mystification, which can only be compared to that employed
"A general march must be sounded," said the king. "The morning air will bear the sound into the distance, and when my soldiers hear it, perhaps they will return to their colors."
When the adjutants left him, the king commenced pacing slowly up and down, his hands crossed behind him.
"All is lost, all!" he murmured; "but I must wait and watch. If the stupidity or rashness of the enemy should break a mesh in the net within which I am enclosed, it is my duty to slip through with my army. Ah! how heavily this crown presses upon my head; it leaves me no moment of repose. How hard is life, and how terribly are the bright illusions of our earlier years destroyed!"
At the sound of the drum, the king shivered, and murmured to himself: "I feel now, what I never thought to feel. I am afraid my heart trembles at the thought of this encounter, as it never did in battle. The drums and trumpets call my soldiers, but they will not come. They are stretched upon the field of battle, or fleeing before the enemy. They will not come, and the sun will witness my shame and wretchedness."
The king, completely overcome, sank upon the bench, and buried his face in his hands. He sat thus for a long time. The sounds before the door became louder and louder, but the king heard them not; he still held his hands before his face. He could not see the bright array of uniforms that had assembled before the window, nor that the soldiers were swarming in from all sides. He did not hear the beating of drums, the orders to the soldiers, or military signals. Neither did he hear the door, which was gently opened by his adjutants, who had returned to inform him that his orders had been obeyed, and that the generals and staff officers were awaiting him outside the hut.
"Sire," whispered at length one of the adjutants, "your commands have been fulfilled. The generals await your majesty's pleasure."
The king allowed his hands to glide slowly from his face. "And the troops?" he asked.
"They are also just placing the cannon," said the second adjutant.