She received these developments of the prophet with visible scorn. In place of laughing, and by smiling indifference bringing their truth in question, she was excited and angry, and thus prepared for the princess some gay and happy moments.
"I dare not decide," said Amelia, as the prophet ceased, "whether what you have told is true or false. Fraulein Lethow alone can know that; but she will not be so cruel as to call you an impostor, for that would prevent me from having my fortune told. Allow me, therefore, to believe that you have spoken the truth. Now take your cards and shuffle them."
"Does your highness wish that I should tell you of the past?" said the soothsayer, in a sharp voice.
The princess hesitated. "Yes," said she, "of my past. But no; I will first hear a little chapter out of the life of my chaste and modest Louise. Now, now, madame, you have nothing to fear; you are pure and innocent, and this little recitation of your by-gone days will seem to us a chapter from 'La Pucelle d'Orleans.'"
"I dare to oppose myself to this lecture," said Louise, laughing. "There are books which should only be read in solitude, and to that class belong the volumes of my past life. I am ready in the presence of your highness to have my future prophesied, but of my past I will hear nothing--I know too much already."
"Had I been alone with Fraulein Lethow, I should have told her many other things, and she would have been forced to believe in my power. Only when these cards are under your eyes is my spirit clear."
"I must, then, in order to know the whole truth from you, be entirely alone?" said the princess.
The prophet bowed silently. Amelia fixed a piercing glance upon him, and nodded to her ladies.