`Nay, my Princess, the same thought is in both our minds,' he said.
`Herr von Gondremark,' she replied, `by all that I hold sacred, I have none; I do not think at all; I am crushed.'
`You are looking at the passionate side of a rich nature, misunderstood and recently insulted,' said the Baron. `Look into your intellect, and tell me.'
`I find nothing, nothing but tumult,' she replied.
`You find one word branded, madam,' returned the Baron: `"Abdication!"'
`O!' she cried. `The coward! He leaves me to bear all, and in the hour of trial he stabs me from behind. There is nothing in him, not respect, not love, not courage -- his wife, his dignity, his throne, the honour of his father, he forgets them all!'
`Yes,' pursued the Baron, `the word Abdication. I perceive a glimmering there.'
`I read your fancy,' she returned. `It is mere madness, midsummer madness. Baron, I am more unpopular than he. You know it. They can excuse, they can love, his weakness; but me, they hate.'
`Such is the gratitude of peoples,' said the Baron. `But we trifle. Here, madam, are my plain thoughts. The man who in the hour of danger speaks of abdication is, for me, a venomous animal. I speak with the bluntness of gravity, madam; this is no hour for mincing. The coward, in a station of authority, is more dangerous than fire. We dwell on a volcano; if this man can have his way, Grünewald before a week will have been deluged with innocent blood. You know the truth of what I say; we have looked unblenching into this ever-possible catastrophe. To him it is nothing: he will abdicate! Abdicate, just God! and this unhappy country committed to his charge, and the lives of men and the honour of women ...' His voice appeared to fail him; in an instant he had conquered his emotion and resumed: `But you, madam, conceive more worthily of your responsibilities. I am with you in the thought; and in the face of the horrors that I see impending, I say, and your heart repeats it -- we have gone too far to pause. Honour, duty, ay, and the care of our own lives, demand we should proceed.'
She was looking at him, her brow thoughtfully knitted. `I feel it,' she said. `But how? He has the power.'
`The power, madam? The power is in the army,' he replied; and then hastily, ere she could intervene, `we have to save ourselves,' he went on; `I have to save my Princess, she has to save her minister; we have both of us to save this infatuated youth from his own madness. He in the outbreak would be the earliest victim; I see him,' he cried, `torn in pieces; and Grünewald, unhappy Grünewald! Nay, madam, you who have the power must use it; it lies hard upon your conscience.'
`Show me how!' she cried. `Suppose I were to place him under some constraint, the revolution would break upon us instantly.'
The Baron feigned defeat. `It is true,' he said. `You see more clearly than I do. Yet there should, there must be, some way.' And he waited for his chance.
`No,' she said; `I told you from the first there is no remedy. Our hopes are lost: lost by one miserable trifler, ignorant, fretful, fitful -- who will have disappeared to-morrow, who knows? to his boorish pleasures!'
Any peg would do for Gondremark. `The thing!' he cried, striking his brow. `Fool, not to have thought of it! Madam, without perhaps knowing it, you have solved our problem.'
`What do you mean? Speak!' she said.
He appeared to collect himself; and then, with a smile, `The Prince,' he said, `must go once more a-hunting.'
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