The queen bowed down to the princess. "I pray you, sister," said she in a low voice, "remember that we are poor, unprotected women, and not in a condition to defend ourselves. Let us appear not to remark this unmannerly conduct, and let us remember that the king has made it our duty to receive the French officers with marked attention."
"You, sister, are simply a slave to the commands of the king. He is more truly your master than your husband," said the princess, angrily.
The queen smiled sweetly. "You are right; I am his slave, and my soul has chosen him for its lord. Blame me not, then, for my obedience."
"Do you intend to allow the arrogant presumption of these haughty Frenchmen to go unpunished?"
"I will take pains not to observe it," said the queen, turning her attention again to the music. During all this time, Count Belleville stood behind Fraulein Marshal. While the concert was going on, he bowed over her and spoke long and impressively. Fraulein Marshal did not reply; neither his ardent love-assurances, nor his glowing reproaches, nor his passionate entreaties, nor his bold and offensive insolence, could draw from her one word, one look.
When the concert was over, and they were about to return to the saloon where, until supper, they could dance and amuse themselves, the young maiden turned with calm composure and indifference to Count Belleville. "Sir, I forbid you to molest me with your presence, and I counsel you no longer to offend my ears with these indecent romances, which you have no doubt learned upon the streets of Paris. But if, believing that I am unprotected, you still dare to insult me, I Inform you that my father has this moment arrived, and will certainly relieve me from your disagreeable and troublesome society." She spoke aloud, and not only Belleville, but the group of French officers who stood behind him, heard every word. She passed by them with calm indifference and joined a large, elderly officer, who was leaning against a pillar, and who stretched out his hand smilingly toward her.
"Father," she said, "God himself put it in your heart to come to Berlin this day. You are by my side, and I have nothing to fear. I know you can protect me."
In the mean time, the musicians commenced to play the grave and at the same time coquettish minuet, and the officers drew near the ladies to lead them to the dance. This was done, however, in so bold and unconstrained a manner, with such manifest nonchalance, the request was made with such levity, the words were so little respectful, that the ladies drew back frightened. Princess Amelia called Fraulein Marshal to her side. She took her hand with a kindly smile.