• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I: The lighthouse-keeper...
 Chapter II: The king as a...
 Chapter III: The king and the Russians...
 Chapter IV: Defeat and disaster...
 Chapter V: The Swedes in Turke...
 Chapter VI: The death of King...
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: Story of a king
Title: The story of a king
CITATION PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055323/00001
 Material Information
Title: The story of a king
Physical Description: 128 p., 1 leaf of plates : col. ill. ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Blackie & Son ( Publisher )
Publisher: Blackie & Son
Place of Publication: London (49 Old Bailey E.C.) ;
Glasgow ;
Edinburgh ;
Dublin
Publication Date: [1882?]
 Subjects
Subject: Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Biography -- Juvenile fiction -- Sweden   ( lcsh )
Biographical fiction -- 1882   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1882   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1882
Genre: Biographical fiction   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Glasgow
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Ireland -- Dublin
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: told by one of his soldiers.
General Note: Undated. Date from BLC.
General Note: Frontispiece printed in colors.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055323
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002237996
notis - ALH8491
oclc - 63068219

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Chapter I: The lighthouse-keeper and his friends
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Chapter II: The king as a prince
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Chapter III: The king and the Russians at Narva
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    Chapter IV: Defeat and disaster at Pultava
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
    Chapter V: The Swedes in Turkey
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
    Chapter VI: The death of King Charles
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text








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-PRINCE CHIARLES OF SWEDEN AT PLAT.

PAGE 31.








THE STORY OF A KING.


TOLD BY

ONE OF HIS SOLDIERS.



















'LONDON:
BLACKIE & SON, 49 OLE BAILEY, E.C.;
GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.

















CONTENTS.




Page
CHAPTER I.
THE LIGHTHOUSE-KEEPER AND HIS FRIENDS, ..... 5

CHAPTER II.
THE KING AS A PRINIE, . . .. .16

CHAPTER III.
THE KING AND THE RUSSIANS AT NARVA, ... 34

CHAPTER IV.
DEFEAT AND DISASTER AT PULTAVA, . .. 52

CHAPTER V.
THE SWEDES IN TURKEY, . . .. 8

CHAPTER VL
THE DEATH Op KING CHARLES, .. . 109
















THE STORY OF A KING.



CHAPTER I.

THE LIGHTHOUSE-KEEPER AND HIS FRIENDS.

IPWARDS of a hundred years ago Richard
S Roos was keeper of the lighthouse which
stood on the island of Marstrand,-on the
west coast of Sweden. He lived in a little cottage
which stood close by the tower of which he had
charge; his genial disposition and natural good
nature made him friendly with every one whom he
came in contact with. In person he was-tall and
powerful, although rather spare in figure, and his
erect military bearing at once indicated that he
had been a soldier. He wore a heavy dark
moustache, which imparted an austere aspect to






6 THE STORY OF A KING.

his countenance; but this was softened by the
mildness of his blue eyes, which glanced kindly
and sharply about him with a keenness that
without offending seemed to give pleasure to all
who met it.
Richard in his youth and early manhood had
served as a soldier under the brave and noble
King Charles XII. of Sweden, and while he never
tired of recounting the many adventures h6 had
met with during his military service, telling of
the battles in which he had taken part, and of
the "hair-breadth 'scapes" he had made in many
sieges, so his hearers never wearied in listening
to him. The lighthouse-keeper was proud of the
fact that he had served under such a glorious
king (as he certainly considered him), and was
ever ready to defend his name and reputation
from the aspersions of any one who ventured to
speak against him. At the same time, however,
it must not be supposed that Richard was blind
to the faults of his royal master, for he would
frequently refer to them in terms the reverse of
complimentary; but somehow or other, while he






THE STORY OF A KING. 7

stood this from himself he could not brook it
from either friend or stranger.
I know our good king had many faults, and
I would like to see the man that ever lived who
was free from them," he would sometimes say;
"and I have not unfrequently told him so to his
face, only, however, to be rebuked by one of
those peculiar through-searching glances which
darted from his eyes like a gleam from burning
brilliant. But he was a great, a noble, and coura-
geous king. Even his enemies could not but admit
that, and if it had not been for his confirmed
obstinacy his misfortunes would have fallen but
lightly upon him. He was headstrong and pre-
cipitous in carrying out his own convictions, and
many a time have I seen him place men in posi-
tions which every other person saw was danger-
ous, but of which no one dared speak to him."
When Richard Roos spoke in this strain he
was as obstinate as the king himself, and it was
as useless for a person to try and convince him
to the contrary as it would have been for the
same person to have run his head against a stone






8 THE STORY OF A KING.
wall, for no matter how strong and thick the
head is, the stone wall can generally withstand
all charges.
On the night when our story commences
Richard emerged from the door of his cottage
with a telescope under his arm. Approaching
the edge of the rock on which the lighthouse
was built he earnestly scanned the whole horizon,
and after carefully considering it for some mo-
ments through the glass he shook his head dubi-
ously, and said to himself in an undertone:
"It looks very black to-night towards the
north-west, and I am afraid many a brave sailor
will not be able to live through it;" and again
putting the glass to his eye he swept the whole
space around him, saying as he did so: "I hope
there are not many ships near the island to-
night."
All at once the anxious-minded lighthouse-
keeper started. Through the haze in front of
him, and at a considerable distance from the
shore, he plainly discerned the outlines of several
ships in the North Sea. To the naked eye of a






THE STORY OF A KING. 9

casual spectator they looked like mere white
specks on the horizon, but the practised vision of
Roos, aided by the powerful glass he carried, at
once made it apparent that the ships in sight
were large ones, and that they were evidently
unaware of the danger which they were rushing
into.
"Alas! my poor fellows," he exclaimed some-
what loudly as he observed the ships approach-
ing, "little do you know the danger you are in!
In a couple of hours more the storm will have so
risen that with all the power which- you have on
board you will not be able to keep your ships
from off the rocks. Oh! if they would only take
in sail they might yet be able to weather the
storm, but-ah!" he said, louder than before, as
he took another look through his telescope; they
are, yes, they are shortening sail! Well done, my
lads; you will be all right yet, if God only helps
you in your danger. I pray that he will."
"Thank you, Mr. Roos, for that good wish, to
which I say amen with all my heart," said a
deep, powerful voice; and as the lighthouse-






10 THE STORY OF A KING.
keeper turned to see who had spoken he perceived
a tall, commanding-looking man in the uniform
of a colonel, who, accompanied by a youth who
looked like his son, had approached him unob-
served as he was intently scanning the ocean and
musing to himself.
He recognized the officer, and with military
instinct immediately raised his hand and respect-
fully saluted him.
"Good evening, Colonel Sparre," said he; "I
am glad to see you; but if you take my advice
you will make the best of your way home as
quickly as possible. There is a storm brewing,
and in a few minutes we shall have such a fall
of rain that I will not answer for the preserva-
tion of the handsome uniform you wear, nor for
the clothes of this young gentleman either, if
you will pardon the liberty I take in saying so."
"You are perfectly right, Richard, and I thank
you for your advice; but do you really think the
vessels which you see through the glass, and
which I can but dimly perceive with my naked
eyes, are in any great danger?"






THE STORY OF A KING. 11
"They are, indeed, in very great danger, Col-
onel," replied Roos, earnestly; "and unless their
captains are both brave and skilful they will
have both difficulty and danger to contend against
to-night. However, with God's help they may
overcome all. They are already shortening sail,
I can see, as if they were alive to the storm
which is rising about them. But there, sir,
there is the rain already, and it will come down
much heavier before you have time to reach the
town. Had you and Master Olaf not better take
shelter in my cottage for a time? The refuge is
humble enough certainly, but it is better than
getting wet to the skin, and it is heartily at your
service."
" Thank you,,Roos, thank you; but as I have
some pressing business to attend to I cannot wait,
so I must even take my drenching good-naturedly,"
said Colonel Sparre, who was commander of the
fort and harbour of Marstrand, and well-known
throughout the island as a good soldier and an
efficient public administrator. "I must return
to the fort at once, but if you have no objections






12 THE STORY OF A KING.
my son Olaf will remain and keep you company
till the storm blows over. When I get home I
will send up some of his companions; they may
be useful if you should require to send any mes-
sages for assistance, as, judging from the threaten-
ing aspect of the skies, you may have to do.
Good-bye, Olaf," he continued, as he shook hands
with Roos and his son; "you remain here, and if
the storm does not blow over in time you may
stay here all night, and as I know where you are
I shall not be alarmed at your absence. I will
send over your two friends Ronne and Elfdal,
and perhaps others, if I can meet with them."
"I shall be only too glad to see any of Master
Olaf's friends, Colonel, if they are all as fine
fellows as he is," replied Roos, cheerfully; "but I
forget," he added: "perhaps Master Olaf will not
care to become an inmate of my humble abode,
even for a short time, and during such a storm as
I dread."
"Never fear that, Mr. Roos," replied Olaf with
a smile. We always like to come to the light-
house and listen to your capital stories; and no






THE STORY" OF A KING. 13
doubt, as soon as the storm passes, you will be
able to oblige us with some of your adventures?"
"That I will, with pleasure," answered Roos,
flattered at the compliment; "but we must wait
till your friends arrive, Master Olaf."
"Oh, you will not have to wait long for them,
I can assure you, Roos," said the colonel; "they
will only be too glad to come when I tell them
what you have promised. But I must be off
now. Good-night."
Good-night, father," said Olaf; and the light-
house-keeper touched his cap and wished the
colonel good-night also.
"I hope, Mr. Roos," said Olaf, as his father
departed, you will spin us some humorous yarns
as soon as my companions arrive, and if your
duties at the lighthouse do not interfere."
"No, Master Olaf," replied the old man seri-
ously; "you must excuse me telling funny stories
on such a night as this. I am afraid we will
have more serious business to attend to. The
lives of hundreds of men will be in jeopardy
through this storm, and we may have stern work






14 THE STORY OF A KING.
to do before the morning. However, let us trust
to Providence, and pray that it may not turn out
so bad as it looks at present. If it does not, then
I will tell you a story which I am sure you and
your friends will like to hear."
Oh, I hope, Mr. Roos, you will tell us of your
adventures with King Charles," said Olaf eagerly;
"I have heard so much about them from other
people, and I would so much like you to tell us
the story yourself."
"Well, Master Olaf, that's just what I was
thinking of doing," answered Roos, with a smile;
"and I am glad to think I will be able to please
you. The king was a good and noble man, and'
if it had not been for his stubborn obstinacy we
would all have been better off now than we are;
but it cannot be helped now. The whole of his
history is a wonderful and eventful one, and I
often thank God that he gave me opportunities
to see so much of his career, and to share in so
many of his adventures. So while we are watch-
ing the storm I will proceed with the story as
soon as your friends arrive."






THE STORY OF A KING. 15

"Well, here they are," replied Olaf, instantly,
as the door opened and two young men about his
own age, and dressed in the uniform of Swedish
cadets, entered and shook the rain from themselves.
"Phew!" said one of them, "this is a stormy
night indeed. Why, Olaf, we are thoroughly wet
through, although we have only come from the
lighthouse, and ran all the way."
"Dry yourselves at the fire, then," said Olaf,
"and be quick about it, for Mr. Roos here is
going to tell us about his adventures with King
Charles."
The two cadets were highly delighted on hear-
ing this, ard expressed their thanks to the light-
house-keeper in anticipation for the pleasure he
had in store for them.
Having made themselves as comfortable as
circumstances would permit, and the light-keeper
having taken a long and anxious look seaward,
all four sat down round the fire, and Mr. Roos
prepared to commence his story by giving a long
preliminary hem! followed by a certain amount
of coughing.













CHAPTER IL

THE KING AS A PRINCE.

_KOU must know, my young gentlemen (said
the light-keeper, in commencing his narra-
tive), that when I was a youth of about
sixteen I left my home for Stockholm, and
enlisted for a soldier. I had had several years
of farming experience, but I felt a great repug-
nance to it, and my whole soul was bent on fol-
lowing the profession of arms. Hitherto the
persuasion of my mother had kept me at home,
but when she died that influence passed away;
and as I listened to the stirring stories which my
father used to tell, for he had been a soldier in
his youth, all the original ardour returned, and
nothing would do for me but soldiering. My
father, who was poor, and only rented a small
(156)






THE STORY OF A KING. 17

farm, was rather pleased than' otherwise when
he heard of my resolution, and spoke of a military
life, in such glowing terms that my desires in-
creased and strengthened every day.
"Well, Richard," said he to me one day, "if
you are determined to go for a soldier, there is-
no time like the present to set about doing so.
If you like I will go with you to-morrow and in-
troduce you to my old captain, and as we used
to be on the best of terms when we were in the
service together it is just possible a word or two
from him might do a world of good. But think
well over it, Richard; think well over it; bear in
mind there is no compulsion, and you are wel-
come to stay at home if you like; but remember,
when you once become a soldier you are bound
to serve your king and country under every cir-
cumstance, even to the laying down of your life
if necessary, so consider it well and calmly from
every point."
My mind, however, was already firmly made
up, so I replied that nothing would alter my
decision, and that, if he pleased, I would accom-
(153) B






18 THE STORY OF A KING.
pany him to Stockholm on the morrow. We
were up betimes in the morning, and set out for
Stockholm, my brother Sven, who was to remain
on the farm, accompanying us a considerable part
of the way. On arriving at the capital, my
father, who knew the town well, at once made
his way to the residence of General Steenbock,
under whom he had served when he was captain
of the 12th Regiment. The general recognized
him instantly, and professed himself heartily
pleased to see him; and after a conversation on
old times and old comrades, which both enjoyed
very much, my father ventured to mention the
particular object of his visit; he concluded by
saying, He is my son, your excellency; do you
think he will make a good soldier?"
As I was considered rather good-looking, and
tall for my age, I drew myself up to my full
height, and saluted the general in the manner in
which I had been instructed by my father. The
general carefully looked me all over, and I could
perceive from his eyes that he was well satisfied
'with the inspection.






THE STORY OF A KING. 19

You say he is your son, Roos ?" he said to my
father.
"Yes, your excellency, he is the youngest of
my two boys. His brother is content to remain
on the farm with me; but this Richard will be
satisfied with nothing but being a soldier."
"And a very laudable ambition too, Roos, in
such times as the present, I am sure. Don't you
think so yourself now? Surely you have not
forgotten the time when you first felt the desire
to shoulder a musket?" said the general with a
smile.
My father smiled in reply, and acknowledged
that he was rather proud that his son had chosen
the profession of a soldier. On which the gen-
eral said, I have no doubt I will be able to make
something of him, and if he turns out, as I think
he will, as good a soldier as his father did, in a
short time I will put him into the crown prince's
regiment of guards. I think, Roos, you may
safely leave him in my hands;" and with that he
called a sergeant from an adjoining guard-room,
to whom he handed me over as a recruit, and







20 THE STORY OF A KING.
wished my father and myself good morning in a
very cordial manner. From that day to this,
however, I have never seen either my father or
my elder brother Sven.
I must confess I did not much like the earlier
days of my soldiership. Certainly the gay uni-
form pleased me, but the constant drill, drill,
rather inconvenienced me. However, as I had
made my bed so must I lie on it, and I gradually
became habituated to the hard exercise and train-
ing which it was necessary I should undergo.
Putting the best face I could on the matter I
strove to learn my drill as speedily and as per-
fectly as I could, and in a shorter time than falls
to the lot of the majority of recruits I was pro-
nounced sufficiently qualified to enter a company.
Here again I progressed so rapidly that General
Steenbock felt himself justified in redeeming the
promise he had made to my father, and I was
duly enrolled as a member of the life-guards,
which was then under the command of the Crown-
prince Charles.
The crown-prince was then only eleven years






THE STORY OF A KING. 21

of age, but he possessed a knowledge of military
affairs far beyond his years, and the manner in
which he drilled his fine regiment, which con-
sisted of the finest men in the service, was some-
thing wonderful to behold in one so young. He
made himself familiar with the name and history
of every man in the regiment, and sharing the
humble rations of his soldiers, he disdained lux-
uries and comforts to which, from his position as
prince, he would have -been justly entitled. He
was a thorough warrior, and summer and winter
was first on the parade ground at his duty, and
always the last to leave. He made himself so
thoroughly at home with the guards, and so in-
gratiated himself into their hearts, that I firmly
believe there was not a man among them who
would not have laid down his life to serve
him.
He was also very determined-obstinate, I may
say, which perhaps I can better explain by men-
tioning a little circumstance which occurred one
day, in which I was particularly interested my-
self:-One day I was doing sentry duty at one






22 THE STORY OF A KING.

of the palace gates, when the crown-prince and
some of his companions came to play at ball.
After they had enjoyed themselves for some time
the prince, who was decidedly the best player in
the party, struck the ball with such force that it
went completely over the head of Count Sture,
who ought to have caught it, and dropped into
a lake some distance beyond him. The prince
lost his temper, and instantly commanded Count
Sture to go into the water and recover the ball.
"I got the ball from my grandfather only yes-
terday," he cried, "and I would not lose it for a
hundred thalers. I must have it at once, Sture,
so you will have to fetch it."
The young count stood covered with blushes
and confusion.
"I am unable to swim, your highness; and if
I enter the water I shall certainly be drowned.
Surely your highness can better afford to lose a
ball, than to lose an officer who will ever defend
him even with his life."
I must have my ball again, no matter whether
you are drowned or not, Sture; and if you have




B-.-






THE STORY OF A KING. 23

not the courage to venture into the water for it,
perhaps some of your brave associates will per-
form that duty for you;" and with this he stamped
his little foot on the ground in a perfect passion.
But the other players did not seem to relish the
suggestion, and moved away from the side of the
lake, not deeming it wise to risk their fine uni-
forms, and perhaps their lives as well, for the sake
of a mere plaything.
As I was an expert swimmer it occurred to me
that I might offer to recover the ball, and I made
the proposal to the prince. At the same time,
knowing how strict a disciplinarian he was, I
ventured to say that I would willingly recover
the ball even if the lake were twice as deep as
it was said to be, still, as I was on duty I could
not leave my post without permission.
"You are perfectly right, Roos, you must not;
but, stay, I will relieve you for a few minutes.
Here, Count Sture, shoulder this man's musket,
and perform his duty until he returns."
The count did this at once with the best grace
he could assume, and I at once stripped and dived






24 THE STORY OF A KING.
for the ball. To find it and restore it to the
prince was only the work of a few moments.
"Thank you, Roos, thank you," said his high-
ness, quite restored to his usual good humour,
"here is a thaler to recompense you for your cold
bath. Now, gentlemen, I think you ought to
reward this brave soldier for saving you from a
ducking, for if he had not volunteered to recover
the ball one or other of you would have had to
get it, as sure as I'm a crown-prince!"
Four or five of the young gentlemen presented
me with a thaler each, and I was about to dress
and resume my post when the prince stopped me,
saying:
"No, Roos, before you resume your duty you
must proceed to your quarters and change your
clothing. I can't allow soldiers like you to catch
your death of cold for the faults of young counts
like these."
"But what will the guard say, your highness?"
said I, in alarm; I will be reported if I leave my
post, and punished by the commanding officer."
"Leave that in my hands, Roos," he replied.






THE STORY OF A KING. 25
"Be off with you, and I will see that no harm
befalls you." Then turning to his companions
he said, Now, gentlemen, you must mount guard
in turn until the relief comes; and I will explain
everything to the officer in charge."
From this time forth the prince behaved in a
very friendly manner to me; and when I was not
on duty he frequently sent for me to come and
amuse him with my droll stories, which I always
had a good stock of, and at which he used to
laugh heartily. As a rule he was chiefly in a
good humour; but whenever anything crossed
him, or did not turn out as he had anticipated,
his stubbornness and obstinacy would exert their
sway, and no power on earth would alter him
from a conviction when he had once formed it.
As an instance of this I will give you another
illustration. One bitter cold day he took it into
his head that he would have a drive in a sleigh,
and as I happened to be off duty at the time he
commanded me to accompany him, which of
course I did, although I would much rather
have remained in my own comfortable quarters.







26 THE STORY OF A KING.
I rode behind him on the sleigh, and we were fol-
lowed by two mounted servants. The prince
urged the ,horse forward in a most impetuous
manner, and created such an excitement that
nearly every window in the streets through which
we passed was filled with heads, every one being
under the impression that the prince had gone
out of mind, that being the only thought that
occurred to them to account for his furious driv-
ing. Suddenly the horse, and notwithstanding
all the whipping and shouting of which the
prince, servants, and myself were capable, posi-
tively refused to stir another yard. Neither the
prince nor I could perceive the reason for this,
although it afterwards appeared that a low wall
was in the way, but so covered with snow that
it was not discernible from the sleigh. The more
the horse refused to stir the more the prince in-
sisted on it going forward; until one of the ser-
vants perceiving the obstruction, very sensibly
suggested that the prince should turn the horse
round and drive in another direction. In a
moment the temper of the prince boiled over.






THE STORY OF A KING. 27
"What!" he cried, "will you have it said that
the crown-prince turned back from a miserable
mud-wall? Dismount, you two fellows, and in-
stantly pull it down; dismount, I say, and remove
it without a moment's delay."
The servants knew the temper of the prince
too well to refuse to obey him, and accordingly
they had to set to, bitter cold as the weather was,
and demolish the wall. This was a work of some
difficulty and occupied a considerable time; but
the prince waited patiently, chatting pleasantly
to me all the while-for he would not allow me
to assist them; and when the removal of the
obstacle was accomplished he drove straight for-
ward, saying "that it was not the place of the
crown-prince of Sweden to turn back from any-
thing that was in his way!"
He acted in a similar manner so frequently
after this that it was evident the obstinate
principle in his constitution was gradually in-
creasing; and on several occasions it certainly got
him into difficulties from which he had con-
siderable trouble in extricating himself. On the






28 THE STORY OF A KING.

other hand, however, it must be admitted that it
was, under some circumstances, productive of
good. For instance, his tutor experienced great
difficulty in getting him to apply himself to the
study of Latin. He expressed his detestation of
all grammars, and of the Latin grammar in par-
ticular, and positively refused to devote any of
his time to the study of it. After endeavouring
to convince the prince of the value of the Latin
language, and the use it would be to him when
he came to associate with the monarchs of other
countries and to enter into diplomatic arrange-
ments with them, but all without effect, the tutor
gave up the contest, saying, as a last remark, that
if his majesty chose to neglect learning the Latin
language he was afraid he would never become
a great power among other nations.
"Indeed!" said the prince, in a tone of surprise,
"how is it possible an ignorance of Latin can pre-
vent that?"
"Because," said the tutor, observing that his
remark had taken the fancy of the prince, "a
knowledge of the Latin tongue is as necessary to







THE STORY OF A KING. 29
a monarch as an acquaintance with his own lan-
guage. The King of Denmark speaks Latin
fluently."
"Does he, indeed!" said the prince eagerly; "if
he does, so shall I: give me a grammar;" and from
that time the tutor had no trouble in getting his
pupil to study the lessons in Latin which he pre-
pared for him. His diligence in endeavouring to
rival the King of Denmark was equal to what his
previous obstinacy had been. A similar circum-
stance occurred when he began the study of
French. He refused to learn that language for a
considerable time, and it was not until his ambi-
tion had been stirred by a reference to some other
prince that his objections were overcome: and he
afterwards acquired a proficiency in the French
language which very few foreigners ever at-
tain.
Nothing so pleased the young prince as to read
about the battles and sieges of history, and
through the constant perusal of books on such
subjects a love of war took possession of his soul
while he was yet a mere boy. His greatest favour-







30 THE STORY OF A KING.

ite was Alexander the Great, and he once shocked
the nerves of his grandmother by saying that he
would willingly forfeit his life at the age of thirty
if he could only accomplish such glorious deeds,
and secure a fame equal to that of the great hero.
The old lady, who had seen too much of the havoc
of war in her lifetime, was greatly grieved to
hear her grandson express himself in such a
manner, and endeavoured to instil more peaceful
principles into his youthful mind; but her efforts
were all in vain. In this love for warfare I must
say he was greatly encouraged by some of the
veterans of his father's army, many of whom had
retired from active service and were resident in
Stockholm. General Steenbock, for instance, was
so pleased with some remarks which the prince
had made one day upon the subject of war that he
made him a present of a small toy battery of
artillery, consisting of twenty-four small cannons,
ammunition wagons, powder, balls, and every-
thing complete. On the very day he received
this gift I happened to be placed as sentry at the
door of his room, and observed the gleeful anxiety







THE STORY OF A KING. 31

with which he unpacked them and set them out
before him; and in a few moments I had to set
my musket aside and assist him to put his battery
into working order. I loaded the cannons and he
fired them off as fast as I could do so, leaping
with joy when he hit the mark, and frowning
with disappointment when he failed. He played
with these toys for several days, and at last be-
came so expert in hitting the target that he
rarely missed the centre, and excited the envy
of some of the best marksmen in the garrison.
When the prince was about fifteen years of
age he lost his father. Constitutionally he would
have succeeded to the throne, but his father,
who had observed the development of his reck-
less and obstinate disposition, had provided that
he should remain under the guardianship of his
grandmother until he had attained the age of
eighteen. The prince at first was very indignant
at this, but was at length prevailed upon to sub-
mit to the restriction. This he did for nearly
twelve months, and he would have probably
continued in subjection for the whole of the ap-






32 THE STORY OF A KING
pointed time had not his ambition been again
fired by an unfortunate circumstance.
Being present at a grand review one day, he
was observed to be thinking very seriously about
something. No one cared to question him, and
for a time he was allowed to bury himself in his
thoughts. At length, however, a councillor of
state named Piper respectfully approached him
and inquired the cause of his despondency.
"I was thinking how glad I would be to com-
mand such a body of brave soldiers myself with-
out being subjected to the control of a woman."
The councillor hastily, and perhaps without
thinking, said, "May it please your majesty, if
you really desire it you can be proclaimed sov-
ereign in three days from now."
The prince started at this remark, but made-
no observation upon it. The wily politician saw
in a moment that he had struck a sensitive chord
in the heart of the youthful king, and he deter-
mined to follow it up without a moment's delay.
The result was the young sovereign was pro-
claimed Charles XII., King of Sweden, in three







THE STORY OF A KING. 33

days. Even while the ceremony of the installa-
tion was being proceeded with, his impulsive
temper got the better of him, and as the arch-
bishop was about to crown him in the cathedral
he uttered an exclamation of impatience, and
seizing the crown from his hands, placed it on
his own head himself.






















(168) e













CHAPTER III.

THE KING AND THE RUSSIANS AT NARVA.

IHARLES was now king; and the natural
impetuosity of his disposition began to
find full vent. Till now he had not
troubled himself with affairs of state; and if
he had inadvertently found himself present at
any meetings of council or diplomatic gatherings
he had so conducted himself that he was only
considered as a boy, and a boy also who evi-
dently had no capacity for constitutional govern-
ment. On the death of his father several foreign
powers began to look with covetous eyes upon
Sweden as a country to be conquered, or at all
events to be divided; and now that a boy had
been placed upon the throne the conquest ap-
peared to be easy and quite within their grasp.







THE STORY OF A KING. 35

Russia, Poland, and Denmark prepared to make
war against Sweden. This intimation of course
threw the council of the youthful king into a
perfect consternation. A meeting was called for
the consideration of the serious prospect which
threatened them, at which the young king was
present. The councillors of state were, however,
at a loss what to advise, nor could the most ex-
perienced among them suggest any means or
measures of defence. Progress was almost at a
stand-still, when the whole council were aston-
ished to see the king rise from his seat, and still
more when he proceeded to address them with a
quiet dignity and force which they little expected
from one so young.
"My lords, nobles, and gentlemen," he said,
"nothing has ever been farther from my thoughts
than to counsel an unjustifiable war; but I can-
not consent to conclude a peace with foes who
may provoke me to war until I have humbled
them in the eyes of other nations. The first
power that dares to declare war against Sweden
shall be the first I will attack; and if I should







36 THE STORY OF A KING.
succeed in vanquishing it I trust that the lesson
will not be lost upon others who are meditating
similar proceedings. That is my determination.
I ask for your assistance in enabling me to carry
it out, and may God protect the right!"
When he had concluded he left the council-
room without saying another word; and an op-
portunity soon occurred which proved that he
had not uttered mere empty phrases. Being en-
gaged in a bear-hunt one day, information was
brought to him that the Saxons had fallen upon
Livonia, and that his brother-in-law, the Duke
of Holstein, had been attacked by the King of
Denmark. His martial spirit was roused in a
moment; he ordered the sport to be abandoned,
and in an incredibly short space of time he re-
solved to go to the rescue of his relative. Troops
were ordered to be got ready, and on the 8th of
May, 1700, young King Charles placed himself
at their head and embarked for Copenhagen.
Thus he ventured on his first battle, and victory
crowned his efforts; but he never returned to
Stockholm.







THE STORY OF A KING. 37

The fleet reached Copenhagen, where they
were met and reinforced by several English and
Dutch men-of-war, and the port was immediately
blockaded. The Danes were astonished at the
boldness of the aggressive fleet, but still more so
when they heard that the youthful King of
Sweden was preparing to land his troops. But
it was true: at the head of a party of grenadiers
he embarked on board a small sloop, and reached
the land under a perfect shower of fire from the
muskets of the Danes.
When I saw the king preparing to accompany
the grenadiers on shore I contrived to get near
him, and was fortunate enough to get into the
same sloop; and as our boat neared the shore I
got so close to him that I could hear nearly
every word of a conversation which took place
between him and. Monsieur Guiscard the French
ambassador. In the first confusion the king did
not seem to consider whether any of his soldiers
had followed him or not, and appeared greatly
surprised when he discovered that Monsieur
Guiscard was close behind him.







38 THE STORY OF A KING.
"Monsieur Guiscard!" he exclaimed, "surely
you have no quarrel with the Danes! Will it
not be safer if you return to your ship ?"
"No, your majesty," bravely replied the am-
bassador; "my master, the King of France, has
sent me to you, and I hope I shall not be refused
the privilege of attending a court which was
never so brilliant as it is at present."
The king smiled at this well-turned compli-
ment, and did not further object to the presence
of the polite Frenchman. Our boat then grounded
in shallow water, and fears were entertained that
we would neither be able to get on shore nor to
return to the ship. But the king could not brook
this delay, and drawing his sword he leaped into
the sea, calling on his soldiers to follow him.
Every man rushed after him and waded to
the shore, although they were up to the waist
in water, and subjected to a pitiless fire from the
Danes who had entrenched themselves on the
banks.
In reply to a remark made, by General Stuart
the king spoke of the sound of the whizzing





THE STORY OF A KING. 39
bullets as a pleasing one, and declared that it
would be his "music for the future." He had
scarcely, however, uttered these words when
General Stuart was shof in the shoulder, and a
lieutenant, who was wading close by the king,
was killed on the spot. In a moment I was at
the side of the general, and offered to assist him;
but he only treated the matter as a joke, and
declined my aid. In a short time we got fairly
on shore, and in a few minutes, under the leader-
ship of the king, we put the Danes to flight, and
had the city completely under our power. We
were preparing to bombard it when the Danes
made overtures to save it, and King Charles,
who under many circumstances was neither
cruel nor revengeful, agreed to withdraw his
forces on receiving a sum of four hundred thou-
sand thalers, and provisions for his troops while
they remained, and for which he promised to
pay on delivery.
When the King of Denmark heard of the
landing of Charles at Copenhagen he was in
Holstein; and when the news of his success






40 THE STORY OF -A KING.
reached him he commanded terms of peace to
be immediately arranged. Thus and so easily
was the Danish matter disposed of.
But other and more'powerful enemies arose
who had to be contended against. The czar,
Peter of Russia, besieged the town of Narva
with an army of eighty, thousand men, and
King Charles, although his force only numbered
eight thousand strong, hastened to the rescue.
The czar, hearing of the approach of Charles,
brought from the interior an additional force of
forty thousand soldiers to meet the Swedish
troops, and brought them against the Swedes,
leaving General Croy in charge before Narva.
With such a force it might have seemed an
easy matter for the Russians to have occupied
Narva with its small Swedish garrison of two
thousand strong in a very short time. But
General Horn, who was in command, was a
brave and determined soldier, and kept the
Russian troops at bay for nearly two months.
Charles was anxious to proceed to the aid of his -
gallant general; but he was opposed by the





THE STORY OF A KING. 41
Russians, who were supported in the rear by a
large force of Strelitzers, so that before the
Swedes could reach Narva they had to fight
their way through an army of upwards of sixty
thousand men. When Charles heard of the
strength of the force which was opposing him
he did not appear in the least dismayed His
officers, certainly, were alarmed, and ventured
to remonstrate with him on the hazard of ven-
turing to oppose such a powerful force, and one
old experienced general shook his head and
passed some ominous remarks on the danger
into which the Swedish troops were being led.
When the king heard of this he rode up to
the general and said, "Surely; general, you do
not doubt that with eight thousand hardy
Swedes I can conquer eighty thousand Rus-
sians?"
"I cannot but admit that your majesty was
wonderfully successful at Copenhagen," replied
the general guardedly, "and with God's help
you may be equally so here; but-"
"Then I rely upon you to aid me in every






42 THE STORY OF A KING.

way in your power," quickly replied the king,
without seeming to interrupt the general. "You
will perhaps perceive that I have a double ad-
vantage over the enemy: as they are at present
situated their cavalry is as good as useless; and
in the second place, their position otherwise is
so circumscribed that they can only employ a
small force at a time, so that notwithstanding
the disparity of numbers my force is really the
stronger of the two."
This remark silenced the general, and when
a knowledge of it had circulated through the
ranks the soldiers believed in it, and also looked
upon the king as a perfect host in himself.
The Swedish troops speedily came up with
the Russian advance-guard. It was posted in a
narrow defile, so secure that with proper general-
ship a small force could have held its own against
ten times its number. But such was the fury of
the attack which Charles ordered to be made
upon it that it was routed almost before it
could make a stand. A retreat was immediately
resolved upon, and the confusion which it caused






THE STORY OF A KING. 43
had such an effect upon the other Russian troops
that the whole multitude, numbering between
fifty and sixty thousand men, fled in a state of
panic and terror; and our progress towards
Narva was not shortened by this important
incident by more than half an hour's time.
The king then gave orders to advance, and
after a long and tedious march, during which we
were scarcely allowed to rest, we found ourselves
in front of an intrenched camp of eighty thou-
sand Russian soldiers, supported by artillery to
the extent of one hundred and fifty guns.
Nothing daunted by this formidable display,
however, the king commanded us to proceed,
and shouting "Forward!" as a watchword, placed
himself at our head and boldly led us on, leav-
ing us no time to indulge either fears or fancies.
Our guns soon made several breaches in the
Russian breastworks, and orders were given that
we should charge with the bayonet at the double.
How any man of us escaped slaughter on that
occasion is still to me a perfect miracle; but God
appeared to prosper us in every way, while the






44 THE STORY OF A KING.
valour of our king was something astonishing to
behold. Still more to favour us, snow began to
fall heavily, and the wind, which was on our
backs, blew it in the faces of the enemy with
such force that they were both blinded and be-
numbed; and in less than half an hour they were
nearly incapable of resistance, although I must
confess they fought bravely and stood their
ground manfully.
The conduct of our king in this action was
that of an old and tried general. Ever in the
thickest of the fight his courage never forsook
him. Three horses were shot under him, but
beyond making a remark that he would soon
become an expert horseman he took little notice
of the circumstances. One of his horses stumbled
with him in a swamp, and before he could ex-
tricate himself he was compelled to leave one of
his boots behind. Being near him at the time,
I offered him one of mine, but he refused it
sharply, and when I saw him again he was on
horseback and fighting with only one boot on.
The struggle continued for three hours, and it






THE STORY OF A KING. 45
was one which I will never forget, but at length
we were left masters of the field by the retreat of
the Russians. Still we had only as yet subdued
one wing of the enemy's forces. Flushed with
victory Charles resolved to follow up his success,
and with about four thousand Swedish soldiers
he attacked the second wing, which consisted of
nearly forty thousand Russians, whom he routed
with dreadful slaughter, driving them ultimately
in confusion to the River Narva. Numbers of
them tried to save themselves by the bridge, but
the rush upon it,was so tremendous that it gave
way, and hundreds perished in the waters beneath;
and the escape of those left being now impossible,
they were forced to surrender unconditionally.
On the Russian generals giving up their swords
Charles treated them courteously, and having
selected a few to remain as prisoners for the pre-
sent, he permitted the others to return to their
homes.
On this memorable occasion our king certainly
behaved with great clemency to his prisoners.
Considering what he should do with them, one







46 THE STORY OF A KING.
of his own generals suggested that they should
immediately be put to death; but the king turned
angrily upon him and said with indignation:
" Doth not the Bible say, 'If thine enemy hunger,
feed him?'" and gave orders that they should at
once be supplied with everything which would
conduce to their comfort.
That was the man that King Charles ever was,
as much distinguished by his piety and the fear
of God as by his bravery; he had a humane
temper when opportunity allowed him to exercise
it, but his dangerous obstinacy too frequently
overcame his best intentions.
On this eventful night the king slept in the
cold, on the bare ground, .with only his military
cloak around him, and whether he slept sound or
not I cannot say, but he certainly had a remark-
able return for the kindness which he had dis-
played to his Russian prisoners before he had
slept long. General Vede, who commanded the
right wing, having heard of the defeat of the
corresponding portion of the army, and also of
the kind treatment which had been bestowed






THE STORY OF A KING. 47
upon the unfortunate prisoners, despatched an
officer to arrange terms for the surrender of the
troops under his command, feeling certain that
he would not be able to stand against such a
formidable foe as Charles had proved himself to
be. This announcement was peculiarly gratify-
ing to the king, and he at once despatched word
to General Vede that he would be satisfied if he
would parade his troops before him and surrender
his arms and colours. Next day, therefore, wit-
nessed the extraordinary scene of thirty thousand
Russian soldiers marching, with bared heads, in
front of the conquering Swedes, now reduced by
killed and wounded to the comparatively small
number of seven thousand. As they filed past
King Charles and his officers they each laid down
their arms before him. Our soldiers stood in
parade order behind the king, and every one of
us, you may be sure, felt proud of the victory we
had secured; and all the more proud, perhaps,
when we considered the apparently overwhelm-
ing. number of the enemy which we had attacked.
That we were proud of our youthful king







48 THE STORY OF A KING.
that day will, I hope, not for a moment be
doubted.
When the Czar of Russia was informed of the
disastrous defeat of his large army he was nearly
giving way to despair; but he was a man of great
mind, and speedily was able to think of the mis-
fortune with the composure which best became
him, although it can readily be supposed that
the defeat of the Russians at Narva was a cir-
cumstance which was not soon forgotten by the
people of that country.
After this brilliant victory everything seemed
to prosper with our young king and his gallant
army. The next victory we secured was that
over Augustus, King of Poland and Elector of
Saxony, in 1703. On that occasion we took
possession of Poland, putting Stanislaus on the
throne, and concluded a peace which was highly
advantageous to Sweden.
The fame of King Charles was now at its
highest point; he was respected and dreaded by
nearly every country, and his army were regarded
as the bravest and most faithful to their sove-







THE STORY OF A KING. 49

reign in Europe. Germany granted freedom of
conscience to the Protestants of Silesia at the
request of the Swedish king, and his glory seemed
to be fixed on a permanent basis. But, alas!
misfortune came at last; calamity began to over-
take him, and the star of his success began to
fade in brilliancy. Success and prosperity seemed
to forsake us, and nothing to remain for us but
a long season of sorrow and distress. The Rus-
sians waited patiently for an opportunity to
avenge their defeat at Narva, and it came at last.
The Swedish troops had been quartered in
Saxony for upwards of twelve months, and the
pleasing intelligence was spread among us that
we might shortly expect to return to our own
country, from which we had been so long absent;
but our hopes were suddenly blasted. We were
surprised one morning by orders that we were
to prepare, without an hour's delay, to march
into Poland. Having done so, we found that
war against Russia was everywhere in operation,
and of course it was not long before King Charles
and his troops were drawn into it.
(153) D






50 THE STORY OF A KING.
The first place where we renewed acquaintance
with the Russians was at Hollowxin, in the
vicinity of the river Dnieper, where we encoun-
tered the great General Menschikoff at the head
of twenty thousand grenadiers and nine regi-
ments of cavalry. To attack them seemed an
impossibility, for they were well protected in
front by a small but rapid river and a broad and
dangerous morass, and by thickly wooded grounds
on both sides. Our generals counselled the erec-
tion of pontoon bridges, but the impulsive haste
,of King Charles could not brook the delay; and
without even waiting to muster the whole of his
forces he plunged into the rushing river, where
he was speedily followed by his guards and
several other regiments. After crossing, which
we did safely, and without waiting to dry our
clothes, we at once proceeded to attack the Rus-
sian entrenchments with the full power of our
force. They met us bravely, and repulsed us
with serious loss six times; but the king led us
on again and again, until at last victory crowned
our efforts; the Russians fled, leaving behind





THE STORY OF A KING. 51
them no fewer than eight thousand men and
thirty-six pieces of ordnance.
King Charles was so elated with this second
victory over the Russians that he positively
refused to accept terms of peace offered to him
by the czar, telling the officers who were com-
missioned to make them that he "would talk
about such things after he had entered Moscow."
The Russian autocrat was highly incensed when
he heard the reply that had been made to his
offer, and is reported to have said to some of his
officers, "My good brother of Sweden may aspire
to be a second Alexander, but he will yet dis-
cover that I will not enact the part of Darius."

But, my young gentlemen (said the lighthouse-
keeper, breaking off his narrative at this point),
I see that the lamps require trimming, so I must
attend to them before proceeding further with my
story. I must not allow your pleasure to interfere
with my duty, or serious consequences might ensue,
particularly on such a stormy night as this; (and
so saying he rose and went to attend to his work).



K














CHAPTER IV.

DEFEAT AND DISASTER AT PULTAVA.


HIEN Roos had seen that everything was
right with the lights for .a time he went
outside to have a look at the storm, and
although it was still raging as fiercely as ever he
saw nothing that was likely to require his assist-
ance. He therefore returned to the lighthouse
and resumed his seat among the young cadets,
who had now become greatly interested in his
narrative.

I left off (he recommended) at the point where
King Charles haughtily rejected the overtures of
peace which the Czar Peter had made to him.
It was a most unfortunate thing he did so, for






THE STORY OF A KING. 53
the czar was then so convinced of the Swedish
king's military superiority that he would gladly
have consented to any modifications that might
have been considered necessary to meet his views.
But Charles thought he had now everything
within his grasp, and his obstinacy again got the
better of his judgment, to his own irreparable
misfortune.
Had we proceeded straight to Moscow without
further delay matters might have gone well with
us still, but the plans of the king were dis-
arranged by a visit from an envoy of Mazeppa,
the hetman of the Ukraine, who brought him a
secret message. This Mazeppa, whose life had
been a most eventful one, had been created
prince of the large and semi-barbarous tribe of
Cossacks who inhabited the south of Russia.
He, however, found the yoke of the czar sit
heavily on him, so much so that he determined
to shake it off, free himself from the thraldom
Sof Russia, and become the independent ruler
of his own territory. His proposal to King
Charles was, that if he would consent to assist







54 THE STORY OF A KING.
him, and come into his country, he would find
thirty thousand men to aid him in crippling the
power of the czar.
With his usual impulsiveness the young king
was immediately enamoured with this proposal,
and without considering it fully in all its bear-
ings he at once accepted it. The march to
Moscow was abandoned, and the destination of
the Swedish army was altered to the Ukraine,
where we were promised food, money, clothing,
and ev.,-ythin we could desire or expect. To
Charles this was no doubt a most advantageous
offer, for, to tell the truth, since we left Saxony
we had fared very badly indeed even for the
common necessaries of life. The hardships of
war and the difficulty of procuring supplies in
a strange country had reduced us to great ex-
tremity, and it must be confessed that we looked
more like a pack of hungry wolves than the
noble Swedes we had formerly thought our-
selves. The king, I suppose, thought he was
going into a country where he could get all
things put to rights again at little or no cost, and






THE STORY OF A KING. 55
as we all thoroughly believed in him we did not
hesitate to think he was right.
But good fortune had now evidently forsaken
us, and everything seemed to go wrong. The
horrors of that march to the Ukraine I shall
never forget, and sooner than I would undertake
it a second time I would cut my right hand off.
The greater part of the country through which
we passed was a perfect quagmire, and in our
efforts to drag our artillery with us we lost a
large number of guns in the swamps ~A:l marshes
through which we had to march. The woods
and morasses through which we had to struggle
completely destroyed our clothing, while the
scantiness of food completed the mischief, and
left us starving as well as naked. For twelve
dreadful days we endured these privations, when
we arrived on the banks of the River Desna,
where we expected to meet Mazeppa at the head
of the army which had been promised, and with
a full supply of provisions and other necessaries.
But no such good luck was in store for us;
Mazeppa's plot had been discovered, and we






56 THE STORY OF A KING.
found ourselves confronted by a huge force of
Russian soldiers, ready to receive us at the point
of the bayonet.
To retreat we were unable; we would only
have been annihilated by starvation if we did,
so the sole thing left for us to do was to fight
the Russians, and that we were scarcely in a
condition to undertake. However, it stood thus:
if we did not fight them, they would destroy us
one way or another. The king spoke boldly out,
and urged us to do our duty for the honour of
our country, and we did so. We fought the
Russians, and conquered them too; but the
victory was a dear-bought one. We afterwards
fell in with Mazeppa, who was advancing to
meet us with five thousand men only, instead
of the thirty thousand which we had been led
to expect. But they were sorry soldiers-ill-
disciplined, disorderly, and lacking in all the
soldierly qualities which made us Swedes more
than a match for our enemies. They were also
ill-clad, ill-fed, and ill-armed; so that, all things
considered, they were more an encumbrance than






THE STORY OF A KING. 57
a benefit. Mazeppa had brought a supply of
provisions for our use so far with him, but it
had been seized by the Russians, who also hanged
several hundreds of his followers and broke up
the ranks of the others. Mazeppa himself had
been deposed and declared an outlaw, his capital
had been consumed by fire, and a new ruler
appointed in his place in another part of the
Ukraine.
It will readily be understood that the presence
of this ally and his followers did not inspire us
with confidence, and our only hope now was in
the appearance of General Lowenhaupt, who, it
had been arranged, was to reinforce us with men
and supplies from Poland. If he should come as
he had promised, the king assured us all might
yet be well, and good fortune would again be
our lot. Patiently but mournfully we waited
for him; day by day our hopes were deferred,
and our hearts began to sicken. At length, how-
ever, he did make his appearance, but in such a
condition! Truly our cup of misery was now
full to overflowing! The general had left Poland






58 THE STORY OF A KING.
with fifteen thousand men and several hundred
wagons of provisions and other stores; but trea-
son had been again at work, and information
of his movements was conveyed to the czar. A
large force was despatched to intercept him, and
secure the stores he was forwarding. When
Lowenhaupt found this to be the case he deter-
mined to defend himself to the last, and bravely
he did so. But Russian reinforcements, headed
by the czar in person, came upon his rear, and
he was at last surrounded and hemmed in on all
sides in the midst of a swamp from which
it was thought impossible he could extricate
himself.
But the Swedish troops fought bravely, and
ultimately the Russians were forced to retire.
They returned to the conflict, however, and
nearly overwhelmed Lowenhaupt's troops with
their numbers. But the Swedish general defended
his position with the bravery of despair until
night put a stop to the hostilities. In the morn-
ing the fight was resumed, and Lowenhaupt
finding that it would be impossible to save his






THE STORY OF A KING. 59
stores, resolved to burn them rather than allow
them to fall into the hands of the enemy; but he
failed in doing so, and the Russians accordingly
captured the greater part of them.
On this the czar offered terms of peace to the
Swedish general, but he indignantly rejected
them, and ultimately forced his way through an
opposing army six times more numerous than his
own.
His arrival among us, therefore, did not in the
least improve our condition. On the contrary, it
only added to our numbers, and consequently
made farther demands upon our already too
limited stores.
The king had now twenty-eight thousand men
under his command, the greater portion of whom
had up to this time cheerfully submitted to all
the hardships and privations of the campaign;
but discontent began gradually to develop itself.
The troops felt themselves able to fight the
Russians, but they had not bargained to fight
the more powerful enemies cold and hunger.
A comrade of mine, who came of a good family






60 THE STORY OF A KING.
and at home had been accustomed to all the
luxuries of life, ventured one day to complain.
to the king about the size and quality of a piece
of black, mouldy bread which had been served
out to him, at the same time saying he could not
eat it. The king took the piece from his hand,
broke off a little, and after carefully eating it
he handed it back to the grumbler, saying quietly:
"I must admit that it is not so good as it ought
to be, but it is quite fit to eat." This answer
soon spread among us, and we had to content
ourselves with it, whether we liked it or not.
Our poor horses fared even worse than ourselves,
and the majority of them were now mere struc-
tures of skin and bone.
A number of the generals proposed to the
king that he should remove the army into Poland
for the winter instead of remaining in the wilder-
ness we now occupied. But he declined to do
so, and in his obstinacy rebuked them, saying:
"What? retire into Poland! as if I were run-
ning away from Russia. No, no, a king of
Sweden cannot do that. Winter will soon be






THE STORY OF A KING. 61
over, and then we will make our way to Mos-
cow."
The winter, however, proved severer even than
we expected, and Charles neither found his way
to the Ukraine nor to Moscow. No one who
experienced the dreadful winter of 1709 will
ever forget it. Our army suffered fearfully, and
hundreds of our men were frozen to death. The
Baltic Sea was actually frozen over even in the
month of May, so that it could be crossed in
sledges, and the strongest spirits were frozen into
solid masses. It will be difficult for you young
gentlemen to realize what our sufferings were.
We had certainly abundance of wood and were
able to keep up good fires, which was our only
comfort. Thousands of our men would also
have perished from hunger had it not been for
the exertions of Mazeppa, whose troops, possess-
ing an intimate knowledge of the country for
many miles round, were able to procure food and
forage for us under circumstances in which we
would have failed.
When the winter was over the king found







62 THE STORY OF A KING.
that his whole fighting army was reduced to
sixteen thousand men, no fewer than twelve
thousand having succumbed to the terrible hard-
ships which surrounded us! Notwithstanding
this, the king obstinately determined to carry
out his resolve to press onwards to Moscow, and
the troops were accordingly moved in that
direction. On our way thither we laid siege
to the town of Pultava, which had been strongly
fortified and provisioned by the czar; but our
efforts to take it were unavailing, although we
fought with every energy we possessed, backed
by the despair which belongs to men famishing
with hunger. The fortifications of the town
were too strong, and as the Russian stores were
very large our first intention of starving them
out had to be abandoned at the very outset.
Misfortunes surrounded us on every point.
Russian reinforcements being expected to arrive
at Pultava, Charles sent General Stackelberg to
intercept them. In this, however, he failed, losing
his life in the attempt, and our prospects looked
very black indeed. But the personal courage of







THE STORY OF A KING. 63
the king was in no ways diminished, and many
of us even began to think that he bore a charmed
life. In all his battles and skirmishes he had
been so uniformly successful that he even thought
himself invulnerable; but at the siege of Pultava
he was forced to set this conviction aside, as the
hard facts which presented themselves before
him admitted of no dispute. In a skirmish out-
side of the town he received a musket ball in
his left foot, and though he remained on horse-
back till the end of the engagement without
paying any attention to it, the pain at length
became so great, and he felt so weak from loss
of blood, that he had to dismount and send for
a surgeon. On examining the foot the surgeon
said that the wound was so serious, and had
been neglected so long, that the only thing that
remained to be done was to cut the foot off by
the ankle. This the king, however, would not
hear of, when I ventured to suggest that I should
go for Surgeon Neumann, who was attached to
our regiment. He differed in opinion from the
other surgeon, and suggested that if several deep






64 THE STORY OF A KING.
cuts were made in other parts of the foot am-
putation might be avoided. To this the other
assented, and the king agreed. Seizing his foot
with his hands, he raised it on to a stool, and
clenching his teeth firmly, said quietly, "Now,
doctors, cut away as you please, and do not be
afraid. If this does not do I can then have the
foot taken off."
The operation was successfully performed, and
during the whole time the king never uttered a
single expression of pain or displeasure. While
thus engaged, information was brought that the
entire Russian army, with the czar at their head,
was in motion. Even this intelligence did not
cause him to lose his self-possession. Turning
to the surgeons he merely said quietly, Well, if
that is the case, we will have to fight a battle
to-morrow."

When Roos had reached this point in his nar-
rative he was suddenly startled by a dull heavy
sound which seemed to come from the sea, and
of which his experienced ear well knew the im-






TIE STORY OF A KING. 65
port, although his hearers would not have paid
any attention. He rose hurriedly to his feet and
peered anxiously out of the window which he
had opened.
"What can that be, Roos?" said Olaf Sparre,
observing that the old man looked very excited.
"It is a gun fired by a vessel in distress, Master
Olaf," replied Roos; "see, there is another! you
will hear the report in a second or two," he
added, as a flash was for an instant visible
across the sea, apparently at some considerable
distance off. "Master Olaf," said he, "will you
run to the fort and ask your father to send off a
pilot and a few men. With assistance the vessel
and crew may yet be saved. Master Elfdal, you
may go with him, but Master Ronne must re-
main with me till you return; now off you go
and do not lose an instant on the way;" and the
two youths, buttoning up their cloaks to shield
themselves from the wind and rain, were out
of the lighthouse and on their way to the fort
almost as soon as Roos had finished speaking.

(153)






66 THE STORY OF A KING.
look after the lanterns again. Would you like
to come up with me?" Ronne having gladly
assented, they both ascended the ladders which
led to the lanterns. While attending to the
lights a lull appeared to take place in the storm,
and the clouds dispersed, allowing a few stars
to become visible here and there. The moon also
beamed forth a powerful gleam upon the foam-
ing waves, and in the far distance the keen eyes
of the lighthouse-keeper perceived a large closely-
reefed ship struggling bravely against the fury of
the waves, and which was evidently the vessel
that had fired the signals of distress.
"There she is, Master Ronne," he cried; "do
you see her? Now if she can only be kept out
of mischief for about half an hour the pilot will
be on board of her, and she will be saved."
"Yes, Mr. Roos," said the youth, "I can see the
ship quite plain, and-and-I think I am right
-yes, I see also two pilot boats going off to her
assistance."
"Do you really, indeed? You must have good
eyes," said Roos, seemingly questioning the state-







THE STORY OF A KING. 67
ment of young Ronne; but in a moment after-
wards he. exclaimed, "Ah, yes, you are right, I
see them also! There they go! at that rate they
will be on board in less than no time, and all
danger will be over. Now that they have the
light of the moon and my light also, they will
be bad pilots indeed if they cannot steer straight
into the anchoring-ground;" and for several
minutes the old man and the youth anxiously
watched the manceuvring of the ship. At length
the old soldier uttered an exclamation of delight,
and said:
"There, Master Ronne, that was well done!
The ship is all right now, and will soon be safe
at anchor. The boats reached her the very
moment they were required; and now I think
we may go down again."
When they had descended Roos said to Ronne,
"It was a providential thing that Colonel Sparre
came this way to-night; but for his leaving his
son and you two young gentlemen here with me
I would have been unable to send word to the
fort, for I dare not leave the lights for a moment;






68 THE STORY OF A KING.
and if I had not done so, we might have had to
mourn the loss of dozens of lives. But, thank
God, the danger is now past for the present.
I think there is nothing further to fear to-
night, Master Ronne. The storm is abating, so
if you would like to join your companions at the
fort you may. I don't suppose they will care to
come up again to-night."
"But, Mr. Roos," said the youth, looking at his
watch, "it is barely ten o'clock yet, and if Olaf
and Elfdal are as anxious to hear the remainder
of your story as I am, I am certain they will be
back"
"And here they are," shouted the two messen-
gers, as they bounced into the room, almost
breathless and dripping with rain. As soon as
Olaf could speak he said, "Mr. Roos, my father
sends his compliments, and he is much obliged to
you for the timely information you sent him, and
he will take care that your services are reported
in the proper quarter. The pilots boarded her
just in time to keep her clear of the rocks."
"Well, well, Master Olaf, that is all right






THE STORY OF A KING. 69
enough," replied Roos: "I only did my part. God
above, your father, and the pilots did more than
I, and they deserve honour more than I do. But
have you heard the name of the ship ?"
"Yes," answered Olaf, "she is the Torstensohn,
a sixty-gun frigate of the Swedish navy, and this
gentleman, who has come with us, was one of
the passengers;" and Olaf introduced a tall,
handsome young man to Roos, who shook hands
with him cordially, and begged him to be seated,
saying that he was sorry he had not much to
offer him except a warm welcome and the re-
mainder of a story about King Charles which he
had been telling to the young gentlemen present.
"I shall only be too glad to hear it," replied
the young man modestly; "I remember the king
well, and saw him at Frederickshald."
"You must have been very young then," said
Roos with surprise; "it is now some years ago,
and you do not appear to be very old. I know
all the story, for I was one of the soldiers who
assisted to carry him to his tent after he received
his fatal wound at Frederickshald."







70 THE STORY OF A KING.
"Yes," responded the stranger, "I was only a
child, and my father was one of the king's
officers, and as I was destined for the army he
wanted to show me some of the perils of soldier-
ing."
"Then we are old comrades!" responded Roos,
again shaking hands with the young man with
pleasure. After a good tea Roos was asked to
resume the story of King Charles from the point
where he had left off.

I left off at the siege of Pultava I think (he
said) just after the king had his foot dressed,
and when he was told that the Russians were
leaving the town under the leadership of the
czar. Well, on the evening of the day he lay
down, and without giving the least heed to the
pain which he was suffering he made his plans
by which he hoped to meet the enemy next
morning. He rose at daybreak and personally
superintended everything. He seemed to be
confident of success, but it must be owned his
officers and soldiers considered it as more than






THE STORY OF A KING. 71
doubtful. There were sixty-five thousand Rus-
sians, supported by one hundred and thirty can-
non; while our small force consisted of but a few
thousand men, who possessed only four cannon
that could be of any use to us.
When we marched forth to meet the enemy
our hearts sank within us. As far as we could
see in -every direction the ground literally
swarmed with Russians; but as retreat on our
part was utterly impossible, we had only the
alternative of fighting or dying. Our officers
did the best they could to inspire us with cour-
age, reminding us of the glorious victory of
Narva, where a mere handful of Swedes defeated
eighty thousand Russians.
The king also, although importuned to remain
behind, was present, and insisted on going from
column to column, giving expression to cheering
remarks, and prognosticating certain success if
we fought with the national valour which had
so often before led us on to victory. The king
commanded us in person; but as he could not
ride he had to be carried about in a litter, from






72 THE STORY OF A KING.
which, however, he gave his orders with as much
clearness and coolness as if he had been mounted
on the finest charger. General Schlippenbach,
who commanded the cavalry, commenced the
engagement on our side by attacking a large
section of Russian cavalry. The force of his
charge was so terrific that he completely broke
them up, and sent them flying in all directions
in dire confusion. This gave the other Swedish
troops great encouragement, and the victory
seemed almost within our grasp when one of
our generals made a fatal mistake. Having been
ordered to attack the retreating Russians in the
flank with five thousand horse, he miscalculated
his time. The result was the fugitives escaped,
were immediately reformed by the czar, who
ordered them to break the ranks of our army,
which they succeeded in doing, leaving General
Schlippenbach a prisoner in their hands.
Our infantry was then ordered to advance;
but the Russians received us with such a volley
of musketry that hundreds fell under it, and the
remainder had to flee. The troops under Men-






THE STORY OF A KING 73
schikoff got between us and the fortress, and we
found ourselves cut off from our rear-guard, who
had charge of all our baggage and stores. Dis-
aster followed disaster; and in the end every-
thing fell into the hands of the Russians. King
Charles behaved nobly. Wherever the danger
was greatest, there he was. The litter in which
he was placed was shattered to pieces, but his
courage and coolness never forsook him. But
even his presence and bravery failed to inspire
us sufficiently to bring about a turn in the tide
of events; and at last the whole of the Swedish
army had to take to flight. The king himself
was among the last who left the field, although
he was unable to fight personally, and it was
with great difficulty that we could get him to
accompany us at all. At length he consented to
mount a horse, and placing himself at the head
of five hundred mounted troopers, he forced his
way off the field through several Russian lines
of cavalry and infantry. Even in retreat disaster
befell our noble king; the horse which he rode
was shot under him, and it was with the greatest






74 THE STORY OF A KING.
difficulty we procured a carriage into which we
placed him, and ultimately succeeded in remov-
ing him to a place of safety.
When his officers gathered round him he
simply said, "The day is lost! Now we must go
to Turkey."
This sad defeat of the whole Swedish army
under Charles XII. took place on the 8th of
July, 1709.
As I was several times in the thick of the
disastrous conflict that day it will not surprise
you to hear that I was wounded several times,
although not seriously, and I contrived to keep
so close to the king that I was frequently able
to be of service to him, for which he expressed
his gratitude in many ways.
Our retreat towards Turkish territory lasted
five whole days, and the whole way lay through
a perfect wilderness of sand, nearly destitute of
water or food of any kind. During the greater
part of our journey we were pursued by the
Russian troops, who harassed us greatly, and
took a considerable number of prisoners. At






THE STORY OF A KING. 75
length we reached the confines of Turkey, where
we poor fugitives found the protection we so
much required.
King Charles and his followers, who had
hitherto never drawn swords but to conquer;
the king who had caused all the rulers of Europe
to tremble on their thrones; the king whose will
could brook no opposition, and whose obstinacy
no man could overcome, was now a poor way-
worn, wounded, soldierless monarch-a fugitive
in a foreign country, possessing nothing but his
life and a broken spirit!
No one ever knew what Charles thought of
this terrible defeat, or that his better nature ever
checked his obstinate spirit for having thus
allowed his ambition to overcome his judgment;
for not a word on the subject was ever heard to
come from his lips. But many of us thought,
and we think so still, that if he had been satisfied
with the glory which he gained at Narva, and
which secured for him the admiration of the
whole of Europe, much misery would have been
spared and many lives saved.







76 THE STORY OF A KING.

When we arrived at Bender, on the Turkish
frontier, we were well received by the people,
and the governor, or seraskier, of the place sent
a general to receive the king, and to assure him
that everything possible would be done which
would be of service to him and his followers.
Indeed he was received more as a victor than
as a great monarch who had suffered a disastrous
defeat. Declining all hospitable invitations which
he received, the king requested that tents might
be pitched for him and his soldiers-the latter
now, alas! reduced to about two thousand-on
an open space near the fortifications. This was
at once complied with, and we all camped in the
open air, with the king in our midst. However
we were abundantly supplied with food and
other necessaries, and the sultan sent a purse
containing three hundred thalers in gold every
morning to the king for his private use. But
the feeling that we were only miserable fugitives
pressed heavily on us, and we could not conceal
from ourselves the fact that we were in a posi-
tion analogous to that of prisoners and beggars.






THE STORY OF A KING. 77
But the active spirit of the king could not
rest. In a very short time he was devising new
schemes against Russia, and in which he hoped
to obtain the assistance of Turkey. He sent an
envoy to Constantinople whose chief object was
to instigate the sultan to declare war against the
czar; but the Turkish ruler was cautious, and
months passed over before he would even vouch-
safe to consider the matter.
In the meantime the French ambassador offered
to find ships by which we could have been
transported back to Sweden, and many of us
wished that the king would have accepted the
offer; but as the desire to dethrone the czar had
obtained possession of his mind he could not be
induced to entertain the proposal, although all
agreed that it would have been the best course
to follow. This being the condition of [affairs
we were forced to remain, and under the circum-
stances we proceeded to make matters as com-
fortable as we could.
Our camp gradually assumed the appearance
of a little town. Tents one by one gave way to






78 THE STORY OF A KING.

wooden huts and other temporary buildings,
which were erected perhaps as much for the
sake of having something to do as for the com-
fort of those who built them, for every man of us
by this time had grown heartily tired of idleness.
At length the foot of the king was pronounced
well, and as soon as he could mount his horse
again he became as restless as ever, and his
ambition to conquer the Russians developed
more and more. Every morning he was abroad
by sunrise, and each day he rode three or four
horses until they were exhausted. Daily also he
insisted on the soldiers being drilled to such an
extent that when evening came many of us were
ready to drop with fatigue, and he never was
in better temper than when he saw every one
exerting himself to the very utmost.
Of course it took money to support so many
men in this unproductive industry, but there
seemed to be no want of it. He received large
subsidies from the sultan, and the French ambas-
sador opened his purse freely to him, while his
own credit stood good at Constantinople for






THE STORY OF A KING. 79

any amount. But in the use of money it is
well known that Charles .was very extravagant.
Besides he had to spend large sums for what
may be called illegitimate purposes. For in-
stance, he had to bribe the Turkish pashas and
others to induce them to get others to support
his plans, and no sooner did he receive a large
sum of money than he proceeded to scatter it
with the greatest profusion and recklessness.
His secretary, Baron Grothusen, was equally
prodigal in the way he distributed the money
which fell to be allotted by him. It is told
of him that one day, having received a sum of
sixty thousand thalers to expend, the king in-
quired how he had disposed of it.
"Your majesty will perceive how the money
has been applied if you will condescend to peruse
this account," said the treasurer, handing the
king a small piece of paper on which were simply
noted the facts that eighteen thousand thalers
had been divided among the Swedes and several
Turkish officials, and that the remaining forty-
two thousand had been spent in different ways.






80 THE STORY OF A KING.
"Ah! Baron," said the king, quite pleased at
the completeness of the statement, as he thought;
"that's the proper way to keep accounts. Now
when that fellow Muller (Muller was regimental
paymaster) has any accounts to show me, he insists
upon reading over page after page of trifling
details, and when all is done the whole matter
does not amount to more perhaps than five
hundred thalers! tush, he makes me lose my
temper!"
As I happened to be on duty in the king's
tent when this remark was made I could not
help hearing it, and as I have already told you
I was on terms sufficiently intimate with the
king that I could venture a remark now and
then, I said, after the baron had retired:
Excuse me, your majesty, but I think Muller's
method of keeping his accounts is the best of the
two. By it you can see the use which every
thaler has been put to, but from Baron Grot-
husen's you can only see that he has spent
large sums of money, but you do not see what
he has received for it."






THE STORY OF A KING. 81

"Well, Roos," said the king, smiling, "no
doubt you think you are right and that the
baron is wrong, but you really should not talk
about what you don't understand. I cannot be
bothered with details, and Baron Grothusen
does not trouble me with them, so I think his
system is the best."
"But it may come to be a serious matter,
your majesty, when the money comes to an end,"
said I, rather boldly, as I afterwards thought.
"Surely, Roos, you do not think it will ever
be so bad as that! The money come to an end!
Impossible! and besides, what is money but a
means to an end, and whosoever aspires to gain
an end must use all the means in his power.
Stick to your musket, Roos; you are a good
soldier, but you will never make a financier."
Thus ended our first conversation on money
matters. I was snubbed, the king was satisfied,
and the treasurer continued the spending of the
money with as much recklessness and careless-
ness as ever.

(158) F













CHAPTER V.

THE SWEDES IN TURKEY.


I lHE fame of the king and his followers had
gs spread well through the part of Turkey
where we were now located, so that we
had no lack of visitors to our camp; and we
waited patiently in the hope that the sultan would
at last order his troops to draw their swords
and aid us against the Russians. But we were
doomed to disappointment, and the double-deal-
ing of the Turkish ruler soon became apparent.
We discovered that while he was making us
promises of assistance and accepting large sums
of money as bribes, he was doing the very same
with the czar. The latter had secured from us
a large quantity of treasure at our defeat at
Pultava, and this he used in bribing the sultan







THE STORY OF A KING. 83
against us-thus literally paying us back in our
own coin; and of course our hopes of a Turkish
alliance were completely frustrated. The Russian
envoy went so far as to demand the surrender
of Mazeppa, and it was evident that the Turks
were willing to yield to their wishes had not the
noble old fellow died before the negotiations
were completed. He next insulted the king and
put him into a great passion by telling him that
he was mistaken in looking upon the Turkish
soldiers who were in attendance upon him as a
guard of honour, but were properly in position
so as to be on the alert in the event of any of
us attempting to escape. There was no denying
the truth of this, for frequently, as the king
desired to go to Constantinople, his intention
was constantly frustrated, and he had to submit
quietly to remain at Bender whether he liked to
do so or not.
We were indeed humiliated, and at length the
proud King Charles had to bend before the
power of the sultan, and actually petition him
for protection. Believing that the sultan was







84 THE STORY OF A KING.
ignorant of the proceedings of his grand-vizier
the king commanded Count Poniatowsky, the
Swedish ambassador, to write a letter of remon-
strance to the Turkish ruler. This was done,
but it was only by a stratagem that the letter
reached the hands of the sultan. Instead, how-
ever, of replying to the complaint in a categorical
manner, the latter evaded the questions entirely,
and sent as a present twenty-five splendid
Arabian horses, one of which was caparisoned
in the most sumptuous manner, with a letter of
the most fulsome and meaningless compliment-
so much so, indeed, that the king tore it up in
anger before he had completed reading. The
grand-vizier, also, pretending not to know that
he had been complained against, sent a present
of five horses to the king; these, however, were
immediately returned with a sharp remark that
kings of Sweden were not in the habit of receiv-
ing presents from their enemies.
This state of affairs continued for two years,
the king all that time vainly hoping that he
would have a Turkish army under his command






THE STORY OF A KING. 85
with which he could proceed against Russia. As
for the affairs of Sweden, he never seemed to
give them a thought. At length matters began
to brighten a little. The sultan suddenly dis-
covered (what every other person knew before)
that his grand-vizier was a scoundrel, and made
short work of him by ordering his head to be
cut off. He appointed as his successor Kiuperli,
a man of an entirely different stamp and very
favourably disposed towards us.
On his own responsibility the new grand-vizier
sent Charles a large sum of money, with a strong
suggestion that he and his followers should quit
Turkey with all possible despatch. But the
natural obstinacy of the king again prevailed,
and he refused to leave except at the head of
a Turkish army. For some reason or other
Kiuperli was removed from office. His successor
discovering that the mother of the sultan sympa-
'thized with the Swedish king, became so friendly
with us that in a short time he actually per-
suaded the sultan to declare war against Russia,
on the ground that the latter had not respected






86 THE STORY OF A KING.
the Turkish frontier according to the treaty, and
for other reasons.
Immediately on the declaration of war the
Russian ambassador and his staff were made
prisoners, and an army of two hundred thousand
Turks were set in motion against the czar, who
at that time had barely a fourth of that number
under his command. To our great disappoint-
ment, however, we were not permitted to have
a share in the undertaking. Owing to the dis-
parity in the number of the Russians the Turks
were confident of securing an easy victory, but
the fate of war, ruled otherwise. Having sur-
rounded the Russian forces, the Turks prepared
to starve them into submission rather than risk
the lives of their own soldiers. The czar had
shut himself up in his tent in despair, with strict
injunctions that he should not be disturbed.
His wife Catherine, however, insisted on her
right to enter the tent, and did so, notwithstand-
ing all efforts to prevent her. On her knees she
implored permission from the czar to endeavour
to conclude a peace. She carried with her a






THE STORY OF A KING. 87
letter to the grand-vizier, who was in command
of the Turkish forces, which she importuned the
czar to sign, saying that if he did so the position
of affairs would be materially altered. After
much difficulty the czar granted her request, and
Catherine, having collected all the money, jewels,
and other valuables which she could gather
together, despatched them, with the letter, by
a trustworthy messenger to the grand-vizier. As
the bearer of the missive did not return in the time
expected the hopes of the queen began to dimin-
ish; and the czar, as a last resource, announced
his intention of destroying the baggage and
forcing his way through the surrounding forces
as the only chance of escape which was left
with him. Everything was arranged for this;
the Russian soldiers, inspired by their officers,
had vowed to sell their lives at the very dearest,
and the torches were just about to be applied
'to the baggage when the messenger who had
been sent to the Turkish camp returned in
breathless haste, announcing that the grand-
vizier consented to a suspension of hostilities







88 THE STORY OF A KING.
for six hours if the czar would agree to arrange
terms of peace. The result of all this was that
the Russians were allowed to retire with military
honours, and were amply supplied with provi-
sions and other necessaries by the Turks. While
these negotiations were pending a courier sent
by our envoy, who had accompanied the Turks,
arrived with information that the Russians were
in such a strait that their surrender was im-
minent. So great was the anxiety of Charles
to witness the humiliation of his foe, that, after
mounting his horse, instead of going round by a
bridge to the scene of operations he attempted
to cross the stream, and although he succeeded
in doing so he was nearly drowned for his fool-
hardiness. What was his disappointment, how-
ever, to meet the Russian army marching out
with drums beating and colours flying-more,
indeed, like victors than vanquished!
Charles at once perceived that treachery had
been at work, and dashing into the Turkish
lines at once accused the grand-vizier of having
betrayed his country. Angry words ensued be-






THE STORY OF A KING. 89
tween them, and while the grand-vizier did not
deny the treachery he had practised he did not
in the least attempt to excuse it. On Charles
angrily asking him why he had not taken the
czar as a prisoner to Constantinople, he answered
that if he had done so Russia would have been
without a ruler, and added with powerful satire:
"What would become of Europe if all her kings
were absent from their kingdoms?"
The king felt this hit keenly, and in a fit of
passion he mounted his horse and rode off in an
angry but also in a reflective mood.
As the grand-vizier knew that if Charles could
get his account of the treaty of peace'conveyed
to Constantinople he would fare ill, he now
began to use all his influence to get us out of
Turkey. He offered the king a passport through
Germany, also an escort of eight thousand men
if he should prefer to pass through Poland. But
Charles declared that with less than a hundred
thousand men he would not leave the country.
Pressure was now brought to bear upon him,
and even bribery was suggested, but he declared






90 THE STORY OF A KING.
that the first man who made a dishonourable
proposition to him would be shot with his own
hand.
Owing to a rising of the waters our camp at
Bender during the absence of the king had been
inundated, and we had consequently to move to
Varnitza, there to take up, as we thought, a per-
manent abode for life. The king himself ordered
a spacious and splendid building to be erected
for himself, and another nearly equally so for
his favourite, Baron Grothusen; although as a
rule his majesty was opposed to all extravagance
in the matter of personal comfort.
But the grand-vizier would not allow him to
rest, and took every means to cause him discom-
fort. He threatened him with the displeasure
of the sultan if he did not at once prepare to
quit Turkey. The seraskier who was deputed
to convey this message performed his duty in as
pleasant a manner as its disagreeable nature
would permit; but the king only smiled, and in
reply said:
"I am quite willing to quit Turkey if Sultan






THE STORY OF A KING. 91
Achmet will only make me two promises-and
keep them."
"May I ask your majesty what they are?"
asked the officer, imagining that he had gained
his object.
"Oh, certainly," said the king. "I only want
a hundred thousand men, and that the grand-
vizier should be duly punished for his treachery!"
The seraskier, knowing the obstinate disposi-
tion of the king, went away disappointed, and
reported the result of his mission to the grand-
vizier. The anger of the latter increased. In
order that no complaints as to his conduct could
reach Constantinople, and that the supply of
money should be stopped, he ordered all letters
written by the king to be seized and examined.
He even ventured to reduce our daily supply of
necessaries, and threatened to stop them alto-
gether if the king would not yield to his de-
mands. All this had no effect upon the king,
but on the contrary only made him more obsti-
nate than ever; he even increased his personal
expenses, having, in order to do so, to borrow






92 THE STORY OF A KING.
money at high rates of interest from Jews,
Christians, and Turks, and from his own officers.
At last, however, he had the satisfaction of
securing the punishment of the grand-vizier.
By some means or other Count Poniatowsky
contrived to forward a detailed account of the
whole affair to the sultan. This led to a search-
ing investigation, and ample proof of the treachery
of the grand-vizier was discovered. The result
was that the grand-vizier and Osman, the adju-
tant-general of the Turkish forces, met with
well-deserved punishment.
Jussuff, the new vizier, seemed favourable to
us at first. Money payments were renewed, as
also our daily supplies, even on a more liberal
scale than before. A renewal of war with
Russia seemed imminent, but this proved to be
a mistake on our part in supposing so. At
length, to the surprise of every one, the king one
morning received a letter from the sultan in
which the latter stated politely and firmly, and
with clearness, that we must prepare to return
to Sweden before the winter set in. Everything






THE STORY OF A KING. 93

that the king would require for such purpose
was promised; and he was urged to comply on
various grounds, and also counselled that any
disturbances which might arise from his refusal
would be laid to his charge.
But the obstinacy of the king became greater
than ever. He acknowledged the letter of the
sultan. in courteous terms, but stated that he
considered the Sublime Porte would never sanc-
tion his departure with a small escort through
countries which were still at enmity with Sweden.
So matters came to a temporary stand-still; and
although the king was repeatedly urged to depart,
he made no sign of moving. In the meantime
winter was rapidly approaching. The seraskier
again urged the king to depart, but was in-
formed by the latter that he could not think of
leaving a country until he had paid off all the
debts he had incurred. Being asked how much
money he would require for such a purpose he
replied, A thousand purses, or nearly half a
million florins."
The seraskier communicated this to the sultan,






94 THE STORY OF A KING.
who immediately authorized the payment of
twelve hundred purses, on condition, however,
that they were not to be paid until the king had
completed his arrangements for returning to
Sweden. But the simple-minded seraskier was
overcome by the wiles of the diplomatic Baron
Grothusen. He paid the money contrary to his
express instructions; in a short time, as usual,
it was squandered, and the king's debts stood as
they were before! The seraskier demanded the
departure of Charles, who again demanded money
to meet his liabilities. The officer was appalled.
To repeat such a demand to the sultan would be
at the risk of his own head, and he told the king
so. But the king was as obstinate as ever, and
persisting in his demand the seraskier had no
alternative but to forward it to the sultan. A
special council of the Sublime Porte was sum-
moned to consider this new request, and it was
resolved to drive Charles from Turkish territory
by force. This result was forwarded to the
seraskier with instructions to present it to the
king. The king listened to the officer compla-







THE STORY OF A KING. 95
cently; but when the latter spoke of having been
ordered to resort to force the countenance of the
king changed, and he ordered the seraskier per-
emptorily to quit his presence!
From that time, however, the Turks commenced
to harass us. The guard of honour was removed,
our supplies were daily shortened, upwards of
seven thousand Poles and Cossacks who had
volunteered to serve King Charles were ordered
to place themselves under Turkish protection
under pain of being starved to death, and in the
end our camp was occupied by the king and his
Swedish followers only.
But still the king remained as obstinate as
ever, and ruin and starvation stared us in the
face. Twenty of the horses presented by the
sultan to the king were destroyed for want of
forage to sustain them. The camp was ordered
.to be put in a state of defence, the king's own
residence was doubly strengthened, and when
everything, was considered to be sufficiently pre-
pared the king and Baron Grothusen sat down
to a game of chess!






96 THE STORY OF A KING.

In the meantime a force of four thousand
Turkish soldiers had taken up a position outside
our camp. They had with them fourteen guns
and two mortars. Every Swede saw the danger
which threatened us, but the king either did not
or would not perceive it. His chaplain and
several of the officers endeavoured to convince
him that his position was no longer tenable, and
that the only thing left for us to do was to quit
Turkish territory without delay.
But no, he was not to be moved. "Soldiers,"
he said,"all through this campaign we have fought
bravely. Let us continue to do so, and hold
together to the end as we did at the beginning!"
It was apparent to all that the king, notwith-
standing the inferiority of his force, was deter-
mined to oppose the Turks, and we had therefore
to prepare ourselves for a hard fight.
Our posts were assigned to us, and the king
undertook the defence of his ,own house, with,
of course, the general superintendence of every-
thing. My position, as usual, was in the im-
mediate presence of Charles,

I







THE STORY OF A KING. 97

The attack was commenced by the Turks, who
marched against us shouting loud cries of "Allah!
Allah!" On coming within earshot several of
them called upon us to surrender, upon which
Baron Grothusen fearlessly advanced to meet
them, alone and unsupported. Addressing a
number of officers he said:
"My good friends, surely you have not brought
such an immense force to overcome a few harm-
less, defenceless Swedes! Pray remember the
many benefits you have received through us,
and do not deal harshly with those who have
always exerted themselves on your behalf. The
king asks you to grant him but three days; and
the powers which the sultan has invested you
with will surely permit you to grant so small a
favour."
But the seraskier, who, as might have been
*expected, was highly incensed at the manner in
which he had been treated, would hear of no
delay, and at once ordered the officers to prepare
to storm.
On this we stood resolutely on our defence,
(153) 0




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