With triumphant expression of countenance Count Adam von Schwarzenberg walked to and fro in his cabinet. The Chamberlain Werner von Schulenburg had just left him, and the glad tidings which he had brought from the young Elector had banished all doubts, all cares from the Stadtholder’s heart.
“I did him injustice,” he said cheerfully to himself. “Frederick William was not my enemy, not my opponent! He was only the son of his father, and he will now also walk in his father’s ways. I therefore remain what I am, remain Stadtholder, the lord of the Mark! And,” he continued, more softly, “I would have put this amiable Prince out of the way! Who knows whether it would have been for my advantage if he had died and my son stepped into his place! My son is of my blood—that is to say, he is ambitious and thirsts after power and distinction. He would not have left the government in my hands, if he could have wrested it from me, and perhaps I would not have remained Stadtholder in the Mark had it been in his power to displace me!”
The count had thrown himself into a fauteuil, and supported his head on his hand. The triumphant expression had long since faded from his features, which were mow grave and lined by care.
“It pleases me not,” he murmured, after a long pause—“no, it pleases me not at all that my son associates so constantly with Goldacker, Kracht, and Rochow at Spandow. They are disorderly fellows, who recognize no law or restraint, and find their sole pleasure in tumult and strife. It would seem fine to them if they could embroil father and son, for they would surely fish in the troubled waters, and draw out some advantage for themselves, which is ever their only concern. They exert an evil influence over my son, I know that, and it would be infinitely better for him to go away from here and—Ha! a good thought! I shall immediately carry it out.”
He started up and grasped the large gold bell, which had been recently presented to him by the Emperor. The clear, sonorous tones called a smile to the count’s lips.
“Yes, yes,” he said, “the old Elector is dead, and I ring the new times in; yet the new era is but a repetition of the old, and the end remains ever the same, although the means by which we attain it differ. I used to whistle, now I ring, but the object remains identically the same—to summon serviceable spirits to my side.
“They do not come, though,” he continued after a long pause, in which he had awaited in vain the appearance of a lackey. “No, these, my serviceable spirits come not; they incline not to the new order of things, and prefer clinging to the old.”
He took the little golden whistle, lying on the table beside the bell, and gave a loud, shrill call with it. Immediately the door opened and a lackey appeared.
“Why have you kept me waiting?” asked the count imperiously. “Did you not hear the bell?”