Józef Ignacy Kraszewski.

Memoirs of the Countess Cosel online

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She answered nothing, but, jumping from her horse, came to the dead
Zaklika. She put her pale lips on his forehead, covered with blood. The
dead man's hand was lying on his breast, as though it would defend the
King's promise of marriage to Cosel that had been entrusted to him. She
took it with her.

She was led back to the castle, where she spent long days sitting and
reading the Bible. Zaklika was buried at her expense.

"Nobody would care about my funeral," she said to herself. "Now I am
alone in the world. My children do not know me."

* * * * *

In 1733 Augustus died, and the commandant of Stolpen came personally to
announce to her the news.

For a long time she stood speechless; then she wrung her hands, and,
throwing herself on the floor, began to cry.

Imprisonment, cruelty, wrongs, oblivion, could not take from her
womanly heart the love which she had for him. From that moment he was
again for her the dear Augustus.

Five days later there came an official from Dresden, sent by the
Kurfürst, who was then Augustus III., King of Poland. He asked to be
announced to the Countess.

"I am sent to your Excellency," said he, "by our most gracious lord, to
announce to you that you are free, and that you may live where you
please."

Cosel rubbed her forehead.

"I? Free?" said she. "What do I need freedom for now? The people have
become strangers to me, and I am a stranger to them. Where can I go? I
have nothing; they have robbed me of everything. You want to make me
ridiculous; you wish that those who bowed down to me should now point
the finger of scorn at me?"

The official was silent.

"No!" she added. "I do not want freedom; leave me here. I am accustomed
to these walls, where I have shed all my tears; I could not live in
another place."

So they let her stay in Stolpen, where she outlived Augustus III., and
the Seven Years' War.

She died in 1765, being eighty-five years of age. To the end of her
life she preserved traces of her great beauty, by which she became so
famous.



FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: Maurice Saxe, the famous French general.]

[Footnote 2: This was the name familiarly given to the King, and the
popular song, "_Mein Lieber Augustin_," referred to him.]



THE END.



GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, LTD., ST. JOHN'S HOUSE, CLERKENWELL, E.C.












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Online LibraryJózef Ignacy KraszewskiMemoirs of the Countess Cosel → online text (page 20 of 20)