princess for several years ate from tin, but when the
king on his return noticed it he was distressed on
account of it, and Feif, the summer before, had pre-
vailed upon Tessin to make, as if it were his own
thought, a little silver service for the ladies. The meal
lasted hardly ten minutes, after which the king rode
out to review the troops, who, in the midst of a violent
snow-storm, were drawn up on the square. His sharp
eye scanned the ranks as though he would discover
any who winced before the icy wind. Pleased to find
them almost as indifferent as himself, he began to in-
spect each one separately. Nearly all were boys be-
tween fifteen and twenty years old, biting their teeth
together that no one might notice how they quaked
with the cold; the officers only were old Carolins,
THE SHADOW OF A NAME. 327
proved by a hundred battles, the last remains of an
army that had once caused Europe to tremble. They
drilled, they went through their evolutions. Their
lines, as they wheeled, were often crooked, their mus-
kets were not always borne at the same angle, their
feet were not always lifted as precisely on the same
line as though they were connected by a steel wire,
their hats did not always sit according to regulation,
their coats were not always properly buttoned; but
such things did not worry generals of Charles XII's
school. The main point was that the command was
understood instantly and obeyed promptly, but not
mechanically, like marionettes, but so that eye, ear,
hand and heart were in it, and the lowest soldier, when
he executed an order, felt himself his own commander.
The habit for long years of contending with enemies
of superior numbers, where the rule was that each man
had three, five, even ten against him, had cultivated in
the warriors of Charles XII that personal consciousness
which made of every soldier an army, and which con-
tained the conditions for and the explanation of their
victories. It was Frederick II who discovered and
Napoleon who perfected the tactics of masses which
have been adopted as the basis of the modern art of war.
But Charles XII, " the last knight," still fought accord-
ing to the old fashion of knights, and although Gustaf
Adolf had taught him the maxim, " all for one," he added
to it, from Tiberup even to Fredrikshall, his own favor-
ite maxim, " one for all." From this it followed that
everyone's duty, knight or peasant's, was to stand as his
king stood, and strike out of the Swedish dictionary the
word impossible. They endeavored to do this, and it
was on this account that all finally went to pieces; but
as long as it held or could hold together, the rawest
recruit felt himself doubly strong through the con-
sciousness of his right and his duty to answer for
In consequence of these principles, Charles XII
328 TIMES OF CHARLES XII.
inspected each man more closely than he reviewed the
whole; his father, Charles XI, was renowned for his
art of drilling soldiers, and Charles XII had done honor
to his teaching. Time after time he called one and an-
other out of the ranks, and had him alone and inde-
pendently execute the ordered movements; it was not
well to fail when the king cried: "Are you loitering
there ? " Oaths, although they had already been brought
in with other French customs, were no part of Charles
XII's military exercises. Although there was no lack
of reproofs, the king seemed to-day to be in the best of
spirits. Next to the trenches and the hail of bullets,
nothing suited him better than to be in the snow and
rain in front of resolute ranks. There was something
at this moment which, more than ever before, enlivened
his thoughts and fired his heart with new hopes. The
improbable had come to pass; the bleeding country,
wearied to death, had organized a fully equipped army,
of which, under such a leader, one might again expect
everything. Astonished Europe could scarcely believe
its eyes. With the report of these equipments there
flew about rumors of Baron Gortz's dangerous plans.
What might not be feared when the greatest captain of
the time had by his side its greatest diplomatic genius!
Cabinets trembled; and though it has never been
proved, on the other hand there has scarcely been rea-
sonable doubt, that Charles XII's death was determined
beforehand in the council of the powers. His fall,
says a talented author, was not unworthy of his life, for
he fell before a coalition of all Europe, which feared
him, and which could say of him, in the tyrant's words:
Let him be a God, so he does not live !
After the review was ended, the General, Prince of
Hesse, rode forward to the king and presented Colonel
Siquier, called into the Swedish service with Colonel
Maigret, as an officer skilled in the art of fortification,
and appointed adjutant general. Military etiquette
demanded that these gentlemen, like the king, should
THE SHADO W OF A NAME. 329
not wear overcoats, although the thermometer, in case
they had such a thing at that time, would, perhaps,
have shown several degrees below zero. Siquier was
purple with cold and vexation. The prince had under-
stood the matter better ; he had gained somewhat in
size since yesterday, and, since" he lived well, the good
prince, there was nothing strange in it ; but the fact
was, that, on such occasions, he prudently put on an
extra suit of fine Dutch flannel underwear beneath his
roomy outer garments.
" What does the colonel think of my blue boys ? "
asked the king, who was always embarrassed in conver-
sation with strangers, and seized the subject nearest at
" They must be invincible, since your majesty has
taught them to resist the shafts of Boreas as well as
those of Mars," replied Siquier, in the elegant imagery
of the court of those times.
The king smiled ; it was seldom that he rewarded a
Frenchman's politeness with a smile. To-day he found
a degree of truth in it. " They can, indeed, stand a
little snowy weather," said he gayly ; "but I cannot
answer how they would gasp in the heat of the sun. If
we should ever have occasion to call upon his French
majesty, it would please me to see them stand the
" I do not suppose, sire, that my king can hope to
see such honored guests," observed Siquier, stung in
the Frenchman's most sensitive part ; " but should
your majesty's troops honor France with a visit, I have
no doubt they would be warmly received."
The king laughed, and, with the prince, Siquier,
and his staff, returned to headquarters. During this
time a meeting had occurred which was significant of
the condition and feeling of the times.
It was known that on the afternoon of that day
Baron Gortz would set out for Aland. Foreign minis-
ters, Swedish civil officers, and fortune-hunters of all
330 TIMES OF CHARLES XII.
nations, crowded the room of the king's favorite. But
at the same time a double watch was stationed around
his dwelling, since all his influence, and even the prox-
imity of the king, were insufficient to shield him from
the indescribable hatred which high and low in Swe-
den, almost without exception, felt for him.
Count Torsten Bertelskold, sent with a commission
from Count Horn and the council at Stockholm, had
audience with the mighty baron and minister of finance.
That they both hated each other most sincerely, they
knew too well. They were all the more polite on
account of this ; one might have supposed them to be
the most intimate business friends. The haughty
Swedish count, with the most pliant obsequiousness set
forth his delicate commission, which was to seek to
avert the most oppressive of the unheard-of extortions
of the times, the threatened displacement of all the
coins then current by treasury notes and baser coins ;
after which all the old coinage would be prohibited and
confiscable. The Holstein baron, no less haughty,
was this time all honey and shrugs. He was for his
part inclined to all possible indulgence, but the condi-
tion of the kingdom, the necessities of the army and his
majesty's will . . . enfin, what would one do? He
could not lay golden eggs. Everything depended
upon peace, and he, for his part, had done all that he
was able to do to overcome the king's obstinacy; but
his majesty, voila tout ; go to the king !
It is not likely that Bertelskold, or even the council,
was quite in earnest in these representations ; it was
rather in their interest to force the situation to the
utmost limit ; but they must also save their own skins.
All the more urgent and more heated were the negotia-
tions ; naturally without success. It was only one of
the many examples in history ; on one side an inde-
pendent minister, who throws all the blame on the
monarch and washes his own hands in snow-white inno-
cence ; on the other side the interest of a party which
THE SHADOW OF A NAME. 331
shouts with others on the brink of the country's de-
struction, but secretly pushes its members forward that
they may draw their gains from the ruins they foresee.
When the two gentlemen thought they had talked
enough for appearance sake, the mask began to be too
close for them. " I have nothing more to add," said
Bertelskold, rising to go. "Your Excellence may
answer before his own conscience and before the king-
dom for future measures, and for what is already
" For my measures, Sir Secretary of the Legation, I
am under obligation to account to the king alone, and
I presume that neither you nor anyone else has the
right to control my conscience," answered Gortz, with-
out rising, as etiquette demanded, when so high-born a
person took his departure. Baron Gortz never neg-
lected an opportunity to humiliate the Swedish nobility,
and it was this provoking contempt which afterward,
more than anything else, brought his head to the block.
A sharp answer was already on Bertelskold's lips,
when a window crashed, a stone flew in and fell close
by the favorite's feet. " The Swedish people answer
in my stead ; you can also count upon being, at some
time, rewarded according to your service," said Ber-
telskold, with icy coolness, as he bowed and went out.
Gortz smiled contemptuously. " Such are at all
times the arguments of parties," said he, and seized the
bell. " Let the Holland minister step in ! "
332 TIMES OF CHARLES XII.
THE KING'S RING.
/"COUNTESS Ebba Cecilia Liewen, born Bertel-
V_y skold, had, as lady of honor to the Princess
Ulrika Eleonora, accompanied the court to Christine-
hamn. They were quartered according to their means
in the better houses, and the countess controlled three
or four rooms in the vicinity of the princess' residence.
It was the afternoon of the day of the review just
described. The king was at work in his private room
with Baron Gortz ; the court had no amusement for the
evening ; and the countess sat alone in her room, after
having, according to custom, attended the princess
Yet she was not alone; she had an agreeable reason
for remaining at home. With her sat the dear friend
of her youth, Eva Rhenfelt, whom we left in captivity
at Kajana Castle, and who appeared to Torsten Bertel-
skold so mysteriously the evening before. The two
friends had confided to each other their fortunes since
they separated. That of Countess Ebba was soon told:
she had divided the four hard and restless years be-
tween her duties to her husband and numerous suffer-
ers for whom she, although she forgot to say it, had
been a good angel in those sorrowful times. Eva's for-
tunes, on the contrary, were changeable and adventur-
ous. She accompanied, in manly garb, Gustaf Bertel-
skold to his imprisonment in Abo Castle, where he, worn
out by the difficult winter-journey, wavered long be-
tween life and death, until the care of his faithful nurse
and the medical skill of Tobias succeeded in restoring
him to health.
THE SHADOW OF A NAME. 333
"Then," continued Eva, "we obtained the com-
mandant's permission, one day in June, 1716,10 go out
of the castle under guard, with our friend from
Kajana Castle, Cajanus the priest, his family, and my
old Tobias. We wandered through the desolate streets;
it was the picture of destruction! Scarcely a twentieth
part of the inhabitants of the city remained; most of
the houses were without doors or windows; a part were
used as stables, others were half torn down for fire-
wood. Tall grass grew in the streets; the horses of the
Cossacks grazed on the public square; nowhere was
heard the glad song of the seaman, the chat of the
laborer, or the noise of children; only the drum
sounded at times in those empty lanes. We came to the
renowned old cathedral. No sexton was needed to open
the door for us, no organ tone invited us to worship
beneath the high arch. The doors stood wide open;
the wind whistled through the broken panes. The clock
was still; its hands had fallen off; time had stopped in
its flight. The high-altar was plundered of its orna-
ments; the chancel was filled with rubbish; only the
monuments on the graves of heroes peered forth from
the side aisles. We went farther in; a jackdaw flew up
from the pulpit and lighted on the altar-crown; we ap-
proached the altar, the bird flew to the empty organ-
loft. On the psalm-tablet two figures remained; they
showed one of King David's psalms, Swedish Psalm-
book Number 68; it was the last the congregation had
sung. We recalled it with tearful eyes and sang:
'Assist me, Lord, when o'er me roll
Great waters which o'erwhelm my soul,
When stormy winds o'ertake me.
Benumbed, in deepest mire I sink,
While skin and flesh upon me shrink;
Yet God will not forsake me.
With weeping am I weary grown,
Though blind and dumb, God hears my moan;
Waiting, on God still calling,
Suffering, but kept from falling.'
334 TIMES OF CHARLES XII.
" Then," continued Eva, " the priest Cajanus mar-
ried us at the altar, and it seemed so wonderful that
our happiness should begin in the midst of Finland's
extreme need and in that desolated sanctuary where so
many generations had sent up their prayers to the throne
of the Almighty. That same summer we were taken
over to Narva and thence into the land of the Musco-
vites to a city called Novgorod, where we served in cap-
tivity and were treated mercifully. I had laid aside my
men's clothes and went with my husband as his ser-
vant, and as he was well versed in the art of breaking
wild horses which no one else could control, he became
equerry to a noble lord with whom he stood in great
favor. There God gave us a son in our captivity, and
he is called after King Charles, but, since we still hoped
for the day of victory, the name Victor was added.
Late in the autumn of 1717, we made a journey to
Narva with our master. There we met a yacht from
Runo, where the people are of Swedish descent, and it
was agreed with the men from Runo that during the
darkness of the night we should go on board their ves-
sel and escape from bondage. But it was so late in the
year, that we did not get farther than Gotland, where
we were obliged to remain until ice formed between the
island and the main land, supporting ourselves as best
we could, my husband by shoeing horses and myself
by weaving and spinning. When we came to Stock-
holm, two weeks ago, it was decided that Bertelskold
should enter the service in Armfelt's corps, which is en-
camped near Gefle, because those troops are for the
most part Finns. But I came here to you, Ebba, to
procure for Bertelskold an adjutant's place with Armfelt,
his old chief. I have succeeded, as you know, though
with some difficulty, for when I saw this new army which
is intended to attack Norway, while Finland is bleeding
to death, my heart was oppressed, and the words came
irresistibly to my lips: ' What has your majesty done
with Finland? ' The rest you know. I am happy in
THE SHADOW OF A NAME. 335
again seeing you and in obtaining the king's assent.
To-morrow we shall separate again, and who knows if
it be not forever ? "
" Why such sorrowful thoughts?" said a well-known
voice at the door, and Torsten Bertelskold entered. "Is
my fair enemy still implacable ? "
The two women exchanged glances. " I did not
believe," replied Eva, coldly, " that the count would
have anything to add after our last interview in the
harbor of Stralsund."
The morsel must have been hard of digestion, for
Count Torsten sharpened his tone as he said:
"Ah, you are right, I had almost forgotten that we
had seen each other so lately. I hope the time has
passed agreeably, away there in the Lapland huts ?
With a confidence free from prejudice, like yours, fair
Eva, one is never at a loss for diversion, for acquaint-
ances in a word, I am certain that the loss of so small
a thing as my friendship has received manifold com-
pensations . . . ."
" Torsten ! " said Ebba, reprovingly.
" It is true," replied Eva, smiling, " manifold com-
pensations! Permit me, my dear count, to present to
you one of those compensations."
So saying, she beckoned to a servant in the next
room, and there entered a dark-haired boy, about a
year and a half old, uncommonly large of his age and
so far advanced that he was taking his first steps in this
The question on Count Torsten's lips died the mo-
ment it was born.
But Countess Ebba took the boy, sat him upon the
knee of her astonished brother, and said:
" Do not put him away from you, Torsten; let him
be a pledge of reconcilation and friendship between your
sundered hearts. Be a good uncle to him; he is one
of us; his lawful name is Charles Victor, Count of Ber-
336 TIMES OF CHARLES XI L
All the studied calm of the diplomat was insuffi-
cient to control the muscles in the count's face. An
unspeakable bitterness contended with the irresistible
influence of the innocence of childhood and the natural
rights of consanguinity. He kissed the boy's forehead
and gently put him down, rose hastily, and turning to
Eva said, in a tone intended to be calm and deliberate,
but which revealed all the pain of his disappointed
" My sister is right there is no room for ill-will
between us. I welcome you, my countess, you and
your son, I welcome you to our family. Eh bien, for-
tune is fitful, it has granted my brother what it denied
me; let us have no further controversy concerning it.
Apropos of fortune, my sister, I came here to call you
to account for a certain ring on which the fortune of
our family is said to depend. I had missed it for eigh-
teen years without any suspicion of what had become
of it, until, by chance, a packet of letters was delivered
to me, which were left by my brother when he went
away four years ago. Among them I found one from
you, dated Stockholm, January 24th, 1704, in which
you acknowledged that I lost the ring in a glove, and
that you gave it to the Duchess of Holstein, and that
she gave it to the king fixed in a medallion with Queen
Ulrika Eleonora's portrait. You do not know, my sis-
ter, what you have done. You have thrown away
the fortune and the future of our family ! "
Countess Ebba reddened deeply, and grasped her
brother's hand. "I confess," said she, "that in the
ignorance of childhood I made a mistake, greater, per-
haps, than you can forgive. But, Torsten, why put
faith in a superstitious amulet ? Is there not an eternal
Providence that rules our destinies, and is it not our-
selves who, under its care, ought to forge our own
" Lectures from the nursery ! And yet there are
wonderful coincidences which cannot be explained by
THE SHADOW OF A NAME. 337
any law in the catechism. At his death, my father left
a sealed envelope containing the history of this ring ;
it is enough, as I tell you, that the fate of our
family is inseparably connected with this jewel, and
that its loss heretofore has continuously brought with
it a chain of misfortunes, as its possession has brought
us power and honor. I am myself a proof of this
.... but, enfin, do you know whether the king still
wears this medallion ? "
" According to Gosta's account, the king lost the
medallion in the autumn of 1703 in a hand-to-hand
engagement at Rajowka, the same in which Hard fell."
" Diable ! Lost, never to be found again ! At
Rajowka ? That was shortly after the battle of Holof-
zin ! It was also just before the expedition to
Ukraine ! It was the turning-point in Charles XII's
fortune. Before that, nothing but victory ! After-
wards, nothing but defeat. This accursed ring always
brings happiness or misery, whatever hand may bear it
or lose it. And I, fool, who had it and took no better
care of it ! When I had it, I advanced rapidly ; since
I lost it, I have fought against fate in vain. Everything
goes adversely. . . . And who can tell me what raga-
muffin with my talisman is at this moment swinging up
to the first dignities of the kingdom ! "
Count Torsten went with vehement strides about
the room. Was it the ring's demoniac power, or was
it ambition's phantom and the exasperation caused by
so many miscarried plans, that now bereft Horn's dis-
ciple of his diplomatic frigidity ? His sister had never
seen him thus ; in sorrow for his emotion, she did not
venture a word to pacify him.
A servant entered and announced a stranger who
earnestly desired an interview with Madame Rhenfelt ;
her later marriage was yet unknown. Eva went out ; a
short time passed, in which the brother and sister sat
there in silence with their own memories and their
diverse opinions of life's happiness.
338 TIMES OF CHARLES XII.
Finally Eva returned, agitated, weeping, grasped
the countess's hand and said : " Will you permit me
to bring back an old friend ? "
Ebba inquiringly nodded assent.
An officer of noble bearing entered, pale and with
eyes filled with tears. His hair had grown gray, his
cheeks were sunken, yet there was something in his
person which was less like an old man's bowed figure
than that of a man in his best days bent down by mis-
fortune. Countess Ebba had not looked at him many
seconds before her cheeks suddenly blanched, and she
sank, silent and fainting, into her friend's arms.
"What is this?" exclaimed Count Torsten, incapa-
ble of comprehending the cause of his sister's sudden
The stranger did not hear him. His eyes were
fixed with an indescribable expression on the mild and
pale features of the countess, as she slowly recovered
" Sir, who are you, and what gives you a right to
frighten by your presence Countess Liewen ? " said
Torsten to the new-comer.
" When the dead arise the blood of the living runs
cold," said the stranger, sorrowfully. " Who am I ?
A man risen from the grave, and who was not formerly
unknown to you, Sir Count. My hair has whitened
during nearly nine years of captivity ; why should I
wish you to recognize him who is regarded as dead,
Erik Falkenberg, formerly one of the king's body-
guard, and the nearest friend of your brother, Gustaf
" Falkenberg ? Nephew of the royal councillor of
the same name ? Brother to to the Countess Eva
Bertelskold, born Falkenberg ? "
"The same. I did not know, Sir Count, that
you . . . ."
Torsten bit his lip.
" You mistake, sir," said he. " It is my brother
THE SHADOW OF A NAME. 339
who has been so fortunate as to win your sister's
hand. Welcome back again. It rejoices me that the
report lied which said you had fallen on Pultowa's
" It was only half untrue," answered Falkenberg,
with a sorrowful look at Countess Ebba, who had
regained consciousness but had not yet courage to look
up to the formerly loved, long mourned, finally returned
and yet forever lost friend of her childhood.
" I left the better part of my life and all my happi-
ness at Pultowa. What remains, Sir Count, is worth
"And do you count as nought a long line of
achievements which yet remain for you ? You forget
a sister's warmest affection ? " said Eva, kindly.
" And a devoted friend of your childhood ?" added
Countess Ebba, in a lower voice.
Falkenberg was silent.
" Your salvation must really have been miraculous,"
said Torsten, desiring to get away from these un-
" Perhaps not more miraculous than that of many
others," answered Falkenberg; "but yet sufficiently so
to make a story for children. Permit me to spare the
ladies an account which could only agitate them. In
short, I lay for twelve hours among the dead on the
battle field ; a plundering marauder detected in me a
spark of life, and undertook to rescue me ; it was a
profitable transaction for him to sell me to a boiar,