So Frigyes Trenk could already take off all the frogs, handcuffs, chains; who could open all locks; before him stood the path of escape, wide open. He just had to wait for the right day.
He could only take one, the scruples of his own soul.
So what will happen to him if they can escape from here?
He can’t go to Russia. Neither Empress Elisabeth nor Chancellor Bestuseff are there anymore: none of her old patrons. Ten years in prison was not meant to enhance the charm of the figure of Délczeg. It is no longer possible to continue the triumphant path in which such a terrible gap was torn.
Or go back to Vienna? Among his deadly enemies: into a world of greedy envy, lords sharing his estates, persecuting priests, suspicious lawyers, contemptuous soldiers, cunning diplomats, where everyone sees him as a dangerous madman and where he must sooner or later become a real madman?
At best, Kecskemét will be there. With the monotony of a fattener!
Then a brighter picture of the future appeared before him.
If it could be linked to the brightest earth, when he was still carrying his weapon in the service of his homeland! If it were possible to atone for King Frederick, to whom his contemporaries had already given the adjective “great”! If he could be convinced of his unbreakable loyalty! Because ten years in the grave is just enough for a dead man to rise as a new person to a new life!
Something reckless came to mind.
Now that there are two ways to escape -353-before him, determined to voluntarily discover the planned assassination; and even the heavier ones. The underground road.
He learned from his buddy that the Duke of Braunschweig was staying in Magdeburg, – his old benefactor.
The investigator then told the major:
“Please, Major Ur: I have learned that the generous Ferdinand, Duke of Braunschweig, is currently in Magdeburg;” he is my goodwill, my old patron. Please, Major ur ur to pass this message to the prince. Set aside a day at the prince’s likeness, on which I, at the hour of his choice, I will appear a bright day before him, in front of the gate of the Bergen monastery, on horseback, with a sword on my side: I offer to serve Frederick.
The major stared terribly.
“Are you crazy, Trenk?”
“Well, you’re just telling this message to Prince Ferdinand.” I am serious. I’ll break out of here whenever I want.
The major left and returned a few hours later with the governor and several chief officers.
“We told you the scene with the prince.” Serenissime answers to you that if you will be able to do what you vow, he will assure you not only of his patronage, but also of the king’s grace.
“Well, let’s set the date and time of the meeting.”
– Don’t fool me, Trenk. The governor said. What you bet on is pure impossibility. If the prison guard isn’t enough for you, we’ll set up a regiment in the constellation. They can’t get out of here. And even if you managed to break out of this prison, in spite of all the strong rules, it would be a slap in the face for all of us who, with its custody, are confident that the king will not let us go. He could receive you into his grace; but we would fall out of his grace. Be it to you-354-wit. If you are really able to free yourself from these shackles, break out of this prison, it is enough for you to discover the way, the way to do it before us: there is no need to do it and mess up your superiors with it. I am well pleased that you will receive grace. You know me. In the words of General Reichman, he never played.
“And General Ur gives me the word that if I prove the possibility of my escape, will I regain my freedom?”
“I bind my military word of honor to him and I agree with the prince’s consent.”
– Your military word is scripture to me! Said Frederick Trenk. Well, look here, gentlemen!
And he pulled the handcuffs off his hands, the frogs off his feet, and threw them chained to the gentlemen’s feet.
He then pulled the chisels out of the floor. He removed the loaf of bread from the slit of the cut-out floorboard, making it imperceptible, highlighting the cut piece of plank above the cavity.
Then he landed in that cavity and handed out one by one the tools of the digger held in the plug, the pieces of his uniform, his sword.
He fired the two pistols that were loaded into the shaft.
“And now let the officers get into the corridor number two, and where they will find a marble slab with gunpowder smoke filtering through the edges, lift it up.
Two officers went over and stared and saw the bluish smoke evaporate from under the stone. It was highlighted and there they saw the entrance to the shaft; thirty-seven feet from the prison room. They came back in amazement to find out. The shaft is ready.
“But how did you want to get out of the closed hallway?” asked the governor. Because it has two tightly closed doors!
Then Frederick also presented the keys to the hallway door.-355-
From there, all you have to do is jump and get out of the ramparts.
The governor extended his hand to Frederick.
– You were right. He convinced us. Now you don’t need your shaft anymore, you can come out through the door. Put on your uniform.
Frederick Trenk was found nervous in his nervous excitement when he could take off the stinging prisoner and put on the officer’s uniform again.
With that, he was taken out of prison by the arm. He was taken to the supervising officer’s room, where the officers were all in a hurry to congratulate him.
In the evening, the governor also came there, giving a magnificent dinner to the whole company: several glasses were attempted for the lucky liberation of Frederick Trenk. He was the happier who could befriend him.
The consolation lasted for a week. There was hardly an officer from the whole garrison who would not have feasted with Trenk. Only the certain buddy who had talked to him about the escape seemed to avoid him. Once, however, as he walked through the room, he cried out to Frederick.
“Poor fool, you were lousy.”
Then, on the eighth day, the governor came to him again, took him by the arm again, and led him back to his prison. Instead of a plank floor, it was paved with nice big granite cubes.
– Well, now try to get out of here.
And then again they took off the officer’s uniform, and put on him the old pierced darócz; a frog was beaten on only one leg, but it was so thick, and all its links were so solid that it could not be cut through.
Frigyes Trenk was furious: “Is this a military word of honor?”
They laughed between his eyes. The more he scolded the officers, the more they laughed at his anger; only the commander of the castle calmly endured his rebukes: “may you be in good hope: all may turn for good”.-356-
That left him alone.
Frigyes Trenk’s soul was now broken. He left his faith. He became Buskomor, did not write, scratched no more; he sat motionless on his bed, staring at a point: the little hole in the prison door that that little mouse was chewing on. And he thought that the mouse also has a soul, not just man: maybe taller, nobler than some people. He did not dare to describe: not to be burned for this blasphemy.
After all, it was just a game that was being played with him now: the toy of a royal figure who wanted to show what power a lord had – over his dog, who had to be whipped, locked, fasted, while he was so adaptable that he lies down beside the bone thrown in front of him and does not receive it until his master says to him, “free!”
His guardian angel, his accomplice, the once beautiful duchess, had already prayed for the freedom of his former sweetheart to his majestic brother-in-law. He wore his mourning dress there in front of the mighty ur, slipping on his knees after him.
– Be free; but get another lesson!
That lesson was the return to the granite prison after a week of hoping, budding, feasting.
It was Christmas Eve, (what a tender attention!) When, in the unusual hour, the prison locks rang again. (“What does little Jesus bring?”)
The governor entered the prisoner, accompanied by many officers, on whose faces sincere joy shone.
– Sweet Trenk! Mondá Reichman. I bring you good news for Christmas Eve. His Majesty the King has ordered that your handcuffs be taken off and given another room.
But Frederick read more about faces.
– Say it straight! I am free! I will not go crazy with joy.
– Yes! You are free! The commander said and hugged him. And the other officers in line hugged him, comforted him,-357- while the locksmith sawed off the heavy iron from his feet.
Then he was transferred from his prison to the officers’ suite.
There he had to take the usual oath, which is imposed on every prisoner of state released: that no one would take revenge for his captivity; that he would no longer cross the frontier of the country, that he would not publish anything, what he said or wrote about what had happened to him in prison, and that he would not undertake military or civilian service under any foreign power.
This can be called moral harassment, eternal imprisonment! – You cannot return to your home country or serve in a foreign country. He remains a prisoner while he lives. But you shouldn’t even talk!
Well, here is the beautiful nature! This is God’s day! Who makes up for everything! Then if you can’t talk to people: here’s the paperwork; who takes over our thoughts; just don’t read to anyone else, paper is a good friend: it preserves even our fallen books.
Frigyes Trenk even found the gold coins hidden in the door of his prison, and distributed them among his prison guards; she gave most of it to Gefhart’s widow and to the woman whose husband had committed suicide because of her.
The generosity of King Frederick went so far as to send three hundred golds to the released prisoner by Count Schlieben, who also brought him the letter of mercy. The same had to accompany him to Prague.
Frederick immediately sewed himself a new uniform, which the tailor had to make on Christmas night, so that he could receive the visits in full parade the next day. After church, all the tribal officers all came to him to congratulate him: he hugged him, kissed him.
When he stood in front of the mirror in his new uniform, again with an unshaven face, he himself was content with himself. Ten years in prison, stinking air, underground mining, starvation,-358- his affliction, spiritual torment, could not break his vitality. He was still a handsome man.
He was free to take a walk – outside the city, in the beautiful snow. What a waist thing is snow! How to crack under a man’s feet! For ten years, bezzeg didn’t crack. He only saw the walrus on the door handle.
But he was not allowed to enter the city. It would have caused the people’s bankruptcy. He saw Magdeburg only from the outside, where he had been lying for ten years.
Then came the farewell feast, merry adomas, greetings. At the end of the feast, the four-horse carriage appeared, Trenk was seated there, and Schlieben sat next to him. He was allowed to sing one, the popular portion: “So lebe wohl, du stilles Haus!” – God come to you, you quiet house! I look back at you in Busan. I could only be happy in you. That’s why I’m thinking back to you.
He says he cries when he is released from prison.
With his release from prison, Trenk ceased to be a novel figure.
From now on, only a restless spirit left behind by the world, who can find no place anywhere, can no longer connect his torn life. His old protégés are gone, his old ideals are old, he has placed himself in the ranks of the disabled. He was appointed retired chief stranger with extra statum. As a reward for Maria Theresa’s loyalty and suffering, she was paid her ten-year captain’s salary; but Trenk Ferencz’s inheritance was returned only under the condition that the treating relieve the lords from all accounts. Then he buys himself a piece of land and lives quietly like a middle-aged lord. Meanwhile, he writes poetic and prose works, which are bought and published by booksellers in German and French. Many poetic forces, philosophical worldviews declare in them. His biography was published in Paris, illustrated with beautiful steel engravings.
Once again, the Queen turned her gracious face toward him, inviting her to Vienna. He wanted Frederick Trenk -359-to establish your fortune permanently: by a rich marriage. Upscale court lady: Count’s widow; with an annual income of fifty thousand forints. He said his name. Trenk was scared to death. – A bride in her seventh decade: rut, stingy and quarrelsome. – He thanked the great grace; but he did not ask for it. The queen then chased him away.
And so that similar luck would not befall him, Frederick hurried to marry immediately: he took the daughter of the mayor of Aachen and then lived in a fair marriage. Eleven children were born. He raised them with paternal love. His firstborn was baptized to Joseph and Joseph chose the heir to the throne as his godfather.
Then he did not think of any more fame, glory, conquest among beautiful women: at most he practiced his bravery in the pursuit of wild beasts, he defended himself against villains: he also traded a little wine, of course he was lost, he was deceived; and wherever he could, he groaned with the priests, with his friends, and with him.
When he had many children and wrote many books, the Queen summoned him once more and introduced himself to Trenk’s wife and children. They won their highest liking. And then he appointed him queen – court translator.
So he finally someday reached the rank in the yard.
The very first work, the translation of which was entrusted to him, was the collection of Church oratory by Abbot Beaudrand; but Trenk mixed it strongly with his own ideals. That’s how the queen liked them.
Then the most beloved queen died. And with that, the glory of Frederick Trenk was over. He could go back to his little estate again, shearing sheep, collecting torrents.
Maria Theresa was soon followed by her opponent, Frederick the Great, into the afterlife.
After his successor ascended the throne, one of his first deeds was -360-unjustly persecuted Frederick Trenk to rehabilitate. He abolished his exile by decree and restored his confiscated ancient estate.
With this welcome turn, Frigyes Trenk completes his biography: he hurries back to his old homeland with great joy.
He was already sixty-four years old.
And he’s still the idealistic fan of his childhood.
The work of ten chunky volumes proclaimed his great talent: he was known in Germany, France, and England. His name was popular everywhere.
He could enjoy his glory in peace for two years.
That’s when the French Revolution broke out.
And that sixty-six-year-old man left his quiet house, his family, and went to Paris to fight for popular freedom.
The girondists were his ideals.
Robespierre then leguillotized him along with the girondists.
His life would not have been perfect if he had not ended that way.
Or he should have started it quite differently.
When he stood on the corner of Heracles’ response: in front of the two summoning geniuses.