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Conclusion

The presence of the Prussians in Frankfort and the terror that they caused there did not end with the events which have just been related, and to which the present narrative ought to confine itself. A few lines only must be added that our work may close as it opened, by a page of politics.

Towards the end of September 1866 it was announced that the city of Frankfort, losing its nationality, its title of a free town, its privilege of having the Diet held there, and finally its rights as a member of the Confederation, was to be united on October 8th to the kingdom of Prussia.

The morrow was gloomy and rainy; no house had hung out the black-and-white flag; no citizen, sad or cheerful, was in the streets, every window was shuttered, every door closed. It seemed a city of the dead. The flag flew only over the barracks, the Exchange, and the post office.

But in the Roemer Square there was an assemblage of some three or four hundred men, all belonging to the suburb of Sachsenhausen. It was a curious thing that each of these men had a dog of some description with him: a bulldog, mastiff, spaniel, hound, griffon, greyhound, or poodle. Amidst these bipeds and quadrupeds, Lenhart went up and down relating what fine things he had seen in Paris, and holding everybody's attention. He it was who had devised this meeting of his fellow inhabitants of Sachsenhausen, and who, by whispered instructions, had invited them to bring their dogs. Men and dogs alike gazed towards the window from which the proclamation was to be made. They had been waiting there since nine in the morning.

At eleven the members of the Senate, the Christian and Jewish clergy, the professors, the chief officials, and Major-General Boyer, with the officers of the garrison, were gathered together in the Hall of the Emperors in the Roemer, to witness the taking possession of the formerly free town of Frankfort by His Gracious Majesty, the King of Prussia.

The civil governor, Baron Patow, and the civil Commissioner, Herr von Madaļ, came from the Senate Hall (once the hall in which the Emperors of Germany were elected) into the great hall. After some little preamble on Baron Patow's part he read to the persons present the patent by which the former free town of Frankfort was taken into possession, and then the royal proclamation which announced that the town had been added to the Prussian dominions.

The same documents were now to be read to the people of Frankfort. The window was opened to an accompaniment of joyful murmurs and mocking acclamation from the men of Sachsenhausen and the yawns of their dogs. The square was occupied, we forgot to mention, not only by the men from Sachsenhausen but by a company of the 34th regiment of the line and its band.

Herr von Madaļ read aloud the following proclamation:


"The very high and very powerful proclamation of His Majesty the King of Prussia to the inhabitants of the former free town of Frankfort."

Either because the voice of Herr von Madaļ was particularly disagreeable to his hearers or because the words "former free town of Frankfort" aroused their sensibility, several dogs howled dismally. Herr von Madaļ paused until silence was restored, and continued, still in the king's name:

"By the patent that I cause to be published to-day I unite you, inhabitants of the city of Frankfort-on-the-Main and its suburbs, to my subjects, your German neighbours and brothers."

Five or six howls protested against this union. Herr von Madaļ seemed to give no heed to them and proceeded.

"By the decision of the war and the reorganization of our common German Fatherland, you are deprived of the independence which you have hitherto enjoyed, and now enter the union of a great country, whose population is sympathetic to you by language, customs, and identity of interests."

This news did not appear agreeable to the prejudices of some hearers; there were complaints, growls, and a certain number of lamentations. Herr von Madaļ seemed to understand these sad protestations.

"If," said he, "it is not without pain that you resign former connections that were dear to you, I respect such feelings and esteem them as a guarantee that you and your children will be faithfully attached to me and my house."

An enormous bulldog replied by a single bark, which appeared, however, to speak the opinion of the two or three hundred companions around him. The interruption did not disturb Herr von Madaļ, and he went on:

"You will recognize the force of accomplished facts; if the fruits of an obstinate war and of bloody victories are not to be lost to Germany, the duty of self-preservation and care for national interests imperatively demand that the town of Frankfort shall be joined to Prussia, solidly and for ever."

At this moment a dog broke its chain and despite shouts of "Arrest the rebel! Arrest the rebel!" and the pursuit of some five or six Sachsenhausen urchins, disappeared into the Jewry.

"And, as my father of blessed memory declared," resumed Herr von Madaļ, "it is solely for the profit of Germany that Prussia has enlarged its boundaries. I offer this for your serious reflection, and I confide in your upright German good sense to swear allegiance to me with the same sincerity as my own people. May God grant it!"

"WILLIAM"

"Given at my castle of Babelsberg, October 3rd, 1866."


And raising his voice, Herr von Madaļ added, by way of peroration:

"Hurrah for King William! Hurrah for the King of Prussia!"

At the same instant the black-and-white flag was hoisted on the topmost gable of the Roemer. No shout replied to Herr von Madaļ's, only the voice of Lenhart was heard like that of a drill sergeant:

"And now, my little doggies, as you have the honour to be Prussian dogs, shout 'Hurrah for the King of Prussia!'"

Then every man pressed his toe upon the tail, the ear, or the paw of his dog, and there arose such frightful uproar, including the deepest and the shrillest notes, as could only be covered by the band of the 34th Prussian Regiment playing "Heil dir im Siegeskranze," which means "Hail to thee in the crown of victory."

Thus was the former free town of Frankfort united to the kingdom of Prussia. But many people say that it is not stitched, but only tacked on.

Alexandre Dumas pere