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.

“But the great secret will one day surprise the world,” cried Count Adolphus joyfully; “its trumpet peals will one day startle the whole of Germany.  From the palace balcony here in Berlin shall its triumphant flourishes ring forth.  The people in the streets will hear them in astonishment, and to me they will sound as the rejoicing songs of the heavenly hosts, and enraptured I shall look up to my father, standing there majestic in the pomp of his princely power.  If I may then fall at your feet, all the ambitious dreams and aspirations of my heart will be fulfilled, and all within me will rejoice and shout, ’Health and blessings upon Prince Schwarzenberg, Margrave of Brandenburg!’ Farewell now, dear father!  I hurry away, the earlier to return to you!”

V.—­THE CATASTROPHE.

Their plans matured, and every day approached nearer to completion, while with firm hand Count Adam Schwarzenberg held the reins which guided the great machinery of insurrection.  He had sent Colonel Goldacker with his regiment to Mecklenburg to draw out the Swedes, and to provoke them to advance upon the Mark.  The Swedes took up the gauntlet thrown down to them, and, while they were opposed to Goldacker in Mecklenburg, other Swedish regiments marched from Lausitz against Berlin.  This was exactly what the Stadtholder wished, and once more the devoted Mark saw the flames of war burst forth, in order that Schwarzenberg might have an excuse for summoning Saxon troops to his aid.

To-day these troops had reached Berlin, and the Stadtholder wished to celebrate their arrival by a sumptuous fete in his palace.  To this entertainment he had bidden Colonel Goldacker from Mecklenburg; the commandants of Spandow and Berlin, with their officers, were also invited, and already, in the early morning, they were preparing the table in the great hall for the magnificent collation to be served at noon.

Meanwhile lamentation and mourning reigned in the cities of Berlin and Cologne, while life went so merrily in the Schwarzenberg palace.  The wild hordes of soldiers made the streets unsafe even in the daytime.  Drunken they roved through the city, with the greatest tumult and uproar; they broke into the houses of peaceful citizens to plunder and rob, and wherever anything was refused them, they committed the most wanton acts, laughing and singing over the tortures they inflicted.  In vain had the burghers applied to the officers of these ungovernable outlaws and besought them to restrain the soldiery from outrages, to confine them to their quarters, and to punish them for their thefts and robberies.  The officers declared that there was no means of enforcing so rigid a discipline, and that in times of war some allowance should be made for soldiers who with their own bodies protected the burghers from their foes.

But the poor, tormented burghers did not want war; they wanted peace!  Peace at any price.  The States, too, who held their session in Berlin, wanted peace, and to this end had sent out a deputation from their midst to the Elector at Koenigsberg to implore him to pity their distress and to command the Stadtholder in the Mark to abstain from hostilities against the Swedes.

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