he will merely shield himself behind the mystical business,
Ranuzi laughed heartily. "That is a fine and diplomatic mode of expressing the thing!" said he. "Yes, he is here in the interest of his government; but when the Prussian government becomes acquainted with this fact, they will consider him a spy. If discovered, he will be hung. If successful, when once more at liberty, he may receive thanks and rewards from Russia. See, now, how rightly I have prophesied! There is Giurgenow, standing by the side of the prophetess, and I imagine I almost hear the words he is whispering to her. She will commence again to prophesy, but in a less violent and fanatical manner."
"No, no; she will prophesy no more! The police are breaking their way forcibly through the crowd. They do not regard the cries of fear and suffering of those they are shoving so violently aside. These are the servants of the police; they will speedily put an end to this prophesying. Already the people are flying. Look how adroitly Giurgenow slips away, and does not condescend to give a glance to the poor prophetess he inspired. Only see how little respect these rough policemen have for these heaven-inspired prophets! They seize them rudely, and bear them off. They will be punished with, at least, twenty-four hours' arrest. In Prussia, this concourse and tumult of the people is not allowed. Come, monsieur, let us close the window; the comedy is over. The prophets are in the watch-house. Their role is probably forever played out!" said Belleville, smilingly.
"Not so; they will recommence it to-morrow. These same prophets have high and mighty protectors in Berlin; the police will not dare to keep them long under arrest. The Princess Amelia will demand her fortune-teller."
"Vraiment, monsieur le comte," said the Frenchman, "you seem extraordinarily well acquainted with all these intrigues?"
"I observe closely," said Ranuzi, with a meaning smile. "I am very silent--therefore hear a great deal."
"Well, I counsel you not to give to me or my actions the honor of your observations," said Belleville. "My life offers few opportunities for discovery. I live, I eat, I sleep, I chat, and write poetry and caress, and seek to amuse myself as well as possible. Sometimes I catch myself praying to God tearfully for liberty, and truly, not from any political considerations--simply from the selfish wish to get away from here. You see, therefore, I am an innocent and harmless bon enfant, not in the least troubled about public affairs."
"No," said Ranuzi, "you do not love Fraulein Marshal at all from political reasons, but solely because of her beauty, her grace, and her charms. Behold, this is the result of my observations."
"You have, then, been watching me?" said Belleville, blushing. "I have told you that I was always observant. This is here my only distraction and recreation, and really I do not know what I should do with my time if I did not kill the weary hours in this way."