The Life and Adventures of Baron Trenck

第87章 CHAPTER VI.(2)

He received me with kindness; we dined with him two days, and all Prague were anxious to see a man who had surmounted ten years of suffering so unheard of as mine. Here I received three thousand florins, and paid General Reidt his three hundred ducats, which he had advanced Count Schlieben, for my journey, the repayment of which he demanded in his letter, although he had received ten thousand florins. The expense of returning I also paid to Schlieben, made him a present, and provided myself with some necessaries. After remaining a few days at Prague, a courier arrived from Vienna, to whom I was obliged to pay forty florins, with an order from government to bring me from Prague to Vienna. My sword was demanded; Captain Count Wela, and two inferior officers, entered the carriage, which I was obliged to purchase, in company with me, and brought me to Vienna. I took up a thousand florins more, in Prague, to defray these expenses, and was obliged, in Vienna, to pay the captain fifty ducats for travelling charges back.

I was brought back like a criminal, was sent as a prisoner to the barracks, there kept in the chamber of Lieutenant Blonket, with orders that I should be suffered to write to no one, speak to no one, without a ticket from the counsellors Kempt or Huttner.

Thus I remained six weeks; at length, the colonel of the regiment of Poniatowsky, the present field-marshal, Count Alton, spoke to me. Irelated what I supposed were the reasons of my being kept a prisoner in Vienna; and to the exertions of this man am I indebted that the intentions of my enemies were frustrated, which were to have me imprisoned as insane in the fortress of Glatz. Had they once removed me from Vienna, I should certainly have pined away my life in a madhouse. Yet I could never obtain justice against these men.

The Empress was persuaded that my brain was affected, and that Iuttered threats against the King of Prussia. The election of a king of the Romans was then in agitation, and the court was apprehensive lest I should offend the Prussian envoy. General Reidt had been obliged to promise Frederic that I should not appear in Vienna, and that they should hold a wary eye over me. The Empress-Queen felt compassion for my supposed disease, and asked if no assistance could be afforded me; to which they answered, I had several times let blood, but that I still was a dangerous man. They added, that I had squandered four thousand florins in six days at Prague; that it would be proper to appoint guardians to impede such extravagancies.

Count Alton spoke of me and my hard destiny to the Countess Parr, mistress of the ceremonies to the Empress-Queen. The late Emperor entered the chamber, and asked whether I ever had any lucid intervals. "May it please your Majesty," answered Alton, "he has been seven weeks in my barracks, and I never met a more reasonable man. There is mystery in this affair, or he could not be treated as a madman. That he is not so in anywise I pledge my honour."The next day the Emperor sent Count Thurn, grand-master of the Archduke Leopold, to speak to me. In him I found an enlightened philosopher, and a lover of his country. To him I related how I had twice been betrayed, twice sold at Vienna, during my imprisonment;to him showed that my administrators had acted in this vile manner that I might be imprisoned for life, and they remain in possession of my effects. We conversed for two hours, during which many things were said that prudence will not permit me to repeat. I gained his confidence, and he continued my friend till death. He promised me protection, and procured me an audience of the Emperor.

I spoke with freedom; the audience lasted an hour. At length the Emperor retired into the next apartment. I saw the tears drop from his eyes. I fell at his feet, and wished for the presence of a Rubens or Apelles, to preserve a scene so honourable to the memory of the monarch, and paint the sensations of an innocent man, imploring the protection of a compassionate prince. The Emperor tore himself from me, and I departed with sensations such as only those can know who, themselves being virtuous, have met with wicked men. I returned to the barracks with joy, and an order the next day came for my release. I went with Count Alton to the Countess Parr, and by her mediation I obtained an audience with the Empress.

I cannot describe how much she pitied my sufferings and admired my fortitude. She told me she was informed of the artifices practised against me in Vienna; she required me to forgive my enemies, and pass all the accounts of my administrators. "Do not complain of anything," said she, "but act as I desire--I know all--you shall be recompensed by me; you deserve reward and repose, and these you shall enjoy."I must either sign whatever was given to sign, or be sent to a madhouse. I received orders to accompany M. Pistrich to Counsellor Ziegler; thither I went, and the next day was obliged to sign, in their presence, the following conditions:-First--That I acknowledged the will of Trenck to be valid.

Secondly--That I renounced all claim to the Sclavonian estates, relying alone on her Majesty's favour.

Thirdly--That I solemnly acquitted my accountants and curators.

And, Lastly--That I would not continue in Vienna.

This I must sign, or languish in prison.

How did my blood boil while I signed! This confidence I had in myself assured me I could obtain employment in any country of Europe, by the labours of my mind, and the recital of all my woes.

At that time I had no children; I little regretted what I had lost, or the poor portion that remained.

Baron Trenck