“Yes, indeed, I heard it myself how he commanded them in angry voice to saddle Maurus for him—the wild hunter, you know.”
“Where can he be going so early in the morning?” asked Leuchtmar thoughtfully. “He is so much excited, and love of the Princess will lead him to some rash, ill-advised step; for you are right, friend, she is a siren! But hark! Is not that the voice of the Electoral Prince?”
“Yes, it is indeed. He is below in the court!”
The two men hastened through the apartment to one of the windows, and, hiding themselves behind the curtains, looked cautiously down into the court. The Electoral Prince had just swung himself into the saddle. The horse gave a loud neigh, as if recognizing its master, then reared, but the Prince sat firm. His short, furred mantle was lifted high by the wind, the long white ostrich plumes nodded above his broad-brimmed, gold-laced hat, beneath which floated like a lion’s mane his brown and curly hair. With firm, energetic hand the youth compelled the animal to stand, then pressed his knees into its flanks, and swift as an arrow from the bow the animal flew out of the court gate. Both gentlemen stepped back from the window.
“He is a splendid young man,” sighed the private secretary Mueller, shaking his head.
“Yes,” echoed Leuchtmar, smiling, “I find it very comprehensible that the Princess Ludovicka should gladly have him as consort. But we must not submit to it, but do everything to prevent it, for it is contrary to policy and reasons of state. And I think, too, such an union would not be for the Prince’s welfare, for the Princess—But hush! the Electoral Prince has forbidden me to speak evil of her, and we are here in his room. Let us keep silence with regard to her.”
“But where can he be rushing to now—the Electoral Prince, I mean?”
“I fear that I can guess. To her, to the Princess, and to apologize to her with his looks for the injury which my words have done her. He is just an enthusiastic youth, and it is his first love! Believe me, he is hurrying to her!”
Yes, Leuchtmar was quite right. He was away to her—to Ludovicka. To her he was irresistibly drawn by vehement desire. Yes, she was his first love, and the magic of this delicious sensation held his whole being enthralled, and now drove him onward as on the wings of the hurricane. He thought of nothing and knew nothing but that he must see her, must prove to her how passionately he loved her, how fervently and devoutly he believed in her. The horse dashed on furiously, breathlessly, and yet it seemed to the Electoral Prince as if an eternity had elapsed ere he finally reached Castle Doornward. He breathed a glad sigh of relief, threw the reins to the promptly advancing servants, and vaulted from the horse. His beaming eyes were uplifted to his beloved’s window, and he saluted her with