“I have recognized you as a true and faithful servant,” said the Elector kindly, “and I am no ingrate. You shall experience this hereafter, for I shall find means to reward my old friend as he deserves!”
“Your highness, you have rewarded me already,” cried Burgsdorf—“you have called me your friend, my Elector, and I thank you out of a full heart.”
The Elector nodded. “In time all the world shall learn that I honor and esteem you as my friend,” he said. “But now tell me, what progress has been made in quieting the refractory soldiery in the Mark? Have you begun that difficult task?”
“We have begun, your highness, and will also end, although at first there was much insubordination and mutiny, and although the cart had been driven so deep into the mire that we could not have drawn it out altogether without great difficulty, even if there had been more of us.”
The door of the antechamber opened, and the page made his appearance.
“In accordance with your highness’s request, the Princess has entered the antechamber.”
“Beg the young lady to wait a moment. I will come directly to conduct her grace into my cabinet.”
“Burgsdorf,” said the Elector, turning to the colonel, “go up now, and pay your respects to my mother. You can tell her what is going on at Berlin. Her grace will hear you gladly, for she takes great interest in the cities of Berlin and Cologne.”
“Very curious stories I can tell the Electress, since your highness accords me that permission!” cried the colonel. “Many thrilling affairs have happened, and—”
“Go now, my friend,” said the Elector, pointing to the door through which Burgsdorf had entered. Then he crossed over to the opposite end of the apartment himself and opened the door of the inner room.
“Be kind enough to come in, dear sister,” said the Elector, standing in the doorway and smilingly greeting the Princess, who now entered the apartment.
“I have come at your bidding, Frederick,” said the Princess, accepting her brother’s proffered hand, and looking up at him with a sweet, affectionate smile.
In the window niche stood John Adolphus Schwarzenberg, and the fires of passion and resentment burned in the glance which he fixed upon the Princess, whom he now saw for the first time after a lapse of three years. How much pain and mortification had he not suffered during these three years on her account? The only change wrought in the Princess by the flight of time was a more perfect development of beauty and of grace of carriage. The count heaved a deep, painful sigh, and the rage of despair took possession of his soul at the sight of that noble, tranquil countenance.
“She has not suffered,” he said to himself. “She never loved me, and will now despise me!”
“Forgive me, sister, for troubling you to come to me,” said Frederick William, nodding affectionately to the Princess. “I ought indeed to have come to you, but I wished to speak with you on a matter strictly confidential, which I did not wish our mother and sister to know anything about.”