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1782-1785. "the King; and I felt as if I were looking in the face of God Almighty (es war mir als ob ich den lieben Gott ansähe). He was gazing steadily out before him,' into the glowing West, through the front window. He had on an old three-cornered regimental hat, and had put the hindward straight flap of it
foremost, undoing the loop, so that this flap hung down in • front, and screened him from the sun. The hat-strings (Hut
cordons,' trimmings of silver or gold cord) had got torn ' loose, and were fluttering about on this down-hanging front flap;
the white feather in the hat was tattered and dirty; the plain blue uniform, with red cuffs, red collar, and gold shoulder-bands' (epaulettes without bush at the end), 'was old and dusty, the yellow waistcoat covered with snuff ;—for the rest, he had black-velvet breeches' (and, of course, the perpetual boots, of which he would allow no polishing or blacking, still less any change for new ones while they would hang together). "I thought always he would speak to me. The old woman could not long hold me up; and so she set me down again. Then the King looked at the Clergyman, beckoned him near, and asked, • Whose child it was ? “ Herr von Marwitz of Friedersdorf's." “Is that the General ?” “No, the Chamberlain.” The King made no answer: he could not bear Chamberlains, whom he considered as idle fellows. The new horses were yoked; away they went. All day the peasants had been talking of the King, how he would bring this and that into order, and pull everybody over the coals who was not agreeable to them.
“Afterwards it turned out that all Clergymen were in the 'habit of giving 10 thalers to the coachman Pfund, when the King lodged with them: the former Clergyman of Dolgelin had regularly done it; but the new one, knowing nothing of the custom, had omitted it last year ;-and that was the reason why the fellow had so pushed along all day that he could pass * Dolgelin before sunset, and get his 10 thalers in Müncheberg ' from the Bürgermeister there.
20. January 1785. "The second time I saw the King was at the Carnival of Berlin in 1785. I had
Tutor to a Cousin of mine who was a Hofdame (Dame de Cour) to
1782-1785. “the Princess Henri, and lived accordingly in the Prince-Henri • Palace,—which is now, in our days, become the University ;'her apartments were in the third story, and looked out into the 'garden. As we were ascending the great stairs, there came dashing past us a little old man with staring eyes, jumping down three steps at a time. My Tutor said, in astonishment, “ That is Prince Henri !” We now stept into a window of the ' first story, and looked out to see what the little man had meant
by those swift boundings of his. And lo, there came the King ' in his carriage to visit him.
* Friedrich the Second never drove in Potsdam, except when on journeys, but constantly rode. He seemed to think it a disgrace, and unworthy of a Soldier, to go in a carriage: thus, when in the last Autumn of his life (this very 1785) he was so ' unwell in the windy Sans-Souci (where there were no stoves, • but only hearth-fires), that it became necessary to remove to “the Schloss in Potsdam, he could not determine to drive thither, 'but kept hoping from day to day for so much improvement as "might allow him to ride. As no improvement came, and the weather grew ever colder, he at length decided to go over under cloud of darkness, in a sedan-chair, that nobody might notice him.-So likewise during the Reviews at Berlin or Charlotten'burg he appeared always on horseback: but during the Carnival ' in Berlin, where he usually stayed four weeks, he drove, and this always in Royal pomp,—thus :
*Ahead went eight runners with their staves, plumed caps ' and runner-aprons' (Läufer-schürze, whatever these are), ‘in two rows. As these runners were never used for anything except this show, the office was a kind of post for Invalids of the • Lifeguard. A consequence of which was, that the King always
had to go at a slow pace. His courses, however, were no other • than from the Schloss to the Opera twice a week; and during
his whole residence, one or two times to Prince Henri and the ' Princess Amelia' (once always, too, to dine with his Wife, to whom he did not speak one word, but merely bowed at beginning and ending !) "After this the runners rested again for a year. Behind them came the Royal Carriage, with a team of eight; eight windows round it; the horses with old-fashioned har
1782-1785. ness, and plumes on their heads. Coachman and outriders all in the then Royal livery,-blue; the collar, cuffs, pockets, and all seams, trimmed with a stripe of red cloth, and this bound on both sides with small gold-cord; the general effect of which ' was very good. In the four boots (Nebentritten) of the coach
stood four Pages, red with gold, in silk stockings, feather-hats • (crown all covered with feathers), but not having plumes ;—the
valet's boot behind, empty; and to the rear of it, down below, where one mounts to the valet's boot (Bedienten-tritt, what is now become foot-board), “stood a groom (Stallknecht). Thus came the King, moving slowly along; and entered through the portal of the Palace. We looked down from the window in the stairs. Prince Henri stood at the carriage-door; the pages opened it, the King stepped out, saluted his Brother, took him by the "hand, walked upstairs with him, and thus the two passed near ' us (we retiring upstairs to the second story), and went into the * Apartment, where now Students run leaping about.
3o. May 23d, 1785. "The third time I saw him was that same year, at Berlin still, as he returned home from the Review.22 My Tutor had gone with me for that end to the Halle Gate, for we already knew that on that day he always visited ' his Sister, Princess Amelia. He came riding on a big white
horse, no doubt old Condé, who, twenty years after this, still 'got his free-board in the Ecole Vétérinaire ; for since the Ba• varian War (1778), Friedrich hardly ever rode any other horse. * His dress was the same as formerly at Dolgelin, on the journey; only that the hat was in a little better condition, properly looped up, and with the peak (but not with the long peak, as is now the fashion) set in front, in due military style. Behind him were a guard of Generals, then the Adjutants, and finally the grooms of the party. The whole “Rondeel” (now Belle• Alliance Platz) and the Wilhelms-Strasse were crammed full of people; all windows crowded, all heads bare, everywhere the deepest silence; and on all countenances an expression of re'verence and confidence, as towards the just steersman of all our destinies. The King rode quite alone in front, and sa
2 May 21st-234' (Rödenbeck, iii. 327).
1782-1785. * luted people, continually taking off his hat. In doing which he observed a very marked gradation, according as the onlookers bowing to him from the windows seemed to deserve. At one . time he lifted the hat a very little; at another he took it from his head, and held it an instant beside the same; at another he sunk it as far as the elbow. But these motions lasted continually; and no sooner had he put on his hat, than he saw other people, and again took it off. From the Halle Gate to the Koch-Strasse he certainly took off his hat 200 times.
* Through this reverent silence there sounded only the tramp• ling of the horses, and the shouting of the Berlin street-boys, who went jumping before him, capering with joy, and flung up their hats into the air, or skipped along close by him, wiping • the dust from his boots. I and my Tutor had gained so much room that we could run alongside of him, hat in hand, among the boys.—You see the difference between then and now. Who was it that then made the noise ? Who maintained a dignified demeanour?—Who is it that bawls and bellows now?' (Nobilities ought to be noble, thinks this old Marwitz, in their reverence to Nobleness. If Nobilities themselves become Washed Populaces in a manner, what are we to say ?) “And what value can you put on such bellowing?
“Arrived at the Princess Amelia's Palace (which, lying in the Wilhelms-Strasse, fronts also into the Koch-Strasse), the • crowd grew still denser, for they expected him there: the fore
court was jammed full; yet in the middle, without the presence of any police, there was open space left for him and his attendants. He turned into the Court; the gate-leaves went "back; and the aged lame Princess, leaning on two Ladies, the • Oberhofmeisterinn (Chief Lady) behind her, came hitching down • the flat steps to meet him. So soon as he perceived her, he put
his horse to the gallop, pulled up, sprang rapidly down, took off ' his hat (which he now, however, held quite low at the full length of his arm), embraced her, gave her his arm, and again led her up the steps. The gate-leaves went-to; all had vanished, and
the multitude still stood, with bared head, in silence, all eyes • turned to the spot where he had disappeared; and so it lasted awhile, till each gathered himself and peacefully went his way.
5th-11th Aug. 1784. * And yet there had nothing happened! No pomp, no fireworks, no cannon-shot, no drumming and fifing, no music, no event that had occurred! No, nothing but an old man of 73, ill-dressed, all dusty, was returning from his day's work. But everybody knew that this old man was toiling also for him ; that he had set his whole life on that labour, and for five-and-forty years had not given it the slip one day! Everyone saw, moreover, the fruits of this old man's labour, near and far, and every
where around; and to look on the old man himself awakened * reverence, admiration, pride, confidence,- in short, all the • nobler feelings of man."23
This was May 21st, 1785; I think, the last time Berlin saw its King in that public manner, riding through the streets. The Fürstenbund Affair is now, secretly, in a very lively state, at Berlin and over Germany at large; and comes to completion in a couple of months hence,—as shall be noticed farther on.
General Bouillé, home from his West-Indian Exploits, visits Friedrich (August 5-11th, 1784).
In these last years of his life, Friedrich had many French of distinction visiting him. In 1782, the Abbé Raynal (whom, except for his power of face, he admired little) ;24 in 1786, Mirabeau (whose personal qualities seem to have pleased him);—but chiefly, in the interval between these two, various Military Frenchmen, now home with their laurels from the American War, coming about his Reviews: eager to see the Great Man, and be seen by him. Lafayette, Ségur, and many
others came; of whom the one interesting to us is Marquis de Bouillé: already known for his swift sharp operation on the English Leeward Islands; and memorable afterwards to all
23 Nachlass des General von der Marwitz, i. 15-20. 24 Rödenbeck, iii. 277 n.