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9th-16th July 1780.
King. “Where did you pick up all these fine old Pieces? These “ would amuse me on an evening; better than the conversation “ of my Doctor of the Sorbonne” (one Peyrau, a wandering creature, not otherwise of the least interest to us),19 whom I have “ here, and whom I am trying to convert.” Ego. “I found “ them all in a Bohemian Library, where I sat diverting myself “ for two Winters.”
King. “How, then? Two Winters in Bohemia? What the “ devil were you doing there! Is it long since ?" Ego. “No, “ Sire; only a year or two" (Potato-War time)! "I had retired “thither to read at my ease.”—He smiled, and seemed to appreciate
my not mentioning the little War of 1778, and saving him any speech about it. He saw well enough that my Winterquarters had been in Bohemia on that occasion; and was satis'fied with my reticence. Being an old sorcerer, who guessed everything, and whose tact was the finest ever known, he discovered that I did not wish to tell him I found Berlin changed since I had last been there. I took care not to remind him that I was at the capturing of it in 1760, under M. de Lacy's orders’ (M. de Lacy's indeed!).—' It was for having spoken of the first capture of Berlin, by Marshal Haddick' (highly temporary as it was, and followed by Rossbach), “that the King had ótaken a dislike to M. de Ried.
Apropos of the Doctor of the Sorbonne' (uninteresting Peyrau) with whom he daily disputed, the King said to me once, “Get me a Bishopric for him.” “I don't think," answered I,“ that “ my recommendation, or that of your Majesty, could be useful ૮૮
to him with us." “Ah, truly no !” said the King: “Well, I “ will write to the Czarina of Russia for this poor devil; he does “ begin to bore me. He holds out as Jansenist, forsooth. Mon
Dieu, what blockheads the present Jansenists are! But France “ should not have extinguished that nursery (foyer) of their
genius, that Port Royal, extravagant as it was. Indeed, one
ought to destroy nothing! Why have they destroyed, too, the “ Depositaries of the graces of Rome and of Athens, those excel“lent Professors of the Humanities, and perhaps of Humanity,
19 Nicolai, Anekdoten, ii. 133 n.
9th-16th July 1780. " the Ex-Jesuit Fathers ? Education will be the loser by it. “ But as my Brothers the Kings, most Catholic, most Christian,
most Faithful and Apostolic, have tumbled them out, I, most “Ileretical, pick up as many as I can; and perhaps, one day, I “ shall be courted for the sake of them by those who want some. “I preserve the breed: I said, counting my stock, the other “ day, 'A Rector like you, my Father, I could easily sell for “ 300 thalers; you, Reverend Father Provincial, for 600; and “ so the rest, in proportion. When one is not rich, one makes
'From want of memory, and of opportunities to see oftener and longer the Greatest Man that ever existed (Oh, mon Prince !), 'I am obliged to stop. There is not a word in all this
but was his own; and those who have seen him will recognise ‘his manner. All I want is, to make him known to those who
have not had the happiness to see him. His eyes are too hard ' in the Portraits : by work in the Cabinet, and the hardships of War, they had become intense, and of piercing quality; but they softened finely in hearing, or telling, some trait of nobleness or sensibility. Till his death, and but quite shortly before it,notwithstanding many levities which he knew I had allowed
myself, both in speaking and writing, and which he surely attri' buted only to my duty as opposed to my interest,—he deigned to honour me with marks of his remembrance; and has often
commissioned his Ministers, at Paris and at Vienna, to assure 'me of his good will.
'I no longer believe in earthquakes and eclipses at Cæsar's death, since there has been nothing of such at that of Friedrich the Great. I know not, Sire, whether great phenomena of
Nature will announce the day when you shall cease to reign' (great phenomena must be very idle if they do, your Highness !) — but it is a phenomenon in the world, that of a King who rules a Republic by making himself obeyed and respected for his own sake, as much as by his rights' (Hear, hear). 20
Prince de Ligne thereupon hurries off for Petersburg, and the final Section of his Kaiser's Visit. . An 1782-1785. errand of his own, too, the Prince had,-about his new Daughter-in-law Massalska, and claims of extensive Polish Properties belonging to her. He was the charm of Petersburg and the Czarina; but of the Massalska Properties could retrieve nothing whatever. The munificent Czarina gave him a beautiful Territory in the Crim,' instead; and invited him to come and see it with her, on his Kaiser's next Visit (1787, the aquatic Visit and the highly scenic). Which it is well known the Prince did; and has put on record, in his pleasant, not untrue, though vague, high-coloured and fantastic way, -if it or he at all concerned us farther.
20 Prince de Ligne, Mémoires et Mélanges, i. 22-40.
How General von der Marwitz, in early Boyhood, saw Friedrich the Great Three Times (1782-5).
General von der Marwitz, who died not many years ago, is of the old Marwitz kindred, several of whom we have known for their rugged honesties, genialities, and peculiar ways. This General, it appears, had left a kind of Autobiography; which friends of his thought might be useful to the Prussian Public, after those Radical distractions which burst out in 1848 and onwards; and a first Volume of the Marwitz Posthumous Papers was printed accordingly, 21 — whether any more I have not heard; though I found this first Volume an excellent substantial bit of reading; and the Author a fine old Prussian Gentleman, very analogous in his structure to the fine old English ditto; who showed me the per contra side of this and the other much-celebrated modern Prussian person and thing, Prince Hardenberg, Johannes von Müller, and the like;—and yielded more especially the
21 Nachlass des General von der Marwitz (Berlin, 1852), 1 vol. 8vo.
1782-1785. following Three Reminiscences of Friedrich, beautiful little Pictures, bathed in morning light, and evidently true to the life:
1o. June 1782 or 1783. The first time I saw him was in 1782 (or it might be 1783, in my sixth year),' middle of June, whichever year, 'as he was returning from his Annual Review . in Preussen' (West-Preussen, never revisits the Königsberg region), and stopped to change horses at Dolgelin.' Dolgelin is in Müllrose Country, westward of Frankfurt-on-Oder; our Marwitz Schloss not far from it. I had been sent with Mamsell · Bénézet,' my French Governess; and, along with the Clergyman of Dolgelin, we waited for the King.
"The King, on his journeys, generally preferred, whether at mid-day or for the night, to halt in some Country place, and at the Parsonages most of all; probably because he was quieter there than in the Towns. To the Clergyman this was always a piece of luck; not only because, if he pleased the King, he might chance to get promoted; but because he was sure of ‘ profitable payment, at any rate; the King always ordering 50 thalers’ (say 10 guineas) ‘for his noon-halt, and for his night'slodging 100. The little that the King ate was paid for over and above. It is true, his Suite expected to be well treated; but
this consisted only of one or two individuals. Now, the King " had been wont almost always, on these journeys homewards, " to pass the last night of his expedition with the Clergyman of ‘Dolgelin; and had done so last year, with this present one who 'was then just installed; with him, as with his predecessor, the • King had talked kindly, and the 100 thalers were duly remembered. Our good Parson flattered himself, therefore, that this time too the same would happen; and he had made all preparations accordingly.
“So we waited there, and a crowd of people with us. The team of horses stood all ready (peasants' horses, poor little cats of things, but the best that could be picked, for there were then no post-horses that could run fast);—the country-fellows that were to ride postillion all decked, and ten head of horses ' for the King's coach: wheelers, four, which the coachman
drove from his box; then two successive pairs before, on each ‘ pair a postillion-peasant; and upon the third pair, foremost of all, the King's outriders were to go.
“And now, at last, came the Feldjäger (Chacer, Huntinggroom), 'with his big whip, on a peasant's horse, a peasant with ' him as attendant. All blazing with heat, he dismounted; said, • The King would be here in five minutes; looked at the relays, 6 and the fellows with the water-buckets, who were to splash the wheels; gulped down a quart of beer; and so, his saddle in the interim having been fixed on another horse, sprang up again, and off at a gallop. The King, then, was not to stay in Dolgelin! Soon came the Page, mounted in like style; a youth of 17 or 18; utterly exhausted; had to be lifted down from his horse, and again helped upon the fresh one, being scarcely able to stand ;-and close on the rear of him arrived the King. He was sitting alone in an old-fashioned glass-coach, what they call a vis-à-vis (a narrow carriage, two seats fore and aft, and . on each of them room for only one person). The coach was very long, like all the old carriages of that time; between the
driver's box and the body of the coach was a space of at least ' four feet; the body itself was of pear-shape, peaked below and • bellied-out above; hung on straps, with rolled knuckles' (winden), 'did not rest on springs; two beams, connecting fore-wheels and hind, ran not under the body of the coach, but along the sides of it, the hind-wheels following with a goodly interval.
• The carriage drew up; and the King said to his coachman' (the far-famed Pfund): “Is this Dolgelin?” “Yes, your Ma
jesty!"_“I stay here.” “No," said Pfund; “the sun is not “ down yet. We can get on very well to Müncheberg tonight” (ten miles ahead, and a Town too, perfidious Pfund !)—" and " then tomorrow we are much earlier in Potsdam.” “ Na, Hm,well, if it must be so !"
• And therewith they set to changing horses. The peasants who were standing far off, quite silent, with reverently bared heads, came softly nearer, and looked eagerly at the King. An old Gingerbread-woman (Semmelfrau) of Lebbenichen' (always knew her afterwards) took me in her arm, and held me aloft close to the coach-window. I was now at farthest an ell from