In a word, England asks for a new commercial treaty.
New commercial treaty? Commercial—[He rises, there is a slight pause.] The meeting is adjourned.
Is it for this then, that I have sought to raise and ennoble the civilization of my country, that I have furthered commerce and industry, promoted shipping, given an asylum within the state to thousands of religious refugees from France—for this, that now, as the price for the honor of an alliance with England, I should open the door and let in the forbidden English merchandise—to the ruin of my own subjects?
[He goes to the table and rings. A lackey appears.]
What? You would sacrifice your daughter’s happiness?
GRUMBKOW, SECKENDORF and three generals come in.
Step nearer, gentlemen. I have allowed you to remain in uncertainty concerning a dispatch which arrived this morning from Hanover. You shall now hear my formal answer to it. Prince, poet, do not be alarmed. Our festivities will take place for all that, our cannon will thunder, our lanterns will blaze through the night. Prince, do you want to put me under eternal obligation to you?
Your Majesty! Can it be possible?
Do you want to make me your debtor forever?
Take to horse, Prince, and ride off within the hour, as my special envoy to Vienna.
PRINCE, GRUMBKOW AND SECKENDORF (together).
My daughter’s hand is promised to Vienna. Within a fortnight a scion of the illustrious Imperial House will enter the walls of our capital.
Your Majesty compels me, in the eventuality of an Arch-Duke’s arrival, to make a certain declaration herewith—
And that is?
The Prince of Wales—is already here.
The Prince of Wales—in Berlin?
The Prince of Wales arrived three hours ago.
GRUMBKOW AND SECKENDORF.
I breathe again.
KING (in real consternation, but controling himself).