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runner of a coming storm. No, he dared not tell her; it would do Freda no good, and would needlessly disturb his own course of life. It was quite certain that Teda’s displeasure would only be heightened by his confession, for her jealousy would find in it a justification.
Justification ? Real ground ? Uwen tossed restlessly about. Of course not. Still, she might, she would, think so. He alone knew that her jealousy was quite groundless; he alone knew that his had been a childish, unreasonable anxiety for Walmot and Freda, as for a mother and sister. It had overcome him and driven him forth that night. He lay now, his heart wildly beating, as he listened in the silence of the night to hear if anyone was still stirring about the house.
The tyrannic rule of the haughty Corsican extended now over the greater part of Europe like a shroud of snow in winter over the frozen ground, and it seemed as though it would never be removed—at all events, during the lifetime of that generation. From the coasts of the Mediterranean to those of the NorthSea and the Baltic, from the Atlantic to the Vistula and the Carpathian Mountains, the will of a single man ruled, a state of things that had not been known since the fall of the Roman Empire.
With two exceptions, all the princes of the Continent, whether kings or emperors, were but satraps of this modern Alexander, who twenty years before had been but an obscure student at the military school of Brienne. The chaos of the French Revolution, the inner rottenness of every European government, the commanding military genius of Napoleon, his penetrating knowledge of human nature, and his cold blooded selfishness, had raised him to this giddy height. Having reached it, he proclaimed himself, after the most ancient custom amongst rulers, to have been called to it by the will of God'; and each decree that he signed was a declaration of God's will in His government of the world, made known by the mouth or by the
hand of this His earthly vicegerent. In all the lands beneath his sway true Christians, whether Catholic or Protestant, must accept this creed, and even though they felt him in their hearts to be a 'scourge of God,' still they must humbly and submissively bow to the appointed ordinance of the Most High. Whosoever refused had no claim to be called a Christian, for it was written in the Scriptures :
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. “Whosoever therefore resisteth the
resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
' For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power ? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same :
'For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid ; for he beareth not the sword in vain : for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
"Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake.
'For for this cause pay ye tribute also : for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
• Render therefore to all their dues ; tribute to whom tribute is due ; custom to whom custom ; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.'
None knew better than Napoleon Bonaparte the power of these words of Scripture over the minds of Christian men, and the advantage that rulers could derive from them, and therefore he proclaimed himself 'Emperor of the French by the grace of God.'
And it was this same Emperor Napoleon who himself gave the least possible credence to these words; who knew well by what violent and unscrupulous means he had won his unlimited power, and who all the more imperatively required that the Divine origin of his borrowed authority should be announced from the pulpits and from the public offices throughout his realm.
But his unerring glance penetrated into the very substance of the imperial sway which he exercised; he was not deceived
by the apparent immobility of the white shroud that covered the conquered nations and lands. He knew that underneath the frozen cloak of winter the sap was everywhere gently, secretly stirring and silently preparing to combine and be in readiness on the arrival of any sudden breath of spring to burst through its shroud of snow and come into life again. This expectation, this desire, was not Christian-like, for it aimed at the overthrow of God's actual arrangement of European concerns ; but throughout North Germany the secret society of the “Tugendbund,' or 'Band of Valour,' reckoned many thousands of adherents, who were none the less dangerous because many truly pious men amongst them were, by their secret political aims, drawn into irreconcilable contradiction with the dogmas of their creed. The French Protector of Germany by the grace of God might, indeed, have a solitary individual like Palm shot, but even his power and his system of espionage could avail but little against the unknown and undiscoverable mass, and Napoleon knew that the German people were ready to revolt from his hateful rule as soon as ever they had reason to hope for any outside help. Such help could only be expected from either England or Russia, the only countries that had not yet acknowledged the supremacy of France, and on these two countries the eagle eye of Napoleon was now fixed.
In order to secure his dominion over this part of the globe, it was necessary to incapacitate these Powers for any attack upon him. With regard to England, this could only be accomplished by means of the Continental Blockade ; at the same
; time he had nothing to fear from a military attack from that quarter. But Russia possessed a powerful army, and although the Emperor Alexander was in actual alliance, and apparently on friendly terms with the French, yet Napoleon regarded him both as a menace and an obstacle to his own aims. Only from the Northern wintry land could an ally possibly come to stimulate the outburst of a springtime for Germany, and the characters of the only two independent rulers on the Continent were so similar that Napoleon considered as ultimately unavoidable a hostile conflict between himself and the Czar Alexander, whose very name was ominous.
An insatiable thirst for power stimulated Napoleon to remove this last hindrance to his own supremacy, and he was firmly resolved to reduce Russia to obedience to his will. But in order to carry out this design, and at the same time to keep
the already conquered nations helpless and in check, he would require some time for the recruitment of his army on a gigantic scale.
Peace apparently prevailed throughout all Europe, but the French Emperor quietly went on levying fresh recruits on all sides, and amongst them many hundred thousands were raised in Germany, and an army of them, such as the world had never yet seen, was secretly equipped for the invasion of Russia.
The work of conscription in the new French department of the former kingdom of Holland was entrusted to Marshal Oudinot, Duke of Reggio, and was consequently carried through in the most energetic and relentless manner. By the advance of his troops in the year 1810, he had forced the King of Holland to abdicate his crown, and had since then held the chief command over the whole of the maritime districts between the Scheldt and the Weser. A victorious leader in many battles, he saw in every young man nothing more than material suited for the warlike aims of his ruler. Equally feared and hated by the Dutch, he carried on the recruitment, more especially among the Flemish and Frisian races, with ruthless severity. And this was done not only in towns and villages, but his spies visited the most remote and secluded farms and dwellings in their search for the required and fitting 'food for cannon.' Even the broad moors, marshes, and barren wastes of the department of East Ems afforded no protection; the unusually powerful, stalwart frames of the young East Frisian peasants only excited still more the desire of the Marshal and his recruiting officers to enrol them in the French ranks. There was no possibility of avoiding the danger by flight, for the sea blocked the road towards the north, and on all other sides they were encircled by the French Empire. On the approach of the military spies, the young men, therefore, usually fled from their homesteads into some pathless strip of country, where, by the aid of their relatives, they sought to live in concealment. But the monstrous convulsions that had for some decades overwhelmed all previously existing institutions, had not only covered the fields with ashes and noxious weeds, but had developed also many abnormal growths in human minds and hearts. Everywhere unscrupulous informers existed who, for a reward, were ready to act as assistants to the French in tracking their hidden countrymen, and so the wide East Frisian plains witnessed many a chase carried on by these traitors, in which the denounced and hunted human prey sank at last powerless before his dogged pursuers.
A FRENCH LIEUTENANT.
It was on a morning in October that a small company of stout sailing boats set out from near the little town of Norden and, with a favourable wind, bore their course towards the north. Besides the boatmen, each bark contained a French sublieutenant and two soldiers. They most of them displayed the merry temperament of their race; they sang, they laughed and shouted to one another as long as the boats ran side by side. But on reaching the mouth of the East Ems they separated ; one held to the left in the direction of Borkum, another went north-east towards Norderney, and a third steered direct towards the island on which could be seen, like a dark signalpost, the low, hooded church-tower. The young officer in this last boat seemed of a less cheerful disposition than his comrades, and he had joined but little in their conversation. His dark-brown complexion and his black hair indicated at once his Latin descent. In his dark eyes flashed every now and then an expression of wild, ungovernable passion. A lovely late autumn season had prevailed for some weeks over the North-Sea. On the sunlit, watery plain the sails of the parting boats still for a time flashed to each other friendly greetings; then they became like gulls or sea-swallows; then like little butterflies drifting before the wind, until at last they vanished from the sight.
Early that same afternoon, the French lieutenant entered the study of Pastor Remmert, and presented to him, as being the official head of his parish, a written notice from the Commanderin-Chief of the department of East Ems, stating that this officer was sent with full authority to carry out on the island the prescribed enlistment of troops.
The stranger was able to express himself in language quite intelligible to German ears, although it was intermixed with