Youth of the Great Elector - George Upton

In the Elector's Castle

All golden flashes the princely crown, symbol of the highest earthly power, yet terrible, often crushing, is its burden. This was the experience of George William, Elector of Brandenburg, who ascended the throne of his father in 1619. The political sky was thick with gathering clouds, which now and then threatened to let loose the Thirty Years' War. Hardly a ray of sunlight shone upon this sovereign during his twenty-one years' reign.

It was the year 1619. All were rejoicing in the Elector's castle at Cologne, and the Electoress was the most joyous of all. Good news had come. The Protestant Bohemians had renounced allegiance to Catholic Ferdinand the Second and chosen the Elector Frederick the Fifth of the Palatinate as their King. Frederick was the brother of the Electoress. She already saw the crown gleaming upon Frederick's head, its rays being reflected upon hers also. She had received a letter from her brother, in which he wrote: "Thankfully and with joyful tears the Bohemians have elected me their King. How can I disappoint them? At first I hesitated. But my high-minded consort said to me: 'Will you refuse the outstretched hand of a King's daughter? Do you fear to mount a throne voluntarily offered you? I would rather eat bread at a King's table than carouse at an Elector's table.' This decided me, and I communicated to the deputation my decision to accept the crown of Bohemia."

The reader is already acquainted with the effect of this news upon the Electoress. Before replying to her brother's letter, however, she decided to consult her two chief advisers. She could not speak with the Elector, as he was absent on a visit to Prussia, whither he had been called by important affairs of State. These two distinguished statesmen, Count Adam Schwarzenberg and Chancellor Pruckmann, were summoned at once to the castle.

Before they arrive, let us glance at the audience chamber where the interview is to take place. The walls are hung with damask tapestries and topped with broad, gilded cornices. The doors and windows are of white and gold, and gilded figures gleam on the ceiling. By the marble fireplace stand an antique vase of green porphyry and the candelabra, shaped like antique incense-burners, of gold bronze. The tables are of gray Silesian marble and rest upon feet of ebony, richly bronzed. The chairs have luxuriously cushioned seats and elegantly upholstered backs and their woodwork is elaborately carved.

The Electoress entered this room about four o'clock, accompanied by her brother-in-law, Margrave Sigismund. She wore a flowered silk dress with Brussels lace at the neck and upon the sleeves, and a diamond ornament flashed upon her breast. Margrave Sigismund, a young man of mild and genial appearance, was Governor of Brandenburg, but only so in name; the real representative of the Elector was the Minister, Count Schwarzenberg. The Electoress seated herself and the Margrave stood by her side, leaning against a marble table. At a signal to the halberdiers, standing by the door, Chancellor Pruckmann, a small, spare, elderly man, entered, bowed deferentially and approached the Electoress. The latter, holding her brother's letter in her hand, acquainted him with what had occurred. As she continued speaking his countenance beamed with satisfaction. At last, he raised his hand, looked up and exclaimed: "Praise God for the victory our Protestant Church has won."

"But can it hold what it has secured without a struggle?" said the Electoress.

"God, who has helped us now, will help us again," he answered.

"Certainly, if those who are attached to our side do all in their power also," replied the Electoress. "But how do matters stand in our country? You know we can do nothing without its approval. My brother asks in this letter whether he can surely depend upon us for money or for troops if necessary. You certainly understand the importance of the question."

The Chancellor looked thoughtful. "It must be acknowledged," he said, "we cannot return an absolutely definite answer. Alas! the unfortunate divisions in our own church! On the one hand, Lutherans! On the other, Reformers! But we may yet accomplish in State affairs much that seems impossible if only we begin aright. Much depends upon him out there [pointing to the ante-chamber]. He enjoys the confidence of our gracious Elector—if he—"

"He is a Catholic," suddenly interposed the Margrave. "You know that well enough. He has betrayed the confidence of my brother."

Pruckmann signified assent.

The Electoress replied: "Dear brother-in-law, perhaps you are going too far. Schwarzenberg has administered the affairs of the country for years with great wisdom."

"Only the more completely to deceive," said the Margrave.

"Again, you are going too far," said the Electoress, "but we will hear what he himself has to say."

Schwarzenberg entered. He was a man of tall, commanding figure. The pallor of his sunken cheeks and high forehead spoke of physical weakness, the fire his large black eyes of abundant mental strength. Upon his dark cloak he wore the insignia of the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John. His sword also indicated that he belonged to the order. It was long and broad, while that worn by the Chancellor was short and narrow.

The Electoress communicated to him the contents of her brother's letter. He listened to her with a gravity which showed he was deeply interested. At last he said: "Bohemia is a volcano which has been emitting fire and flame these two hundred years, thereby causing widespread devastation. One of its eruptions once swept across the frontier of Brandenburg. The gallant Bernese quenched it with their blood."

Thereupon Margrave Sigismund answered: "But who aroused the Bohemians' wrath at that time? Who took from them their noblest man, the pious Huss? While he lived peace prevailed in the land. It was his shameful death and the attacks upon his followers that kindled Bohemian fury."

Schwarzenberg doubtless thought to himself that his death was the outcome of his heresy, but he made no allusion to Huss and his times. He replied: "They are behaving now in Bohemia as they did then. The twenty-third of May of last year, when at Prague they insolently rejected the counsels of the Emperor, was a ruinous day for that country. They have severed not only the ties which bound them to their lawful Prince, but those which bound them to the Mother Church. How can such things happen without producing bitter strife?"

"Other consequences than you expect may happen," replied the Margrave. "You are an able man, Schwarzenberg; and yet it will be difficult even for you to prove that the Bohemians are in the wrong. Was not the right of public service and open confession of faith granted to the Protestants in 1555? Has that agreement been kept? You well know where the fire against Protestantism was kindled and where the sign was given that faith need not be kept with heretics. The madness began in foreign countries, in Spain, in France, in the Netherlands. In the space of thirty years over 900,000 Protestant Christians of every condition and age were persecuted."

"My dear brother-in-law," said the Electoress, "you are certainly going far away from the subject."

"I think not," answered the Margrave. "It is the same condition of things now. Herr Minister, I ask you this. Did not Protestant doctrine spread all over Bohemia under the mild and benignant rule of Maximilian the Second?"

"That it spread under the rule of the Emperor? Yes! That Maximilian was mild and benignant? No! I call him weak and indifferent as to the Catholic religion, otherwise he would not have left his successor so difficult a task."

"Why this discussion?" interrupted the Electoress. "Let us take up the matter in hand."

"Gracious sister-in-law, grant me a few minutes and you will understand how deeply I have this matter at heart," replied the Margrave. He resumed: "Herr Minister, I would recall to you the son of Maximilian the Second, the Emperor Rudolph the Second. In a letter to the Bohemians he promised them the right of free worship. That promise is well known under the name of 'His Majesty's Letter.' Can you deny this?"

"No," replied Schwarzenberg, "but the fact must be taken into account that this letter was extorted from the Emperor by force."

"Then, you mean that it has no value?"

"Not any," replied Schwarzenberg, calmly. Surprise was manifest upon the countenances of the Electoress, the Margrave, and the Chancellor.

"Truly," said the Margrave, "that is a convenient arrangement! Promise anything and whenever the most solemn promises are made then break them. You mean to say that if the promiser is weak, physically or mentally, and force is applied, his promise is of no account. This infernal method was also followed by the Emperor Matthias and the late Emperor Ferdinand. Whom can the Bohemians trust? Tell me, Herr Minister, is it not notorious that the Emperor has declared he will get the Bohemians back into the Catholic faith, if not by kindness, then by force?"

"I have heard so, and I think he is sufficiently strong and determined to carry out his purpose," replied Schwarzenberg.

"Let this discussion be ended," said the Electoress. Herr Minister, what would you advise my brother to do if he were standing here before you and asked, 'Shall I accept the crown of Bohemia?'"

Schwarzenberg replied: "I would implore him to decline it. A terrible struggle confronts your princely brother if he places Bohemia's crown upon his head. He is a mild, peace-loving man and not capable of bringing that struggle to a favorable close. Once it breaks out, it will spread devastation far and wide, the end of which who can foresee?"

The Electoress had heard enough. "I thank you, Schwarzenberg," she said, at the same time giving him permission to retire. But when the door closed, she said: "Now I know where I am. Schwarzenberg has greatly weakened my confidence."

The Margrave and the Chancellor plucked up courage to address the Electoress once more. "Has the Protestant Union then been established for naught? Shall the princes who established it abandon it?"

"God forbid," replied the Electoress; "but look you. There stands opposed to the Protestant Union a union of Catholic princes. Schwarzenberg spoke of a bitter struggle which must ensue if my brother accepts the crown of Bohemia. Schwarzenberg's religious convictions may be opposed to ours but you will not deny that he has very clear eyes."

Yes, clear eyes had Schwarzenberg. He saw in the events occurring in Bohemia the beginning of a mighty struggle. That it would last thirty years neither he nor any other could know, but he had the presentiment that he should not live to see its close.

An Unquiet Night

The sixteenth of February, 1620, was an important day for Prussia, for between three and four o'clock on the afternoon of that day, a son was born to the Electoress, Frederick William, the future "Great Elector." It is remarkable that the heir who fought so many battles should have been disturbed even in his cradle by warlike tumult. Upon the evening of the twentieth of May the nurse and chambermaid were together in the Prince's apartment which the Electoress had left to get some rest. The child was sleeping quietly in his handsomely decorated cradle. The two watched him a little while with pleasure, then seated themselves at a table upon which a wax light burned behind a screen, and began to spin. When they were fairly at work, the nurse said: "Our Princess little recks of the evil doings which are endangering our peace."

"The Princess was anxious enough," replied the chambermaid, "when she saw the people collecting in crowds in the streets, but the castellan has reassured her."

"What were the people excited about?"

"They were alarmed because two thousand Englishmen, sent by King James, arrived yesterday at Potsdam."

"Will they enter Berlin?"

"God forbid! They are going in a few days still farther, to Bohemia. They are auxiliaries sent to the Elector of the Palatinate who has been crowned at Prague. But our people were apprehensive that they had come here because of the uprising six years ago. They have a guilty conscience."

"Uprising? here in Berlin?"

"Nurse, how little you know about things. I will explain. The blessed Elector about that time went over from the Lutheran to the Reformed Church. The people of Coln and Berlin were greatly incensed. They are nearly all Lutherans, and there was a great uproar. The governor, Margrave Johann George, had to clear the streets to silence the tumult, and was severely injured by a stone thrown at him. The crowd then attacked and demolished the house of Fussell, the Reformed preacher."

Extreme surprise was visible upon the nurse's countenance. "Have such things happened here?" said she.

"Yes. They have happened here," replied the maid; "and worse yet, they happened without investigation or punishment. The Lutherans are in the ascendant and they are making the lives of Reformers wretched to-day in the city and country. Perhaps now you understand what I meant when I said 'the people have a guilty conscience.'"

"Yes; now I understand. The people are afraid that these two thousand Englishmen are going to occupy the city."

"Yes, and would that it were true. It would serve the people right. They would quickly settle matters. But I know it will not happen. Our Elector is much too gentle to adopt harsh measures."

Hardly were these words uttered, when they heard a great noise in the vicinity of St. George's, now King street.

"What is that!" exclaimed the frightened nurse, rushing to the door.

The maid stopped her, saying, "You must not go there. Open the window in the room on the river side and look out. But no, you had better not. It will cool off the room and may make the child ill. No; you stay here and I will look myself."

Thereupon she went to the room, closing the door behind her, opened the tall shutters, and looked out. A great crowd of people was crossing. the long bridge, led by several torch-bearers and drummers. When she returned the nurse asked her what was going on.

"You need have no fear," she replied, though the expression on her face showed that she was alarmed herself. It is just as I told you. It is only the panic which the English have caused among the people."

But if they should really come, and the people should resist them, and there should be cutting and stabbing and bullets were flying, we might be hurt ourselves."

The maid sought to calm the nurse although the increasing din around the castle and in the neighboring streets made her own alarm more and more perceptible. To allay their fears, they talked about' casual things. One said to the other: "Our young master in the cradle is three months old and has not yet been christened. Alas! how times have changed since the christening of the Margrave Sigismund in the nineties! That was a festival indeed! I remember it as distinctly as if it were but yesterday."

"Oh! tell me something about it."

"Since you desire it, nurse, I will. Now pay attention. There were so many princes, counts, and nobles assembled that the castle could not accommodate them all. The people of both cities took part in it. It was December and the snow-covered houses were decorated with fir and pine branches, which gave them a welcoming appearance. In front of the castle were five arches similarly decorated with wreaths and pictures. On one arch hung a ring and over it a crown. It also was surmounted by a figure of Fortune, poised upon a sphere, holding a red banner upon which was inscribed in gold letters the word 'Victory.' On the third day there were fireworks. Have you ever seen them? No? How well I remember them! But how could you ever know of such things in Ukermark? They were displayed on the evenings of the festival. About eight o'clock an attendant entered and said: 'Just now the Elector called from the balcony, "Master Hans, when I give the signal, by word or whistle, set them off!"' We put kerchiefs on our heads and went to the open windows. We had not to wait long when a cannon sounded. Then we saw fiery devices of every kind, serpentine balls, set pieces, bombs, showers of stars, and many hundred rockets, until at last it seemed as if all the stars in the sky were dancing around us. When they were all discharged, fifteen mortars thundered. The ground shook; several hundred panes were broken in the castle, the cathedral, and other buildings near by. So much snow fell from the castle roof that the kettledrummers and trumpeters, stationed on an upper balcony, had to stop playing for a long time. You would have imagined that great alarm might have ensued, but it all went off well and not a person was injured. Oh, but it was not much like the times nowadays. Where can we get the money for such a celebration now?"

The nurse suddenly sprang from her seat. A shot was heard. "Oh dear!" cried she. "The English are entering the city, and it means fighting."

The maid assumed an air of confidence but wished in her heart that the night were well over. The cathedral bell struck one. After a little she rose from her seat and paced the room to and fro. As she was thus engaged she noticed a book, bound in red morocco, lying upon a table near the door. As she picked it up, she saw the nurse looking at it curiously, and said to her: "Why, nurse, is this your book? Can you read?"

"I wish I could," answered the nurse. "Surely our gracious Electoress must have forgotten the book when she came in to see and kiss her little son before he went to sleep. Yes, now I remember, she had such a book in her hand."

"Let us take a look at it," said the maid, seating herself at a table and opening the volume. "It was printed last year," she said. "It reads, at Frankfort-on-the-Oder, by Michael Kochen, 1619'" After she had examined the title-page, which was ornamented with red and black lettering, she lightly turned over some of its leaves. The nurse looked at her like a hungry person gazing upon another at a bountiful repast. At last the maid noticed her eager look and said: "Shall I read you some of it?"

"I should be delighted to have you do so!"

"You must first know that a regular Franco-phobist wrote this book."

"Are there such people as Francopho—"

The maid was only restrained from a peal of laughter by fear of waking the child. "Ah! You are still way back in Ukermark," she said. "Franco-phobists is the name of persons who cannot abide anything that is French." She turned the leaves once more and then said: "Listen to what he has written." She read a long tirade against the French and their influence upon German life, habits, literature, music, and attire. "What does this man know of our attire?" said she.

The nurse meanwhile sat staring at the maid's head-dress. The latter was irritated and said: "What are you looking at, you marigold of Ukermark, with your taffeta head ribbon? You would gladly dress like me if there were no regular style of dress prescribed for you."

They would have resumed their casual talk had not the tumult increased around the castle and in the streets near by. The maid immediately betook herself to the dark room and looked out of the window. Armed men were rushing about excitedly. She saw military officers and heard wild cries and curses, shouts and laughter. Now and then a shot was fired.

The maid returned and said: "The little Prince will be scared to death by this noise." She had hardly spoken when firing was resumed near the castle. The child started up and opened his eyes, but immediately closed them again. Ah!" said the nurse in a low tone, "see how he doubles up his little fist and how impatiently he moves about. Just wait, you people, wait till he is grown up."

"Yes," said a voice, "God grant he may live to grow up a bold, brave man."

They turned in surprise and saw the Princess in the room.

The tumult lasted all night, sometimes dying away, again breaking out. About midnight there was an excited gathering in front of the house of Minister Schwarzenberg. The Count at last met the people and assured them that their fears about the English' were groundless. He said he had further taken the precaution to send out patrols to confirm the truth of his statements and they had nowhere encountered the dreaded English. In the morning good news came from all sides, whereupon the people quietly returned to their homes.

It was not until the thirtieth of July that the christening of the Prince took place, for up to that time they had not succeeded in raising the necessary money. They had also vainly awaited the return of the Elector. Affairs in Prussia were in such confusion that he could not think of leaving for a long time. The witnesses of the christening were the young Prince's grandmother, Electoress Anna (widow of Elector Johann Sigismund), Princess Marie Eleonore, subsequently Queen of Sweden, Katherine, who later married the Transylvanian, Prince Betler Gabor, both sisters of the Elector George William, and lastly, the Brandenburg nobility and representatives of cities on both sides of the Oder, who were invited but could bring no other christening gift than the loyalty they owed to the future master of their country.

In November of the Same Year

Six months have passed since that unquiet night. The people of both cities were greatly excited during that time by some momentous events. To understand them, we must narrate some occurrences which happened in the Spring.

About that time a Swedish captain appeared at the Elector's court—a handsome man of kingly bearing. He remained in Coln about fourteen days and was very often at the castle. It was universally supposed he was engaged upon a secret mission. This was actually the case, but the people were mistaken: they thought he was acting for others, while in reality he was acting for himself. This captain was no other than Gustavus Adolphus, the chivalrous King of Sweden. Reports of the beauty and goodness of the Princess Marie Eleonore, sister of the Elector, had drawn him to the Brandenburg court. He wished to ascertain by his own observation whether these reports were true. He found all that he wished—modesty, intelligence, personal charm. He made her acquaintance, pressed his suit, and she confidingly placed her destiny in his hands.

Not long after this, Oxenstjern, the Swedish Chancellor, escorted the royal bride to Stockholm, where the marriage was to be celebrated. The people then discovered for the first time that the Swedish captain, in whom they had been so deeply interested the past six months, and King Gustavus Adolphus were one and the same person. One may well imagine that the event was the subject of eager discourse for a long time, and that the union between Brandenburg and Sweden was hailed with rejoicing.

The popular interest, however, was still greater in the future of Bohemia and its chosen ruler. The coronation of Frederick of the Palatinate was celebrated with brilliant ceremonies, the first act in a momentous drama. Bohemia was now the country in which the strength of Catholicism and that of Protestantism were to be measured for the first time. The Emperor was opposed to the Catholic union. The news reached Berlin and Coln that a strong army was approaching the capital of Bohemia, led by Maximilian of Bavaria, whose prowess as a soldier had made his name one to be dreaded.

What days, what nights, the Electoress passed, alternating between hope and anxiety! And more and more her hope grew fainter.

Two Princesses

As has already been related, the Electoress widow Anna, mother of the reigning Elector, was invited to act as godmother at the christening of the newborn Prince. She belonged to the Lutheran Confession, and her hatred of the Reformers was so intense that, while she was willing to enter her name as a witness in the church book she could not bring herself to attend the ceremonies in the cathedral. The Electoress made several ineffectual attempts to conciliate her mother-in-law. It may be well imagined that the incident greatly excited the people. The number of Reformers in the two cities, as has been said, was insignificant and nearly every one sided with the widowed Electoress. She was so ardent in her zeal that she even employed the Lutheran minister, Balthazar Meissner, to preach both the last Sundays of her stay in the large hall of the castle. She also invited many prominent citizens of both the cities to attend the service. As the people were leaving the castle on the last Sunday they met the Electoress coming out of the cathedral. She imagined that they did not greet her with their usual deference and even fancied that many of them showed signs of marked disrespect.

On the following Monday the Electoress summoned the wife of a halberdier who had attended the castle service on the preceding day. The woman was much alarmed, fearing that the Electoress was going to rebuke her; but the latter reassured her. "As to this matter," she said, "neither my husband nor I have any desire to prevent you from doing what your conscience approves, but I claim, and Sigismund also, that we shall have the same right and that we shall pray to our common Heavenly Father in the Reformed Church without being condemned for it." Then she questioned the woman about Balthazar Meissner's sermon, what he had said and whether he had bitterly attacked the Reformers. "Is it true," she inquired, "that he assailed my brother and the Bohemians?"

After some hesitation the woman replied: "Yes! He invoked the wrath of Heaven upon the Bohemians and also upon their new King. He also implored divine help for the Catholics in their contest with the detested Reformers."

"Go on! Tell me all, conceal nothing."

After some cross-questioning, the Electoress ascertained that Balthazar Meissner had stigmatized the Reformers as children of the devil and worse even than the Catholics, some of whom might expect the divine mercy. Furthermore he had said that whenever a country fell into the hands of a ruler who was one of these heretical Reformers, the devil erected an altar upon which the salvation of his subjects was sacrificed.

After the Electoress had dismissed the woman, she reflected for some time upon the course she should pursue. At last she decided to remonstrate with her mother-in-law so that such dangerous proceedings should not be repeated. She went at once to her apartments, sent in her name by a maid in waiting, and was admitted. Though both were under the same roof, the two ladies had not seen one another for several weeks. The manner of their meeting showed their alienation. The Electoress bowed low; her face was pale, and its expression that of one who was very ill. The Princess Anna stood erect and motionless some seconds and regarded her with piercing glances from her black eyes. Her gray locks shadowed a flushed face, the features of which revealed a crafty nature. Politely acknowledging her deference, she motioned the Electoress to be seated and then asked in a cutting tone: "What is it that has brought you to your mother-in-law? Surely something very extraordinary must have happened."

The reply came in a clear, firm voice. "Yes, something very extraordinary has happened. I, the Princess of the country, have been insulted under my own roof, by a priest—I and my husband and the government. And who has brought this shame upon us? My own mother-in-law, the mother of my dear husband! She protected this priest, she summoned him here, she invited citizens here to listen to insults of myself and assaults upon my religion, and to expose me to their hatred and derision. O my God! whenever before has a Princess been so treated?" She burst into tears.

With the utmost coolness the other replied: "Nathan also went to the house of the King, and his words were a two-edged sword. He came to save David from destruction, and, lo, he succeeded; for David repented. The pious Balthazar came to this house and denounced the apostasy of those who are floundering about in the morasses of the heretical Reformed religion. Oh, that his words were a trumpet blast to rouse you from your sinful slumber and that you, like David, might repent and acknowledge your error."

The Electoress in the meantime had regained composure. "I have not come here," said she, "to engage in useless dispute with you about the doctrines of the Lutheran and Reformed faiths, but I may remind you that if you assail us so shamefully you cannot blame the Catholics for assailing you. You call us apostates and you condemn the Catholics for their persecution of you, and yet in your heart you deny us in like manner the freedom of conscience!"

"Well! when we see hearts in the power of Satan, should we not cry aloud?"

"How can you be so bitterly unjust?" replied the Electoress. "Should you not hesitate before you insult a religion in which not only I but my husband, your son, believe—a religion indeed in which a man believed who for a long time was the nearest one to you on earth?"

The other sprang from her seat and paced the room to and fro with eyes blazing with excitement. "My Sigismund!" she exclaimed at last with clasped hands and upturned eyes. "My Sigismund, that you also should have apostatized from the true faith! Was it the longing for those possessions on the frontier of Holland which you hoped to secure by your renunciation of your religion, that blinded you? Or, had the Evil One—"

"Horrible!" said the Electoress. "You spare neither the dead nor the living, neither friends nor kinsmen. How dare you assert that your husband went over to the Reformed Church for the sake of those possessions? I am as sure that was not the case, as I am that you are standing here."

"Sure," said the Electoress Anna, "sure! tell me what grounds you have for your certainty."

"They are simple and, I think, convincing. Every one says that when your husband made the change, he intended if possible to acquire those possessions, but was conscious at the same time that he would lose Lutheran Brandenburg. On the one hand, a little gain; on the other, an immense loss. Had he been influenced by material considerations, do you suppose, does any one suppose, that he would not have decided to remain with the Lutherans and secure a great gain, rather than go over to the Reformers and incur a great loss? His action is conclusive proof that his renunciation was a matter of conscience, and conscience alone."

"You may be right," exclaimed the Electoress Anna, with a sigh. "My husband has told me this and also my son, and yet, and yet—" After a pause she continued: "But grant it were so! Is the power of the Evil One so great that it can thus deceive the conscience?"

"We think otherwise," replied the Electoress. "We hope, if we strive to live rightfully and in accordance with our faith, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but we do not believe that its doors of mercy are closed against others. We tolerate other beliefs. We do not charge them with being heterodox."

The princely widow came close to the Electoress, looked at her fixedly, and said: "I will tell you just how you stand. You Reformers have a very small following in the country, therefore you are tolerant. Should your numbers increase, then—"

"Then, do you mean we will be as intolerant as the Lutherans? Never!"

The conversation had taken a turn which did not please the widowed Electoress. She could no longer talk reasonably or dispassionately. She turned suddenly and asked the following questions: "What was your real purpose in calling upon me? Tell me truly. Had you not rather I would leave the castle, the city, and the country? Place your hand upon your heart and tell me no untruth."

The Electoress replied: "God is my witness that I shall speak the truth. I take your hand, beloved Princess Mother, and implore you and yours to live in peace with us under this roof, to refrain from assailing the faith of others, and to prove the excellence of your belief by your conduct. Dear mother, let us set the country an example of the peace which we find in our common love of the Saviour."

"No! No! the serpent of Paradise is hidden in your words. No! a long-cherished thought impels me to instant decision. A few days hence I shall go from here, far from this wretched country to a land where genuine Lutherans may be found. Say no more. I wish to be alone."

A silent adieu and the Electoress left the apartment.

The Battle

Chancellor Pruckmann went to the castle to seek an audience. He entered in his usual deferential manner but the Electoress had not yet returned from the apartment of her mother-in-law. As he was traversing the corridor, he suddenly heard his name called behind him. He turned and beheld her. A look of distress came into his face and he bowed very low, perhaps to conceal his countenance from her gaze until he could master his emotions. His expression did not escape the sharp eyes of the Electoress, who was already filled with gloomy anticipations. Her presentiment as to the fate of her brother and Bohemia was confirmed by his looks, and she said in a tone of alarm: Pruckmann, you are the bearer of evil tidings, are you not? Oh, God! What am I to hear next. Quick! follow me to my apartment."

When they were together there the Electoress paced up and down the room with clasped hands, trying to regain her composure. At last she seated herself and said to Pruckmann, who remained standing by the door like a statue, and looking down: "Now, Pruckmann, I am strong enough to hear whatever you have to say. Tell me briefly and quickly all that has happened."

It seemed as if the flowers on the carpet had riveted Pruckmann's gaze. He did not look up, but after a little said in a hollow voice: "So be it. I will tell you briefly. Your brother is no longer King of Bohemia. He was defeated, and has had to fly."

Another pause ensued. As Pruckmann heard no sound from the Electoress he looked up. Her face alarmed him beyond all measure, for in reality she looked like a dead rather than a live person. She was barely able to gasp out: "Pruckmann, are you certain of this?"

"Alas! as certain as I know that this hand is mine!"

The Electoress's head suddenly dropped upon the arm of her chair. Pruckmann rushed to an adjoining apartment and sent her maids to her. He remained there but had not waited long when he heard her voice, which had been silenced by her convulsive weeping. When at last he was summoned he found her remarkably composed.

"Now, Pruckmann, give me, as far as you can, an exact account of what has occurred. Have you the news by word of mouth or by letter?"

"I received this letter two hours ago."

"Leave it with me. I will read it later. Now tell me what you know."

"Gracious Princess, I should not merit your confidence did I not tell you the whole truth."

"Pruckmann, tell me everything, in the fewest words."

"Your princely brother lost the devotion of the Bohemians in many ways: he showed himself too fond of splendor; he offended the Bohemian leaders in the army by disregarding the movements of the German general; and, worse still, he embittered the Bohemian Lutherans by his unmistakable expressions of contempt for their faith. I have known these things for several weeks, and you know that as far as it was my duty, I gave you intimations of them."

"Yes; and I have not failed to communicate my opinions about these things to my brother freely, but as now appears in vain."

"Your princely brother deemed himself too secure. His advisers must have failed in their duty. He soon discovered, however, the weakness of his situation. The Catholic princes rallied promptly at the call of the Emperor, but none of the princes who had joined the Protestant Union came at the King's summons. The Elector of Saxony—he belongs, you know, to the Lutheran confession—sent word: 'I would rather unite with the Turks than with you.'

The Electoress was growing impatient. Pruckmann—and this was a frequent failing of his—dwelt upon matters which she knew already as well as he.

"The result of all these acts was the failure of the Bohemian army to meet the emergency when the decisive hour approached."

"At last you are coming to the point, Pruckmann. Tell me when and where the battle occurred."

"The battle took place fourteen days ago, on the eighth of November, at White Mountain, near Prague."

"Did Maximilian of Bavaria lead his army against my brother in the battle?"

"He led the army of the Catholics in person. But your brother was not there."

"Not there! Where was he, then?"

"The news of the defeat reached him at dinner, in Prague. He hurried to the ramparts and beheld his army in full retreat."

"And now?"

"Your princely brother asked for an armistice of twenty-four hours. Only eight was granted. He took advantage of the armistice to fly, his wife and children and the leaders following him."

The Electoress breathed heavily. "Is everything, then, lost?" she said, after a pause. "What does the black raven say about it? [She meant Schwarzenberg.] Ah! he has a keen scent."

Pruckmann replied: "I spoke with him just before I came here. God grant his words do not come true. He says with the crown of Bohemia stands and falls the Electorate of the Palatinate."

"Bird of ill omen!" exclaimed the Electoress. "He means that both King and Elector are lost together. But that is not yet the case. My brother is Elector of the Palatinate by divine right and justice, and he is still, in fact, King of Bohemia. The dignitaries of the country placed the crown upon his head before the whole world. One battle is lost. Cannot a second be won? What do you say to that?"

"This letter says the flight of your brother was so precipitate that he forgot to take not only his private papers but his crown with him. Without doubt they are at this moment in possession of the Emperor. Losing the crown, the outward symbol of power, I fear he has lost the confidence of the Bohemians, and especially the confidence of the Protestant party of Germany."

"And what do you both think my brother's next step will be?"

"Gracious Princess, I have no gift of prophecy. Schwarzenberg fears that your brother and his family will seek refuge in your court."

"Does Schwarzenberg fear that?"

"Alas! yes. Your brother is an enemy of the Emperor. As his reception here would be dangerous, Schwarzenberg thinks it must be refused, however painful it may be."

"My God!" exclaimed the Electoress in a despairing tone, "has it come to this, that my brother is to be banned as an outlaw?"

Pruckmann shrugged his shoulders, as he said: "Schwarzenberg thinks—"

The Electoress wrung her hands. Pruckmann was about to go on. "It is enough," said the Electoress. "I cannot bear more to-day." She gave him a sign to leave.

As he passed through the courtyard he looked up at the windows of the apartment he had just left and, as he pursued his way, said to himself: "Perhaps to-day this or that one passing here has also looked up with envious glances and has thought that the greatest happiness on earth is found in a princely crown. O foolish ones, who thus think! Truly princes buy dearly enough the favors which you cannot have, with sorrows you cannot know."

Baron and Chancellor

Chancellor Pruckmann sat at his richly carved oak desk, finishing a letter to the Elector, who was still in Prussia, as he had just been informed by Baron Leuchtmar. The Baron, a large, powerfully built man of about fifty, had a somewhat serious, even solemn, expression of face. The important duty of caring for the education of the young Prince Frederick William had recently been assigned to him. He was to enter upon that duty when the Prince, now in his fifth year, reached the age of seven.

Leuchtmar, who had just returned from a journey to Austria and Bohemia, had much of importance to communicate to his friend the Chancellor, as they sat over their wine. Pruckmann be n the conversation: "Is it true that a wealthy Bohemian nobleman has offered to recruit an army for the Emperor?"

"Yes, it is true."

"His name?


"Ah! that audacious general! I remember to have heard that he did the Emperor good service in his time against the Venetians, and that he was rewarded for it with the governorship of Moravia."

"You are right," replied Leuchtmar. "And while governor he enriched his own coffers much faster than he enriched the public treasury. Some years ago he was forced to resign his position and a sweeping investigation was ordered, but he succeeded in silencing the principal witnesses against him by buying them off."

"Then he is very rich?"

"He is exceedingly rich, as you may know by this fact. You remember the revenge which the Emperor took, when Frederick was defeated at White Mountain and the Bohemians were helpless at his feet?"

"Only too well," replied Pruckmann. "He vindictively waited three months and then gave the signal. The tiger stretched out its cruel claws and seized its victims, who fancied themselves secure. He consigned seven hundred and twenty of the foremost inciters of the uprising to the scaffold, and stripped them and thousands of the common people of their possessions."

"And do you know, Herr Chancellor, who purchased the larger part of the possessions of these victims? None other than Wallenstein. He bought sixty large and small estates from the Emperor for only seven million gulden, and in the following year made other purchases which cost him three and a half million gulden more."

The Chancellor regarded this statement with the utmost astonishment.

"Yes," continued the Baron, "Wallenstein possesses a kingly fortune and lives like a king. I do not believe any prince in Europe lives more luxuriously. Many indeed are poor compared to him. I will give you some idea of his immense wealth. He bought a hundred houses in Prague and had them demolished to make room for the palace he built. What is an electoral castle compared with that palace? You ought to see his stables. The arches are supported by marble columns and the horses stand in marble stalls."

"I heard something of this, but set it down as a romantic story."

Baron Leuchtmar shook his head: "It is the hard truth, and it is all the harder because without any doubt the inexhaustible wealth of this man will bring great trouble to us and the Protestants."

The Chancellor recognized this truth by his anxious expression. Leuchtmar continued: "Tell me, Herr Chancellor, how many halberdiers you have in the castle service."

"Twelve in all, dear Baron."

"Compare that with the number in Wallenstein's palace. Fifty halberdiers keep watch day and night in the anteroom, and twelve guards are in constant attendance upon him. Four chamberlains also keep watch and examine all persons who seek an audience with him. When he travels he requires for himself and attendants sixty wagons, and several more are necessary to convey the table plate and fixtures. He owns ten state coaches with glass windows. Fifty grooms follow, each with a good extra horse.

Wallenstein is an ambitious, violent, dangerous character, created to be a scourge of mankind. How audaciously he appropriates everything! The Catholic League, with Maximilian at its head, robbed Bohemia of its Emperor and forced the Catholic religion upon the Palatinate. This was agreeable to the Emperor, and at the same time not agreeable accordingly as it affected him personally. It was agreeable to have the Protestant cause weakened; but it was not agreeable that he, the Emperor, should possess no power and be obliged practically to live by the grace of the Catholic Princes' Union. The Emperor would gladly have raised an army, but he had not the money. Wallenstein understood the situation—oh, he has eyes, that man! and offered to raise an army for the Emperor at his own expense. It pleased the Emperor. He knew Wallenstein's ability as a leader, and he was also aware of his great wealth. The maximum of the army was fixed by the Emperor at twenty thousand men. Wallenstein objected. Fifty thousand men could be supported as easily as twenty thousand. When the Emperor's advisers asked him to explain, he replied: 'Where I go with fifty thousand men I am master.' They consented."

"That devil!" exclaimed Pruckmann. "He means that where he goes with his army he will be master because it will harry that region and consume everything like a swarm of locusts. This in our dear German Empire! God have pity upon it! Wallenstein has whims and extravagances of many sorts. Like the lion, he cannot endure the crowing of a cock. He is very superstitious also. He dabbles much in astrology. When he is not in the field, he secludes himself from other men. What do you think of him?"

Leuchtmar replied: "It cannot be denied he is sinister, violent, and taciturn. A man who hates his kind has always something strange about him. What they say about the crowing of a cock may be all romance. It is true, however, that in Prague he lives all the year round separated from men and mostly keeps himself shut up in the interior of the palace. His taciturnity and his general aspect give him a demoniac appearance which spreads terror all about him. When his tall, spare figure, with that high brow and sinister glance, moves among the ranks of the troops, even the stoutest spirits are seized with a mysterious awe, and his personal presence is not a little intensified by his attire. A red feather hangs from his hat. His collar is ruffled in the Spanish fashion. His breeehes and cloak are scarlet, his riding cloak of elk skin and his girdle red. When Christian took the leadership of the Protestant cause he found his victorious enemy in Tilly. Now comes a still worse enemy."

Leuchtmar asked: "What does Schwarzenberg say?"

He has advised the Elector to take sides with the Emperor, and my friends and I are working to prevent it; but Schwarzenberg will be satisfied if he continues neutral. But I fear, in spite of neutrality, that our country will suffer from Wallenstein's army. We have had already to suffer, first, because of the passage of the two thousand English five years ago through the land; second, from the armies of Count Ernst von Mansfeld and Duke Christian, in struggles for the Protestant cause; and, third, from the warlike Danes, perhaps. I say, all this seems to me but a foretaste of what is coming."

Leuchtmar asked: "What does the Electoress think?"

"She is overcome with sorrow."

An hour later, the Electoress knew of what they had been talking. The image of Wallenstein accompanied her as she reposed at night. She tossed about restlessly on her couch and his terrible figure appeared to her in dreams. It was early morning when she awoke, but she was so exhausted by her restless night that she did not rise. She went to sleep again, and again the terrible image appeared to her. A mysterious fire gleamed in his eyes, the features of his face were rigid. There was not a trace of human emotion in them. She felt as she gazed at it that she was doomed. Then he seemed gradually to grow larger. Higher and higher towered his figure. The sky was shrouded in clouds, lightning flashed, the thunder rolled, and upon the storm winds fluttered the blood-red robe of the mighty figure.

The Princess awoke. An involuntary prayer to Heaven rose from her lips.

The Departure

In the year 1626 a genealogical work was published in Berlin, containing a fine copperplate engraving of the Prince Frederick William.

He was then six years of age. The attractive young face, framed in abundant hair, shows the same expressive features which later characterized the Great Elector. He wears a jacket of flowery embroidered stuff and white breeches, besides ruffles' and collar.

When the Electoral Prince reached his seventh year (1627) Baron Leuchtmar was instructed to enter upon his duties as educator. He was summoned to the castle and proceeded at once to the antechamber leading to the audience-room. Stepping to the window he saw the Prince crossing the narrow wooden bridge where afterwards stood the majestic castle bridge adorned with marble groups. His preceptor, Muller, an elderly but still active man, who had instructed him in a general way during the previous two years, walked by his side. Upon being summoned to the audience-chamber, Leuchtmar found the Electoress seated at a marble table, upon which were the instructions which she had just read over again. She beckoned him to her side and said:

My dear Baron, my husband and I have finally decided upon the castle of Custrin as the Prince's abode so long as these troublesome times continue. Many warlike bands have traversed our country of late to our sorrow, and now we hear that Wallenstein has been summoned and will sweep over the land with his army. He has made fine promises to spare Brandenburg, but he means to play the part of the wolf toward our country, which he regards as the lamb. In these times of tumult, whose end is not yet visible, my husband and I are deeply concerned about the education of our oldest son. The confusion and excitement of war would deprive him of the quiet and peace which are indispensable, if his education is to be of any benefit. The strong castle of Custrin is at present a secure place. You will accompany him there. During the summer season you may take him to the hunting-castle of Letzlingen. Consider, my dear Baron, the sacrifice my husband and I are making for the welfare of the fatherland, the separation of our family, my husband in distant Prussia, I here, our oldest son in Custrin. Tell me, does it not all show that we are an afflicted family, and that the favors we enjoy are but of little consequence as compared with the calamities which our position forces us to endure?"

"Gracious Princess," said Leuchtmar, the people fully recognize that, and also that—"

"My dear Baron," interrupted the Electoress, "I have had some unfortunate experiences with the people, but we will not talk about them. It will greatly please me if you will cherish my last words and let them sink deep into your heart." She took the instructions from the table. "My dear Baron, in these papers you will find the substantial features of the system you are to follow in the education and upbringing of my son. But I must add some words from my heart. Above all else, educate my son to be a pious, Christian man. Then take the utmost care that the pious soul dwells in a strong body. May our Heavenly Father grant you clear insight and bless your work! Then my son will prove an exemplar for our own people in soul and body. Finally, my dear Baron, see to it that my son is spared as far as possible from the knowledge that a bloody war is raging around us. May this curse keep far away from his retreat. Now I ask you before God, will you strive with all your might and daily implore divine assistance to accomplish what these instructions set forth and what my heart has told you? If you will, confirm it, not by an oath, but in knightly fashion, by the clasp of the hand."

This was done, and Leuchtmar, bowing low, said, with great emotion: "Gracious Princess, I will strive to the utmost of my ability to accomplish what you desire, with the help of God."

A few days later, on the fourth of May, the Prince, Leuchtmar, Muller his preceptor, and a little band of attendants, made ready to depart. No one saw the tears the mother shed in parting with her beloved son. The weeping Prince at last left her apartment; Leuchtmar led him to the coach, drawn by powerful horses; it rolled over the long bridge, through Saint George's street, and out through Saint George's Gate. The Baron did not intrude upon the Prince's grief at parting from his mother, but the change of scene, the bright sky, the green of the trees, and the songs of the lark and other birds, gradually softened the bitter sorrow in the child's heart.

The Sixteenth of February

On the sixteenth of February, 1629, the Prince was nine years old. At an early hour in the morning, while it was still dark outside, he was awakened by singing. In an adjoining room, the door of which was open, Baron Leuchtmar, Preceptor Muller, six pages, and some of the servants were singing a chorale together. When they had finished, Leuchtmar and Muller greeted the Prince, wished him God's blessing, and expressed hearty personal congratulations in their own names as well as in the names of his parents. As soon as he was dressed he went to the apartment. Nine wax candles were burning upon a table covered with gifts. One of the pages read a poem in his honor, and the servants congratulated him. After he had shaken hands with them all and thanked them he went to the table. Among the gifts were two which he cherished and kept all his life. His mother sent him an armlet with the following inscription: "I send you this as an assurance of my heartfelt love and to remind you not to forget my earnest exhortation to love God above all else, to practise the virtues, and to hate vice. Then God's help will strengthen you, and all temporal and eternal blessings will follow you." Besides this, there was a large package, covered with a cloth, which at once arrested his attention. He lifted the cloth and saw a large volume, bound in leather with silver corner pieces. He opened it. It was a Bible. He was overcome with delight. At that time there were no children's libraries. If there had been, he would have had a large one and one book more or less would have made little impression upon him. Up to this time his entire library was comprised in one volume,—the Catechism. Now, he had another, the Bible, which Leuchtmar, and Muller had given him as the most precious symbol of manhood. His joy was indescribable. He knew a great number of the Bible stories already, and it was an added pleasure to find this or that one illustrated. On his way to church (his birthday fell on a Sunday) and when he left it, he could think of nothing but his treasure.

Baron Leuchtmar soon observed that the Prince returned again and again to the pictures illustrating the story of David. Preceptor Muller had told him already much about it and David, the shepherd, singer, hero, and king occupied all his attention. Leuchtmar also increased his interest. He decided to read the entire history of David, from his anointing to his death, with the Prince. "I must share his delight in this narrative," he said to himself, "and thus our reading will prove a double blessing." He also decided to look it over himself in advance, so that when they read together he could better explain it. The more he read, the more he was delighted, and the clearer understanding he had of the hero youth and king. For an entire evening he left the oversight o the Prince to the preceptor and sat until midnight at his table. He read not only the history of David but the larger part of the Psalms. The life of the pious singer was reflected in them, and they seemed to him as a whole like a stately song of David's. An hour was set apart every evening for their study of the history. Leuchtmar read, and the Prince and pages sat at the table. Muller was also present. Seldom have the Holy Scriptures been perused with such ardent devotion. The elders and the youths were alike interested. From time to time they stopped reading and Leuchtmar and Muller would explain the text to their young listeners, or read passages from the Psalms which made the narrative still clearer.

The Runaway

The Prince and Leuchtmar one day took a long ride to a mill in a wooded valley about two miles away. When about a half-mile distant from it they met a horseman. He suddenly drew up as if undecided whether to keep on his way or take another road. At last he approached them, and the Prince and Leuchtmar recognized him as the miller's son a strong, handsome young fellow. He greeted them and was about to ride on.

"Stephen, wait a minute and tell—"

But Stephen put spurs to his horse and dashed on. The Prince looked from the rider to his governor as if to seek an explanation of his conduct. Suddenly Stephen turned, rode back, and stopping a few paces away from them said: "Herr Prince, console my parents, and tell them I will restore everything that the war takes from them. God keep and bless you also." Thereupon he turned once more and soon disappeared in the woods.

Leuchtmar at once understood Stephen's strange conduct: he was on his way to Wallenstein's army. Leuchtmar rode by the side of the Prince with a serious face, for the latter several times looked at him inquiringly. It was an embarrassing situation for him. What should he do? Pass over the whole matter in silence? He considered it from every point of view. At last, he said: "Stephen has run away from his parents. Sooner or later he will regret it. He is going to the foreign war, and remember, Prince, it is a foreign war. We are not at war with any one."

His words did not wholly allay the Prince's disquiet, for Stephen had said he would restore to his parents everything that the war took from them; and this clearly indicated war in that neighborhood. Leuchtmar was not unaware of that statement, and it made it all the harder for him to decide what to do. Should he ride on to the mill? He feared what might be said then; but they were already so near it that they could hear the barking of the miller's dog.

Suddenly he stopped and said: "Prince, I shall be a poor consoler for Stephen's parents. I would rather ride over here a few days hence."

Both turned their horses, but before they had one far they saw the miller hurrying along the footpath. He was already close to them. It would not be polite to run away from the old man, Leuchtmar said to himself, and stopped. The Prince followed his example. The gray-haired miller accosted them. "My son, my son," he moaned, "have you met him on the road, Herr Prince?"

The Prince replied: "Yes, my good man, we met your Stephen. He was about to pass us without a word, but at last he called to me and asked me to console you and tell you he would restore everything that the war might take from you."

"Alas!" exclaimed the old man, "it is just as I thought. The wicked boy! He has joined hands with the devil and left his old parents, who will soon go to the grave in sorrow."

"But what put such an idea into his head?" asked Leuchtmar.

"Ah! my good sir," replied the miller, one lad can spoil many others. Fine, strong young fellows have been running away from all the villages hereabouts. And now, alas, my Stephen! God knows what is the matter with these young fellows. Wallenstein is their idol, their ideal of all that is splendid. Many have been running away to him for a long time and some of them are now officers. Those stories about him pass from mouth to mouth and attract those who are not bad at heart. Tell them he is a Catholic and the leader of the Catholic army and they will reply: 'We care nothing about our religion, what he wants is men of courage.' For several days Stephen has been talking with my daughter Elizabeth. He said to her: 'Am I to wait here until Wallenstein comes, and then get treated like a mangy dog who is clipped and has to lie behind the stove, while everything is going topsy turvy without?' And Elizabeth replied: 'Even if they come into our neighborhood and the villages around us, they will not find us here in the valley; and even if they should, we can run into the forest and stay until they are gone.' Stephen answered: 'You do not understand what you are talking about, Elizabeth. Once the Wallensteinians are here in the villages they will quickly find the way to the mills and farms. I tell you they have keen noses. There are many of them who have lost all they had in the war, and they are going to make it up with whatever they can lay their hands on here, and then, I tell you, when we have lost everything you will be glad to see Stephen coming home with his pockets full of gold pieces.' This is the way the boy talked; and when Elizabeth told me about it, it made me sad and anxious. 'Take the boy to Schoneick,' said my wife to me yesterday, 'and keep him there. Perhaps he will gradually forget all about the war.' He must have overheard her, for when I was making ready to do so to-day he took the horse out of the stall, mounted, and rode off. Alas! I shall never see him again, my Stephen, my handsome boy!"

"Your misfortune touches me deeply, old father," said the Prince, "but how could Stephen engage in such a foolish project? We are not at war with any one. Even if the troops should come here, they would come as friends and harm no one."

"Ah, my gracious Prince," replied the miller, "the good God thus far has protected this region from the calamity of war, but what about other parts of the country? You well know that even the hereditary Prince is not safe in the capital, but has to live in a fortress. If troops were to come into the country to-day, they would treat burghers and peasants alike without caring whether they were enemies or friends. That is what I say, but you, gracious Prince, of course, know more about it than I."

Instead of replying, the Prince reddened. He was ashamed to expose his ignorance. The old man read this in his looks, and continued: "Perhaps your princely parents have kept the knowledge of such things from you. Yes, yes, it must be so. They may think their dear son will have enough of suffering without this. Well, well, they are right, the good parents."

The Prince had lost all desire to go to the miller's house. He gave the Baron to understand this and both rode off. On the way, Leuchtmar said to him: "The miller has mentioned things about which we will talk later, if your parents think it advisable. I will communicate with them at once, and in the meantime beg you patiently to await their decision."

The Hunting-Castle

It was in the morning of a beautiful spring day that the Prince and Leuchtmar rode together into the forest. They were on their way to the hunting-castle of Letzlingen, which the Prince's parents had selected as his summer residence. The Prince had been there during the previous summer and had left it in the autumn with the wood-birds of the romantic spot. He had looked forward longingly to this journey and could hardly wait for the day of departure. When he left in the autumn, the firs, enveloped in haze, looked to him like priests in dark robes standing at graves. Now the trees and shrubs were arrayed in bright new garments. He was overcome with joy in the fragrant arcades of the forest, shot through with golden sunbeams. What a soft, delicious life met his gaze everywhere. Now nimble squirrels frisked up the gray trunks of the oaks and watched the travellers inquisitively with bushy ears and tails uplifted. Again, a woodpecker tapped upon a dry limb, and under a tree stood a deer and two fauns, the slender animals looking fearlessly at the riders with their dark, beautiful eyes. Wood-doves, rollers, and nuthatches enlivened the crowns of the high oaks and firs. The cuckoo called in the distance, and in the clear sky a hawk circled with shrill screams.

The riders were now nearing the castle. The dogs must have known of their coming, for their loud barking was heard in the distance. "I know every one of them by their voices," said the Prince delightedly. "I hear Nimrod, and Diana, and Ajax. I wonder if they will know me?"

"Dogs are just as grateful to those who treat them well as men are," replied Leuchtmar. "They have not forgotten their last summer's friend."

At a short distance from the castle stood a charcoal-burner's house. He was evidently aware of the Prince's coming, for the family were at the door and the little cherry-cheeked daughter handed the Prince a nosegay.

The Prince reined in his horse, bowed, and took the flowers, saying: "I have something for you also, Dorothy. It is in my chest, which is on the way; you shall have it in the morning." Then he asked her parents how they were getting along, and after they had replied, the two rode on to the castle. The forester had already opened the gate, which was decorated with oak leaves, and with his wife and his young hunters in holiday attire met the Prince. He courteously extended his hand and inquired about their health. A favorable reply came from all. Meanwhile there were some others waiting anxiously to welcome him. Nimrod, Diana, and Ajax joyously barked and leaped about him, and the gold-brown Nimrod was so overcome by his emotions that he sprang upon the Prince and licked his face.

The Prince spent nearly the entire day visiting his favorite spots in the vicinity of the castle. It was not only the beauty of the woods which endeared the place to him, but the fact that in former years his parents had been accustomed to spend their summers there.

Much had happened of late in the theatre of war, much also in the immediate vicinity of the Prince which was kept concealed from him, though it might not have been had it not been for one predominant feature of his character,—his submission to the parental will. Several detachments of Wallenstein's army had been in the neighborhood of Custrin in 1627. Several of the imperial officers also had visited Custrin, and upon one of these occasions he was presented by Count Schoffgotsch with the cream-colored pony upon which he rode to the hunting-castle.

One day the Prince asked Leuchtmar what the appearance of these Austrian soldiers meant, and was answered that his parents wished him to refrain from asking such questions. In good time he would be told. It would be wrong for him to know now, as it would disturb his studies.

The Stag Hunt

The Prince received his instruction in the so-called hunting room of the castle. It was a handsome, lofty apartment, decorated with stag antlers, deer heads, and paintings. Many of the latter represented hunting-scenes and some were pictures of wild animals. Among them were a herd of stags in the forest, a deer family, a mountain cock with its young, a wild boar, a hare in its bed under the firs, a canny fox leaving its hole, a striped badger, an otter leaping into the water after a fish, a wild cat making a spring after a flying bird, besides various kinds of small birds—nuthatches, rollers, wood-doves, ousels, starlings, thrushes, woodpeckers, and robins. The most of these pictures were of the Netherlands School and very valuable. "Is there not a picture in this room painted by a Brandenburger?" the Prince asked of his preceptor. He answered in the negative.

"Have we no famous painters in our country?" Muller silently shrugged his shoulders.

After this the Prince became deeply interested in the country which had accomplished such artistic achievements, and Leuchtmar, who had made many visits to the most famous cities of Holland, told him much about the life of its people. One day the Prince asked: "How is it that everything prospers in that country so much better than in ours?"

Much might be said about it, thought Leuchtmar, but he contented himself with this brief reply: "My Prince, the development of a nation is accomplished by individuals of gifted minds and souls. Their culture extends gradually to the whole people. The history of every nation confirms this. It is essentially the history of individuals. They bear the torch of knowledge aloft and lead the people out of darkness into the light. That nation may consider itself happy and fortunate when such persons exercise authority in the State, for they combine in themselves all the qualities necessary to the uplifting of the people. My Prince, some day you will be first in authority among your people. God grant you may be first also in the spiritual empire of our fatherland!"

The Prince in common with the pages received instruction in Latin also. One day while they were industriously engaged in translation, there was a knock at the door, and the forester entered the room. "Pardon me for interrupting you, gracious sir," said he, "but as you told me the Prince's noble parents wished him to participate in the hunt for the development of his strength and courage, I have come to tell you I have wounded a stag worth the hunting."

The Prince and pages at once gathered about him eagerly inquiring, "Where? What kind of an animal? A stag or a hind?"

"In the vicinity of the Ullensee," replied the forester. "He is a splendid animal—a stag of sixteen antlers."

Leuchtmar hesitated, for he doubted whether it was right for him to stop the lesson. Thereupon the forester said: "It will be a long time before such an opportunity for a stag hunt offers itself again."

That decided it. "Prepare everything that you need," said Leuchtmar, "and we will come immediately." The green hunting coats and plumed hats were quickly donned and the deer lances and horns were collected. They found the forester in the courtyard with a horse for the Prince. Baron Leuchtmar and three huntsmen also joined them, and they set off at once. The Prince, Leuchtmar, and the forester were mounted; the others were on foot. The hounds, which were in leash, could hardly be kept from breaking loose. In about half an hour they reached the vicinity of the Ullensee. In the forester's opinion they would find the stag upon a hillside thickly covered with bushes. He cautioned all to be quiet, and designated a spot at the base of the hill where the Prince, Leuchtmar, and the pages should station themselves. Thereupon he went around the hill to start the stag from its cover, the hunters following with the hounds.

The Prince and Leuchtmar stopped at the foot of an oak and watched the thicket closely. Suddenly there was a crackling of bushes and at the same time a stamping, as if a horse were dashing through them. An instant after a splendid stag rushed out of the thicket and passed within ten paces of the Prince, with the swiftness of a bird. Silently and at full speed, hardly seeming to touch the ground, the hounds followed him,—Nimrod, Ajax, and Diana. Another thicket concealed both stag and hounds from his view. The hunter's "Holla-ho-ho!" sounded; the horn blasts rang through the greenwood, and the chase began, the forester and hunters having come up with them. The wounded stag bled and every ten or twelve paces there was a drop of blood upon the moss, or grass blades, or leaves of plants. The practised huntsmen's eyes can see such traces thirty or forty paces off, and such was the case now. The forester led the hunt. It took them up hill and down dale with many twistings and turnings. At the top of one of these hills they stopped and listened. They could not hear any barking—a sign that the stag was not yet exhausted. And so the chase was resumed. It was not an easy matter for the horses to keep to the rough course, nor was it easy for the riders, brushing back branches with one hand and using the horn with the other, to keep firmly in their saddles. The Prince's stout, active horse flew over the course with so little difficulty that the Prince was generally either' a little behind the forester or riding by his side. The latter, though reluctant to lose track of the stag, kept his eye upon him from time to time. What jewels, he thought to himself, ever flashed so brightly as those eyes? Where was there ever a face so fresh, so full of youthful ardor, or swept by such beautiful flowing hair? Leuchtmar also closely scanned his pupil, and his heart beat, not with anxiety, but with joy. The hunters now reached another hill and hesitated an instant. At that point they overlooked a part of the Ullensee. Suddenly they heard the barking of the hounds.

They have chased him to water," said the forester. On they dashed again. As they emerged from the woods they saw the stag about two hundred paces away, standing under some alders in the sedges, evidently bent upon giving battle to the hounds. The dogs sprang at him but he kept them at bay with his horns. The Prince was for keeping on, but the forester cried "Halt! he will take to the water and then we shall have to ride clear round the lake to reach him again." The instant the hounds saw the hunters they renewed the attack. They barked furiously and rushed at the stag. He struck at them with his horns, but they evaded his thrusts. There was a remarkable echo at this spot which magnified their barking tenfold. The Prince's little horse shared the enthusiasm of its rider, tugged at the reins and circled about, its white foam spotting the ground. The Prince, growing impatient, exclaimed: "Let us go on, Herr Forester. What have we brought our spears for?"

"Just a moment, gracious Prince," replied the forester, "and we will decide when to give the horn signal."

It was given sooner than he wished. The stag was standing knee deep in the water. The signal increased the excitement of the hounds. Nimrod rushed directly at the stag, the other two dogs attacking on the left side, and sprang at his neck. Had the dog been on shore he could have moved about more effectively, but the water, which reached to his middle, impeded him. The stag impaled him on his horns and threw him to the beach, where he lay upon his back howling, his blood crimsoning the white sand.

Notwithstanding his respect for the Prince, the forester gave vent to an oath, for he took the wounding of Nimrod sadly to heart; but hardly more than the Prince himself, with whom the hound was a great favorite. The latter could be restrained no longer. Putting spurs to his horse he dashed forward with levelled spear and bending forward loudly shouted the hunting call. The courageous young pages followed him. Leuchtmar also spurred up his horse and sounded the call; but as he came up with the Prince he seized his horse's bridle and said: "Prince, you must not do it."

The stag had been standing motionless, but when Leuchtmar stopped the Prince, the animal retreated a little distance and then sprang ashore and began his flight anew. He ran more feebly than before and the hunters soon overtook him. Their lances whizzed past him amid the blasts of horns and shouts of the hunters, and the Prince also hurled his lances, but with no more success than had attended the efforts of his companions. On they went, while the two hunters picked up the lances. Suddenly the stag ran against an oak which, although it was as large round as a man's body, trembled to its very top. The impact was so strong that the stag's neck was broken and it fell to the ground dead.

After they had examined and admired the body, one of the hunters was ordered to ride back and look after the wounded Nimrod. He soon returned with the good news that the hound was not dangerously wounded, but he thought it would be well to let him lie there until evening and bathe his wound. The forester commissioned one of his helpers to ride to the hunting-castle, harness up a team, and go to the spot; and the Baron ordered breakfast and wine to be brought. While they were waiting, the Prince and pages enjoyed a swim in the lake. After they had been in the water about half an hour, the wagon came bringing the breakfast in baskets, and Preceptor Muller, who was warmly welcomed. After a little the bathers came back with lusty appetites. A snow-white cloth was spread upon the ground and covered with good things to eat and drink. The time was spent in pleasant conversation, and it may be imagined the forester did not lose the opportunity to tell some of his most interesting hunting stories. At the sound of the horn, the homeward journey was begun, a wagon, decorated with fir branches and carrying the stag, bringing up the rear of the procession.

A Retrospect

Baron Leuchtmar received a reply to his letter to the Electoress in which she authorized him to communicate any information to the Prince about the events connected with the war which he could understand. In reality she would have preferred to have him remain ignorant about it, but as that was no longer possible, he might inform him so far as it seemed necessary.

Leuchtmar began his task at once. He went back to the times of the Reformation to show the Prince that the war which had cost Germany so much blood and so many tears was a war of religious faiths. Then he told him about conditions in Bohemia, the elevation of his uncle Frederick the Fifth to the throne of that country and his downfall, and finally the appearance of Wallenstein upon the arena of war. This occupied one evening. The Prince was deeply interested in what he heard, and would gladly have learned further details about the careers of this or that person, but he realized, as Leuchtmar had pointed out, that to understand the events of the existing war he must first be acquainted with events leading up to it.

The next evening the Prince, Leuchtmar, the Preceptor, and the pages assembled in the hunting-room and took their places at a long oval table lit by silver sconces. All listened as Leuchtmar began his talk:—

"Before I go on with Wallenstein's operations I must mention two of the fiercest, stoutest champions of the Protestant cause as well as of your unfortunate uncle. They are the Count von Mansfeld and Duke Christian of Brunswick. The first was actively engaged in Frederick's cause while he was still King of Bohemia. He was exceedingly able and had many hard battles with the League, as also did Duke Christian. Both were very vindictive against the Catholic bishops and abbots, especially the Duke. He once looted a Catholic monastery of its silver, had it melted down and coined, and inscribed upon the coins: 'God's friend, the priests' enemy.' Your uncle, who had found refuge in Holland, was told that if he would discharge these generals the Emperor would be delighted to restore the Palatinate to him. Frederick believed what was told him and dismissed them, only to find himself disappointed. The two went to Holland to assist that country against Spain. Christian, at the very outset, was so badly wounded in the arm that it had to be amputated. The operation was performed by his orders, to an accompaniment of trumpet fanfares, and when it was over he sent word to the opposing general that the mad duke had lost one arm but he was keeping the other to inflict vengeance upon his enemies. This he did not fail in doing. The two generals were in Holland but a short time. Count von Mansfeld was defeated on the Elbe, at the bridge of Dessau in 1626 by Wallenstein; and of his twenty thousand men he could only rally five thousand about him in Germany. We have suffered much from the outrages of his troops, for there were many very bad men among them. He marched through Silesia and Moravia into Transylvania. Wallenstein pursued him, which gave Christian of Denmark, who had espoused the Protestant cause, an opportunity to take the field.

The Count von Mansfeld supposed that he would have no difficulty in conducting operations against the Emperor in Transylvania. He knew that Prince Bethlen Gabor, who was ruling at that time, had been engaged in a fierce contest with the Emperor a short time previously; but he soon discovered, greatly to his surprise, that peace had been made between them. He then went to England to raise troops for fresh undertakings, and died while thus engaged. When he realized that his end was near he donned his armor and helmet and died erect, supported by two of his officers. The Duke of Brunswick died in the same year.

"In the meantime, as I have already mentioned, another champion of the Protestant cause appeared, Christian the Fourth, King of Denmark, and the Dukes of Brunswick and Mecklenburg joined him. Their union was already accomplished when Wallenstein appeared upon the scene. Supposing that they were confronted by the League alone, they now discovered that they had to meet a second and much stronger foe. While Wallenstein was pursuing Count von Mansfeld the League's forces were contending with those of the King of Denmark. The former were led by Tilly. The King tried to evade a battle, but he was finally forced into it at the village of Lutter. Christian fought bravely, but his troops were no match for those of the League. He lost the battle and had to fly. Tilly pursued him and captured one strong place after another. Meanwhile Wallenstein returned from his pursuit of the Count von Mansfeld and improved the opportunity to make a trip from Frankfurt to Berlin."

Thirty years War


"Was he in Berlin?" asked the Prince, in amazement. "Did he go there as friend or enemy?"

"Not as a friend and yet not as an avowed enemy."

"But we are Protestants, and he is the leader on the Catholic side," said the Prince.

"You are right," replied Leuchtmar, "and yet we made no hostile movement against him."

"Was no assistance tendered by us to the Protestants who rose in arms against the Catholics?"


"Why not?"

"My Prince," said Leuchtmar, after a pause, "it is not so easy to answer that question as you think. Perhaps some time you may be able to do so. You must trust your father in this matter. In this great war he has thus far not taken sides with the Protestants. Be assured he has good reasons for his course. Now listen to me once more. Our first minister, Count Schwarzenberg, is a Cath—"

"Pardon me, Herr Leuchtmar, for interrupting you," said the Prince, "We are Protestants and our first minister is a Catholic?"

"I can give you a reason for that," replied Leuchtmar. "There is an unfortunate division among the Protestants. The two factions are called Lutherans and Reformers. They are very bitter against each other, the Lutherans especially so. Were not this the case the Catholics would not have been so successful. I think your father did not care to add oil to the flames by selecting his first minister from either of those two factions. Their enmity was so strong that they would rather see a Catholic at the head of the Privy Council in Berlin than any one from either faction. It is undoubtedly due to our Catholic minister Schwarzenberg that Wallenstein was much gentler among us at the beginning of the campaign than we had any reason to expect he would be. Schwarzenberg implored him to spare the country, and upon the same occasion invited him to go to Berlin. He accepted the invitation and went there with thirty princes, counts, and barons, sixteen pages, twenty-four halberdiers, twelve lackeys, and a great number of chamberlains, cooks, and servants, in all fifteen hundred persons and a thousand horses. He remained in Berlin only one night and on the next day went back to his army, which already had been increased to a hundred thousand men. He advanced with this army, driving the Danes before him. His monthly stipend at that time, six thousand gulden, had increased by the end of 1627 to one hundred and eighty thousand, and as it had not been paid, the Emperor indemnified him with the dukedom of Sagan as a feudal tenure and also made him a prince of the empire. Thereupon he aspired to the possession of Mecklenburg. As both the dukes were allies of the King of Denmark and had therefore incurred the enmity of the Emperor, he had no difficulty in getting his consent. Ferdinand outlawed the dukes and granted Wallenstein the possession of Mecklenburg."

"About what time did this occur?" asked the Prince.

"In the year 1629," replied Leuchtmar.

"You have forgotten one very important event, Herr Leuchtmar," remarked the Preceptor, "the siege of Stralsund, the year before, in 1628."

"That is true," said Leuchtmar, "and I thank you, Herr Preceptor, for reminding me of it. Stralsund is one of the Hanseatic cities and has a regular military force. As Wallenstein absolutely dominated city and country, wherever he was, he thought he could do the same in Stralsund. He sent a force there which he expected would garrison the city. The Stralsunders, however, closed their gates and would not admit the imperial troops. Doubtless they were sufficiently familiar with imperial outrages even against friends. They sent an embassy to Wallenstein to justify their action. He turned upon them in a rage and declared in substance that even were Stralsund bound to the heavens by a chain he would break it and enter the city. The brave Stralsunders in the meantime made preparations for a stout resistance. They also applied to the King of Denmark for help, as well as to another sovereign who is a near relation of yours, my Prince."

"Ah! you mean Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden."

"Yes. Both sent help,—Gustavus Adolphus ammunition, the Danish king four companies of foot soldiers. Wallenstein's force besieged and assaulted the city without any effect. Then Wallenstein came in person, demanded the city's surrender, and swore that if it refused he would spare neither old nor young. The magistrates hesitated, but the burghers, encouraged by the arrival of four hundred Danes, and two thousand Swedes, refused to open the gates to the enemy. It will be to their honor for all time that they were so courageous and resolute. All Wallenstein's exertions were useless; after losing twelve thousand men before the walls of the city he had to make a dishonorable, shameful retreat."

With this, the talk for that day closed.

Early the next morning Leuchtmar went out for a walk in the castle grounds. The air was fresh and fragrant, and the golden morning light shimmered among the trees. As it was nearly six o'clock, he went in to wake the Prince. He walked up to his bed and drew back the silken curtains. The Prince lay before him the picture of health. His cheeks glowed, and his lips were deep red in color. "Poor little fellow," he thought to himself, "thy peace is forever gone. The knowledge of the world thou hast acquired will wither many an innocent joy in the bud. As the years increase, thy anxiety and cares will increase. Is not the lot of a prince harder than that of any one of his subjects?"

The clock struck six and Leuchtmar aroused the Prince. His first words were: "Herr Leuchtmar, I have been in Stralsund all night, fighting upon the walls against the Emperor's troops. Wallenstein came, wearing a blood-red cloak, and rose to such a towering height that his head overtopped the walls. Some of our men fled, but the most remained and shot and thrust at him. At last a cannon ball took off his head and he fell." At breakfast, also, the Prince mentioned his dream.

The Imperial Soldiers

Before Leuchtmar resumed his talk on the next evening the Prince asked a question. He recalled the miller's son they had met in the woods and inquired if this was the same Wallenstein his father had meant when he spoke of his son's joining his army.

"Yes, my Prince," replied Leuchtmar, "and the miller also said, you remember, that many young fellows in that vicinity were running away to serve in that army. This reminds me to tell you something about the soldier's life at the period of which we have been hearing." Leuchtmar picked up a paper from the table, and, glancing at it now and then, resumed: "I will name to you the Emperor's generals who were the most moderate in their treatment of our people. They were Generals Arnim and Pappenheim. Wallenstein assigned one to Altmark, the other to Ukermark. Although, as I have just said, they conducted themselves more moderately than the others in authority, yet they demanded from the people seven gulden for each musketeer, twelve for each trooper, and fifteen for each cuirassier in monthly payments. The extortions of Colonel Hebron in the Winter of 162425 were frightful. Brandenburg, Rathenow, Treuenbrietze, Belitz, Spandau, Potsdam, Rauen, and vicinity had to pay him 7,700 gulden a month in cash. A year afterwards Montecuculi was even more cruel in Neumark. He made an inhuman demand of the Landtag then in session, requiring for his staff and his own command not less than 29,520 gulden monthly, 12,000 for his table, 600 for the table of each of his under officers, 1,940 for other commands, 4,800 for recruiting service,—in all, not taking minor expenses into account, 96,860 gulden for the period of two months. With their utmost exertion the people could raise only one-third that sum. 'You dogs,' exclaimed Montecuculi to the committee which waited upon him and begged him to spare them, 'You dogs, why have you not done what I told you?' They replied they had given all they had. 'Good,' said Montecuculi; 'now I will show you what happens to those who do not pay the tax levied upon them.' The burghers and peasants were maltreated and the last of their effects were taken from them by force. This opened the eyes of those who were of the same faith. What were these soldiers, they said, but robbers? And who was their leader but the leader of a band of robbers?"

Thirty years War


Leuchtmar was greatly excited as he spoke, as well as the others. "Yes," exclaimed the Preceptor, "they will be detested as robbers to the latest times."

Leuchtmar resumed: "And while Montecuculi and his officers were carousing, the people whom they had robbed went begging from house to house and from place to place. There was dreadful consternation in all the villages. The fiends themselves could not have invented more ingenious tortures to force the villagers to disclose where they had hidden their last pfenning. In some places people were killed after they had given up all they had, then their houses were fired, and thus whole districts were desolated." The Prince said nothing, but tears streamed down his red cheeks.

"This is enough for to-day," said the Preceptor; "I will defer what I have to say until to-morrow." Leuchtmar agreed to this, and then related to the Prince the tale of Perseus by Ovid, his favorite story-teller. It made little impression upon him, however, so deeply had he been affected by the evening's talk.

The Restitutions Edict

"My Prince," the Preceptor began, "there was a brief time of peace in Germany. The Count von Mansfeld and Duke Christian of Brunswick were dead; your uncle, Prince of the Palatinate, and both the Dukes of Mecklenburg were driven out of the country, and the Danish King had been compelled to make peace. It was confidently expected that the Army of the League, led by Tilly, would be withdrawn to Bavaria and that of Wallenstein into the imperial dominions, and then there would be peace everywhere in Germany, which was bleeding from a thousand wounds and needed peace for its own recuperation. But the Emperor Ferdinand prevented it. The Jesuits told him, 'Now or never is the time to crush out the Reformation. Use it.'

"Ferdinand was only too willing to obey his spiritual masters. He signed a document called 'The Restitutions Edict.' I will give you only its principal provisions. All the sees and ecclesiastical property appropriated since the treaty of Passau (1525), shall be restored to the Catholics. Every Catholic prince shall have the right to demand of his subjects that they embrace his faith, and those who refuse or hesitate shall be outlawed. As soon as the edict was promulgated the Jesuits and Capuchins appeared in swarms to regain possession of the promised property, and the Emperor's soldiers accompanied them on pillaging expeditions. Augsburg gave up six monasteries and was forced to recognize the bishop. It was the same in Wurzburg. The excitement in the Protestant parts of middle and south Germany was almost indescribable. Lichtenstein's dragoons looted Silesia. Brandenburg also yielded its right to an archbishopric and gave up its four sees. Matters with us, however, did not reach so serious a pass, for two good reasons. Ferdinand wished to establish his son firmly in the succession and needed the votes of the Electors, as well as that of your gracious father. For this reason he delayed the enforcement of the edict. But there was a still stronger reason. A hero, the 'Star of the North,' was giving him great anxiety. Whom did that name mean? Whom else than the knightly King, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden? In the war with Poland he had shown all the qualities that go to make a hero. The six years' armistice with that country was accomplished, and it was now expected he would have something to say about affairs in Germany."

There was some desultory talk about Gustavus Adolphus and his appearance in Germany, after which Leuchtmar said: "The two Catholic generals, Wallenstein and Tilly, now had to meet a different enemy from Christian of Denmark. He had won his spurs when seventeen years of age, in an expedition against that King. It is now time, however, to bring our talk to a close, and I will mention only one incident in his career. In the Polish war it happened upon one occasion that his courage outran his prudence, and he suddenly found himself surrounded by his enemies. Death or capture seemed the only alternative, and he decided to die fighting. Right and left his foes fell before his stout blows. At the critical moment a Swedish cavalryman supported by his comrades rescued the King at the risk of their own lives. Not long afterwards the King found his rescuer a captive. He dashed into the crowd and freed him in turn. 'Brother comrade,' he called out, 'now we are even with each other.' My Prince, how do you like your cousin?"

The Prince made no reply in words but his eyes spoke what he thought. The old Preceptor's eyes flashed also when he arose, Bible in hand, and said: "Yes, yes, he is coming! the 'Hero of the North'—the 'Lion of the Northland,' as he is variously called. He will be our David, and the Lord will give him strength to vanquish his enemies. Now let us reverently read the Twenty-seventh Psalm, which begins with these words: 'The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?'"

Colonel von Burgsdorf

Weeks have passed since the events just described. Knowledge has opened a new world for the Prince. Many questions have arisen in his mind. Some of them were settled, others troubled him. It was growing unsafe in the vicinity of Letzlingen. Several pillaging bands had appeared and murders had been committed. For this reason Leuchtmar wrote to the Elector, asking whether it would not be advisable to return to Custrin rather than remain at the hunting-castle until Fall, as originally intended.

It was midnight before his letter was finished, for he had much to say about the Prince's intellectual and physical progress, and then he retired. The wind roared in the chimney. The vines clinging to the iron shutters of the windows shook against the panes. Before he could get to sleep he heard a shot. He closed his eyes. Then came a second shot. Naturally he thought there was a party of marauders near by, and yet there might be some other cause for the firing. He quietly arose, went into the front room, closed the door behind him and stepped to the window. He opened it and listened. He heard voices near the charcoal-burner's hut. The hounds were already barking furiously. A number of persons seemed to be approaching the castle. The forester was on the alert. There was a soft knock at the door; Leuchtmar opened it. The Preceptor stood there with a light in his hand and anxiously asked him what he thought about the noise. Two servants who slept in the entry had started up, and the forester soon appeared at the door. "It is a plundering gang," said he, "but they will find their match."

"Silence, silence!" cautioned Leuchtmar. "Let us first consider what it is best to do." He went again to the window, but only heard the voices of those approaching; what they said was inaudible by reason of the barking of the dogs. The forester in the meantime went into the castle yard, hunting-knife in one hand and pistol in the other, and asked who they were, after a hunter had quieted the dogs with a whip.

"Colonel von Burgsdorf and two attendants, who have lost their way," was the reply.

The forester hesitated about opening the gate, but Leuchtmar, who recognized von Burgsdorf's voice, assured him that all was right and gave his friend a hearty welcome. He had lost his way in the forest and had purposely raised an alarm. Fortunately he found himself near the castle. The barking of the dogs first gave him the right direction, and then the charcoal-burner, whom he aroused, directed him to the castle.

The three men soon were sitting together, the Colonel, Leuchtmar, and Muller, in the Preceptor's apartment. Burgsdorf was a somewhat corpulent man with a genial face, notwithstanding his fierce mustaches. In a jovial way he declared that he had some highly important news, but he would not give them a morsel of it until he had appeased his hunger and quenched his thirst. Leuchtmar had already made his arrangements and a cold supper was brought in,—half a mountain-cock, and a wild boar's head with a lemon in its mouth, and good Rhine wine was not lacking. As he ate and drank heartily, he made fun of his table companions, who were sitting by him hungering for the news. At last he said: "I will begin my information thus: If there should be one explosion right at your doors would you not be frightened? and then, if a second should occur, would you not immediately make preparations to leave? What do you think about it?"

"Great heaven! you have terrified me already," said the Preceptor.

Leuchtmar spoke: "In fact, great things must have happened, when you introduce them in this way."

"They have happened," replied Burgsdorf. "Now listen: First explosion—Wallenstein has been dismissed. Second explosion—Gustavus Adolphus has landed in Pomerania. Ah! I see that the news excites you even more than if two powder-houses had exploded at your very door."

"Herr Colonel, you are a reliable man, otherwise I should think—"

"Two such pieces of news at once! This is too much; one is all we can stand."

Thus spoke Leuchtmar and Muller. The latter added: "And what about Tilly?"

"He is still at large," replied Burgsdorf; "my information concerns Wallenstein only. And do you know who brought about his retirement? The Catholic princes, his companions in the League. The rascal's colossal audacity was too much for them. They could not endure that he should dispossess the Dukes of Mecklenburg (though they cared nothing for them personally, as they are Protestants) and strut about as an imperial prince."

"Aha! So he has got himself into trouble!"

"Surely! Ferdinand went with high hopes to the assembly of the Electors at Regensburg. He intended to crush out the rights of the Protestants completely, besides arranging for the choice of his son as his successor. It turned out differently from what he expected. There was a storm of complaints on all sides, and in the midst of the excitement Maximilian of Bavaria appeared upon the scene. He satirically charged that Wallenstein was only the leader of the imperial halberdiers whom he had collected in Germany at an exorbitant price. Was it not most atrocious, he said, that the Electors, the pillars of the empire, should be made subordinate to the imperial army commanders, especially in Brandenburg, where this had been the case for years?"

"This much I know," said the Preceptor, "his expenses are not to be reckoned by thousands or hundreds of thousands, but by millions."

"Twenty million gulden," said Burgsdorf, "and perhaps more. Everything combined to force Ferdinand to displace Wallenstein. Many teeth chattered at the thought, 'Will the mighty Wallenstein give up his sword without resistance?' He has done it. They say that the stars told him he must obey the Emperor's behest."

Leuchtmar interrupted: "May he not contemplate taking it up again? Then he will make more extortionate demands than the former ones."

"Very possible," replied Burgsdorf. "He has a penetrating foresight."

The Preceptor now asked: "Was the arrival of Gustavus Adolphus known at that time to Regensburg?"

"No," replied Burgsdorf; "otherwise the Emperor would have had most substantial reasons for deferring the dismissal of his favorite, who has now retired to his kennel in Prague. But who can tell what is going on now in his brains? What may they be hatching cruel scenes of blood and revenge? But let us drop this fiend and speak of that brilliant hero, Gustavus Adolphus! It seems to me that the lightning of his sword is already flashing all over Germany. He will measure himself with Tilly, who is now in supreme command of the Catholic army."

"Truly, this news," said Leuchtmar, "is soul-inspiring. I feel already as if a new order of things had come. But how are affairs at the court? Above all, what does Schwarzenberg say?"

Burgsdorf made a bitter grimace. He has been trying in every way to induce the Elector to join the Emperor, and failing in that, he continually urges him to remain neutral and not to recognize Gustavus Adolphus. Now, as you know, there is a party at the Elector's court which for a long time has practically been on the side of Sweden. That I belong to it you will not doubt. The Electoress is decidedly on our side. The Elector remains quiet, and no one knows what is passing in his mind. One remark of Gustavus Adolphus concerning Schwarzenberg is well known. He called him a traitor, and added that he richly deserved to have his neck broken. To prevent a meeting of the two, the Elector has sent Schwarzenberg on business to Treves. I wish that he might never come back."

They spoke of many other distinguished persons and important events. At last Burgsdorf told them that he was commissioned to arrange for the return of the Prince to Custrin, as it was safer there than at the hunting-castle. For this reason no letter had been sent, as he had undertaken to convey the message personally.

It was between three and four o'clock in the morning when they sought their beds.

Gustavus Adolphus

When Gustavus Adolphus took his solemn farewell of the Swedish council he confided himself to the protection of the Almighty. His last words, I bid you all a heartfelt farewell, perhaps forever; perhaps we see each other for the last time," brought tears to the eyes of all present. After a moment's silence the King closed with a fervent prayer.

The King embarked at once. After a long and stormy passage he landed, July 4, 1630, just a hundred years after the reading of the Augsburg Confession, upon the little island of Ruden. As soon as he had landed he fell upon his knees in earnest prayer. To his followers, who were moved to tears by his fervor, he said: "The more prayer, the surer victory; for he who prays often has already half striven and gained the victory." Thereupon, taking spade in hand, and while the disembarkation was going on, he helped half of the landed troops in throwing up defences, while the rest stood guard under arms. Notwithstanding the meagreness of his supplies, he maintained strict discipline, and his soldiers were forbidden under penalty of death to break into houses or to annoy or rob any one. His little army of fifteen thousand men presented a strong contrast with the robber bands of that time, who fought only where there was a chance of booty and dissoluteness. At the outset the. Swedes were derided and called "starvelings" and "bigots," but they were full soon recognized as warriors to be feared. Even at the imperial court they were looked upon with contempt when the landing was announced, but the court soon learned its mistake.

Gustavus Adolphus suddenly appeared before Stettin. Pomerania, like Brandenburg, had been devastated by the Imperialists. Bogislav Fourteenth, Duke of Pomerania, yielded to the inevitable and made a treaty with Gustavus Adolphus, whose army at the close of the year 1630 had been increased to thirty thousand men by accessions from Sweden and by deserters from the enemy. At the beginning of the year 1631 a treaty was made between Sweden and France, for the increasing power of the Emperor had long displeased France. In Germany about this time the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, the Landgrave Ludwig Wilhelm of Hesse-Cassel, and the city of Magdeburg declared for Gustavus Adolphus. The Imperialists retreated before him. He attacked Frankfort and took the city by storm. Not a single combatant was spared, because Tilly, at the capture of Neubrandenburg, had killed two thousand Swedes in violation of the rules of warfare. Gustavus Adolphus next appeared before Berlin and ordered the Elector to declare whether he would close a treaty with him, like the princes named above, or be his enemy. The Swedish party in Berlin, to which the Electoress and her mother belonged, besides most of the councillors (among them Pruckmann and Von Burgsdorf, whose acquaintance we have made at Letzlingen) exerted themselves to the utmost to induce the Elector to make the treaty; but it came to nought. Gustavus Adolphus meanwhile received word from Magdeburg that it was besieged by Tilly, and that it depended upon him to relieve the city. But this master of war knew that in spite of all calculations and the utmost courage a retreat might be necessary if he did not occupy strong positions, so as not to be cut off from his base of operations. Gustavus Adolphus desired the concession of the fortresses of Spandau and Custrin. The Elector consented, but upon condition that the fortresses should be given back immediately after the raising of the siege.

Gustavus Adolphus now advanced toward the Elbe, sent ambassadors to the Elector of Saxony, and asked of him the surrender of Wittenberg that he might have free passage of the Elbe. The Elector hesitated while the danger to Magdeburg steadily increased. Suddenly came the dreadful news that Magdeburg had fallen. Of its thirty-five thousand citizens, thirty thousand were put to death by Tilly's hordes, and after a few days in the place of a flourishing city only a heap of ruins was left, from which the smoke of the fires which had been kindled rose to heaven.

The news of the fall of Magdeburg deeply pained the King, but his courage did not waver in the least.

In a Garden House at Berlin

Gustavus Adolphus shortly appeared again with his army before Berlin and trained his cannon upon it, whereupon its citizens became panic-stricken. The King well knew that there was a strong party opposed to him, and he decided to see what effect a menacing attitude would have upon them. The Electoress and her mother, the widowed Princess of the Palatinate, betook themselves to the King's camp and arranged for an interview between the King and the Elector. At the place of their meeting, near the Stralauer Gate, a Berlin alderman owned a fruit garden, in which he had erected a handsome summer house. At the appointed hour the Elector appeared in his coach, accompanied by Pruckmann and Burgsdorf. His face showed that the sufferings of his people had made a deep impression upon him. He dismounted and went to the summer house, where he was notified that the King was near by. Standing at the door he saw his royal brother-in-law upon his steed, accompanied by 103) ?> a brilliant array of officers, approaching the summer house. The Elector advanced to meet him, Pruckmann and Burgsdorf following. The princes greeted each other by word, hand shake, and kiss, but the greeting was not characterized by warmth of feeling on either side. How could it have been otherwise?

"Dear brother-in-law," began the King in a loud voice, "I come in the name of our holy religion, to which we belong, to invite you to join with me against our common hereditary enemy. Once there was a union of German princes. Where is it now? Three times I have offered you my hand. Wavering courage, discord, fear of the world's opinions have prevented the making of a common agreement against the Emperor and the Catholic League. Now I have come here at my own risk, and trusting in God have raised my banners for the protection of the oppressed followers of our faith."

The Elector replied: "My dear brother-in-law, how well I know that our beloved Church is sorely beset! Twelve long years I have borne this sorrow which has wellnigh overcome my soul, and the burden only grows heavier. This war is wasting Germany like a dreadful disease. But you know as well as I that religion is not the only exciting cause of it."

"We must sever conflicting interests as once the Gordian knot was cut. There is no other way, and we must strike the blow now while our sinews are still strong. If we hesitate longer, all Protestant countries will share the fate of Bohemia and the Palatinate."

"Is that the only possible way? The Emperor has yielded somewhat. Wallenstein has been dismissed."

"Yes," said the King, "one person may fall, but does the spirit which calls men fall with him? The smoking ruins of Magdeburg answer the question. In the place of Wallenstein, Tilly was there. And may not Wallenstein be summoned again? May he not any day emerge from his hiding-place? Where he will be needed is as clear as the day. Stralsund is the key of the Baltic. That is why so much blood was shed to win it. Ferdinand's plans are clear. The promulgation of the Restitutions Edict for the north of Germany has been delayed, but when the delay is ended, then it will be time for the northern empire to draw the sword. Has not Wallenstein already shown his enmity to Sweden? For years he sent troops to my enemies, the Poles, and when I called him to account for it he gave me the insulting answer that he was not in want of those he spared. May they not put forth fresh and redoubled exertions to secure Stralsund? I know well enough there are persons who will say now and in the future, What business has Sweden to meddle with the war in Germany?' Thus fools and ill-wishers will talk. There is a war against the Protestant Church, and if it be destroyed in Germany it will be destroyed in Sweden. Shall I suffer the last hope of German Protestants to disappear before I move? No. I clearly see what would happen if I, as a Protestant prince, should act as you have done,—tremble and hesitate; now assume an earnest manner as if I were about to draw the sword, and then, submissively smiling, acknowledge my vassalage. Tell me, my brother-in-law, what have your vacillating politics toward Austria during the last twelve years done for you? Could the hardest war have caused the loss of more men and money than has already occurred?"

"I fear, yes. An openly declared war against the Emperor might cost me as much as it has cost the Duke of Mecklenburg against whom the ban has been pronounced."

"Yes, an unjust, unrighteous act. But the ban is now an empty shell, for I have restored this right to the Duke."

"That is very good," replied the Elector. "But can you guarantee that that ends the matter? You are a brave warrior. You have proved it in Poland and in many places in Germany. And yet the history of all times and people shows that the personal courage and ability of a leader do not always decide a contest. There are many things which upset all human calculations. Shall I now place my own and my country's welfare upon the hazard of a die held in the hand of a man very dear to me, and yet mortal?"

The King's face reddened as he said: "Is that your last word, brother-in-law?"

"By no means, my brother. Do not be angry with me," replied the Elector. Seizing the King's hand, he continued: "Would you look into the very depths of my soul? Come with me."

Both princes went into the garden house, where they remained for an hour. When they came out they came hand in hand. When they first met they coolly shook hands. At parting they embraced each other affectionately. The King rode back to camp and the Elector to the city.

What did one of them say to the other at this meeting?

"I cannot blame my brother-in-law for hesitating hitherto to grant my wishes," said Gustavus Adolphus. They are dangerous things which I ask."

And the Elector said at the castle: "Who can withstand that magnificent man? We have shown each other our inmost emotions. He is actuated by the feelings of injured honor, the safety of his empire, and above all else by his devotion to our faith. He is travelling a dangerous road. May God be his helper."

Upon the afternoon of the same day Gustavus Adolphus entered Berlin with his army. In the evening a treaty was made between the Electorate of Brandenburg and Sweden. Spandau was given over anew to the Swedes, the opening of Custrin was promised in case of retreat, and thirty thousand thalers monthly was guaranteed for the support of the Swedish army.

At Wolgast

"Terrible news spread over Germany in November, 1632. Gustavus Adolphus, the hero, but for whom Germany would have been a second Spain, was killed at the battle of Lutzen on the sixth of that month. The battle was won, but he paid for the victory with his life. They found the hero's body after the battle, plundered and trodden under foot, covered with blood and wounds, and lying face downward. It was taken in an ammunition wagon to the village of Menchen. From there it was carried in a simple casket to Weissenfels, where it was embalmed and thence was conveyed in solemn procession through Wittenberg to Wolgast. From there in the Spring of 1633 the Prince and his noble kinsmen accompanied the coffin to the vessel which was to bear it home.

The Prince was the first to meet the royal widow. When she saw him, she wrung her hands, went up to him weeping and embraced him. Gradually she regained composure and began to speak of her husband. "You too, my Frederick," she said, "were included in his plans. You are to be the inheritor of his power and the champion of Protestantism. He has also consigned to you a precious treasure, our little daughter Christine, heiress to the Swedish crown. He has confided her to your love and care. How often, especially since his death, have I thought of what he said at that time! Alas! he had then a presentiment that he would never return! I can never forget his words. 'Do not imagine,' he said to the Diet, 'that I enter upon this war impelled by common ambition. I venture all to release the Church from the domination of the Pope, and because I expect to accomplish it with divine assistance. I have many times fought for the welfare of the kingdom, and God has always saved me from death. But it cannot always be so, and at last I must give up my life. Therefore I commend you all to God, the Almighty, and hope that after this sorrowful life of trouble we may all meet again in the future in heaven.'"

This and much more concerning her husband the Queen related to the Prince. One of the captains who had accompanied her to Wolgast, a German, had been in the battle of Lutzen. The Crown-prince requested his royal aunt to summon the man. "As you wish to learn of the battle from one who participated in it you shall meet the man—but not here, not now."

That evening the Crown-prince's parents arrived, also the Dukes of Mecklenburg, who owed the restoration of their dukedoms to the King. The meeting between the parents and the Prince was a most affectionate one. On the following day the escort for the King's body, which rested in a silver casket, accompanied it on board the ship. Cavalry and artillery bearing standards and banners captured at Lutzen marched in advance. The banners of Sweden were draped. Then came the hearse, drawn by eight horses with black velvet trappings. The Elector George William as the nearest mourner, followed on foot, accompanied by the two Dukes of Mecklenburg. The Crown-prince followed as second mourner, accompanied by the Pomeranian embassy. A long train of mourners succeeded them and closed the procession, all heavily burdened with anxiety as they reflected upon the future. Solemnly it moved to the harbor. The precious remains of the King were placed on board, and amid the booming of cannon the vessel weighed anchor.

In Holland

The progress of our narrative brings us to the neighborhood of Arnheim in Holland. On a canal, a few miles from that city, we meet a boat being towed along. It resembles a barge, is about sixteen to twenty feet in length and ten feet in width, and is divided into two sections. The forward section is intended for freight and second-class passengers; and the rear one, a handsomely painted cabin, for first-class. It contains a table and cushioned seats under the windows. The boat is drawn by a number of horses attached to a long line fastened to the top of the mast. A boy rides one of the horses at an easy trot along the towpath.

In the rear section we see a lad of strong figure, fresh face, and beaming eyes. He is sitting near the sternpost the better to see the landscape, and perhaps also to talk with the helmsman. His dress shows him of high rank. There are two persons in the cabin. One of them, a large man of noble appearance, sits near the door and often watches the lad, as he converses with the little old man sitting near him. These two persons are the Electoral Prince of Brandenburg, Frederick William, and Baron Leuchtmar.

Before the narrative proceeds further we must once more look back a little. Five years have elapsed since the funeral ceremony at Wolgast. From that place his parents took the Prince to Stettin, where they left him with the old Duke Bogislav the Fourteenth. He remained two years among the brave, true-hearted Pomeranians, studying the people, their form of government, the agricultural and maritime affairs. During this time he made great progress in the art of fencing and in many departments of scientific education. In his fifteenth year he spoke and wrote Latin, French, and Polish besides his mother tongue, and at last the Elector decided to send him to the world-famous University of Leyden in Holland. Schwarzenberg made objections. There was not sufficient money in the Elector's coffers to pay the expenses of such a journey. All the more determined was the so-called Swedish party that he should go; and at last the Electoress overcame Schwarzenberg's objections by providing thirty thousand thalers from her own savings. It did not seem any burden to the mother so long as it secured the safety and the highest possible education of her son.

For three years the Prince has been in Holland. He has temporarily left Leyden, where a pestilence is raging. For several days he has been journeying about, for he is anxious not alone to acquire an education, but also to study the people with whom he is living.

The boat stops at a village and the passengers go ashore. The village is a model of Dutch cleanliness. The neatly built houses, mostly one story in height, are handsomely painted, and the paint is always kept fresh. The mirror-like windows are closely hung with snow-white curtains. There is a little garden in front of every house. The pavements consist of small red and blue tiles so laid that they resemble the pattern of a Turkish carpet. No filth is permitted to remain upon the streets. They are thoroughly washed and sprinkled with white sand and sometimes with flowers. No cow or horse is allowed to stray about. They are all kept in stalls in the rear of the houses. Not only the wooden implements in the houses, but the gates, the trellises, and posts in the fields against which the cattle rub themselves are painted, and some of the latter have carved work at the top. Every house has two doors, one at the rear for ordinary outgoing and incoming, the other being used as the principal entrance, and opened only upon the occasion of christenings, marriages, and funerals. This door, the pride of the owner, is covered with carving and here and there gilded. Flowers grow luxuriously in the gardens. The tops of the trees are cut off and the trunks smeared with white paint. This description will give the reader a picture of a Dutch village of that time as well as of the well-to-do condition of the people.

After our travellers had drunk some good beer and eaten a lobster, they hired horses and were soon on their way to Arnheim, a servant who was to bring the horses back following them. The nearer they came to the city the more delightful was the country, which began to look like a large garden. Although there were no rocky heights, the high dikes which rose along the way, the multitude of country seats, mansions, and towers, the beautiful groups of trees in the fields and meadows and upon the edges of the streams, varied the landscape continually and presented pictures worthy of the brush of the greatest painter. Cities, villages, castles with their luxurious surroundings, country houses of every style of architecture with handsome gardens, boundless grassy meadows with herds of cattle, lakes which had been made by peat-cutters, countless islands upon which long reeds were cultivated as thatch for the houses, serving also as homes for great flocks of waterfowl,—such was the panorama which met the eyes of the Prince.

The life of the Prince in this richly blest country was permanently influenced by it. His love of art and science was developed and he gained greatly in knowledge of State affairs and the ways of the world from his intercourse with Dutch statesmen, burghers, and peasants. It was of the highest significance also in relation to the future that he studied the plans and schemes of the great Prince of Orange. The army of this man was still a nursery of field-marshals and naval officers.

The Prince and Leuchtmar at last reached Arnheim. The Prince occupied a beautiful country house in the suburbs. Let us go with the Prince to the house while Leuchtmar is otherwise engaged. The entrance is paved with white marble, covered with a carpet and bordered with veined marble to the height of four feet. The Prince enters a lofty apartment on the right. The fireplace is of black marble with a broad mirror above it. Upon the wall surrounded by chaplets are half-length portraits of the Elector George William and his wife. Weapons of various kinds are also suspended among the pictures. A dark polished table, with chairs placed by it, and a bookcase are the only furniture in the room. As soon as the Prince has changed his dress he takes his diary and notes down his recollections of the trip. Ever since Leuchtmar's talks the Prince had devoted himself assiduously to this diary. All the more unfortunate is it that it has been lost.

In the Park

In the vicinity of Arnheim, at Rehnen, dwelt the clever and once so beautiful Elizabeth, daughter of King James the First of England, who still called herself Queen of Bohemia and Electoress of the Palatinate. Her country house stood in a handsome park. The last hopes of her husband, Frederick the Fifth, disappeared with the death of Gustavus Adolphus. Shortly after the news came he was stricken down with an illness which proved fatal. Both the oldest sons of the Electoress, the Prince, subsequently the Elector Carl Ludwig, and Prince Rupert, who was a year older than the Electoral Prince Frederick William, had been fellow-students with him at Leyden and in daily intercourse with him. They were now spending a short time with their mother in Rehnen. Besides these, the Electoress had a younger son, Prince Moritz, and two daughters, Princess Henrietta, who was so well educated that in her nineteenth year she engaged in arguments with Dutch scholars, and Princess Louise, who was sprightlier by nature and had a special talent in painting.

While the Prince was living in Arnheim it was his custom to ride over to Rehnen every afternoon and make a call of a few hours, returning at dusk. One day, as he approached Rehnen, he was informed by the porter to whom he gave his horse that he would find the Electoress with the princes and princesses in the pavilion at the lower end of the park. In the middle of the park he reached a garden ornamented with marble statuary. From this point he saw his princely relatives. The green doors and windows of the pavilion in which they were sitting were open, so that the sunshine and perfume of the garden found their way into it. His cousins saw him coming and advanced to meet him, and the Electoress and princesses greeted him affectionately upon the estrade.

The time passed in animated conversation. It was the dearest wish of the Electoress to secure the heir of Brandenburg for her son-in-law. The pleasure of the conversation, however, was soon seriously marred. The Princess Henrietta asked if Wallenstein had not actually attempted to secure the crown of Bohemia. The Princess Louise maintained that he had. "I look with a shudder," said she, "into the dark, bottomless abyss of that man's soul. Despicable ambitions rage there. Selfishness characterizes every mortal more or less, but he had no other impelling motive. All love in his nature was destroyed by it, and where there is no love one becomes a fiend. What were Luther, the Pope, or Calvin to him! He made no account of them. His own person was all he cared for. Many a time I have said 'He is Satan incarnate!'"

"And yet," remarked the Electoress, "his faith in the stars—"

"Superstition," replied the Princess.

"I will not dispute with you about the word," replied the Electoral Prince. "But you must concede one thing: He sought to read his fate in the position of the stars. He believed that everything which happened to him was written there, and he tried to read the writing. To that extent he acknowledged the power which governs the stars."

"Then in reality his superstition was an evidence of his faith," said the Electoress. "Then if he sometimes fell into a fanaticism, which sprung from his belief in his favorite science, we are bound to excuse him. Do you mean that?"

"Not entirely," replied Frederick William. In part he was a fanatic; but besides this there was much of evil in him, and when that evil took possession of his nature it destroyed everything before it."

The Princess Henrietta replied: "There is nothing upon earth which interests me so much as the human soul. The famous botanist Kluit at Leyden analyzes an object and examines its organism and structure with the microscope. I would like to have an instrument which would so disclose the soul of Wallenstein that I might look into its lowest depths. What a picture it would reveal to my gaze!"

"Sister," said the Princess Louise, "I agree with you. Many years have passed, but I clearly remember that for a long time I could not rid myself of the picture of the dying Wallenstein by day or night. The door is burst open by the hired assassin. There he stands in the middle of his chamber, an apparition in his white night-dress. The assassin trembles for an instant. Then plucking up courage he rushes upon Wallenstein and pierces him with his knife. Silently and with out-stretched arms he receives his death-wound. Not a word! not a sound! He expires in silence! What a monstrous spectacle! But I will desist, for our Rupert is again growing angry."

It was true, but Rupert only said: "Not yet, sister! But I think you ought not to make such an ado about a murderous soul. In the end you may sympathize with that wretch as well as with Maximilian, who took away our inheritance without a sting of conscience."

The Electoress grew visibly pale. It was always so when she heard the name of the man who had defeated her husband's army at Prague.

The oldest Prince, desirous of pacifying his brother, who was somewhat impetuous and outbreaking, said: "Now I will say a word for the sisters who have often expressed themselves as to Maximilian. I may not repeat what they said here, but I remember it. Believe me as to one thing. Had no battle been fought at Prague and had not Maximilian. usurped our birthright, I should still have despised him from the bottom of my soul and ranked him far below Wallenstein. How basely he' acted! He first suggested his removal. Then when Gustavus Adolphus had driven him into straits, he whined like a dog at Wallenstein's door and begged for protection and assistance. But hardly is Gustavus Adolphus gone when he again begins his machinations, and continues them until Wallenstein is killed by an assassin."

"Do you seriously mean, cousin," said the Electoral Prince, "that Maximilian was the only cause of Wallenstein's murder?"

"Not the only one, but the principal one."

Prince Ludwig now spoke: "I do not believe it. Maximilian had a hand in the game, but the Emperor is mainly responsible. What a weak successor the Emperor's oldest son will prove!"

"He is only nominally commander-in-chief of the army. The real leader is Gallas, and he has learned from his great predecessors. It almost seemed as if Tilly or Pappenheim were again leading the Imperialists, so bravely did they fight at Nordlingen, where Marshal Franz Horn was captured."

"This is also an inestimable loss for our side," said the Electoress with a sigh. "With my own ears I have heard Gustavus Adolphus call him his right hand. As long as the Swedes had a Marshal Franz Horn and a Chancellor Oxenstjern they decided to continue the war against the Emperor and the League. But Horn has been languishing in prison for several years."

"Twenty years," began Prince Ludwig, "the war has already lasted. If the Elector of Saxony did not continually temporize, possibly some settlement might be reached, but that vacillating gentleman thinks only of his own advantage. The Protestant cause has been left in the lurch. He does not consider our rights in treaties of peace with the Emperor. But the enraged Swedes now in his country will pay him off."

The Electoress folded her hands. "May the Almighty," she sighed, "soon bring peace to the German Empire and restore us our rights!"

Prince Ludwig replied: "Mother, we three must also play some part upon the stage of war. There is still much remaining to be done."

The wild Rupert exclaimed: "Even if peace could be made, I would not have it so until I have done something in the field."

The Electoral Prince said nothing, but his look and manner showed how ardently he longed to take part in the struggle.

The Elector of Brandenburg had agreed to the treaty of peace which had been concluded between the Emperor and the Elector of Saxony. That the Electoress of the Palatinate as well as her sons and daughters were dissatisfied may well be imagined. But up to this time nothing had been said of his father's politics in the presence of the Electoral Prince. But now Prince Rupert broke out: "The Electors by this treaty with the Emperor have proved traitors to a good cause."

The Electoral Prince rose and with flashing eyes passionately exclaimed: "Cousin, woe to you or me, if I have heard aright!"

The rest of the company were alarmed. They were familiar with Rupert's wildness and impetuosity, but now they had experienced Frederick William's resoluteness and passionate sense of honor.

"Dear cousin," said Ludwig, "our brother only refers to the Elector of Saxony."

The mother and the princesses confirmed the statement and demanded of Prince Rupert by look and action that he should agree with them.

He remained silent, and his manner caused the apprehension that he was disinclined to answer his cousin. His mother's look, however, had such power over him that he overmastered his furious temper. He said: "Far be it from me to tarnish your father's honor with a breath from my mouth."

The Prince was outwardly satisfied with the explanation. Political conversation was dropped, and they talked about The Hague, which the Electoral Prince was going to visit during the next few days.

In the bright moonlight Frederick William rode back to Arnheim.

Sweden's Revenge

There had been many changes in Brandenburg. They feared the Swedes now as greatly as they had once feared the Emperor's army. The cause of this will be found in the following statement:

At the beginning of the year 1637 Emperor Ferdinand the Second died, and his successor, Ferdinand the Third, exhibited a friendly attitude toward Brandenburg. In March of the same year Bogislav the Fourteenth died childless, and Brandenburg made preparations to enforce certain rights in Pomerania which were provided in the treaty. Its most important cities at the time were beset by Swedish troops. Sweden also asserted certain claims in the dukedom, which it would not yield until it was assured of ample indemnity for the great sacrifices it had made in maintaining the good cause. When George William summoned Stettin to take the oath of allegiance, the. Swedish commander Banner was so infuriated that he ordered the herald bearing the summons to be hanged. It was only by the greatest exertions that the Duchess-widow saved the poor man's life.

This proceeding induced the Elector to agree to the treaty which had been made between the Emperor and the Elector of Saxony. The Emperor expressly declared his readiness to support the Elector in his efforts to obtain a settlement in Pomerania, with all the necessary means. Shortly thereafter the Brandenburg troops, acting with the Imperialists under Gallas, invaded Pomerania. At first the Swedes were driven back, but after they had received reinforcements of fourteen thousand men from home the fortunes of war changed, and they drove the Brandenburgers and Imperialists before them. The unfortunate people of Brandenburg suffered unspeakably at the hands of their former friends who believed that they had been treacherous, and for that reason became their bitter enemies. Their former troubles were light in comparison with those growing out of Sweden's revenge. Although the main army was removed to the south, Brandenburg continued to suffer from the depredations of small detachments.

The Prince's Flight

While the campaigns of Banner in Bohemia and of the heroic Bernhard von Weimar upon the Rhine were in progress, George William summoned the Electoral Prince from Holland. The court residence was removed from Berlin to the strong fortress of Spandau. The Prince arrived there with Leuchtmar and Muller, whose functions had ceased. The jovial and patriotic Colonel von Burgsdorf was also there. Speaking of the Prince, and the events of the day upon one occasion when Leuchtmar was visiting Burgsdorf, the former said: "The Prince would have been in Holland to-day had it not been for him." (Leuchtmar made three crosses in the air.)

"Schwarzenberg! Yes, he sits upon our necks like the Evil One himself! They say he can do anything he wishes with the Elector. He has even asserted that the Prince must marry a Catholic lady. And whom do you suppose he has in mind? The Archduchess Isabella Clara. The Elector knows nothing about it as yet, but Schwarzenberg believes the Prince will be greatly pleased."

Leuchtmar smiled. "If he thinks the Prince can be moulded and pressed to suit his pleasure he is mistaken. There are surely few young men of his age who show an equal force of character. Here is one example out of many. In The Hague, as you well know, there are many young and distinguished people, sons of princes, counts, and others. A clear-headed man can learn much from association with them, while a frivolous man would only learn things destructive of body and soul alike. When I received the letter requesting me to take the Prince to The Hague I implored divine help to keep his life blameless. The Prince surprised me reading it and asked what troubled me. I told him frankly what disquieted me, and that in my trouble I had sought divine assistance. The Prince, deeply moved, took my hand and said that he would always heed my admonitions. I was consoled for a time, but anxiety returned when we arrived at The Hague and I thought of the young men who would be his associates. Many of them had been to Paris. I knew the Prince's strength of character but I feared the insidious temptations to which he might be exposed. I had no outward way of protecting him. What power can a governor have over a nineteen-year-old prince? But he is not a hypocrite, I can tell you. He likes jolly company and a beaker of good wine, and he is very jovial. These young gentlemen of the Paris school were in the habit of giving suppers at which some handsome but not very reputable young women were present. Think of it! And to one of these suppers the Prince was invited."

"I should like to have wrung the necks of those who invited him!" exclaimed the Colonel.

"Listen further. The Prince went to the designated place with young Von Loewen, from whom I learned the particulars. At first he could not trust his own eyes. But when he was convinced of the kind of company he had fallen into, he took his hat and indignantly left the place."

Interrupting the Baron, Burgsdorf exclaimed, "Did the Prince do that?"

"Why should you doubt it?" replied Leuchtmar. He did still more. Some of these sons of princes and counts sprang up and followed him, seized him by the arm and hand and tried to induce him to stay. But he shook them off and said: You may justify yourselves in what you are do doing; but I know what I owe to my parents, to my country, and to myself.'"

Burgsdorf vainly strove to keep back the tears. Pacing the floor to and fro he exclaimed, "Lord, my God, he is every inch a prince. If he were my child I would love him to death—that old ass—but what am I saying? He is the Electoral Prince, and will he not be my Prince every day? Whom have we to thank for such a Prince, whom else than—"

"Than God," replied Leuchtmar.

"Yes," replied the Colonel; "your first thanks for everything are due to Him. But we also have to thank you for your judicious course, excellent man. Believe me, if Frederick William turns out to be a great prince, your name will not be forgotten. And should a thankless posterity forget him, he will not be forgotten by God. Of one thing I am sure, the Prince himself will be grateful to you as long as he lives."

"He has already more than repaid me for my efforts," replied Leuchtmar. "I will show you in the morning a deed of gift which I lately received from the Prince. But be seated. I have not yet finished what I wish to say. A few days after this incident, the Prince left The Hague."

"Why? Did he fear that sometime he might yield to temptation?"

"It may be. But where did he go? Can you guess? To the camp. The Prince of Orange was investing Breda at the time. He offered his services to him, and there he had daily experience in the art of war under the eyes of distinguished field officers. When Orange learned the cause of his flight from The Hague, he said to him: 'My Prince, your flight displays more heroic spirit than the taking of Breda will do. He who can conquer himself so early will always be great.'

Their further conversation was devoted to matters in Holland.

The Message

Count Schwarzenberg gave a banquet in honor of the Prince, who accepted the invitation, although he had no sympathy with the Count, because his father desired him to do so. A sudden illness seized him at the table and he was taken home very sick. On the next day he felt better and soon recovered. It was whispered among the people that an attempt had been made to poison him. The Electoral Prince, they said, is the only survivor of his family who can enter upon the inheritance, and Schwarzenberg is the Emperor's favorite. Two other stories were also circulated. A man was said to have been discovered under the Prince's bed with a dagger. It was also said that an attempt had been made upon his life while he was hunting. These and similar stories passed from mouth to mouth, which had the effect to make the people more uncomfortable and wretched. At last the citizens of Berlin and Coln decided to send a message to the Prince. It read as follows:

"It is well known how greatly the country has been weakened and wasted by friend and foe, and that many officers have been sumptuously entertained though they had no commands, and have been paid large salaries, while under-officers and soldiers have had but scanty allowances and have been wretched and hungry. The outrages of the Elector's troopers have been so monstrous that neither horse, cow, ox, nor man was safe from them; and for that reason tillage in the best localities has been abandoned. Business has stopped; cities, towns, and villages are deserted, and for miles you will find neither men nor cattle nor even a dog or a cat. In spite of all this, heavy tribute has been levied and collected by military force. They have taken houses, farms, gardens, fields, and vineyards, and given them to officers who were exempt from levies. Berlin has paid immense sums monthly for the support of the Elector's troops, and Coln in proportion. The Swedes under Colonel von Debitz, after the Elector's troops had abandoned the roads to Landsberg, Frankfort, and Purstenwald, and left everything in the greatest disorder, invaded the residences and stripped them of almost everything. Merchants, trades-people, and travellers were robbed of their goods and property. Villages lay in ashes. The town-house servants, church and school teachers have not been paid. In short, Berlin and Coln have been reduced to poverty by fire, robbery, and oppression. Many have put an end to their wretched lives by water, the rope, or the knife; while others, taking wives and children, have forsaken their homes and are wandering about in wretched plight."

Burgsdorf handed this message to the Prince on the forenoon of the day it was received. He hoped that he would graciously receive the message, meet his friends, consult with them about the condition of the country, settle upon some plan of action for its relief, and afterwards lay it before the Elector, and especially insist upon Schwarzenberg's dismissal. But Burgsdorf had greatly deceived himself. The Prince, whose motto was the words of the Psalm "Lord, show me the way that I must go," had decided upon his homeward journey the position he would take at the Electoral Court. After reading the message he looked earnestly at Burgsdorf and said: "You know the story of Absalom, how he sat by the gate and did obeisance to all who came nigh to the King for judgment and stole the hearts of the men of Israel. Do you think these stories are unknown to me? I know also the story in which we are told how David met Saul, who would have killed him in the cave, and how some of David's friends bade him kill Saul. You ought to know these stories; but better still you ought to understand that mere knowing is of little use. 'Be it far from me,' said David, 'to lay my hand upon the Lord's anointed.' You seem astonished that I have referred to these past events. You certainly do not desire to make an attempt upon the life of the Prince of this country. But I say to you, 'Far be it from me to stretch out my hand against the country's anointed,' so take back the message. If my father seeks my advice, my word for the good cause shall not be lacking, so far as God gives me the power to perceive what is right."

Mother and Son

On the same day the Prince talked with his mother about the events we have described, and at last they spoke of Schwarzenberg, whom they equally disliked. "When he entered our service," said the Electoress, he was poor; now he is rich. Indeed he has a larger private fortune than we. Tell me of any good thing he has done. It is an indelible stain upon him that he has enriched himself while the people have sunk with utter wretchedness through hunger, war, and pestilence. A man who can do such a thing is capable of any meanness or villainy. I believe, my son, that he is in the pay of the Emperor's party. But God watches over us. They maintain in Vienna that your father is far less sharp-sighted than he really is. The fools! With the good Catholic Schwarzenberg at the head of Protestant Brandenburg no wonder they have high expectations at the court of Vienna. But wisdom and intelligence on the Spree and the Havel are perhaps even stronger than on the Danube. Let them continue to believe that Schwarzenberg will accomplish his purpose; let them keep up their delusion as to this crafty, egotistical, covetous, corruptible man! The Elector, gentle, sick, and heroic in endurance, is wiser, or at least as wise, as any of these gentleman, who think they have him entrapped. It is little matter to him what the Count wishes. Would you leave him in the service of the State if your father to-day should place the cares of government upon your shoulders?"

"God will guide me," replied the Prince.

"But if it should become necessary, then certainly you would dismiss the Count immediately, as he has discharged Pruckmann and others because they have opposed the Emperor's politics."

"No, Mother, out of respect to my father I could not discharge him at once. That would be looked upon by the people as a reproach against my father. But I would not endure him long."

"My dear son, by these words you show me that you recognize filial duty and that you are ready to perform it. God's blessing will be upon you for it. When I look into your eyes, my son, something tells me your politics will not be those of your father. In your nature there is a resolute determination which is lacking in your father's. The times need men of iron. Anvil and hammer! That is the watchword of our time.

The Great Elector

The Elector was announced. Mother and son rose and went to meet him. He had suffered for years in one foot, and for a short time in the other, so that he could not walk and. had to be taken about in a roll-chair. Upon the face of the broken-down man one could read the sorrowful history of his twenty years' rule. "My son," began the Elector, "I learn from Schwarzenberg that you have sent back a message of the Berlinese. I understand you, my son, and declare to you now that I would gladly listen to any suggestion from you bearing upon the welfare of the country. It is time, my son, for you to live here, that you may become acquainted with the hard duties of ruling a country. Who knows whether the Almighty may not soon call me hence? I long for the rest, for I am tired, so tired! Come here, my son, and sit by my side, for I would speak with you from the bottom of my heart. And you too, dearest wife, who have shared joys and sorrows with me,—there have not been many joys,—sit at my side and be a witness to the words I shall speak to the future ruler of this country. Give me your hands!

"My son, for more than twenty years the war has raged between Catholics and Protestants, and there is not a country in Europe which has suffered as much as our own possessions, Brandenburg, Prussia, and Cleves. My son, I will look calmly back upon my life and try to speak without prejudice. I have turned my attention from worldly to eternal matters. Why should I seek worldly glory, I, who am so soon to stand before the judgment seat of God? Had I had the heroic character of Gustavus Adolphus, surely, surely things might have been different. But it would have been difficult even for him, whose devoted courage led him to his death, to be a soldier as well as a Brandenburg prince; for the very things necessary to a soldier's success a full treasury, and a great, valiant army—would have been lacking.

"Many will say, 'Why could they not have been secured?' My son, glance with me at my life and then decide. Difficulties were piled upon difficulties. I could hardly move, there were so many obstacles in my way. (Had it not been for you, dear wife, I should long ago have been only dust and ashes. You were my stay and staff.) Almost everything which happened to our house so weighed down my soul that it was not possible to rise above it. I had to secure your safety and education far away from me. You know what happened to your mother's brother. Shortly afterwards the Emperor's ban stripped one of my father's uncles, Duke Johann George, of his dukedom, and me and my house of all claims upon it. Then another brother of my father, Margrave Christian Wilhelm, administrator of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg, was outlawed and driven from his country and people. My brother, Joachim Sigismund, whom I appointed before Schwarzenberg as Minister of Brandenburg, escaped only by his courage from death by fire, and died at a time when he was most needed. Then my usually excellent mother still further increased my troubles by helping to aggravate the bitterness of the Lutherans against the Reformers. You will agree with me, my son, that such things are not calculated to fill the heart with fresh courage.

"Notwithstanding all this I had no intention of letting things go as they might. I strove to create an army, but the money was not to be had, as I have said. The acquisition of Prussia and the Cleves Rhineland imposed tremendous burdens, and besides this, the country was burdened with a load of debt. In a period of undisturbed peace the country might pay its obligations in twenty or thirty years, but in a time of the greatest exhaustion the greatest sacrifices had to be made. The provinces were so hard to please and so penurious and reluctant to make grants of money, that any chance of energetic action in my time was nipped in the bud. The country continually grew poorer from year to year. Perhaps another, standing in my relations to the provinces at the time when there was possible hope of relief, might have acted more resolutely than I did and have accomplished some results. I can believe it, and yet I could not do otherwise while I, as a follower of the Reformed religion, had almost the entire population against me.

"But suppose the Protestant cause at the very beginning of the war had not induced the Emperor to renounce me? I sometimes ask myself this question, my son, and surely it should often occur to you. Think about it. The war began in Bohemia, then under the rule of my poor cousin Frederick. He belonged to the Reformed Church. What sympathy did we show for him? His overthrow was desired by the Lutherans and by nearly all the people of the country. Not a finger could be raised in his behalf without it being the signal for an uproar.

"Then came our cousin Christian of Denmark with a strong army. My son, I knew him. I will not inveigh against him, far from it. But could I rely upon him? I could not and dared not. 'If everything prospers,' I said to myself, 'our nearest inheritance, the dukedom of Pomerania, will be in danger of being swallowed up by Denmark. If everything goes badly, then Denmark will make a good peace and will be the bitter enemy of its own allies.' Has not Denmark treated another country in that manner? The Dukes of Mecklenburg could sing you a song about broken faith.

"Next appears Gustavus Adolphus. He was then fighting the Poles. You know about our rights in Prussia. We had obtained it as a fief from Poland. Great was our danger of losing it. When Gustavus Adolphus made peace with the Poles our circumstances were more favorable. But when he came to Germany at the head of an army as the Emperor's enemy, I hesitated about joining him and had many serious scruples. His army, when he landed on the coast of Pomerania, numbered scarcely fifteen thousand men. I said to myself, 'If my brother-in-law fails, then he must retreat, and the experiences of his brother-in-law Frederick and the Dukes of Mecklenburg will be repeated. The Emperor will outlaw him and divide up the country among his favorites.'

"At last it became painful to me to see the German Empire invaded by a stranger, and the thought of offering him assistance was intolerable. The victorious advance of the God-fearing and trusting King at last irresistibly appealed to me and all my apprehensions vanished. Urged from within and without, I joined him. Now came the only time in my regent-pilgrimage when I could breathe freely,—but, alas, only for a short time. 'The Star of the North' aroused hopes for better times in my breast—even more, belief in them. But the Star was extinguished all too soon on the bloody field of Lutzen."

The Elector paused. His long talk and perhaps the recalling of so much that was sorrowful had greatly overcome him.

"My dearest husband," said the Electoress, "this is enough of these painful memories for to-day."

"Just a few words more, true wife, my staff and consolation in times of trouble. You and my son are the only joys I have known, the only joys I shall know in my dying hour."

Tears glistened in all their eyes. The Electoress stroked his emaciated cheeks with a pale, trembling hand.

With a deep sigh he resumed: "Ah! what a mournful picture my rule from the first to the last year calls up! Death will soon lay his hand upon my heart, and already my grave pens to receive me. And what do I see all about me? The country wasted by the hand of enemy and friend as no other country in Europe has been! A churchyard of mouldering corpses! Oh, horrible sight! And this is the legacy which I must make to my brave and pious son! My God!" He hid his face.

Shortly after this scene the Elector, whose gentle heart was not made for such times of iron and who surely would have been blest by his people in peaceful times, passed away.

In his twentieth year the Electoral Prince Frederick William took the reins of power. His provinces were partly in the hands of the Swedes, who had changed them into a wilderness, in which villages were traced only by their ashes, and cities by rubbish and ruins. The dukedoms of Cleves had been robbed by Spaniards and Dutch, who levied unheard-of tribute and plundered them while pretending to protect them. Prussia, which had previously been invaded by Gustavus Adolphus, still suffered from the wounds which had been inflicted during this war. In such desperate circumstances—his inheritance invaded by many princes; Ruler, without possession of his own provinces; Elector, without the authority of one; Ally, without friends,—Frederick William began his reign; and in his early youth, at the age when errors are most likely to be made, and when men find it difficult to rule even themselves, he furnished an example of extraordinary wisdom and of all those virtues which fit one to rule mankind.