Amelia shuddered, and uttered a low cry. "Trenck!" repeated she, softly; "oh, what sad melody lies in that word! It is like the death-cry of my youth. I think the very air must weep when this name vibrates upon it. Trenck, Trenck! How beautiful, how lovely that sounds; it is a sweet, harmonious song; it sings to me softly of the only happiness of my life. Ah, how long, how long since this song was silenced! All within me is desolate! On every side my heart is torn--on every side! Oh, so drear, so fearful! All! all!" Lost in her own thoughts, these words had been slowly uttered. She had forgotten that she was not alone with her remembrances, which like a cloud had gathered round about her and shut off the outward world.
Ranuzi did not dare to recall her thoughts--he still knelt at her feet.
Suddenly her whole frame trembled, and she sprang up. "My God! I dream, while he calls me! I am idly musing, and Trenck has need of me. Speak, sir, speak! What do you know of him? Have you seen him? Did he send you to me?"
"He sent me, your highness, but I have not seen him. Have the grace to listen to me. Ah, your highness, in what I now say I lay the safety of a dear and valued friend, yes, his life, at your feet. One word from you, and he will be delivered over to a court-martial and be shot. But you will not speak that word--you are an angel of mercy."
"Speak, sir--speak, sir," said Amelia, breathlessly. "My God! do you not see that I am dying from agitation?"
"Princess, Trenck lives--he is in chains--he is in a hole under the earth--but he lives, and as long as he has life, he hopes in you-- has wild dreams of liberty, and his friends think and hope with him. Trenck has friends who are ready to offer up their lives for him. One of them is in the fortress of Magdeburg--he is lieutenant of the guard; another is a Captain Kimsky, prisoner of war; I am a third. I have known Trenck since my youth. In our beautiful days of mirth and revelry, we swore to stand by each other in every danger. The moment has come to fulfil my oath--Trenck is a prisoner, and I must help to liberate him. Our numbers are few and dismembered--we need allies in the fortress, and still more in the city. We need powerful assistance, and no one but your highness can obtain it for us."
"I have an assured and confidential friend in Magdeburg," said the princess; "at a hint from me he will be ready to stand by you to--"
Suddenly she was silent, and cast a searching, threatening glance at Ranuzi. She had been too often deceived and circumvented--snares had been too often laid at her feet--she was distrustful. "No, no," said she, at last, sternly, rudely--"I will take no part in this folly. Go, sir--go. You are a poor soothsayer, and I will have nothing to do with you."