"I have, and from this time onward your friends will be mine, and I will correspond with them."
As she said this, with a roguish smile, a ray of joy lighted up Ranuzi's eyes.
"You understand me, my beloved; your intellect is as clear and sharp as your heart is warm and noble. Think well what you do--what danger threatens you. I tell you plainly, Marietta, this is no question of common friendly letters, but of the most earnest, grave, important interests!"
She bowed to his ear and whispered: "All that you espy in Berlin you will confide to these letters; you will concert with your friends, you will design plans, perhaps make conspiracies. I will address these letters and take them to the post, and no one will mistrust me, for my letters will be addressed to some friends in Vienna, or to whom you will. Have I understood you, Carlo? Is this all right?"
He clasped her rapturously in his arms, and the words of tender gratitude which he expressed were not entirely wanting in sincerity and truth.
Marietta was proudly happy, and listened with sparkling eyes to his honeyed words.
As Ranuzi, however, after this long interview, arose to say farewell, she held him back. Laying her hands upon his shoulder, she looked at him with a curious expression, half laughing, half threatening.
"One last word, Carlo," she said; "I love you boundlessly. To prove my love to you, I become a traitress to this king, who has been a gracious master to me, whose bread I eat--who received and protects me. To prove my love, I become a spy, an informer. Men say this is dishonorable work, but for myself I feel proud and happy to undertake it for you, and not for all the riches and treasures of this world would I betray you. But, Carlo, if you ever cease to love me, if you deceive me and become unfaithful, as true as God helps me, I will betray both myself and you!"