the proper point, and lyrically uttered forth her sighings after liberty, the door, at a sign, was flung wide open, and she swam into the Prince's sight, bright-eyed, and with her colour somewhat freshened by the exercise of singing. It was a great dramatic entrance, and to the somewhat doleful prisoner within the sight was sunshine.
`Ah, madam,' he cried, running to her -- `you here!'
She looked meaningly at Gordon; and as soon as the door was closed she fell on Otto's neck. `To see you here!' she moaned and clung to him.
But the Prince stood somewhat stiffly in that enviable situation, and the Countess instantly recovered from her outburst.
`Poor child,' she said, `poor child! Sit down beside me here, and tell me all about it. My heart really bleeds to see you. How does time go?'
`Madam,' replied the Prince, sitting down beside her, his gallantry recovered, `the time will now go all too quickly till you leave. But I must ask you for the news. I have most bitterly condemned myself for my inertia of last night. You wisely counselled me; it was my duty to resist. You wisely and nobly counselled me; I have since thought of it with wonder. You have a noble heart.'
`Otto,' she said, `spare me. Was it even right, I wonder? I have duties, too, you poor child; and when I see you they all melt -- all my good resolutions fly away.'
`And mine still come too late,' he replied, sighing. `O, what would I not give to have resisted? What would I not give for freedom?'
`Well, what would you give?' she asked; and the red fan was spread; only her eyes, as if from over battlements, brightly surveyed him.
`I? What do you mean? Madam, you have some news for me,' he cried.
`O, O!' said madam dubiously.
He was at her feet. `Do not trifle with my hopes,' he pleaded. `Tell me, dearest Madame von Rosen, tell me! You cannot be cruel: it is not in your nature. Give? I can give nothing; I have nothing; I can only plead in mercy.'
`Do not,' she said; `it is not fair. Otto, you know my weakness. Spare me. Be generous.'
`O, madam,' he said, `it is for you to be generous, to have pity.' He took her hand and pressed it; he plied her with caresses and appeals. The Countess had a most enjoyable sham siege, and then relented. She sprang to her feet, she tore her dress open, and, all warm from her bosom, threw the order on the floor.
`There!' she cried. `I forced it from her. Use it, and I am ruined!' And she turned away as if to veil the force of her emotions.
Otto sprang upon the paper, read it, and cried out aloud. `O, God bless her!' he said, `God bless her.' And he kissed the writing.
Von Rosen was a singularly good-natured woman, but her part was now beyond her. `Ingrate!' she cried; `I wrung it from her, I betrayed my trust to get it, and `tis she you thank!'
`Can you blame me?' said the Prince. `I love her.'
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