He was just removing his neck-cloth and baring his chest when, throwing a hasty glance around the circle formed by the crowd, he caught sight of the familiar face of the man with blue and white plumes, who was standing quite near him between two knights whose bodies half hid him from view. With a sudden stride which surprised the guard surrounding him, Kohlhaas walked close up to the man, untying the locket from around his neck as he did so. He took out the paper, unsealed it, and read it through; then, without moving his eyes from the man with blue and white plumes, who was already beginning to indulge in sweet hopes, he stuck the paper in his mouth and swallowed it. At this sight the man with blue and white plumes was seized with convulsions and sank down unconscious. While his companions bent over him in consternation and raised him from the ground, Kohlhaas turned toward the scaffold, where his head fell under the axe of the executioner.
Here ends the story of Kohlhaas. Amid the general lamentations of the people his body was placed in a coffin, and while the bearers raised it from the ground and bore it away to the graveyard in the suburbs for decent burial, the Elector of Brandenburg called to him the sons of the dead man and dubbed them knights, telling the Arch-Chancellor that he wished them to be educated in his school for pages.
The Elector of Saxony, shattered in body and mind, returned shortly afterward to Dresden; details of his subsequent career there must be sought in history.
Some hale and happy descendants of Kohlhaas, however, were still living in Mecklenburg in the last century.
FREDERICK WILLIAM, Elector of Brandenburg.
PRINCESS NATALIE OF ORANGE, his niece,
Honorary Colonel of a regiment of Dragoons.
PRINCE FREDERICK ARTHUR OF HOMBURG,
General of cavalry.
COLONEL KOTTWITZ, of the regiment
of the Princess of Orange.
COUNT TRUCHSZ Infantry Colonels.