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gaze, to shout, and to criticise was shockeá | scious of making such an effect upon anat, and much more disagreeably affected other as did Philippe von Königsmarck on by, its hideous component parts than at Elizabeth von Platen; therefore, we may the immorality of the existence of such an be sure that the former (who was nothing appanage.
if not vain) was fully alive to his conquest. It was not long before the new liaison Civility costs nothing, and buys most became known to all the Hanoverian so things; therefore, if he did not reciprociety-a scandal soon becomes every cate her admiration, he at any rate re. one's property – and the meetings which ceived with smiles and gallantry the took place at the house of the Platens homage offered up at his shrine. became the talk of the town. With the Meanwhile the princess, in spite of her coarse indifference which the prince habit. outward calm was agitated and miserable ually displayed to the more refined usages was it possible that she should be other. of society, he talked openly of his connec. wise ? All the events of her early youth tion with Melusine, and although Sophia crowded into her remembrance - her joyDorothea may not bave been wounded in ous childhood, her heavy sorrows, the heart by his infidelity she was bitterly happy hours she had spent in Philippe's mortified by the unconcealed insult, while society - and all this time he made no Madame von Platen looked on and re. sign! He seemed to have no recollecjoiced at every stab that was inflicted on tion of the old days, and belore he had her rival's pride.
been long at Hanover he passed rapidly About this time an event took place from one stage of intimacy with Madame that was destined to have a serious effect von Platen to another. Every one, except on the fortunes of Sophia Dorothea ; but the elector, was aware of the nature of the we are not told by what evil chance or liaison, and Sophia Dorothea watched unhappy design it befell that Philippe von them with indignation and amazement. Königsmarck entered the service of the She had one faithful and affectionate folelector of Hanover. The understanding lower in the person of one of her ladies, that probably had once existed between Mademoiselle von Knesebeck, and it is him and the princess was suspected by all likely that she confided her sorrows to the court, and when the young colonel first her; at all events, she was au fait of made his appearance, all eyes were turned them at the time of which we are speak. upon her, the well-known relations of her ing. What had really passed between the husband and herself adding interest to princess and Philippe in the old days we the scrutiny. Attired in the brilliant uni- have no means of ascertaining, but it is form of the Hanoverian Guard, Philippe certain that the poor princess suffered unvon Königsmarck entered the state-cham- told agonies in every feeling that a woman ber where the court was assembled with holds dear – in the remembrance of her all the self-possession and audacity which former love, in the indifference ance, informed a part of the charm which he flung sults of her husband, in the mortification over those with whom he came in contact. of beholding one whom she, alas ! had His tall and comely figure, his face bronzed never ceased to remember with tenderness by the suns of his various campaigns, his and affection apparently in the toils of her haughty eye, his dignified and courteous relentless enemy; all plunged her into a manners, all commanded the admiration sea of agony and despair. of the whole assembly, and when he made It is probable that Philippe came to his obeisance to the princess he neither Hanover filled with the hope of inspiring Alinched nor faltered. But Elizabeth von the princess with renewed love for himself, Platen – how shall we describe the effect and grasped the opportunity that offered that had the appearance upon her of the itself of entering the Hanoverian service; handsome young soldier of twenty-seven still, the springs of action can seldom be years ? She had arrived with the inten- traced to all their sources, and it is probtion of watching for signs of emotion on able that this tragedy, like many another, both their parts, in the hope of getting owed its evolution to minor accidents and more grist for the mill in which she ex- conditions which, as frequently happens, pected to grind Sophia Dorothea, but on tend to one end. Skilled as was Königsthe entry of Philippe she was so struck marck in all manner of deception and in. with admiration at the young man's beauty trigue, he was no match for the depraved and at his distinguished air that, for å and wicked woman to whom he had become time, at any rate, she occupied herself no an object of passion, and with whom he was more with Sophia Dorothea. No one - measuring hearts and swords. If his weapbe it man
ons were keen, hers were poisoned, and
was ever uncon
such love as she cherished for the young was to banish the offender — a punishment Adonis could be — and was - easily turned that she by no means approved. She to hatred. He was carried further than he dared not, however, cavil at the sentence, intended in his relations with her - such and the count was commanded to appear liaisons are not easily kept under control before the elector. “I know all," he said - and the too obvious trouble and anxiety as Philippe stood before him, amazed and of the princess were not displeasing to silent; "I will not enter into any explana. him. He was constantly in her mind, tion with you, but you must at once leave which was in a state little short of martyr. Hanover, and remember that you are bedom, and his own heart beat with a re- ing treated with the utmost lediency.” Dewal of the old love. A secret under-Astonished and dismayed, Philippe could standing was established between them; only obey. He quitted Hanover, ostensi. letters passed; interviews took place - bly on leave, and furnished with a kindly although Mademoiselle von Knesebeck, in letter from Ernst August to the elector of her memoirs (which, however, we have Saxony, giving him we know not what exnot been fortunate enough to obtain) ear-cuse for the sudden resolve, and to Dres. nestly insists on the innocence of the liai- den Philippe betook himself. Here we son, and asserts that she was always must leave him for a while, and return to present at their meetings. Königsmarck, follow the fortunes of the princess, and she says, often related to them the history watch the shadows that were gatheriog of his adventures; he was remarkably about her. Her position must be consid clever and amusing, and an excellent ra-ered: she was not only friendless and conteur. He ridiculed the whole court, | alone, but at the mercy of her foe, and in sparing neither the elector nor Madame the midst of enemies and spies. She may von Platen, while Sophia Dorothea, who have — she probably did — corresponded was full of appreciative humor, enjoyed with Philippe, but, in whatever she did the stories and anecdotes of the nimble-amiss, it was but the natural development witted Philippe, who was in the habit of of a miserable position, into which she illustrating them with mimicry, in which had been thrust through no fault of her accomplishment he was an adept. Sophia own. She took her accustomed place at Dorothea was in so miserable a plight at court, but the elector and electress hardly Hanover that it would have been almost ever addressed her, and she was, as it past the power of human endurance to were, ostracized; while an ominous calm, suffer the dreariness and solitude of her such as precedes a tempest, reigned over position, and yet turn aside from the hand all the society, and Sophia Dorothea reof sympathy and affection that was ex- mained proudly isolated from them all. tended to her. Soon, however, Madame Such a condition of things could not last von Platen suspected the intimacy. She long. Maddened by her solitude, she employed spies, and, although she ob- commenced a correspondence with the tained intelligence of their correspond- Duke of Wolfenbüttel, resolving to throw ence and of their meetings, she could not herself on his generosity, to take refuge procure proofs of what she sought to dis- at his court, and from thence to commence cover and to reveal, and, as her jealousy an action for a divorce. In her ignorance increased, her resolution to ruin the prin- of the ways of the world, she resolved to cess became more and more pronounced. communicate her intentions to Philippe Philippe now began to realize that his and enlist his aid, and she wrote at once position demanded the utmost care and to him at Dresden. Königsmarck, who circumspection, while Madame von Platen was more skilled in such matters, does pursued her plans with the elector, guiding not seem to have approved the scheme; them into the channel into which she de. and Sophia Dorothea, whose nature was sired them to flow. The latter was wholly eager and impetuous, severely reproached unsuspicious of her own relations with the him for his unwillingness. Whatever were young count, but she became so convinced his faults, however, delay and temporizing of his falseness to herself, that she lost no were not amongst the number, so in retime in announcing to Ernst August, not sponse to her representations he threw what she knew, but what she was resolved wisdom to the winds and returned, putting he should believe. Ernst August was a himself unreservedly into her hands to man who avoided, as much as he was able, carry out her wishes, and flinging himself all the annoyances and disagreeables of into the scheme with all the romantic life, and it was in vain that she sought to ardor and passion that distinguished him. rouse him to the execution of some violent He had not yet definitely quitted the serdeed. All that he would consent to do vice of Ernst August, but the elector of Saxony had offered him the rank of general | These latter could speak no Italian, while in his, and Philippe returned to Hanover the Italians could speak no German, so for the ostensible purpose of asking Ernst that no communication was possible beAugust's formal leave to resign his com.tween them. No time was to be lost, for mission in order to profit by this offer. the next evening was determined on for
When he arrived the correspondence the now fully arranged journey to Wolfenwith the Duke of Wolfenbüttel was still büttel, when Philippe received, to his un. in progress. Letters were not quickly utterable astonishment, the following note exchanged between distant points, and it from Mademoiselle von Knesebeck : was still uncertain when all the arrange- M. le Comte, - Ma Princesse désire de ments dependent on the duke's reply and vous voir; elle ne peut vous écrire, ayant instructions would be completed. Als brûlé la main, et m'a ordonné de vous faire though Ernst August at once sanctioned sçavoir que vous pouvez vous rendre ce soir Königsmarck's exchange, the latter still chez elle par le petit escalier comme autrelingered on at Hanover, somewhat to the fois; elle paraît inquiète de votre silence. A surprise of the court, which, we may be Dieu tirez bientôt de doubte la plus aymable sure, watched his movements with curious princesse du monde. scrutiny. The fate of the princess trem- The unfortunate lady-in-waiting bad bled in the balance, and depended entirely been waylaid in the passage of the palace on the skill and diplomacy that he could by Madame von Platen, had been taken to bring to bear on the manipulation of the the chamber of the latter, and forced, circumstances. He was in the mean time under threats of death, to write these too anxious and preoccupied to heed Ma. words. No sooner had she done so than dame von Plated, but when she at length she was conveyed to prison for fear that realized that he finally and impatiently re- she should bear witness to the action. fused her proffered love, her fury knew no The mysterious note that Philippe had bounds. Revenge she promised herself, found in his room had filled him with surand that of so terrible a nature that the prise and doubt. He could not feel sure elector, she well knew, would not counte. that the letter was genuine, for he knew nance; and while matters were at this they were surrounded by spies; while, point the answer came from Wolfenbüttel, on the other haod, if it should really have and, what was more, proved eminently emanated from her, what would she, what satisfactory. The two ducal families were could she, think if he failed to obey her not on cordial terms, and perhaps this fact summons ? Every detail for the journey induced the duke to open his doors to the to Wolfenbüttel had been arranged, and princess who so pathetically craved his the next evening they foodly hoped would pity and hospitality. Whatever means see them on their way thither, and the Philippe and Sophia Dorothea took of cruel Hanoverian ties' broken asunder. communicating with one another, Madame Still, she might have some further injuncvon Platen was fully informed of them all. tion to give him, he conjectured, some Smarting under the impatient scora which warning to impart, some necessary change the imprudent and reckless young man did in her plans to request — which she could not hesitate now to betray, she resolved not dare to entrust to paper; and Philippe, on his death.
through whose active brain all these posIn some accounts it is stated that she sibilities flew, passed out into the warm engaged some Italians for this purpose, July night to fulfil the duties that love and and, although they are highly colored, chivalry imposed upon him. there are grounds for believing this, rather The way to the princess's apartment lay than that the soldiers of the guard were through a vast hall, called the Ritter-Saal. bribed to do the horrible deed. The fact It was hung round with tapestry; at one is that these latter were employed by the end there was a large Gothic stove — so elector for the simple aod lawful purpose high and wide that it resembled a monu. of arresting the count. The projected mental edifice — and at the other a short plan of the elopement had been made flight of stairs leading to the princess's known to him the day before its proposed chamber. Philippe entered and crossed execution, and, in order to frustrate the the hall, which was feebly lighted by a design, he had signed the order for Kö- small, flickering lamp, and passing quickly pigsmarck's arrest in all good faith. This through the room, sprang lightly and rapimportant point settled, Madame von Pla- idly up the stair, went along a short pas. ten gave her instructions to her hirelings, sage, and tapped gently at the princess's whom she associated with the men who door. It was immediately opened by an were to carry out the elector's order. I attendant, who displayed the greatest as.
tonishment at seeing him. Anxious and of his antagonists. And now like a serdoubtful, Philippe pushed past her, and pent from out its hole emerged the fiend without further ceremony entered the who had planned this ghastly revenge, room. The princess was amazed and unwilling that her quondam and faithless alarmed when she saw who it was, and at lover should expiate his crime and that once scented danger. He hastily produced she should not witness his agony. She the note that Mademoiselle von Koese- had hidden herself behind the tapestry, beck had written, and learnt to his con- there to behold her horrible order exe. sternation that the latter had not been cuted, and to gloat over the fulfilment of seen since the morning, and that the prin- her vengeance. When she glided up cess knew nothing of the communication Königsmarck still lived. “ Kill me," he whatever. Beside herself with fear, but breathed, “but spare the princess grasping the situation at once, she be- “ Bind him with cords," said the woman, sought Philippe to quit the palace in when she saw that he was alive. The stantly, and, after impressing a kiss upon men lifted him to his feet, but the blood her hand, he turned upon his heel to poured from the wounds of the dying man, retrace his steps. He passed along the and he fell heavily to the ground. She passage, went down the stair, and paused endeavored to extract a confession from for a moment at its foot. The whole epi- his failing lips, but so long as life and sode had covered so short a space of time, sense were left he remained true to his the discovery of the treachery had been honor and his love. “ The princess is so instantaneous and its purport so con- innocent,” he murmured, as the ferocious clusive, that he had had no time for reflec-woman stood quivering with hatred, rage, tion, or to form any distinct plan other and black revenge over his dying form ; than to quit the precincts of the palace as and while he was still muttering his expir. quickly as he could. He had thought as ing testimony to the innocence of her for he paused that he heard a slight noise in whom he suffered, she raised her foot, enthe direction of the stove, but when he cased in its high wooden-heeled shoe, and, stopped it had ceased. In order to gain placing it on his mouth, she stamped out the outside of the building he was com- his last expiring breath. pelled to leave it by the same door by Io his desperate resistance Philippe had which he had entered, and this necessi- killed two of the guards, and had wounded tated his passing by the stove. He could two of the Italians; but it was one of the see nothing clearly; the shadows flickered court employés who had Aung the cloak indistinctly, and he intuitively unsheathed over him, thinking to secure his arrest. his sword as he strode across the inter. The princess became cognizant of the vening space. Just as he was about to scuffle by the noisy barking of a little pet pass the stove three men emerged from dog, and on her opening the door of her its deep shadow and barred the way, and chamber it rushed down the stair, fol. Philippe knew that he was caught like a lowed by its mistress. As she descended, rat in a trap. He halted, and prepared to the lifeless form of Philippe was in the sell his life as dearly as might be. Two act of being carried away by two of the of the men set upon him, but he was a fine men, and, as the horror of the scene preand skilful swordsman, and he defended sented itself to her, her strength failed; himself dexterously and courageously. she made a desperate effort to call for He wounded one man, and contrived io help, and fainted. The murderers left place himself with his back to the wall. At their victim, carried her into her own the moment of attack he had been encum. room, laid her on a couch, locked the door bered by the cloak which he had assumed from the outside, and, after conveying the for the purpose of disguise, but when the count's dead body to an underground fight had begun he had Aung it to the room, returned to the Ritter-Saal. ground in order that his movements should Immediately after the consummation of be unimpeded. Disabling another of his the tragedy Madame von Platen had hasantagonists by a swift movement he began tened to the elector's apartment to impart to manæuvre and edge towards the door, the news of the catastrophe to his horrihoping thus to improve his chances of fied ears, and, leaving him half dead with escape ; but one of the men picked up the fear and remorse, had returned herself to cloak, and, finging it over Philippe's head, see that all traces of the crime were as thus obscured bis sight, while two men far as possible removed - a task in which who had joined the others poignarded him. she herself assisted with energy and deHe fell. '" The princess is innocent,” he spatch. The youtterable horror of the gasped, as he lay on the floor at the mercy event, though it distracted the princess, and overwhelmed her with grief and de- Legal proceedings were shortly after spair, neither crushed her nor daunted her commenced against the princess for infi. courage. In her own mind she felt no delity to her husband. She was severely doubt whatever that the elector, as well interrogated, but nothing intimidated her as her husband and Madame von Platen, or caused her to apswer the questions put were implicated in the foul deed. Horror, to her with any confusion, and when asked disgust, and hatred for the perpetrators if it were true that she intended to fly to of the murder were her overpowering Wolfenbüttel, she replied in the affirma. emotions, and when her women entered | tive, but no other attempt to convict her her chamber the next morning her resolu- out of her own mouth was successful. tion was taken. She sent a message to She met intimidation with serenity, perthe elector that she desired to speak with suasion with contempt and indifference, him. The electoral prince, who had been and the inquisitors were foiled. When all absent from Hanover for four-and-twenty these means had failed to induce confes. hours, had arrived early in the morning sion, one more endeavor was made, which from his hunting-box, and had been re-surpassed all former ones in infamy and ceived by his father, who imparted to him baseness. An altar was erected in her the shocking event that had so over apartment, candles were lit, ecclesiastics whelmed him with alarm and dismay. summoned, and there, in the presence of George received the news with no less certain members of the court, the officiatconsternation. Who could foretell the ing priest exhorted the suffering and insequel of such a disaster? upon whom sulted woman to confess her sin. With would rest the imputation of the crime? calm and reverent demeanor she apObeying the haughty summons of the proached the altar and received the Holy princess, Erost August, followed by his Communion in token of her innocence. son, entered her apartment, and the two As she returned to her place after receive stood before her in trepidation and alarm. ing, she turned towards and addressed the After a moment's silence, during which Countess Platen, who stood at her right she surveyed them both with unflinching hand, and invited her to do the same. scorn and horror, “I have but a very few But even the black and wicked heart of the words to say to you,” she said ; " I will guilty woman shrank before this supreme pot lower myself by assuring you of my ordeal; she was uoprepared to steep berinnocence. I acknowledge the fault that self in the blasphemy involved in such an permitted Königsmarck to hold a place in action; and, muttering some feeble plea my heart; but the rest of my life shall be about her health, she hastily quitted the dedicated to my repentance. I have been scene wherein the accused had borne her. the cause of his death, and to me it re- self with dignified tranquillity, and the mains to avenge it, if it lays in my power." accusers had entirely broken down in The elector, whose courage deserted him their attempts to crush aod overwhelm during the interview, implored her to be her. reasonable, and to reflect. He was in- The princess's demeanor at this trying deed unused to such deeds, unskilled in juncture had not been without its effect on the intricacies of assassination; he knew the elector. Even if the whole of his not what to think, what to say. His chief suspicions were not allayed, they were terror was, if the murder became known, partially so, and he saw no reason why that it would be laid at his door, and he there should not be a reconciliation beassured her in passionate and agitated tween his son and daughter-in-law. His language that the fatal result was due to earnest desire was to lull suspicion with Königsmarck's resistance to his arrest, regard to his own and his son's part in the and that there was but one means whereby affair, and to silence the wagging tongues the terrible affair could be withheld from of scandal which were agitating the air public notoriety and scandal, and she must for Königsmarck's sudden disappearance now set herself to live peaceably with the had caused a considerable futter in soprince her husband. “Sir," she answered, ciety; and while some found it convenient “I will never live with Königsmarck's to accept the diligently circulated rumor murderer. If I am compelled to do so it that he had escaped to avoid arrest, there will only be to avenge his death.” See. were others who affirmed that the bright, ing that no impression could be made upon the brave, the gallant Philippe had fallen her, the elector quitted the room, beckon- a victim to the wrath of the father and son, ing his son, who had not spoken one word and that his blood was crying for venduring the interview, to follow him, which geance from out the depths of the Hanhe required no second bidding to do. overian schloss. Again and again did