"But the heavens were dark to the prayer of the spirits, and a blood-red stream gushed from them; colored the stars crimson, turned the moon to a lake of blood, and piteous voices cried out from the clouds, and in the air--'Fight on and die, for your king wills it so; your life belongs to him, your blood is his.' Then, from two rivulets of blood, giant-like, pale, transparent forms emerged; upon the head of the first, I read the number, '1759.' Then the pale form opened its lips, and cried out: 'I bring war, and ever-new bloodshed. Your king demands the blood of your sons; give it to him. He demands your gold; give it to him. The king is lord of your body, your blood, and your soul. When he speaks, you must obey!'"
"It seems to me all this is a little too Russian in its conception," said Ranuzi, half aloud. "I shall be surprised if the police do not interrupt this seance, which smells a little of insurrection."
"The scene is so very piquant," said Giurgenow, "I would like to draw nearer. Pardon me, gentlemen, I must leave you, and go upon the square. It is interesting to hear what the people say, and how they receive such prophecies. We can, perhaps, judge in this way of the probabilities of peace and liberty. The voice of the people is, in politics, ever the decisive voice." He took his hat, and, bowing to the gentlemen, left the room hastily.
Count Ranuzi gazed after the Russian with a mocking smile. "Do you know, Belleville, where he is going?"
"He has not told us, but I guess it. He is going to approach this fortune-teller, and give her a sign that her zeal has carried her too far, and that, if not more prudent, she will betray herself."
"You think, then, that Giurgenow knows the fortune-teller?"
"I am certain of it. He has engaged these charlatans to rouse up the people, and excite them against the king. This is, indeed, a very common mode of proceeding, and often successful; but here, in Prussia, it can bear no fruit. The people here have nothing to do with politics; the king reigns alone. The people are nothing but a mass of subjects, who obey implicitly his commands, even when they know, that in so doing, they rush on destruction."
"Giurgenow has failed, and he might have counted upon failure! If you, Belleville, had resorted to these means, I could have understood it. In France, the people play an important role in politics. In order to put down the government, you must work upon the people. You might have been forgiven for this attempt, but Giurgenow never!"