III. Napoleon and the White Lady

The emperor had long risen from the supper-table. The imperial suite had been allowed to withdraw. Alone he sat in a comfortable night- dress on the high, antiquated easy-chair, in front of the fire- place, in which, at his express order, notwithstanding the warm weather, a large fire had been kindled. He liked heat; the sun of Egypt and the desert had never been too warm for him; in the hottest summer days in France he frequently felt chilly, and called for a fire. It seemed as though the inflamed blood in his veins made the world appear cold to him; he saw the light of the sunbeams, but did not feel their warmth. He now sat close to the fire, his face bent over the large map that lay on the table. It was a map of Russia. He rapidly drew several lines across it, marking positions with the colored pins, taken from the small boxes beside him. "Yes, this is my plan," he said to himself, after a long pause. "Three of my corps must be placed on the Niemen; Davoust, Oudinot, and Ney, will command them. There, farther to the left, the cavalry reserves, under Nansouty and Montbrun, will take position. Here the old guard, under Lefebore; there the young guard, under Mortier and Bessieres, with the cavalry of the guard. At this point, farther to the south, the fourth corps, composed of the Italians and Bavarians, will operate, and the Viceroy of Italy, Eugene, will be its general-in- chief. Farther down, here at Grodno and Bialys tock, I will place the Poles, Westphalians, and Saxons; the fifth, seventh, and eighth corps to be commanded by my brother Jerome. The Prussians will halt at Tilsit, and form the extreme left wing; Macdonald will be their leader; and below there, at Drochiczyn Schwartzenberg with his Austrians will form the extreme right wing. The preparations are complete, and the thunder-cloud is ready to burst over Russia if Alexander should persist in his obstinacy. Like the waves of the tempestuous ocean, my armies are rolling toward the shores of Russia. They can still be stopped by a suppliant word from Alexander. If he refuses, let his destiny be fulfilled, and let the roar of my cannon inform him that his hour has struck, and that the end of his imperial power draws nigh. It was his own will. He himself has brought destruction upon his head! He--"

A loud noise above his head, making the walls tremble and the windows rattle suddenly interrupted the stillness. The emperor rose from his seat and shouted "Roustan!" The door of the adjoining room opened and the Mameluke appeared on the threshold.

"What was it?" asked Napoleon hastily.

"Sire, it was as if a wall fell in above us; the noise was as loud as though a cannon were fired in the palace. I rushed immediately into the corridor, but every thing there was quiet. Only the castellan of the palace appeared in the utmost haste in his night- gown, and asked whether an accident had happened in the rooms of the emperor."

"Where is the castellan now?"

"Sire, when I told him that the noise was on the upper floor, he immediately went thither in order to see what had occurred."

"Go and bring him to me," ordered Napoleon; and when Roustan had withdrawn, the emperor fixed his eyes steadfastly on the door, and his compressed lips quivered with impatience.

Finally, the door opened again; Roustan appeared, followed by the castellan, pale and trembling, behind the Mameluke, and clinging with his hands to the door to support himself.

Napoleon cast upon him one of his quick glances. "What was this noise, and why do you tremble so violently?"

"Pardon me, your majesty," faltered Schluter, "but my terror--the surprise--I am afraid I have lost my senses. I have just seen something so unheard of, so incredible, that I--"

"What have you seen?" asked Napoleon. "Speak! What was this noise?"

The castellan slowly raised his head, and stared with terrified eyes at the emperor. "Your majesty," he said, solemnly, "the White Lady made the noise!"

Napoleon started, and his brow grew clouded. "But did they not tell me that the miserable spectre never haunted this part of the palace?" he asked. "Did I not issue orders that rooms should be given me where I should not be disturbed by this apparition?"

"Your majesty, she has hitherto never entered these rooms," exclaimed Schluter. "Never before has the White Lady directed her steps hither, and this afternoon her portrait stood quietly in a cabinet of the other wing of the palace. I can take an oath that this is true."

"What portrait do you refer to?" asked Napoleon, impatiently.

"The portrait of the White Lady," said Schluter. "I saw it this very day in the cabinet on the other side; all the doors were locked, and now I suddenly find this large painting in the room above you; it was lying on the floor as if in walking it had stumbled over something and fallen. It is the first time that the White Lady appears in this wing of the palace; her portrait has come from the other side, and Heaven alone knows how it has happened. Whenever we wished to convey the painting, with its enormous wooden frame, from one room to another, no less than six men were required to carry it, and now it is here as though it had flitted through the air: and it is lying on the floor as if struck down by lightning."

"And you think the fall of the painting produced the noise?"

"I feel convinced of it. If your majesty wishes me to do so, I will get a few men, go up-stairs to raise the painting, and let it fall again, that your majesty may judge whether it is the same noise or not."

"Ah, you do not feel much respect for your walking portrait," exclaimed the emperor, smiling. "You want to abuse it, and make experiments with it. We will suppose that the fall of the painting was the sole cause of the noise. Now, that it is on the floor, I believe it will lie still and disturb us no longer, unless it be that your portrait should fall asleep and snore. What do you know about that?"

"Your majesty," said Schluter, gravely, "the White Lady never sleeps!"

The emperor cast a searching glance upon him, and then turned away, folded his hands, and slowly paced the room. Suddenly he stood in front of the castellan.

"What about this White Lady?" he asked, hastily. "Who was she, and what is her history?"

"Ah, sire, it is a long and melancholy history concerning the ancestors of the Margraves of Brandenburg," said Schluter, sighing.

"You know the history?"

"Yes, your majesty, I know it well."

"Tell it to me, but very briefly," said Napoleon, throwing himself on the easy-chair in front the fireplace, and ordering Roustan, by a wave of his hand and the word "Fire!" to add fresh fuel.

"Now, tell me all about it."

"Your majesty," replied Schluter, hesitatingly, "I do not know how to narrate a story in fine words, and you must pardon me if I do not acquit myself very satisfactorily."

"Who was this White Lady?"

"Sire, her name was Cunigunda, Countess von Plassenburg. Her parents had compelled her to marry the old Count von Plassenburg, and when her husband died, after two years of unhappy wedded life, the Countess Cunigunda of Orlamunde and Plassenburg was a young widow, twenty-four years of age, heiress of the splendid Plassenburg, and mother of two children. She was a gay-spirited lady, and looked around for another husband. Her eyes fell on the Burgrave of Nuremberg, the distinguished nobleman Albert the Handsome. The whole German people called him so; and all the girls, far and near, daughters of the nobility, as well as those of the citizens of Nuremberg, loved the fine-looking Burgrave of Nuremberg, who was the ancestor of the House of Hohenzollern. But the noble Count Albert loved only one young lady, beautiful Beatrice of Hainault, and would marry none but her. The Countess Cunigunda of Orlamunde, however, was not aware of this, and sent him a message, asking him whether he would not like to marry her. She would give him, besides her hand, the splendid Plassenburg and all her other property. Burgrave Albert the Handsome smiled when he heard the message; shrugging his shoulders, he said: 'Tell your countess I regard her as very amiable, and should like to marry her, provided four eyes were not in existence. But as it is, I cannot do so.' The burgrave referred to the eyes of his parents, who did not like the Countess of Orlamunde, and he wished to make them responsible for his refusal, so as not to offend the beautiful widow. But Cunigunda interpreted the words differently, and thought the four eyes, which the Burgrave said were in the way of their marriage, were those of her two children. She loved the handsome Burgrave so intensely, that she henceforth hated the children, because she believed them to be the sole obstacles to her marriage. The Evil One and her passion whispered into her ear, 'Go and kill your children.' So Cunigunda rose from her couch; in a long white night-dress, her head covered with a black veil, she crept to the bed of her children, and, drawing from her raven hair a long golden pin, set with precious stones (a gift which she had once received at the hands of Burgrave Albert), she pierced the heads of her children, penetrating the brain to the vertebra."

"Medea!" ejaculated Napoleon, staring into the fire. "This, then, is the history of the Medea of the Hohenzollern."

"No, sire, the name of the countess was not Medea, but Cunigunda," said Schluter, respectfully.

Napoleon smiled. "Proceed," he said.

"On the following morning there was great wailing at the Plassenburg, for the two sweet little children lay dead in their bed; not a vestige of violence was to be seen, and the physician of the countess decided that a stroke of apoplexy had killed them. The Countess of Orlamunde sent a mounted messenger to Nuremberg to Burgrave Albert the Handsome, requesting him to come and see her. And when the burgrave came she met him in a white bridal dress, and looked at him with radiant eyes; in her uplifted right hand she had the golden hair-pin, and said, 'The four eyes are no longer in existence. For your sake I have stabbed my two children with this pin, your first love-gift; the four eyes are extinguished forever. Now, marry me!' But the burgrave recoiled in terror, and pushed back the murderess, who was about to embrace him. He then dragged her through the rooms to the dungeon of the castle. She begged and cried, but the burgrave had no mercy upon the infanticide, and hurled her down into the dungeon. He then informed the courts of the crime that had been committed. The Countess von Orlamunde, the last member of her family, was put on trial, and sentence of death passed upon her. The burgrave of Nuremberg sent the first executioner from the city to the Plassenburg, and the countess was beheaded in the presence of the burgrave, and in the same room in which she had murdered her children. Before putting her head on the block she glanced at the handsome burgrave, raised both her arms toward heaven, and took a fearful oath that she would avenge herself on him and his house; that, whenever one of his descendants was at the point of death, she would be present, as the burgrave himself was now present at her death; that she would never rest in her grave, but live and walk, though the burgrave had her executed, and that, as she was before him now at her last hour, she would appear to him at his last hour. After uttering these words, she put her head calmly on the block. The burgrave then had her buried at the convent of Himmelskron, and, by virtue of an old treaty, the Burgraves of Nuremberg now succeeded to the fiefs of the Counts of Orlamunde, whose line had become extinct. The Plassenburg, with Baireuth and Burgundy, and all the possessions of the Counts of Orlamunde, therefore passed into the hands of Burgrave Albert the Handsome. He did not enjoy the inheritance a long time, for, a few years afterward, shortly after he had married the beautiful Countess Beatrice of Hainault, he died very suddenly. His wife was awakened by a loud cry he uttered. He then exclaimed, 'Cunigunda, do you come already to take me away? Woe to me! Woe to me!' All became still; the countess called for the servants and a light. They rushed into the room with torches. Burgrave Albert the Handsome lay in his bed dead. That, your majesty, is the history of the White Lady of Baireuth."

"This lady, then, followed the Hohenzollern from the Plassenburg to Baireuth and Berlin?" asked Napoleon. "For she appears sometimes at Berlin, does she not?"

"At Berlin, and all places where members of the house of Hohenzollern, the descendants of the Burgraves of Nuremberg, are about to die."

"Oh, the dear lady, then, appears only to the family of the Hohenzollern," exclaimed Napoleon, smiling. "Is it not so?"

"No, your majesty, at times she appears also to others," said Schluter; "she walks about the palace, and if there is any one in her way whom she dislikes, she tells them so, and angrily orders him away. She forgets no insult heaped upon her house, and she is terrible in her wrath."

"I have heard of it," exclaimed the emperor, gloomily. "My generals complained vehemently of the annoyances they had suffered here in 1806, owing to the movements of this lady. You were here at that time, were you not?"

"I was, sire, and so I was when General d'Espagne, in 1809, established his headquarters at this palace."

"Ah, I remember," said Napoleon to himself. "Duroc told me the horrible story at that time. Tell me what was it that befell General d'Espagne here?"

"Sire, the general had arrived late at night, and, being weary, had immediately retired. In the night terrible cries were heard in his room. The orderlies hastened into it; the general's bed, which, when he retired for the night stood at the wall, was now in the middle of the room; it was upset, and, having fainted, he lay under it. He was placed on a couch, and a doctor sent for, who bled him, and, when he awoke, gave him sedative powders. The general declared that the White Lady had appeared to him, and tried to kill him. While struggling with her, his bed was upset, and, when about to succumb, he uttered loud cries for assistance. He described all the particulars of the countenance, form, and dress of the apparition, and, at his express request, I had to conduct him to her portrait. As soon as he saw it, he turned pale, and almost sank to the floor, muttering, 'It is she! She looked exactly like that when she appeared to me! Her apparition, doubtless, indicated my impending death!' His officers tried to dissuade him from this belief, but he adhered to his conviction, and left the palace that very night in order to establish his headquarters at the 'Fantaisie,' the king's little villa near the city. On the following morning General d'Espagne sent a large detachment of soldiers to this palace; they had to open the floor under the direction of their officers, and take down the wall-paper, in order to see whether there were any secret trap-doors or hidden entrances. [Footnote: Vide Minutoli, "The White Lady," p. 17.] But they found nothing, for the White Lady needs no theatrical apparatus; she goes where she pleases, and walls and locked doors open to her. General d'Espagne, however, was unable to overcome his horror. He left Baireuth on the following day, and when he rode out of the gate he said, 'I heard my own death-knell here at Baireuth. I shall soon die!'"

"And he really died shortly after, for he was killed at the battle of Aspen," [Footnote: Ibid., p.17.] said Napoleon to himself, staring gloomily into the fire. A pause ensued; suddenly the emperor rose. "It is all right," he said. "Go! Your story of the White Lady was quite entertaining. I hope she will keep quiet now. Go!--And you, too, Roustan! I will afterward call you!" Long after the two had withdrawn, the emperor walked slowly up and down the room. He stood at length in front of the fireplace, and stared moodily into the blazing flames. His face was pale and gloomy. "Foolish stories, which no man of sense can believe! but which, nevertheless, are fulfilled now and then," he added, in a lower voice. "Was it not predicted to Josephine that she would become an empress; and that not death, but a woman, would hurl her from the throne? The prophecy was fulfilled! Poor Josephine! I had to desert you, and, at your lonely palace of Malmaison, you are perhaps praying for me at this hour, because you know I am about to brave new dangers. Poor Josephine!--you were my good angel, and, since you are no longer at my side--no matter!" the emperor interrupted himself; "I will retire to rest." He advanced several steps toward the door leading into his bedroom, where Roustan and Constant were waiting for him, but stopping said, "No, I will first arrange my plans, and fight my decisive battles with the Emperor Alexander." He returned with rapid steps to the table covered with maps, and resumed his seat in the easy-chair. The tapers were burning dimly; the flames in the fireplace flickered, shedding a dark-red lustre on the marble face of the emperor, who, bending over the map, sat motionless. Perhaps it was the heat, or the profound silence, that lulled him to sleep. His head fell back into the chair, and his eyes closed. The emperor slept, but his sleep was not calm, and his features, which when awake were so firm and motionless, were restless, and expressive of various emotions. Once he exclaimed in a tender voice, "My father! Do you at last come to me? Oh, welcome, father!" And a joyous expression overspread the countenance of the sleeper; but it soon faded away, and he appeared angry, and his lips quivered. "No, no," he said, with a faltering tongue, impeded by sleep, "no, father, you are mistaken! my luck does not resemble the changing seasons; I am not yet in autumn, when the fruits drop from the trees and winter is at hand." He paused again, and his face assumed the expression of an attentive listener. "What!" he then exclaimed in a loud voice, "you say my family will leave me, and betray me in adversity? No, that is impossible, I have lavished kindnesses on them, I--" He paused, and seemed to listen again. "Ah," he exclaimed, after a short interval, starting violently, "that is too much! All Europe is unable to overthrow me. My name is more powerful than Fate!"

Awakened, perhaps, by the loud sound of his own voice, he opened his eyes and looked around uneasily. "Ah," he said, putting his hand on his moist forehead, "what a terrible dream it was! My father stood before me, and predicted what would befall me. He prophesied my ruin! He cautioned me against my relatives, and the ingratitude of my marshals! [Footnote: "Le Normand." vol. ii, p. 421.] It is the second time that this is predicted to me, and just as I now saw and heard my father in my dream, the old sorceress spoke to me by the pyramids of Egypt." And the emperor, absorbed in his reflections, muttered in a hollow voice: "'You will have two wives,' said the Egyptian sorceress to me; 'your first wife you will unjustly desert. Your second wife will bear you a son, but your misfortunes will nevertheless begin with her. You will soon cease to be prosperous and powerful. All your hopes will be disappointed; you will be forcibly expelled, and cast upon a foreign soil, hemmed in by mountains and the sky. Beware of your relatives! Your own blood will revolt against you!' [Footnote: This prophecy is historical. Vide "Le Normand," vol. ii., p. 487.] Nonsense," exclaimed the emperor, quickly raising his head; "all this is folly. The palace, with its weird traditions, has infected me, and I scent ghosts in the air, and transform my dreams into prophecies. I will retire!"

For the second time he approached the door of the bedroom, but suddenly recoiled and stood with dilated eyes. In front of it appeared a tall female figure, her arms spread out before the door, as if she wished to prevent the emperor from passing out. A long white dress covered her slender form, a black veil concealed her bosom and her erect head; but behind the transparent tissue of the veil was a pale, beautiful face, the eyes of which were flashing like swords' points. Breathless with horror, he fixed his eyes steadfastly on the apparition, that approached him now with uplifted arms. Trembling in spite of himself, he drew back, and, putting his hand on the back of the easy-chair, gazed searchingly at the approaching figure.

"You dare set your foot into the house of the Hohenzollerns?" asked the spectre in a hollow, menacing voice. "You come hither to disturb the repose of the dead? Flee, audacious man--flee, for destruction is pursuing you; it will seize and destroy you! Your last hour has come! Prepare to stand before your Judge!"

"Ay, you will kill me, then, beautiful lady?" asked Napoleon, sneeringly. "You will revenge the defeats I have inflicted on the descendants of Burgrave Albert the Handsome, on the battle-fields of Jena, Eylau, and Friedland? In truth, I should have thought that beautiful Cunigunda of Orlamunde would rather welcome me as a friend, for was it not I who avenged her on the faithless house of Hohenzollern?"

"You try to mock me," said the spectre, "for your heart is filled with doubt, and your soul with pride. But beware, Bonaparte--beware, I tell you for the last time--your hour has come, and every step you advance is a step toward your ruin. Turn back, Bonaparte, if you intend to be saved, for ruin awaits you on the battle-fields of Russia! Turn back, for the souls of your victims cry to God for vengeance, and demand your blood for theirs--your punishment for the ruthlessly destroyed happiness of whole nations! Bonaparte, escape from the soil of Germany, and dare no longer to set foot upon it, for disgraceful defeats are in store for you! Return to France, and endeavor to conciliate those who are cursing you as a perjurer and renegade!"

"Who are they who dare call me a perjurer and renegade?" asked Napoleon, hastily.

"Who are they?" repeated the spectre, advancing a step toward the emperor and fixing her menacing eyes upon him. "The men to whom you once vowed eternal fidelity, and whom you called your brethren-- Philadelphians!"

The emperor started in terror, and his cheeks turned livid. His features, which had hitherto had a sneering, scornful air, were now gloomy, and he stared with an expression of undisguised fear at the lady who stood before him in an imposing attitude, with her arm lifted in a menacing manner.

"The Philadelphians?" asked Napoleon, timidly. "I do not know them."

"You do!" said the spectre, solemnly. "You do know that the invisible ones are watching you, and will punish you because you have broken your oath!"

"I know of no oath!"

"Woe to you if you have forgotten it. I will repeat it to you! It was in 1789, at the forest of Fontainebleau, that you appeared at the meeting of the brethren and requested to be initiated. The Philadelphians admitted you into their league and received your oath. Shall I repeat this oath to you?"

"Do so if you can!"

"You swore that never again should a freeman obey kings, and that death to tyrants under all titles and in all governments is justifiable."

"That was the formality of the oath of every club and secret society at that time," exclaimed Napoleon, contemptuously.

"But the Philadelphians demanded still another written oath of you. It read as follows: 'I consent that my life be taken if I ever become reconciled to royalty. In order to contribute to its eradication in Europe, I will make use of fire and sword, and, when the society to which I belong asks me to do so, sacrifice even what is most precious to me.' You wrote this and affixed your name to it with your blood." [Footnote: "Le Normand" vol. ii., p. 516.]

"It is true, I did!" muttered Napoleon. "I was a fool, dreaming, like all the others, of the possibility of a republic."

"You were a believer, and have become a renegade," exclaimed the spectre, in a threatening voice. "The invisible ones will judge and punish you, unless you make haste to conciliate them. You have forgotten that you stand under the yoke of the Philadelphians. The Emperor Napoleon believes that he has power to blot out with the blood of subjugated nations the words of the sacred oath which Lieutenant Bonaparte swore to the Philadelphians in the forest of Fontainebleau."

"And I HAVE the power to do so!" exclaimed Napoleon, proudly. "I stretch out my arm over Europe, and she bows before me."

"But the Philadelphians will break your arm, and convert your crowns into dust, unless you make haste to conciliate them," exclaimed the spectre. "Turn back, for it is yet time. Return to France, renounce conquests: France wants no more wars; she is cursing the tyrant who refuses peace to her and to Europe. There has been bloodshed enough. Take an oath at this hour that you will renounce your ambition, and no longer pursue a career of crime and blood! Swear that you will return to France to-morrow!"

"Never!" ejaculated Napoleon, vehemently, and coloring with anger.

"Swear that you will return, or I will kill you!" cried the spectre. "I will kill you as a wolf. Swear that you will return!"


"Ah, you will not swear--you prefer to die, then," and at a bound she was by the Emperor's side, grasped him with iron hands, and threw him down on the easy-chair. "You prefer to die!" she repeated wildly, tearing the black veil from her head and showing her face unveiled. It was livid as that of a corpse, the bloodless lips quivering, and her red eyes flaming with rage.

"You prefer to die!" exclaimed the spectre, for the third time. "Well, die!" And her arms encircled Napoleon's breast like iron rings, her glance seemed to pierce his face, her lips opened and exhibited terrible teeth, as if ready to tear his breast. The emperor was unable to breathe; he felt his strength giving way, and, with a last effort, he uttered a shrill cry calling for help.

"Sire, sire, awake!" cried an anxious voice by his side. Napoleon started up, and violently pushed back the hand which touched his arm. "Who is there?" he asked, angrily.

"Sire, it is I--Constant!" said the faithful valet de chambre. "I heard in the antechamber your majesty's groans and cries; I rushed in and saw you writhing on the easy-chair. A bad dream seemed to torment your majesty, and I therefore ventured to awaken you."

"And I am glad you did, Constant," said the emperor. "Ah, my friend, what a terrible dream it was! The White Lady was here; she threw herself upon me like a tigress; she wanted to tear me and drink my heart's blood."

"Your majesty had once before a similar dream," said Constant, smiling.

"Where--where was it?" asked Napoleon, hastily, wiping the cold sweat from his brow.

"Sire, it was at Erfurt, when the Emperor Alexander was there." [Footnote: Constant, "Memoires," vol. iv., p. 79.]

"Yes, I remember," said the emperor, in a low voice. "It seems this bad dream returns as soon as I approach Alexander. Does Fate intend to warn me? Is he to be the wolf that will one day lacerate my breast? Ah, it was an awful dream, indeed, and even now it seems to me as really seen and heard." He glanced around the gloomy room. Every thing was in precisely the same condition as when he had entered it. The maps lay undisturbed on the table before him; the colored pins stood in long rows like little armies, and opposite each other, drawn up in line of battle. But the tapers had burned, down, and the fire was nearly extinguished. Napoleon rose shudderingly from his easy-chair. "I will go to rest," he said.

Constant, taking a candlestick, preceded the emperor, and opened the door of the adjoining room. Fifteen minutes afterward Napoleon was in bed, and Constant and Roustan had withdrawn into the antechamber.

But this sleep was not to be of long duration. A loud cry, uttered by his master, awakened Constant, and caused him to rush into the bedroom. The emperor had raised himself in bed. "Constant," he said, "it was no dream this time. The White Lady was here--I saw her distinctly--I had not fallen asleep, my eyes and all my senses were awake. I saw the tall, white figure, her head covered with the black veil, at the wall there, as though she had grown from the ground. At a bound she was at my bedside, and raised her hands. I quickly seized her and called for you. She then glided from my fingers and disappeared. Like General d'Espagne, I say there must he a trap-door somewhere in this room. Call Roustan, take lights, and examine the walls and the floor."

The valet de chambre hastened to fetch Roustan: they took lights and made a thorough examination, but in vain. The oaken planks of the floor were firmly joined, and the dark velvet hangings glued to the walls.

"Well, then, the White Lady has fooled me in another dream," said the emperor. "Go! Let us sleep." The two servants withdrew.

About an hour had elapsed, when another cry, uttered by the emperor, called Constant back into the bedroom. Seized with dismay, he halted at the door. The bed was in the middle of the room; the table which stood beside it was upset, and the night-lamp lay thrown on the floor.

"I hope that no accident has befallen your majesty," said Constant, rushing toward the emperor.

"No," said Napoleon. "But this accursed white spectre was here again. It wanted to treat me like General d'Espagne; to upset my bed and throttle me. I awoke just when this horrible monster of a woman pushed the bed with the strength of a giant into the middle of the room. I called for you, and she disappeared. As the White Lady apparently does not like several persons to be in the room, you and Roustan must remain here to-night."

"And, with your majesty's leave, each of us will hold a pistol in his hand, that we may fire at the apparition if it return."

"Ah, my friend, you know little of the power of spectres," said Napoleon, smiling. "When you have fired at them, they laugh scornfully, throw the bullet back to you and pass on entirely uninjured. That is their fashion. But you may take your pistols, and if she has still a human heart in her breast, she will feel some respect for it."

And the White Lady really seemed to have a human heart. Constant and Roustan, who sat on the floor beside the emperor's bed with cocked pistols, waited in vain for the return of the apparition. Every thing remained quiet; nothing stirred in the room, where the emperor, guarded by his faithful servants, now at last enjoyed repose.

When he rose on the following morning, his face was even paler and gloomier than usual. He who generally on being dressed conversed in an affable manner with his servants, remained silent and grave that day, and muttered only occasionally, "The accursed palace! The miserable spectre-hole!" [Footnote: Historical.--Vide Minutoli, "The White Lady," p. 17.]

Constant and Roustan, having finished the emperor's toilet, were about leaving the room, when he called them back by a gesture. "You will not mention any thing about what happened here last night!" he said, imperiously. "If I find out that you disobey my order, I shall be very angry. Go!" And the emperor went into the Gallery of Palms in order to receive the reports of his suite and give the usual audiences. With a nod and a dismal look he greeted Count Munster, who inquired, with the fawning smile of a true courtier, whether his majesty had passed an agreeable night.

"Your castellan, then, has not informed you of the horrible noise last night in the palace?" asked Napoleon, angrily. "You ought to get better nails, count, to hang up paintings, so that they do not fall down. He who wants to hang anybody or any thing, even though it be but a painting, ought to have at least a substantial gallows."

"Sire," faltered Count Munster, "I do not comprehend--this palace--"

"Is not even fit to be a gallows, for it drops those who have been hung in it," exclaimed Napoleon, vehemently. "It is an accursed place, and the air in it as sultry and oppressive as in a rat-hole. Have the carriages brought to the door. Let us depart!" He did not deign the count another glance, and returned into the adjoining room, whither none but the grand marshal and his adjutants were permitted to follow.

Fifteen minutes afterward, the emperor, with his numerous suite, left the palace of Baireuth and set out for Plauen, where he intended to join the Empress Maria Louisa, who had stopped there over night, and continue with her the journey to Dresden. The streets of Baireuth, which had presented so animated a spectacle the day before, were at this early hour quiet and deserted; all the windows were closed; only here and there a wondering, inquisitive face appeared behind the panes and looked at the carriages that rolled through the streets, and at the melancholy countenance of the emperor, who sat in his open calash. When out of the gate, he turned again, and cast an angry glance on the palace, whose high gray walls were brightened by the morning sun. "An accursed old palace!" he muttered to himself. "I shall never spend there another night." [Footnote: Napoleon's own words.--Vide Minotoli, p. 17.] And leaning back in a corner of the carriage he gazed in silence at the sky.

Count Munster, however, stood inside the palace of Baireuth, at the window of the Gallery of Palms, and looked anxiously after the emperor. The carriages disappeared at a bend in the road behind the green willows, and the count turned to Castellan Schluter, who was standing behind him.

"But tell me, for Heaven's sake, Schluter," exclaimed the count, "what did the emperor refer to? What happened to him last night?"

"There happened to him what will happen to all those who dare disquiet the White Lady of Baireuth or defy her power," said Schluter, solemnly.

"You really believe, then, that she appeared to him?" asked the count, in terror.

"The emperor sent for me late last night, and again this morning. Shall I tell your excellency what it was for? The portrait of the White Lady, which I had put yesterday into the cabinet adjoining the audience-hall in the other wing of the palace, had walked over to this side, and, in the room directly above the emperor, had thrown itself down with so much violence, that the noise resounded through the whole building."

"But that is altogether impossible," exclaimed Count Munster, in dismay. "Why, you told me that the portrait was standing in the other wing of the palace, and that you had carefully locked all the doors."

"But I told your excellency also that locks and bolts are unable to impede her progress, and that, when she intends to wander, the walls open to her, and that all obstructions give way. The air wafted her over to the enemy of her house, and, by the thunder of her wrath, she awakened him from his slumber."

"And that was the reason why the emperor sent for you last night?"

"Yes, I had the honor of narrating to him the history of the White Lady," said Schluter, laughing scornfully. "I did so, and told him also what happened here to General d'Espagne."

"But did you not say the emperor has sent for you again this morning?"

The castellan nodded.

"Well, what did he want again?"

"I had to describe to him the costume in which the White Lady is in the habit of walking--her dress, her veil, her countenance--in short, I had to tell him all about her appearance. I proposed at last that I would have the portrait brought to him, that he might himself look at it; but, when I did so, he cast a furious glance on me, and said in an angry voice, 'No, no, I do not want to see it! Let me alone with your doomed portrait!'[Footnote: Historical.--Vide Minutoli, p. 17.] In truth, I believe the all-powerful emperor was frightened, and the White Lady had paid him a visit. In fact, he turned quite pale!" And Schluter burst into loud and scornful laughter.

Count Munster shook his head gravely, and hastened to leave the Gallery of Palms and the haunted palace.

The castellan remained there and listened until the count's footsteps died away. He then hurried to the rooms which the emperor had occupied. When he arrived at Napoleon's bedroom, he pushed the bed aside, and stooped down to the floor, at which he looked with searching eyes. "It is all right! Nothing is to be seen!" he muttered to himself. "The White Lady will yet be able often to walk here!" He burst into loud laughter and left the imperial apartments to return to his own rooms, which were situated on the ground-floor. "I will now put away my dear treasures, that no uninitiated eye may behold them," he said, carefully locking the door. "Come, my mysterious treasures! Come!" He drew from his bed a long white dress, a small cloak trimmed with fur, and a long black veil, [Footnote: These articles, belonging to the toilet of the White Lady, were found in Schluter's trunk when he died, in 1880.--Vide Minutoli, p. 17.] and while carefully folding up these articles, which he locked in a trunk standing under the bed, He sang in a loud and merry voice:

[Footnote: A comic song, sung in Germany in 1812.] "Ein Korsl, Ihr kennt den Namen schon, Seit vierzehn Jahr und druber, Spricht allen Nationen Hohn, Giebt Fursten--Nasenstuber, Sturzt Throne wie ein Kartenhaus Und treibt das Wesen gar zu Kraus, Nicht Bona--Malaparte!"

[Footnote: A Corsican--you know his name-- For more than fourteen years Has scorned the nations, to their shame, And pulled their princes' ears. He plays sad tricks upon his toes, And, marching with his guards, He casts down kingdoms as he goes Like houses made of cards, A better name for him would be Not BONA, but MALA-parte]

Dieses Kapitel ist Teil des Buches Napoleon and Blücher