THE PRINCE. Go, and call your officer!
[He hastily takes a cloak from the wall and puts on a plumed hat lying on the table.]
HOHENZOLLERN (as he assists him)
Adroitly used, this step may spell salvation.
For if the Elector can but make the peace,
By the determined forfeit, with King Charles,
His heart, you soon shall see, will turn to you,
And in brief time you will be free once more.
The officer enters. The others as before.
THE PRINCE (to the officer).
Stranz, they have put me in your custody;
Grant me my freedom for an hour’s time.
I have some urgent business on my mind.
OFFICER. Not in my custody are you, my lord.
The order given me declares that I
Shall leave you free to go where you desire.
THE PRINCE. Most odd! Then I am not a prisoner?
OFFICER. Your word of honor is a fetter, too.
HOHENZOLLERN (preparing to go).
’Twill do! No matter.
THE PRINCE. So. Then fare you well.
HOHENZOLL. The fetter follows hard upon the Prince.
THE PRINCE. I go but to the Castle, to my aunt,
And in two minutes I am back again.
Room of the ELECTRESS. The ELECTRESS and NATALIE enter.
ELECTRESS. Come, daughter mine, come now!
This is your hour.
Count Gustaf Horn, the Swedes’ ambassador,
And all the company have left the Castle;
There is a light in Uncle’s study still.
Come, put your kerchief on and steal on him,
And see if you can rescue yet your friend.
[They are about to go.]
A lady-in-waiting enters. Others as before.
Madam, the Prince of Homburg’s at the door.
But I am hardly sure that I saw right.
ELECTRESS. Dear God!
ELECTRESS. Is he not prisoner?
He stands without, in plumed hat and cloak,
And begs in urgent terror to be heard.
Impulsive boy! To go and break his word!
NATALIE. Who knows what may torment him?
ELECTRESS (after a moment in thought). Let him come!
[She seats herself.]
The PRINCE OF HOMBURG enters. The others as before.
THE PRINCE (throwing himself at the feet of the
ELECTRESS. Prince! What are you doing here?