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57. A Wife's Love

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Anna went in the first place to General Colomb, and begged him to grant her an interview.

About four hours had passed since Palm's arrest when the general received her.

"Madame," he said, "I know why you have come to me, you are looking for your husband, but he is no longer here at my headquarters."

"No longer here?" she ejaculated in terror. "You have sent him to France? You intend to kill him, then?"

"The law will judge him, madame," said the general, sternly. "I have myself examined him and requested him to give us the name of the author of this infamous libel which Mr. Palm has brought into general circulation. Had he done so, he would no longer be held responsible, and would have been at liberty to return to his house and to you. But he refused firmly to state the names of the author and printer of the pamphlet."

"He does not know either!" exclaimed Anna; "oh, believe me, sir, Palm is innocent. That pamphlet was sent to him, together with an anonymous letter."

"He ought to have taken care, then, not to circulate it," replied the general. "It is contrary to law to circulate a printed book, the author and printer of which are unknown to him who circulates it."

"No, general, it is not contrary to the laws of the German free city of Nuremberg. By an order of the Emperor of France, Nuremberg has been given to Bavaria, but the laws and privileges of our more liberal constitution were guaranteed to our ancient free city. Hence, Palm has done nothing contrary to law."

"We judge according to our laws," said the general, shrugging his shoulders; "wherever we are there is France, and wherever we are insulted we hold him who insults us responsible for it, and punish him according to our laws. Your husband has committed a great crime; he has circulated a pamphlet reviling France and the Emperor of the French in the most outrageous manner. He refused to mention the author of this pamphlet; so long as he persists in his refusal, we take him for the author, and shall punish him accordingly. As he declined confessing any thing to me, I have surrendered him to my superiors. Mr. Palm left Nuremberg two hours ago for Anspach, where Marshal Bernadotte is going to judge him."

"Then I shall go to Anspach, to Marshal Bernadotte," said Anna; and without deigning to cast another glance at the general, she turned around and left the room.

She intended to set out this very hour, but her endeavors to find a conveyance to take her to Anspach proved unavailing. All the horses of the postmaster had been retained for the suite and baggage-wagons of Marshal Berthier, who was about setting out for Munich, and the proprietors of the livery-stables, owing to the approaching darkness and insecurity of the roads, refused to let her have any of their carriages.

Anna had to wait, therefore, until morning, and improved the long hours of the night in drawing up a petition, which she intended to send to Marshal Bernadotte, in case he should refuse to grant her an interview.

Early next morning she at length started, but the roads were sandy and bad; the horses were lazy and weak, and she reached Anspach only late at night.

She had again to wait during a long, dreary night. No one could or would reply to her anxious inquiries whether Palm was really there, or whether he had been again sent to some other place. Trembling with inward fear and dismay, but firmly determined to dare every thing, and leave nothing untried that might lead to Palm's preservation, Anna repaired in the morning to the residence of Marshal Bernadotte.

The marshal's adjutant received her, and asked her what she wanted.

"I must see the marshal himself, for I shall read in his mien whether he will pardon or annihilate my husband," said Anna. "I beseech you, sir, have mercy on the grief of a wife, trembling for the father of her children. Induce the marshal to grant me an audience."

"I will see what can be done," said the adjutant, touched by the despair depicted on the pale face of the poor lady. But he returned in a few minutes after he had left her.

"Madame," he said, shrugging his shoulders, "I am sorry, but your wish cannot be fulfilled. The marshal will have nothing whatever to do with this affair, and declines interfering in it. For this reason, too, he did not admit Mr. Palm, who yesterday, like you, applied for an interview with the marshal, and I had to receive him in the place of the marshal, as I have now the honor to receive you."

"Oh, you have seen my husband?" asked Anna, almost joyfully. "You have spoken to him?"

"I have told him in the name of the marshal what I am now telling you, madame. The marshal is unable to do any thing whatever for your husband. The order for his arrest came directly from Paris, from the emperor's cabinet, and the marshal, therefore, has not the power to revoke it and to prevent the law from taking its course. Moreover, Mr. Palm is no longer in Anspach, as he was sent to another place last night."

"Whither? Oh, sir, you will have mercy on me, and tell me whither my unfortunate husband has been sent."

"Madame," said the adjutant, timidly looking around as if he were afraid of being overheard by an eavesdropper, "he has been sent to Braunau."

Anna uttered a cry of horror. "To Braunau!" she said, breathlessly. "To Braunau, that is to say, out of the country. You do not wish to try a citizen and subject of Bavaria, for a crime which he is said to have committed in his own country, according to the laws of Bavaria, but according to those of a foreign and hostile state? My husband has been sent to Austria!"

 

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Louisa of Prussia and Her Times -by- Louisa Muhlbach

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