ページの画像
PDF
ePub

I am

1766.

nose in the universe, mon cher Mylord(Queen-Dowager snuff, Spaniol from the fountain-head, of Marischal's providing; quality exquisite, but difficult to get transmitted in the Storms of War); “ I am ashamed of the trouble it costs you! I beg many pardons; “—and should be quite abashed, did I not know how you com“passionate the weak points of your friends, and that, for a long “ time past, you have a singular indulgence for my nose.

very glad to know you happily returned to your Government, “ safe at Colombier (Dove-cote) in Neufchâtel again.” This is 10th April 1762. There, as I gather, quiet in his Dove-cote, Marischal continued, though rather weary of the business, for about a year more; or till the King got home,—who delights in companionship, and is willing to let an old man demit for good.

It was in Summer 1762 (about three months after the above Letter from the King), that Rousseau made his celebrated exodus into Neufchâtel Country, and found the old Governor so good to him,-glad to be allowed to shelter the poor skinless creature. And, mark as curious, it must have been on two of those mornings, towards the end of the Siege of Schweidnitz, when things were getting so intolerable, and at times breaking out into electricity, into 'rebuke all round,' that Friedrich received that singular pair of Laconic Notes from Rousseau in Neufchâtel : forwarded, successively, by Lord Marischal; Note First, of date, “Motier-Travers, Neufchâtel, September,' nobody can guess what day, ‘1762: “I have said much ill of you, “ and don't repent it. Now everybody has banished me; and “it is on your threshold that I sit down. Kill me, if you “ have a mind!” And then (after, not death, but the gift of 100 crowns), Note Second, October 1762 :

Take “ out of my sight that sword, which dazzles and pains me; it “ has only too well done its duty, while the sceptre is aban“ doned :" Make Peace, can't you !30_What curious reading for a King in such posture, among the miscellaneous arrivals overnight! Above six weeks before either of these Notes, Friedrich, hearing of him from Lord Marischal, had answered : “ An asylum ? Yes, by all means: the unlucky cynic !" It is on

so Eutres complètes de Rousseau (à Genève, 1782-1789), xxxii. 64, 65.

1766. September 1st, that he sends, by the same channel, 100 crowns for his use, with advice to “give them in naturâ, lest he refuse otherwise;" as Friedrich knows to be possible. In words, the Rousseau Notes got nothing of Answer. “A garçon singulier," says Friedrich: odd fellow, yes indeed, your Majesty ;-and has such a pungency of flattery in him, too, presented in the way of snarl! His Majesty might take him, I suppose, with a kind of relish, like Queen-Dowager snuff.

There was still another shift of place, shift which proved temporary, in old Marischal's life: Home to native Aberdeenshire. The two childless Brothers, Earls of Kintore, had died successively, the last of them, November 22d, 1761: title and heritage, not considerable the latter, fell duly, by what preparatives we know, to old Marischal; but his Keith kinsfolk, furthermore, would have him personally among them,—nay, after that, would have him to wed and produce new Keiths. At the age of 78; decidedly an inconvenient thing! Old Marischal left Potsdam, ' August 1763,'31—New-Palace scaffoldings and big stone-blocks conspicuous in those localities; pleasant D'Alembert now just about leaving in the other direction ;—much to Friedrich's regret, the old Marischal especially, as is still finely evident.

Friedrich to Lord Marischal (in Scotland for the last six months).

“Sans-Souci, 16th February 1764. “I am not surprised that the Scotch fight to have you among “ them; and wish to have progeny of yours, and to preserve your “ bones. You have, in your lifetime, the lot of Homer after death : “ Cities arguing which is your birthplace ;-I myself would dis

pute it with Edinburgh to possess you. If I had ships, I would “ make a descent on Scotland, to steal off my cher Mylord, and

bring him hither. Alas, our Elbe Boats can't do it. But you “ give me hopes ;—which I seize with avidity! I was your late “ Brother's friend, and had obligations to him ; I am yours with “ heart and soul. These are my titles, these are my rights :

you shan't be forced in the matter of progeny here (faire l'étalon

31 Letter of his to the King (Londres, 14 Août 1763'), in Euvres de Frédéric, xx. 293.

1766.

ici), neither priests nor attorneys shall meddle with you; you “ shall live here in the bosom of friendship, liberty and philosophy.” Come to me!

*_F.32 Old Marischal did come; and before long. I know not the precise month : but ‘his Villa-Cottage was built for him,' the Books

say, in 1764.' He had left D'Alembert just going; next year, he will find Helvetius coming. He lived here, a great treasure to Friedrich, till his death, 25th May 1778, age 92.

The New Palace was not finished till 1770;-in which year, also, Friedrich reckons that the general Problem of Repairing Prussia was victoriously over. New Palace, growing or complete, looks down on all these operations and occurrences. In its cradle, it sees D'Alembert go, Lord Marischal go; Helvetius come, Lord Marischal come; in its boyhood or maturity, the Excise, and French Rats-de-Cave, spring up; Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm prick his hand for a fit kind of ink ; Friedrich Wilhelm's Divorced Wife give her Douanier two slaps in the face, by way of payment. Nay, the same Friedrich Wilhelm, become “ Friedrich Wilhelm II., or der Dicke," died in it,--his Lichtenau and his second Wife, jewel of women, nursing him in his last sickness there. 33

The violent stress of effort for repairing Prussia, Friedrich intimates, was mostly over in 1766: till which date specifically, and in a looser sense till 1770, that may be considered as his main business. But it was not at any time his sole business; nor latterly at all equal in interest to some others that had risen on him, as the next Chapter will now show. Here, first, is a little Fraction of Necrology, which may be worth taking

Readers can spread these fateful specialities

with us.

32 Euvres de Frédéric, xx. 295.

VOL. VI.

33 · Died, 16th November 1797.'

CC

6

1766. over the Period in question; and know that each of them came with a kind of knell upon Friedrich's heart, whatever he might be employed about. Hour striking after hour on the Horologe of Time; intimating how the Afternoon wore, and that Night was coming. Various meanings there would be to Friedrich, in these footfalls of departing guests, the dear, the less dear, and the indifferent or hostile; but each of them would mean : “Gone, then, gone; thus we all go!"

Obituary in Friedrich's Circle till 1771.' Of Polish Majesty's death (5th October 1763), and then (2d December following) of his Kurprinz or Successor's, with whom we dined at Moritzburg so recently, there will be mention by and by. November 28th, 1763, in the interval between these two, the wretched Brühl had died. April 14th, 1764, died the wretched Pompadour ;—“ To us not known, Je ne la connais pas :"-hapless Butterfly, she had been twenty years in the winged condition; age now forty-four: dull Louis, they say, looked out of window as her hearse departed, “froidement," without emotion of any visible kind. These little concern Friedrich or us; we will restrict ourselves to Friends.

'Died in 1764. At Pisa, Algarotti (23d May 1764, age fiftytwo); with whom Friedrich has always had some correspondence hitherto (to himself interesting, though not to us), and will never henceforth have more. Friedrich raised a Monument to him; Monument still to be seen in the Campo-Santo of Pisa : “ Hic jacet Ovidii æmulus et Neutoni discipulus;" friends have added “ Fredericus Magnus poni fecit;and on another part of the Monument, “ Algarottus non omnis."34

'- in 1765. At the age of eighty, November 18th, Gräfin • Camas, “ Ma bonne Maman" (widow since 1741); excellent old · Lady,-once brilliantly young, German by birth, her name • Brandt;—to whom the King's Letters used to be so pretty.' This same year, too, Kaiser Franz died; but him we will reserve, as not belonging to this Select List.

34 Preuss, iv. 188.

6

1766.

Died in 1766. At Nanci, 23d February, age eighty-six, • King Stanislaus Leczinsky: “his clothes caught fire” (acci. dental spark or sputter on some damask dressing-gown or the like); and the much-enduring innocent old soul ended painfully his Titular career.

6- in 1767. October 22d, the Grand-Duchess of SachsenGotha, age fifty-seven; a sad stroke this also, among one's narrowing List of Friends.—I doubt if Friedrich ever saw this high Lady after the Visit we lately witnessed. His Letters to • her are still in the Archives of Gotha: not hers to him; all

lost, these latter, but an accidental Two, which are still beautiful in their kind.35

"- in 1770. Bielfeld, the fantastic individual of old days. · Had long been out of Friedrich's circle,-in Altenburg Country, I think ;-without importance to Friedrich or us: the year of him will do, without search for day or month.

- in 1771. Two heavy deaths come this year. January 28th, 1771, at Berlin, dies our valuable old friend Excellency Mitchell,—still here on the part of England, in cordial esteem 6 as a man and companion; though as Minister, I suppose, with 'function more and more imaginary. This painfully ushers in

year. To usher it out, there is still worse: faithful D'Argens dies, 26th December 1771, on a visit in his native Pro'vence, leaving, as is still visible,36 a big and sad blank behind

him at Potsdam. But we need not continue; at least not at present.

Long before all these Friedrich had lost friends ; with a sad but quiet emotion he often alludes to this tragic fact, that all the souls he loved most are gone. His Winterfelds, his Keiths, many loved faces, the War has snatched: at Monbijou, at Baireuth, it was not War; but they too are gone. Is the world becoming all a Mausoleum, then ; nothing of divine in it but the Tombs of vanished loved ones? Friedrich makes no noise on such subjects: loved and unloved alike must go.

We have still to mark Kaiser Franz's sudden death; a thing politically interesting, if not otherwise. August 1765, at

6

(the

6

6

35 Given in Euvres de Frédéric, xviii. 165, 256. 36 Friedrich's two Letters to the Widow (Ibid. xix. 427-429).

« 前へ次へ »