« 前へ次へ »
3d-7th Sept. 1770. “ Turks” (oppressors of Greece) “would not be the only victims !"20
In a lengthy Letter, written by request, To Stanislaus, King of Poland, in 1785, or at a distance of fifteen years from this Interview at Neustadt, Prince de Ligne, who was present there, has left us some record or loose lively reminiscence of it;21—sputtering, effervescing, epigrammatic creature, had he confined himself to a faithful description, and burnt off for us, not like a pretty firework, but like an innocent candle, or thing for seeing by! But we must take what we have, and endeavour to be thankful. By great luck, the one topic he insists on is Friedrich and his aspect and behaviour on the occasion; which is what, of all else in it, we are most concerned with.
*You have ordered me, Sire' (this was written for him in 1785), “to speak to you of one of the greatest men of this Age. You admire him, though his neighbourhood has done you mischief enough; and, placing yourself at the impartial distance of · History, feel a noble curiosity on all that belongs to this extraordinary genius. I will, therefore, give you an exact account of the smallest words that I myself heard the great Friedrich speak. * * The I (le je) is odious to me; but nothing is indif'ferent when'—Well, your account, then, your account, without farther preambling, and in a more exact way than you are wont
* By a singular chance, in 1770' (3d-7th September, if you would but date), 'the Kaiser was' (for the second time) "enabled
to deliver himself to the personal admiration which he had conceived for the King of Prussia; and these Two great Sove
reigns were so well together, that they could pay visits. The * Kaiser permitted me to accompany; and introduced me to the
King: it was at Neustadt in Moravia’ (Mährisch-Neustadt, short way from Austerlitz, which is since become a celebrated place). 'I can't recollect if I had, or had assumed, an air of embarrassment; but what I do well remember is, that the Kaiser, who
20 Euvres de Frédéric, xxiii. 165, 166. 21 Prince de Ligne, Mémoires et Mélanges Historiques (Par. 1827), i. 3-21.
3d-7th Sept. 1770.
noticed my look, said to the King, “He has a timid expression, · which I never observed in him before; he will recover presently.” • This he said in a graceful merry way; and the two went out, "to go, I believe, to the Play. On the way thither, the King
for an instant quitting his Imperial Friend, asked me if my · Letter to Jean Jacques' (now an entirely forgotten Piece), “which " had been printed in the Papers, was really by me? I answered,
Sire, I am not famous enough to have my name forged” (as a certain Other name has been, on this same unproductive topic). • He felt what I meant. It is known that Horace Walpole took • the King's name to write his famous Lettre à Jean Jacques' (impossible to attend to the like of it at present), 'which con• tributed the most to drive mad this eloquent and unreasonable man of genius.
Coming out of the Play, the Kaiser said to the King of • Prussia : “There is Noverre, the famous Composer of Ballets; " he has been in Berlin, I believe.” Noverre made thereupon
beautiful dancing-master bow. “Ah, I know him," said the • King: “we saw him at Berlin; he was very droll; mimicked “ all the world, especially our chief Dancing Women, to make you split with laughing.” Noverre, ill content with this
way of remembering him, made another beautiful third-position
bow; and hoped possibly the King would say something farther, and offer him the opportunity of a small revenge.
« Your “ Ballets are beautiful,” said the King to him ; "your Dancing “ Girls have grace; but it is grace in a squattish form (de la
grace engoncée). I think you make them raise their shoulders “ and their arms too much. For, Monsieur Noverre, if you “ remember, our principal Dancing Girl at Berlin wasn't so.” “ That is why she was at Berlin, Sire,” replied Noverre' (satirically, all he could).
'I was every day asked to sup with the King; too often the conversation addressed itself to me. In spite of my attach
ment to the Kaiser, whose General I like to be, but not whose • D'Argens or Algarotti, I had not beyond reason abandoned 'myself to that feeling. When urged by the King's often • speaking to me, I had to answer, and go on talking. Besides the Kaiser took a main share in the conversation; and was VOL. VI.
3d-7th Sept. 1770, perhaps more at his ease with the King than the King with him. One day, they got talking of what one would wish to be in this world; and they asked my opinion. I said, I should " like to be “a Pretty Woman till thirty; then, till sixty, a « fortunate and skilful General;"—and not knowing what more
to say, but for the sake of adding something, whatever it might 'be, “a Cardinal till eighty.” The King, who likes to banter “the Sacred College, made himself merry on this; and the • Kaiser gave him a cheap bargain of Rome and its upholders * (suppôts). That supper was one of the gayest and pleasantest "I have ever seen. The Two Sovereigns were without pretension and without reserve; what did not always happen on other days; and the amiability of two men so superior, and 6 often so astonished to see themselves together, was the agreeablest thing you can imagine. The King bade me come and see him the first time he and I should have three or four hours « to ourselves.
"A storm such as there never was, a deluge compared with which that of Deucalion was a summer shower, covered our · Hills with water (cannot say which day of the four), “and almost drowned our Army while attempting to maneuvre. The morrow was a rest-day for that reason. At nine in the morning, I went to the King, and stayed till one. He spoke to 'me of our Generals; I let him say, of his own accord, the
things I think of Marshals Lacy and Loudon; and I hinted 'that, as to the others, it was better to speak of the dead than
of the living; and that one never can well judge of a General who has not in his lifetime actually played high parts in War. • He spoke to me of Feldmarschall Daun: I said, “ that against “ the French I believed he might have proved a great man; but " that against him” (you), “ he had never quite been all he was; “ seeing always his opponent, as a Jupiter, thunderbolt in hand, “ ready to pulverise his Army.” That appeared to give the
King pleasure: he signified to me a feeling of esteem for Daun; he spoke favourably of General Brentano' (one of the Maxen gentlemen). “I asked his reason for the praises I knew “ he had given to General Beck. “Why (mais), I thought him “ a man of merit," said the King. “I do not think so, Sire; he
3d-7th Sept. 1770. “ didn't do you much mischief.” “He sometimes took Maga66 zines from me.” “And sometimes let your Generals escape" (Bevern at Reichenbach, for instance, do you reckon that his blame?).—“I have never beaten him," said the King. “He “ never came near enough for that: and I always thought your
Majesty was only appearing to respect him, in order that we
might have more confidence in him, and that you might give “ him the better slap some day, with interest for all arrears.” King. “Do you know who taught me the little I know? It your
old Marshal Traun: that was a man, that one.—You “ spoke of the French: do they make progress ?"
Ego. “ They are capable of everything in time of war, Sire: “ but in Peace,—their chiefs want them to be what they are not, what they are not capable of being.”
King." How, then; disciplined? They were so in the time 6 of M. du Turenne."
Ego. “Oh, it isn't that. They were not so in the time of “ M. de Vendôme, and they went on gaining battles. But it “ is now wished that they become your Apes and ours; and that “ doesn't suit them."
King. “ Perhaps so: I have said of their busy people (faiseurs,” St. Germains and Army-reformers), “ that they would “ fain sing without knowing music.”
Ego. “Oh, that is true! But leave them their natural notes; profit by their bravery, their alertness (légèreté), by their very “ faults, I believe their confusion might confuse their enemies 6 sometimes."
King. “ Well, yes, doubtless, if you have something to support them with.”
Ego. “Just so, Sire,—some Swiss and Germans.”
King. “ 'Tis a brave and amiable nation, the French; one “ can't help loving them :—but, mon Dieu, what have they made 66 of their Men of Letters; and what a tone has now come up “ among them! Voltaire, for example, had an excellent tone. “ D'Alembert, whom I esteem in many respects, is too noisy, “ and insists too much on producing effect in society :—was “ it the Men of Letters that gave the Court of Louis XIV. “its grace, or did they themselves acquire it from the many
3d-7th Sept. 1770. “ amiable persons they found there? He was the Patriarch of “Kings, that one” (in a certain sense, your Majesty!) “In his “ lifetime, a little too much good was said of him; but a great 6 deal too much ill after his death."
Ego.“ A King of France, Sire, is always the Patriarch “ of Clever People (Patriarche des gens d'esprit:" You do not much mean this, Monsieur ? You merely grin it from the teeth outward ?).
King. “ That is the bad Number to draw: they aren't worth “ a doit (ne valent pas le diable, these gens d'esprit) at Governing. “ Better be Patriarch of the Greek Church, like my sister the Empress
of Russia! That brings her, and will bring, advantages. There's a religion for you; comprehending many Coun“ tries and different Nations! As to our poor Lutherans, they are so few, it is not worth while being their Patriarch.”
Ego. “ Nevertheless, Sire, if one join to them the Calvin“ists, and all the little bastard Sects, it would not be so bad “
a post.” (The King appeared to kindle at this; his eyes were full of animation. But it did not last when I said): “If the “ Kaiser were Patriarch of the Catholics, that too wouldn't be “ a bad place."
King. “There, there: Europe divided into Three Patriarch“ ates. I was wrong to begin; you see where that leads us : “Messieurs, our dreams are not those of the just, as M. le “ Regent used to say. If Louis XIV. were alive, he would 66 thank us."
* All these patriarchal ideas, possible and impossible to realise, 'made him, for an instant, look thoughtful, almost moody.
King. “ Louis XIV., possessing more judgment than cleverness (esprit), looked out more for the former quality than for the “ latter. It was men of genius that he wanted, and found. It “ could not be said that Corneille, Bossuet, Racine, and Condé “ were people of the clever sort (des hommes d'esprit).”
Ego. “ On the whole, there is that in the Country which “ really deserves to be happy. It is asserted that your Majesty “ has said, If one would have a fine dream, one must—"
King. “ Yes, it is true,—be King of France.”