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9th-16th July 1780. others since. It is curiously authentic, characteristic in parts, though in its bald forensic style rather heavy reading. Luckier, for most readers, that inexorable want of room has excluded it, on the present occasion!
No reader adequately fancies, or could by any single Document be made to do so, the continual assiduity of Friedrich in regard to these interests of his. The strictest Husbandman is not busier with his Farm than Friedrich with his Kingdom throughout;—which is indeed a Farm, leased him by the Heavens; in which not a gate-bar can be broken, nor a stone or sod roll into the smallest ditch, but it is to his the Husbandman's damage, and must be instantly looked after. There are Meetings with the Silesian manufacturers (in Review time), Dialogues ensuing, several of which have been preserved; strange to read, however dull. There are many scattered evidences;-and only slowly does, not the thing indeed, but the degree of the thing, become fully credible. Not communicable, on the terms prescribed us at present; and must be left to the languid fancy, like so much else.
Here is an Ocular View, here are several such, which we yet happily have, of the actual Friedrich as he looked and lived. These, at a cheap rate, throw transiently some flare of illumination over his Affairs and him: these let me now give; and these shall be all.
Prince de Ligne, after Ten Years, sees Friedrich a
Second Time ; and reports what was said.
In Summer 1780, as we mentioned, Kaiser Joseph was on his first Visit to the Czarina. They met at Mohilow on the Dnieper, towards the end of May; have been roving about, as if in mere galas and amusements (though with a great deal of business incidentally thrown in), for
9th-16th July 1780. above a month since, when Prince de Ligne is summoned to join them at Petersburg. He goes by Berlin, stays at Potsdam with Friedrich for about a week; and reports to Polish Majesty these new Dialogues of 1780, the year after sending him those of Mährisch-Neustadt of 1770, which we read above. Those were written down from memory, in 1785; these in 1786,—and towards the end of it,' as is internally evident. Let these also be welcome to us on such terms as there are:
"Since your Majesty' (Quasi-Majesty, of Poland) “is willing to lose another quarter of an hour of that time, which you employ so well in gaining the love of all to whom you deign to ' make yourself known, here is my Second Interview. It can be
of interest only to you, Sire, who have known the King, and who discover traits of character in what to another are but
simple words. One finds in few others that confidence, or at “ least that kindliness (bonhomie), which characterises your Ma'jesty. With you, one can indulge in rest; but with the King • of Prussia, one had always to be under arms, prepared to parry and to thrust, and to keep the due middle between a small attack and a grand defence. I proceed to the matter in hand, and shall speak to you of him for the last time.
He had made me promise to come to Berlin. I hastened “thither directly after that little War' (Potato-War), 'which he 6 called " an action where he had come as bailiff to perform an execution.” The result for him, as is known, was a great expense of
of horses and money; some appearance of good faith and disinterestedness; little honour in the War; a little ' honesty in Policy, and much bitterness against us Austrians.
The King began, without knowing why, to prohibit Austrian • Officers from entering his Territories without an express order, signed by his own hand. Similar prohibition, on the part of our Court, against Prussian Officers; and mutual constraint, without profit or reason. I, for my own part, am of confident 'humour; I thought I should need no permission, and I think
still I could have done without one. But the desire of having ' a Letter from the great Friedrich, rather than the fear of • being ill received, made me write to him. My Letter was all
9th-16th July 1780. 6 on fire with my enthusiasm, my admiration, and the fervour of
my sentiment for that sublime and extraordinary being; and it brought me three charming Answers from him. He gave me, ' in detail, almost what I had given him in the gross; and what he could not return me in admiration,—for I do not remember to have gained a battle,-he accorded me in friendship. For fear of missing, he had written to me from Potsdam, to Vienna, to * Dresden, and to Berlin.' (In fine, at Potsdam I was, Saturday 9th July 1780, waiting ready ;-stayed there about a week). 14
“While waiting for the hour of 12, with my Son Charles and • M. de Lille (Abbé de Lille, prose writer of something now forgotten ; by no means lyrical De Lisle, of Les Jardins), “to be ' presented to the King, I went to look at the Parade ;-and, on ' its breaking up, was surrounded, and escorted to the Palace, by · Austrian deserters, and particularly from my own regiment, who almost caressed me, and asked my pardon for having left me.
The hour of presentation struck. The King received me ' with an unspeakable charm. The military coldness of a Generals Headquarters changed into a soft and kindly welcome. He said to me, “ He did not think I had so big a Son."
Ego. “He is even married, Sire; has been so these twelve 66 months." King, “May I (oserais-je) ask you to whom?" · He often used this expression, “oserais-je;" and also this: “If
you permit me to have the honour to tell you, Si vous me per“ mettez d'avoir l'honneur de vous dire.” Ego. “To a Polish “ Lady, a Massalska.”
King (to my Son). “ What, a Massalska ? Do ( what her Grandmother did ?" “No, Sire,” said Charles.
King. “She put the match to the cannon at the Siege of Danzig with her own hand ;15 she fired, and made others fire, “ and defended herself, when her party, who had lost head, " thought only of surrendering."
Ego. “Women are indeed undefinable; strong and weak by turns, indiscreet, dissembling, they are capable of anything.” “Without doubt,” said M. de Lille, distressed that nothing had ' yet been said to him, and with a familiarity which was not
14 (9th (or 10th) July 1780' (Rödenbeck, iii. 233): 'Stayed till 16th.'
15 February 1734, in poor Stanislaus Leczinski's second fit of Royalty : Suprà, ii. 485.
9th-16th July 1780. "likely to succeed; “Without doubt. Look” said he. The • King interrupted him. I cited some traits in support of my
opinion,-as that of the woman Hachette at the Siege of Beauvais.16 The King made a little excursion to Rome and to • Sparta: he liked to promenade there. After half a second of
silence, to please De Lille, I told the King that M. de Voltaire 6 died in De Lille's arms. That caused the King to address
some questions to him; he answered in rather too long-drawn • a manner, and went away. Charles and I stayed dinner. This is day first in Potsdam.
• Here, for five hours daily, the King's encyclopedical con* versation enchanted me completely. Fine arts, war, medicine, , á literature and religion, philosophy, ethics, history and legisla' tion, in turns passed in review. The fine centuries of Augustus 6 and of Louis XIV.; good society among the Romans, among " the Greeks, among the French; the chivalry of François I.; 6 the frankness and valour of Henri IV.; the new-birth (renais*sance) of Letters and their revolution since Leo X.; anecdotes
about the clever men of other times, and the trouble they give; • M. de Voltaire's slips; susceptibilities of M. de Maupertuis; Al'garotti's agreeable ways; fine wit of Jordan; d'.Irgens's hypochondria, whom the King would send to bed for four-and“twenty hours by simply telling him that he looked ill;—and, in ' fine, what not? Everything, the most varied and piquant that could be said, came from him,-in a most soft tone of voice; rather low than otherwise, and no less agreeable than were the movements of his lips, which had an inexpressible grace.
• It was this, I believe, which prevented one's observing that he was, in fact, like Homer's heroes, somewhat of a talker ' (un peu babillard), though a sublime one. It is to their voices, • their noise and gestures, that talkers often owe their reputation
as such; for certainly one could not find a greater talker than the King; but one was delighted at his being so. Accustomed “to talk to Marquis Lucchesini, in the presence of only four or • five Generals who did not understand French, he compensated in this way for his hours of labour, of study, of meditation and
16 A.D. 1472 ; Burgundians storming the wall, had their flag planted; flag and flag-bearer are hurled into the ditch by Hachette and other inspired women,-with the finest results.
9th-16th July 1780. • solitude. At least, said I to myself, I must get in a word. He had just mentioned Virgil. I said :
Ego. “What a great Poet, Sire; but what a bad gardener!"
King. 'Ah, to whom do you tell that! Have not I tried to “ plant, sow, till, dig, with the Georgics in my hand ? But, “ Monsieur,' said my man, “You are a fool (béte), and your Book
no less; it is not in that way one goes to work. Ah, mon “ Dieu, what a climate! Would you believe it, Heaven, or the
Sun, refuse me everything? Look at my poor orange-trees, my “ olive-trees, lemon-trees: they are all starving."
Ego. “It 6 would appear, then, nothing but laurels flourish with you, “ Sire.” (The King gave me a charming look; and to cover an
inane observation by an absurd one, I added quickly): “ Be“ sides, Sire, there are too many grenadiers" ' (means, in French, pomegranates as well as grenadiers,-peg of one's little joke !) ““ in “ this Country; they eat up everything !" The King burst out “ laughing; for it is only absurdities that cause laughter. “One day I had turned a plate to see of what porcelain it
“ Where do you think it comes from ?” asked the King. Ego. “I thought it was Saxon; but instead of two swords” (the Saxon mark), “I see only one, which is well worth both of them.” King. “It is a sceptre.” Ego. “I beg your Majesty's par“ don; but it is so much like a sword that one could easily “ mistake it for one.” And such was really the case. This, it is known, is the mark of the Berlin china. As the King some
times played King, and thought himself, sometimes, extremely • magnificent while taking up a walking-stick or snuff-box with 6 a few wretched little diamonds running after one another on it,
I don't quite know whether he was infinitely pleased with my 6 little allegory.
• One day, as I entered his room, he came towards me, say'ing, “I tremble to announce bad news to you. I have just “ heard that Prince Karl of Lorraine is dying:"17 He looked at
me to see the effect this would liave; and observing some tears escaping from my eyes, he, by gentlest transitions, changed the
conversation; talked of war, and of the Maréchal de Lacy. He 6 asked me news about Lacy; and said, “That is a man of the
17 Is already dead, 'at Brussels, July 4th ;' Duke of Sachsen-Teschen and Wife Christine succeeded him as Joint-Governors in those parts.