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Three days had passed since that unfortunate event. Early on this, the third day, the corpse of the prince had been conveyed to the tomb of his family; a large and brilliant funeral procession had accompanied the coffin; even the carriages of the emperor, the archdukes, and high dignitaries of the state had participated in the procession, and the Viennese, who for three days had spoken of nothing else but the tragic end of the young and handsome Prince Charles von Lichtenstein, derived some satisfaction from the conviction that they were sharing the sympathy of the imperial family for the deceased; thousands of them consequently joined the procession and accompanied the coffin.
But this manifestation of sympathy did not seem sufficient to the good-hearted and hot-blooded people. They did not merely wish to show their love for the deceased; they also wanted to manifest their hatred against the man who had slain him; and, on their return from the funeral, the people rushed to the Kohlmarkt and gathered with loud shouts and savage threats in front of the house of the prebendary, Baron Weichs.
It was reported that the prebendary, whom the people charged with having assassinated Prince Lichtenstein, was constantly in Vienna; and as this fact seemed to indicate that the emperor did not intend to punish his misdeed, the people wanted to take it upon themselves to chastise him, or to give him at least a proof of the public hatred.
"Smash the murderer's windows!" shouted the people, who were constantly reenforced by fresh crowds appearing on the Kohlmarkt. And, passing from threats to deeds, hundreds and hundreds of busy hands tore up the pavement in order to hurl the stones at the house and windows of the prebendary. And the rattling of the windows, the loud noise of the stones glancing off on the walls, increased the rage and exasperation of the people. Soon they were no longer contented with doing this, but wished to get hold of the malefactor himself, and to punish him for his crime. The crowd rushed with wild clamor toward the closed street-door of the baron's house; one among them quickly climbed on the shoulders of another, in order to tear down the coat-of-arms of the prebendary, fixed over the entrance, and thundering applause greeted him when he had accomplished his purpose. The infuriated men then commenced striking at the door itself, which offered, however, to all attacks, a firm and unyielding resistance.
Suddenly a stern, imperious voice shouted: "Stop! Stand back! stand back!"
The people turned around in terror, and discovered only then that a carriage, surrounded and followed by twenty mounted policemen, was approaching from the alley on which the principal door of the prebendary's house was situated. This carriage, with its sinister escort, could make but slow headway through the dense mass of the people, who looked inquisitively through the lowered windows into the interior of the coach. Every one was able to recognize the three gentlemen who were seated in the carriage, and who were none other than the prebendary, Baron Weichs, and two of the best known and most feared high functionaries of the police. The baron's face was pale and gloomy, but the defiant, impudent smile was still playing on his thin lips. He looked, with an air of boundless contempt, at the crowd surging around his carriage and staring at him as if it wished to read in his pale features the sentence that had been pronounced against him.
"How inquisitive is the populace!" said the prebendary, disdainfully. "They are so anxious to find out whether I am now being conveyed to the place of execution, which would be a most welcome spectacle for them. You ought to have mercy on this amiable rabble, gentlemen, and inform them of the evil tidings that I have unfortunately not been sentenced to be hanged on the gallows, nor to be broken on the wheel, but only to be imprisoned in a fortress for ten years, which I shall pass at the beautiful citadel of Komorn."
The two officers only replied to him by silently nodding, and the carriage passed on. But some compassionate and talkative police agent had informed the people that the emperor had sentenced the prebendary, Baron Weichs, to ten years' imprisonment in a fortress, and that he was at this moment on his way to Komorn. The people received this intelligence with jubilant shouts, and dispersed through the city in order to inform their friends and acquaintances of the welcome news, and then to go home, well satisfied with the day's amusements and diversions.
And the waves of life closed over the lamentable event, and carried it down into the abyss of oblivion. A few days passed by, and another occurrence caused the colloquies concerning the duel of Prince Lichtenstein and what had brought it about to cease, as some new subject of conversation took its place.
One heart alone did not console itself so rapidly; one soul alone bewailed him on comfortless days and restless nights, and paid to him the tribute of tears and sighs. Since that last meeting with the prince, Fanny Arnstein had not left her cabinet again; its doors had been closed against everybody, and she had wept and sighed there during these three days, without taking a morsel of food.
Vainly had her husband often come to her door in order to implore her to open it at last, and to take some nourishment. Fanny had never answered him; and if he had not, constantly and stealthily returning to her door at night, heard her low sobs and half-loud wailing, he would have believed that grief had killed her, and that love had intended to unite her in heaven with him to whom her heart belonged, as they had been so hopelessly separated on earth.
To-day, after the prince's funeral, the baron again entered the reception-room adjoining his wife's cabinet, but this time he did not come alone. A lady, whose face was covered with a large black veil, accompanied him, and walked at his side to the constantly closed door.
The baron knocked at this door, and begged his wife, in words of heart-felt sympathy, to open it to him.
There was no reply; not a word was heard from the unhappy baroness.
"You see, your highness," whispered the baron, turning to the veiled lady, "it is as I told you. All prayers are in vain; she does not leave her room; she will die of grief."
"No, she will not die," said the lady, "she is young, and youth survives all grief. Let me try if I cannot induce her to admit us."
And she knocked at the door with bold fingers, and exclaimed: "Pray, Fanny, open the door, and let me come in. It is I, Princess Eibenberg; it is I, your friend, Marianne Meier; I want to see my dear Fanny Itzig."
Every thing remained silent; nothing stirred behind that locked door. Marianne removed her veil, and showed her proud, pale countenance to the baron.
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Louisa of Prussia and Her Times -by- Louisa MuhlbachBottom Content goes here. Wikipedia content requires these links..... Wikipedia content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.