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9th Aug. 1772.
“ The Places are well selected. The bad Schoolmasters are mostly Tailors; and you must see whether they cannot be got “ removed to little Towns, and set to tailoring again, or other
wise disposed of, that our Schools might the sooner rise into “good condition, which is an interesting thing." "Eager always
our Master is to have the Schooling of his People improved and everywhere diffused,' writes, some years afterwards, the excellent Zedlitz, officially “Minister of Public Justice," but much and meritoriously concerned with School-matters as well. The King's ideas were of the best, and Zedlitz sometimes had fine hopes; but the want of funds was always great.
'In 1779,' says Preuss, there came a sad blow to Zedlitz's ' hopes; Minister von Brenkenhof' (deep in West-Preussen canal-diggings and expenditures) having suggested, That in
stead of getting Pensions, the Old Soldiers should be put to keeping School.' Do but fancy it; poor old fellows, little versed in scholastics hitherto! “Friedrich, in his pinch, grasped
at the small help; wrote to the War-Department: “Send me “ a List of Invalids who are fit” (or at least fittest) " to be “ Schoolmasters." And got thereupon a List of 74, and after
wards 5 more' (79 Invalids in all); War-Department adding, "That besides these scholastic sort, there were 741 serving as • Büdner' (Turnpike-keepers, in a sort), “as Forest-watchers, and
the like; and 3,443 unversorgt (shifting for themselves, no provision made for them at all),—such the check, by cold arithmetic and inexorable finance, upon the genial current of the soul
The Turnips, I believe, got gradually in ; and Brandenburg, in our day, is a more and more beautifully farmed Country. Nor were the Schoolmasters unsuccessful at all points; though I cannot report a complete educational triumph on those extremely limited terms. 16
Queen Ulrique left, I think, on the 9th of August 1772; there is sad farewell in Friedrich's Letter next day to Princess Sophie Albertine, the Queen's Daughter, subsequently Abbess of Quedlinburg: he is just setting out on his Silesian Reviews; “shall, too likely, never see
16 Preuss, iü. 115, 113, &c.
9th Aug. 1772. your good Mamma again."17 Poor King; Berlin City is sound asleep, while he rushes through it, on this errand, — past the Princess Amelia's window,' in the dead of night; and takes to humming tender strophes to her too; which gain a new meaning by their date.18
Ten days afterwards (19th August 1772),—-Queen Ulrique not yet home, — her Son, the spirited King Gustav III., at Stockholm, had made, what in our day is called a 'stroke of state,'—put a thorn in the snout of his monster of a Senate, namely: “Less of palaver, venality and insolence, from you, Sirs; we • restore the Constitution of 1680,' and are something of a King again!" Done with considerable dexterity and spirit; not one person killed or hurt. And surely it was the muzzling-up of a great deal of folly on their side,provided only there came wisdom enough from Gustav himself instead. But, alas, there did not, there hardly could. His Uncle was alarmed, and not a little angry for the moment: “You had two Parties to reconcile; a work of time, of patient endeavour, continual and quiet; no good possible till then. And instead of that -!" Gustav, a shining kind of man, showed no want of spirit, now or afterwards: but he leant too much on France and broken reeds;-and, in the end, got shot in the back by one of those beautiful “Nobles” of his, and came to a bad conclusion, they and he.19 Scandinavian Politics, thank Heaven, are none of our business.
Queen Ulrique was spared all these catastrophes. She had alarmed her Brother by a dangerous illness,
17 · Potsdam, 10th August 1772:'Euvres de Frédéric, xxvii. 11. 93. À
ma Sæur Amélie, en passant, la nuit, sous sa fenêtre, pour aller en Silésie (Août 1772): Euvres de Frédéric, xii. 77.
19 • 16th-29th March 1792,' death of Gustav III. by that assassination ; “13th March 1809,' his Son Gustav IV. has to go on his travels; • Karl XIII.,' a childless Uncle, succeeds for a few years; after whom &c.
7th Sept. 1773. sudden and dangerous, in 1775; who writes with great anxiety about it, to Another still more anxious :20 of this she got well again; but it did not last very long. July 16th, 1782, she died; and the sad Friedrich had to say, Adieu. Alas, “must the eldest of us mourn, then, by the grave of those younger !"
Wilhelmina's Daughter, Elizabeth Frederike Sophie,
Duchess of Würtemberg, appears at Ferney (September 1773).
Of our dear Wilhelmina's high and unfortunate Daughter there should be some Biography; and there will, surely, if a man of sympathy and faculty pass that way; but there is not hitherto. Nothing hitherto but a few bare dates; bare and sternly significant, as on a Tombstone; indicating that she had a History, and that it was a tragic one. Welcome to all of us, in this state of matters, is the following one clear emergence of her into the light of day, and in company so interesting too! Seven years before her death, she had gone to Lausanne (July 1773) to consult Tissot, a renowned Physician of those days. From Lausanne, after two months, she visited Voltaire at Ferney. Read this Letter of Voltaire's:
To Elizabeth Frederike Sophie, Duchess of Würtemberg
“Ferney, 10th July 1773. “ Madame, I am informed that your most Serene Highness “has deigned to remember that I was in the world. It is very
» See 'Correspondence with Gustav III.' (in Euvres de Frédéric, xxvii. 11. 84, &c.).
7th Sept. 1773. “ sad to be there, without paying you my court. I never felt “so cruelly the sad state to which old age and maladies have 66 reduced me. “I never saw you except as a child” (1743, her age
then 10): “ but you were certainly the beautifullest child in Europe. May
you be the happiest Princess” (alas !), “as you deserve to be! “ I was attached to Madame the Margravine" (your dear Mother) “ with equal devotedness and respect; and I had the honour to “ be pretty deep in her confidence, for some time before this “ world, which was not worthy of her, had lost that adorable “ Princess. You resemble her;- but don't resemble her in “ feebleness of health! You are in the flower of your age” (coming forty, I should fear): “let such bright flower lose no
thing of its splendour; may your happiness be able to equal “ (puisse égaler) your beauty; may all your days be serene, and “the sweets of friendship add a new charm to them! These are
my wishes; they are as lively as my regrets at not being at
your feet. What a consolation it would be for me to speak of “ your loving Mother, and of all your august relatives! Why “must Destiny send you to Lausanne” (consulting Dr. Tissot there), “and hinder me from flying thither!-Let your most “ Serene Highness deign to accept the profound respect of the “old moribund Philosopher of Ferney.-V."21
The Answer of the Princess, or farther Correspondence on the matter, is not given; evident only that by and by, as Voltaire himself will inform us, she did appear at Ferney ;—and a certain Swedish tourist, one Björnstahl, who met her there, enables us even to give the date. He reports this anecdote:
At supper, on the evening of 7th September 1773, the Princess sat next to Voltaire, who always addressed her, “ Votre Altesse." At last, the Duchess said to him, “ Tu es mon papa, “ je suis ta fille, et je veux être appelée ta fille.” Voltaire took a pencil from his pocket, asked for a card, and wrote upon it: Ah, le beau titre
21 Euvres de Voltaire, xcii. 331.
22 Ibid. xvii. 342.
Sept.-Dec. 1773. 'He gave the card to the Princess, who embraced and kissed him for it.'23 Voltaire to Friedrich (a fortnight after).
"Ferney, 220 September 1773. “I must tell you that I have felt, in these late days, in spite “ of all my past caprices, how much I am attached to your Majesty “ and to your House. Madame the Duchess of Würtemberg hav“ing had, like so many others, the weakness to believe that health " is to be found at Lausanne, and that Dr. Tissot gives it if one
pay him, has, as you know, made the journey to Lausanne; “ and I, who am more veritably ill than she, and than all the “ Princesses who have taken Tissot for an Æsculapius, had not “ the strength to leave my home. Madame of Würtemberg,
apprised of all the feelings that still live in me for the memory of Madame the Margravine of Baireuth her Mother, has
deigned to visit my hermitage, and pass two days with us. I “ should have recognised her, even without warning; she has the turn of her Mother's face with your eyes.
“You Hero-people who govern the world don't allow your“selves to be subdued by feelings; you have them all the same
your decorum. We other petty mor“ tals yield to all our impressions: I set myself to cry, in speak“ing to her of you and of Madame the Princess her Mother; “ and she too, though she is Niece of the first Captain in Europe, “ could not restrain her tears. It appears to me that she has “the talent (esprit) and the graces of your House; and that “especially she is more attached to you than to her Husband” (I should think so !). “She returns, I believe, to Baireuth,”
-(No Mother, no Father, there now: foolish Uncle of Anspach died long ago, ‘3d August 1757; Aunt Dowager of Anspach gone to Erlangen, I hope, to Feuchtwang, Schwabach or Schwaningen, or some Widow's-Mansion (Wittwensitz) of her own ;24 reigning Son, with his French-Actress equipments, being of questionable figure), _“ returns, I believe, to Baireuth; where she will find another
23 Vehse, Geschichte der Deutschen Höfe (Hamburg, 1853), xxv. 252, 253.
2 Lived, finally at Schwaningen, in sight of such vicissitudes and follies round her, till. 4th February 1784' (Rödenbeck, iii. 304).