ページの画像
PDF
ePub

3d-7th Sept. 1770. small step more, and we shall be on the brow of the precipitous inclined-plane, down which Poland and its business go careering thenceforth, down, down, — and will need but few words more from us. Actual dis

a way out” stands for next Section.

covery of “

First, however, we will notice, as prefatory, a curious occurrence in the Country of Zips, contiguous to the Hungarian Frontier. Zips, a pretty enough District, of no great extent, had from time immemorial belonged to Hungary; till, above 300 years ago, it was,—by Sigismund super Grammaticam, a man always in want of money (whom we last saw, in flaming colour, investing Friedrich’s Ancestor with Brandenburg instead of payment for a debt of money), -pledged to the Crown of Poland for a round sum to help in Sigismund's pressing occasions. Redemption by payment never followed; attempt at redemption there had never been, by Sigismund or any of his successors. Nay, one successor, in a Treaty still extant,32 expressly gave up the right of redeeming: Pledge forfeited; a Zips belonging to Polish Crown and Republic by every

law. Well; Imperial Majesty, as we have transiently seen, is assembling troops on the Hungarian Frontier, for a special purpose.

Poor Poland is, by this time (1770), as we also saw, sunk in Pestilence,-pigs and dogs devouring the dead bodies; not a loaf to be had for a hundred ducats, and the rage of Pestilence itself a mild thing to that of Hunger, not to mention other rages. So that both Austria and Prussia, in order to keep out Pestilence at least, if they cannot the other rages,

have had to draw cordons, or lines of troops, along the Fron

32 Preuss, iv. 32 (date 1589; pawning had been, 1412).

[ocr errors]

3d-7th Sept. 1770. tiers. “The Prussian cordon,' I am informed, 'goes from . Crossen, by Frankfurt northward, to the Weichsel River ' and border of Warsaw Country ;' and 'is under the

command of General Belling,' our famous Anti-Swede Hussar of former years. The Austrian cordon looks over upon Zips and other Starosties, on the Hungarian Border; where, independently of Pestilence, an alarmed and indignant Empress-Queen has been and is assembling masses of troops, with what object we know. Looking over into Zips in these circumstances, indignant Kaunitz and Imperial Majesty, especially his Imperial Majesty, a youth always passionate for territory, say to themselves, “ Zips was ours, and in a sense is !” — and (precise date refused us, but after Neustadt, and before Winter has quite come) push troops across into Zips Starosty; seize the whole Thirteen Townships of Zips, and not only these, but by degrees tract after tract of the adjacencies: “ Must have a Frontier to our mind in those parts; indefensible otherwise !" And quietly set up boundary-pillars, with the Austrian doubleeagle stamped on them, and intimation to Zips and neighbourhood, That it is now become Austrian, and shall have no part farther in these Polish Confederatings, Pestilences, rages of men, and pigs devouring dead bodies, but shall live quiet under the double-eagle as others do. Which to Zips, for the moment, might be a blessed change, welcome or otherwise ; but which awoke considerable amazement in the outer world,very considerable in King Stanislaus (to whom, on applying, Kaunitz would give no explanation the least articulate);—and awoke, in the Russian Court especially, a rather intense surprise and provocation.

Jan, 1771.

Prince Henri has been to Sweden ; is seen at Peters

burg in Masquerade (on or about Newyear's Day 1771); and does get Home, with Results that are important.

Prince Henri, as we noticed, was not of this Second King-and-Kaiser Interview; Henri had gone

in the

OPP0site direction,--to Sweden, on a visit to his Sister Ulrique,--off for West and North, just in the same days while the King was leaving Potsdam for Silesia and his other errand in the South-east parts. Henri got to Drottingholm, his Sister's country Palace near Stockholm, by the end of August;' and was there with Queen Ulrique and Husband during these Neustadt maneuvres. A changed Queen Ulrique, since he last saw her beautiful as Love,' whirling off in the dead of night for those remote Countries and destinies.33 She is now fifty, or on the edge of it, her old man sixty,-old man dies within few months.' They have had many chagrins, especially she, as the prouder, has had, from their contumacious People, -contumacious Senators at least (strong always both in pocket-money French or Russian, and in tendency to insolence and folly), --who once, I remember, demanded sight and count of the Crown-Jewels from Queen Ulrique: “There, voilà, there are they!” said the proud Queen; “ view them, count them,-lock them up: never more will I wear one of them!" But she has pretty Sons grown to manhood, one pretty Daughter, a patient good old Husband; and Time, in Sweden too, brings its roses; and life is life, in spite of contumacious bribed Senators and doggeries that do rather abound. Henri stayed with her six or seven Jan. 1771. weeks; leaves Sweden, middle of October 1770,-not by the straight course homewards: “No, verily, and well knew why!” shrieks the indignant Polish world on us ever since.

33 Suprà, iii. 738.

It is not true that Friedrich had schemed to send Henri round by Petersburg. On the contrary, it was the Czarina, on ground of old acquaintanceship, who invited him, and asked his Brother's leave to do it. And if Poland got its fate from the circumstance, it was by accident, and by the fact that Poland's fate was dropripe, ready to fall by a touch.—Before going farther, here is ocular view of the shrill-minded, serious and ingenious Henri, little conscious of being so fateful a

man:

[ocr errors]

Prince Henri in white Domino. "Prince IIenri of Prussia, says Richardson, the useful Eye-witness cited alreadly, “is one

of the most celebrated Generals of the present age. So great are his military talents, that his Brother, who is not apt to pay 'compliments, says of him,—that, in commanding an army, he

was never known to commit a fault. This, however, is but a negative kind of praise. He' (the King) reserves to himself “the glory of superior genius, which, though capable of brilliant

achievements, is yet liable to unwary mistakes; and allows him 6 no other than the praise of correctness.

• To judge of Prince Henri by his appearance, I should form no high estimate of his abilities. But the Scythian Ambassadors judged in the same manner of Alexander the Great. He is under the middle size; very thin; he walks firmly enough, 6 or rather struts, as if he wanted to walk firmly; and has little dignity in his air or gesture. He is dark-complexioned; and he 'wears his hair, which is remarkably thick, clubbed, and dressed

with a high toupee. His forehead is high; his eyes large and •blue, with a little squint; and when he smiles, his upper lip is

drawn up a little in the middle. His look expresses sagacity ' and observation, but nothing very amiable; and his manner is grave and stiff rather than affable. He was dressed, when I 'first saw him, in a light-blue frock, with silver frogs; and wore

6

Jan. 1771. a red waistcoat and blue breeches. He is not very popular

among the Russians; and accordingly their wits are disposed to 6 amuse themselves with his appearance, and particularly with his toupee. They say he resembles Samson; that all his strength • lies in his hair; and that, conscious of this, and recollecting the • fate of the son of Manoah, he suffers not the nigh approaches

of any deceitful Delilah. They say he is like the Comet, which, • about fifteen months ago, appeared so formidable in the Russian • hemisphere; and which, exhibiting a small watery body, but a

most enormous train, dismayed the Northern and Eastern Po(tentates with “fear of change.”

'I saw him a few nights ago' (on or about Newyear's Day 1771; come back to us, from his Tour to Moscow, three weeks before, and nothing but galas ever since) "at a Masquerade in the Palace, said to be the most magnificent thing of the kind ever seen at the Russian Court. Fourteen large rooms • and galleries were opened for the accommodation of the masks; and I was informed that there were present several thousand people. A great part of the company wore dominos, or capuchin dresses; though, besides these, some fanciful appearances afforded a good deal of amusement. A

very

tall Cossack appeared completely arrayed in the “hauberk's twisted mail.” He was indeed very grim and martial. Persons in emblematical dresses, representing Apollo and the Seasons, addressed the Empress in speeches suited to their characters. The • Empress herself, at the time I saw her Majesty, wore a Grecian 'habit; though I was afterwards told that she varied her dress two or three times during the masquerade. Prince Henri of

Prussia wore a white domino. Several persons appeared in the • dresses of different nations,—Chinese, Turks, Persians, and Armenians. The most humorous and fantastical figure was a Frenchman, who, with wonderful nimbleness and dexterity, represented an overgrown but very beautiful Parrot. He chattered with a great deal of spirit; and his shoulders, covered with green feathers, performed admirably the part of wings. He • drew the attention of the Empress; a ring was formed; he

was quite happy; fluttered his plumage; made fine speeches ' in Russ, French, and tolerable English; the ladies were exceedingly diverted; everybody laughed except Prince Henri,

« 前へ次へ »