The Life and Adventures of Baron Trenck

The Life and Adventures of Baron Trenck


My wife solicited the mistress of the ceremonies to obtain an audience. Her request was granted, and she gained the favour of the Empress. Her kindness was beyond expression: she introduced my wife to the Archduchess, and commanded her mistress of the ceremonies to present her everywhere. "You were unwilling," said she, "to accompany your husband into my country, but I hope to convince you that you may live happier in Austria than at Aix-la-Chapelle."

She next day sent me her decree, assuring me of a pension of four hundred florins.

My wife petitioned the Empress to grant me an audience: her request was complied with: and the Empress said to me: "This is the third time in which I would have made your fortune, had you been so disposed." She desired to see my children, and spoke of my writings. "How much good might you do," said she, "would you but write in the cause of religion!"We departed for Zwerbach, where we lived contentedly, but when we were preparing to return to Vienna, and solicited the restitution of part of my lost fortune, during this favour of the court, Theresa died, and all my hopes were overcast.

I forgot to relate that the Archduchess, Maria Anna, desired me to translate a religious work, written in French by the Abbe Baudrand, into German. I replied I would obey Her Majesty's commands. Ibegan my work, took passages from Baudrand, but inserted more of my own. The first volume was finished in six weeks; the Empress thought it admirable. The second soon followed, and I presented this myself.

She asked me if it equalled the first; I answered, I hoped it would be found more excellent. "No," said she; "I never in my life read a better book:" and added, "she wondered how I could write so well and so quickly." I promised another volume within a month. Before the third was ready, Theresa died. She gave orders on her death-bed to have the writings of Baron Trenck read to her; and though her confessor well knew the injustice that had been done me, yet in her last moments he kept silence, though he had given me his sacred promise to speak in my behalf.

After her death the censor commanded that I should print what I have stated in the preface to that third volume, and this was my only satisfaction.

For one-and-thirty years had I been soliciting my rights, which Inever could obtain, because the Empress was deceived by wicked men, and believed me a heretic. In the thirty-second, my wife had the good fortune to convince her this was false; she had determined to make me restitution; just at this moment she died.

The pension granted my wife by the Empress in consequence of my misfortunes and our numerous family, we only enjoyed nine months.

Of this she was deprived by the new monarch. He perhaps knew nothing of the affair, as I never solicited. Yet much has it grieved me. Perhaps I may find relief when the sighs wrung from me shall reach the heart of the father of his people in this my last writing. At present, nothing for me remains but to live unknown in Zwerbach.

Baron Trenck