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   Chapter 31 FUTURE PLANS.

Old Fritz and the New Era By L. Muhlbach Characters: 8991

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:02

Cagliostro quitted the two confidants, entered his carriage awaiting him before the door, and drove to the hotel. The host and chief waiter received him with extreme deference, both accompanying him up the stairs-the latter throwing wide open the large doors of his room. The count turned, and, in addressing some indifferent question to the host, opened his gold-embroidered blue satin vest.

The host turned pale, and shrank back, as if seized with a sudden fright. Cagliostro passed on, motioning him to follow, which he humbly obeyed, sinking upon his knees as the door closed.

"Have you recognized the sign which I wear upon my breast?"

"Yes, master," he stammered, bowing down with the greatest reverence.

"Then you belong to the elect of the Inner Temple, for the sign of knowledge is only made known to them."

"I do, indeed, understand its mysteries, master, and I know that one of the Invisibles, in infinite condescension, appears in a visible form before me. Immeasurable as the happiness, is my obedience! Command me, master; my life and riches belong to the holy alliance!"

"Rise and receive my orders," replied Cagliostro, with great dignity. In a brief, dictatorial manner he communicated the necessary arrangements; then dismissed him with a haughty nod, and entered the adjoining room of his wife, Lorenza Feliciana.

She had thrown herself upon the divan, in charming neglige. Her head was encircled with black ringlets, which she wore unpowdered, despite the fashion. Her eyes were closed, and her beautiful shoulders were but half concealed by a black lace veil.

She slept so quietly and soundly that the count did not awaken her upon entering. He approached her lightly upon the soft carpet, and stood regarding her attentively. A pleasant smile spread over his face, softening its expression, and his eyes beamed with passionate tenderness.

"She is indeed beautiful," he murmured, softly. "No one could withstand the charm of this wonderful woman. Ah, would that I could crush these wicked spirits within me, silence all these seductive, sinful voices, and fly to some secluded valley of our dear fatherland, and there, reposing on her love, let life glide calmly on and smile at the past without regret, as a fading dream! Would that I could forget, and become again pure and innocent, blest in my affection, simple in my tastes, and without wants! But no, it is too late! I cannot retreat, the demons will not be driven out; to them my soul belongs, and I must fulfil my destiny!-Awake, Lorenza, awake!" Her beautiful form shook with fright; she started, opened her eyes, demanding, "What is the matter? Who is here?"

"It is I, Lorenza," he said, sadly; "I was obliged to awaken you, to tell you something important."

"Are the pursuers here? Have they discovered us? Are they coming to take us to prison?"

"No, no; be quiet, Lorenza, no one has discovered us!"

"Quiet!" she repeated, with a scornful laugh. "We have travelled day and night the last ten days, hiding ourselves in miserable holes and dens, under assumed names, believing our pursuers were at our hacks; and now that we are showing ourselves publicly, you ask me to be quiet! I have slept for the first time since that fearful night in Mittau, and it is very cruel and thoughtless of you to wake me, if the bailiffs are not here, and danger does not menace us."

"For the moment we are safe, but I have something important to tell you."

"Important?" she cried, shrugging her shoulders. "What is of consequence to me, since that night? Oh, when I think of it, I could shriek with rage, I could annihilate myself in despair!"

"It was indeed a dreadful experience, and my heart quakes when I think of it," said Cagliostro, gloomily. "The secret assembly consisted of the highest and most influential of the Courland nobility. Suspecting no wrong, not even that there could be traitors among the believers who would falsify my spirit apparatus, I gave myself up to conjuring the departed."

"And I upon my fairy throne," added Lorenza, "couched in the innocent costume of the celestial, only veiled with a silvery cloud, heard a sudden shriek. The room was quite dark; I saw, upon opening my eyes, that no spirits enlivened it."

"Every thing failed-that is to say, my assistants let it fail," said the count, "and the assembly began to murmur. Suddenly, instead of the departed princes and heroes, what fearful forms arose!"

"Apes, cats, and other animals," c

ried Lorenza, with a loud laugh. "Oh, what an irresistible sight! In spite of my anger I had to laugh, and laugh I did upon the fairy throne, like-"

"Like a foolish child who neither knows nor understands danger," interrupted the count. "Your laughing soon ceased in the fearful tumult and uproar. They shrieked for light, the ladies fled, and the men menaced me with loud curses, calling me a charlatan, and threatening my life!"

"Mine also," cried Lorenza; "oh, what insults and ill-treatment I was forced to listen to! They rushed upon me, shrieking for the brilliants and money which they had brought me as an offering. How they scolded and called me a deceiver! I was only very beautiful and coquettish, and that was no deception! I charmed them with my coyness, and they brought me the most costly presents, because I was a virtuous woman. Now they reproached me, demanding a return of them all, which they had forced upon me of their own free will. I was obliged to bear it silently in my costume of innocence, and as goddess I could not defend myself and speak with human beings-who pushed up to the throne. It was a very ridiculous position; happily I did not quite lose my senses, but let the apparatus play, and disappeared into my dressing-room below, which fortunately closed above me. I dressed, and rushed to your room to rescue my treasures."

"Even in this extreme danger you only thought of your riches, not of me," said Cagliostro, with a bitter smile.

"Have you not taught me yourself that money was the only thing worth striving to possess? Have you not revealed to in wisdom that riches alone make us happy, and procure for us honor, power, love, and constancy? Ah! Joseph, have you not made me the miserable, heartless creature that I am? Can you reproach me that your teaching has borne such good fruit? I am happy to be the priestess of wealth, and grateful for what you have made known to me."

"It is true," sighed Cagliostro, "I have taught you the truth of things; I have disclosed to you the world's motive power. Riches are indeed the god upon earth, toward whom all are pressing, rushing on. We must all follow and serve him as slaves, or be crushed under the wheels of his triumphal car. Men talk and reason about the storm and pressure which is spreading through the world, and finally will reduce every thing to storm the eternal and undying bliss of wealth, and press on for gold."

"To think that we have lost every thing!" cried Lorenza, springing up and stamping with her silken-shod foot; "every thing is lost that I have been years gaining, by hypocrisy, deception, and coquetry. They have robbed me! The shameful barbarians have seized all our effects. The police surrounded the house, guarding every entrance, and we were obliged to escape by the roof into the house of one of the brothers, leaving all our treasures behind."

"You exaggerate, Lorenza, and represent it worse than it is. Look around; you are surrounded with luxury and comfort. Our great undertakings in Courland and St. Petersburg have failed, it is true, and the Russian empress has ordered me to be driven away and pursued. But the Invisible Fathers have not forsaken me, as they know that I am a useful tool in their hands. They have carefully provided me with money, passports, and instructions. We have lost thousands, but we will regain them, for the future is ours. I am protected by the order, and called to a new and important mission in Paris, to strive for the sacred aim of the Church."

"And have they no mission for me?" asked Lorenza. "Is there nothing further for me to do in that city than to be a beautiful woman, and play tricks for my dear husband?"

"Great events await you in Paris, which we will aid you to prepare. The Invisible Fathers send you before me to the Cardinal de Rohan. You are going to Paris in the service of the revolution of minds. The carriage is ordered, and you are to set off this very hour."

"And when are you going, Joseph?" Lorenza asked, with a touch of melancholy.

"I shall officially depart in an hour, but in reality at the same time that the Baroness von Balmore leaves the hotel in her travelling-carriage. Near the waiting-maid will a servant sit upon the box. I shall be he."

"Officially you depart in an hour; what does that mean?" Cagliostro smiled. "It is a long story and a comical one. Come, seat yourself by me upon the sofa; repose your head upon me, and listen to what I will relate to you."

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