“Well, and what more now?” asked the Prince, with eager interest. “Not much, cousin,” said Frederick William, with a melancholy smile. “I must bid you farewell. I owe it to my parents, to my honor, and my country, forthwith to leave The Hague!"
“Bravo, cousin, bravo!” cried Henry of Orange. “You flee from danger and escape from temptation. That is to be called heroism, and herewith you have as truly conquered a citadel as when I vanquished Breda!”
“Believe me too, cousin,” said Frederick William, while he leaned upon the
Prince’s heroic breast—“believe me, that this victory has cost much blood and many tears.”
One moment he let his head rest on the shoulder of his fatherly friend, then proudly drew himself up.
“Baron Leuchtmar and you, my trusty private secretary, Mueller!” he cried, with loud voice, “to-day we leave The Hague and proceed to Arnheim, and thence we set forth to-morrow on our journey home. Marwitz, you travel in advance. The golden days of our youth are past! Let iron ones follow! I am prepared for all!”
“Strange, very strange,” muttered Count Adam Schwarzenberg to himself. “The Prince must have set out on his journey four weeks ago, and still no news from Gabriel Nietzel! The journey by sea, it is true, offered no opportunity for any enterprise, and the Electoral Prince had the sublime fancy of choosing the water in preference to the land route, in spite of the severities of this season of the year. But, according to the Prince’s scheme of traveling, and according to my own calculations, the Prince must have reached Hamburg full eight days ago, and as he was only to stay there three days, he must already have been journeying five days by land, and yet have I in vain looked for any tidings whatever from Gabriel Nietzel. Could it be possible that this man has dared to disobey me?—could he have carried his folly so far as to sacrifice wife and child rather than execute my commands?”
Gloomily the count’s brow wrinkled, as he asked himself this question, and his eyes flamed with fury. With folded arms he walked rapidly to and fro.
“To think that all my plans may be wrecked by the pangs of conscience of a single fool!” he sighed—“to think, that for months, nay, for years, I have been laboring in vain to see the realization of these projects, and that in my highest, proudest aims I am dependent upon a blockhead, who—What is it Daniel? What is your errand?”
“Pardon me, your excellency; some one is without who desires most urgently to speak with you.”
“Who is it?—do you know him?”
“No, my lord count, I do not know him, and he will not tell what he wants of your excellency. He says he must speak with your lordship himself, and I must only announce his name. It is Gabriel Nietzel.”