’OttiliaFrederika Wilhelmina Hedwig,
‘Princess of Eppenwelzen-Sarkeld.’
AN INTERVIEW WITH PRINCE ERNEST AND A MEETING WITH PRINCE OTTO
A messenger from Prince Ernest commanding my immediate attendance at the palace signified that the battle had begun. I could have waited for my father, whose return from one of his expeditions in the prince’s service was expected every instant; but though I knew I should have, had a powerful coadjutor in him to assist me through such a conference, I preferred to go down alone. Prince Otto met me in the hall. He passed by, glancing an eye sharply, and said over his shoulder,
‘We shall have a word together presently!’
The library door was flung open. Prince Ernest and the margravine were in the room. She walked out with angry majesty. The prince held his figure in the stiff attitude of reception. He could look imposing.
The character of the interview was perceptible at once.
’You have not, I presume, to be informed of the business in hand, Mr. Richmond!’
‘Your Highness, I believe I can guess it.’
This started him pacing the floor.
’An impossibility! a monstrous extravagance! a thing unheard of! mania! mania!’ he muttered. ’You are aware, sir, that you have been doing your worst to destroy the settled arrangements of my family? What does it mean? In common reason you cannot indulge any legitimate hope of succeeding. Taking you as a foreigner, you must know that. Judge of the case by your own reigning Families. Such events never happen amongst them. Do you suppose that the possession of immense wealth entitles you to the immeasurable presumption of aspiring to equality of position with reigning Houses? Such folly is more frequently castigated than reasoned with. Why, now—now, were it published—that I had condescended—condescend as I am doing, I should be the laughing-stock of every Court in Europe.