Aug.-Sept. 1774. 6 at the door, or in the court ; at which, I can assure you, it is “ not an exaggeration of vanity to say, that he not only talked to

me, but literally to nobody else at all. It was a good deal each time, and as soon as finished, he made his bow, and retired, though all, or most, of the other Foreigners were standing by, as well as his own Generals. He also called me up, and spoke

to me several times on horseback, when we were out, which he “ seldom did to anybody.

« The Prince Royal also showed me much civility. The “ second day, he asked me to come and drink a dish of tea with “ him after dinner, and kept me an hour and half. He told

me, among other things, that the King of Prussia had a high 6 opinion of me, and that it came chiefly from the favourable “ manner in which Duke Ferdinand and the Hereditary Prince" (of Brunswick) “had spoken of me.” “Pray let Horace “ Walpole know my address, that I may have all the chance I 6. can of hearing from him. But, if he comes to Paris, I forgive “ him.-H. S. C."

Friedrich's Reviews, though fine to look upon, or indeed the finest in the world, were by no means of spectacular nature; but of altogether serious and practical, almost of solemn and terrible, to the parties interested. Like the strictest College Examination for Degrees, as we said ; like a Royal Assize or Doomsday of the Year; to Military people, and over the upper classes of Berlin Society, nothing could be more serious. Major Kaltenborn, an Ex-Prussian Officer, presumably of over-talkative habits, who sounds on us like a very messroom of the time all gathered under one hat,—describes in an almost awful manner the kind of terror with which all people awaited these Annual Assizes for trial of military merit.

What a sight,' says he,' and awakening what thoughts, that of a body of from 18,000 to 20,000 soldiers, in solemn silence and in deepest reverence, awaiting their fate from one man! A • Review, in Friedrich's time, was an important moment for al. most the whole Country. The fortune of whole families often • depended on it: from wives, mothers, children and friends, • during those terrible three days, there arose fervent wishes to

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Aug.-Sept. 1774. Heaven, that misfortune might not, as was too frequently the case, befal their husbands, fathers, sons and friends, in the course of them. Here the King, as it were, weighed the merits of his Officers, and distributed, according as he found them

light or heavy, praise or blame, rebukes or favours; and often, 'too often, punishments, to be felt through life. One single

unhappy moment' (especially, if it were the last of a long series of such !) “often deprived the bravest Officer of his bread, pain'fully earned in peace and war, and of his reputation and “ honour, at least in the eyes of most men, who judge of everything only by its issue. The higher you had risen, the easier and deeper your fall might be, at an unlucky Review. The • Heads and Commanders of regiments were always in danger of ' being sent about their business (weggejagt).'

The fact is, I Kaltenborn quitted the Prussian Service, and took Hessian,-being (presumably) of exaggerative, over-talkative nature, and strongly gravitating Opposition way !-Kaltenborn admits that the King delighted in nothing so much as to see people's faces cheerful about him ; provided the price for it were not too high. Here is another passage from him:

* At latest by 9 in the morning, the day's Manæuvre had finished, and everything was already in its place again. Straight ' from the ground all Heads of regiments, the Majors-de-jour, all * Aides-de-Camp, and from every battalion one Officer, proceed 6 to Headquarters. It was impossible to speak more beautifully,

instructively, than the King did on such occasions, if he were not in bad humour. It was then a very delight to hear him * deliver a Military Lecture, as it were. He knew exactly who “had failed, what caused the fault, and how it might and should • have been retrieved. His voice was soft and persuasive (hinreis'send); he looked kindly, and appeared rather bent upon giving 'good advice than commands.

Thus, for instance, he once said to General von Lossow, * Head of the Black Hussars : “Your (seine) Attack would have

gone very well, had not your own squadron pressed forward “ too much (vorgeprellt). The brave fellows wanted to show me “ how they can ride. But don't I know that well enough ;—and “ also that you” (covetous Lossow) “ always choose the best horses





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Aug-Sept. 1774. “ from the whole remount for your own squadron! There was, “ therefore, no need at all for that. Tell your people not to “ do so tomorrow, and you will see it will go much better; all “ will remain closer in their places, and the left wing be able to

keep better in line, in coming on.”—Another time, having observed, in a certain Foot-regiment, that the soldiers were too long in getting out their cartridges, he said to the Commandant: “Do

“Do you know the cause of this, my dear Colonel ? Look, “ the cartouche, in the cartridge-box, has 32 holes; into these “ the fellow sticks his eight cartridges, without caring how: and “ so the poor devil fumbles and gropes about, and cannot get “ hold of any. But now, if the Officers would look to it that he “ placed them all well together in the middle of the cartouche, “ he would never make a false grasp, and the loading would go

as quick again. Only tell your Officers that I had made this “ observation, and I am sure they will gladly attend to it.” 157

Of humane consolatory Anecdotes, in this kind, our Opposition Kaltenborn gives several ; of the rhadamanthine desolating or destructive kind, though such also could not be wanting, if your Assize is to be good for anything, he gives us none. And so far as I can learn, the effective punishments, dismissals and the like, were of the due rarity and propriety; though the flashes of unjust rebuke, fulminant severity, lightnings from the gloom of one's own sorrows and ill-humour, were much more frequent, but were seldom,—I do not know if ever,—persisted in to the length of practical result. This is a Rhadamanthus much interested not to be unjust, and to discriminate good from bad! Of Ziethen there are two famous Review Anecdotes, omitted and omissible by Kaltenborn, so well known are they: one of each kind. At a certain Review, year not ascertainable,—long since, prior to the Seven-Years War,—the King's humour was of the grimmest, nothing but faults all round; to Ziethen himself, and the Ziethen Hussars, he said various hard things, and at length this hardest : “ Out of my sight with you !"58 Upon which Ziethen,-a stratum of red-hot kindling in Ziethen too, as was

37 Anonymous (Kaltenborn), Briefe eines alten Preussischen Oficiers (Hohenzollern, 1790), ii. 24-26.

» Madame de Blumenthal, Life of Ziethen, i. 285. VOL. VI.


um :

Aug.-Sept. 1774. easily possible,-turns to his Hussars, “ Right about, Rechts un march !” and on the instant did as bidden. Disappeared, doublequick; and at the same high pace, in a high frame of mind, rattled on to Berlin, home to his quarters, and there first drew bridle. “Turn; for Heaven's sake, bethink you!" said more than one friend whom he met on the road: but it was of no use. Everybody said, “ Ziethen is ruined;" but Ziethen never heard of the thing more.

Anecdote Second is not properly of a Review, but of an incidental Parade of the Guard, at Berlin (25th December 1784), by the King in person : Parade, or rather giving out of the Parole after it, in the King's Apartments; which is always a kind of Military Levee as well;--and which, in this instance, was long famous among the Berlin people. King is just arrived for Carnival season; old Ziethen will not fail to pay his duty, though climbing of the stairs is heavy to a man of 85 gone. This is Madam Blumenthal's Narrative (corrected, as it needs, in certain points):

Saturday, 25th December 1784, Ziethen, in spite of the bur• den of eighty-six years, went to the Palace, at the end of the * Parade, to pay his Sovereign this last tribute of respect, and

to have the pleasure of seeing him after six months absence. · The Parole was given out, the orders imparted to the Generals, • and the King had turned towards the Princes of the Blood when he perceived Ziethen on the other side of the Hall, between his Son and his two Aides-de-camp. Surprised in a very 6 agreeable manner at this unexpected sight, he broke out into an * exclamation of joy; and directly making up to him,—“What, my good old Ziethen, are you there!” said his Majesty : "How

sorry am I that you have had the trouble of walking up the “ staircase! I should have called upon you myself. How have you

been of late ?” “Sire," answered Ziethen, “my health “ is not amiss, my appetite is good; but my strength! my “strength!” “This account,” replied the King, “ makes me “happy by halves only: but you must be tired ;-I shall have a " chair for you."

(Thing unexampled in the annals of Royalty!) 'A chair,' on order to Ziethen's Aides-de-Camp, 'was quickly brought. Ziethen, however, declared that he was not at

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1775. * all fatigued: the King maintained that he was. “Sit down, good “ Father (Mein lieber alter Papa Ziethen, setze Er sich doch)!continued his Majesty: “I will have it so; otherwise I must

instantly leave the room; for I cannot allow you to be incom“ moded under my own roof.” The old General obeyed, and * Friedrich the Great remained standing before him, in the midst

of a brilliant circle that had thronged round them. After ask‘ing him many questions respecting his hearing, his memory, and the general state of his health, he at length took leave of him in these words: “Adieu, my dear Ziethen” (it was his last adieu !)—“take care not to catch cold; nurse yourself well, and “ live as long as you can, that I may often have the pleasure “ of seeing you.” After having said this, the King, instead of speaking to the other Generals, and walking through the saloons, as usual, retired abruptly, and shut himself up in his closet.°59

Following in date these small Conway Phenomena, if these, so extraneous and insignificant, can have any glimmer of memorability to readers, are two other occurrences, especially one other, which come in at this part of the series, and greatly more require to be disengaged from the dust-heaps, and presented for remembrance.

In 1775, the King had a fit of illness; which long occupied certain Gazetteers and others. That is the first occurrence of the two, and far the more important. He himself says of it, in his History, all that is essential to us here:


"Towards the end of 1775, the King was attacked by several strong consecutive fits of gout. Van Swieten, a famous Doctor's Son, and Minister of the Imperial Court at Berlin, took it into

sø Blumenthal, ii. 341; Militair-Lexikon, iv. 318. Chodowiecki has made an Engraving of this Scene; useful to look at for its military Portraits, if of little esteem otherwise. Strangely enough, both in Blumenthal and in Chodowiecki's Engraving, the year is given as 1785 (plainly impossible); Militair-Lexikon misprints the month; and, one way or other, only Rödenbeck (iii. 316) is right in both day and year.

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