Page:Stevenson - Prince Otto. A Romance.djvu/32

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PRINCE OTTO

'All, sir,' said Mr. Gotteslieim, 'it is very plain that you are not from hereabouts! But the truth is, that the whole princely family and Court are rips and rascals, not one to mend another. They live, sir, in idleness and — what most commonly follows it — corruption. The Princess has a lover; a Baron, as he calls himself, from East Prussia; and the Prince is so little of a man, sir, that he holds the candle. Nor is that the worst of it, for this foreigner and his paramour are suffered to transact the State affairs, while the Prince takes the salary and leaves all things to go to wrack. There will follow upon this some manifest judgment which though I am old, I may survive to see.'

'Good man, you are in the wrong about Gondremark,' said Fritz, wrong a greatly increased animation; 'but for all the rest, you speak the God's truth like a good patriot. As for the Prince, if he would take and strangle his wife, I would forgive him yet.'

'Nay, Pritz,' said the old man, ' that would be to add iniquity to evil. For you perceive, sir,' he continued, once more addressing himself to the unfortunate Prince, ' this Otto has himself to thank for these disorders. He has his young wife and his principality, and he has sworn to cherish both.'

'Sworn at the altar!' echoed Fritz. 'But put your faith in princes!'