him,' said the Prince ; and then, a 
thought striking him, 'Was it for that,' he asked, 
' that I found so many sentries in the garden ? ' 

' Your Highness, I am unaware,' answered Greisen- 
gesang, true to his policy. 'The disposition of the 
guards is a matter distinct from my functions.' 

Otto turned upon the old man fiercely, but ere he 
had time to speak, Gotthold touched him on the 
arm. He swallowed his wrath with a great effort. 
' It is well,' he said, taking the road. ' Follow me 
to the Flag Tower.' 

79 



THE PRINCE AND 

The Chancellor gathered himself together, and the 
two set forward. It was a long and complicated 
voyage ; for the library was in the wing of the new 
buildings, and the tower which carried the flag was 
in the old schloss upon the garden. By a great 
variety of stairs and corridors they came out at last 
upon a patch of gravelled court ; the garden peeped 
through a high grating with a flash of green ; tall, 
old, gabled buildings mounted on every side ; the 
Flag Tower climbed, stage after stage, into the blue ; 
and high over all, among the building daws, the 
yellow flag wavered in the wind. A sentinel at the 
foot of the tower stairs presented arms ; another 
paced the first landing; and a third was stationed 
before the door of the extemporised prison. 

* We guard this mud-bag like a jewel,' Otto 
sneered. 

The Gamiani apartment was so called from an 
Italian doctor who had imposed on the credulity of 
a former prince. The rooms were large, airy, plea- 
sant, and looked upon the garden ; but the walls 
were of great thickness (for the tower was old), and 
the windows were heavily barred. The Prince, 
followed by the Chancellor, still trotting to keep up 
with him, brushed swiftly through the little library 
and the long saloon, and burst like a thunderbolt 
into the bedroom at the farther end. Sir John was 
finishing his toilet; a man of fifty, hard, uncom- 
promising, able, with the eye and teeth of physical 
courage. He was unmoved by the irruption, and 
bowed with a sort of sneering ease. 
So 



THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER 

'To what am I to attribute the honour of this 
visit ? ' he asked. 

'You have eaten my bread,' replied Otto, 'you 
have taken my hand, you have been received 
under my roof. When did I fail you in courtesy ? 
What have you asked that was not granted as 
to an honoured guest ? And here, sir,' tapping 
fiercely on the manuscript, 'here is your re- 
turn.' 

' Your Highness has read my papers ? ' said the 
Baronet. ' I am honoured indeed. But the sketch 
is most imperfect. I shall now have much to add. 
I can say that the Prince, whom I had accused of 
idleness, is zealous in the department of police, 
taking upon himself those duties that are most 
distasteful. I shall be able to relate the burlesque 
incident of my arrest, and the singular interview 
with which you honour me at present. For the rest, 
I have already communicated with my Ambassador 
at Vienna ; and unless you propose to murder me, I 
shall be at liberty, whether you please or not, within 
the week. For I hardly fancy the future empire 
of Griinewald is yet ripe to go to war with England. 
I conceive I am a little more than quits. I owe 
you no explanation ; yours has been the wrong. 
You, if you have studied my writing with intelli- 
gence, owe me a large debt of gratitude. And to 
conclude, as I have not yet finished my toilet, I 
imagine the courtesy of a turnkey to a prisoner 
would induce you to withdraw.' 

There was some paper on the table, and Otto, 
q— f 8 1 



THE PRINCE AND 

sitting down, wrote a passport in the name of Sir 
John Crabtree. 

' Affix the seal, Herr Cancellarius,' he said, in his 
most princely manner, as he rose. 

Greisengesang produced a red portfolio, and affixed 
the seal in the unpoetic guise of an adhesive stamp ; 
nor did his perturbed and clumsy movements at all 
lessen the comedy of the performance. Sir John 
looked on with a malign enjoyment ; and Otto 
chafed, regretting, when too late, the unnecessary 
royalty of his command and gesture. But at length 
the Chancellor had finished his piece of prestidigi- 
tation, and, without waiting for an order, had 
countersigned the passport. Thus regularised, he 
returned it to Otto with a bow. 

'You will now,' said the Prince, 'order one of my 
own carriages to be prepared ; see it, with your own 
eyes, charged with Sir John's effects, and have it 
waiting within the hour behind the Pheasant House. 
Sir John departs this morning for Vienna.' 

The Chancellor took his elaborate departure. 

' Here, sir, is your passport,' said Otto, turning to 
the Baronet. ' I regret it from my heart that you 
have met inhospitable usage.' 

' Well, there will be no English war,' returned 
Sir John. 

'Nay, sir,' said Otto, 'you surely owe me your 
civility. Matters are now changed, and we stand 
again upon the footing of two gentlemen. It was 
not I who ordered your arrest ; I returned late last 
night from hunting ; and as you cannot blame me 
82 



THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER 

for your imprisonment, you may even thank me for 
your freedom.' 

'And yet you read my papers,' said the traveller 
shrewdly. 

' There, sir, I was wrong,' returned Otto ; ' and for 
that I ask your pardon. You can scarce refuse it, 
for your own dignity, to one who is a plexus of 
weaknesses. Nor was the fault entirely mine. Had 
the papers been innocent, it would have been at 
most an indiscretion. Your own guilt is the sting 
of my offence. ' 

Sir John regarded Otto with an approving twinkle ; 
then he bowed, but still in silence. 

* Well, sir, as you are now at your entire disposal, 
I have a favour to beg of your indulgence,' con- 
tinued the Prince. ' I have to request that you will 
walk with me alone into the garden so soon as your 
convenience permits.' 

'From the moment that I am a free man,' Sir 
John replied, this time with perfect courtesy, ' I am 
wholly at your Highness's command ; and if you will 
excuse a rather summary toilet, I will even follow 
you as I am.' 

' I thank you, sir,' said Otto. 

So without more delay, the Prince leading, the 
pair proceeded down through the echoing stairway 
of the tower, and out through the grating, into the 
ample air and sunshine of the morning and among 
the terraces and flower-beds of the garden. They 
crossed the fish-pond, where the carp were leaping 
as thick as bees ; they mounted, one after another, 

83 



THE PRINCE AND 

the various flights of stairs, snowed upon, as they 
went, with April blossoms, and marching in time to 
the great orchestra of birds. Nor did Otto pause 
till they had reached the highest terrace of the 
garden. Here was a gate into the park, and hard 
by, under a tuft of laurel, a marble garden seat. 
Hence they looked down on the green tops of many 
elm-trees, where the rooks were busy ; and, beyond 
that, upon the palace roof, and the yellow banner 
flying in the blue. ' I pray you to be seated, sir,' 
said Otto. 

Sir John complied without a word ; and for some 
seconds Otto walked to and fro before him, plunged 
in angry thought. The birds were all singing for a 
wager. 

' Sir,' said the Prince at length, turning towards 
the Englishman, ' you are to me, except by the 
conventions of society, a perfect stranger. Of your 
character and wishes I am ignorant. I have never 
wittingly disobliged you. There is a difference in 
station, which I desire to waive. I would, if you 
still think me entitled to so much consideration — I 
would be regarded simply as a gentleman. Now, 
sir, I did wrong to glance at these papers, which I 
here return to you ; but if curiosity be undignified, 
as I am free to own, falsehood is both cowardly and 
cruel. I opened your roll ; and what did I find — 
what did I find about my wife ? Lies ! ' he broke 
out. ' They are lies ! There are not, so help me 
God ! four words of truth in your intolerable libel ! 
You are a man ; you are old, and might be the girl's 
84 



THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER 

father ; you are a gentleman ; you are a scholar, and 
have learned refinement ; and you rake together all 
this vulgar scandal, and propose to print it in a 
public book ! Such is your chivalry ! But, thank 
God, sir, she has still a husband. You say, sir, in 
that paper in your hand, that I am a bad fencer; I 
have to request from you a lesson in the art. The 
park is close behind ; yonder is the Pheasant House, 
where you will find your carriage ; should I fall, you 
know, sir — you have written it in your paper — how 
little my movements are regarded ; I am in the 
custom of disappearing : it will be one more dis- 
appearance ; and long before it has awakened a 
remark, you may be safe across the border.' 

* You will observe,' said Sir John, ' that what you 
ask is impossible.' 

' And if I struck you ? ' cried the Prince, with a 
sudden menacing flash. 

' It would be a cowardly blow,' returned the 
Baronet, unmoved, 'for it would make no change. 
I cannot draw upon a reigning sovereign.' 

'And it is this man, to whom you dare not 
offer satisfaction, that you choose to insult ! ' cried 
Otto. 

'Pardon me,' said the traveller, 'you are unjust. 
It is because you are a reigning sovereign that I 
cannot fight with you ; and it is for the same reason 
that I have a right to criticise your action and your 
wife. You are in everything a public creature ; you 
belong to the public, body and bone. You have 
with you the law, the muskets of the army, and the 

85 



THE PRINCE AND 

eyes of spies. We, on our side, have but one weapon 
—truth.' 

* Truth ! ' echoed the Prince, with a gesture. 

There was another silence. 

'Your Highness,' said Sir John at last, 'you must 
not expect grapes from a thistle. I am old and a 
cynic. Nobody cares a rush for me ; and on the 
whole, after the present interview, I scarce know 
anybody that I like better than yourself. You see, 
I have changed my mind, and have the uncommon 
virtue to avow the change. I tear up this stuff 
before you, here in your own garden ; I ask your 
pardon, I ask the pardon of the Princess ; and I 
give you my word of honour as a gentleman and an 
old man, that when my book of travels shall appear 
it shall not contain so much as the name of Griine- 
wald. And yet it was a racy chapter! But had 
your Highness only read about the other courts ! I 
am a carrion crow ; but it is not my fault, after all, 
that the world is such a nauseous kennel.' 

' Sir,' said Otto, ' is the eye not jaundiced ? ' 

' Nay,' cried the traveller, ' very likely. I am one 
who goes sniffing; I am no poet. I believe in a 
better future for the world ; or, at all accounts, I 
do most potently disbelieve in the present. Rotten 
eggs is the burthen of my song. But indeed, your 
Highness, when I meet with any merit, I do not 
think that I am slow to recognise it. This is a day 
that I shall still recall with gratitude, for I have 
found a sovereign with some manly virtues ; and for 
once — old courtier and old radical as I am — it is 
86 



THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER 

from the heart and quite sincerely that I can request 
the honour of kissing your Highness's hand ? ' 

'Nay, sir,' said Otto, ' to my heart ! ' 

And the Englishman, taken at unawares, was 
clasped for a moment in the Prince's arms. 

'And now, sir,' added Otto, 'there is the Pheasant 
House ; close behind it you will find my carriage, 
which I pray you to accept. God speed you to 
Vienna ! ' 

'In the impetuosity of youth,' replied Sir John, 
' your Highness has overlooked one circumstance : 
I am still fasting.' 

'Well, sir,' said Otto, smiling, ' you are your own 
master ; you may go or stay. But I warn you, your 
friend may prove less powerful than your enemies. 
The Prince, indeed, is thoroughly on your side ; he 
has all the will to help ; but to whom do I speak ? — 
you know better than I do, he is not alone in 
Griinewald.' 

' There is a deal in position,' returned the traveller, 
gravely nodding. ' Gondremark loves to temporise ; 
his policy is below ground, and he fears all open 
courses ; and now that I have seen you act with so 
much spirit, I will cheerfully risk myself on your 
protection. Who knows ? You may be yet the 
better man.' 

' Do you indeed believe so ? ' cried the Prince. 
' You put life into my heart ! ' 

' I will give up sketching portraits,' said the 
Baronet. ' I am a blind owl ; I had misread you 
strangely. And yet remember this : a sprint is one 

87 



THE ENGLISH TRAVELLER 

thing, and to run all day another. For I still mis- 
trust your constitution ; the short nose, the hair and 
eyes of several complexions ; no, they are diagnostic ; 
and I must end, I see, as I began.' 

* I am still a singing chambermaid ? ' said Otto. 

' Nay, your Highness, I pray you to forget what I 
had written,' said Sir John ; 'I am not like Pilate; 
and the chapter is no more. Bury it, if you love 
me.' 



CHAPTER IV 

WHILE THE PRINCE IS IN THE ANTE-ROOM . . . 

Greatly comforted by the exploits of the morning, 
the Prince turned towards the Princess's ante-room, 
bent on a more difficult enterprise. The curtains 
rose before him, the usher called his name, and he 
entered the room with an exaggeration of his usual 
mincing and airy dignity. There were about a score 
of persons waiting, principally ladies ; it was one of 
the few societies in Griinewald where Otto knew 
himself to be popular ; and while a maid of honour 
made her exit by a side door to announce his arrival 
to the Princess, he moved round the apartment, 
collecting homage and bestowing compliments with 
friendly grace. Had this been the sum of his 
duties, he had been an admirable monarch. Lady 
after lady was impartially honoured by his atten- 
tion. 

' Madam,' he said to one, ' how does this happen ? 
I find you daily more adorable.' 

'And your Highness daily browner,' replied the 
lady. ' We began equal ; oh, there I will be bold : 

89 



WHILE THE PRINCE 

we have both beautiful complexions. But while I 
study mine, your Highness tans himself.' 

' A perfect negro, madam ; and what so fitly 
— being beauty's slave ? ' said Otto. — ' Madame 
Grafmski, when is our next play? I have just 
heard that I am a bad actor.' 

'O del!' cried Madame Grafmski. 'Who could 
venture ? What a bear ! ' 

'An excellent man, I can assure you,' returned 
Otto. 

' O, never ! O, is it possible ? ' fluted the lady. 
' Your Highness plays like an angel ! ' 

' You must be right, madam ; who could speak 
falsely and yet look so charming ? ' said the Prince. 
' But this gentleman, it seems, would have preferred 
me playing like an actor.' 

A sort of hum, a falsetto, feminine cooing, greeted 
the tiny sally ; and Otto expanded like a peacock. 
This warm atmosphere of women and flattery and 
idle chatter pleased him to the marrow. 

' Madame von Eisenthal, your coiffure is delicious,' 
he remarked. 

' Every one was saying so,' said one. 

' If I have pleased Prince Charming ? ' And 
Madame von Eisenthal swept him a deep curtsy with 
a killing glance of adoration. 

' It is new ? ' he asked. ' Vienna fashion.' 

' Mint new,' replied the lady, ' for your Highness's 
return. I felt young this morning ; it was a pre- 
monition. But why, Prince, do you ever leave us ? ' 

' For the pleasure of the return,' said Otto. ' I am 
90 



IS IN THE ANTE-ROOM . . . 

like a dog ; I must bury my bone, and then come 
back to gloat upon it.' 

' O, a bone ! Fie, what a comparison ! You 
have brought back the manners of the wood,' re- 
turned the lady. 

' Madam, it is what the dog has dearest,' said the 
Prince. ' But I observe Madame von Rosen.' 

And Otto, leaving the group to which he had been 
piping, stepped towards the embrasure of a window 
where a lady stood. 

The Countess von Rosen had hitherto been silent, 
and a thought depressed, but on the approach of 
Otto she began to brighten. She was tall, slim as a 
nymph, and of a very airy carriage ; and her face, 
which was already beautiful in repose, lightened and 
changed, flashed into smiles, and glowed with lovely 
colour at the touch of animation. She was a good 
vocalist ; and, even in speech, her voice commanded 
a great range of changes, the low notes rich with 
tenor quality, the upper ringing, on the brink of 
laughter, into music. A gem of many facets and 
variable hues of fire ; a woman who withheld the 
better portion of her beauty, and then, in a caressing 
second, flashed it like a weapon full on the beholder ; 
now merely a tall figure and a sallow handsome 
face, with the evidences of a reckless temper ; 
anon opening like a flower to life and colour, mirth 
and tenderness : — Madame von Rosen had always 
a dagger in reserve for the despatch of ill-assured 
admirers. She met Otto with the dart of tender 
gaiety. 

9i 



WHILE THE PRINCE 

* You have come to me at last, Prince Cruel,' she 
said. ' Butterfly ! Well, and am I not to kiss your 
hand ? ' she added. 

' Madam, it is I who must kiss yours.' And Otto 
bowed and kissed it. 

' You deny me every indulgence,' she said, smiling. 

' And now what news in Court ? ' inquired the 
Prince. ' I come to you for my gazette.' 

' Ditch-water ! ' she replied. * The world is all 
asleep, grown grey in slumber ; I do not remember 
any waking movement since quite an eternity ; and 
the last thing in the nature of a sensation was the 
last time my governess was allowed to box my ears. 
But yet I do myself and your unfortunate enchanted 
palace some injustice. Here is the last — O posi- 
tively ! ' And she told him the story from behind her 
fan, with many glances, many cunning strokes of the 
narrator's art. The others had drawn away, for it 
was understood that Madame von Rosen was in 
favour with the Prince. None the less, however, did 
the Countess lower her voice at times to within a 
semitone of whispering ; and the pair leaned together 
over the narrative. 

'Do you know,' said Otto, laughing, 'you are the 
only entertaining woman on this earth ! ' 

' O, you have found out so much,' she cried. 

' Yes, madam, I grow wiser with advancing years,' 
he returned. 

' Years ! ' she repeated. ' Do you name the trai- 
tors ? I do not believe in years ; the calendar is a 
delusion.' 
92 



IS IN THE ANTE-ROOM . . . 

' You must be right, madam,' replied the Prince. 
' For six years that we have been good friends, I have 
observed you to grow younger.' 

' Flatterer ! ' cried she, and then, with a change, 
' But why should I say so,' she added, ' when I pro- 
test I think the same ? A week ago I had a council 
with my father director, the glass; and the glass 
replied, " Not yet ! " I confess my face in this way 
once a month. O ! a very solemn moment. Do 
you know what I shall do when the mirror answers, 
"Now"?' 

' I cannot guess,' said he. 

* No more can I,' returned the Countess. ' There 
is such a choice ! Suicide, gambling, a nunnery, a 
volume of memoirs, or politics — the last, I am afraid.' 

* It is a dull trade,' said Otto. 

' Nay,' she replied, ' it is a trade I rather like. It 
is, after all, first cousin to gossip, which no one can 
deny to be amusing. For instance, if I were to tell 
you that the Princess and the Baron rode out together 
daily to inspect the cannon, it is either a piece of 
politics or scandal, as I turn my phrase. I am the 
alchemist that makes the transmutation. They have 
been everywhere together since you left,' she con- 
tinued, brightening as she saw Otto darken ; ' that is 
a poor snippet of malicious gossip — and they were 
everywhere cheered — and with that addition all be- 
comes political intelligence.' 

* Let us change the subject,' said Otto. 

* I was about to propose it,' she replied, ' or rather 
to pursue the politics. Do you know ? this war is 

93 



WHILE THE PRINCE 

popular — popular to the length of cheering Princess 
Seraphina.' 

* All things, madam, are possible,' said the Prince ; 
' and this among others, that we may be going into 
war, but I give you my word of honour I do not 
know with whom.' 

' And you put up with it ? ' she cried. * I have no 
pretensions to morality ; and I confess I have always 
abominated the lamb, and nourished a romantic feel- 
ing for the wolf. O, be done with lambiness ! Let 
us see there is a prince, for I am weary of the distaff.' 

' Madam,' said Otto, ' I thought you were of that 
faction.' 

' I should be of yours, mori Prince, if you had one,' 
she retorted. * Is it true that you have no ambition ? 
There was a man once in England whom they call 
the kingmaker. Do you know,' she added, * I fancy 
I could make a prince ? ' 

' Some day, madam,' said Otto, ' I may ask you to 
help make a farmer.' 

' Is that a riddle ? ' asked the Countess. 

* It is,' replied the Prince, ' and a very good one 
too.' 

* Tit for tat. I will ask you another,' she returned. 
' Where is Gondremark ? ' 

' The Prime Minister ? In the prime-ministry, no 
doubt,' said Otto. 

' Precisely,' said the Countess ; and she pointed 

with her fan to the door of the Princess's apartments. 

' You and I, mon Prince, are in the ante-room. You 

think me unkind,' she added. ' Try me and you will 

94 



IS IN THE ANTE-ROOM . . . 

see. Set me a task, put me a question ; there is no 
enormity I am not capable of doing to oblige you, 
and no secret that I am not ready to betray.' 

' Nay, madam, but I respect my friend too much,' 
he answered, kissing her hand. ' I would rather 
remain ignorant of all. We fraternise like foemen 
soldiers at the outposts, but let each be true to his 
own army.' 

' Ah,' she cried, ' if all men were generous like you, 
it would be worth while to be a woman ! ' Yet, 
judging by her looks, his generosity, if anything, had 
disappointed her ; she seemed to seek a remedy, and, 
having found it, brightened once more. ' And now,' 
she said, ' may I dismiss my sovereign ? This is 
rebellion and a cas pendable ; but what am I to 
do ? My bear is jealous ! ' 

' Madam, enough ! ' cried Otto. * Ahasuerus 
reaches you the sceptre ; more, he will obey you in 
all points. I should have been a dog to come to 
whistling.' 

And so the Prince departed, and fluttered round 
Grafinski and von Eisenthal. But the Countess 
knew the use of her offensive weapons, and had left 
a pleasant arrow in the Prince's heart. That Gondre- 
mark was jealous — here was an agreeable revenge ! 
And Madame von Rosen, as the occasion of the 
jealousy, appeared to him in a new light. 



95 



CHAPTER V 

. . . GONDEEMARK IS IN MY LADY'S CHAMBER 

The Countess von Rosen spoke the truth. The 
great Prime Minister of Griinewald was already 
closeted with Seraphina. The toilet was over ; and 
the Princess, tastefully arrayed, sat face to face with 
a tall mirror. Sir John's description was unkindly 
true, true in terms and yet a libel, a misogynistic 
masterpiece. Her forehead was perhaps too high, but 
it became her ; her figure somewhat stooped, but 
every detail was formed and finished like a gem ; her 
hand, her foot, her ear, the set of her comely head, 
were all dainty and accordant ; if she was not beauti- 
ful, she was vivid, changeful, coloured, and pretty 
with a thousand various prettinesses ; and her eyes, 
if they indeed rolled too consciously, yet rolled to 
purpose. They were her most attractive feature, yet 
they continually bore eloquent false witness to her 
thoughts ; for while she herself, in the depths of her 
immature, un softened heart, was given altogether to 
manlike ambition and the desire of power, the eyes 
were by turns bold, inviting, fiery, melting, and art- 
96 



MY LADY'S CHAMBER 

ful, like the eyes of a rapacious siren. And artful, 
in a sense, she was. Chafing that she was not a man, 
and could not shine by action, she had conceived a 
woman's part, of answerable domination ; she sought 
to subjugate for by-ends, to rain influence and be 
fancy free ; and, while she loved not man, loved to see 
man obey her. It is a common girl's ambition. Such 
was perhaps that lady of the glove, who sent her 
lover to the lions. But the snare is laid alike for 
male and female, and the world most artfully con- 
trived. 

Near her, in a low chair, Gondremark had arranged 
his limbs into a cat-like attitude, high-shouldered, 
stooping, and submiss. The formidable blue jowl 
of the man, and the dull bilious eye, set perhaps a 
higher value on his evident desire to please. His 
face was marked by capacity, temper, and a kind of 
bold, piratical dishonesty which it would be calum- 
nious to call deceit. His manners, as he smiled 
upon the Princess, were over-fine, yet hardly elegant. 

* Possibly,' said the Baron, ' I should now proceed 
to take my leave. I must not keep my sovereign 
in the ante-room. Let us come at once to a de- 
cision.' 

' It cannot, cannot be put off? ' she asked. 

' It is impossible,' answered Gondremark. ' Your 
Highness sees it for herself. In the earlier stages 
we might imitate the serpent ; but for the ultimatum 
there is no choice but to be bold like lions. Had 
the Prince chosen to remain away, it had been 
better ; but we have gone too far forward to delay.' 
9— G 97 



. . . GONDREMARK IS 

' What can have brought him ? ' she cried. 
< To-day of all days V 

'The marplot, madam, has the instinct of his 
nature,' returned Gondremark. ' But you exaggerate 
the peril. Think, madam, how far we have prospered, 
and against what odds ? Shall a Featherhead ? — but 
no ! ' And he blew upon his fingers lightly with a 
laugh. 

'Featherhead,' she replied, 'is still the Prince of 
Grimewald.' 

' On your sufferance only, and so long as you 
shall please to be indulgent,' said the Baron. ' There 
are rights of nature ; power to the powerful is the 
law. If he shall think to cross your destiny — 
well, you have heard of the brazen and the earthen 
pot' 

' Do you call me pot ? You are ungallant, Baron,' 
laughed the Princess. 

' Before we are done with your glory, I shall have 
called you by many different titles,' he replied. 

The girl flushed with pleasure. ' But Frederic is 
still the Prince, monsieur le Jlatteur,' 1 she said. 
' You do not propose a revolution ? — you of all 
men ? ' 

' Dear madam, when it is already made ! ' he cried. 
' The Prince reigns indeed in the almanac ; but my 
Princess reigns and rules.' And he looked at her 
with a fond admiration that made the heart of 
Seraphina swell. Looking on her huge slave, she 
drank the intoxicating joys of power. Meanwhile 
he continued, with that sort of massive archness that 
98 



IN MY LADY'S CHAMBER 

so ill became him, ' She has but one fault ; there is 
but one danger in the great career that I foresee for 
her ? May I name it ? may I be so irreverent ? It 
is in herself — her heart is soft. ' 

' Her courage is faint, Baron,' said the Princess. 
' Suppose we have judged ill, suppose we were 
defeated ? ' 

' Defeated, madam 1 ' returned the Baron, with a 
touch of ill-humour. * Is the dog defeated by the 
hare? Our troops are all cantoned along the 
frontier ; in five hours the vanguard of five thousand 
bayonets shall be hammering on the gates of Bran- 
denau ; and in all Gerolstein there are not fifteen 
hundred men who can manoeuvre. It is as simple 
as a sum. There can be no resistance.' 

' It is no great exploit,' she said. ' Is that what 
you call glory ? It is like beating a child.' 

' The courage, madam, is diplomatic,' he replied. 
' We take a grave step ; we fix the eyes of Europe, 
for the first time, on Griinewald ; and in the negotia- 
tions of the next three months, mark me, we stand 
or fall. It is there, madam, that I shall have to 
depend upon your counsels,' he added, almost 
gloomily. ' If I had not seen you at work, if I 
did not know the fertility of your mind, I own I 
should tremble for the consequence. But it is in 
this field that men must recognise their inability. 
All the great negotiators, when they have not 
been women, have had women at their elbows. 
Madame de Pompadour was ill served ; she had not 
found her Gondremark ; but what a mighty politician ! 

99 



. . . GONDREMARK IS 

Catherine de' Medici, too, what justice of sight, what 
readiness of means, what elasticity against defeat ! 
But alas ! madam, her Featherheads were her own 
children ; and she had that one touch of vulgarity, 
that one trait of the good-wife, that she suffered 
family ties and affections to confine her liberty.' 

These singular views of history, strictly ad usum 
Seraphince, did not weave their usual soothing spell 
over the Princess. It was plain that she had taken 
a momentary distaste to her own resolutions ; for 
she continued to oppose her counsellor, looking 
upon him out of half-closed eyes and with the 
shadow of a sneer upon her lips. ' What boys men 
are ! ' she said ; ' what lovers of big words ! Courage, 
indeed ! If you had to scour pans, Herr von 
Gondremark, you would call it, I suppose, Domestic 
Courage ? ' 

' I would, madam,' said the Baron stoutly, ' if I 
scoured them well. I would put a good name upon 
a virtue ; you will not overdo it ; they are not so 
enchanting in themselves.' 

* Well, but let me see,' she said. ' I wish to 
understand your courage. Why we asked leave, 
like children ! Our grannie in Berlin, our uncle in 
Vienna, the whole family, have patted us on the 
head and sent us forward. Courage ? I wonder 
when I hear you ! ' 

' My Princess is unlike herself,' returned the Baron. 

' She has forgotten where the peril lies. True, we 

have received encouragement on every hand ; but 

my Princess knows too well on what untenable con- 

ioo 



IN MY LADY'S CHAMBER 

ditions ; and she knows besides how, in the publicity 
of the diet, these whispered conferences are forgotten 
and disowned. The danger is very real ' — he raged 
inwardly at having to blow the very coal he had 
been quenching — * none the less real in that it is 
not precisely military, but for that reason the easier 
to be faced. Had we to count upon your troops, 
although I share your Highness's expectations of the 
conduct of Alvenau, we cannot forget that he has not 
been proved in chief command. But where negotia- 
tion is concerned, the conduct lies with us ; and with 
your help, I laugh at danger.' 

' It may be so,' said Seraphina, sighing. ' It is 
elsewhere that I see danger. The people, these 
abominable people— suppose they should instantly 
rebel ? What a figure we should make in the eyes 
of Europe to have undertaken an invasion while my 
own throne was tottering to its fall ! ' 

* Nay, madam,' said Gondremark, smiling, ' here 
you are beneath yourself. What is it that feeds 
their discontent ? What but the taxes ? Once we 
have seized Gerolstein, the taxes are remitted, the 
sons return covered with renown, the houses are 
adorned with pillage, each tastes his little share of 
military glory, and behold us once again a happy 
family ! " Ay," they will say, in each other's long 
ears, " the Princess knew what she was about ; she 
was in the right of it ; she has a head upon her 
shoulders ; and here we are, you see, better off than 
before." But why should I say all this ? It is 
what my Princess pointed out to me herself; it 

IOI 



. . . GONDREMARK IS 

was by these reasons that she converted me to this 
adventure.' 

' I think, Herr von Gondremark,' said Seraphina, 
somewhat tartly, ' you often attribute your own 
sagacity to your Princess.' 

For a second Gondremark staggered under the 
shrewdness of the attack ; the next, he had perfectly 
recovered. ' Do I ? ' he said. ' It is very possible. 
I have observed a similar tendency in your Highness.' 

It was so openly spoken, and appeared so just, 
that Seraphina breathed again. Her vanity had 
been alarmed, and the greatness of the relief im- 
proved her spirits. * Well,' she said, ' all this is little 
to the purpose. We are keeping Frederic without, 
and I am still ignorant of our line of battle. Come, 
co-admiral, let us consult. . . . How am I to receive 
him now ? And what are we to do if he should 
appear at the council ? ' 

' Now,' he answered. ' I shall leave him to my 
Princess for just now ! I have seen her at work. 
Send him off to his theatricals ! But in all gentle- 
ness,' he added. ' Would it, for instance, would it 
displease my sovereign to affect a headache ? ' 

' Never ! ' said she. ' The woman who can manage, 
like the man who can fight, must never shrink from 
an encounter. The knight must not disgrace his 
weapons.' 

' Then let me pray my belle dame sans merci,' he 

returned, ' to affect the only virtue that she lacks. 

Be pitiful to the poor young man ; affect an interest 

in his hunting ; be weary of politics ; find in his 

102 



IN MY LADY'S CHAMBER 

society, as it were, a grateful repose from dry con- 
siderations. Does my Princess authorise the line of 
battle ? ' 

; Well, that is a trifle,' answered Seraphina. ' The 
council — there is the point.' 

' The council ? ' cried Gondremark. ' Permit me, 
madam.' And he rose and proceeded to flutter 
about the room, counterfeiting Otto both in voice 
and gesture not unhappily. ' What is there to-day, 
Herr von Gondremark ? Ah, Herr Cancellarius, a 
new wig ! You cannot deceive me ; I know every 
wig in Griinewald ; I have the sovereign's eye. 
What are these papers about ? O, I see. O, 
certainly. Surely, surely. I wager none of you 
remarked that wig. By all means. I know nothing 
about that. Dear me, are there as many as all that ? 
Well, you can sign them ; you have the procuration. 
You see, Herr Cancellarius, I knew your wig. 
And so,' concluded Gondremark, resuming his own 
voice, * our sovereign, by the particular grace of God, 
enlightens and supports his privy councillors.' 

But when the Baron turned to Seraphina for 
approval he found her frozen. ' You are pleased to 
be witty, Herr von Gondremark,' she said, ' and have 
perhaps forgotten where you are. But these re- 
hearsals are apt to be misleading. Your master, 
the Prince of Griinewald, is sometimes more 
exacting.' 

Gondremark cursed her in his soul. Of all injured 
vanities, that of the reproved buffoon is the most 
savage ; and when grave issues are involved, these 

103 



MY LADY'S CHAMBER 

petty stabs become unbearable. But Gondremark 
was a man of iron ; he showed nothing ; he did not 
even, like the common trickster, retreat because 
he had presumed, but held to his point bravely. 
' Madam,' he said, ' if, as you say, he prove exacting, 
we must take the bull by the horns.' 

'We shall see/ she said, and she arranged her 
skirt like one about to rise. Temper, scorn, disgust, 
all the more acrid feelings, became her like jewels ; 
and she now looked her best. 

' Pray God they quarrel,' thought Gondremark. 
'The damned minx may fail me yet, unless they 
quarrel. It is time to let him in. Zz — fight, dogs ! ' 
Consequent on these reflections, he bent a stiff knee 
and chivalrously kissed the Princess's hand. 'My 
Princess,' he said, 'must now dismiss her servant. 
I have much to arrange against the hour of council.' 

' Go,' she said, and rose. 

And as Gondremark tripped out of a private door, 
she touched a bell, and gave the order to admit the 
Prince. 



104 



CHAPTER VI 

THE PRINCE DELIVERS A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE, 
WITH PRACTICAL ILLUSTRATIONS OF DIVORCE 

With what a world of excellent intentions Otto 
entered his wife's cabinet! how fatherly, how 
tender! how morally affecting were the words he 
had prepared ! Nor was Seraphina unamiably in- 
clined. Her usual fear of Otto as a marplot in her 
great designs was now swallowed up in a passing 
distrust of the designs themselves. For Gondre- 
mark, besides, she had conceived an angry horror. 
In her heart she did not like the Baron. Behind 
his impudent servility, behind the devotion which, 
with indelicate delicacy, he still forced on her atten- 
tion, she divined the grossness of his nature. So a 
man may be proud of having tamed a bear, and yet 
sicken at his captive's odour. And above all, she 
had certain jealous intimations that the man was 
false and the deception double. True, she falsely 
trifled with his love ; but he, perhaps, was only 
trifling with her vanity. The insolence of his late 
mimicry, and the odium of her own position as she 

105 



THE PRINCE DELIVERS 

sat and watched it, lay besides like a load upon her 
conscience. She met Otto almost with a sense of 
guilt, and yet she welcomed him as a deliverer from 
ugly things. 

But the wheels of an interview are at the mercy 
of a thousand ruts ; and even at Otto's entrance the 
first jolt occurred. Gondremark, he saw, was gone; 
but there was the chair drawn close for consultation ; 
and it pained him not only that this man had been 
received, but that he should depart with such an air 
of secrecy. Struggling with this twinge, it was 
somewhat sharply that he dismissed the attendant 
who had brought him in. 

' You make yourself at home, chez moi? she said, 
a little ruffled both by his tone of command and by 
the glance he had thrown upon the chair. 

' Madam,' replied Otto, ' I am here so seldom that 
I have almost the rights of a stranger.' 

'You choose your own associates, Frederic,' she 
said. 

' I am here to speak of it,' he returned. * It is 
now four years since we were married; and these four 
years, Seraphina, have not perhaps been happy either 
for you or for me. I am well aware I was unsuit- 
able to be your husband. I was not young, I had 
no ambition, I was a trifler ; and you despised me, I 
dare not say unjustly. But to do justice on both 
sides, you must bear in mind how I have acted. 
When I found it amused you to play the part of 
Princess on this little stage, did I not immediately 
resign to you my box of toys, this Griinewald? 
1 06 



A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE 

And when I found I was distasteful as a husband, 
could any husband have been less intrusive ? You 
will tell me that I have no feelings, no preference, 
and thus no credit ; that I go before the wind ; that 
all this was in my character. And indeed, one thing 
is true, — that it is easy, too easy, to leave things un- 
done. But, Seraphina, I begin to learn it is not 
always wise. If I were too old and too uncongenial 
for your husband, I should still have remembered 
that I was the Prince of that country to which you 
came, a visitor and a child. In that relation also 
there were duties, and these duties I have not 
performed.' 

To claim the advantage of superior age is to give 
sure offence. * Duty ! ' laughed Seraphina, ' and on 
your lips, Frederic ! You make me laugh. What 
fancy is this ? Go, flirt with the maids and be a 
prince in Dresden china, as you look. Enjoy your- 
self, mon enfant, and leave duty and the state to us.' 

The plural grated on the Prince. ' I have enjoyed 
myself too much,' he said, 'since enjoyment is the 
word. And yet there were much to say upon the 
other side. You must suppose me desperately fond 
of hunting. But indeed there were days when I 
found a great deal of interest in what it was courtesy 
to call my government. And I have always had 
some claim to taste ; I could tell live happiness from 
dull routine ; and between hunting, and the throne 
of Austria, and your society, my choice had never 
wavered, had the choice been mine. You were a 

girl, a bud, when you were given me ' 

107 



THE PRINCE DELIVERS 

* Heavens ! ' she cried, ' is this to be a love-scene ? ' 

' I am never ridiculous,' he said ; ' it is my only 
merit ; and you may be certain this shall be a scene 
of marriage d la mode. But when I remember the 
beginning, it is bare courtesy to speak in sorrow. 
Be just, madam : you would think me strangely 
uncivil to recall these days without the decency 
of a regret. Be yet a little juster, and own, if 
only in complaisance, that you yourself regret that 
past.' 

'I have nothing to regret,' said the Princess. 
* You surprise me. I thought you were so happy.' 

' Happy and happy, there are so many hundred 
ways,' said Otto. ' A man may be happy in revolt ; 
he may be happy in sleep ; wine, change, and travel 
make him happy ; virtue, they say, will do the like 
— I have not tried ; and they say also that in old, 
quiet, and habitual marriages there is yet an other 
happiness. Happy, yes ; I am happy if you like ; 
but I will tell you frankly, I was happier when I 
brought you home.' 

'Well,' said the Princess, not without constraint, 
' it seems you changed your mind.' 

' Not I,' returned Otto, ' I never changed. Do 
you remember, Seraphina, on our way home, when 
you saw the roses in the lane, and I got out and 
plucked them ? It was a narrow lane between great 
trees ; the sunset at the end was all gold, and the 
rooks were flying overhead. There were nine, nine 
red roses ; you gave me a kiss for each, and I told 
myself that every rose and every kiss should stand 
1 08 



A LECTURE ON MAKRIAGE 

for a year of love. Well, in eighteen months there 
was an end. But do you fancy, Seraphina, that my 
heart has altered ? ' 

'I am sure I cannot tell,' she said, like an 
automaton. 

' It has not,' the Prince continued. ' There is 
nothing ridiculous, even from a husband, in a love 
that owns itself unhappy and that asks no more. I 
built on sand ; pardon me, I do not breathe a re- 
proach — I built, I suppose, upon my own infirmities ; 
but I put my heart in the building, and it still lies 
among the ruins.' 

' How very poetical ! ' she said, with a little chok- 
ing laugh, unknown relen tings, unfamiliar softnesses, 
moving within her. * What would you be at ? ' she 
added, hardening her voice. 

' I would be at this,' he answered ; ' and hard it is 
to say. I would be at this : — Seraphina, I am your 
husband after all, and a poor fool that loves you. 
Understand,' he cried almost fiercely, ' I am no sup- 
pliant husband ; what your love refuses I would 
scorn to receive from your pity. I do not ask, I 
would not take it. And for jealousy, what ground 
have I ? A dog-in-the-manger jealousy is a thing 
the dogs may laugh at. But at least, in the world's 
eye, I am still your husband ; and I ask you if you 
treat me fairly ? I keep to myself, I leave you free, 
I have given you in everything your will. What 
do you in return ? I find, Seraphina, that you have 
been too thoughtless. But between persons such as 
we are, in our conspicuous station, particular care 

109 



THE PRINCE DELIVERS 

and a particular courtesy are owing. Scandal is per- 
haps not easy to avoid ; but it is hard to bear.' 

* Scandal ! ' she cried, with a deep breath. ' Scan- 
dal ! It is for this you have been driving ! ' 

' I have tried to tell you how I feel,' he replied. 
4 1 have told you that I love you — love you in vain 
— a bitter thing for a husband ; I have laid myself 
open that I might speak without offence. And now 
that I have begun, I will go on and finish.' 

' I demand it,' she said. ' What is this about ? ' 
Otto flushed crimson. ' I have to say what I 
would fain not,' he answered. ' I counsel you to 
see less of Gondremark.' 

* Of Gondremark ? And why ? ' she asked. 

' Your intimacy is the ground of scandal, madam,' 
said Otto, firmly enough — ' of a scandal that is 
agony to me, and would be crushing to your parents 
if they knew it.' 

* You are the first to bring me word of it,' said 
she. ' I thank you.' 

' You have perhaps cause,' he replied. ' Perhaps 
I am the only one among your friends ' 

' O, leave my friends alone,' she interrupted. 
6 My friends are of a different stamp. You have 
come to me here and made a parade of sentiment. 
When have I last seen you ? I have governed your 
kingdom for you in the meanwhile, and there I got 
no help. At last, when I am weary with a man's 
work, and you are weary of your playthings, you 
return to make me a scene of conjugal reproaches — 
the grocer and his wife ! The positions are too much 
no 



A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE 

reversed ; and you should understand, at least, that 
I cannot at the same time do your work of govern- 
ment and behave myself like a little girl. Scandal 
is the atmosphere in which we live, we princes ; it 
is what a prince should know. You play an odious 
part. Do you believe this rumour ? ' 

' Madam, should I be here ? ' said Otto. 

' It is what I want to know ! ' she cried, the tem- 
pest of her scorn increasing. * Suppose you did — I 
say, suppose you did believe it ? ' 

' I should make it my business to suppose the 
contrary,' he answered. 

' I thought so. O, you are made of baseness ! ' 
said she. 

' Madam,' he cried, roused at last, * enough of this. 
You wilfully misunderstand my attitude ; you out- 
wear my patience. In the name of your parents, 
in my own name, I summon you to be more cir- 
cumspect. ' 

' Is this a request, monsieur mon mari ? ' she 
demanded. 

' Madam, if I choose, I might command,' said 
Otto. 

* You might, sir, as the law stands, make me 
prisoner,' returned Seraphina. ' Short of that you 
will gain nothing.' 

' You will continue as before ? ' he asked. 

' Precisely as before,' said she. ' As soon as this 
comedy is over, I shall request the Freiherr von 
Gondremark to visit me. Do you understand ? ' she 
added, rising. ' For my part, I have done.' 

in 



THE PRINCE DELIVERS 

f I will then ask the favour of your hand, madam,' 
said Otto, palpitating in every pulse with anger. 
' I have to request that you will visit in my 
society another part of my poor house. And re- 
assure yourself — it will not take long — and it is the 
last obligation that you shall have the chance to lay 
me under.' 

< The last ? ' she cried. ' Most joyfully ! ' 

She offered her hand, and he took it ; on each side 
with an elaborate affectation, each inwardly incan- 
descent. He led her out by the private door, follow- 
ing where Gondremark had passed ; they threaded 
a corridor or two, little frequented, looking on a 
court, until they came at last into the Prince's suite. 
The first room was an armoury, hung all about with 
the weapons of various countries, and looking forth 
on the front terrace. 

' Have you brought me here to slay me ? ' she 
inquired. 

' I have brought you, madam, only to pass on,' 
replied Otto. 

Next they came to a library, where an old 
chamberlain sat half-asleep. He rose and bowed 
before the princely couple, asking for orders. 

' You will attend us here,' said Otto. 

The next stage was a gallery of pictures, where 
Seraphina's portrait hung conspicuous, dressed for 
the chase, red roses in her hair, as Otto, in the first 
months of marriage, had directed. He pointed to it 
without a word ; she raised her eyebrows in silence ; 
and they passed still forward into a matted corridor 
112 



A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE 

where four doors opened. One led to Otto's bed- 
room ; one was the private door to Seraphina's. 
And here, for the first time, Otto left her hand, and, 
stepping forward, shot the bolt. 

'It is long, madam,' said he, ' since it was bolted 
on the other side.' 

' One was effectual,' returned the Princess. ' Is 
this all?' 

' Shall I reconduct you ? ' he asked, bowing. 

' I should prefer,' she asked, in ringing tones, ' the 
conduct of the Freiherr von Gondremark.' 

Otto summoned the chamberlain. « If the Frei- 
herr von Gondremark is in the palace,' he said, * bid 
him attend the Princess here.' And when the official 
had departed, 'Can I do more to serve you, madam ? ' 
the Prince asked. 

' Thank you, no. I have been much amused,' she 
answered. 

* I have now,' continued Otto, ' given you your 
liberty complete. This has been for you a miserable 
marriage.' 

' Miserable ! ' said she. 

' It has been made light to you ; it shall be lighter 
still,' continued the Prince. ' But one thing, madam, 
you must still continue to bear — my father's name, 
which is now yours. I leave it in your hands. Let 
me see you, since you will have no advice of mine, 
apply the more attention of your own to bear it 
worthily.' 

'Herr von Gondremark is long in coming,' she 
remarked. 

9— h 113 



THE PRINCE DELIVERS 

* O Seraphina, Seraphina ! ' he cried. And that 
was the end of their interview. 

She tripped to a window and looked out ; and a 
little after, the chamberlain announced the Freiherr 
von Gondremark, who entered with something of a 
wild eye and changed complexion, confounded, as he 
was, at this unusual summons. The Princess faced 
round from the window with a pearly smile ; nothing 
but her heightened colour spoke of discomposure. 
Otto was pale, but he was otherwise master of 
himself. 

* Herr von Gondremark,' said he, ' oblige me so 
far : reconduct the Princess to her own apartment.' 

The Baron, still all at sea, offered his hand, which 
was smilingly accepted, and the pair sailed forth 
through the picture-gallery. 

As soon as they were gone, and Otto knew the 
length and breadth of his miscarriage, and how he 
had done the contrary of all that he intended, he 
stood stupefied. A fiasco so complete and sweeping 
was laughable, even to himself; and he laughed 
aloud in his wrath. Upon this mood there followed 
the sharpest violence of remorse ; and to that again, 
as he recalled his provocation, anger succeeded 
afresh. So he was tossed in spirit; now bewailing 
his inconsequence and lack of temper, now flaming 
up in white-hot indignation and a noble pity for 
himself. 

He paced his apartment like a leopard. There 
was danger in Otto, for a flash. Like a pistol, he 
could kill at one moment, and the next he might be 
114 



A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE 

kicked aside. But just then, as he walked the long 
floors in his alternate humours, tearing his hand- 
kerchief between his hands, he was strung to his 
top note, every nerve attent. The pistol, you might 
say, was charged. And when jealousy from time to 
time fetched him a lash across the tenderest of his 
feeling, and sent a string of her fire-pictures glancing 
before his mind's eye, the contraction of his face 
was even dangerous. He disregarded jealousy's in- 
ventions, yet they stung. In this height of anger, 
he still preserved his faith in Seraphina's innocence ; 
but the thought of her possible misconduct was the 
bitterest ingredient in his pot of sorrow. 

There came a knock at the door, and the cham- 
berlain brought him a note. He took it and ground 
it in his hand, continuing his march, continuing his 
bewildered thoughts ; and some minutes had gone 
by before the circumstance came clearly to his mind. 
Then he paused and opened it. It was a pencil 
scratch from Gotthold, thus conceived : 

6 The council is privately summoned at once. 

<G. v. H.' 

If the council was thus called before the hour, 
and that privately, it was plain they feared his 
interference. Feared : here was a sweet thought. 
Gotthold, too — Gotthold, who had always used and 
regarded him as a mere peasant lad, had now been 
at the pains to warn him ; Gotthold looked for 
something at his hands. Well, none should be dis- 

ii5 



A LECTURE ON MARRIAGE 

appointed ; the Prince, too long beshadowed by the 
uxorious lover, should now return and shine. He 
summoned his valet, repaired the disorder of his 
appearance with elaborate care ; and then, curled 
and scented and adorned, Prince Charming in every 
line, but with a twitching nostril, he set forth un- 
attended for the council. 



116 



CHAPTER VII 

THE PRINCE DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL 

It was as Gotthold wrote. The liberation of Sir 
John, Greisengesang's uneasy narrative, last of all, 
the scene between Seraphina and the Prince, had 
decided the conspirators to take a step of bold 
timidity. There had been a period of bustle, liveried 
messengers speeding here and there with notes ; and 
at half-past ten in the morning, about an hour before 
its usual hour, the council of Griinewald sat around 
the board. 

It was not a large body. At the instance of 
Gondremark, it had undergone a strict purgation, 
and was now composed exclusively of tools. Three 
secretaries sat at a side-table. Seraphina took the 
head; on her right was the Baron, on her left 
Greisengesang ; below these Grafinski the treasurer, 
Count Eisenthal, a couple of non-combatants, and, 
to the surprise of all, Gotthold. He had been named 
a privy councillor by Otto, merely that he might 
profit by the salary; and as he was never known 
to attend a meeting, it had occurred to nobody to 
cancel his appointment. His present appearance 

117 



THE PRINCE 

was the more ominous, coming when it did. Gond- 
remark scowled upon him ; and the non-combatant 
on his right, intercepting this black look, edged 
away from one who was so clearly out of favour. ■ 

' The hour presses, your Highness,' said the Baron ; 
' may we proceed to business ? ' 

' At once,' replied Seraphina. 

' Your Highness will pardon me,' said Gotthold ; 
'but you are still, perhaps, unacquainted with the 
fact that Prince Otto has returned.' 

' The Prince will not attend the council,' replied 
Seraphina, with a momentary blush. — 'The despatches, 
Herr Cancellarius ? There is one for Gerolstein ? ' 

A secretary brought a paper. 

' Here, madam,' said Greisengesang. ' Shall I 
read it ? ' 

'We are all familiar with its terms,' replied 
Gondremark. ' Your Highness approves ? ' 

' Unhesitatingly,' said Seraphina. 

'It may then be held as read,' concluded the 
Baron. ' Will your Highness sign ? ' 

The Princess did so ; Gondremark, Eisenthal, and 
one of the non-combatants followed suit ; and the 
paper was then passed across the table to the 
librarian. He proceeded leisurely to read. 

' We have no time to spare, Herr Doctor,' cried 
the Baron brutally. ' If you do not choose to sign 
on the authority of your sovereign, pass it on. Or 
you may leave the table,' he added, his temper 
ripping out. 

' I decline your invitation, Herr von Gondremark ; 
118 



DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL 

and my sovereign, as I continue to observe with 
regret, is still absent from the board,' replied the 
Doctor calmly ; and he resumed the perusal of the 
paper, the rest chafing and exchanging glances. 
'Madam and gentlemen,' he said at last, 'what I 
hold in my hand is simply a declaration of war.' 

' Simply,' said Seraphina, flashing defiance. 

' The sovereign of this country is under the same 
roof with us,' continued Gotthold, ' and I insist he 
shall be summoned. It is needless to adduce my 
reasons ; you are all ashamed at heart of this pro- 
jected treachery.' 

The council waved like a sea. There were various 
outcries. 

' You insult the Princess,' thundered Gondremark. 

' I maintain my protest,' replied Gotthold. 

At the height of this confusion the door was 
thrown open ; an usher announced, ' Gentlemen, the 
Prince ! ' and Otto, with his most excellent bearing, 
entered the apartment. It was like oil upon the 
troubled waters; every one settled instantly into 
his place, and Greisengesang, to give himself a 
countenance, became absorbed in the arrangement 
of his papers; but in their eagerness to dissemble 
one and all neglected to rise. 

' Gentlemen,' said the Prince, pausing. 

They all got to their feet in a moment ; and this 
reproof still further demoralised the weaker brethren. 

The Prince moved slowly towards the lower end 
of the table ; then he paused again, and, fixing his 
eye on Greisengesang, ' How comes it, Herr Can- 

119 



THE PRINCE 

cellarius,' he asked, ' that I have received no notice 
of the change of hour ? ' 

'Your Highness,' replied the Chancellor, 'her 
Highness the Princess . . .' and there paused. 

'I understood,' said Seraphina, taking him up, 
'that you did not purpose to be present.' 

Their eyes met for a second, and Seraphina's fell ; 
but her anger only burned the brighter for that 
private shame. 

' And now, gentlemen,' said Otto, taking his chair, 
' I pray you to be seated. I have been absent ; there 
are doubtless some arrears ; but ere we proceed to 
business, Herr Grafinski, you will direct four thou- 
sand crowns to be sent to me at once. Make a 
note, if you please,' he added, as the treasurer still 
stared in wonder. 

' Four thousand crowns ? ' asked Seraphina. ' Pray, 
for what ? ' 

'Madam,' returned Otto, smiling, 'for my own 
purposes.' 

Gondremark spurred up Grafinski underneath the 
table. 

'If your Highness will indicate the destina- 
tion . . .' began the puppet. 

' You are not here, sir, to interrogate your Prince,' 
said Otto. 

Grafinski looked for help to his commander ; and 
Gondremark came to his aid, in suave and measured 
tones. 

' Your Highness may reasonably be surprised,' he 
said ; ' and Herr Grafinski, although I am convinced 



I20 



DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL 

he is clear of the intention of offending, would have 
perhaps done better to begin with an explanation. 
The resources of the state are at the present moment 
entirely swallowed up, or, as we hope to prove, 
wisely invested. In a month from now, I do not 
question we shall be able to meet any command 
your Highness may lay upon us; but at this hour 
I fear that, even in so small a matter, he must 
prepare himself for disappointment. Our zeal is no 
less, although our power may be inadequate.' 

'How much, Herr Graflnski, have we in the 
treasury ? ' asked Otto. 

'Your Highness,' protested the treasurer, 'we 
have immediate need of every crown.' 

' I think, sir, you evade me,' flashed the Prince ; 
and then, turning to the side-table, 'Mr. Secretary,' 
he added, 'bring me, if you please, the treasury 
docket.' 

Herr Graflnski became deadly pale ; the chancellor, 
expecting his own turn, was probably engaged in 
prayer ; Gondremark was watching like a ponderous 
cat. Gotthold, on his part, looked on with wonder 
at his cousin ; he was certainly showing spirit, but 
what, in such a time of gravity, was all this talk of 
money ? and why should he waste his strength upon 
a personal issue ? 

' I find,' said Otto, with his finger on the docket, 
' that we have 20,000 crowns in case.' 

' That is exact, your Highness,' replied the Baron. 
'But our liabilities, all of which are happily not 
liquid, amount to a far larger sum; and at the 

121 



THE PRINCE 

present point of time it would be morally impossible 
to divert a single florin. Essentially, the case is 
empty. We have, already presented, a large note 
for material of war.' 

'Material of war?' exclaimed Otto, with an excellent 
assumption of surprise. ' But if my memory serves 
me right, we settled these accounts in January.' 

'There have been further orders,' the Baron ex- 
plained. ' A new park of artillery has been completed ; 
five hundred stand of arms, seven hundred baggage- 
mules — the details are in a special memorandum. 
— Mr. Secretary Holtz, the memorandum, if you 
please. ' 

' One would think, gentlemen, that we were going 
to war,' said Otto. 

' We are,' said Seraphina. 

1 War ! ' cried the Prince. ' And, gentlemen, with 
whom ? The peace of Griinewald has endured for 
centuries. What aggression, what insult have we 
suffered ? ' 

' Here, your Highness,' said Gotthold, ' is the 
ultimatum. It was in the very article of signature, 
when your Highness so opportunely entered.' 

Otto laid the paper before him ; as he read, his 
fingers played tattoo upon the table. 'Was it 
proposed,' he inquired, 'to send this paper forth 
without a knowledge of my pleasure ? ' 

One of the non-combatants, eager to trim, volun- 
teered an answer. ' The Herr Doctor von Hohen- 
stockwitz had just entered his dissent,' he added. 

' Give me the rest of this correspondence,' said 

122 



DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL 

the Prince. It was handed to him, and he read it 
patiently from end to end, while the councillors sat 
foolishly enough looking before them on the table. 
The secretaries, in the background, were exchanging 
glances of delight; a row at the council was for 
them a rare and welcome feature. 

* Gentlemen,' said Otto, when he had finished, ' I 
have read with pain. This claim upon Obermiinsterol 
is palpably unjust ; it has not a tincture, not a show, 
of justice. There is not in all this ground enough 
for after-dinner talk, and you propose to force it as 
a casus belli.' 

' Certainly, your Highness,' returned Gondremark, 
too wise to defend the indefensible, 'the claim on 
Obermiinsterol is simply a pretext.' 

' It is well,' said the Prince. ' Herr Cancellarius, 
take your pen. " The council," ' he began to dictate 
— ' I withhold all notice of my intervention,' he said 
in parenthesis, and addressing himself more directly 
to his wife ; • and I say nothing of the strange sup- 
pression by which this business has been smuggled 
past my knowledge. I am content to be in time — 
"The council,"' he resumed, '"on a further ex- 
amination of the facts, and enlightened by the note 
in the last despatch from Gerolstein, have the plea- 
sure to announce that they are entirely at one, both 
as to fact and sentiment, with the Grand-Ducal 
Court of Gerolstein." You have it? Upon these 
lines, sir, you will draw up the despatch.' 

' If your Highness will allow me,' said the Baron, 
'your Highness is so imperfectly acquainted with 

123 



THE PRINCE 

the internal history of this correspondence, that any 
interference will be merely hurtful. Such a paper 
as your Highness proposes would be to stultify the 
whole previous policy of Griinewald.' 

' The policy of Griinewald ! ' cried the Prince. 
' One would suppose you had no sense of humour ! 
Would you fish in a coffee cup ? ' 

'With deference, your Highness,' returned the 
Baron, * even in a coffee cup there may be poison. 
The purpose of this war is not simply territorial 
enlargement; still less is it a war of glory; for, as 
your Highness indicates, the state of Griinewald 
is too small to be ambitious. But the body politic 
is seriously diseased ; republicanism, socialism, many 
disintegrating ideas are abroad ; circle within circle, 
a really formidable organisation has grown up about 
your Highness's throne.' 

' I have heard of it, Herr von Gondremark,' put in 
the Prince ; ' but I have reason to be aware that 
yours is the more authoritative information.' 

i I am honoured by this expression of my Prince's 
confidence,' returned Gondremark, unabashed. * It 
is, therefore, with a single eye to these disorders 
that our present external policy has been shaped. 
Something was required to divert public attention, 
to employ the idle, to popularise your Highness's 
rule, and, if it were possible, to enable him to reduce 
the taxes at a blow and to a notable amount. The 
proposed expedition — for it cannot without hyperbole 
be called a war — seemed to the council to combine 
the various characters required ; a marked improve- 
124 



DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL 

ment in the public sentiment has followed even 
upon our preparations ; and I cannot doubt that 
when success shall follow, the effect will surpass 
even our boldest hopes.' 

' You are very adroit, Herr von Gondremark,' said 
Otto. 'You fill me with admiration. I had not 
heretofore done justice to your qualities.' 

Seraphina looked up with joy, supposing Otto 
conquered ; but Gondremark still waited, armed at 
every point; he knew how very stubborn is the 
revolt of a weak character. 

• And the territorial army scheme, to which I was 
persuaded to consent — was it secretly directed to 
the same end ? ' the Prince asked. 

' I still believe the effect to have been good,' 
replied the Baron ; ' discipline and mounting guard 
are excellent sedatives. But I will avow to your 
Highness, I was unaware, at the date of that decree, 
of the magnitude of the revolutionary movement ; 
nor did any of us, I think, imagine that such a 
territorial army was a part of the republican pro- 
posals.' 

' It was ? ' asked Otto. * Strange ! Upon what 
fancied grounds ? ' 

* The grounds were indeed fanciful,' returned the 
Baron. * It was conceived among the leaders that a 
territorial army, drawn from and returning to the 
people, would, in the event of any popular uprising, 
prove lukewarm or unfaithful to the throne.' 

' I see,' said the Prince. ' I begin to understand.' 
' His Highness begins to understand ? ' repeated 

125 



THE PRINCE 

Gondremark, with the sweetest politeness. ' May I 
beg of him to complete the phrase ? ' 

' The history of the revolution,' replied Otto drily. 
' And now,' he added, ' what do you conclude ? ' 

' I conclude, your Highness, with a simple reflec- 
tion,' said the Baron, accepting the stab without a 
quiver, 'the war is popular; were the rumour con- 
tradicted to-morrow, a considerable disappointment 
would be felt in many classes ; and in the present 
tension of spirits, the most lukewarm sentiment may 
be enough to precipitate events. There lies the 
danger. The revolution hangs imminent ; we sit, at 
this council board, below the sword of Damocles.' 

' We must then lay our heads together,' said the 
Prince, 'and devise some honourable means of 
safety.' 

Up to this moment, since the first note of opposi- 
tion fell from the librarian, Seraphina had uttered 
about twenty words. With a somewhat heightened 
colour, her eyes generally lowered, her foot some- 
times nervously tapping on the floor, she had kept 
her own counsel and commanded her anger like a 
hero. But at this stage of the engagement she lost 
control of her impatience. 

' Means ! ' she cried. * They have been found and 
prepared before you knew the need for them. Sign 
the despatch, and let us be done with this delay.' 

'Madam, I said "honourable,"' returned Otto, 

bowing. ' This war is, in my eyes, and by Herr von 

Gondremark's account, an inadmissible expedient. 

If we have misgoverned here in Griinewald, are the 

126 



DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL 

people of Gerolstein to bleed and pay for our mis- 
doings ? Never, madam ; not while I live. But I 
attach so much importance to all that I have heard 
to-day for the first time — and why only to-day I do 
not even stop to ask — that I am eager to find some 
plan that I can follow with credit to myself.' 

* And should you fail ? ' she asked. 

'Should I fail, I will then meet the blow half- 
way,' replied the Prince. ' On the first open dis- 
content, I shall convoke the States, and, when it 
pleases them to bid me, abdicate.' 

Seraphina laughed angrily. ' This is the man for 
whom we have been labouring ! ' she cried. • We 
tell him of change ; he will devise the means, he 
says ; and his device is abdication ? Sir, have you 
no shame to come here at the eleventh hour among 
those who have borne the heat and burthen of the 
day? Do you not wonder at yourself? I, sir, was 
here in my place, striving to uphold your dignity 
alone. I took counsel with the wisest I could find, 
while you were eating and hunting. I have laid my 
plans with foresight ; they were ripe for action ; and 
then — ' she choked — 'then you return — for a fore- 
noon — to ruin all ! To-morrow you will be once 
more about your pleasures ; you will give us leave 
once more to think and work for you ; and again 
you will come back, and again you will thwart what 
you had not the industry or knowledge to conceive. 
O ! it is intolerable. Be modest, sir. Do not 
presume upon the rank you cannot worthily uphold. 
I would not issue my commands with so much 

127 



THE PRINCE DISSOLVES THE COUNCIL 

gusto — it is from no merit in yourself they are 

obeyed. What are you ? What have you to do 

in this grave council? Go,' she cried, 'go among 

your equals ! The very people in the streets mock 

at you for a prince.' 

; At this surprising outburst the whole council sat 

aghast. 

* Madam,' said the Baron, alarmed out of his 
caution, 'command yourself.' 

' Address yourself to me, sir ! ' cried the Prince. ' I 
will not bear these whisperings ! ' 

Seraphina burst into tears. 

'Sir,' cried the Baron, rising, 'this lady .' 

' Herr von Gondremark,' said the Prince, ' one 
more observation, and I place you under arrest.' 

'Your Highness is the master,' replied Gondre- 
mark, bowing. 

' Bear it in mind more constantly,' said Otto. 
— ' Herr Cancellarius, bring all the papers to my 
cabinet. Gentlemen, the council is dissolved.' 

And he bowed and left the apartment, followed by 
Greisengesang and the secretaries, just at the moment 
when the Princess's ladies, summoned in all haste, 
entered by another door to help her forth. 



128 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE PARTY OF WAR TAKES ACTION 

Half an hour after, Gondremark was once more 
closeted with Seraphina. 

' Where is he now ? ' she asked, on his arrival. 

* Madam, he is with the Chancellor,' replied the 
Baron. ' Wonder of wonders, he is at work ! ' 

* Ah,' she said, 'he was born to torture me! O 
what a fall, what a humiliation ! Such a scheme to 
wreck upon so small a trifle ! But now all is lost.' 

'Madam,' said Gondremark, ' nothing is lost. 
Something, on the other hand, is found. You have 
found your senses ; you see him as he is — see him as 
you see everything where your too-good heart is not 
in question — with the judicial, with the statesman's 
eye. So long as he had a right to interfere, the 
empire that may be was still distant. I have not 
entered on this course without the plain foresight of 
its dangers ; and even for this I was prepared. But, 
madam, I knew two things : I knew that you were 
born to command, that I was born to serve ; I knew 
that by a rare conjuncture the hand had found the 
9—1 129 



THE PARTY OF WAR 

tool ; and from the first I was confident, as I am 
confident to-day, that no hereditary trifler has the 
power to shatter that alliance.' 

' I, born to command ! ' she said. ' Do you forget 
my tears ? ' 

4 Madam, they were the tears of Alexander,' cried 
the Baron. ' They touched, they thrilled me ; I for- 
got myself a moment — even I ! But do you suppose 
that I had not remarked, that I had not admired, 
your previous bearing ? your great self-command ? 
Ay, that was princely ! ' He paused. ' It was a 
thing to see. I drank confidence ! I tried to imitate 
your calm. And I was well inspired ; in my heart, 
I think that I was well inspired ; that any man, 
within the reach of argument, had been convinced ! 
But it was not to be ; nor, m%dam, do I regret the 
failure. Let us be open ; let me disclose my heart. 
I have loved two things, not unworthily : Griinewald 
and my sovereign ! ' Here he kissed her hand. 
' Either I must resign my ministry, leave the land of 
my adoption and the queen whom I had chosen to 
obey — or .' He paused again. 

'Alas, Herr von Gondremark, there is no "or,"' 
said Seraphina. 

' Nay, madam, give me time,' he replied. ' When 
first I saw you, you were still young ; not every man 
would have remarked your powers ; but I had not 
been twice honoured by your conversation ere I had 
found my mistress. I have, madam, I believe, some 
genius ; and I have much ambition. But the genius 
is of the serving kind ; and to offer a career to my 
130 



TAKES ACTION 

ambition, I had to find one born to rule. This is the 
base and essence of our union ; each had need of the 
other ; each recognised, master and servant, lever 
and fulcrum, the complement of his endowment. 
Marriages, they say, are made in heaven : how much 
more these pure, laborious, intellectual fellowships, 
born to found empires ! Nor is this all. We found 
each other ripe, filled with great ideas that took 
shape and clarified with every word. We grew 
together — ay, madam, in mind we grew together like 
twin children. All of my life until we met was petty 
and groping ; was it not — I will flatter myself openly 
— it was the same with you ! Not till then had you 
those eagle surveys, that wide and hopeful sweep of 
intuition ! Thus we had formed ourselves, and we 
were ready.' 

' It is true,' she cried. ' I feel it. Yours is the 
genius ; your generosity confounds your insight ; all 
I could offer you was the position, was this throne, 
to be a fulcrum. But I offered it without reserve ; 
I entered at least warmly into all your thoughts ; you 
were sure of me — sure of my support — certain of 
justice. Tell me, tell me again, that I have helped 
you.' 

' Nay, madam,' he said, 'you made me. In every- 
thing you were my inspiration. And as we prepared 
our policy, weighing every step, how often have I had 
to admire your perspicacity, your man-like diligence 
and fortitude ! You know that these are not the words 
of flattery ; your conscience echoes them ; have you 
spared a day ? have you indulged yourself in any 

131 



THE PARTY OF WAR 

pleasure ? Young and beautiful, you have lived a life 
of high intellectual effort, of irksome intellectual 
patience with details. Well, you have your reward : 
with the fall of Brandenau the throne of your 
Empire is founded.' 

' What thought have you in your mind ? ' she 
asked. * Is not all ruined ? ' 

* Nay, my Princess, the same thought is in both 
our minds,' he said. 

' Herr von Gondremark,' she replied, ' by all that 
I hold sacred, I have none ; I do not think at all ; I 
am crushed.' 

' You are looking at the passionate side of a rich 
nature, misunderstood and recently insulted,' said the 
Baron. ' Look into your intellect, and tell me.' 

' I find nothing, nothing but tumult,' she replied. 

'You find one word branded, madam,' returned 
the Baron : ' " Abdication ! " ' 

' O ! ' she cried. ' The coward ! He leaves me to 
bear all, and in the hour of trial he stabs me from 
behind. There is nothing in him, not respect, not 
love, not courage — his wife, his dignity, his throne, 
the honour of his father, he forgets them all ! ' 

' Yes,' pursued the Baron, ' the word Abdication. 
I perceive a glimmering there.' 

' I read your fancy,' she returned. ' It is mere 
madness, midsummer madness. Baron, I am more 
unpopular than he. You know it. They can excuse, 
they can love, his weakness ; but me, they hate.' 

f Such is the gratitude of peoples,' said the Baron. 
* But we trifle. Here, madam, are my plain thoughts. 
132 



TAKES ACTION 

The man who in the hour of danger speaks of abdica- 
tion is, for me, a venomous animal. I speak with the 
bluntness of gravity, madam ; this is no hour for 
mincing. The coward, in a station of authority, is 
more dangerous than fire. We dwell on a volcano ; 
if this man can have his way, Griinewald before a 
week will have been deluged with innocent blood. 
You know the truth of what I say ; we have looked 
unblenching into this ever-possible catastrophe. To 
him it is nothing : he will abdicate ! Abdicate, just 
God ! and this unhappy country committed to his 
charge, and the lives of men and the honour of 
women . . .' His voice appeared to fail him ; in an 
instant he had conquered his emotion and resumed : 
' But you, madam, conceive more worthily of your 
responsibilities. I am with you in the thought ; and 
in the face of the horrors that I see impending, I say, 
and your heart repeats it — we have gone too far to 
pause. Honour, duty, ay, and the care of our own 
lives, demand we should proceed.' 

She was looking at him, her brow thoughtfully 
knitted. * I feel it,' she said. ' But how ? He has 
the power.' 

' The power, madam ? The power is in the army,' 
he replied ; and then hastily, ere she could intervene, 
' we have to save ourselves/ he went on ; ' I have to 
save my Princess, she has to save her minister ; we 
have both of us to save this infatuated youth from 
his own madness. He in the outbreak would be the 
earliest victim ; I see him,' he cried, ' torn in pieces ; 
and Griinewald, unhappy Griinewald ! Nay, madam, 

133 



THE PARTY OF WAR 

you who have the power must use it ; it lies hard 
upon your conscience.' 

' Show me how ! ' she cried. ' Suppose I were to 
place him under some constraint, the revolution 
would break upon us instantly.' 

The Baron feigned defeat. 'It is true,' he said. 
' You see more clearly than I do. Yet there should, 
there must be, some way.' And he waited for his 
chance. 

' No,' she said ; ' I told you from the first there is 
no remedy. Our hopes are lost : lost by one miser- 
able trifler, ignorant, fretful, fitful — who will have 
disappeared to-morrow, who knows ? to his boorish 
pleasures ! ' 

Any peg would do for Gondremark. ' The thing ! ' 
he cried, striking his brow. ■ Fool, not to have 
thought of it ! Madam, without perhaps knowing it, 
you have solved our problem.' 

* What do you mean ? Speak ! ' she said. 

He appeared to collect himself ; and then, with a 
smile, ' The Prince,' he said, ' must go once more 
a-hunting.' 

' Ay, if he would ! ' cried she, ' and stay there ! ' 

' And stay there,' echoed the Baron. It was so 
significantly said, that her face changed ; and the 
schemer, fearful of the sinister ambiguity of his ex- 
pressions, hastened to explain. ' This time he shall 
go hunting in a carriage, with a good escort of our 
foreign lancers. His destination shall be the Felsen- 
burg ; it is healthy, the rock is high, the windows are 
small and barred ; it might have been built on pur- 
134 



TAKES ACTION 

pose. We shall intrust the captaincy to the Scots- 
man Gordon ; he at least will have no scruple. Who 
will miss the sovereign ? He is gone hunting ; he 
came home on Tuesday, on Thursday he returned ; 
all is usual in that. Meanwhile the war proceeds ; 
our Prince will soon weary of his solitude ; and 
about the time of our triumph, or, if he prove very 
obstinate, a little later, he shall be released upon a 
proper understanding, and I see him once more 
directing his theatricals.' 

Seraphina sat gloomy, plunged in thought. i Yes,' 
she said suddenly, * and the despatch ? He is now 
writing it.' 

' It cannot pass the council before Friday,' re- 
plied Gondremark ; * and as for any private note, 
the messengers are all at my disposal. They are 
picked men, madam. I am a person of precau- 
tion.' 

' It would appear so,' she said, with a flash of her 
occasional repugnance to the man ; and then after a 
pause, ' Herr von Gondremark,' she added, ' I recoil 
from this extremity.' 

' I share your Highness's repugnance,' answered 
he. ' But what would you have ? We are defence- 
less else.' 

' I see it, but this is sudden. It is a public crime,' 
she said, nodding at him with a sort of horror. 

' Look but a little deeper,' he returned, ' and whose 
is the crime ? ' 

' His ! ' she cried. ' His, before God ! And I hold 
him liable. But still ' 

135 



THE PARTY OF WAR 

' It is not as if he would be harmed/ submitted 
Gondremark. 

' I know it,' she replied, but it was still unheartily. 

And then, as brave men are entitled, by prescrip- 
tive right as old as the world's history, to the alliance 
and the active help of Fortune, the punctual goddess 
stepped down from the machine. One of the Prin- 
cess's ladies begged to enter ; a man, it appeared, had 
brought a line for the Freiherr von Gondremark. It 
proved to be a pencil billet, which the crafty Greisen- 
gesang had found the means to scribble and despatch 
under the very guns of Otto ; and the daring of the 
act bore testimony to the terror of the actor. For 
Greisengesang had but one influential motive : fear. 
The note ran thus : ' At the first council, procuration 
to be withdrawn. — Corn. Greis.' 

So, after three years of exercise, the right of 
signature was to be stript from Seraphina. It was 
more than an insult ; it was a public disgrace ; and 
she did not pause to consider how she had earned it, 
but morally bounded under the attack as bounds the 
wounded tiger. 

' Enough,' she said ; ' I will sign the order. When 
shall he leave ? ' 

* It will take me twelve hours to collect my men, 
and it had best be done at night. To-morrow mid- 
night, if you please ? ' answered the Baron. 

* Excellent,' she said. ' My door is always open to 
you, Baron. As soon as the order is prepared, bring 
it me to sign.' 

' Madam,' he said, ' alone of all of us you do not 
136 



TAKES ACTION 

risk your head in this adventure. For that reason, 
and to prevent all hesitation, I venture to propose 
the order should be in your hand throughout.' 

* You are right,' she replied. 

He laid a form before her, and she wrote the order 
in a clear hand, and re-read it. Suddenly a cruel 
smile came on her face. ' I had forgotten his puppet,' 
said she. ' They will keep each other company. ' 
And she interlined and initialed the condemnation 
of Doctor Gotthold. 

'Your Highness has more memory than your 
servant,' said the Baron ; and then he, in his turn, 
carefully perused the fateful paper. * Good ! ' 
said he. 

' You will appear in the drawing-room, Baron ? ' 
she asked. 

' I thought it better/ said he, ' to avoid the possi- 
bility of a public affront. Anything that shook my 
credit might hamper us in the immediate future.' 

' You are right,' she said ; and she held out her 
hand as to an old friend and equal. 



137 



CHAPTER IX 

THE PRICE OF THE RIVER FARM ; IN WHICH VAIN- 
GLORY GOES BEFORE A FALL 

The pistol had been practically fired. Under ordi- 
nary circumstances the scene at the council table 
would have entirely exhausted Otto's store both of 
energy and anger ; he would have begun to examine 
and condemn his conduct, have remembered all that 
was true, forgotten all that was unjust in Seraphina's 
onslaught ; and by half an hour after would have 
fallen into that state of mind in which a Catholic 
flees to the confessional and a sot takes refuge with 
the bottle. Two matters of detail preserved his 
spirits. For, first, he had still an infinity of business 
to transact ; and to transact business, for a man of 
Otto's neglectful and procrastinating habits, is the 
best anodyne for conscience. All afternoon he was 
hard at it with the Chancellor, reading, dictating, 
signing, and despatching papers ; and this kept him 
in a glow of self-approval. But, secondly, his vanity 
was still alarmed ; he had failed to get the money ; 
to-morrow before noon he would have to disappoint 
138 



VAINGLORY GOES BEFORE A FALL 

old Killian ; and in the eyes of that family which 
counted him so little, and to which he had sought 
to play the part of the heroic comforter, he must 
sink lower than at first. To a man of Otto's temper, 
this was death. He could not accept the situation. 
And even as he worked, and worked wisely and 
well, over the hated details of his principality, he was 
secretly maturing a plan by which to turn the situa- 
tion. It was a scheme as pleasing to the man as it 
was dishonourable in the prince; in which his frivolous 
nature found and took vengeance for the gravity and 
burthen of the afternoon. He chuckled as he 
thought of it : and Greisengesang heard him with 
wonder, and attributed his lively spirits to the 
skirmish of the morning. 

Led by this idea, the antique courtier ventured to 
compliment his sovereign on his bearing. It reminded 
him, he said, of Otto's father. 

' What ? ' asked the Prince, whose thoughts were 
miles away. 

* Your Highness's authority at the board,' explained 
the flatterer. 

' O, that ! O yes,' returned Otto ; but for all his 
carelessness, his vanity was delicately tickled, and his 
mind returned and dwelt approvingly over the details 
of his victory. ' I quelled them all,' he thought. 

When the more pressing matters had been dis- 
missed, it was already late, and Otto kept the 
Chancellor to dinner, and was entertained with a 
leash of ancient histories and modern compliments. 
The Chancellor's career had been based, from the first 

139 



IN WHICH VAINGLORY 

off-put, on entire subserviency ; he had crawled into 
honours and employments ; and his mind was prosti- 
tute. The instinct of the creature served him well 
with Otto. First, he let fall a sneering word or two 
upon the female intellect ; thence he proceeded to a 
closer engagement ; and before the third course he 
was artfully dissecting Seraphina's character to her 
approving husband. Of course no names were used ; 
and of course the identity of that abstract or ideal 
man, with whom she was currently contrasted, 
remained an open secret. But this stiff old gentle- 
man had a wonderful instinct for evil, thus to wind 
his way into man's citadel ; thus to harp by the hour 
on the virtues of his hearer and not once alarm his 
self-respect. Otto was all roseate, in and out, with 
flattery and Tokay and an approving conscience. He 
saw himself in the most attractive colours. If even 
Greisengesang, he thought, could thus espy the loose 
stitches in Seraphina's character, and thus disloyally 
impart them to the opposite camp, he, the discarded 
husband — the dispossessed Prince — could scarce have 
erred on the side of severity. 

In this excellent frame he bade adieu to the old 
gentleman, whose voice had proved so musical, and 
set forth for the drawing-room. Already on the stair, 
he was seized with some compunction ; but when he 
entered the great gallery and beheld his wife, the 
Chancellor's abstract flatteries fell from him like rain, 
and he re-awoke to the poetic facts of life. She stood 
a good way off below a shining lustre, her back 
turned. The bend of her waist overcame him with 
140 



GOES BEFORE A FALL 

physical weakness. This was the girl-wife who had 
lain in his arms and whom he had sworn to cherish ; 
there was she, who was better than success. 

It was Seraphina who restored him from the blow. 
She swam forward and smiled upon her husband with 
a sweetness that was insultingly artificial. ' Frederic,' 
she lisped, ' you are late/ It was a scene of high 
comedy, such as is proper to unhappy marriages ; and 
her aplomb disgusted him. 

There was no etiquette at these small drawing- 
rooms. People came and went at pleasure. The 
window embrasures became the roost of happy 
couples ; at the great chimney the talkers mostly 
congregated, each full-charged with scandal ; and 
down at the farther end the gamblers gambled. It 
was towards this point that Otto moved, not osten- 
tatiously, but with a gentle insistence, and scattering 
attentions as he went. Once abreast of the card-table, 
he placed himself opposite to Madame von Rosen, 
and, as soon as he had caught her eye, withdrew to 
the embrasure of a window. There she had speedily 
joined him. 

' You did well to call me,' she said, a little wildly. 
' These cards will be my ruin. ' 

' Leave them,' said Otto. 

' I ! ' she cried, and laughed ; ' they are my destiny. 
My only chance was to die of consumption ; now I 
must die in a garret.' 

1 You are bitter to-night,' said Otto. 

'I have been losing,' she replied. 'You do not 
know what greed is.' 

141 



IN WHICH VAINGLORY 

'I have come, then, in an evil hour,' said he. 

' Ah, you wish a favour ! ' she cried, brightening 
beautifully. 

' Madam,' said he, ' I am about to found my party, 
and I come to you for a recruit.' 

' Done,' said the Countess. ' I am a man again.' 

' I may be wrong,' continued Otto, ' but I believe 
upon my heart you wish me no ill.' 

' I wish you so well,' she said, 'that I dare not tell 
it you.' 

* Then if I ask my favour ? ' quoth the Prince. 

' Ask it, mon Prince? she answered. ' Whatever 
it is, it is granted.' 

'I wish you,' he returned, 'this very night to 
make the farmer of our talk.' 

6 Heaven knows your meaning ! ' she exclaimed. 
' I know not, neither care ; there are no bounds to 
my desire to please you. Call him made.' 

' I will put it in another way,' returned Otto. 
1 Did you ever steal ? ' 

' Often ! ' cried the Countess. ' I have broken all 
the ten commandments ; and if there were more 
to-morrow I should not sleep till I had broken 
these.' 

'This is a case of burglary: to say the truth, I 
thought it would amuse you,' said the Prince. 

6 1 have no practical experience,' she replied, ' but 
O ! the good-will ! I have broken a work-box in 
my time, and several hearts, my own included. 
Never a house ! But it cannot be difficult; sins are 
so unromantically easy ! What are we to break ? ' 
142 



GOES BEFORE A FALL 

' Madam, we are to break the treasury,' said Otto ; 
and he sketched to her briefly, wittily, with here and 
there a touch of pathos, the story of his visit to the 
farm, of his promise to buy it, and of the refusal 
with which his demand for money had been met 
that morning at the council ; concluding with a few 
practical words as to the treasury windows, and the 
helps and hindrances of the proposed exploit. 

* They refused you the money,' she said when he 
had done. ' And you accepted the refusal ? Well ! ' 

' They gave their reasons,' replied Otto, colouring. 
' They were not such as I could combat ; and I am 
driven to dilapidate the funds of my own country by 
a theft. It is not dignified ; but it is fun.' 

'Fun,' she said; 'yes.' And then she remained 
silently plunged in thought for an appreciable time. 
' How much do you require ? ' she asked at length. 

'Three thousand crowns will do,' he answered, 
'for I have still some money of my own.' 

' Excellent,' she said, regaining her levity. • I am 
your true accomplice. And where are we to meet ? ' 

'You know the Flying Mercury,' he answered, 
'in the Park? Three pathways intersect; there 
they have made a seat and raised the statue. The 
spot is handy and the deity congenial.' 

' Child,' she said, and tapped him with her fan. 
' But do you know, my Prince, you are an egoist — 
your handy trysting-place is miles from me. You 
must give me ample time ; I cannot, I think, pos- 
sibly be there before two. But as the bell beats 
two, your helper shall arrive : welcome, I trust. 

H3 



IN WHICH VAINGLORY 

Stay — do you bring any one ? ' she added. ' O, it is 
not for a chaperon — I am not a prude ! ' 

' I shall bring a groom of mine,' said Otto. ' I 
caught him stealing corn.' 

' His name ? ' she asked. 

'I profess I know not. I am not yet intimate 
with my corn-stealer,' returned the Prince. ' It was 
in a professional capacity ' 

'Like me! Flatterer!' she cried. 'But oblige 
me in one thing. Let me find you waiting at the 
seat — yes, you shall await me ; for on this expedi- 
tion it shall be no longer Prince and Countess, it 
shall be the lady and the squire — and your friend 
the thief shall be no nearer than the fountain. Do 
you promise ? ' 

' Madam, in everything you are to command ; you 
shall be captain, I am but supercargo,' answered 
Otto. 

' Well, Heaven bring all safe to port ! ' she said. 
' It is not Friday ! ' 

Something in her manner had puzzled Otto, had 
possibly touched him with suspicion. 

'Is it not strange,' he remarked, 'that I should 
choose my accomplice from the other camp ? ' 

' Fool ! ' she said. ' But it is your only wisdom 
that you know your friends. ' And suddenly, in the 
vantage of the deep window, she caught up his hand 
and kissed it with a sort of passion. ' Now go,' she 
added, ' go at once.' 

He went, somewhat staggered, doubting in his 
heart that he was over-bold. For in that moment 
144 



GOES BEFORE A FALL 

she had flashed upon him like a jewel ; and even 
through the strong panoply of a previous love he 
had been conscious of a shock. Next moment he 
had dismissed the fear. 

Both Otto and the Countess retired early from 
the drawing-room ; and the Prince, after an elaborate 
feint, dismissed his valet and went forth by the 
private passage and the back postern in quest of 
the groom. 

Once more the stable was in darkness, once more 
Otto employed the talismanic knock, and once more 
the groom appeared and sickened with terror. 

' Good-evening, friend,' said Otto pleasantly. ' I 
want you to bring a corn sack — empty this time 
— and to accompany me. We shall be gone all 
night.' 

' Your Highness,' groaned the man, ' I have the 
charge of the small stables. I am here alone.' 

' Come,' said the Prince, * you are no such martinet 
in duty.' And then seeing that the man was 
shaking from head to foot, Otto laid a hand upon 
his shoulder. ' If I meant you harm,' he said, 
' should I be here ? ' 

The fellow became instantly reassured. He got 
the sack ; and Otto led him round by several paths 
and avenues, conversing pleasantly by the way, and 
left him at last planted by a certain fountain where 
a goggle-eyed Triton spouted intermittently into a 
rippling laver. Thence he proceeded alone to where, 
in a round clearing, a copy of Gian Bologna's 
Mercury stood tiptoe in the twilight of the stars. 
9-k 145 



IN WHICH VAINGLORY 

The night was warm and windless. A shaving of 
new moon had lately arisen ; but it was still too 
small and too low down in heaven to contend with 
the immense host of lesser luminaries ; and the 
rough face of the earth was drenched with starlight. 
Down one of the alleys, which widened as it re- 
ceded, he could see a part of the lamplit terrace 
where a sentry silently paced, and beyond that a 
corner of the town with interlacing street-lights. 
But all around him the young trees stood mystically 
blurred in the dim shine ; and in the stock-still quiet- 
ness the up-leaping god appeared alive. 

In this dimness and silence of the night, Otto's 
conscience became suddenly and staringly luminous, 
like the dial of a city clock. He averted the eyes 
of his mind, but the ringer, rapidly travelling, pointed 
to a series of misdeeds that took his breath away. 
What was he doing in that place ? The money had 
been wrongly squandered, but that was largely by 
his own neglect. And he now proposed to em- 
barrass the finances of this country which he had 
been too idle to govern. And he now proposed to 
squander the money once again, and this time for a 
private, if a generous end. And the man whom he 
had reproved for stealing corn he was now to set 
stealing treasure. And then there was Madame 
von Rosen, upon whom he looked down with some 
of that ill-favoured contempt of the chaste male for 
the imperfect woman. Because he thought of her 
as one degraded below scruples, he had picked her 
out to be still more degraded, and to risk her whole 
146 



GOES BEFORE A FALL 

irregular establishment in life by complicity in this 
dishonourable act. It was uglier than a seduc- 
tion. 

Otto had to walk very briskly and whistle very 
busily ; and when at last he heard steps in the 
narrowest and darkest of the alleys, it was with a 
gush of relief that he sprang to meet the Countess. 
To wrestle alone with one's good angel is so hard ! 
and so precious, at the proper time, is a companion 
certain to be less virtuous than oneself! 

It was a young man who came towards him — a 
young man of small stature and a peculiar gait, wear- 
ing a wide flapping hat, and carrying, with great 
weariness, a heavy bag. Otto recoiled ; but the 
young man held up his hand by way of signal, and 
coming up with a panting run, as if with the last of 
his endurance, laid the bag upon the ground, threw 
himself upon the bench, and disclosed the features 
of Madame von Rosen. 

' You, Countess ! ' cried the Prince. 

'No, no,' she panted, 'the Count von Rosen — 
my young brother. A capital fellow. Let him get 
his breath.' 

'Ah, madam . . .' said he. 

' Call me Count,' she returned, ' respect my in- 
cognito.' 

' Count be it, then,' he replied. ' And let me 
implore that gallant gentleman to set forth at once 
on our enterprise.' 

' Sit down beside me here,' she returned, patting 
the farther corner of the bench. ' I will follow you 

147 



IN WHICH VAINGLORY 

in a moment. O, I am so tired — feel how my 
heart leaps ! Where is your thief ? ' 

'At his post,' replied Otto. 'Shall I introduce 
him ? He seems an excellent companion.' 

' No,' she said, ' do not hurry me yet. I must 
speak to you. Not but I adore your thief ; I adore 
any one who has the spirit to do wrong. I never 
cared for virtue till I fell in love with my Prince.' 
She laughed musically. ' And even so, it is not for 
your virtues,' she added. 

Otto was embarrassed. ' And now,' he asked, ' if 
you are anyway rested ? ' 

' Presently, presently. Let me breathe,' she said, 
panting a little harder than before. 

' And what has so wearied you ? ' he asked. ' This 
bag ? And why, in the name of eccentricity, a bag ? 
For an empty one, you might have relied on my 
own foresight ; and this one is very far from being 
empty. My dear Count, with what trash have you 
come laden ? But the shortest method is to see for 
myself.' And he put down his hand. 

She stopped him at once. ' Otto,' she said, ' no 
— not that way. I will tell, I will make a clean 
breast. It is done already. I have robbed the 
treasury single-handed. There are three thousand 
two hundred crowns. O, I trust it is enough ! ' 

Her embarrassment was so obvious that the Prince 
was struck into a muse, gazing in her face, with his 
hand still outstretched, and she still holding him by 
the wrist. ' You ! ' he said at last. ' How ? ' And 
then drawing himself up, ' O, madam,' he cried, 
148 



GOES BEFORE A FALL 

' I understand. You must indeed think meanly of 
the Prince.' 

* Well then, it was a lie ! ' she cried. ' The 
money is mine, honestly my own — now yours. 
This was an unworthy act that you proposed. 
But I love your honour, and I swore to myself 
that I should save it in your teeth. I beg of 
you to let me save it ' — with a sudden lovely 
change of tone. ' Otto, I beseech you let me 
save it. Take this dross from your poor friend 
who loves you ! ' 

'Madam, madanV babbled Otto, in the extreme 
of misery, 'I cannot — I must go.' 

And he half rose ; but she was on the ground 
before him in an instant, clasping his knees. 'No,' 
she gasped, ' you shall not go. Do you despise me 
so entirely ? It is dross ; I hate it ; I should 
squander it at play and be no richer ; it is an in- 
vestment ; it is to save me from ruin. Otto,' she 
cried, as he again feebly tried to put her from him, 
'if you leave me alone in this disgrace I will die 
here ! ' He groaned aloud. ' O,' she said, ' think 
what I suffer ! If you suffer from a piece of de- 
licacy, think what I suffer in my shame ! To have 
my trash refused ! You would rather steal, you 
think of me so basely ! You would rather tread my 
heart in pieces ! O, unkind ! O my Prince ! O 
Otto ! O pity me ! ' She was still clasping him ; 
then she found his hand and covered it with kisses, 
and at this his head began to turn. ' O,' she cried 
again, ' I see it ! O what a horror ! It is because 

149 



IN WHICH VAINGLORY 

I am old, because I am no longer beautiful.' And 
she burst into a storm of sobs. 

This was the coup de grace. Otto had now to 
comfort and compose her as he could, and before 
many words, the money was accepted. Between 
the woman and the weak man such was the inevit- 
able end. Madame von Rosen instantly composed 
her sobs. She thanked him with a fluttering voice, 
and resumed her place upon the bench at the far 
end from Otto. ' Now you see,' she said, ' why I 
bade you keep the thief at distance, and why I came 
alone. How I trembled for my treasure ! ' 

6 Madam,' said Otto, with a tearful whimper in his 
voice, ' spare me ! You are too good, too noble ! ' 

' I wonder to hear you,' she returned. ' You have 
avoided a great folly. You will be able to meet 
your good old peasant. You have found an excel- 
lent investment for a friend's money. You have 
preferred essential kindness to an empty scruple ; 
and now you are ashamed of it ! You have made 
your friend happy ; and now you mourn as the dove ! 
Come, cheer up. I know it is depressing to have 
done exactly right ; but you need not make a 
practice of it. Forgive yourself this virtue ; come 
now, look me in the face and smile ! ' 

He did look at her. When a man has been em- 
braced by a woman, he sees her in a glamour ; and 
at such a time, in the baffling glimmer of the stars, 
she will look wildly well. The hair is touched with 
light ; the eyes are constellations ; the face sketched 
in shadows — a sketch, you might say, by passion. 

150 



GOES BEFORE A FALL 

Otto became consoled for his defeat ; he began to 
take an interest. ' No/ he said, ' I am no ingrate.' 

' You promised me fun,' she returned, with a laugh. 
' I have given you as good. We have had a stormy 
scena.' 

He laughed in his turn, and the sound of the 
laughter, in either case, was hardly reassuring. 

' Come, what are you going to give me in ex- 
change,' she continued, 'for my excellent declama- 
tion ? ' 

* What you will,' he said. 

' Whatever I will ? Upon your honour ? Suppose 
I asked the crown ? ' She was flashing upon him, 
beautiful in triumph. 

' Upon my honour,' he replied. 

' Shall I ask the crown ? ' she continued. ' Nay ; 
what should I do with it ? Grunewald is but a petty 
state ; my ambition swells above it. I shall ask — I 
find I want nothing,' she concluded. ' I will give 
you something instead. I will give you leave to 
kiss me — once.' 

Otto drew near, and she put up her face ; they 
were both smiling, both on the brink of laughter, 
all was so innocent and playful ; and the Prince, 
when their lips encountered, was dumfoundered by 
the sudden convulsion of his being. Both drew 
instantly apart, and for an appreciable time sat 
tongue-tied. Otto was indistinctly conscious of a 
peril in the silence, but could find no words to utter. 
Suddenly the Countess seemed to awake. ' As for 

your wife ' she began in a clear and steady voice. 

151 



VAINGLORY GOES BEFORE A FALL 

The word recalled Otto, with a shudder, from his 
trance. ' I will hear nothing against my wife,' he 
cried wildly ; and then, recovering himself and in a 
kindlier tone, ' I will tell you my one secret,' he 
added. ' I love my wife.' 

'You should have let me finish,' she returned, 
smiling. 'Do you suppose I did not mention her 
on purpose? You know you had lost your head. 
Well, so had I. Come now, do not be abashed by 
words,' she added somewhat sharply. ' It is the one 
thing I despise. If you are not a fool, you will see 
that I am building fortresses about your virtue. 
And at any rate, I choose that you shall understand 
that I am not dying of love for you. It is a very 
smiling business ; no tragedy for me ! And now 
here is what I have to say about your wife : she is 
not and she never has been Gondrem ark's mistress. 
Be sure he would have boasted if she had. Good- 
night ! ' 

And in a moment she was gone down the alley, 
and Otto was alone with the bag of money and the 
flying god. 



152 



CHAPTER X 

gotthold's revised opinion ; AND the fall 

COMPLETED 

The Countess left poor Otto with a caress and 
buffet simultaneously administered. The welcome 
word about his wife and the virtuous ending of his 
interview should doubtless have delighted him. But 
for all that, as he shouldered the bag of money and 
set forward to rejoin his groom, he was conscious of 
many aching sensibilities. To have gone wrong and 
to have been set right makes but a double trial for 
man's vanity. The discovery of his own weakness 
and possible unfaith had staggered him to the heart ; 
and to hear, in the same hour, of his wife's fidelity 
from one who loved her not, increased the bitterness 
of the surprise. 

He was about halfway between the fountain and 
the Flying Mercury before his thoughts began to be 
clear ; and he was surprised to find them resentful. 
He paused in a kind of temper, and struck with his 
hand a little shrub. Thence there arose instantly a 
cloud of awakened sparrows, which as instantly dis- 

153 



THE FALL COMPLETED 

persed and disappeared into the thicket. He looked 
at them stupidly, and when they were gone con- 
tinued staring at the stars. ' I am angry. By what 
right ? By none ! ' he thought ; but he was still 
angry. He cursed Madame von Rosen and instantly 
repented. Heavy was the money on his shoulders. 

When he reached the fountain, he did, out of 
ill-humour and parade, an unpardonable act. He 
gave the money bodily to the dishonest groom. 
' Keep this for me,' he said, ' until I call for it 
to-morrow. It is a great sum, and by that you will 
judge that I have not condemned you.' And he 
strode away ruffling, as if he had done something 
generous. It was a desperate stroke to re-enter at 
the point of the bayonet into his self-esteem ; and, 
like all such, it was fruitless in the end. He got to 
bed with the devil, it appeared : kicked and tumbled 
till the grey of the morning ; and then fell inoppor- 
tunely into a leaden slumber, and awoke to find it 
ten. To miss the appointment with old Killian 
after all, had been too tragic a miscarriage : and he 
hurried with all his might, found the groom (for a 
wonder) faithful to his trust, and arrived only a few 
minutes before noon in the guest-chamber of the 
Morning Star. Killian was there in his Sunday's 
best and looking very gaunt and rigid ; a lawyer 
from Brandenau stood sentinel over his outspread 
papers ; and the groom and the landlord of the inn 
were called to serve as witnesses. The obvious 
deference of that great man, the innkeeper, plainly 
affected the old farmer with surprise ; but it was not 
154 



THE FALL COMPLETED 

until Otto had taken the pen and signed that the 
truth flashed upon him fully. Then, indeed, he was 
beside himself. 

* His Highness ! ' he cried, ' His Highness ! ' and 
repeated the exclamation till his mind had grappled 
fairly with the facts. Then he turned to the wit- 
nesses. ' Gentlemen,' he said, ' you dwell in a country 
highly favoured by God ; for of all generous gentle- 
men, I will say it on my conscience, this one is the 
king. I am an old man, and I have seen good and 
bad, and the year of the great famine ; but a more 
excellent gentleman, no, never.' 

'We know that,' cried the landlord, 'we know 
that well in Griinewald. If we saw more of his High- 
ness we should be the better pleased.' 

' It is the kindest Prince,' began the groom, and 
suddenly closed his mouth upon a sob, so that every 
one turned to gaze upon his emotion — Otto not 
last ; Otto struck with remorse, to see the man so 
grateful. 

Then it was the lawyer's turn to pay a compliment. 
' I do not know what Providence may hold in store,' 
he said, ' but this day should be a bright one in the 
annals of your reign. The shouts of armies could 
not be more eloquent than the emotion on these 
honest faces.' And the Brandenau lawyer bowed, 
skipped, stepped back and took snuff, with the air of 
a man who has found and seized an opportunity. 

'Well, young gentleman,' said Killian, 'if you will 
pardon me the plainness of calling you a gentleman, 
many a good day's work you have done, I doubt not, 

155 



THE FALL COMPLETED 

but never a better, or one that will be better blessed ; 
and whatever, sir, may be your happiness and triumph 
in that high sphere to which you have been called, it 
will be none the worse, sir, for an old man's blessing!' 

The scene had almost assumed the proportions of 
an ovation ; and when the Prince escaped he had but 
one thought : to go wherever he was most sure of 
praise. His conduct at the board of council occurred 
to him as a fair chapter; and this evoked the 
memory of Gotthold. To Gotthold he would go. 

Gotthold was in the library as usual, and laid 
down his pen, a little angrily, on Otto's entrance. 
'Well,' he said, 'here you are.' 

'Well,' returned Otto, 'we made a revolution, I 
believe.' 

' It is what I fear,' returned the Doctor. 

'How?' said Otto. 'Fear? Fear is the burnt 
child. I have learned my strength and the weakness 
of the others ; and I now mean to govern.' 

Gotthold said nothing, but he looked down and 
smoothed his chin. 

' You disapprove ? ' cried Otto. ' You are a 
weathercock.' 

'On the contrary,' replied the Doctor; 'my ob- 
servation has confirmed my fears. It will not do, 
Otto, not do.' 

' What will not do ? ' demanded the Prince, with 
a sickening stab of pain. 

'None of it,' answered Gotthold. 'You are 
unfitted for a life of action ; you lack the stamina, 
the habit, the restraint, the patience. Your wife is 
156 



THE FALL COMPLETED 

greatly better, vastly better ; and though she is in 
bad hands, displays a very different aptitude. She 
is a woman of affairs ; you are — dear boy, you are 
yourself. I bid you back to your amusements ; like 
a smiling dominie, I give you holidays for life. 
Yes,' he continued, 'there is a day appointed for all 
when they shall turn again upon their own philosophy. 
I had grown to disbelieve impartially in all ; and if 
in the atlas of the sciences there were two charts I 
disbelieved in more than all the rest, they were 
politics and morals. I had a sneaking kindness for 
your vices ; as they were negative, they flattered my 
philosophy ; and I called them almost virtues. Well, 
Otto, I was wrong ; I have forsworn my sceptical 
philosophy, and I perceive your faults to be unpar- 
donable. You are unfit to be a Prince, unfit to be 
a husband. And I give you my word, I would 
rather see a man capably doing evil than blundering 
about good.' 

Otto was still silent, in extreme dudgeon. 

Presently the Doctor resumed : ' I will take the 
smaller matter first : your conduct to your wife. 
You went, I hear, and had an explanation. That 
may have been right or wrong ; I know not ; at 
least, you had stirred her temper. At the council 
she insults you ; well, you insult her back — a man 
to a woman, a husband to his wife, in public ! Next 
upon the back of this, you propose — the story runs 
like wildfire — to recall the power of signature. Can 
she ever forgive that ? a woman — a young woman 
— ambitious, conscious of talents beyond yours ? 

157 



THE FALL COMPLETED 

Never, Otto. And to sum all, at such a crisis in 
your married life, you get into a window corner 
with that ogling dame von Rosen. I do not dream 
that there was any harm ; but I do say it was an 
idle disrespect to your wife. Why, man, the woman 
is not decent' 

* Gotthold,' said Otto, ' I will hear no evil of the 
Countess.' 

' You will certainly hear no good of her,' returned 
Gotthold ; ' and if you wish your wife to be the 
pink of nicety, you should clear your court of demi- 
reputations. ' 

' The commonplace injustice of a by- word,' Otto 
cried. ' The partiality of sex. She is a demirep ; 
what then is Gondremark ? Were she a man ' 

' It would be all one,' retorted Gotthold roughly. 
■ When I see a man, come to years of wisdom, who 
speaks in double-meanings and is the braggart of his 
vices, I spit on the other side. " You, my friend," 
say I, " are not even a gentleman." Well, she 's 
not even a lady.' 

' She is the best friend I have, and I choose that 
she shall be respected,' Otto said. 

' If she is your friend, so much the worse,' replied 
the Doctor. ' It will not stop there.' 

' Ah ! ' cried Otto, ' there is the charity of virtue ! 
All evil in the spotted fruit. But I can tell you, sir, 
that you do Madame von Rosen prodigal injustice.' 

' You can tell me ! ' said the Doctor shrewdly. 
'Have you tried ? have you been riding the marches?' 

The blood came into Otto's face. 
158 



THE FALL COMPLETED 

'■ Ah ! ' cried Gotthold, ' look at your wife and 
blush ! There 's a wife for a man to marry and then 
lose ! She 's a carnation, Otto. The soul is in her 
eyes.' 

'You have changed your note for Seraphina, I 
perceive,' said Otto. 

' Changed it ! ' cried the Doctor, with a flush. 
' Why, when was it different ? But I own I admired 
her at the council. When she sat there silent, 
tapping with her foot, I admired her as I might a 
hurricane. Were I one of those who venture upon 
matrimony, there had been the prize to tempt me ! 
She invites, as Mexico invited Cortez; the enter- 
prise is hard, the natives are unfriendly — I believe 
them cruel too — but the metropolis is paved with 
gold and the breeze blows out of paradise. Yes, I 
could desire to be that conqueror. But to philander 
with von Rosen ; never ! Senses ? I discard them ; 
what are they ? — pruritus ! Curiosity ? Reach me 
my Anatomy ! ' 

'To whom do you address yourself?' cried Otto. 
' Surely you, of all men, know that I love my wife ! ' 

' O, love ! ' cried Gotthold ; ' love is a great word ; 
it is in all the dictionaries. If you had loved, she 
would have paid you back. What does she ask ? 
A little ardour ! ' 

' It is hard to love for two,' replied the Prince. 

' Hard ? Why, there 's the touchstone ! O, I 
know my poets ! ' cried the Doctor. ' We are but 
dust and fire, too arid to endure life's scorching ; and 
love, like the shadow of a great rock, should lend 

159 



THE FALL COMPLETED 

shelter and refreshment, not to the lover only, but 
to his mistress and to the children that reward them ; 
and their very friends should seek repose in the 
fringes of that peace. Love is not love that cannot 
build a home. And you call it love to grudge and 
quarrel and pick faults ? You call it love to thwart 
her to her face, and bandy insults ? Love ! ' 

' Gotthold, you are unjust. I was then fighting 
for my country,' said the Prince. 

' Ay, and there 's the worst of all,' returned the 
Doctor. 'You could not even see that you were 
wrong; that, being where they were, retreat was 
ruin.' 

' Why, you supported me ! ' cried Otto. 

' I did. I was a fool like you,' replied Gotthold. 
' But now my eyes are open. If you go on as you 
have started, disgrace this fellow Gondremark, and 
publish the scandal of your divided house, there will 
befall a most abominable thing in Griinewald. A 
revolution, friend — a revolution.' 

' You speak strangely for a red,' said Otto. 

'A red republican, but not a revolutionary,' re- 
turned the Doctor. 'An ugly thing is a Griine- 
walder drunk ! One man alone can save the country 
from this pass, and that is the double-dealer Gondre- 
mark, with whom I conjure you to make peace. It 
will not be you ; it never can be you : — you, who 
can do nothing, as your wife said, but trade upon 
your station — you, who spent the hours in begging 
money ! And in God's name, what for ? Why 
money ? What mystery of idiocy was this ? ' 
1 60 



THE FALL COMPLETED 

'It was to no ill end. It was to buy a farm,' 
quoth Otto sulkily. 

' To buy a farm ! ' cried Gotthold. ' Buy a farm ! ' 

'Well, what then?' returned Otto. 'I have 
bought it, if you come to that. ' 

Gotthold fairly bounded on his seat. ' And how 
that ? ' he cried. 

' How ? ' repeated Otto, startled. 

' Ay, verily, how ! ' returned the Doctor. ' How 
came you by the money ? ' 

The Prince's countenance darkened. ' That is my 
affair,' said he. 

'You see you are ashamed,' retorted Gotthold. 
'And so you bought a farm in the hour of your 
country's need — doubtless to be ready for the abdi- 
cation ; and I put it that you stole the funds. 
There are not three ways of getting money : there 
are but two : to earn and steal. And now, when 
you have combined Charles the Fifth and Long- 
fingered Tom, you come to me to fortify your 
vanity ! But I will clear my mind upon this matter : 
until I know the right and wrong of the transaction 
I put my hand behind my back. A man may be 
the pitifullest prince ; he must be a spotless gentle- 
man.' 

The Prince had gotten to his feet, as pale as 
paper. ' Gotthold,' he said, ' you drive me beyond 
bounds. Beware, sir, beware ! ' 

' Do you threaten me, friend Otto ? ' asked the 
Doctor grimly. ' That would be a strange con- 
clusion.' 

9— l 161 



THE FALL COMPLETED 

'When have you ever known me use my power 
in any private animosity ? ' cried Otto. ' To any 
private man your words were an unpardonable 
insult, but at me you shoot in full security, and 
I must turn aside to compliment you on your plain- 
ness. I must do more than pardon, I must admire, 
because you have faced this — this formidable mon- 
arch, like a Nathan before David. You have up- 
rooted an old kindness, sir, with an unsparing hand. 
You leave me very bare. My last bond is broken ; 
and though I take Heaven to witness that I sought 
to do the right, I have this reward : to find myself 
alone. You say I am no gentleman ; yet the sneers 
have been upon your side ; and though I can very 
well perceive where you have lodged your sym- 
pathies, I will forbear the taunt.' 

' Otto, are you insane ? ' cried Gotthold, leaping 
up. * Because I ask you how you came by certain 
moneys, and because you refuse ' 

'Herr von Hohenstockwitz, I have ceased to 
invite your aid in my affairs,' said Otto. ' I have 
heard all that I desire, and you have sufficiently 
trampled on my vanity. It may be that I cannot 
govern, it may be that I cannot love — you tell me 
so with every mark of honesty ; but God has granted 
me one virtue, and I can still forgive. I forgive 
you ; even in this hour of passion I can perceive 
my faults and your excuses ; and if I desire that in 
future I may be spared your conversation, it is not, 
sir, from resentment — not resentment — but, by 
Heaven, because no man on earth could endure to 
162 



THE FALL COMPLETED 

be so rated. You have the satisfaction to see your 
sovereign weep ; and that person whom you have 
so often taunted with his happiness reduced to the 
last pitch of solitude and misery. No, — I will hear 
nothing ; I claim the last word, sir, as your Prince ; 
and that last word shall be — forgiveness.' 

And with that Otto was gone from the apartment, 
and Doctor Gotthold was left alone with the most 
conflicting sentiments of sorrow, remorse, and merri- 
ment ; walking to and fro before his table, and asking 
himself, with hands uplifted, which of the pair of 
them was most to blame for this unhappy rupture. 
Presently, he took from a cupboard a bottle of Rhine 
wine and a goblet of the deep Bohemian ruby. The 
first glass a little warmed and comforted his bosom ; 
with the second he began to look down upon these 
troubles from a sunny mountain ; yet a while, and 
filled with this false comfort and contemplating life 
through a golden medium, he owned to himself, 
with a flush, a smile, and a half-pleasurable sigh, that 
he had been somewhat over plain in dealing with his 
cousin. * He said the truth, too,' added the penitent 
librarian, 'for in my monkish fashion I adore the 
Princess.' And then, with a still deepening flush 
and a certain stealth, although he sat all alone in 
that great gallery, he toasted Seraphina to the 
dregs. 



16 



CHAPTER XI 

PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN I ACT THE FIRST 
SHE BEGUILES THE BARON 

At a sufficiently late hour, or, to be more exact, at 
three in the afternoon, Madame von Rosen issued on 
the world. She swept down-stairs and out across the 
garden, a black mantilla thrown over her head, and 
the long train of her black velvet dress ruthlessly 
sweeping in the dirt. 

At the other end of that long garden, and back to 
back with the villa of the Countess, stood the large 
mansion where the Prime Minister transacted his 
affairs and pleasures. This distance, which was 
enough for decency by the easy canons of Mitt- 
walden, the Countess swiftly traversed, opened a 
little door with a key, mounted a flight of stairs, 
and entered unceremoniously into Gondremark's 
study. It was a large and very high apartment ; 
books all about the walls, papers on the table, papers 
on the floor ; here and there a picture, somewhat 
scant of drapery ; a great fire glowing and flaming 
in the blue tiled hearth ; and the daylight streaming 
164 



VON ROSEN BEGUILES THE BAKON 

through a cupola above. In the midst of this sat 
the great Baron Gondremark in his shirt-sleeves, his 
business for that day fairly at an end, and the hour 
arrived for relaxation. His expression, his very 
nature, seemed to have undergone a fundamental 
change. Gondremark at home appeared the very 
antipode of Gondremark on duty. He had an air of 
massive jollity that well became him ; grossness and 
geniality sat upon his features ; and along with his 
manners, he had laid aside his sly and sinister expres- 
sion. He lolled there, sunning his bulk before the 
fire, a noble animal. 

< Hey ! ' he cried. « At last ! ' 

The Countess stepped into the room in silence, 
threw herself on a chair, and crossed her legs. In 
her lace and velvet, with a good display of smooth 
black stocking and of snowy petticoat, and with the 
refined profile of her face and slender plumpness of 
her body, she showed in singular contrast to the big, 
black, intellectual satyr by the fire. 

' How often do you send for me ? ' she cried. ' It 
is compromising.' 

Gondremark laughed. ' Speaking of that,' said he, 
'what in the devil's name were you about? You 
were not home till morning.' 

' I was giving alms,' she said. 

The Baron again laughed loud and long, for in 
his shirt-sleeves he was a very mirthful creature. 
'It is fortunate I am not jealous,' he remarked. 
' But you know my way : pleasure and liberty go 
hand in hand. I believe what I believe ; it is not 

165 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

much, but I believe it. — But now to business. 
Have you not read my letter ? ' 

' No,' she said ; ' my head ached. 1 

'Ah, well! then I have news indeed!' cried 
Gondremark. ' I was mad to see you all last night 
and all this morning : for yesterday afternoon I 
brought my long business to a head ; the ship has 
come home ; one more dead lift, and I shall cease to 
fetch and carry for the Princess Ratafia. Yes, 'tis 
done. I have the order all in Ratafia's hand ; I 
carry it on my heart. At the hour of twelve to- 
night, Prince Featherhead is to be taken in his bed, 
and, like the bambino, whipped into a chariot ; and 
by next morning he will command a most romantic 
prospect from the donjon of the Felsenburg. Fare- 
well, Featherhead ! The war goes on, the girl is in 
my hand ; I have long been indispensable, but now 
I shall be sole. I have long,' he added exultingly, 
'long carried this intrigue upon my shoulders, like 
Samson with the gates of Gaza ; now I discharge 
that burthen.' 

She had sprung to her feet a little paler. ' Is 
this true ? ' she cried. 

' I tell you a fact,' he asseverated. ' The trick 
is played.' 

' I will never believe it,' she said. ' An order ? 
In her own hand ? I will never believe it, Heinrich.' 

' I swear to you,' said he. 

' O, what do you care for oaths — or I either ? 
What would you swear by? Wine, women, and 
song? It is not binding,' she said. She had come 
1 66 



BEGUILES THE BARON 

quite close up to him and laid her hand upon his 
arm. 'As for the order — no, Heinrich, never! I 
will never believe it. T will die ere I believe it. 
You have some secret purpose — what, I cannot 
guess — but not one word of it is true.' 

' Shall I show it you ? ' he asked. 

' You cannot,' she answered. ' There is no such 
thing.' 

' Incorrigible Sadducee ! ' he cried. ' Well, I will 
convert you ; you shall see the order.' He moved to 
a chair where he had thrown his coat, and then draw- 
ing forth and holding out a paper, ' Read,' said he. 

She took it greedily, and her eye flashed as she 
perused it. 

' Hey ! ' cried the Baron, ' there falls a dynasty, 
and it was I that felled it ; and I and you inherit ! ' 
He seemed to swell in stature ; and next moment, 
with a laugh, he put his hand forward. ' Give me 
the dagger,' said he. 

But she whisked the paper suddenly behind her 
back and faced him, lowering. 'No, no,' she said. 
'You and I have first a point to settle. Do you 
suppose me blind ? She could never have given that 
paper but to one man, and that man her lover. Here 
you stand — her lover, her accomplice, her master — 
O, I well believe it, for I know your power. But 
what am I ? ' she cried ; ' I, whom you deceive ? ' 

' Jealousy ! ' cried Gondremark. ' Anna, I would 
never have believed it ! But I declare to you by all 
that's credible that I am not her lover. I might 
be, I suppose; but I never yet durst risk the 

167 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

declaration. The chit is so unreal ; a mincing doll ; 
she will and she will not ; there is no counting on 
her, by God! And hitherto I have had my own 
way without, and keep the lover in reserve. And I 
say, Anna,' he added with severity, ' you must break 
yourself of this new fit, my girl ; there must be no 
combustion. I keep the creature under the belief 
that I adore her ; and if she caught a breath of you 
and me, she is such a fool, prude, and dog in the 
manger, that she is capable of spoiling all.' 

' All very fine,' returned the lady. * With whom 
do you pass your days ? and which am I to believe, 
your words or your actions ? ' 

' Anna, the devil take you, are you blind ? ' cried 
Gondremark. 'You know me. Am I likely to 
care for such a preciosa ? Tis hard that we should 
have been together for so long, and you should still 
take me for a troubadour. But if there is one thins: 
that I despise and deprecate, it is all such figures in 
Berlin wool. Give me a human woman — like myself. 
You are my mate ; you were made for me ; you 
amuse me like the play. And what have I to gain 
that I should pretend to you ? If I do not love you, 
what use are you to me? Why, none. It is as 
clear as noonday.' 

' Do you love me, Heinrich ? ' she asked, languish- 
ing. * Do you truly ? ' 

'I tell you,' he cried, 'I love you next after 
myself. I should be all abroad if I had lost you.' 

' Well, then,' said she, folding up the paper and 
putting it calmly in her pocket, ' I will believe you, 
168 



BEGUILES THE BARON 

and I join the plot. Count upon me. At midnight, 
did you say ? It is Gordon, I see, that you have 
charged with it. Excellent ; he will stick at nothing.' 
Gondremark watched her suspiciously. ' Why do 
you take the paper ? ' he demanded. ' Give it here.' 

* No,' she returned ; ' I mean to keep it. It is I 
who must prepare the stroke ; you cannot manage it 
without me ; and to do my best I must possess the 
paper. Where shall I find Gordon ? In his rooms ? ' 
She spoke with a rather feverish self-possession. 

* Anna,' he said sternly, the black, bilious counten- 
ance of his palace role taking the place of the more 
open favour of his hours at home, ' I ask you for that 
paper. Once, twice, and thrice.' 

' Heinrich,' she returned, looking him in the face, 
' take care. I will put up with no dictation.' 

Both looked dangerous ; and the silence lasted for 
a measurable interval of time. Then she made haste 
to have the first word ; and with a laugh that rang 
clear and honest, 'Do not be a child,' she said. ' I 
wonder at you. If your assurances are true, you can 
have no reason to mistrust me, nor I to play you 
false. The difficulty is to get the Prince out of the 
palace without scandal. His valets are devoted ; his 
chamberlain a slave ; and yet one cry might ruin all.' 

* They must be overpowered,' he said, following 
her to the new ground, ' and disappear along with 
him.' 

i And your whole scheme along with them ! ' she 
cried. ' He does not take his servants when he goes 
a-hunting : a child could read the truth. No, no ; 

169 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

the plan is idiotic ; it must be Ratafia's. But hear 
me. You know the Prince worships me ? ' 

' I know,' he said. ' Poor Featherhead, I cross his 
destiny ! ' 

' Well now,' she continued, ' what if I bring him 
alone out of the palace, to some quiet corner of the 
Park — the Flying Mercury, for instance ? Gordon 
can be posted in the thicket ; the carriage wait behind 
the temple ; not a cry, not a scuffle, not a footfall ; 
simply, the Prince vanishes ! — What do you say ? 
Am I an able ally ? Are my beauoc yeuoc of service ? 
Ah, Heinrich, do not lose your Anna ! — she has 
power ! ' 

He struck with his open hand upon the chimney. 
' Witch ! ' he said, « there is not your match for 
devilry in Europe. Service ! the thing runs on 
wheels.' 

' Kiss me, then, and let me go. I must not miss 
my Featherhead,' she said. 

* Stay, stay,' said the Baron ; ' not so fast. I wish, 
upon my soul, that I could trust you ; but you are, 
out and in, so whimsical a devil that I dare not. 
Hang it, Anna, no ; it 's not possible ! ' 

' You doubt me, Heinrich ? ' she cried. 

' Doubt is not the word,' said he. ' I know you. 
Once you were clear of me with that paper in your 
pocket, who knows what you would do with it ? — not 
you, at least — nor I. You see,' he added, shaking 
his head paternally upon the Countess, ■ you are as 
vicious as a monkey.' 

'I swear to you,' she cried, ' by my salvation . . .' 
170 



BEGUILES THE BARON 

' I have no curiosity to hear you swearing,' said 
the Baron. 

* You think that I have no religion ? You suppose 
me destitute of honour. Well/ she said, ' see here : 
I will not argue, but I tell you once for all : leave 
me this order, and the Prince shall be arrested — take 
it from me, and, as certain as I speak, I will upset 
the coach. Trust me, or fear me : take your choice.' 
And she offered him the paper. 

The Baron, in a great contention of mind, stood 
irresolute, weighing the two dangers. Once his hand 
advanced, then dropped. ' Well,' he said, ' since trust 
is what you call it . . / 

' No more,' she interrupted. ' Do not spoil your 
attitude. And now since you have behaved like a 
good sort of fellow in the dark, I will condescend to 
tell you why. I go to the palace to arrange with 
Gordon ; but how is Gordon to obey me ? And how 
can I foresee the hours ? It may be midnight ; ay, 
and it may be nightfall ; all 's a chance ; and to act, 
I must be free and hold the strings of the adventure. 
And now/ she cried, 'your Vivien goes. Dub me 
your knight ! ' And she held out her arms and 
smiled upon him radiant. 

' Well,' he said, when he had kissed her, ' every 
man must have his folly ; I thank God mine is 
no worse. Off with you ! I have given a child a 
squib.' 



171 



CHAPTER XII 

PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN : ACT THE SECOND 
SHE INFORMS THE PRINCE 

It was the first impulse of Madame von Rosen to 
return to her own villa and revise her toilette. 
Whatever else should come of this adventure, it 
was her firm design to pay a visit to the Princess. 
And before that woman, so little beloved, the 
Countess would appear at no disadvantage. It was 
the work of minutes. Von Rosen had the captain's 
eye in matters of the toilette ; she was none of those 
who hang in Fabian helplessness among their finery, 
and, after hours, come forth upon the world as 
dowdies. A glance, a loosened curl, a studied and 
admired disorder in the hair, a bit of lace, a touch 
of colour, a yellow rose in the bosom ; and the in- 
stant picture was complete. 

* That will do,' she said. ' Bid my carriage follow 
me to the palace. In half an hour it should be there 
in waiting.' 

The night was beginning to fall and the shops to 
shine with lamps along the tree-beshadowed thorough- 
172 



VON ROSEN INFORMS THE PRINCE 

fares of Otto's capital, when the Countess started 
on her high emprise. She was jocund at heart ; 
pleasure and interest had winged her beauty, and she 
knew it. She paused before the glowing jeweller's ; 
she remarked and praised a costume in the milliner's 
window ; and when she reached the lime-tree walk 
with its high, umbrageous arches and stir of passers- 
by in the dim alleys, she took her place upon a 
bench and began to dally with the pleasures of the 
hour. It was cold, but she did not feel it, being 
warm within ; her thoughts, in that dark corner, 
shone like the gold and rubies at the jeweller's ; her 
ears, which heard the brushing of so many footfalls, 
transposed it into music. 

What was she to do ? She held the paper by 
which all depended. Otto and Gondremark and 
Ratafia, and the state itself, hung light in her 
balances, as light as dust ; her little finger laid in 
either scale would set all flying : and she hugged 
herself upon her huge preponderance, and then 
laughed aloud to think how giddily it might be used. 
The vertigo of omnipotence, the disease of Caesars, 
shook her reason. ' O the mad world ! ' she thought, 
and laughed aloud in exultation. 

A child, finger in mouth, had paused a little way 
from where she sat, and stared with cloudy interest 
upon this laughing lady. She called it nearer ; but 
the child hung back. Instantly, with that curious 
passion which you may see any woman in the world 
display, on the most odd occasions, for a similar end, 
the Countess bent herself with singleness of mind to 

i73 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

overcome this diffidence ; and presently, sure enough, 
the child was seated on her knee, thumbing and 
glowering at her watch. 

* If you had a clay bear and a china monkey,' asked 
von Rosen, ' which would you prefer to break ? ' 

' But I have neither,' said the child. 

* Well,' she said, ' here is a bright florin, with 
which you may purchase both the one and the other ; 
and I shall give it you at once, if you will answer 
my question. The clay bear or the china monkey — 
come ? ' 

But the unbreeched soothsayer only stared upon 
the florin with big eyes ; the oracle could not be 
persuaded to reply ; and the Countess kissed him 
lightly, gave him the florin, set him down upon the 
path, and resumed her way with swinging and elastic 
gait. 

' Which shall I break ? ' she wondered ; and she 
passed her hand with delight among the careful dis- 
arrangement of her locks. ' Which ? ' and she con- 
sulted heaven with her bright eyes. ' Do I love 
both or neither ? A little — passionately — not at all ? 
Both or neither — both, I believe ; but at least I will 
make hay of Ratafia.' 

By the time she had passed the iron gates, mounted 
the drive, and set her foot upon the broad flagged 
terrace, the night had come completely ; the palace 
front was thick with lighted windows ; and along 
the balustrade, the lamp on every twentieth baluster 
shone clear. A few withered tracks of sunset, amber 
and glow-worm green, still lingered in the western 
174 



INFORMS THE PRINCE 

sky ; and she paused once again to watch them 
fading. 

'And to think,' she said, 'that here am I — destiny 
embodied, a norn, a fate, a providence — and have no 
guess upon which side I shall declare myself ! What 
other woman in my place would not be prejudiced, 
and think herself committed ? But, thank Heaven ! 
I was born just ! ' Otto's windows were bright 
among the rest, and she looked on them with rising 
tenderness. ' How does it feel to be deserted ? ' she 
thought. ' Poor dear fool ! The girl deserves that 
he should see this order.' 

Without more delay, she passed into the palace 
and asked for an audience of Prince Otto. The 
Prince, she was told, was in his own apartment, and 
desired to be private. She sent her name. A man 
presently returned with word that the Prince ten- 
dered his apologies but could see no one. i Then I 
will write,' she said, and scribbled a few lines alleg- 
ing urgency of life and death. ' Help me, my Prince,' 
she added ; ' none but you can help me. ' This time 
the messenger returned more speedily and begged 
the Countess to follow him : the Prince was era- 
ciously pleased to receive the Frau Grafin von 
Rosen. 

Otto sat by the fire in his large armoury, weapons 
faintly glittering all about him in the changeful 
light. His face was disfigured by the marks of 
weeping ; he looked sour and sad ; nor did he rise 
to greet his visitor, but bowed, and bade the man 
be gone. That kind of general tenderness which 

175 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

served the Countess for both heart and conscience, 
sharply smote her at this spectacle of grief and weak- 
ness ; she began immediately to enter into the spirit 
of her part ; and as soon as they were alone, taking 
one step forward and with a magnificent gesture — 
' Up ! ' she cried. 

' Madame von Rosen,' replied Otto dully, ' you 
have used strong words. You speak of life and 
death. Pray, madam, who is threatened ? Who is 
there,' he added bitterly, * so destitute that even 
Otto of Grunewald can assist him ? ' 

' First learn,' said she, ' the names of the con- 
spirators : the Princess and the Baron Gondremark. 
Can you not guess the rest ? ' And then, as he main- 
tained his silence — ' You ! ' she cried, pointing at 
him with her finger. ' Tis you they threaten ! 
Your rascal and mine have laid their heads together 
and condemned you. But they reckoned without 
you and me. We make a partie carree, Prince, in 
love and politics. They lead an ace, but we shall 
trump it. Come, partner, shall I draw my card ? ' 

' Madam,' he said, ' explain yourself. Indeed I 
fail to comprehend.' 

' See, then,' said she : and handed him the order. 

He took it, looked upon it with a start ; and then, 
still without speech, he put his hand before his face. 
She waited for a word in vain. 

' What ! ' she cried, ' do you take the thing down- 

heartedly ? As well seek wine in a milkpail as love 

in that girl's heart ! Be done with this, and be a 

man. After the league of the lions, let us have a 

176 



INFORMS THE PRINCE 

conspiracy of mice, and pull this piece of machinery 
to ground. You were brisk enough last night when 
nothing was at stake and all was frolic. Well, here 
is better sport ; here is life indeed.' 

He got to his feet with some alacrity, and his 
face, which was a little flushed, bore the marks of 
resolution. 

' Madame von Rosen,' said he, ' I am neither un- 
conscious nor ungrateful ; this is the true continua- 
tion of your friendship ; but I see that I must dis- 
appoint your expectations. You seem to expect 
from me some effort of resistance ; but why should 
I resist ? I have not much to gain ; and now that 
I have read this paper, and the last of a fool's para- 
dise is shattered, it would be hyperbolical to speak 
of loss in the same breath with Otto of Griinewald. 
I have no party, no policy ; no pride, nor anything 
to be proud of. For what benefit or principle under 
Heaven do you expect me to contend ? Or would 
you have me bite and scratch like a trapped weasel ? 
No, madam ; signify to those who sent you my 
readiness to go. I would at least avoid a scandal.' 

' You go ? — of your own will, you go ? ' she cried. 

' I cannot say so much, perhaps,' he answered ; 
' but I go with good alacrity. I have desired a 
change some time ; behold one offered me ! Shall 
I refuse ? Thank God, I am not so destitute of 
humour as to make a tragedy of such a farce.' He 
flicked the order on the table. ' You may signify 
my readiness,' he added grandly. 

* Ah,' she said, ' you are more angry than you own.' 

9— M 177 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

* I, madam ? angry ? ' he cried. ' You rave ! I 
have no cause for anger. In every way I have been 
taught my weakness, my instability, and my unfit- 
ness for the world. I am a plexus of weaknesses, 
an impotent Prince, a doubtful gentleman ; and you 
yourself, indulgent as you are, have twice reproved 
my levity. And shall I be angry ? I may feel the 
unkindness, but I have sufficient honesty of mind to 
see the reasons of this coup d'etaV 

' From whom have you got this ? ' she cried in 
wonder. ' You think you have not behaved well ? 
My Prince, were you not young and handsome, I 
should detest you for your virtues. You push 
them to the verge of commonplace. And this in- 
gratitude ' 

'Understand me, Madame von Rosen,' returned 
the Prince, flushing a little darker, ' there can be 
here no talk of gratitude, none of pride. You are 
here, by what circumstance I know not, but doubt- 
less led by your kindness, mixed up in what regards 
my family alone. You have no knowledge what 
my wife, your sovereign, may have suffered ; it is 
not for you — no, nor for me — to judge. I own my- 
self in fault ; and were it otherwise, a man were a 
very empty boaster who should talk of love and start 
before a small humiliation. It is in all the copy- 
books that one should die to please his lady-love ; 
and shall a man not go to prison ? ' 

' Love ? And what has love to do with being 
sent to gaol ? ' exclaimed the Countess, appealing to 
the walls and roof. ' Heaven knows I think as much 
178 



INFORMS THE PRINCE 

of love as any one ; my life would prove it ; but I 
admit no love, at least for a man, that is not equally 
returned. The rest is moonshine.' 

' I think of love more absolutely, madam, though 
I am certain no more tenderly, than a lady to whom 
I am indebted for such kindnesses,' returned the 
Prince. ' But this is unavailing. We are not here 
to hold a court of troubadours.' 

' Still,' she replied, ' there is one thing you forget. 
If she conspires with Gondremark against your 
liberty, she may conspire with him against your 
honour also.' 

' My honour ? ' he repeated. ' For a woman, you 
surprise me. If I have failed to gain her love or play 
my part of husband, what right is left me ? or what 
honour can remain in such a scene of defeat ? No 
honour that I recognise. I am become a stranger. 
If my wife no longer loves me, I will go to prison, 
since she wills it ; if she love another, where should 
I be more in place ? or whose fault is it but mine ? 
You speak, Madame von Rosen, like too many 
women, with a man's tongue. Had I myself fallen 
into temptation (as, Heaven knows, I might) I should 
have trembled, but still hoped and asked for her for- 
giveness ; and yet mine had been a treason in the 
teeth of love. But let me tell you, madam,' he pur- 
sued, with rising irritation, 'where a husband by 
futility, facility, and ill-timed humours has outwearied 
his wife's patience, I will suffer neither man nor 
woman to misjudge her. She is free ; the man has 



been found wanting. 



179 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

' Because she loves you not ? ' the Countess cried. 
' You know she is incapable of such a feeling.' 

' Rather, it was I who was born incapable of 
inspiring it,' said Otto. 

Madame von Rosen broke into sudden laughter. 
' Fool,' she cried, ' I am in love with you myself ! ' 

'Ah, madam, you are most compassionate,' the 
Prince retorted, smiling. ' But this is waste debate. 
I know my purpose. Perhaps, to equal you in frank- 
ness, I know and embrace my advantage. I am not 
without the spirit of adventure. I am in a false 
position — so recognised by public acclamation : do 
you grudge me, then, my issue ? ' 

' If your mind is made up, why should I dissuade 
you ? ' said the Countess. ' I own, with a bare face, 
I am the gainer. Go, you take my heart with you, 
or more of it than I desire ; I shall not sleep at 
night for thinking of your misery. But do not be 
afraid ; I would not spoil you, you are such a fool 
and hero.' 

' Alas ! madam,' cried the Prince, ' and your 
unlucky money ! I did amiss to take it, but you 
are a wonderful persuader. And I thank God, I can 
still offer you the fair equivalent' He took some 
papers from the chimney. ' Here, madam, are the 
title-deeds,' he said ; * where I am going, they can 
certainly be of no use to me, and I have now no other 
hope of making up to you your kindness. You made 
the loan without formality, obeying your kind heart. 
The parts are somewhat changed ; the sun of this 
Prince of Grimewald is upon the point of setting ; 
1 80 



INFORMS THE PRINCE 

and I know you better than to doubt you will once 
more waive ceremony, and accept the best that he 
can give you. If I may look for any pleasure in the 
coming time, it will be to remember that the peasant 
is secure, and my most generous friend no loser.' 

* Do you not understand my odious position ? ' 
cried the Countess. ' Dear Prince, it is upon your 
fall that I begin my fortune.' 

' It was the more like you to tempt me to resist- 
ance,' returned Otto. 'But this cannot alter our 
relations ; and I must, for the last time, lay my com- 
mands upon you in the character of Prince.' And 
with his loftiest dignity, he forced the deeds on her 
acceptance. 

* I hate the very touch of them,' she cried. 
There followed upon this a little silence. ' At 

what time,' resumed Otto, ' (if indeed you know) am 
I to be arrested ? ' 

' Your Highness, when you please ! ' exclaimed the 
Countess. ' Or, if you choose to tear that paper, 
never ! ' 

' I would rather it were done quickly,' said the 
Prince. ' I shall take but time to leave a letter for 
the Princess.' 

* Well,' said the Countess, ' I have advised you to 
resist ; at the same time, if you intend to be dumb 
before your shearers, I must say that I ought to set 
about arranging your arrest. I offered ' — she hesitated 
— ' I offered to manage it, intending, my dear friend 
• — intending, upon my soul, to be of use to you. 
Well, if you will not profit by my goodwill, then be 

181 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

of use to me ; and as soon as ever you feel ready, go 
to the Flying Mercury where we met last night. It 
will be none the worse for you ; and to make it quite 
plain, it will be better for the rest of us.' 

' Dear madam, certainly,' said Otto. « If I am pre- 
pared for the chief evil, I shall not quarrel with 
details. Go, then, with my best gratitude ; and 
when I have written a few lines of leave-taking, I 
shall immediately hasten to keep tryst. To-night 
I shall not meet so dangerous a cavalier,' he added, 
with a smiling gallantry. 

As soon as Madame von Rosen was gone he made 
a great call upon his self-command. He was face to 
face with a miserable passage where, if it were 
possible, he desired to carry himself with dignity. As 
to the main fact, he never swerved or faltered ; he 
had come so heart-sick and so cruelly humiliated from 
his talk with Gotthold, that he embraced the notion 
of imprisonment with something bordering on relief. 
Here was, at least, a step which he thought blame- 
less ; here was a way out of his troubles. He sat 
down to write to Seraphina ; and his anger blazed. 
The tale of his forbearances mounted, in his eyes, to 
something monstrous ; still more monstrous, the cold- 
ness, egoism, and cruelty that had required and thus 
requited them. The pen which he had taken shook 
in his hand. He was amazed to find his resignation 
fled, but it was gone beyond his recall. In a few 
white-hot words, he bade adieu, dubbing desperation 
by the name of love, and calling his wrath forgive- 
ness ; then he cast but one look of leave-taking on 
182 



INFORMS THE PRINCE 

the place that had been his for so long and was now 
to be his no longer ; and hurried forth — love's 
prisoner — or pride's. 

He took that private passage which he had 
trodden so often in less momentous hours. The 
porter let him out : and the bountiful, cold air of the 
night and the pure glory of the stars received him 
on the threshold. He looked round him, breathing 
deep of earth's plain fragrance ; he looked up into the 
great array of heaven, and was quieted. His little 
turgid life dwindled to its true proportions ; and he 
saw himself (that great flame-hearted martyr !) stand 
like a speck under the cool cupola of the night. 
Thus he felt his careless injuries already soothed; 
the live air of out-of-doors, the quiet of the world, 
as if by their silent music, sobering and dwarfing his 
emotions. 

'Well, I forgive her,' he said. 'If it be of any 
use to her, I forgive.' 

And with brisk steps he crossed the garden, 
issued upon the park and came to the Flying 
Mercury. A dark figure moved forward from the 
shadow of the pedestal. 

' I have to ask your pardon, sir,' a voice observed, 
'but if I am right in taking you for the Prince, I 
was given to understand that you would be prepared 
to meet me.' 

' Herr Gordon, I believe ? ' said Otto. 

' Herr Oberst Gordon,' replied that officer. * This 
is rather a ticklish business for a man to be embarked 
in ; and to find that all is to go pleasantly is a great 

183 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

relief to me. The carriage is at hand ; shall I have 
the honour of following your Highness ? ' 

' Colonel,' said the Prince, ' I have now come to 
that happy moment of my life when I have orders 
to receive but none to give.' 

'A most philosophical remark!' returned the 
Colonel. ' Begad, a very pertinent remark ! it might 
be Plutarch. I am not a drop's blood to your High- 
ness, or indeed to any one in this principality; or 
else I should dislike my orders. But as it is, and 
since there is nothing unnatural or unbecoming on 
my side, and your Highness takes it in good part, I 
begin to believe we may have a capital time together, 
sir — a capital time. For a gaoler is only a fellow- 
captive.' 

' May I inquire, Herr Gordon,' asked Otto, ' what 
led you to accept this dangerous and I would fain 
hope thankless office ? ' 

' Very natural, I am sure,' replied the officer of 
fortune. ' My pay is, in the meanwhile, doubled.' 

' Well, sir, I will not presume to criticise,' returned 
the Prince. 'And I perceive the carriage.' 

Sure enough, at the intersection of two alleys of 
the park, a coach and four, conspicuous by its lan- 
terns, stood in waiting. And a little way off about 
a score of lancers were drawn up under the shadow 
of the trees. 



184 



CHAPTER XIII 

PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN I ACT THE THIRD 
SHE ENLIGHTENS SERAPHINA 

When Madame von Rosen left the Prince, she 
hurried straight to Colonel Gordon ; and not content 
with directing the arrangements, she had herself 
accompanied the soldier of fortune to the Flying 
Mercury. The Colonel gave her his arm, and the 
talk between this pair of conspirators ran high and 
lively. The Countess, indeed, was in a whirl of 
pleasure and excitement ; her tongue stumbled upon 
laughter, her eyes shone, the colour that was usually 
wanting now perfected her face. It would have 
taken little more to bring Gordon to her feet — or so, 
at least, she believed, disdaining the idea. 

Hidden among some lilac bushes, she enjoyed the 
great decorum of the arrest, and heard the dialogue 
of the two men die away along the path. Soon 
after, the rolling of a carriage and the beat of hoofs 
arose in the still air of the night, and passed speedily 
farther and fainter into silence. The Prince was gone. 

Madame von Rosen consulted her watch. She 

185 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

had still, she thought, time enough for the tit-bit of 
her evening ; and hurrying to the palace, winged by 
the fear of Gondrem ark's arrival, she sent her name 
and a pressing request for a reception to the Princess 
Seraphina. As the Countess von Rosen unqualified, 
she was sure to be refused ; but as an emissary of 
the Baron's, for so she chose to style herself, she 
gained immediate entry. 

The Princess sat alone at table, making a feint of 
dining. Her cheeks were mottled, her eyes heavy ; 
she had neither slept nor eaten ; even her dress had 
been neglected. In short, she was out of health, out 
of looks, out of heart, and hag-ridden by her con- 
science. The Countess drew a swift comparison, 
and shone brighter in beauty. 

* You come, madam, de la part de Monsieur le 
Baron,' drawled the Princess. ' Be seated ! What 
have you to say ? ' 

' To say ? ' repeated Madame von Rosen. * O, 
much to say ! Much to say that I would rather 
not, and much to leave unsaid that I would rather 
say. For I am like St. Paul, your Highness, and 
always wish to do the things I should not. Well ! 
to be categorical — that is the word? — I took the 
Prince your order. He could not credit his senses. 
" Ah," he cried, " dear Madame von Rosen, it is not 
possible — it cannot be — I must hear it from your 
lips. My wife is a poor girl misled, she is only silly, 
she is not cruel." " Mon Prince" said I, "a girl — 
and therefore cruel ; youth kills flies." — He had such 
pain to understand it ! ' 
1 86 



ENLIGHTENS SERAPHINA 

* Madame von Rosen,' said the Princess, in most 
steadfast tones, but with a rose of anger in her face, 
• who sent you here, and for what purpose ? Tell 
your errand.' 

'O, madam, I believe you understand me very 
well,' returned von Rosen. * I have not your philo- 
sophy. I wear my heart upon my sleeve, excuse the 
indecency ! It is a very little one,' she laughed, 
' and I so often change the sleeve ! ' 

' Am I to understand the Prince has been arrested?' 
asked the Princess, rising. 

* While you sat there dining ! ' cried the Countess, 
still nonchalantly seated. 

' You have discharged your errand,' was the reply ; 
'I will not detain you.' 

'O no, madam,' said the Countess, 'with your 
permission, I have not yet done. I have borne 
much this evening in your service. I have suffered. 
I was made to suffer in your service.' She unfolded 
her fan as she spoke. Quick as her pulses beat, the 
fan waved languidly. She betrayed her emotion 
only by the brightness of her eyes and face, and by 
the almost insolent triumph with which she looked 
down upon the Princess. There were old scores of 
rivalry between them in more than one field ; so at 
least von Rosen felt ; and now she was to have her 
hour of victory in them all. 

'You are no servant, Madame von Rosen, of 
mine,' said Seraphina. 

' No, madam, indeed,' returned the Countess ; ' but 
we both serve the same person, as you know — or if 

187 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

you do not, then I have the pleasure of informing 
you. Your conduct is so light — so light,' she re- 
peated, the fan wavering higher like a butterfly, 
'that perhaps you do not truly understand.' The 
Countess rolled her fan together, laid it in her lap, 
and rose to a less languorous position. ' Indeed,' 
she continued, ' I should be sorry to see any young 
woman in your situation. You began with every 
advantage — birth, a suitable marriage — quite pretty 
too — and see what you have come to ! My poor 
girl, to think of it ! But there is nothing that does 
so much harm,' observed the Countess finely, 'as 
giddiness of mind.' And she once more unfurled 
the fan, and approvingly fanned herself. 

' I will no longer permit you to forget yourself,' 
cried Seraphina. 'I think you are mad.' 

'Not mad,' returned von Rosen. 'Sane enough 
to know you dare not break with me to-night, and 
to profit by the knowledge. I left my poor, pretty 
Prince Charming crying his eyes out for a wooden 
doll. My heart is soft ; I love my pretty Prince ; 
you will never understand it, but I long to give my 
Prince his doll, dry his poor eyes, and send him off 
happy. O, you immature fool ! ' the Countess 
cried, rising to her feet, and pointing at the Princess 
the closed fan that now began to tremble in her 
hand. ' O wooden doll ! ' she cried, ' have you a 
heart, or blood, or any nature? This is a man, 
child— a man who loves you. O, it will not 
happen twice ! it is not common ; beautiful and 
clever women look in vain for it. And you, you 
188 



ENLIGHTENS SERAPHINA 

pitiful school-girl, tread this jewel under foot ! you, 
stupid with your vanity ! Before you try to govern 
kingdoms you should first be able to behave your- 
self at home ; home is the woman's kingdom.' She 
paused and laughed a little, strangely to hear and 
look upon. ' I will tell you one of the things,' she 
said, ' that were to stay unspoken. Von Rosen is a 
better woman than you, my Princess, though you 
will never have the pain of understanding it ; and 
when I took the Prince your order, and looked upon 
his face, my soul was melted — O, I am frank — 
here, within my arms, I offered him repose ! ' She 
advanced a step superbly as she spoke, with out- 
stretched arms ; and Seraphina shrank. ' Do not be 
alarmed!' the Countess cried; 'I am not offering 
that hermitage to you ; in all the world there is but 
one who wants to, and him you have dismissed ! 
"If it will give her pleasure I should wear the 
martyr's crown," he cried, "I will embrace the 
thorns." I tell you — I am quite frank — I put the 
order in his power and begged him to resist. You, 
who have betrayed your husband, may betray me 
to Gondremark ; my Prince would betray no one. 
Understand it plainly,' she cried, ''tis of his pure 
forbearance you sit there ; he had the power — I gave 
it him — to change the parts; and he refused, and 
went to prison in your place.' 

The Princess spoke with some distress. 'Your 
violence shocks me and pains me,' she began, 'but 
I cannot be angry with what at least does honour to 
the mistaken kindness of your heart : it was right 

189 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

for me to know this. I will condescend to tell you. 
It was with deep regret that I was driven to this 
step. I admire in many ways the Prince — I admit 
his amiability. It was our great misfortune, it was 
perhaps somewhat of my fault, that we were so 
unsuited to each other; but I have a regard, a 
sincere regard, for all his qualities. As a private 
person I should think as you do. It is difficult, I 
know, to make allowances for state considerations. 
I have only with deep reluctance obeyed the call of 
a superior duty ; and so soon as I dare do it for the 
safety of the state, I promise you the Prince shall be 
released. Many in my situation would have resented 
your freedoms. I am not' — and she looked for a 
moment rather piteously upon the Countess — ' I am 
not altogether so inhuman as you think.' 

* And you can put these troubles of the state,' the 
Countess cried, i to weigh with a man's love ? ' 

* Madame von Rosen, these troubles are affairs of 
life and death to many ; to the Prince, and perhaps 
even to yourself, among the number,' replied the 
Princess, with dignity. 'I have learned, madam, 
although still so young, in a hard school, that my 
own feelings must everywhere come last.' 

' O callow innocence ! ' exclaimed the other. ' Is 
it possible you do not know, or do not suspect, the 
intrigue in which you move ? I find it in my heart 
to pity you ! We are both women after all — poor 
girl, poor girl ! — and who is born a woman is born a 
fool. And though I hate all women — come, for the 
common folly, I forgive you. Your Highness' — she 
190 



ENLIGHTENS SERAPHINA 

dropped a deep stage curtsey and resumed her fan 
— ' I am going to insult you, to betray one who is 
called my lover, and, if it pleases you to use the 
power I now put unreservedly into your hands, to 
ruin my dear self. O what a French comedy ! 
You betray, I betray, they betray. It is now my 
cue. The letter, yes. Behold the letter, madam, 
its seal unbroken as I found it by my bed this 
morning ; for I was out of humour, and I get many, 
too many, of these favours. For your own sake, for 
the sake of my Prince Charming, for the sake of this 
great principality that sits so heavy on your con- 
science, open it and read ! ' 

' Am I to understand,' inquired the Princess, ' that 
this letter in any way regards me ? ' 

' You see I have not opened it,' replied von Rosen; 
' but 'tis mine, and I beg you to experiment.' 

' I cannot look at it till you have,' returned Sera- 
phina, very seriously. ' There may be matter there 
not meant for me to see ; it is a private letter.' 

The Countess tore it open, glanced it through, 
and tossed it back ; and the Princess, taking up the 
sheet, recognised the hand of Gondremark, and read 
with a sickening shock the following lines : — 

' Dearest Anna, come at once. Ratafia has done 

the deed, her husband is to be packed to prison. This 

puts the minx entirely in my power; le tour est 

joue; she will now go steady in harness, or I will 

know the reason why. Come. Heinrich.' 

'Command yourself, madam,' said the Countess, 

191 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

watching with some alarm the white face of Sera- 
phina. ' It is in vain for you to fight with Gondre- 
mark ; he has more strings than mere court favour, 
and could bring you down to-morrow with a word. 
I would not have betrayed him otherwise ; but 
Heinrich is a man, and plays with all of you like 
marionnettes. And now at least you see for what 
you sacrificed my Prince. Madam, will you take 
some wine ? I have been cruel.' 

' Not cruel, madam — salutary,' said Seraphina, 
with a phantom smile. ' No, I thank you, I re- 
quire no attentions. The first surprise affected me : 
will you give me time a little ? I must think.' 

She took her head between her hands, and contem- 
plated for a while the hurricane confusion of her 
thoughts. 

' This information reaches me,' she said, ' when I 
have need of it. I would not do as you have done, 
but yet I thank you. I have been much deceived in 
Baron Gondremark.' 

' O, madam, leave Gondremark, and think upon 
the Prince ! ' cried von Rosen. 

' You speak once more as a private person,' said 
the Princess ; ' nor do I blame you. But my own 
thoughts are more distracted. However, as I be- 
lieve you are truly a friend to my — to the as 

I believe,' she said, ' you are a friend to Otto, I shall 
put the order for his release into your hands this 
moment. Give me the ink-dish. There ! ' And 
she wrote hastily, steadying her arm upon the table, 
for she trembled like a reed. ' Remember, madam,' 
192 



ENLIGHTENS SERAPHINA 

she resumed, handing her the order, 'this must not 
be used nor spoken of at present ; till I have seen 
the Baron, any hurried step — I lose myself in think- 
ing. The suddenness has shaken me.' 

1 1 promise you I will not use it,' said the Countess, 
s till you give me leave, although I wish the Prince 
could be informed of it, to comfort his poor heart. 
And O, I had forgotten, he has left a letter. Suffer 
me, madam ; I will bring it you. This is the door, 
I think ? ' And she sought to open it. 

' The bolt is pushed,' said Seraphina, flushing. 

' O ! O ! ' cried the Countess. 

A silence fell between them. 

' I will get it for myself,' said Seraphina ; ' and in 
the meanwhile I beg you to leave me. I thank you, 
I am sure, but I shall be obliged if you will leave 
me.' 

The Countess deeply curtseyed, and withdrew. 



9— n 193 



CHAPTER XIV 

RELATES THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK OF THE 
REVOLUTION 

Brave as she was, and brave by intellect, the 
Princess, when first she was alone, clung to the table 
for support. The four corners of her universe had 
fallen. She had never liked nor trusted Gondremark 
completely ; she had still held it possible to find 
him false to friendship ; but from that to finding him 
devoid of all those public virtues for which she had 
honoured him, a mere commonplace intriguer, using 
her for his own ends, the step was wide and the 
descent giddy. Light and darkness succeeded each 
other in her brain ; now she believed, and now she 
could not. She turned, blindly groping for the 
note. But von Rosen, who had not forgotten to 
take the warrant from the Prince, had remembered 
to recover her note from the Princess : von Rosen 
was an old campaigner, whose most violent emotion 
aroused rather than clouded the vigour of her 
reason. 

The thought recalled to Seraphina the remem- 
194 



OUTBREAK OF THE REVOLUTION 

brance of the other letter — Otto's. She rose and 
went speedily, her brain still wheeling, and burst 
into the Prince's armoury. The old chamberlain 
was there in waiting ; and the sight of another face, 
prying (or so she felt) on her distress, struck 
Seraphina into childish anger. 

' Go ! ' she cried ; and then, when the old man 
was already half-way to the door, ' Stay ! ' she added. 
'As soon as Baron Gondremark arrives, let him 
attend me here.' 

' It shall be so directed,' said the chamberlain. 

'There was a letter . . .' she began, and paused. 

' Her Highness,' said the chamberlain, 'will find a 
letter on the table. I had received no orders, or 
Her Highness had been spared this trouble.' 

' No, no, no,' she cried. ' I thank you. I desire 
to be alone.' 

And then, when he was gone, she leaped upon the 
letter. Her mind was still obscured ; like the moon 
upon a night of clouds and wind, her reason shone 
and was darkened ; and she read the words by 
flashes. 

' Seraphina,' the Prince wrote, * I will write no 
syllable of reproach. I have seen your order, and I go. 
What else is left me ? I have wasted my love, and 
have no more. To say that I forgive you is not need- 
ful : at least, we are now separate for ever ; by your 
own act, you free me from my willing bondage : I go 
free to prison. This is the last that you will hear of 
me in love or anger. I have gone out of your life ; 
you may breathe easy ; you have now rid yourself of 

195 



THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK 

the husband who allowed you to desert him, of the 
Prince who gave you his rights, and of the married 
lover who made it his pride to defend you in your 
absence. How you have requited him, your own 
heart more loudly tells you than my words. There 
is a day coming when your vain dreams will roll 
away like clouds, and you will find yourself alone. 
Then you will remember Otto.' 

She read with a great horror on her mind ; that 
day, of which he wrote, was come. She was alone ; 
she had been false, she had been cruel ; remorse 
rolled in upon her ; and then with a more piercing 
note, vanity bounded on the stage of consciousness. 
She a dupe ! she helpless ! she to have betrayed her- 
self in seeking to betray her husband ! she to have 
lived these years upon flattery, grossly swallowing 
the bolus, like a clown with sharpers ! she — 
Seraphina ! Her swift mind drank the consequences ; 
she foresaw the coming fall, her public shame ; she 
saw the odium, disgrace, and folly of her story flaunt 
through Europe. She recalled the scandal she had 
so royally braved ; and, alas ! she had now no courage 
to confront it with. To be thought the mistress of 
that man : perhaps for that. . . . She closed her 
eyes on agonising vistas. Swift as thought she had 
snatched a bright dagger from the weapons that 
shone along the wall. Ay, she would escape. From 
that world-wide theatre of nodding heads and buzz- 
ing whisperers, in which she now beheld herself 
unpitiably martyred, one door stood open. At any 
196 



OF THE REVOLUTION 

cost, through any stress of suffering, that greasy- 
laughter should be stifled. She closed her eyes, 
breathed a wordless prayer, and pressed the weapon 
to her bosom. 

At the astonishing sharpness of the prick, she gave 
a cry and awoke to a sense of undeserved escape. A 
little ruby spot of blood was the reward of that great 
act of desperation ; but the pain had braced her like 
a tonic, and her whole design of suicide had passed 
away. 

At the same instant regular feet drew near along 
the gallery, and she knew the tread of the big Baron, 
so often gladly welcome, and even now rallying her 
spirits like a call to battle. She concealed the 
dagger in the folds of her skirt ; and drawing her 
stature up, she stood firm-footed, radiant with anger, 
waiting for the foe. 

The Baron was announced, and entered. To him, 
Seraphina was a hated task : like the schoolboy with 
his Virgil, he had neither will nor leisure to remark 
her beauties ; but when he now beheld her standing 
illuminated by her passion, new feelings flashed 
upon him, a frank admiration, a brief sparkle of 
desire. He noted both with joy ; they were means. 
'If I have to play the lover,' thought he, for that 
was his constant pre-occupation, ' I believe I can put 
soul into it.' Meanwhile, with his usual ponderous 
grace, he bent before the lady. 

' I propose,' she said in a strange voice, not known 
to her till then, ' that we release the Prince and do 
not prosecute the war.' 

197 



THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK 

'Ah, madam,' he replied, ''tis as I knew it would 
be ! Your heart, I knew, would wound you when 
we came to this distasteful but most necessary step. 
Ah, madam, believe me, I am not unworthy to be 
your ally ; I know you have qualities to which I am 
a stranger, and count them the best weapons in the 
armoury of our alliance : — the girl in the queen — 
pity, love, tenderness, laughter ; the smile that can 
reward. I can only command ; I am the frowner. 
But you ! And you have the fortitude to command 
these comely weaknesses, to tread them down at the 
call of reason. How often have I not admired it 
even to yourself! Ay, even to yourself,' he added 
tenderly, dwelling, it seemed, in memory on hours 
of more private admiration. ' But now, madam ' 

'But now, Herr von Gondremark, the time for 
these declarations has gone by,' she cried. 'Are 
you true to me ? are you false 1 Look in your 
heart and answer : it is your heart I want to know.' 

' It has come,' thought Gondremark. ' You, 
madam ! ' he cried, starting back — with fear, you 
would have said, and yet a timid joy. ' You ! your- 
self, you bid me look into my heart ? ' 

' Do you suppose I fear ? ' she cried, and looked 
at him with such a heightened colour, such bright 
eyes, and a smile of so abstruse a meaning that the 
Baron discarded his last doubt. 

' Ah, madam ! ' he cried, plumping on his knees. 

' Seraphina ! Do you permit me ? have you divined 

my secret ? It is true — I put my life with joy into 

your power — I love you, love with ardour, as an 

198 



OF THE REVOLUTION 

equal, as a mistress, as a brother-in-arms, as an 
adored, desired, sweet-hearted woman. O Bride ! ' 
he cried, waxing dithyrambic, 'bride of my reason 
and my senses, have pity, have pity on my love ! ' 

She heard him with wonder, rage, and then con- 
tempt. His words offended her to sickness; his 
appearance, as he grovelled bulkily upon the floor, 
moved her to such laughter as we laugh in 
nightmares. 

'O shame!' she cried. 'Absurd and odious! 
What would the Countess say ? ' 

That great Baron Gondremark, the excellent 
politician, remained for some little time upon his 
knees in a frame of mind which perhaps we are 
allowed to pity. His vanity, within his iron bosom, 
bled and raved. If he could have blotted all, if he 
could have withdrawn part, if he had not called her 
bride — with a roaring in his ears, he thus regretfully 
reviewed his declaration. He got to his feet totter- 
ing ; and then, in that first moment when a dumb 
agony finds a vent in words, and the tongue betrays 
the inmost and worst of a man, he permitted himself 
a retort which, for six weeks to follow, he was to 
repent at leisure. 

'Ah,' said he, 'the Countess? Now I perceive 
the reason of your Highness's disorder. ' 

The lackey-like insolence of the words was driven 
home by a more insolent manner. There fell upon 
Seraphina one of those storm-clouds which had already 
blackened upon her reason; she heard herself cry 
out ; and when the cloud dispersed, flung the blood- 

199 



THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK 

stained dagger on the floor, and saw Gondremark 
reeling back with open mouth and clapping his hand 
upon the wound. The next moment, with oaths that 
she had never heard, he leaped at her in savage 
passion ; clutched her as she recoiled ; and in the 
very act, stumbled and drooped. She had scarce 
time to fear his murderous onslaught ere he fell 
before her feet. 

He rose upon one elbow ; she still staring upon 
him, white with horror. 

' Anna ! ' he cried, ' Anna ! Help ! ' 

And then his utterance failed him, and he fell 
back, to all appearance dead. 

Seraphina ran to and fro in the room ; she wrung 
her hands and cried aloud ; within she was all one 
uproar of terror, and conscious of no articulate wish 
but to awake. 

There came a knocking at the door; and she 
sprang to it and held it, panting like a beast, and with 
the strength of madness in her arms, till she had 
pushed the bolt. At this success a certain calm fell 
upon her reason. She went back and looked upon 
her victim, the knocking growing louder. O yes, he 
was dead. She had killed him. He had called upon 
von Rosen with his latest breath ; ah ! who would 
call on Seraphina ? She had killed him. She, whose 
irresolute hand could scarce prick blood from her own 
bosom, had found strength to cast down that great 
colossus at a blow. 

All this while the knocking was growing more 
uproarious and more unlike the staid career of life in 
200 



OF THE REVOLUTION 

such a palace. Scandal was at the door, with what 
a fatal following she dreaded to conceive ; and at the 
same time among the voices that now began to 
summon her by name, she recognised the Chancellor's. 
He or another, somebody must be the first. 

* Is Herr von Greisengesang without ? ' she 
called. 

' Your Highness — yes ! ' the old gentleman 
answered. ' We have heard cries, a fall. Is any- 
thing amiss ? ' 

' Nothing,' replied Seraphina. ' I desire to speak 
with you. Send off the rest' She panted between 
each phrase ; but her mind was clear. She let the 
looped curtain down upon both sides before she 
drew the bolt ; and, thus secure from any sudden 
eyeshot from without, admitted the obsequious 
Chancellor and again made fast the door. 

Greisengesang clumsily revolved among the wings 
of the curtain ; so that she was clear of it as soon 
as he. 

* My God ! ' he cried. ' The Baron ! ' 

•' I have killed him,' she said. ' O, killed him ! ' 
' Dear me,' said the old gentleman, ' this is most 
unprecedented. Lovers' quarrels,' he added ruefully, 

' redintegratio ' and then paused. ' But, my dear 

madam,' he broke out again, ' in the name of all that 
is practical, what are we to do ? This is exceedingly 
grave ; morally, madam, it is appalling. I take the 
liberty, your Highness, for one moment, of address- 
ing you as a daughter, a loved although respected 
daughter ; and I must say that I cannot conceal from 

20 1 



THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK 

you that this is morally most questionable. And, 
O dear me, we have a dead body ! ' 

She had watched him closely ; hope fell to con- 
tempt ; she drew away her skirts from his weakness, 
and, in the act, her own strength returned to her. 

' See if he be dead,' she said ; not one word of 
explanation or defence ; she had scorned to justify 
herself before so poor a creature : ' See if he be dead ' 
was all. 

With the greatest compunction the Chancellor 
drew near; and as he did so the wounded Baron 
rolled his eyes. 

' He lives,' cried the old courtier, turning effusively 
to Seraphina. ' Madam, he still lives.' 

' Help him, then,' returned the Princess, standing 
fixed. ' Bind up his wound.' 

'Madam, I have no means,' protested the Chan- 
cellor. 

' Can you not take your handkerchief, your neck- 
cloth, anything ? ' she cried ; and at the same moment, 
from her light muslin gown she rent off a flounce and 
tossed it on the floor. ' Take that,' she said, and for 
the first time directly faced Greisengesang. 

But the Chancellor held up his hands and turned 
away his head in agony. The grasp of the falling 
Baron had torn down the dainty fabric of the bodice ; 
and — ' O Highness ! ' cried Greisengesang, appalled, 
' the terrible disorder of your toilette ! ' 

' Take up that flounce,' she said ; ' the man may 
die.' 

Greisengesang turned in a flutter to the Baron, and 
202 



OF THE REVOLUTION 

attempted some innocent and bungling measures. 
* He still breathes,' he kept saying. ' All is not yet 
over ; he is not yet gone.' 

* And now,' said she, ' if that is all you can do, 
begone and get some porters ; he must instantly go 
home.' 

'Madam,' cried the Chancellor, 'if this most 
melancholy sight were seen in town — O dear, the 
State would fall ! ' he piped. 

' There is a litter in the Palace,' she replied. • It 
is your part to see him safe. I lay commands upon 
you. On your life it stands.' 

' I see it, dear Highness,' he jerked. ' Clearly I see 
it. But how ? what men ? The Prince's servants — 
yes. They had a personal affection. They will be 
true, if any.' 

* O, not them ! ' she cried. « Take Sabra, my own 
man.' 

' Sabra ! The grand-mason ? ' returned the Chan- 
cellor, aghast. ' If he but saw this, he would sound 
the tocsin — we should all be butchered.' 

She measured the depth of her abasement steadily. 
' Take whom you must,' she said, ' and bring the litter 
here. ' 

Once she was alone she ran to the Baron, and 
with a sickening heart sought to allay the flux of 
blood. The touch of the skin of that great char- 
latan revolted her to the toes ; the wound, in her 
ignorant eyes, looked deathly ; yet she contended 
with her shuddering, and, with more skill at least 
than the Chancellor's, staunched the welling injury. 

203 



THE CAUSE AND OUTBREAK 

An eye unprejudiced with hate would have admired 
the Baron in his swoon ; he looked so great and 
shapely ; it was so powerful a machine that lay 
arrested ; and his features, cleared for the moment 
both of temper and dissimulation, were seen to be so 
purely modelled. But it was not thus with Seraphina. 
Her victim, as he lay outspread, twitching a little, his 
big chest unbared, fixed her with his ugliness ; and 
her mind flitted for a glimpse to Otto. 

Rumours began to sound about the Palace of feet 
running and of voices raised ; the echoes of the great 
arched staircase were voluble of some confusion ; and 
then the gallery jarred with a quick and heavy tramp. 
It was the Chancellor, followed by four of Otto's 
valets and a litter. The servants, when they were 
admitted, stared at the dishevelled Princess and the 
wounded man ; speech was denied them, but their 
thoughts were riddled with profanity. Gondremark 
was bundled in ; the curtains of the litter were 
lowered ; the bearers carried it forth, and the Chan- 
cellor followed behind with a white face. 

Seraphina ran to the window. Pressing her face 
upon the pane, she could see the terrace, where the 
lights contended ; thence, the avenue of lamps that 
joined the Palace and town ; and overhead the hollow 
night and the larger stars. Presently the small pro- 
cession issued from the Palace, crossed the parade, and 
began to thread the glittering alley : the swinging 
couch with its four porters, the much-pondering 
Chancellor behind. She watched them dwindle with 
strange thoughts : her eyes fixed upon the scene, her 
204 



OF THE REVOLUTION 

mind still glancing right and left on the overthrow of 
her life and hopes. There was no one left in whom 
she might confide ; none whose hand was friendly, or 
on whom she dared to reckon for the barest loyalty. 
With the fall of Gondremark, her party, her brief 
popularity, had fallen. So she sat crouched upon the 
window-seat, her brow to the cool pane ; her dress in 
tatters, barely shielding her ; her mind revolving bitter 
thoughts. 

Meanwhile, consequences were fast mounting ; and 
in the deceptive quiet of the night downfall and red 
revolt were brewing. The litter had passed forth 
between the iron gates and entered on the streets of 
the town. By what flying panic, by what thrill of 
air communicated, who shall say ? but the passing 
bustle in the Palace had already reached and re- 
echoed in the region of the burghers. Rumour, 
with her loud whisper, hissed about the town ; men 
left their homes without knowing why ; knots formed 
along the boulevard ; under the rare lamps and the 
great limes the crowd grew blacker. 

And now through the midst of that expectant 
company, the unusual sight of a closed litter was 
observed approaching, and trotting hard behind it 
that great dignitary Cancellarius Greisengesang. 
Silence looked on as it went by ; and as soon as it 
was passed, the whispering seethed over like a boiling 
pot. The knots were sundered ; and gradually, one 
following another, the whole mob began to form into 
a procession and escort the curtained litter. Soon 
spokesmen, a little bolder than their mates, began to 

205 



OUTBREAK OF THE REVOLUTION 

ply the Chancellor with questions. Never had he 
more need of that great art of falsehood, by whose 
exercise he had so richly lived. And yet now he 
stumbled, the master passion, fear, betraying him. 
He was pressed ; he became incoherent ; and then 
from the jolting litter came a groan. In the instant 
hubbub and the gathering of the crowd as to a natural 
signal, the clear-eyed quavering Chancellor heard the 
catch of the clock before it strikes the hour of doom ; 
and for ten seconds he forgot himself. This shall 
atone for many sins. He plucked a bearer by the 
sleeve. 'Bid the Princess flee. All is lost,' he 
whispered. And the next moment he was babbling 
for his life among the multitude. 

Five minutes later the wild-eyed servant burst 
into the armoury. ' All is lost ! ' he cried. « The 
Chancellor bids you flee.' And at the same time, 
looking through the window, Seraphina saw the black 
rush of the populace begin to invade the lamplit 
avenue. 

' Thank you, Georg,' she said. ' I thank you. 
Go.' And as the man still lingered, ' I bid you go,' 
she added. ' Save yourself. ' 

Down by the private passage, and just some two 
hours later, Amalia Seraphina, the last Princess, fol- 
lowed Otto Johann Friedrich, the last Prince of 
Griinewald. 



206 



BOOK III 
FORTUNATE MISFORTUNE 



CHAPTER I 

PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

The porter, drawn by the growing turmoil, had 
vanished from the postern, and the door stood open 
on the darkness of the night. As Seraphina fled up 
the terraces, the cries and loud footing of the mob 
drew nearer the doomed palace ; the rush was like 
the rush of cavalry ; the sound of shattering lamps 
tingled above the rest; and, overtowering all, she 
heard her own name bandied among the shouters. 
A bugle sounded at the door of the guard-room ; 
one gun was fired ; and then, with the yell of hun- 
dreds, Mittwalden Palace was carried at a rush. 

Sped by these dire sounds and voices, the Princess 
scaled the long garden, skimming like a bird the 
starlit stairways ; crossed the Park, which was in 
that place narrow ; and plunged upon the farther 
side into the rude shelter of the forest. So, at a 
bound, she left the discretion and the cheerful lamps 
of Palace evenings ; ceased utterly to be a sovereign 
lady ; and, falling from the whole height of civilisa- 
tion, ran forth into the woods, a ragged Cinderella, 
9 — o 209 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

She went direct before her through an open tract 
of the forest, full of brush and birches, and where 
the starlight guided her; and, beyond that again, 
must thread the columned blackness of a pine grove 
joining overhead the thatch of its long branches. 
At that hour the place was breathless ; a horror of 
night like a presence occupied that dungeon of the 
wood ; and she went groping, knocking against the 
boles — her ear, betweenwhiles, strained to aching 
and yet unrewarded. 

But the slope of the ground was upward, and 
encouraged her ; and presently she issued on a rocky 
hill that stood forth above the sea of forest. All 
around were other hill-tops, big and little ; sable vales 
of forest between ; overhead the open heaven and 
the brilliancy of countless stars ; and along the 
western sky the dim forms of mountains. The 
glory of the great night laid hold upon her ; her 
eyes shone with stars ; she dipped her sight into the 
coolness and brightness of the sky, as she might 
have dipped her wrist into a spring ; and her heart, 
at that ethereal shock, began to move more soberly. 
The sun that sails overhead, ploughing into gold the 
fields of daylight azure and uttering the signal to 
man's myriads, has no word apart for man the in- 
dividual; and the moon, like a violin, only praises 
and laments our private destiny. The stars alone, 
cheerful whisperers, confer quietly with each of us 
like friends ; they give ear to our sorrows smilingly, 
like wise old men, rich in tolerance; and by their 
double scale, so small to the eye, so vast to the 
210 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

imagination, they keep before the mind the double 
character of man's nature and fate. 

There sat the Princess, beautifully looking upon 
beauty, in council with these glad advisers. Bright 
like pictures, clear like a voice in the porches of her 
ear, memory re-enacted the tumult of the evening : 
the Countess and the dancing fan, the big Baron on 
his knees, the blood on the polished floor, the knock- 
ing, the swing of the litter down the avenue of lamps, 
the messenger, the cries of the charging mob ; and 
yet all were far away and phantasmal, and she was 
still healingly conscious of the peace and glory of the 
night. She looked towards Mittwalden ; and above 
the hill-top, which already hid it from her view, a 
throbbing redness hinted of fire. Better so : better 
so, that she should fall with tragic greatness, lit by a 
blazing palace ! She felt not a trace of pity for 
Gondremark or of concern for Griinewald : that 
period of her life was closed for ever, a wrench 
of wounded vanity alone surviving. She had but 
one clear idea : to flee ;— and another, obscure and 
half-rejected, although still obeyed : to flee in the 
direction of the Felsenburg. She had a duty to per- 
form, she must free Otto — so her mind said, very 
coldly ; but her heart embraced the notion of that 
duty even with ardour, and her hands began to yearn 
for the grasp of kindness. 

She rose, with a start of recollection, and plunged 
down the slope into the covert. The woods received 
and closed upon her. Once more, she wandered and 
hasted in a blot, uncheered, unpiloted. Here and 

211 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

there, indeed, through rents in the wood-roof, a 
glimmer attracted her ; here and there a tree stood 
out among its neighbours by some force of outline ; 
here and there a brushing among the leaves, a 
notable blackness, a dim shine, relieved, only to 
exaggerate, the solid oppression of the night and 
silence. And betweenwhiles, the unfeatured dark- 
ness would redouble and the whole ear of night 
appear to be gloating on her steps. Now she would 
stand still, and the silence would grow and grow, till 
it weighed upon her breathing ; and then she would 
address herself again to run, stumbling, falling, and 
still hurrying the more. And presently the whole 
wood rocked and began to run along with her. The 
noise of her own mad passage through the silence 
spread and echoed, and filled the night with terror. 
Panic hunted her : Panic from the trees reached 
forth with clutching branches ; the darkness was lit 
up and peopled with strange forms and faces. She 
strangled and fled before her fears. And yet in the 
last fortress, reason, blown upon by these gusts of 
terror, still shone with a troubled light. She knew, 
yet could not act upon her knowledge ; she knew 
that she must stop, and yet she still ran. 

She was already near madness, when she broke 
suddenly into a narrow clearing. At the same time 
the din grew louder, and she became conscious of 
vague forms and fields of whiteness. And with that 
the earth gave way ; she fell and found her feet again 
with an incredible shock to her senses, and her mind 
was swallowed up. 
212 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

When she came again to herself she was standing 
to the mid-leg in an icy eddy of a brook, and leaning 
with one hand on the rock from which it poured. 
The spray had wet her hair. She saw the white 
cascade, the stars wavering in the shaken pool, foam 
flitting, and high overhead the tall pines on either 
hand serenely drinking starshine ; and in the sudden 
quiet of her spirit she heard with joy the firm 
plunge of the cataract in the pool. She scrambled 
forth dripping. In the face of her proved weakness, 
to adventure again upon the horror of blackness in 
the groves were a suicide of life or reason. But 
here, in the alley of the brook, with the kind stars 
above her, and the moon presently swimming into 
sight, she could await the coming of day without 
alarm. 

This lane of pine-trees ran very rapidly down hill 
and wound among the woods ; but it was a wider 
thoroughfare than the brook needed, and here and 
there were little dimpling lawns and coves of the 
forest, where the starshine slumbered. Such a lawn 
she paced, taking patience bravely ; and now she 
looked up the hill and saw the brook coming down 
to her in a series of cascades ; and now approached 
the margin, where it welled among the rushes 
silently; and now gazed at the great company of 
heaven with an enduring wonder. The early even- 
ing had fallen chill, but the night was now tem- 
perate ; out of the recesses of the wood there came 
mild airs as from a deep and peaceful breathing ; 
and the dew was heavy on the grass and the tight- 

213 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

shut daisies. This was the girl's first night under 
the naked heaven ; and now that her fears were 
overpast, she was touched to the soul by its serene 
amenity and peace. Kindly the host of heaven 
blinked down upon that wandering Princess ; and 
the honest brook had no words but to encourage 
her. 

At last she began to be aware of a wonderful 
revolution, compared to which the fire of Mitt- 
walden Palace was but the crack and flash of a 
percussion-cap. The countenance with which the 
pines regarded her began insensibly to change ; the 
grass too, short as it was, and the whole winding 
staircase of the brook's course, began to wear a 
solemn freshness of appearance. And this slow 
transfiguration reached her heart, and played upon 
it, and transpierced it with a serious thrill. She 
looked all about ; the whole face of nature looked 
back, brimful of meaning, finger on lip, leaking its 
glad secret. She looked up. Heaven was almost 
emptied of stars. Such as still lingered shone with 
a changed and waning brightness, and began to faint 
in their stations. And the colour of the sky itself 
was the most wonderful ; for the rich blue of the 
night had now melted and softened and brightened ; 
and there had succeeded in its place a hue that has 
no name, and that is never seen but as the herald 
of morning. ' O ! ' she cried, joy catching at her 
voice, ' O ! it is the dawn ! ' 

In a breath she passed over the brook, and looped 
up her skirts and fairly ran in the dim alleys. As 
214 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

she ran, her ears were aware of many pipings, more 
beautiful than music ; in the small dish-shaped 
houses in the fork of giant arms, where they had 
lain all night, lover by lover, warmly pressed, the 
bright-eyed, big-hearted singers began to awaken 
for the day. Her heart melted and flowed forth 
to them in kindness. And they, from their small 
and high perches in the clerestories of the wood 
cathedral, peered down sidelong at the ragged Prin- 
cess as she flitted below them on the carpet of the 
moss and tassel. 

Soon she had struggled to a certain hill- top, and 
saw far before her the silent inflooding of the day. 
Out of the East it welled and whitened ; the dark- 
ness trembled into light; and the stars were ex- 
tinguished like the street-lamps of a human city. 
The whiteness brightened into silver, the silver 
warmed into gold, the gold kindled into pure and 
living fire; and the face of the East was barred 
with elemental scarlet. The day drew its first long 
breath, steady and chill; and for leagues around 
the woods sighed and shivered. And then, at one 
bound, the sun had floated up ; and her startled 
eyes received day's first arrow, and quailed under 
the buffet. On every side, the shadows leaped from 
their ambush and fell prone. The day was come, 
plain and garish ; and up the steep and solitary 
eastern heaven, the sun, victorious over his com- 
petitors, continued slowly and royally to mount. 

Seraphina drooped for a little, leaning on a pine, 
the shrill joy of the woodlands mocking her. The 

215 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

shelter of the night, the thrilling and joyous changes 
of the dawn, were over ; and now, in the hot eye of 
the day, she turned uneasily and looked sighingly 
about her. Some way off among the lower woods 
a pillar of smoke was mounting and melting in the 
gold and blue. There, surely enough, were human 
folk, the hearth-surrounders. Man's fingers had laid 
the twigs ; it was man's breath that had quickened 
and encouraged the baby flames ; and now, as the 
fire caught, it would be playing ruddily on the face 
of its creator. At the thought, she felt a-cold and 
little and lost in that great out-of-doors. The 
electric shock of the young sunbeams and the un- 
human beauty of the woods began to irk and daunt 
her. The covert of the house, the decent privacy of 
rooms, the swept and regulated fire, all that denotes 
or beautifies the home life of man, began to draw 
her as with cords. The pillar of smoke was now 
risen into some stream of moving air ; it began to 
lean out sideways in a pennon ; and thereupon, as 
though the change had been a summons, Seraphina 
plunged once more into the labyrinth of the wood. 

She left day upon the high ground. In the lower 
groves there still lingered the blue early twilight and 
the seizing freshness of the dew. But here and 
there, above this field of shadow, the head of a great 
outspread pine was already glorious with day ; and 
here and there, through the breaches of the hills, the 
sunbeams made a great and luminous entry. Here 
Seraphina hastened along forest paths. She had lost 
sight of the pilot smoke, which blew another way, 
216 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

and conducted herself in that great wilderness by 
the direction of the sun. But presently fresh signs 
bespoke the neighbourhood of man ; felled trunks, 
white slivers from the axe, bundles of green boughs, 
and stacks of firewood. These guided her forward ; 
until she came forth at last upon the clearing whence 
the smoke arose. A hut stood in the clear shadow, 
hard by a brook which made a series of inconsider- 
able falls ; and on the threshold the Princess saw 
a sun-burnt and hard-featured woodman, standing 
with his hands behind his back and gazing sky- 
ward. 

She went to him directly : a beautiful, bright- 
eyed, and haggard vision ; splendidly arrayed and 
pitifully tattered ; the diamond ear-drops still glit- 
tering in her ears ; and with the movement of 
her coining, one small breast showing and hiding 
among the ragged covert of the laces. At that 
ambiguous hour, and coming as she did from the 
great silence of the forest, the man drew back from 
the Princess as from something elfin. 

' I am cold,' she said, ' and weary. Let me rest 
beside your fire.' 

The woodman was visibly commoved, but answered 
nothing. 

' I will pay,' she said, and then repented of the 
words, catching perhaps a spark of terror from his 
frightened eyes. But, as usual, her courage re- 
kindled brighter for the check. She put him from 
the door and entered ; and he followed her in super- 
stitious wonder. 

217 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

Within, the hut was rough and dark ; but on the 
stone that served as hearth, twigs and a few dry 
branches burned with the brisk sounds and all the 
variable beauty of fire. The very sight of it com- 
posed her ; she crouched hard by on the earth floor 
and shivered in the glow, and looked upon the 
eating blaze with admiration. The woodman was 
still staring at his guest ; at the wreck of the rich 
dress, the bare arms, the bedraggled laces and the 
gems. He found no word to utter. 

' Give me food,' said she, — * here, by the fire.' 

He set down a pitcher of coarse wine, bread, 
a piece of cheese, and a handful of raw onions. 
The bread was hard and sour, the cheese like 
leather; even the onion, which ranks with the 
truffle and the nectarine in the chief place of 
honour of earth's fruits, is not perhaps a dish for 
princesses when raw. But she ate, if not with 
appetite, with courage ; and when she had eaten, 
did not disdain the pitcher. In all her life before, 
she had not tasted of gross food nor drunk after 
another ; but a brave woman far more readily 
accepts a change of circumstances than the bravest 
man. All that while, the woodman continued to 
observe her furtively, many low thoughts of fear 
and greed contending in his eyes. She read them 
clearly, and she knew she must be gone. 

Presently she arose and offered him a florin. 

' Will that repay you ? ' she asked. 

But here the man found his tongue. 'I must 
have more than that,' said he. 
218 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

' It is all I have to give you,' she returned, and 
passed him by serenely. 

Yet her heart trembled, for she saw his hand 
stretched forth as if to arrest her, and his unsteady 
eyes wandering to his axe. A beaten path led west- 
ward from the clearing, and she swiftly followed it 
She did not glance behind her. But as soon as the 
least turning of the path had concealed her from the 
woodman's eyes, she slipped among the trees and 
ran till she deemed herself in safety. 

By this time the strong sunshine pierced in a 
thousand places the pine-thatch of the forest, fired 
the red boles, irradiated the cool aisles of shadow, 
and burned in jewels on the grass. The gum of 
these trees was dearer to the senses than the gums 
of Araby ; each pine, in the lusty morning sunlight, 
burned its own wood-incense ; and now and then a 
breeze would rise and toss these rooted censers, and 
send shade and sun-gem flitting, swift as swallows, 
thick as bees ; and wake a brushing bustle of sounds 
that murmured and went by. 

On she passed, and up and down, in sun and 
shadow ; now aloft on the bare ridge among the 
rocks and birches, with the lizards and the snakes ; 
and anon in the deep grove among sunless pillars. 
Now she followed wandering wood-paths, in the 
maze of valleys ; and again, from a hill- top, beheld 
the distant mountains and the great birds circling 
under the sky. She would see afar off a nestling 
hamlet, and go round to avoid it. Below, she traced 
the course of the foam of mountain torrents. Nearer 

219 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

hand, she saw where the tender springs welled up in 
silence, or oozed in green moss ; or in the more 
favoured hollows a whole family of infant rivers 
would combine, and tinkle in the stones, and lie in 
pools to be a bathing-place for sparrows, or fall from 
the sheer rock in rods of crystal. Upon all these 
things, as she still sped along in the bright air, she 
looked with a rapture of surprise and a joyful faint- 
ing of the heart ; they seemed so novel, they touched 
so strangely home, they were so hued and scented, 
they were so beset and canopied by the dome of the 
blue air of heaven. 

At length, when she was well weary, she came 
upon a wide and shallow pool. Stones stood in it, 
like islands ; bulrushes fringed the coast ; the floor 
was paved with the pine needles ; and the pines 
themselves, whose roots made promontories, looked 
down silently on their green images. She crept to 
the margin and beheld herself with wonder, a hollow 
and bright-eyed phantom, in the ruins of her palace 
robe. The breeze now shook her image ; now it 
would be marred with flies ; and at that she smiled ; 
and from the fading circles, her counterpart smiled 
back to her and looked kind. She sat long in the 
warm sun, and pitied her bare arms that were all 
bruised and marred with falling, and marvelled to 
see that she was dirty, and could not grow to believe 
that she had gone so long in such a strange disorder. 

Then, with a sigh, she addressed herself to make a 
toilet by that forest mirror, washed herself pure from 
all the stains of her adventure, took off her jewels 
220 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

and wrapped them in her handkerchief, re-arranged 
the tatters of her dress, and took down the folds of 
her hair. She shook it round her face, and the pool 
repeated her thus veiled. Her hair had smelt like 
violets, she remembered Otto saying ; and so now 
she tried to smell it, and then shook her head, and 
laughed a little, sadly, to herself. 

The laugh was returned upon her in a childish 
echo. She looked up ; and lo ! two children look- 
ing on, — a small girl and a yet smaller boy, standing, 
like playthings, by the pool, below a spreading pine. 
Seraphina was not fond of children, and now she 
was startled to the heart. 

' Who are you ? ' she cried hoarsely. 

The mites huddled together and drew back ; and 
Seraphina's heart reproached her that she should 
have frightened things so quaint and little, and yet 
alive with senses. She thought upon the birds and 
looked again at her two visitors ; so little larger and 
so far more innocent. On their clear faces, as in a 
pool, she saw the reflection of their fears. With 
gracious purpose she arose. 

'Come,' she said, 'do not be afraid of me,' and 
took a step towards them. 

But alas ! at the first moment the two poor babes 
in the wood turned and ran helter-skelter from the 
Princess. 

The most desolate pang was struck into the girl's 
heart. Here she was, twenty-two — soon twenty- 
three — and not a creature loved her ; none but 
Otto ; and would even he forgive ? If she began 

221 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

weeping in these woods alone, it would mean death 
or madness. Hastily she trod the thoughts out like 
a burning paper; hastily rolled up her locks, and 
with terror dogging her, and her whole bosom sick 
with grief, resumed her journey. 

Past ten in the forenoon, she struck a high-road, 
marching in that place uphill between two stately 
groves, a river of sunlight; and here, dead weary, 
careless of consequences, and taking some courage 
from the human and civilised neighbourhood of the 
road, she stretched herself on the green margin in 
the shadow of a tree. Sleep closed on her, at first 
with a horror of fainting, but when she ceased to 
struggle, kindly embracing her. So she was taken 
home for a little, from all her toils and sorrows, to 
her Father's arms. And there in the meanwhile her 
body lay exposed by the highwayside, in tattered 
finery ; and on either hand from the woods the 
birds came flying by and calling upon others, and 
debated in their own tongue this strange appear- 
ance. 

The sun pursued his journey ; the shadow flitted 
from her feet, shrank higher and higher, and was 
upon the point of leaving her altogether, when the 
rumble of a coach was signalled to and fro by 
the birds. The road in that part was very steep ; the 
rumble drew near with great deliberation ; and ten 
minutes passed before a gentleman appeared, walk- 
ing with a sober elderly gait upon the grassy margin 
of the highway, and looking pleasantly around him 
as he walked. From time to time he paused, took 

222 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

out his note-book and made an entry with a pencil ; 
and any spy who had been near enough would have 
heard him mumbling words as though he were a poet 
testing verses. The voice of the wheels was still 
faint, and it was plain the traveller had far out- 
stripped his carriage. 

He had drawn very near to where the Princess lay 
asleep, before his eye alighted on her; but when 
it did he started, pocketed his note-book, and 
approached. There was a milestone close to where 
she lay ; and he sat down on that and coolly studied 
her. She lay upon one side, all curled and sunken, 
her brow on one bare arm, the other stretched out, 
limp and dimpled. Her young body, like a thing 
thrown down, had scarce a mark of life. Her breath- 
ing stirred her not. The deadliest fatigue was thus 
confessed in every language of the sleeping flesh. 
The traveller smiled grimly. As though he had 
looked upon a statue, he made a grudging inventory 
of her charms : the figure in that touching freedom 
of forgetfulness surprised him ; the flush of slumber 
became her like a flower. 

' Upon my word,' he thought, ' I did not think the 
girl could be so pretty. And to think,' he added, 
* that I am under obligation not to use one word of 
this ! ' 

He put forth his stick and touched her ; and at 
that she awoke, sat up with a cry, and looked upon 
him wildly. 

* I trust your Highness has slept well,' he said, 
nodding. 

223 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

But she only uttered sounds. 

' Compose yourself,' said he, giving her certainly a 
brave example in his own demeanour. • My chaise 
is close at hand ; and I shall have, I trust, the 
singular entertainment of abducting a sovereign 
Princess.' 

' Sir John ! ' she said at last. 

' At your Higlmess's disposal,' he replied. 

She sprang to her feet. ' O,' she cried, 'have you 
come from Mittwalden ? ' 

' This morning,' he returned, ' I left it ; and if 
there is any one less likely to return to it than 
yourself, behold him ! ' 

' The Baron ' she began, and paused. 

'Madam,' he answered, 'it was well meant, and 
you are quite a Judith ; but after the hours that 
have elapsed you will probably be relieved to hear 
that he is fairly well. I took his news this morning 
ere I left. Doing fairly well, they said, but suffer- 
ing acutely. Hey ? — acutely. They could hear his 
groans in the next room.' 

' And the Prince,' she asked, ' is anything known 
of him ? ' 

' It is reported,' replied Sir John, with the same 
pleasurable deliberation, ' that upon that point your 
Highness is the best authority.' 

' Sir John,' she said eagerly, ' you were generous 

enough to speak about your carriage. Will you, I 

beseech you, will you take me to the Felsenburg ? 

I have business there of an extreme importance.' 

' I can refuse you nothing,' replied the old gentle- 

224 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

man, gravely and seriously enough. 'Whatever, 
madam, it is in my power to do for you, that shall 
be done with pleasure. As soon as my chaise shall 
overtake us, it is yours to carry you where you will. 
But,' added he, reverting to his former manner, 'I 
observe you ask me nothing of the Palace.' 

'I do not care,' she said. 'I thought I saw it 
burning.' 

' Prodigious ! ' said the Baronet. ' You thought ? 
And can the loss of forty toilettes leave you cold ? 
Well, madam, I admire your fortitude. And the 
state, too ? As I left, the government was sitting — 
the new government, of which at least two members 
must be known to you by name : Sabra, who had, 
I believe, the benefit of being formed in your em- 
ployment — a footman, — am I right? — and our old 
friend the Chancellor, in something of a subaltern 
position. But in these convulsions the last shall 
be first, and the first last.' 

' Sir John,' she said with an air of perfect honesty, 
' I am sure you mean most kindly, but these matters 
have no interest for me.' 

The Baronet was so utterly discountenanced that 
he hailed the appearance of his chaise with welcome, 
and, by way of saying something, proposed that 
they should walk back to meet it. So it was done ; 
and he helped her in with courtesy, mounted to her 
side, and from various receptacles (for the chaise 
was most completely fitted out) produced fruits and 
truffled liver, beautiful white bread, and a bottle of 
delicate wine. With these he served her like a 
9— p 225 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

father, coaxing and praising her to fresh exertions ; 
and during all that time, as though silenced by the 
laws of hospitality, he was not guilty of the shadow 
of a sneer. Indeed, his kindness seemed so genuine 
that Seraphina was moved to gratitude. 

' Sir John,' she said, ' you hate me in your heart ; 
why are you so kind to me ? ' 

'Ah, my good lady,' said he, with no disclaimer 
of the accusation, 'I have the honour to be much 
your husband's friend, and somewhat his admirer.' 

' You ! ' she cried. ' They told me you wrote 
cruelly of both of us.' 

' Such was the strange path by which we grew 
acquainted,' said Sir John. ' I had written, madam, 
with particular cruelty (since that shall be the 
phrase) of your fair self. Your husband set me at 
liberty, gave me a passport, ordered a carriage, and 
then, with the most boyish spirit, challenged me to 
fight. Knowing the nature of his married life, I 
thought the dash and loyalty he showed delightful. 
" Do not be afraid," says he ; " if I am killed, there 
is nobody to miss me." It appears you subsequently 
thought of that yourself. But I digress. I explained 
to him it was impossible that I could fight ! " Not 
if I strike you ? " says he. Very droll ; I wish I 
could have put it in my book. However, I was 
conquered, took the young gentleman to my high 
favour, and tore up my bits of scandal on the spot. 
That is one of the little favours, madam, that you 
owe your husband.' 

Seraphina sat for some while in silence. She 
226 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

could bear to be misjudged without a pang by those 
whom she contemned; she had none of Otto's 
eagerness to be approved, but went her own way 
straight and head in air. To Sir John, however, 
after what he had said, and as her husband's friend, 
she was prepared to stoop. 

' What do you think of me ? ' she asked abruptly. 

' I have told you already,' said Sir John. ' I think 
you want another glass of my good wine.' 

'Come,' she said, 'this is unlike you. You are 
not wont to be afraid. You say that you admire my 
husband : in his name, be honest.' 

'I admire your courage,' said the Baronet. 'Be- 
yond that, as you have guessed, and indeed said, our 
natures are not sympathetic' 

'You spoke of scandal,' pursued Seraphina. ' Was 
the scandal great ? ' 

' It was considerable,' said Sir John. 

' And you believed it ? ' she demanded. 

' O, madam,' said Sir John, ' the question ! ' 

' Thank you for that answer ! ' cried Seraphina. 
' And now here, I will tell you, upon my honour, 
upon my soul, in spite of all the scandal in this 
world, I am as true a wife as ever stood.' 

' We should probably not agree upon a definition,' 
observed Sir John. 

' O ! ' she cried, ' I have abominably used him — I 
know that ; it is not that I mean. But if you 
admire my husband, I insist that you shall under- 
stand me : I can look him in the face without a 
blush.' 

227 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

' It may be, madam,' said Sir John ; ' nor have I 
presumed to think the contrary.' 

' You will not believe me ? ' she cried. ' You think 
I am a guilty wife ? You think he was my lover ? ' 

' Madam,' returned the Baronet, ' when I tore up 
my papers I promised your good husband to concern 
myself no more with your affairs ; and I assure you 
for the last time that I have no desire to judge you.' 

* But you will not acquit me ! Ah ! ' she cried, 
* he will — he knows me better ! ' 

Sir John smiled. 

* You smile at my distress ? ' asked Seraphina. 

8 At your woman's coolness,' said Sir John. ' A 
man would scarce have had the courage of that cry, 
which was, for all that, very natural, and I make no 
doubt quite true. But remark, madam — since you 
do me the honour to consult me gravely — I have no 
pity for what you call your distresses. You have 
been completely selfish, and now reap the conse- 
quence. Had you once thought of your husband, 
instead of singly thinking of yourself, you would not 
now have been alone, a fugitive, with blood upon 
your hands, and hearing from a morose old English- 
man truth more bitter than scandal.' 

' I thank you,' she said, quivering. ' This is very 
true. Will you stop the carriage ?. ' 

'No, child,' said Sir John, 'not until I see you 
mistress of yourself.' 

There was a long pause, during which the carriage 
rolled by rock and woodland. 

' And now,' she resumed, with perfect steadiness, 
228 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

* will you consider me composed ? I request you, as 
a gentleman, to let me out.' 

' I think you do unwisely,' he replied. ' Continue, 
if you please, to use my carriage.' 

' Sir John,' she said, ' if death were sitting on that 
pile of stones I would alight ! I do not blame,p 
thank you ; I now know how I appear to others ; 
but sooner than draw breath beside a man who can 

so think of me, I would O ! ' she cried, and was 

silent. 

Sir John pulled the string, alighted, and offered 
her his hand, but she refused the help. 

The road had now issued from the valleys in which 
it had been winding, and come to that part of its 
course where it runs, like a corniqe, along the brow 
of the steep northward face of Grunewald. The 
place where they had alighted was at a salient angle ; 
a bold rock and some wind-tortured pine-trees 
overhung it from above ; far below the blue plains 
lay forth and melted into heaven ; and before them 
the road, by a succession of bold zigzags, was seen 
mounting to where a tower upon a tall cliff closed 
the view. 

' There,' said the Baronet, pointing to the tower, 
'you see the Felsenburg, your goal. I wish you 
a good journey, and regret I cannot be of more 
assistance.' 

He mounted to his place and gave a signal, and 
the carriage rolled away. 

Seraphina stood by the wayside, gazing before her 
with blind eyes. Sir John she had dismissed already 

229 



PRINCESS CINDERELLA 

from her mind : she hated him, that was enough ; 
for whatever Seraphina hated or contemned fell 
instantly to Lilliputian smallness, and was thence- 
forward steadily ignored in thought. And now she 
had matter for concern indeed. Her interview with 
Otto, which she had never yet forgiven him, began 
to appear before her in a very different light. He 
had come to her, still thrilling under recent insult, 
and not yet breathed from fighting her own cause ; 
and how that knowledge changed the value of his 
words ! Yes, he must have loved her ; this was a 
brave feeling — it was no mere weakness of the will. 
And she, was she incapable of love? It would 
appear so ; and she swallowed her tears, and yearned 
to see Otto, to explain all, to ask pity upon her 
knees for her transgressions, and, if all else were now 
beyond the reach of reparation, to restore at least 
the liberty of which she had deprived him. 

Swiftly she sped along the highway, and, as the 
road wound out and in about the bluffs and gullies 
of the mountain, saw and lost by glimpses the tall 
tower that stood before and above her, purpled by 
the mountain air. 



230 



CHAPTER II 

TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE 

When Otto mounted to his rolling prison he found 
another occupant in a corner of the front seat ; but 
as this person hung his head and the brightness of 
the carriage-lamps shone outward, the Prince could 
only see it was a man. The Colonel followed his 
prisoner and clapped-to the door ; and at that the 
four horses broke immediately into a swinging trot. 

'Gentlemen,' said the Colonel, after some little 
while had passed, ' if we are to travel in silence, we 
might as well be at home. I appear, of course, in an 
invidious character ; but I am a man of taste, fond 
of books and solidly informing talk, and unfortunately 
condemned for life to the guard-room. Gentlemen, 
this is my chance: don't spoil it for me. I have 
here the pick of the whole court, barring lovely 
woman ; I have a great author in the person of the 
Doctor ' 

' Gotthold ! ' cried Otto. 

'It appears,' said the Doctor bitterly, 'that we 
must go together. Your Highness had not calculated 
upon that.' 

231 



TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE 

'What do you infer?' cried Otto; 'that I had 
you arrested ? ' 

' The inference is simple,' said the Doctor. 

' Colonel Gordon,' said the Prince, ' oblige me so 
far, and set me right with Herr von Hohenstock- 
witz.' 

* Gentlemen,' said the Colonel, ' you are both 
arrested on the same warrant in the name of the 
Princess Seraphina, acting regent, countersigned by 
Prime Minister Freiherr von Gondremark, and dated 
the day before yesterday, the twelfth. I reveal to 
you the secrets of the prison-house,' he added. 

'Otto,' said Gotthold, 'I ask you to pardon my 
suspicions.' 

* Gotthold,' said the Prince, ' I am not certain I 
can grant you that.' 

' Your Highness is, I am sure, far too magnanimous 
to hesitate,' said the Colonel. ' But allow me : we 
speak at home in my religion of the means of grace : 
and I now propose to offer them.' So saying, the 
Colonel lighted a bright lamp which he attached to 
one side of the carriage, and from below the front 
seat produced a goodly basket adorned with the 
long necks of bottles. ' Tu spent reducis — how 
does it go, Doctor?' he asked gaily. 'I am, in 
a sense, your host; and I am sure you are both 
far too considerate of my embarrassing position to 
refuse to do me honour. Gentlemen, I drink to the 
Prince ! ' 

* Colonel,' said Otto, ' we have a jovial entertainer. 
I drink to Colonel Gordon.' 

232 



TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE 

Thereupon all three took their wine very plea- 
santly ; and even as they did so, the carriage with a 
lurch turned into the high-road and began to make 
better speed. 

All was bright within ; the wine had coloured 
Gotthold's cheek; dim forms of forest trees, dwindling 
and spiring, scarves of the starry sky, now wide and 
now narrow, raced past the windows ; through one 
that was left open the air of the woods came in with 
a nocturnal raciness ; and the roll of wheels and the 
tune of the trotting horses sounded merrily on the 
ear. Toast followed toast ; glass after glass was 
bowed across and emptied by the trio ; and presently 
there began to fall upon them a luxurious spell, 
under the influence of which little but the sound of 
quiet and confidential laughter interrupted the long 
intervals of meditative silence. 

'Otto,' said Gotthold, after one of these seasons 
of quiet, ' I do not ask you to forgive me. Were 
the parts reversed, I could not forgive you.' 

' Well,' said Otto, ' it is a phrase we use. I do 
forgive you, but your words and your suspicions 
rankle ; and not yours alone. It is idle, Colonel 
Gordon, in view of the order you are carrying out, 
to conceal from you the dissensions of my family ; 
they have gone so far that they are now public 
property. Well, gentlemen, can I forgive my wife ? 
I can, of course, and do ; but in what sense ? I 
would certainly not stoop to any revenge ; as cer- 
tainly I could not think of her but as one changed 
beyond my recognition.' 

2 33 



TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE 

'Allow me,' returned the Colonel. 'You will 
permit me to hope that I am addressing Christians ? 
We are all conscious, I trust, that we are miserable 
sinners.' 

' I disown the consciousness,' said Gotthold. 
' Warmed with this good fluid, I deny your thesis.' 

' How, sir ? You never did anything wrong ? and 
I heard you asking pardon but this moment, not of 
your God, sir, but of a common fellow- worm ! ' the 
Colonel cried. 

' I own you have me ; you are expert in argument, 
Herr Oberst,' said the Doctor. 

' Begad, sir, I am proud to hear you say so,' said 
the Colonel. ' I was well grounded indeed at 
Aberdeen. And as for this matter of forgiveness, 
it comes, sir, of loose views and (what is if anything 
more dangerous) a regular life. A sound creed and 
a bad morality, that's the root of wisdom. You 
two gentlemen are too good to be forgiving.' 

' The paradox is somewhat forced,' said Gotthold. 

'Pardon me, Colonel,' said the Prince; 'I readily 
acquit you of any design of offence, but your words 
bite like satire. Is this a time, do you think, when 
I can wish to hear myself called good, now that I 
am paying the penalty (and am willing like yourself 
to think it just) of my prolonged misconduct ? ' 

' O, pardon me ! ' cried the Colonel. ' You have 
never been expelled from the divinity hall ; you 
have never been broke. I was : broke for a neglect 
of military duty. To tell you the open truth, your 
Highness, I was the worse of drink ; it 's a thing I 
234 



TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE 

never do now,' he added, taking out his glass. ' But 
a man, you see, who has really tasted the defects of 
his own character, as I have, and has come to regard 
himself as a kind of blind teetotum knocking about 
life, begins to learn a very different view about for- 
giveness. I will talk of not forgiving others, sir, 
when I have made out to forgive myself, and not 
before ; and the date is like to be a long one. My 
father, the Reverend Alexander Gordon, was a good 
man, and damned hard upon others. I am what 
they call a bad one, and that is just the difference. 
The man who cannot forgive any mortal thing is a 
green hand in life.' 

'And yet I have heard of you, Colonel, as a 
duellist,' said Gotthold. 

' A different thing, sir,' replied the soldier. ' Pro- 
fessional etiquette. And I trust without unchristian 
feeling.' 

Presently after the Colonel fell into a deep sleep ; 
and his companions looked upon each other, smiling. 

' An odd fish,' said Gotthold. 

' And a strange guardian,' said the Prince. 'Yet 
what he said was true.' 

' Rightly looked upon,' mused Gotthold, ' it is 
ourselves that we cannot forgive, when we refuse 
forgiveness to our friend. Some strand of our own 
misdoing is involved in every quarrel.' 

'Are there not offences that disgrace the par- 
doner ? ' asked Otto. ' Are there not bounds of self- 
respect ? ' 

'Otto,' said Gotthold, 'does any man respect 

235 



TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE 

himself ? To this poor waif of a soldier of fortune 
we may seem respectable gentlemen; but to our- 
selves, what are we unless a pasteboard portico and 
a deliquium of deadly weaknesses within ? ' 

* I ? yes,' said Otto ; ' but you, Gotthold — you, 
with your interminable industry, your keen mind, 
your books — serving mankind, scorning pleasures 
and temptations ! You do not know how I envy 
you.' 

' Otto,' said the Doctor, * in one word, and a bitter 
one to say : I am a secret tippler. Yes, I drink too 
much. The habit has robbed these very books, to 
which you praise my devotion, of the merits that 
they should have had. It has spoiled my temper. 
When I spoke to you the other day, how much of 
my warmth was in the cause of virtue ? how much 
was the fever of last night's wine ? Ay, as my poor 
fellow-sot there said, and as I vaingloriously denied, 
we are all miserable sinners, put here for a moment, 
knowing the good, choosing the evil, standing naked 
and ashamed in the eye of God.' 

' Is it so ? ' said Otto. * Why, then, what are we ? 
Are the very best ' 

* There is no best in man,' said Gotthold. ' I am 
not better, it is likely I am not worse, than you or 
that poor sleeper. I was a sham, and now you know 
me : that is all.' 

'And yet it has not changed my love,' returned 

Otto softly. * Our misdeeds do not change us. 

Gotthold, fill your glass. Let us drink to what is 

good in this bad business ; let us drink to our old 

236 



TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE 

affection ; and, when we have done so, forgive your 
too just grounds of offence, and drink with me to 
my wife, whom I have so misused, who has so 
misused me, and whom I have left, I fear, I greatly 
fear, in danger. What matters it how bad we are, 
if others can still love us, and we can still love 
others ? ' 

' Ay ! ' replied the Doctor. ' It is very well said. 
It is the true answer to the pessimist, and the stand- 
ing miracle of mankind. So you still love me ? and 
so you can forgive your wife ? Why, then, we may 
bid conscience " Down, dog," like an ill-trained 
puppy yapping at shadows.' 

The pair fell into silence, the Doctor tapping on 
his empty glass. 

The carriage swung forth out of the valleys on 
that open balcony of high-road that runs along the 
front of Griinewald, looking down on Gerolstein. 
Far below, a white waterfall was shining to the stars 
from the falling skirts of forest, and beyond that, the 
night stood naked above the plain. On the other 
hand, the lamplight skimmed the face of the preci- 
pices, and the dwarf pine-trees twinkled with all 
their needles, and were gone again into the wake. 
The granite roadway thundered under wheels and 
hoofs ; and at times, by reason of its continual 
winding, Otto could see the escort on the other side 
of a ravine, riding well together in the night. Pre- 
sently the Felsenburg came plainly in view, some 
way above them, on a bold projection of the moun- 
tain, and planting its bulk against the starry sky. 

237 



TREATS OF A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE 

' See, Gotthold,' said the Prince, 'our destination.' 

Gotthold awoke as from a trance. 

'I was thinking,' said he, 'if there is any danger, 
why did you not resist ? I was told you came of 
your free will ; but should you not be there to help 
her? ' 

The colour faded from the Prince's cheeks. 



238 



CHAPTER III 

PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN : ACT THE LAST 
IN WHICH SHE GALLOPS OFF 

When the busy Countess came forth from her inter- 
view with Seraphina, it is not too much to say that 
she was beginning to be terribly afraid. She paused 
in the corridor and reckoned up her doings with an 
eye to Gondremark. The fan was in requisition in 
an instant ; but her disquiet was beyond the reach 
of fanning. ' The girl has lost her head,' she thought; 
and then dismally, ' I have gone too far.' She in- 
stantly decided on secession. Now the Mons Sacer 
of the Frau von Rosen was a certain rustic villa in 
the forest, called by herself, in a smart attack of 
poesy, Tannen Zauber, and by everybody else plain 
Kleinbrunn. 

Thither, upon the thought, she furiously drove, 
passing Gondremark at the entrance to the Palace 
avenue, but feigning not to observe him ; and as 
Kleinbrunn was seven good miles away, and in the 
bottom of a narrow dell, she passed the night with- 
out any rumour of the outbreak reaching her ; and 

239 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

the glow of the conflagration was concealed by inter- 
vening hills. Frau von Rosen did not sleep well ; 
she was seriously uneasy as to the results of her 
delightful evening, and saw herself condemned to 
quite a lengthy sojourn in her deserts and a long 
defensive correspondence, ere she could venture to 
return to Gondremark. On the other hand, she 
examined, by way of pastime, the deeds she had 
received from Otto ; and even here saw cause for 
disappointment. In these troublous days she had 
no taste for landed property, and she was convinced, 
besides, that Otto had paid dearer than the farm was 
worth. Lastly, the order for the Prince's release 
fairly burned her meddling fingers. 

All things considered, the next day beheld an 
elegant and beautiful lady, in a riding-habit and a 
flapping hat, draw bridle at the gate of the Felsen- 
burg, not perhaps with any clear idea of her purpose 
but with her usual experimental views on life. 
Governor Gordon, summoned to the gate, welcomed 
the omnipotent Countess with his most gallant bear- 
ing, though it was wonderful how old he looked in 
the morning. 

'Ah, Governor,' she said, 'we have surprises for 
you, sir,' and nodded at him meaningly. 

' Eh, madam, leave me my prisoners,' he said ; 
' and if you will but join the band, begad, I '11 be 
happy for life.' 

' You would spoil me, would you not ? ' she asked. 

' I would try, I would try,' returned the Governor, 
and he offered her his arm. 
240 



GALLOPS OFF 

She took it, picked up her skirt, and drew him 
close to her. ' I have come to see the Prince,' she 
said. ' Now, infidel ! on business. A message from 
that stupid Gondremark, who keeps me running like 
a courier. Do I look like one, Herr Gordon ? ' And 
she planted her eyes in him. 

'You look like an angel, ma'am,' returned the 
Governor, with a great air of finished gallantry. 

The Countess laughed. * An angel on horseback ! ' 
she said. ' Quick work.' 

'You came, you saw, you conquered,' flourished 
Gordon, in high good humour with his own wit and 
grace. 'We toasted you, madam, in the carriage, 
in an excellent good glass of wine ; toasted you 
fathom deep ; the finest woman, with, begad, the 
finest eyes in Griinewald. I never saw the like of 
them but once, in my own country, when I was a 
young fool at College : Thomasina Haig her name 
was. I give you my word of honour, she was as like 
you as two peas.' 

' And so you were merry in the carriage ? ' asked 
the Countess, gracefully dissembling a yawn. 

' We were ; we had a very pleasant conversation ; 
but we took perhaps a glass more than that fine 
fellow of a Prince has been accustomed to,' said the 
Governor ; ' and I observe this morning that he 
seems a little off his mettle. We '11 get him mellow 
again ere bedtime. This is his door.' 

'Well,' she whispered, 'let me get my breath. 
No, no ; wait. Have the door ready to open.' And 
the Countess, standing like one inspired, shook out 
9— Q 241 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

her fine voice in ' Lascia ch'io pianga ' ; and when 
she had reached the proper point, and lyrically 
uttered forth her sighings after liberty, the door, at 
a sign, was flung wide open, and she swam into the 
Prince's sight, bright-eyed, and with her colour 
somewhat freshened by the exercise of singing. It 
was a great dramatic entrance, and to the somewhat 
doleful prisoner within the sight was sunshine. 

' Ah, madam,' he cried, running to her — ' you 
here ! ' 

She looked meaningly at Gordon ; and as soon as 
the door was closed she fell on Otto's neck. ' To 
see you here ! ' she moaned and clung to him. 

But the Prince stood somewhat stiffly in that en- 
viable situation, and the Countess instantly recovered 
from her outburst. 

' Poor child,' she said, ' poor child ! Sit down 
beside me here, and tell me all about it. My heart 
really bleeds to see you. How does time go ? ' 

* Madam,' replied the Prince, sitting down beside 
her, his gallantry recovered, ' the time will now go 
all too quickly till you leave. But I must ask you 
for the news. I have most bitterly condemned my- 
self for my inertia of last night. You wisely coun- 
selled me : it was my duty to resist. You wisely 
and nobly counselled me ; I have since thought of it 
with wonder. You have a noble heart.' 

* Otto,' she said, * spare me. Was it even right, 
I wonder ? I have duties, too, you poor child ; and 
when I see you they all melt — all my good resolu- 
tions fly away.' 

242 



GALLOPS OFF 

* And mine still come too late,' he replied, sighing. 
' O, what would I not give to have resisted ? 
What would I not give for freedom ? ' 

* Well, what would you give ? ' she asked ; and 
the red fan was spread; only her eyes, as if from 
over battlements, brightly surveyed him. 

' I ? What do you mean ? Madam, you have 
some news for me,' he cried. 

■ O, O ! ' said madam dubiously. 

He was at her feet. ' Do not trifle ..with my 
hopes,' he pleaded. ' Tell me, dearest Madame von 
Rosen, tell me ! You cannot be cruel : it is not in 
your nature. Give ? I can give nothing ; I have 
nothing ; I can only plead in mercy.' 

' Do not,' she said ; ' it is not fair. Otto, you know 
my weakness. Spare me. Be generous. 

* O, madam,' he said, ' it is for you to be generous, 
to have pity.' He took her hand and pressed it ; he 
plied her with caresses and appeals. The Countess 
had a most enjoyable sham siege, and then relented. 
She sprang to her feet, she tore her dress open, and, 
all warm from her bosom, threw the order on the 
floor. 

' There ! ' she cried. ' I forced it from her. Use 
it, and I am ruined ! ' And she turned away as if 
to veil the force of her emotions. 

Otto sprang upon the paper, read it, and cried out 
aloud. ' O, God bless her ! ' he said, * God bless 
her.' And he kissed the writing. 

Von Rosen was a singularly good-natured woman, 
but her part was now beyond her. * Ingrate ! ' she 

243 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

cried ; ' I wrung it from her, I betrayed my trust to 
get it, and 'tis she you thank ! ' 

' Can you blame me ? ' said the Prince. ' I love her.' 

' I see that,' she said. ' And I ? ' 

' You, Madame von Rosen ? You are my dearest, 
my kindest, and most generous of friends,' he said, 
approaching her. ' You would be a perfect friend, 
if you were not so lovely. You have a great sense 
of humour, you cannot be unconscious of your 
charm, and you amuse yourself at times by playing 
on my weakness ; and at times I can take pleasure 
in the comedy. But not to-day : to-day you will be 
the true, the serious, the manly friend, and you will 
suffer me to forget that you are lovely and that I 
am weak. Come, dear Countess, let me to-day 
repose in you entirely.' 

He held out his hand, smiling, and she took it 
frankly. ' I vow you have bewitched me,' she said ; 
and then with a laugh, ' I break my staff ! ' she 
added ; ' and I must pay you my best compliment. 
You made a difficult speech. You are as adroit, 
dear Prince, as I am — charming.' And as she said 
the word with a great curtsey, she justified it. 

' You hardly keep the bargain, madam, when you 
make yourself so beautiful,' said the Prince, bowing. 

' It was my last arrow,' she returned. * I am 
disarmed. Blank cartridge, O mon Prince! And 
now I tell you, if you choose to leave this prison, 
you can, and I am ruined. Choose ! ' 

' Madame von Rosen,' replied Otto, ' I choose, and 
I will go. My duty points me, duty still neglected 
244 



GALLOPS OFF 

by this Featherhead. But do not fear to be a loser. 
I propose instead that you should take me with you, 
a bear in chains, to Baron Gondremark. I am be- 
come perfectly unscrupulous : to save my wife I 
will do all, all he can ask or fancy. He shall be 
filled ; were he huge as leviathan and greedy as the 
grave, I will content him. And you, the fairy of 
our pantomime, shall have the credit.' 

* Done ! ' she cried. * Admirable ! Prince Charm- 
ing no longer — Prince Sorcerer, Prince Solon ! Let 
us go this moment. Stay,' she cried, pausing. * I 
beg, dear Prince, to give you back these deeds. 
'Twas you who liked the farm — I have not seen it ; 
and it was you who wished to benefit the peasants. 
And, besides,' she added, with a comical change of 
tone, ' I should prefer the ready money.' 

Both laughed. ' Here I am, once more a farmer,' 
said Otto, accepting the papers, ' but overwhelmed 
in debt.' 

The Countess touched a bell, and the Governor 
appeared. 

' Governor,' she said, * I am going to elope with 
his Highness. The result of our talk has been a 
thorough understanding, and the coup aVitat is over. 
Here is the order.' 

Colonel Gordon adjusted silver spectacles upon 
his nose. 'Yes,' he said, 'the Princess : very right. 
But the warrant, madam, was countersigned.' 

' By Heinrich ! ' said von Rosen. ' Well, and here 
am I to represent him.' 

'Well, your Highness,' resumed the soldier of 

245 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

fortune, ' I must congratulate you upon my loss. 
You have been cut out by beauty, and I am left 
lamenting. The Doctor still remains to me : probus, 
doctus, lepidus,jucundus : a man of books.' 

' Ay, there is nothing about poor Gotthold,' said 
the Prince. 

' The Governor's consolation ? Would you leave 
him bare ? ' asked von Rosen. 

'And, your Highness,' resumed Gordon, 'may I 
trust that in the course of this temporary obscura- 
tion you have found me discharge my part with 
suitable respect and, I may add, tact? I adopted 
purposely a cheerfulness of manner ; mirth, it ap- 
peared to me, and a good glass of wine, were the fit 
alleviations.' 

' Colonel,' said Otto, holding out his hand, ' your 
society was of itself enough. I do not merely thank 
you for your pleasant spirits ; I have to thank you, 
besides, for some philosophy, of which I stood in 
need. I trust I do not see you for the last time ; 
and in the meanwhile, as a memento of our strange 
acquaintance, let me offer you these verses on which 
I was but now engaged. I am so little of a poet, 
and was so ill inspired by prison bars, that they have 
some claim to be at least a curiosity.' 

The Colonel's countenance lighted as he took the 
paper ; the silver spectacles were hurriedly replaced. 
' Ha ! ' he said, ' Alexandrines, the tragic metre. I 
shall cherish this, your Highness, like a relic ; no 
more suitable offering, although I say it, could be 
made. " Dieuoc de V immense plaine et des vastes 
246 



GALLOPS OFF 

forets." Very good,' he said, ' very good indeed ! 
" Et du geolier lui-meme apprendre des lepons" 
Most handsome, begad ! ' 

' Come, Governor,' cried the Countess, ' you can 
read his poetry when we are gone. Open your 
grudging portals.' 

' I ask your pardon,' said the Colonel. ' To a 
man of my character and tastes, these verses, this 
handsome reference — most moving, I assure you. 
Can I offer you an escort ? ' 

' No, no,' replied the Countess. ' We go incogniti, 
as we arrived. We ride together ; the Prince will 
take my servant's horse. Hurry and privacy, Herr 
Oberst, that is all we seek.' And she began im- 
patiently to lead the way. 

But Otto had still to bid farewell to Dr. Gott- 
hold ; and, the Governor following, with his spectacles 
in one hand and the paper in the other, had still to 
communicate his treasured verses, piece by piece, as 
he succeeded in deciphering the manuscript, to all 
he came across ; and still his enthusiasm mounted. 
* I declare,' he cried at last, with the air of one who 
has at length divined a mystery, ' they remind me of 
Robbie Burns ! ' 

But there is an end to all things ; and at length 
Otto was walking by the side of Madame von Rosen 
along that mountain wall, her servant following with 
both the horses, and all about them sunlight, and 
breeze, and flying bird, and the vast regions of the 
air, and the capacious prospect : wildwood and climb- 
ing pinnacle, and the sound and voice of mountain 

247 



PROVIDENCE VON ROSEN 

torrents, at their hand : and far below them, green 
melting into sapphire on the plains. 

They walked at first in silence ; for Otto's mind 
was full of the delight of liberty and nature, and 
still, betweenwhiles, he was preparing his interview 
with Gondremark. But when the first rough pro- 
montory of the rock was turned, and the Felsenburg 
concealed behind its bulk, the lady paused. 

' Here,' she said, ' I will dismount poor Karl, and 
you and I must ply our spurs. I love a wild ride 
with a good companion.' 

As she spoke, a carriage came into sight round the 
corner next below them in the order of the road. 
It came heavily creaking, and a little ahead of it a 
traveller was soberly walking, note-book in hand. 

' It is Sir John,' cried Otto, and he hailed him. 

The Baronet pocketed his note-book, stared 
through an eye-glass, and then waved his stick ; 
and he on his side, and the Countess and the Prince 
on theirs, advanced with somewhat quicker steps. 
They met at the re-entrant angle, where a thin 
stream sprayed across a boulder and was scattered 
in rain among the brush ; and the Baronet saluted 
the Prince with much punctilio. To the Countess, 
on the other hand, he bowed with a kind of sneering 
wonder. 

' Is it possible, madam, that you have not heard 
the news ? ' he asked. 

* What news ? ' she cried. 

' News of the first order,' returned Sir John : ' a 
revolution in the State, a Republic declared, the 
248 



GALLOPS OFF 

palace burned to the ground, the Princess in flight, 
Gondremark wounded ' 

* Heinrich wounded ? ' she screamed. 

' Wounded and suffering acutely,' said Sir John. 
* His groans ' 



There fell from the lady's lips an oath so potent 
that, in smoother hours, it would have made her 
hearers jump. She ran to her horse, scrambled to 
the saddle, and, yet half-seated, dashed down the 
road at full gallop. The groom, after a pause of 
wonder, followed her. The rush of her impetuous 
passage almost scared the carriage-horses over the 
verge of the steep hill ; and still she clattered further 
and the crags echoed to her flight, and still the groom 
flogged vainly in pursuit of her. At the fourth 
corner, a woman trailing slowly up leaped back with 
a cry and escaped death by a hand's-breadth. But 
the Countess wasted neither glance nor thought 
upon the incident. Out and in, about the bluffs of 
the mountain wall, she fled, loose-reined, and still 
the groom toiled in her pursuit. 

* A most impulsive lady ! ' said Sir John. * Who 
would have thought she cared for him ? ' And be- 
fore the words were uttered, he was struggling in 
the Prince's grasp. 

* My wife ! the Princess ? What of her ? ' 

' She is down the road,' he gasped. ' I left her 
twenty minutes back.' 

And next moment the choked author stood alone, 
and the Prince on foot was racing down the hill 
behind the Countess. 

249 



CHAPTER IV 

BABES IN THE WOOD 

While the feet of the Prince continued to run 
swiftly, his heart, which had at first by far out- 
stripped his running, soon began to linger and hang 
back. Not that he ceased to pity the misfortune or 
to yearn for the sight of Seraphina ; but the memory 
of her obdurate coldness awoke within him, and 
woke in turn his own habitual diffidence of self. 
Had Sir John been given time to tell him all, had he 
even known that she was speeding to the Felsen- 
burg, he would have gone to her with ardour. As 
it was, he began to see himself once more intruding, 
profiting, perhaps, by her misfortune, and now that 
she was fallen, proffering unloved caresses to the 
wife who had spurned him in prosperity. The sore 
spots upon his vanity began' to burn ; once more, his 
anger assumed the carriage of a hostile generosity ; 
he would utterly forgive indeed ; he would help, 
save, and comfort his unloving wife ; but all with 
distant self-denial, imposing silence on his heart, 
respecting Seraphina's disaffection as he would the 
250 



BABES IN THE WOOD 

innocence of a child. So, when at length he turned 
a corner and beheld the Princess, it was his first 
thought to reassure her of the purity of his respect, 
and he at once ceased running and stood still. She, 
upon her part, began to run to him with a little cry ; 
then, seeing him pause, she paused also, smitten with 
remorse ; and at length, with the most guilty timidity, 
walked nearly up to where he stood. 

' Otto,' she said, ' I have ruined all ! ' 

' Seraphina ! ' he cried with a sob, but did not 
move, partly withheld by his resolutions, partly 
struck stupid at the sight of her weariness and dis- 
order. Had she stood silent, they had soon been 
locked in an embrace. But she too had prepared 
herself against the interview, and must spoil the 
golden hour with protestations. 

' All ! ' she went on, ' I have ruined all ! But, 
Otto, in kindness you must hear me — not justify, 
but own, my faults. I have been taught so cruelly ; 
I have had such time for thought, and see the world 
so changed. I have been blind, stone-blind ; I have 
let all true good go by me, and lived on shadows. 
But when this dream fell, and I had betrayed you, 

and thought I had killed ' She paused. ' I 

thought I had killed Gondremark,' she said with a 
deep flush, 'and I found myself alone, as you said.' 

The mention of the name of Gondremark pricked 
the Prince's generosity like a spur. ' Well,' he cried, 
' and whose fault was it but mine ? It was my duty 
to be beside you, loved or not. But I was a skulker 
in the grain, and found it easier to desert than to 

251 



BABES IN THE WOOD 

oppose you. I could never learn that better part of 
love, to fight love's battles. But yet the love was 
there. And now when this toy kingdom of ours 
has fallen, first of all by my demerits, and next by 
your inexperience, and we are here alone together, 
as poor as Job and merely a man and a woman — 
let me conjure you to forgive the weakness and to 
repose in the love. Do not mistake me ! ' he cried, 
seeing her about to speak, and imposing silence with 
uplifted hand. ' My love is changed ; it is purged 
of any conjugal pretension ; it does not ask, does 
not hope, does not wish for a return in kind. You 
may forget for ever that part in which you found 
me so distasteful, and accept without embarrassment 
the affection of a brother.' 

' You are too generous, Otto,' she said. ' I know 
that I have forfeited your love. I cannot take this 
sacrifice. You had far better leave me. O go 
away, and leave me to my fate ! ' 

' O no ! ' said Otto ; * we must first of all escape 
out of this hornets' nest, to which I led you. My 
honour is engaged. I said but now we were as poor 
as Job ; and behold ! not many miles from here I 
have a house of my own to which I will conduct 
you. Otto the Prince being down, we must try 
what luck remains to Otto the Hunter. Come, 
Seraphina ; show that you forgive me, and let us 
set about this business of escape in the best spirits 
possible. You used to say, my dear, that, except 
as a husband and a prince, I was a pleasant fellow. 
I am neither now, and you may like my company 
252 



BABES IN THE WOOD 

without remorse. Come, then ; it were idle to be 
captured. Can you still walk ? Forth, then,' said 
he, and he began to lead the way. 

A little below where they stood, a good-sized 
brook passed below the road, which overleapt it in a 
single arch. On one bank of that loquacious water 
a footpath descended a green dell. Here it was 
rocky and stony, and lay on the steep scarps of the 
ravine ; here it was choked with brambles ; and there, 
in fairy haughs, it lay for a few paces evenly on the 
green turf. Like a sponge, the hillside oozed with 
well-water. The burn kept growing both in force 
and volume ; at every leap it fell with heavier 
plunges and span more widely in the pool. Great 
had been the labours of that stream, and great and 
agreeable the changes it had wrought. It had cut 
through dykes of stubborn rock, and now, like 
a blowing dolphin, spouted through the orifice ; 
along all its humble coasts, it had undermined and 
rafted-down the goodlier timber of the forest ; and 
on these rough clearings it now set and tended prim- 
rose gardens, and planted woods of willow, and 
made a favourite of the silver birch. Through all 
these friendly features, the path, its human acolyte, 
conducted our two wanderers downward, — Otto 
before, still pausing at the more difficult passages 
to lend assistance ; the Princess following. From 
time to time, when he turned to help her, her face 
would lighten upon his — her eyes, half desperately, 
woo him. He saw, but dared not understand. 
'She does not love me,' he told himself, with 

253 



BABES IN THE WOOD 

magnanimity. 'This is remorse or gratitude; I 
were no gentleman, no, nor yet a man, if I presumed 
upon these pitiful concessions.' 

Some way down the glen, the stream, already 
grown to a good bulk of water, was rudely dammed 
across, and about a third of it abducted in a wooden 
trough. Gaily the pure water, air's first cousin, 
fleeted along the rude aqueduct, whose sides and 
floor it had made green with grasses. The path, 
bearing it close company, threaded a wilderness of 
briar and wild-rose. And presently, a little in front, 
the brown top of a mill and the tall mill-wheel, 
spraying diamonds, arose in the narrows of the glen ; 
at the same time the snoring music of the saws 
broke the silence. 

The miller, hearing steps, came forth to his door, 
and both he and Otto started. 

' Good-morning, miller,' said the Prince. ' You 
were right, it seems, and I was wrong. I give you 
the news, and bid you to Mittwalden. My throne 
has fallen — great was the fall of it ! — and your good 
friends of the Phoenix bear the rule.' 

The red-faced miller looked supreme astonish- 
ment. ' And your Highness ? ' he gasped. 

' My Highness is running away,' replied Otto, 
'straight for the frontier.' 

' Leaving Griinewald ? ' cried the man. ' Your 
father's son ? It 's not to be permitted ! ' 

' Do you arrest us, friend? ' asked Otto, smiling. 

' Arrest you ? I ? ' exclaimed the man. ' For 
what does your Highness take me? Why, sir, I 
254 



BABES IN THE WOOD 

make sure there is not a man in Griinewald would 
lay hands upon you.' 

' O, many, many,' said the Prince ; ' but from 
you, who were bold with me in my greatness, I 
should even look for aid in my distress.' 

The miller became the colour of beetroot. ' You 
may say so indeed,' said he. 'And meanwhile, will 
you and your lady step into my house ? ' 

* We have not time for that,' replied the Prince; 'but 
if you would oblige us with a cup of wine without 
here, you will give a pleasure and a service, both in one.' 

The miller once more coloured to the nape. He 
hastened to bring forth wine in a pitcher and three 
bright crystal tumblers. ' Your Highness must not 
suppose,' he said, as he filled them, 'that I am an 
habitual drinker. The time when I had the mis- 
fortune to encounter you I was a trifle overtaken, I 
allow; but a more sober man than I am in my 
ordinary, I do not know where you are to look for ; 
and even this glass that I drink to you (and to the 
lady) is quite an unusual recreation.' 

The wine was drunk with due rustic courtesies ; 
and then, refusing further hospitality, Otto and 
Seraphina once more proceeded to descend the glen, 
which now began to open and to be invaded by the 
taller trees. 

' I owed that man a reparation,' said the Prince ; 
' for when we met I was in the wrong and put a sore 
affront upon him. I judge by myself, perhaps ; but 
I begin to think that no one is the better for a 
humiliation.' 

255 



BABES IN THE WOOD 

'But some have to be taught so,' she replied. 

'Well, well,' he said, with a painful embarrass- 
ment. 'Well, well. But let us think of safety. 
My miller is all very good, but I do not pin my 
faith to him. To follow down this stream will 
bring us, but after innumerable windings, to my 
house. Here, up this glade, there lies a cross-cut — 
the world's end for solitude — the very deer scarce 
visit it. Are you too tired, or could you pass that 
way? ' 

' Choose the path, Otto. I will follow you,' she 
said. 

'No,' he replied, with a singular imbecility of 
manner and appearance, ' but I meant the path was 
rough. It lies, all the way, by glade and dingle, and 
the dingles are both deep and thorny.' 

' Lead on,' she said. ' Are you not Otto the 
Hunter ? ' 

They had now burst across a veil of underwood, 
and were come into a lawn among the forest, very 
green and innocent, and solemnly surrounded by 
trees. Otto paused on the margin, looking about 
him with delight ; then his glance returned to 
Seraphina, as she stood framed in that silvan 
pleasantness and looking at her husband with un- 
decipherable eyes. A weakness both of the body 
and mind fell on him like beginnings of sleep ; the 
cords of his activity were relaxed, his eyes clung to 
her. ' Let us rest,' he said ; and he made her sit 
down, and himself sat down beside her on the slope 
of an inconsiderable mound. 
256 



BABES IN THE WOOD 

She sat with her eyes downcast, her slim hand 
dabbling in grass, like a maid waiting for love's 
summons. The sound of the wind in the forest 
swelled and sank, and drew near them with a run- 
ning rush, and died away and away in the distance 
into fainting whispers. Nearer hand, a bird out of 
the deep covert uttered broken and anxious notes. 
All this seemed but a halting prelude to speech. 
To Otto it seemed as if the whole frame of nature 
were waiting for his words ; and yet his pride kept 
him silent. The longer he watched that slender 
and pale hand plucking at the grasses, the harder 
and rougher grew the fight between pride and its 
kindly adversary. 

* Seraphina,' he said at last, ' it is right you should 
know one thing : I never . . . ' He was about to 
say ' doubted you,' but was that true ? And, if true, 
was it generous to speak of it ? Silence succeeded. 

'I pray you, tell it me,' she said; 'tell it me, in 
pity.' 

' I mean only this,' he resumed, * that I under- 
stand all, and do not blame you. I understand how 
the brave woman must look down on the weak man. 
I think you were wrong in some things ; but I have 
tried to understand it, and I do. I do not need to 
forget or to forgive, Seraphina, for I have under- 
stood.' 

' I know what I have done,' she said. ' I am not 

so weak that I can be deceived with kind speeches. 

I know what I have been — I see myself. I am not 

worth your anger, how much less to be forgiven ! 

9— r 257 



BABES IN THE WOOD 

In all this downfall and misery, I see only me and 
you : you, as you have been always ; me, as I was — 
me, above all! O yes, I see myself; and what can 
I think?' 

' Ah, then, let us reverse the parts ! ' said Otto. 
* It is ourselves we cannot forgive, when we deny 
forgiveness to another — so a friend told me last 
night. On these terms, Seraphina, you see how 
generously I have forgiven myself. But am not / 
to be forgiven ? Come, then, forgive yourself — 
and me.' 

She did not answer in words, but reached out her 
hand to him quickly. He took it ; and as the smooth 
fingers settled and nestled in his, love ran to and fro 
between them in tender and transforming currents. 

' Seraphina,' he cried, ' O forget the past ! Let 
me serve and help you ; let me be your servant ; it 
is enough for me to serve you and to be near 
you ; let me be near you, dear — do not send me 
away.' He hurried his pleading like the speech of a 
frightened child. ' It is not love,' he went on ; ' I 
do not ask for love ; my love is enough . . .' 

• Otto ! ' she said, as if in pain. 

He looked up into her face. It was wrung with 
the very ecstasy of tenderness and anguish ; on her 
features, and most of all in her changed eyes, there 
shone the very light of love. 

' Seraphina ? ' he cried aloud, and with a sudden, 
tuneless voice, ' Seraphina ? ' 

'Look round you at this glade,' she cried, 'and 
where the leaves are comin gon young trees, and the 
258 



BABES IN THE WOOD 

flowers begin to blossom. This is where we meet, 
meet for the first time ; it is so much better to 
forget and to be born again. O what a pit there is 
for sins — God's mercy, man's oblivion ! ' 

'Seraphina,' he said, 'let it be so, indeed; let all 
that was be merely the abuse of dreaming ; let me 
begin again, a stranger. I have dreamed, in a long 
dream, that I adored a girl unkind and beautiful ; in 
all things my superior, but still cold, like ice. And 
again I dreamed, and thought she changed and 
melted, glowed and turned to me. And I — who 
had no merit but a love, slavish and unerect — lay 
close, and durst not move for fear of waking.' 

' Lie close,' she said, with a deep thrill of speech. 

So they spake in the spring woods ; and mean- 
while, in Mittwalden Rath-haus, the Republic was 
declared. 



259 



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL POSTSCRIPT 

TO COMPLETE THE STORY 

The reader well informed in modern history will not 
require details as to the fate of the Republic. The 
best account is to found in the memoirs of Herr 
Greisengesang (7 Bande : Leipzig), by our passing 
acquaintance the licentiate Roederer. Herr Roederer, 
with too much of an author's licence, makes a great 
figure of his hero — poses him, indeed, to be the 
centre-piece and cloud-compeller of the whole. But, 
with due allowance for this bias, the book is able 
and complete. 

The reader is of course acquainted with the 
vigorous and bracing pages of Sir John (2 vols., 
London : Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown). 
Sir John, who plays but a tooth-comb in the orchestra 
of this historical romance, blows in his own book 
the big bassoon. His character is there drawn at 
large ; and the sympathy of Landor has counter- 
signed the admiration of the public. One point, 
however, calls for explanation ; the chapter on 
Griinewald was torn by the hand of the author in 
260 



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL POSTSCRIPT 

the palace gardens ; how comes it, then, to figure at 
full length among my more modest pages, the Lion 
of the caravan ? That eminent literatus was a man 
of method ; ' Juvenal by double entry,' he was once 
profanely called ; and when he tore the sheets in 
question, it was rather, as he has since explained, 
in the search for some dramatic evidence of his 
sincerity, than with the thought of practical deletion. 
At that time, indeed, he was possessed of two blotted 
scrolls and a fair copy in double. But the chapter, 
as the reader knows, was honestly omitted from the 
famous 'Memoirs on the various Courts of Europe.' 
It has been mine to give it to the public. 

Bibliography still helps us with a further glimpse 
of our characters. I have here before me a small 
volume (printed for private circulation : no printer's 
name ; n.d.), ' Poesies par Frederic et Amelie.' 
Mine is a presentation copy, obtained for me by Mr. 
Bain in the Haymarket ; and the name of the first 
owner is written on the fly-leaf in the hand of 
Prince Otto himself. The modest epigraph — 'Le 
rime n'est pas riche ' — may be attributed, with a 
good show of likelihood, to the same collaborator. 
It is strikingly appropriate, and I have found the 
volume very dreary. Those pieces in which I seem 
to trace the hand of the Princess are particularly 
dull and conscientious. But the booklet had a fair 
success with that public for which it was designed ; 
and I have come across some evidences of a second 
venture of the same sort, now unprocurable. Here, 
at least, we may take leave of Otto and Seraphina — 

261 



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL POSTSCRIPT 

what do I say? of Frederic and Amelie — ageing 
together peaceably at the court of the wife's father, 
jingling French rhymes and correcting joint proofs. 

Still following the book-lists, I perceive that Mr. 
Swinburne has dedicated a rousing lyric and some 
vigorous sonnets to the memory of Gondremark ; 
that name appears twice at least in Victor Hugo's 
trumpet- blasts of patriot enumeration ; and I came 
latterly, when I supposed my task already ended, on 
a trace of the fallen politician and his Countess. It 
is in the 'Diary of J. Hogg Cotterill, Esq.' (that 
very interesting work). Mr. Cotterill, being at 
Naples, is introduced (May 27th) to ' a Baron and 
Baroness Gondremark — he a man who once made a 
noise — she still beautiful — both witty. She com- 
plimented me much upon my French — should never 
have known me to be English — had known my 
uncle, Sir John, in Germany — recognised in me, as 
a family trait, some of his grand air and studious 
courtesy — asked me to call.' And again (May 
30th), ' visited the Baronne de Gondremark — much 
gratified — a most refined, intelligent woman, quite of 
the old school, now, helas ! extinct — had read my 
Remarks on Sicily — it reminds her of my uncle, but 
with more of grace — I feared she thought there was 
less energy — assured no — a softer style of presenta- 
tion, more of the literary grace, but the same firm 
grasp of circumstance and force of thought — in 
short, just Buttonhole's opinion. Much encouraged. 
I have a real esteem for this patrician lady.' The 
acquaintance lasted some time ; and when Mr. 
262 



TO COMPLETE THE STORY 

Cotterill left in the suite of Lord Protocol, and, as 
he is careful to inform us, in Admiral Yardarm's 
flag-ship, one of his chief causes of regret is to leave 
'that most spirituelle and sympathetic lady, who 
already regards me as a younger brother.' 



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