The court assembly stood in groups, looking with cold, inquisitive eyes at the piquant scene the prince in the innocence of his heart had prepared for them which was to them an inimitable jest, an excellent amusement. They all knew what the prince did not for a moment suspect that Count Kalkreuth adored the princess.
"Well, and this man, the head of the French party, they wish to appoint general-in-chief of the Silesian army," said Blucher, mournfully. "Amelia, pack up our traps; let us return to Kunzendorf." "But Field-Marshal Kalkreuth has not yet been appointed," Said Scharnhorst, smiling; "I believe his two competitors have as good nay, better prospects than he has."
He took her hand tenderly; leading her to a divan, and seated himself beside her, but suddenly jumping up he left her, and returned in a few moments with his friend Count Kalkreuth. "Permit me, Wilhelmina," said he, "to introduce to you again my dear friend and companion in arms.
He was still in his sitting-room, and his two old friends, General von Kockeritz and Field-Marshal Kalkreuth, were with him. A pause in their conversation set in, which seemed to have been of a very grave character, for the faces of the two old gentlemen looked serious and careworn, and the king was pacing the room slowly and with a gloomy air.
But how is this?" said the king, interrupting himself, "those two giant forms at the side of the little Armenians are certainly Barons Kalkreuth and Kaphengst, and that is my brother with them. Poor Henry! you have made a bad use of your freedom, and must, therefore, soon lose it. Ah! see how searchingly he turns his head, seeking his beautiful odalisque! In vain, my brother, in vain!
"Now," thought he, "she feels secure; she does not suspect I am observing her, at last I may find an opportunity to become convinced." Count Kalkreuth was there; he had gone down into the garden. He advanced to meet the princess, they greeted each other, but in their simple, accustomed manner, he, the count, respectfully and ceremoniously the princess dignified, careless, and condescending.
"Welcome! welcome!" he said; "the cage is open, and I may enjoy a little air and sunshine; let us not delay to make use of this opportunity. Our horses shall be saddled." "They are already saddled, prince," said Baron Kalkreuth. "I have ordered them to the court, and as soon as it is dark we will mount them."
He is a scoundrel who repeats it!" and, without awaiting an answer, he hastened away to seek the prince and Baron Kalkreuth, acquaint them with the king's presence, and fly with them from his anger.
At the former were present the three sovereigns with their ministers Talleyrand for France, Kurakin and Labanoff for Russia, Kalkreuth and Goltz for Prussia; at the latter were sometimes all three of the monarchs, frequently only the two principals, for they found Frederick William a damper on their hilarity.
Prince Henry paid no attention to all this; his wandering glance sought only the beautiful Louise, and a deep sigh escaped him at not having found her. Hastily he stepped through the rows of dancers which separated the two cavaliers from him. "It appears," murmured Baron Kalkreuth to his friend, "it appears to me that the prince would like to get rid of us. He wishes to be entirely unobserved.