ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

20th Aug. 1785. were directed on one point. I cannot describe to you my feel“ings, which of course were those of everybody, to see him, the aged King; in his weak hand the hat; in those grand eyes such a fatherly benignily of look over the vast crowd that encircled ' his Carriage, and rolled tide-like, accompanying it. Looking

round when he was past, I saw in various eyes a tear trembling. (“Alas, we shan't have him long !")

‘His affability, his kindliness, to whoever had the honour of speech with this great King, who shall describe it! After talk'ing a good while with the Merchants-Deputation from the Hill

Country, he said, “Is there anything more, then, from any“ body?” Upon which, the President (Kaufmannsälteste, Merchants-Eldest) 'Lachmann, from Greiffenberg,' which had been burnt lately, and helped by the King to rebuild itself, 6 stepped ' forward, and said, “The burnt-out Inhabitants of Greiffenberg “ had charged him to express once more their most submissive “ gratitude for the gracious help in rebuilding; their word of

thanks, truly, was of no importance, but they daily prayed “ God to reward such Royal beneficence.” The King was visibly affected, and said, “You don't need to thank me; “ when my subjects fall into misfortune, it is my duty to help them up again ; for that reason am I here."

Saturday 20th, he arrived at Tinz; had a small Cavalry Maneuvre, next day; and on Monday the Review Proper began. Lasted four days,22d-25th August, Monday to Thursday, both inclusive. “Headquarter was in the Dorf-Schulze's (Village

chulze's (Village Mayor's) house; ' and there were many Strangers of distinction quar

tered in the Country Mansions round.' Gross-Tinz is about 12 miles straight north from Strehlen, and as far straight east from the Zobtenberg: Gross-Tinz, and its Review of August 1785, ought to be long memorable.

How the Review turned out as to proficiency recovered, I have not heard; and only infer, by symptoms, that it was not unsatisfactory. The sure fact, and the forever memorable, is, That on Wednesday, the third

24th Aug. 1785. day of it, from 4 in the morning, when the Manæuvres began, till well after 10, when they ended, there was a rain like Noah's; rain falling as from buckets and waterspouts; and that Friedrich (and perhaps most others too), so intent upon his business, paid not the least regard to it; but rode about, intensely inspecting, in lynx-eyed watchfulness of everything, as if no rain had been there. Was not at the pains even to put on his cloak. Six hours of such down-pour; and a weakly old man of 73 past. Of course he was wetted to the bone. On returning to headquarters, his boots were found full of water; 'when pulled off, it came pouring from them - like a pair of pails.'

He got into dry clothes ; presided in his usual way at dinner, which soon followed; had many Generals and guests,-La Fayette, Lord Cornwallis, Duke of York;— and, as might be expected, felt unusually feverish afterwards. Hot, chill, quite poorly all afternoon; glad to get to bed :- where he fell into deep sleep, into profuse perspiration, as his wont was; and awoke, next morning, greatly recovered; altogether well again, as he supposed. Well enough to finish his Review comfortably; and start for home. Went,-round by Neisse, inspection not to be omitted there, though it doubles the distance,—to Brieg that day; a drive of 80 miles, inspection-work included. Thence, at Breslau for three days more: with dinners of state, balls, illuminations, in honour of the Duke of York,-our as yet last Duke of York, then a brisk young

fellow of twenty-two; to whom, by accident, among his other distinctions, may belong this of having (most involuntarily) helped to kill Friedrich the Great!

Back to Potsdam, Friedrich pushed on with business; and complained of nothing. Was at Berlin in 9th-10th Sept. 1785. about ten days (September 9th), for an Artillery Review; saw his Sister Amelia; saw various public works in a state of progress, but what perhaps is medically significant, went in the afternoon to a kind of Spa Well they have at Berlin; and slept, not at the Palace, but at this Spa, in the hostelry or lodginghouse attached.? Next day (September 10th), the Artillery Maneuvre was done; and the King left Berlin, little guessing he had seen Berlin for the last time.

The truth is, his health, unknown to him (though that of taking a Night at the Spa Well, probably denotes some guess or feeling of the kind, on his part), must have been in a dangerous or almost ruinous state. Accordingly, soon afterwards, September 18th-19th, in the night-time, he was suddenly aroused by a Fit of Suffocation (what they call Stickfluss); and, for some hours, till relief was got, everybody feared he would perish. Next day there came gout; which perhaps he regarded almost as a friend: but it did not prove such; it proved the captain of a chaotic company of enemies; and Friedrich's end, I suppose, was already inexorably near. At the Grand Potsdam Review (22d-230 September), chief Review of all, and with such an affluence of Strangers to it this Autumn, he was quite unable to appear; prescribed the Manæuvres and Procedures, and sorrowfully kept his room.

3

? Rödenbeck, in die.

3 This of 23d September 1785 is what Print-Collectors know loosely as " Friedrich's Last Review ;"—one Cunningham, an English Painter (son of a Jacobite ditto, and himself of wandering habitat), and Clemens, a Prussian Engraver, having done a very large and highly-superior Print of it, by way of speculation in Military Portraits (Berlin, 1787); in which, among many others, there figures the crediblest Likeness known to me of Friedrich in Old Age, though Friedrich himself was not there. (See Preuss, iv. 242; especially see Rödenbeck, iii. 337 n.).- As Crown Prince, Friedrich had sat to Pesne ; never afterwards to any Artist.

Sept. 1785—Jan. 1786.

Friedrich was always something of a Doctor himself: he had little faith in professional Doctors, though he liked to speak with the intelligent sort, and was curious about their science. And it is agreed he really had good notions in regard to it; in particular, that he very well understood his own constitution of body; knew the effects of causes there, at any rate, and the fit regimens and methods :—as an old man of sense will usually do. The complaint is, that he was not always faithful to regimen; that, in his old days at least, he loved strong soups, hot spicy meats;—finding, I suppose, a kind of stimulant in them, as others do in wine; a sudden renewal of strength, which might be very tempting to him. There has been a great deal of unwise babble on this subject, which I find no reason to believe, except as just said. In the fall of this year, as usual, perhaps rather later than usual,—not till November 8th (for what reason so delaying, Marwitz told us already),—he withdrew from Sans-Souci, his Summer-Cottage; shut himself up in Potsdam Palace (Old Palace) for the winter. It was known he was very ailing; and that he never stirred out --but this was not quite unusual in late winters ; and the rumours about his health were vague and various. Now, as always, he himself, except to his Doctors, was silent on that subject. Various military Doctors, Theden, Frese, and others of eminence, were within reach; but it is not known to me that he consulted

any

of them. Not till January 1786, when symptoms worse than ever, of asthma, of dropsy, began to manifest themselves, did he call in Selle, the chief Berlin Doctor, and a man of real sagacity, as is still evident; who from the first concluded the disease to be desperate; but of course began some alleviatory treatment, the skilfullest 17th April 1786. possible to him.4 Selle, when questioned, kept his worst fears carefully to himself: but the King noticed Selle's real opinion, -—which, probably, was the King's own too; _and finding little actual alleviation, a good deal of trouble, and no possibility of a victorious result by this warfare on the outworks, began to be weary of Selle; and to turn his hopes,—what hopes he yet had, -on the fine weather soon due. He had a continual short small cough, which much troubled him ; there was fear of new Suffocation-Fit; the breathing always difficult.

But Spring came, unusually mild; the King sat on the southern balconies in the genial sun and air, looking over the bright sky and earth, and newbirth of things: “Were I at Sans-Souci, amid the Gardens !” thought he. April 17th, he shifted thither: not in a sedan, as Marwitz told us of the former journey; but ' in his carriage, very early in the morning, making a long roundabout through various Villages, with new relays,' — probably with the motive Marwitz assigns. Here are two contemporaneous Excerpts :

10. Mirabeau at Sans-Souci. "This same day, April 17th, it appears, the King saw Mirabeau, for the second and last time.

Mirabeau had come to Berlin, 19th January last ; his errand ' not very precise, except that he infinitely wanted employment, and that at Paris the Controller-General Calonne, since so 'famous among mankind, had evidently none to offer him there. He seems to have intended Russia, and employment with the Czarina,—after viewing Berlin a little, with the great flashy

• Christian Gottlieb Selle, Krankheitsgeschichte des Höchstseeligen nigs von Preussen Friedrichs des Zweyten Majestät (Berlin, 1786); 'a very small Pamphlet, now very rare ;-giving in the most distinct, intelligent, modest and conclusive way, an Account of everything pertinent, and rigorously of nothing else.

5 Preuss : in Euvres de Frédéric, xxv. 328 n.

« 前へ次へ »