The Goose Girl (Chapter 3, page 1 of 13)


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Chapter 3

"Count, must I tell you again not to broach that subject? There can be no alliance between Ehrenstein and Jugendheit."

"Why?" asked Count von Herbeck, chancellor, coolly returning the angry flash from the ducal eyes.

"There are a thousand reasons why, but it is not my purpose to name them."

"Name only one, your Highness, only one."

"Will that satisfy you?"

"Perhaps."

"One of my reasons is that I do not want any alliance with a country so perfidious as Jugendheit. What! I make overtures? I, who have been so cruelly wronged all these years? You are mad."

"But what positive evidence have you that Jugendheit wronged you?"

"Positive? Have I eyes and ears? Have I not seen and read and heard?" This time the duke struck the desk savagely. "Why do you always rouse me in this fashion, Herbeck? You know how distasteful all this is to me."

"Your highness knows that I look only to the welfare of the country. In the old days it was a foregone conclusion that this alliance was to be formed. Now, you persist in averring that the late king was the chief conspirator in abducting her serene highness, aided by Arnsberg, whose successor I have the honor to be. I have never yet seen any proofs. You have never yet produced them. Show me something which absolutely convicts them, and I'll surrender."

"On your honor?"

"My word."

The grand duke struck the bell on the chancellor's desk.

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