Page:Marquis de Sade - Adelaide of Brunswick.djvu/20

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whose leadership they had resisted Charlemagne for decades until they were finally conquered by trickery. During the course of their wanderings, they devastated some of the provinces of England and took their name of Brunswick from this deed. They were idol worshipers by choice, but had become Christians somewhat against their wishes. These people were so independent that the yoke of the new emperor did not sit easily upon their proud shoulders.

It was this proud race which gave to neighboring Saxony the princess whose story we are going to tell.

A fresh and light wind, precursor of a beautiful dawn, stirred softly among the high branches of the old oaks of the thick forest which shadows the castle of Fredericksburg near Dresden. This castle was the favorite abode of the princes who governed Saxony, and it was here that Frederick, the ruler of that beautiful country in Germany, was waiting patiently. The song of the nightingale, mingled with the murmurs of <he waters of a nearby river, and with the sound of the leaves stirred by the wind, composed a majestic symphony in the early hour before sunrise. The delightful perfume of the flowers which bloom at that season added to the enchantment which prepared the soul to enjoy the beautiful spectacle offered by the Eternal.

The watchmen placed on the tops of the towers of the chateau had scarcely called out four o'clock when couriers were heard blowing their horns in the forest, a warning that illustrious persons were approaching the castle.

The members of the guard were aroused, the drawbridge was lowered, and a party was sent to meet the approaching guests. Pages hastened to the room of the prince to announce to him that the carriage containing Adelaide of Brunswick, daughter of the Duke of that name, and the Marquis Louis of Thuringia were approaching. Louis of Thuringia, having just married this princess by proxy for Frederick, his relative and master, was bringing her to her legitimate husband.

Frederick got up quickly and went to receive at the foot of the great stairway the most beautiful princess in all Germany.

"Milady," said Frederick, embracing the one who was going to share his fate, "the rumors of your beauty have circulated in