He put up his dagger, strode through the apartment, stepped out upon the secret passage and closed the door behind him.
“And now,” he said, when he found himself outside—“now I shall go and acknowledge my sins to the Elector. He will be compassionate, and allow me to mount the scaffold. I shall then have atoned for all, and will once more be united to my Rebecca!”
Was it possible that this wretched, sobbing, deathly pale something, lying there on the floor of the cabinet, was but a few hours since the proud, the mighty, the dreaded and courted Count Adam von Schwarzenberg, the Stadtholder in the Mark? Now he was a poor dying beggar, longing for a drink of water, and with no one near to hand him the refreshing draught; who longed for a tear, and had no one to weep for him; who longed for forgiveness, and God himself would not forgive him! Hours, eternities of anguish went by, and still he lay helpless and solitary upon the floor! He plainly heard how they came and knocked, and then moved softly away, because they supposed that he had shut himself up to work. He heard them, but he could not call, for his tongue was palsied! He could not move, for his limbs were paralyzed!
Hours, eternities of anguish went by. Then his old valet came through the secret door, creeping softly in, and found him, that pitiable creature, on the floor, and screamed for help. Then the doors were broken down, and the servants came and the physicians. They lifted him up and bore him to the divan. He breathed, he lived! Perhaps help might not yet be impossible!
Everything was tried, but all in vain. He still lived and breathed, but he was paralyzed in all his limbs, and soon the inner organs, too, refused to exercise their functions. They removed the invalid to Spandow because the mutinous regiments were perpetually threatening to renew their attack upon the count’s palace, and might disturb the repose of the dying man. There he lay in his castle, a living corpse for four days more, with open eyes, giving token that he heard and understood what was passing about him. Finally, at the end of four days, on the 4th of March, 1641, Count Adam von Schwarzenberg closed his eyes, and of the haughty, powerful, dreaded Stadtholder in the Mark, nothing was left but cold, stiff clay!
VII.—THE SEALING OF THE DOCUMENTS.
A courier, sent to Regensburg by Herr von Kracht, commandant of Berlin, immediately upon the decease of Count Adam Schwarzenberg, had prompted his son Count John Adolphus to expedite his departure from that place, and to journey by forced stages to Berlin. He repaired first to Spandow. and had his father’s embalmed remains interred with great pomp in the village church. After having thus discharged this first filial duty, he proceeded to Berlin to take possession of the inheritance left him by his father.