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The young king, all unaccustomed to those horrors of war which he had evoked, was swept along with the inundation. The danger of his falling in the midst of the general carnage, or of his capture, which was, perhaps, still more to be dreaded, was imminent. His friends entreated him to escape for his life. Even Marshal Schwerin, the veteran soldier, assured him that the battle was lost, and that he probably could escape capture only by a precipitate flight.There was no credit by trading people even for the necessaries of life. There was no police in the towns. To habits of equity and order there had succeeded a vile greed of gain and an anarchic disorder. The silence of the laws had produced in the people a taste for license. Boundless appetite for gain was their main rule of action. The noble, the merchant, the farmer, the laborer, raising emulously each the price of his commodity, seemed to endeavor only for their mutual ruin. Such, when the war ended, was the fatal spectacle over these provinces, which had once been so flourishing. However pathetic the description may be, it will never approach the touching and sorrowful impression which the sight of it produced.
Mme. de Genlis hired a man from the village to go with them, and with his help and that of Darnal forced the postillions, who were very insolent, to return to London."And does it not also show that there is nothing new under the sun?" said Astra. "It is always the old material in new shapes, the old thought in new phraseology, the old human nature in new conditions, even the old particles of disintegrated human bodies in new organisms."
I envy my successors!"Mr. Arling," she said, flushing slightly, but in very clear, musical tones, "I have much to thank you for, but most of all for the promise which you made me at Farview, some weeks ago; and which, I doubt not, you have conscientiously performed. How much that performance has had to do with the important events that have taken place since, I cannot tell; but it is certain that I discern an order, a sequence, a relation of means to an end, during these last weeks, which I have never before been able to discover in the events of my life,perhaps because my days have never before been so regularly and earnestly recommended to loving Divine guidance. Be that as it may, the time of which you spoke has come; I have learned to pray for myselfand for others. Thank you again, and good evening."
Dusk was fast gathering in the corners and under the arches of the little church, when the service was over. Parting with his relatives at the door, Bergan went his solitary way to his lodgings, through the deepening twilight. He walked slowly, not that the road was so pleasant, but because the end had so little attraction. The walls and furniture of his room were still strangers to him;no one corner would allure him with a more familiar charm than another, no particular chair would draw him irresistibly to its accustomed arms, no sweet, tangled crop of associations would fling their mingled light and shadow across the floor. It would all be dim, blank, lonely. And the foot falls but heavily on the path, the termination of which neither habit nor excites imagination!
If you wish to come hither you can. I hear nothing of lawsuits, not even of yours. Since you have gained it I congratulate389 you, and I am glad that this scurvy affair is done.96 I hope you will have no more quarrels, either with the Old or the New Testament. Such contentions leave their mark upon a man. Even with the talents of the finest genius in France, you will not cover the stains which this conduct will fasten on your reputation in the long run. I write this letter with the rough common sense of a German, without employing equivocal terms which disfigure the truth. It is for you to profit by it.
109 The body of Katte remained upon the scaffold during the short wintry day, and at night was buried in one of the bastions of the fortress. This cruel tragedy was enacted more than a century ago; but there are few who even now can read the record without having their eyes flooded, through the conflicting emotions of sympathy for the sufferers and indignation against the tyrant who could perpetrate such crimes.The whole city of Berlin was agitated by the rumor of these events. The violent scene in the palace had taken place in an apartment on the ground floor. The loud and angry tones of the king, the shrieks of the queen, the cries of the children, the general clamor, had so attracted the attention of the passers-by that a large crowd had assembled before the windows. It was necessary to call out the guard to disperse them. Difficult as it was to exaggerate outrages so infamous, still they were exaggerated. The report went to all foreign courts that the king, in his ungovernable rage, had knocked down the Princess Wilhelmina and trampled her to death beneath his feet.