"Diable!" cried the Frenchman, "what earthly chance would the Russian empress and my lovely, enchanting marquise have, if summoned before this tribunal by their most august ally the Empress Maria Theresa? But you forget, Giurgenow, that you have promised to read us something from the journal about Prince Henry."
"It is nothing of importance," said the Russian, apathetically; "the prince has entirely recovered from his wounds, and has been solacing himself in his winter camp at Dresden with the representations upon the French stage. He has taken part as actor, and has played the role of Voltaire's Enfant Prodigue. It is further written, that he has now left the comic stage and commenced the graver game of arms."
"He might accidentally change these roles," said Belleville, gayly, "and play the Enfant Prodigue when he should play the hero. In which would he be the greater, do you know, Ranuzi?"
The Italian shrugged his shoulders. "You must ask his wife."
"Or Baron Kalkreuth, who has lingered here for seven months because of his wounds," said Giurgenow, with a loud laugh. "Besides, Prince Henry is averse to this war, all his sympathies are on our side. If the fate of war should cost the King of Prussia his life, we would soon have peace and leave this detestable Berlin--this dead, sandy desert, where we are now languishing as prisoners."
"The god of war is not always complaisant," said the Frenchman, grimly. "He does not always strike those whom we would gladly see fall; the balls often go wide of the mark."
"Truly a dagger is more reliable," said Ranuzi, coolly.
The Russian cast a quick, lowering side glance upon him.