The Youth of the Great Elector eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 514 pages of information about The Youth of the Great Elector.

“Do so, Master Nietzel, I strongly advise you to do so.”

“Will your excellency condescend to assist me thereto?”

“Joyfully, from the bottom of my heart, my dear Nietzel.  You would travel to Italy.  First of all you want funds for your journey, I suppose.  Here, Master Nietzel, here I transmit to you a pocketbook containing twelve hundred dollars—­your pension, which I pay you in advance for two years.”

“I thank your excellency,” said Gabriel, taking the pocketbook.  “The principal thing, though, is, how am I to get at my wife and child?  Am I to come here to fetch them away?”

“Not so, Master Nietzel.  I shall send Rebecca and the child to you at your lodgings in Berlin.”

“Before or after the banquet?”

“After the banquet, of course.”

“But if you do not do so, your excellency.  If you should forget your promise to poor Gabriel Nietzel?”

“Ah! you mistrust me, do you, Mr. Gabriel Nietzel?”

“Do you not mistrust me, too, Sir Count?  Have you not taken my Rebecca and my child as pledges for my keeping my word?  Have you not deprived me of what is most precious to me in this world, not to be restored until I have fulfilled my oath to you?  But what pledge have I that you will keep your word, and what means have I for forcing you to fulfill your oath to me?”

“You have my word as security—­the word of a nobleman, who has never yet forfeited his pledge,” said Count Schwarzenberg solemnly.  “I swear to you that on the day of the banquet your Rebecca and your child shall be at your lodgings in Berlin, and that you will find them there on your return from the banquet.  I swear this by the Holy Virgin Mary and by Jesus Christ the only-begotten Son, and in affirmation of my solemn oath I lay my right hand here upon this crucifix.”

The count strode across to his escritoire, and laid his hand upon the crucifix of alabaster and gold, which stood upon it.  “I swear and vow,” he cried, “that next Sunday I shall send to Gabriel Nietzel’s lodging his Rebecca and her child, and that he shall find them there when he returns from the banquet.  Are you content now, Master Gabriel Nietzel?”

“I am content, Sir Count.  Farewell!  And God grant that we may never meet again on earth!”

He greeted the count with a passing inclination of his head, and left the apartment without waiting for his dismissal.

VII.—­THE OFFER.

“And now,” murmured Gabriel Nietzel to himself, as he stepped out upon the street—­“now for work, without hesitancy and without delay, for there is no other way of escaping from that cruel tiger who has me in his clutches.  He is athirst for blood, and I must sacrifice to him the blood of another man in order to save that of my wife and child!  But, woe to him, woe, if he does not keep his word, if he acts the part of traitor toward me!  But I will not think of that, I dare not think of it, for I have need of all my presence of mind in order to prepare everything.  First, I must speak to the Electoral Prince; that is the most important thing.”

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The Youth of the Great Elector from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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