While the Elector embraced his favorite and received from him assurances of perpetual fidelity, Count Adolphus Schwarzenberg approached the Princess Charlotte Louise, who stood silent and apart in a window recess, looking out upon the street with pallid countenance and eyes reddened by weeping.
“Louise,” he whispered softly, “Louise, you—”
But before he could utter another word, Princess Hedwig stood beside him, addressing him with amiable speech, and the Electoral Prince approached his sister and offered her his arm to conduct her to the carriage. She walked along, leaning on her brother’s arm, without once lifting her eyes from the ground, deeply humiliated by the thought that her lover had caused her to wait for him in vain. A quarter of an hour later the two clumsy vehicles containing the Electoral family rolled out of the castle gate and struck into the road leading to Koenigsberg. The White Lady had driven away the Elector George William, and he was nevermore to behold the palace of his fathers.
The White Lady had saved Prince Frederick William, and as he now drove through the gates of Berlin in that clumsy old coach he said to himself, with joyful anticipation: “I shall see you again, Berlin! I shall see you again, dear town of my fathers! I shall come back, and, please God, not humbly and enslaved as I go away to-day, but as a Prince, who is lord within his own domains, with God in his heart, a clear sky overhead, and no Schwarzenbergs upon the horizon!”
Wearily and panting for breath the poor horses dragged the heavy carriage through the sands of the Mark, but within sat the Electoral Prince—within sat Caesar and his fortunes.
I.—THE YOUTHFUL SOVEREIGN.
The Elector George William had been gathered to his fathers. On the 1st of December in the year 1640 he had at last closed his weary eyes, and bidden farewell to a world which had brought him much grief and disquiet, little joy and repose, much mortification and disappointment, never a single triumph or solid satisfaction.
The Elector George William had been gathered to his fathers, and his son Frederick William was Elector now. Two melancholy years of privation and humiliation, resignation and oppression, had he passed at his father’s side, ever suspected by him, ever watched with jealous eyes, and forcibly denied any participation in the administration of the government, ever struggling with care, even for daily food, and forced to borrow at usurious rates of interest to provide even a meager support for his little household. It had been a severe school, but Frederick William had passed through it with a brave spirit and cheerful determination. Across the dark and gloomy present his clear eye had ever been directed to the future, and hope had ever lingered at his side, holding him erect when overburdened by care, consoling him when vexed and humiliated by his father’s unjust suspicions and ill will. Not unexpectedly had the Elector George William died; full two months before his summons came, the two physicians in ordinary, after holding a long consultation with the celebrated Koenigsberg doctors, announced to the Electoral Prince that the Elector was drawing near his end, and that his dropsy and insidious fever were slowly but inevitably causing death.