“In four or five days, Gabriel. Stay quietly at Brandenburg, and wait for me there eight days. If by that time I have not come to you at Brandenburg, consider it as a sign that I have chosen some other route, to escape the anger and pursuit of Count Schwarzenberg, and that I have forborne to communicate with you lest I should be betrayed. Then travel with the child to Venice, making all possible speed. I shall join you on the way; but if I can not, then we shall meet again in safety at my father’s house in Venice.”
“Rebecca, it is impossible; I can not—”
“Hush!” interrupted she; “the child cries still, and David Cohen, too, is now awake.”
She quickly stepped toward the vehicle and nodded to the little coachman, who was sleepily rubbing his eyes.
“Here we are, David,” she said. “Now prove yourself a brave boy and do honor to your father’s spirit. Drive boldly, but take care not to meet with accidents, and make for Brandenburg without delay.”
“I promised dad, God bless him, that I would not know rest or repose, hunger or sleep, until we reached Brandenburg!” cried the boy, cracking his whip. “Get in, I will drive you to Brandenburg.”
“Get in, Gabriel,” said Rebecca to Nietzel, who stood at the wagon door, looking at her with wistful, melancholy air. She shook her head as a negative answer to the dumb questioning of his eyes, and only repeated, “Get in, Gabriel!”
He jumped into the wagon, but, as he did so, leaned forward and stretched out his hands to her.
“Forward, David, forward!” commanded Rebecca. David whipped up his horses, and set off at full gallop.
“Be quick, David, for I must begone!”
David Cohen gave the little horses a sharp blow across their heads, causing them to bound forward in wild impatience. Rebecca gazed after them, breathless, with staring eyes. When the vehicle had disappeared from sight she pressed both hands before her eyes, and a sob and a groan escaped her breast. Soon, however, she resumed her self-control.
“If I weep I am lost,” she said, lifting up her head. “I have a difficult task to perform, and tears make one faint-hearted and cowardly. I shall not weep, at least not now. When my work of expiation is accomplished, when it has succeeded, then I shall weep. And they will be tears of joy! Jehovah! Almighty! stand by me, that I may weep such tears to-morrow night! And now to work! to work!”
She turned, and with quiet, firm steps proceeded to the city.
Dietrich had faithfully obeyed the Electoral Prince’s orders. The physician in ordinary, Dr. White, had come, felt the sick man’s pulse, and smiled upon being told that the Prince had been taken sick at Count Schwarzenberg’s banquet.
“We know all about such sicknesses,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “His highness the Elector suffered from such attacks in earlier days, but he has inured himself against them now.”