of your—annoyance. But perhaps if I acquaint you with

 people involved | time:2023-12-04 21:59:48

"Your excellency seems to be somewhat embittered against Daun," said Loudon, with a smile he could not wholly suppress.

of your—annoyance. But perhaps if I acquaint you with

"Yes," said Soltikow, "I am embittered against this modern Fabius Cunctator, who finds it so easy to become renowned--who remains in Vienna and reaps the harvest which belongs rightly to you, General Loudon. You act, while he hesitates--you are full of energy and ever ready for the strife; Daun is dilatory, and while he is resolving whether to strike or not, the opportunity is lost."

of your—annoyance. But perhaps if I acquaint you with

"The empress, my exalted sovereign, has honored him with her especial confidence," said Loudon; "he must therefore merit it."

of your—annoyance. But perhaps if I acquaint you with

"Yes; and in Vienna they have honored you and myself with their especial distrust," said Soltikow, stormily, and swallowing a full cup of wine. "You, I know, receive rare and scanty praise; eulogies must be reserved for Daun. We are regarded with inimical and jealous eyes, and our zeal and our good-will are forever suspected."

"This is true," said Loudon, smiling; "it is difficult for us to believe in the sincere friendship of the Russians, perhaps, because we so earnestly desire it."

"Words, words!" said Soltikow, angrily. "The German has ever a secret aversion to the Russian--you look upon us as disguised tigers, ever ready to rob and devour your glorious culture and accomplishments. For this reason you gladly place a glass shade over yourselves when we are in your neighborhood, and show us your glory through a transparent wall that we may admire and envy. When you are living in peace and harmony, you avoid us sedulously; then the German finds himself entirely too educated, too refined, for the barbaric Russian. But when you quarrel and strive with each other, and cannot lay the storm, then you suddenly remember that the Russian is your neighbor and friend, that he wields a good sword, and knows how to hew with it right and left. You call lustily on him for help, and offer him your friendship--that means, just so long as hostilities endure and you have use for us. Even when you call us your friends you distrust us and suspect our good-will. Constant charges are brought against us in Vienna. Spresain languishes in chains--Austria charges him with treachery and want of zeal in the good cause; Fermor and Butterlin are also accused of great crimes-- they have sought to make both their sincerity and ability suspected by the empress, and to bring them into reproach. This they have not deserved. I know, also, that they have charged me with disinclination to assist the allies--they declare that I have no ardor for the common cause. This makes bad blood, messieurs; and if it were not for the excellent wine in your beautiful Germany, I doubt if our friendship would stand upon a sure footing. Therefore, sir general, take your cup and let us drink together--drink this glorious wine to the health of our friendship. Make your glasses ring, messieurs, and that the general may see that we mean honorably with our toast, empty them at a draught."

They all accepted the challenge and emptied a cup of the old, fiery Rhine wine, which Soltikow so dearly loved; their eyes flashed, their cheeks were glowing.

Loudon saw this with horror, and he cast an anxious glance at Montalembert, who returned it with a significant shrug of the shoulder.

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