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“I think a weak heart is most romantic,” declared Mollie

2023-11-30 03:19:34source:rnaClassification:health

"To-morrow," said Louise, "expect me at the castle gate, and be punctual."

“I think a weak heart is most romantic,” declared Mollie

The heavy curtains were drawn down, and a gloomy twilight reigned in this great, silent room, whose dreary stillness was only interrupted by the monotonous stroke of the clock, and the deep sighs and lamentations which came from the sofa in a distant part of the room. There in the corner, drawn up convulsively and motionless, lay a female form, her hands clasped over her breast, her eyes fixed staringly toward heaven, and from time to time uttering words of grief and scorn and indignation.

“I think a weak heart is most romantic,” declared Mollie

She was alone in her anguish--ever alone; she had been alone for many years; grief and disappointment had hardened her heart, and made it insensible to all sorrows but her own. She hated men, she hated the world, she railed at those who were gay and happy, she had no pity for those who wept and mourned.

“I think a weak heart is most romantic,” declared Mollie

Had she not suffered more? Did she not still suffer? Who had been merciful, who had pitied her sorrows? Look now at this poor, groaning woman! Do you recognize these fearful features, deformed by sickness and grief; these blood-shot eyes, these thin, colorless lips, ever convulsively pressed together, as if to suppress a wild shriek of agony, which are only unclosed to utter cold, harsh words of scorn and passion? Do you know this woman? Has this poor, unhappy, deformed being any resemblance to the gay, beautiful, intellectual Princess Amelia, whom we once knew? and yet this is the Princess Amelia. How have the mighty fallen! Look at the transforming power of a few sorrowful years! The sister of a mighty hero king, but a poor desolate creature, shunned and avoided by all: she knows that men fly from her, and she will have it so; she will be alone--lonely in the midst of the world, even as he is, in the midst of his dark and gloomy prison. Amelia calls the whole world her prison; she often says to herself that her soul is shut in behind the iron bars of her body and can never be delivered, that her heart lies upon the burning gridiron of the base world, and cannot escape, it is bound there with the same chains which are around about and hold him in captivity.

But Amelia says this only to herself, she desires no sympathy, she knows no one will dare to pity her. Destiny placed her high in rank and alone--alone she will remain; her complaints might perhaps bring new danger to him she loves, of whom alone she thinks, for whose sake alone she supports existence, she lives only for him. Can this be called life? A perpetual hope--and yet hopeless--a constant watching and listening for one happy moment, which never comes! She had not been permitted to live for him, she would not die without him. So long as he lived he might need her aid, and might call upon her for help in the hour of extremest need, so she would not die.

She was not wholly dead, but her youth, her heart, her peace, her illusions, her hopes were dead; she was opposed to all that lived, to the world, to all mankind. In the wide world she loved but two persons: one, who languished in prison and who suffered for her sake, Frederick von Trenck; the other, he who had made her wretched and who had the power to liberate Trenck and restore their peace-- the king. Amelia had loved her mother, but she was dead; grief at the lost battle of Collin killed her. She had loved her sister, the Margravine of Baireuth; but she died of despair at the lost battle of Hochkirch. Grief and the anger and contempt of the king had killed her brother, the Prince Augustus William of Prussia. She was therefore alone, alone! Her other sisters were far away; they were happy, and with the happy she had nothing to do; with them she had no sympathy. Her two brothers were in the field, they thought not of her. There was but one who remembered her, and he was under the earth--not dead, but buried--buried alive. The blackness of thick darkness is round about him, but he is not blind; there is glorious sunshine, but he sees it not.

These fearful thoughts had crushed Amelia's youth, her mind, her life; she stood like a desolate ruin under the wreck of the past. The rude storms of life whistled over her, and she laughed them to scorn; she had no more to fear--not she; if an oak fell, if a fair flower was crushed, her heart was glad; her own wretchedness had made her envious and malicious; perhaps she concealed her sympathy, under this seeming harshness; perhaps she gave herself the appearance of proud reserve, knowing that she was feared and avoided. Whoever drew near her was observed and suspected; the spies of the king surrounded her and kept her friends, if she had friends, far off. Perhaps Amelia would have been less unhappy if she had fled for shelter to Him who is the refuge of all hearts; if she had turned to her God in her anguish and despair. But she was not a pious believer, like the noble and patient Elizabeth Christine, the disdained wife of Frederick the Great.

Princess Amelia was the true sister of the king, the pupil of Voltaire; she mocked at the church and scorned the consolations of religion. She also was forced to pay some tribute to her sex; she failed in the strong, self-confident, intellectual independence of Frederick; her poor, weak, trembling hands wandered around seeking support; as religion, in its mighty mission, was rejected, she turned for consolation to superstition. While Elizabeth Christine prayed, Amelia tried her fortune with cards; while the queen gathered around her ministers of the gospel and pious scholars, the princess called to the prophets and fortune-tellers. While Elizabeth found comfort in reading the Holy Scriptures, Amelia found consolation in the mystical and enigmatical words of her sooth- sayers. While the queen translated sermons and pious hymns into French, Amelia wrote down carefully all the prophecies of her cards, her coffee-grounds, and the stars, and both ladies sent their manuscripts to the king.

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