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      The king then, having ordered his guard to watch him with the utmost vigilance, assuring them that their heads should answer for it if they allowed him to escape, sent his son to another boat. He was prevailed upon to do so, as no one could tell to what length the kings ungovernable passions might lead him.

      In the mean time, on the 24th of January, Charles Albert, King of Bavaria, through the intrigues of the French minister and the diplomacy of Frederick, was chosen Emperor of Germany. This election Frederick regarded as a great triumph on his part. It was the signal defeat of Austria. Very few of the sons of Adam have passed a more joyless and dreary earthly pilgrimage than was the fortune of Charles Albert. At the time of his election he was forty-five years of age, of moderate stature, polished manners, and merely ordinary abilities. He was suffering from a complication of the most painful disorders. His previous life had been but a series of misfortunes, and during all the rest of his days he was assailed by the storms of adversity. In death alone he found refuge from a life almost without a joy.

      It may be imagined, then, with what sharp sting of pride, what miserable sense of weakness and failure, he writhed, as Memory now flung open the doors of her silent gallery, and showed him sombre picture after picture, representing his own figure in divers humiliating positions. It shrank from the utterance of its strong convictions of right; it gave way to the assaults of a poor ambition; it drifted with circumstance; it was driven to and fro like a shuttlecock between outward temptation and inward passion; it was successively a fighting rowdy, a blind lunatic, an insensate drunkard.




      It is true, sire, Bielfeld replied, but I know very well what you have gained in getting a kingdom. Your loss is great, but your motives for consolation are very powerful.