Page:Marquis de Sade - Adelaide of Brunswick.djvu/156

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it? What did she do in Baden when they knew her under an assumed name?"

"What do you think she did?"

"But, Milord, these facts are known all over Germany. She lived publicly with the margrave. And that chief of bandits in the mountains who received you with such insolence; she was his mistress. Adelaide, in a word, is a woman who would not honor your throne."

"Take me to her. She is the one who should clear all this up, and I will believe nothing which does not come from her mouth."

"Milord, I do not wish to separate you from your wife. She must appear on the throne, but she should not share your bed. Do not make of her father the Duke of Brunswick an enemy. Honor should be as sacred to you as politics. Watch over your wife as soon as you have brought her back to her position. If her conduct improves maybe she can make you forget the past. Let your indulgence speak; but it is quite rare that a woman returns to a virtuous life after having lived a life of sin. Caesar has said that his wife was above suspicion. Would this great man have spoken thus if he had not thought that the shame of a wife stains the reputation of her husband? Come, Prince, your Adelaide awaits you. Be as firm in this interview as you were when you heard about her first infidelity. It is not permitted to princes to think of love when their glory is at stake. Claude might have been a great emperor if it had not been for the acts of his wife Messalina. Especially, Prince, never show that you have had any information from me about her actions, you would take away from me the means of serving you in the future."

Frederick appeared before his wife in such a state of love, uncertainty and jealousy that he couldn't say a word when he first saw her. Mersburg left them together.

"Prince, my lord and master," said Adelaide trembling, "I was eager to see you again and to justify myself."

"To justify yourself seems to me to be hard. Perhaps your frankness will make me angry."

"It is only in listening to this frankness," answered Adelaide, "that I flatter myself to be able to convince you." Then going